The measure of a truly great person is the courtesy with which they treat all peoples, including themselves.

Do good, be good.
If we consistently act like the person we’d like to be, we can methodically work to overcome the parts of ourselves that hold us back.
Want to make the biggest impact on your life?
Then start where YOU can start.
“Fix the things you repeat every day”…all those things considered inconsequential or trivial that make up a large proportion of your day.
As Jordon Peterson says ‘Give your mind genuine aim. What you aim at determines the way the world manifests itself to you.
(So, be mindful what you aim at)

Speaking of Jordan Peterson…
Who’s he you ask?
JP is a Canadian author, clinical psychologist, and scholar. He is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. After 2016, he gained attention for his outspoken views on cultural, political issues and Crocs. He wrote, amongst other titles, 12 Rules For Life – An Antidote To Chaos, which sold ka-zillions in 2018. A smart, eloquent dude who’s ruffled a few feathers here and there…though I don’t embrace everything he says, a lot of what he does say makes a lot of sense. He’s popped up again recently on my radar after watching this You Tube clip.  

Now anyone that reads my blog post or social media content couldn’t help but see that I’ve been relishing a very self-indulgent 3 year personal sabbatical – time spent reading, researching, studying, training blah blah blah.
Too many reason to list here as to why, but my main focus, my modus operandi if you like, is really just to know myself better. I’m completely motivated and inspired to push on through this personal expedition (because frankly it’s not easy on occasions) by the various philosophies that I currently consume on a daily basis.
As I’ve said before, and will continue to say in the future, this Covid 19 ‘scenario’ that is unfolding, I believe, is an opportunity to reclaim the precious resource of time, and use that time to recalibrate the priorities in ones life. Primarily a time to recalibrate and “fix the things you repeat every day…all those things considered inconsequential or trivial that make up a large proportion of your day” – Jordan Peterson. Anyways, give the video a looksy…it’s only 10min long…I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.

This week will be the final post, for the time-being, that revolves around metabolic health and insulin resistance – I’ll be providing an overview on two hormones called Leptin & Ghrelin, and how it is essential that our capacity to ensure these two hormones remain ‘under-your-control’ is essential for your metabolic health and maintaining ideal body composition.

Leptin & Ghrelin
Firstly, let’s get some definitions out the way first.
Leptin (lep-tin): This hormone (aka the “satiety hormone”) is your very own personal trainer. It controls appetite by signalling your brain to stop eating. It also helps your brain regulate how much energy your body burns throughout the day. I’ve spoken on Insulin Resistance in previous post, but there’s also Leptin Resistance simply put, this is where your body does not respond to this hormone, and is now believed to be the leading driver of fat gain in humans.
Leptin is supposed to tell your brain that – when you have enough fat stored – you don’t need to eat and can burn calories at a normal rate. I say ‘supposed’ because modern living is stripping away our metabolic ability for these hormones (both leptin & ghrelin) to properly communicate and signal our brain…more of that later.
Leptin is multifaceted and has many functions that also include fertility, immunity and brain function.

Ghrelin (ghrel-in): Got a rumbling in your tummy? You can thank this hunger hormone made in the gut, because it increases food intake. It stimulates appetite and prepares the body for food. Ghrelin is also a multifaceted circulating hormone produced by the enteroendocrine cells of the gastrointestinal tract. Blood levels of ghrelin are (ideally) highest before meals when hungry, returning (ideally) to lower levels after mealtimes. I say ‘ideally’ because just like leptin, our lifestyles our corrupting our ability for our hormones to work for us, not against us.

Ghrelin also:
Stimulates effects on food intake, fat deposition and growth hormone release.
Regulates glucose homeostasis by inhibiting insulin secretion and regulating gluconeogenesis.
Regulates energy expenditure. 
Improves the survival prognosis of myocardial infarction.
Prevents muscle atrophy
Regulates bone formation.
 

So What Is Leptin Resistance?
Simply put…people who have a lot of body fat in their fat cells…remember fat cells ‘swell’, they don’t multiply…have a lot of leptin.
Because fat cells produce leptin in proportion to their size, people who are overweight and obese also have very high levels of leptin.Given the way leptin is supposed to work, many obese people should naturally limit their food intake. In other words, their brains should know that they have plenty of energy stored.

However, their leptin signalling may not work. While copious leptin may be present, the brain doesn’t see it.
This condition — known as leptin resistance — is now believed to be one of the main biological contributors and leading causes to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease yada yada yada
When your brain doesn’t receive the leptin signal, it erroneously thinks that your body is starving — even though it has more than enough energy stored

This in turn makes your brain change it’s behaviour in order to regain body fat. Your brain will encourage you to eat more – because it thinks you’re starving. And secondly your brain will tell you to reduce energy expenditure – in an effort to conserve energy (because it thinks you are starving) decreases energy expenditure and you burn fewer calories at rest.
Thus, eating more and exercising less is not the underlying cause of weight gain but rather a possible consequence of leptin resistance…a hormonal defect.
The reality…if you’re struggling with leptin resistance, simply willing yourself to overcome the leptin starvation signal is near-on friggin impossible.
(it why nearly all forms of ‘dieting’ fail, is because we’re not addressing the primary cause of our weight gain…the hormonal signalling). 

When people lose fat, leptin levels decrease significantly.
Your brain interprets this as a starvation signal, changing your biology and behaviour to make you regain the lost fat.

What Causes Leptin Resistance?
Inflammation: Inflammatory signalling in your hypothalamus is likely an important cause of leptin resistance.
Free fatty acids: Having elevated free fatty acids in your bloodstream may increase fat metabolites in your brain and interfere with leptin signalling.
Having high leptin: The segue from incremental weight gain, sees an incremental increase in leptin. Elevated leptin = leptin resistance.
Compromised Sleep: I don’t need to illustrate how difficult it is to manage cravings and poor food choice intake when tired (and stressed, hungover etc). If you’re sleep is corrupt, you’ll not only eat more, but your food choices, I can guarantee, will be fast-carb dominant. You’ll also, by natural default, move less and be less inclined / unmotivated to move/train, and be more inclined to resort to alcohol, Netflix and potentially, worst case scenario…a Crocs compulsion.
Too much / too frequent alcohol: as above
Too stressed: As above…think stress hormone Cortisol. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol leads to over eating, alcohol consumption and other compulsive behaviours 
Too distracted: As above

“Good habits begets good habits.
Just as…
Bad habits begets more bad habits”
How To Identify Leptin Resistance?
Honestly the best way is to look in the mirror – if you have a lot of body fat, especially in the belly, lower back are then you are almost certainly leptin resistance (at some level).

Can Leptin Resistance Be Reversed?
The first key here is to reduce diet-inducing inflammation, whilst focusing on overall healthy lifestyle approaches aka “fix the things you repeat every day…all those things considered inconsequential or trivial that make up a large proportion of your day” ( subtle as ever…just to squeeze in and reiterate my initial message).
Leptin resistance and managing Ghrelin requires a simple and disciplined approach to your daily choices. 
Avoid processed foods: Highly processed foods compromise your gut biome and drive inflammation.
Eliminate toxic, rancid vegetable oils. This stuff is really, really awful…soy oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated oil. I’ll include Transfats as well (labels that say ‘hydrogenated’) like fake whipped cream, fake butter, margarines, store bought pastries, chicken nuggets, shortening, fries foods, most chips and crackers, most protein bars, most salad dressings, most mayo brand and most breakfast granolas and cereals
Eat soluble fibre: Eating soluble fire ‘can’ help improve your gut health and protect against weight gain and obesity. (my personal opinion is, and take this for a grain of Himalayan Pink Salt…just don’t eat processed foods…period. Focus of ONLY on whole food, nutrient dense foods – see the link below as this will identify not only the importance of nutrient dense foods, but why they’re so important in maintaining satiety). Some folk respond to better than others with high soluble fibre diets. Test, learn and eat what works best for you.
– I’d personally recommend avoiding, or very much limiting, the consumption of fruit juices & soft drinks 
Exercise, move and maintain lean muscle mass
– Yup you guess it Sleep! If you’re not sleeping 7-9 hours every night, waking rested and ready to go, then metabolically, cognitively and hormonally you’ll be behind the eight-ball
Lower your triglycerides: In short, having high triglycerides will prevent the transport of leptin from your blood to your brain. The best way to lower triglycerides? Reduce your carb intake…and when I say carb intake I’m talking fast-carbs like shitty breads, grains and cereals, alcohol, fast food, takeaway foods, processed foods etc
Up your protein intake: Eating plenty of protein (you choose, animal, fungal or plant based) can cause automatic fat loss, whilst, crucially, maintaining lean muscle mass, which more than likely improve leptin sensitivity.
Be patient: Though leptin resistance does seem reversible, it involves significant diet and lifestyle changes. Remember, you’ve probably spent decades repeated the same choices over n over again…it’s going to take a while for those choices and habits to be replaced.

Want to control your Ghrelin?
Do the above.

Resources

If you keen to learn more about satiation then I’d recommend this watching this 20min video on “Systemising Satiety” by Marty Kendall. 
Marty and his blog Optimising Nutrition is one of my go-to resources when it comes to nutrition. His work / research is very very thorough, which means it can be a little scientifically top-heavy, but his message is very clear, and if you do not want to go down the research rabbit hole, then you can glean the information very easily from his summations. He does not advocate a particular diet, but researches nutrient density and how they can be best applied to whatever your desired outcomes are.
He’s just released an awesome collection of recipe books which I could not recommend enough
Marty Kendall is an civil engineer from Brisbane, Australia and the husband of a Type-1 Diabetic. He has a strong interest in improving the health of his family and others by analysing what determines optimal nutrition and he shares his findings via the blog

The Circadian Code by Dr Satchin Panda.
Change your daily routine, transform your health.
Circadian rhythms are biological processes or clocks that exist in each one of our cells. Programmed to turn genes on or off at different times of the day or night, they influence every aspect of our health from weight and energy levels through to resistance to disease and infection, and how well we sleep.
Covers Leptin and Ghrelin and explains why our circadian rhythm, when followed ensure we have a better capacity to manage our hormones and thus our overall health and vitality.
This is a terrific book by leading expert in the field of circadian rhythm research. He is a professor at the prestigious Salk Institute, founding executive member of the Centre of Circadian Biology at the University of California, San Diego, a Pew Scholar and a recipient of the American Federation of Ageing Research.

Here’s a little 20min TEDtalk by Dr Satchin Panda that gives a pretty cool overview of his ‘evidence-based’ research. 

Till next week 
Onwards & Upwards

Peace

Luke
❤️