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Understanding Hormones

There are three main hormones to consider when it comes to weight gain and weight loss.  

The most important hormone is insulin. The obesity epidemic is caused by too much insulin in the blood


Insulin is a storage hormone, so whenever it is elevated in the blood, the body cannot use fat as fuel. Insulin, insulin resistance, and diabetes have skyrocketed with the increase in consumption of high sugar and high starch foods. Insulin also affects the presence and effectiveness of leptin and ghrelin.


Leptin is the hormone that lets us know we’re full.  It also lets us know it’s time to move. It’s blocked by an excess of insulin.


Ghrelin lets us know when we’re hungry. It’s negatively affected by concentrated food because it doesn’t recognize caloric intake.


Our brains are designed to be rewarded for life-preserving activities. Food provides that reward in the form of serotonin, dopamine, and/or desire. All the cues around food create neural pathways that remind us how important it is to seek it again, and again.


When you concentrate and refine food, you concentrate that response in the brain.

This leads your brain to believe that concentrated foods are much more important to eat than they really are. Dopamine creates more desire for the food. As we eat it, the flood of dopamine down regulates the receptors, perpetuating the desire.


The more you do something and the more you practice something, the stronger
the corresponding neural pathways become. Eventually, we get so good at it that it becomes an unconscious habit. This is why we often feel out of control and as if we’re eating against our will. (This is never true—it just feels that way sometimes.) Our brains are “plastic.” We can change these ingrained pathways by replacing them with new ones and interrupting the old ones by changing our actions and denying the unhealthy rewards.

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