Here’s the simple version:
We’ve got 2 big players in our hunger hormones:
One that tells our brain we’re hungry – called grehlin.
And one that tells our brain we’re full – called leptin.
In order to have control over our hunger, to trust the signals from our brain, we need to balance our hormones. We need to know when we need energy and need to eat and when we’ve got plenty of energy and can stop eating for a few hours.
And the ONLY way to get these hormones on the same team, is to follow these simple nutrition guidelines.
Eat Plenty of Protein:
Aim for 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight. When protein get broken down in the body, it signals that leptin hormone to start releasing so we know that we’re getting full.
Avoid Simple and Refined Carbs:
Skip the cookies, crackers, pastas and yes, the sugars. These simple carbs only fuel more hunger cues! They spike your insulin levels up and send you in sugar rushes and crashes, fueling the need for more food to rebalance the energy dips.
Low Carb Doesn’t Mean No-Carb:
You can’t avoid all carbs. Carbs keep our leptin levels from dropping too low. Periodically, you need a dose of complex carbs, like sweet potatoes or starchy veggies, to reset your leptin and tell you brain that you aren’t starving.
Avoid Processed Foods:
Those sneaky manufacturing plants have some helluva smart scientists on their side. They know how to design food (yes it’s designed, not grown) to light up the hunger cues in your brain, trigger emotional eating and train you to crave the sugar, salty and fatty stuff. Skip it.
Some Foods Pair Better than Others:
When you eat those complex carbs, pair them with foods with low pHs (think vinegar or lemon). Your body will utilize the combination much more effectively than just the carbs alone.
Eat on Schedule:
Our bodies fight for consistency, it’s how we stay alive. So choose a set eating schedule –whether that’s 3 times a day or 6 – and follow it every day. Not to mention this schedule will keep you from random snacking – part of the culprit of cravings.
Don’t Stuff Yourself:
The Japanese call this Hara Hachi Bu. Eat until you are about 80% full. Go for satisfied rather than full because it takes some times for the leptin hormone to reach your brain. If you eat until it does, you’re going to be waddling instead of comfortable.
Eat your Fats:
Dietary fat does not turn into body fat . don’t be scared to cook with plant oils, eat avocados or choose the fatty fish option. Fats are necessary for your function and a big player in regulating those hunger hormones.
Following these 8 tips will keep those hunger hormones working for your fitness goals rather than against them!
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