My online and off line experience educating people about the REAL truth behind weight loss often makes me realize how difficult it is to break the conventional thinking about weight loss. People are so wrapped up in their image of someone eating piles of food, sitting all day long on the couch getting brain washed with commercials about the miracle diet or the miracle pill.
Can you just stop for a second and think how much stress this person has in his/her life? Don't be fooled by the fact that he/she is just sitting on the couch. The unresolved stress is actually the culprit in this scenario. The person may be sitting on the couch because he/she is unemployed or about to lose their house to foreclosure.
The connection between his/her waistline and the foreclosure (or whatever stressful event that is not resolved) is called leptin. This is the hormone that controls the appetite and your waistline. How does leptin work?
Leptin is normally secreted in response to a meal or in response to increasing fat stores. It reduces hunger and increases fat burning. Awesome! So you can eat everything you want as much as you want and the hormone will take care of it.
Well, not exactly. Something changes once you become overweight or obese and although leptin is overly produced it looses its magical power.
Here is why.
The body tissue has to be sensitive toward leptin in order to have the right (slimming) result. If the tissue cells become insensitive or resistant to the effect of leptin. This is easy to detect by measuring your waistline - above 35 inches (women) and above 40 inches (men), 2 things can happen:
1. The message that you are not hungry does not reach your brain, so you stay hungry and instead of burning it, your body stores more fat (predominantly around the waist).
2. The unresolved stress in your daily life is constantly sending a message to the sympathetic nervous system to release more adrenaline and cortisol (two hormones that cause high blood pressure and high blood sugar which is translated in heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Believe me you don't want any of those.
What can you do about it?
Get yourself a tape measure. Read how to measure your waistline (just google waistline measurement). The normal numbers for waistline for men and women are posted on my website.
The goal is to lower leptin by reducing the high speed activity of the sympathetic nervous system triggered by the unresolved stress. The fat accumulated around the waistline is directly related to chronic stress, and is different from the fat in other areas of the body.
In conclusion: the truth behind the big belly is the Big unresolved stress. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING will keep the pounds away from your waistline unless the source of the stress is identified and dealt with. You can lose weight by starving yourself but the fat around the waist will not go away.
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By Neli Stoyanova MD
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