For decades, bodybuilders have known that a periodic cheat day (let's call it a 're-feed') allowed the body to achieve continual weight loss. It was their path to that elusive and elite 3% body fat - but even then, they still did not quite understand why this strategy worked. Things became clear around 1999, when a hormone called "leptin" was discovered. Leptin is secreted by the fat cells, and tells the hypothalamus (brain) that we no longer need to store fat. Keeping leptin levels high is the only way to achieve continual weight loss. Not only is it a smart strategy for steady weight loss, it also helps keeps your metabolism and hormones in balance for the long-term. Alas, leptin's counterpart in body chemistry is a hormone called "ghrelin." Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach telling the brain to go into fat storage mode. When calories are decreased during dieting, leptin levels fall and ghrelin increases. This is why after low-calorie dieting stops, the body goes into hyper-storage mode and weight is regained quickly. It's the very definition of yo-yo dieting.
Have you ever tackled a new diet, had some success and then plateaued? This is because leptin levels have fallen so low that ghrelin kicks in, and the body goes into defense mode or hyper-storage. So... how do we increase leptin levels? Carb load! That's right, a single day of high carb intake will increase leptin levels appropriately. So why not just eat high carbs every day? We all wish that was true because carbs are delicious - but after 48 hours of high carb intake, your body becomes leptin resistant, ghrelin kicks in, and fat gets stored.
The moral of the story is that hormones are tricky, and managing them to your advantage takes balance and patience. How often do I carb load? What type of diet do I require? Do I need to exercise? How much cardio? All these factors matter and can be very different for each individual. For example, the more body fat you have, the less often you need to re-feed. To take smart steps toward long-term weight loss, contact Precision Fitness, get tested and let us design the perfect pattern for you.
Owner Skorch Fitness