Monitoring My Obesity Hormones – Yeah, Right

The beauty of self-monitoring one’s behavior is that — if you bother to go back and read — you have a chance to watch your self (“self” intentionally left separate), maybe even catch yourself before you slip. Well, I might be regressing, not sure though. Using the Livestrong website (I have no commercial interest) allows me to keep complete track of my nutrient intake and physical activity. An interesting discussion with a wonderfully ancient woman in the grocery store made me go back and check my sodium intake, which is well below 2 grams per day. I noticed, however, that I have been lumping my calories in “gulps”.  Breakfast – check. Usually a banana, half-n-half in my coffee (yummy fat and protein), then nothing, nada, zilch until dinner and even later when I eat the remainder of my allotted 1200 calories – if I even eat that much. Hmmm.

Why am I doing this? Does it matter to my weight loss?

Part of the reason that I don’t eat after breakfast is that I have no hunger mid-day, even though I am listening to my body for physical hunger. When it is time for the family dinner and I start eating then I want to eat more. As the Germans say, “The appetite comes at the eating.” I’m concerned that my evening appetite is not hunger but something old, primitive, anxious, and eating is a way to sooth the feelings. Or, maybe there is more to it.

The impact on weight loss… Current data seem to suggest that when you eat (time of day) really doesn’t matter – throw out that “no food after dark myth.” Now, how often you eat just might be crucial to regulating hormones that control appetite and metabolism, such as leptin, ghrelin, insulin, growth hormone, god knows what else. Unfortunately, I cannot find anyone who agrees on the exact mechanism of how these hormone interact – except that they are screwed up in obese people. For example, leptin suppresses hunger but us fat folks have an excess of leptin. Also, no one agrees on how one should adjust the timing of meals to best manipulate these endogenous chemicals to help with appetite and thus weight loss – eat every 3 hours, 5 hours, don’t eat after 7, wait 11 hours between evening meal and breakfast, yada, yada, (and no scientific evidence, i.e., WAGs). Oh yes, there is a link between ghrelin and sleep and obesity – enough evidence that I can say – GET YOUR EIGHT HOURS!

I am convinced that eating the majority of my calories in one setting is bad for my weight loss. Why? Who the heck knows the exact mechanism? I will be looking at this with a scientific eye and getting back to you. For now, I’m spreading out my calories, getting back into a routine, and with the help of my physical terrorist, walking again!

Mad scientist cartoon juggling hormones

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5 thoughts on “Monitoring My Obesity Hormones – Yeah, Right

  1. Very interesting. I never go more than a few hours without eating… some of that is indeed true physical hunger. I never, ever miss lunch:) I will be curious to hear how you experiment goes. Walking – yeah!!

  2. LOVE the cartoon!!! ::snort:: I feel the way he looks about my body.

    Oh…hormones…dont’ get me started on how those wonderful female hormone shifts on a monthly basis mess up my whole eating/exercise routine! Can we say chilli dog craving???

  3. Fascinating post… I’ve read for years stuff on the ghrelin/leptin/insulin/obesity connection. What I find frustrating is all the conflicting data. Even wading through clinical papers ends up being a waste of time, since I end up asking: but how can I USE this information to help me??

    I do find it interesting that people that have had wt loss surgery have a major nerve severed in their stomach that sends signals to and from the brain about releasing hormones… forget which ones. So they are, in fact, not hungry.

    When all this first hit the mainstream media, with the news about fat and skinny mice and leptin and ghrelin, I was disappointed… it was like a teaser. Interesting, but useless. Maybe in another 20 years they will have practical application, but I thought: what about now??

    They call insulin, leptin and ghrelin the 4 Fat Hormones… and now everybody and their brother is trying to cash in on desperate people who need answers.

    I’ll be curious to see what you come up with on the topic!

  4. I’d never heard that German expression before, but it sure does fit, doesn’t it? I can sail along without even thinking about food (well, not much), but when I finally sit down to eat my meal, I can’t find the “off” switch. I’m playing around with adding a protein-y snack to my afternoon to see if it helps. Luck to both of us, right?

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