Busting through Fat Loss Plateaus – Why Leptin is your fat loss friend

Fat loss, plateaus and carb cycles

The human body is sustained by equilibrium and often, it tries to adapt however possible to maintain a working equilibrium. For those trying to lose weight, this creates a problem in the form of fat loss plateaus.

Simply put, the body does not like to lose weight, which would explain why people struggle with diets, exercise and pills without accomplishing much. Energy intake and output balance have to be maintained and sometime during the course of your weight loss program, you will find that the very effort you put into burning calories will be working against you.


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Fat Loss Plateaus are something every dieter dreads but unfortunately, a lot of people go through it. I have personally experienced plateaus even when I stuck to a perfect training routine and sustained a healthy diet.

A number of things can cause this; for instance, if you do not keep your calories at the level required to lose weight, then your metabolism will slow down and your energy levels along with it. If you find that you have stopped dropping weight and your inches are not decreasing, then don’t give up just yet; there are a few tricks to get around this.

I tell my clients that one of the simplest ways to overcome a plateau in weight loss is to use a cheat meal. This is simply a meal you deliberately add to your diet so your body doesn’t think it is starving.

What are leptins?

It is a simple fact that it takes calories to burn calories. When you lower your food intake, the body responds by lowering your metabolic rate and increasing your appetite, so losing fat becomes tricky. When you incorporate an occasional cheat meal in your diet, the dynamic is reversed.

This happens because of a hormone called leptin. This hormone’s relation to weight loss has been studied closely for years and the results are very specific. Some people have a genetic predisposition to higher levels of it and others struggle with low levels.

Your metabolism, hormonal balance and therefore weight loss potential are all controlled by the levels of this hormone in your body. The hormone communicates with the brain to regulate its levels in your body, which in turn affect your appetite, metabolic rate and energy.

The sooner you understand how these processes affect your weight, the easier time you will have adjusting your hormones to facilitate fat burn. Leptin was only discovered in 1994 so research is fairly new and more studies are yet to be done to ascertain the extent of this hormone’s power in body weight dynamics.

An important thing to remember is that its levels are proportional to body fat and a low count results in slow metabolism.

What happens to the body when you have depleted Leptins?

Low levels in the body result in a combination of slow metabolism, food cravings and overeating. For someone with a heart problem, this would be dangerous territory and that is why I advise my clients to try leveling their hormones.

When you learn how to control the levels in your body, you can avert the usual hanger pangs that characterize a low calorie diet and improve your chances of actually losing fat.

Diet cycling is an effective way to manage hormones that affect your metabolism. If you go on a calorie restrictive diet for a few weeks, then you will likely feel the effects of low leptin and if not controlled, you can regain the weight you worked so hard to lose.

A cheat meal high in carbohydrates will replenish energy levels and help you get back to burning fat and building muscle.

High carb meals must not become a regular occurrence or else, you will gain more weight. As you lose weight, your body needs fewer calories so make sure you address this by insuring a lower calorie intake on most days and gradually combining it with a healthy workout. 

I advise my clients to switch up their workouts because over time, the body gets use to a routine and stops responding to it. So, if you always do a 30-minute run five times a week at a certain pace, try to change that by warming up for one mile at a reasonably comfortable pace and then go two minutes at a very fast pace.

By this time, you should be breathing quite heavily. After this, recover by running at a slow pace for two minutes but if you are still gasping for air, then continue at this more comfortable pace for another minute.

If you usually stick to a specific mileage, try to add a half mile every time you run, until you reach six miles. Running any longer then that will burn a lot more calories and will build your cardio and endurance, which is what you want in the long run.

After long periods of training with minimum variation, the body will always slide into a plateau and leave you struggling to maintain the muscle you have built up. As a fitness expert, I know all about this and I encourage people to look into proven ways to counter the problem.

Getting down to a single digit body fat requires a lot of dedication because there are plenty of obstacles to overcome and without the right spirit, you would have a hard time coping.

For starters, carb cycle diets are only effective when you are running low on calories. If you are eating fewer calories than your body needs to keep you healthy, then the body will react by slowing down its metabolism among other things. Keep it simple and try to fit into one of these patterns:

Day 1 – Low Carb (50-100 carbs) Day 2 – Low Carb (50-100 carbs) Day 3 – Low Carb (50-100 carbs) Day 4 – High Carb (1-1.5 grams of carbs per pound of )  When you combine a good carb cycle diet with a healthy workout, fat loss plateaus will be easier to overcome.


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