I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
It’s no secret that I follow Whole30/Paleo because there are a few pounds on me that I rather never see again. They interfere with wearing my favorite clothes. They lower my self-esteem and make me feel bad about myself when I shouldn’t. And worst of all, they make everyday tasks that much more difficult because I’m essentially carrying around extra weight like a backpack I can’t take off filled with bricks.
Whole30/Paleo also offers me a lifestyle where I can eat food in quantities that make me feel satisfied without counting calories and still lose weight. Unlike Weight Watchers where I was seriously hungry from the moment I woke up until my last point was gone. I thought it was normal to go to bed hungry and wake up hungrier and live my life counting points. Maybe that works for some, but it definitely doesn’t work for me.
Did you know there are 5 hormones that regulate your weight? So when you scarf down that Snickers bar because you’re starving, it may not be your lack of willpower but rather your hormones not being in balance. If you’re trying to lose weight, you should get to know these 5 hormones and how they affect your efforts:
Cholecystokinin (CCK) – Released in the small intestine when fats and proteins are eaten. Receptors that respond to CCK are not only found in the gut but also in the brain. In the brain CCK depresses hunger, meaning the more CCK you have floating around the less hungry you are, and the less you’re likely to eat. This is why a lower-carb, higher-protein, higher-fat diet tends to make people feel fuller longer.
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) – Delays stomach emptying time that may make you feel more full.
Gastric inhibitory polypeptide YY (PYY) – Secreted by small bowel and colon in response to food. Inhibits hunger.
Leptin – Mostly released by fat; decreases hunger. If you want to lose weight you’d want to have more leptin.
Ghrelin – Made mostly in the stomach; acts on the brain (hypothalamus) to stimulate hunger. If you want to lose weight, you want less ghrelin.
These hormones evolved over thousands of years to help our ancestors during times of starvation when food was legitimately not available. When your body is in starvation mode (or you’re doing a low calorie diet), hormones self-regulate so that we hold on to every single ounce of fat we have. Even better, if you do consume food, your body immediately stores those calories as fat for use later instead of using them as energy right away.
In a 10 week study of 50 people on a low-calorie/low-fat diet, all of the test subjects had less leptin, peptide YY, and cholecystrokinin, and more ghrelin and gastric inhibitory polypeptide. What does that mean in English? They all felt hunger pangs all the time which meant they needed even more willpower to adhere to the diet. Sound familiar? Epic. Fail.
But you don’t need to be following a low-calorie diet for these hormones to be out of whack. You could just be following the Standard American Diet (SAD) filled with desserts disguised as breakfast, sandwiches and chips for lunch, and plates of spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner. Or consuming too much sugar (it’s in EVERYTHING) and refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and alcohol.
The amazing thing is, if you eat clean by following a Whole30/Paleo style of eating, these 5 hormones are regulated and your body easily lets go of the extra weight and fat. Plus you don’t feel hunger pangs from starvation. Win/Win.
I have a confession. It’s very simple:
I have no excuse either because I know all this science-y stuff and I WANT to lose all this extra weight, yet for the last month I’ve been making really bad choices. We’ve been going out to dinner a lot. If we do make dinner at home, there’s only a 50/50 chance it’ll be some form of Paleo. I also may have been indulging in the doughnuts my coworkers bring into the office instead of going “NO WAY!”
Plus I’ve been training people at work in addition to doing my own job for the last few weeks which makes for a very stressful day most days. So instead of motivating myself to go to the gym, I’ve been going home and cracking open a bottle of wine while waiting on the pizza to be delivered. Very relaxing but not so good for my physical and mental health. I actually haven’t motivated myself to the gym in over a month leaving Dorothy without the support in the gym I promised her too. *sigh* I’m a terrible friend.
So what have I earned from my month of debauchery? I physically feel awful. I feel bloated and sluggish. I have no energy. I’m not sleeping well. I think I’m mentally not as sharp either. I’ve noticed lately it’s really hard for me to think of the right word when I need to. I’ve also been getting headaches a lot. The worst part??? I’ve gained back 10 of the pounds I lost which totally negated my March Whole30! There went a month completely wasted.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Most of us know what we need to do to get where we want to be. Whether it’s losing weight, getting more in shape, or just feeling healthier. Why is it so hard? Is it the constant bombardment of food advertisements for the latest product filled with empty calories, sugar, and refined carbs? Is it the fact that we’re surrounded by countless outlets for food at any time of day or night? I’m looking at you Taco Bell with introducing the concept of 4th meal. Because that’s what we need as a society… ANOTHER meal filled with food that’s not really food.
So today I’m making a promise to myself. I’m going to eat cleaner and actually MEAN it when I say I’m living 80/20 Paleo, and tonight I’m headed back to the gym. I’m thinking Body Pump might actually kill me but I’m not going to use it as an excuse not to go at all. Why this promise? Because I’d like to avoid having to write these posts in the future about how much I suck. Instead I want to look in the mirror and see someone I’m pleased with because I know I’m doing all I can to get where I want to be.