Calories, Leptin and the Van Ride “Home”


John would yell that phrase out a lot: “Let your body do what it is made to do! Don’t stop moving! Don’t think, just do it!” Then he would yell something like “hold it” and make me go lower, jump higher and “hold it” more.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did the treading exercise. I was shocked, in a happy kind of way. I was more than able to perform the exercise. It wasn’t easy because I pushed myself, but the strength I felt was refreshing. I felt strong, able, as well as lighter and tighter! What more can I ask other than lose the last 7 pounds? After treading I worked out my legs, then walked a few miles and did a few hundred lunges. I am afraid that the muscles I formed while hiking will dissapate…really, when I say ‘afraid’ I mean as anxiety because I have not ever maintained any weight or fitness for life. One of the thoughts that helps me is that I spent a lot of money and a lot of time to get to this level. A pastor once told me that a person’s heart is where their money is. My money was solidly placed on my bum to make it solid.

One message on every diet program besides “Results Not Typical” is that the diet program works only if a person follows proper diet and exercise. Is there truth in saying that IF the person just eats well and exercises, they don’t need the product? Like say…a stimulant, or a fat blocker? What good are those products other then just dousing one’s body with even more chemicals?

Calories in/calories out…end of story for most of us.

I learned that IF I am serious about losing weight and keeping it off, I need to keep track of all the calories I take in. So, I journal. Some crazy kids use their phone apps or their body bug. I just may become a crazy kid myself. But for now, I am using the old fashioned pen to paper method- like chiseling a stone these days. But it works for now. Second half of what I learned is that I need to learn what my resting metabolic rate is; how many calories I burn just being alive. Then add in the exercise and hopefully the calories used minus the caloric intake will add up in a week to a pound or two weight loss, with 3500 calories equaling one pound. I have 7 more pounds to lose, so I need to create a caloric deficit of 24,500 calories. Now, divide that by, let’s say, 6 weeks: I need to have a weekly deficit of 4083 calories, or the equivalent of walking 5 miles day, or just working out an hour and a half a day.

Simple?

Yep! So why the tons of books and articles and yes, blogs?

Because most of us want a pill, I think.

Conversation in the van coming back from a hike: “Everyone of you in this van has a problem. Your leptin does not work. Period. Being overweight is because your stomach has no communication with leptin.” Now, if you are a Dr. Oz fan such as myself, you know that leptin is the hormone that communicates to your brain that your tummy is full. Grelin is the hormone that communicates that your tummy is ready for some chow. The van fell silent as the guest spoke about her doctor who informed her that being overweight was not her ‘fault’ and that the public has been horribly misinformed. Another guest spoke up, “I know I am not hungry when I go into the kitchen and grab another cookie. It is my choice. I KNOW I am not hungry, I eat it anyway. No hormone is making me eat that cookie.”

“You will suffer the rest of your life because will power is NOT enough,” proclaimed the leptin lady! “Not many people are as strong as you are saying you are!” (ouch!)

As I sat in the back listening to this conversation I was floored. The leptin lady had challenged our dietician saying she was not telling the guests the truth about their weight issues, that eating right was fine and dandy, but leptin will make them sneak into the kitchen at night a take food even though we are repeatedly told not to go into the kitchen as it is off limits to guests! And yes, that week there was a kitchen creeper- that damn leptin!

I immediately wondered if the guest who had so adamantly held onto the leptin theory had a doctor who was in on a leptin pill? Some drug that makes kitchen creeping a thing of the past? I wondered how many others in the van wanted to agree with the honest emotional eater who KNEW she wasn’t hungry but ate anyway. If a pill is not coming out that will deal with the leptin, you can bet your booty a book will. We can blame leptin, form support groups and maybe even get special rights.

And so it goes.

Food talks to our bodies in more ways than through leptin. Food effects us on a cellular level. We know that eating certain foods releases dopamine…leptin be damned, I am going to eat and get a fix sometimes! A good example of planning for my sweet tooth is that I ordered the pudding mix and tofu to make the parfait and pies from Chef Cameron’s cookbook o’ pleasure. I LOVED the parfait and chocolate covered strawberries. Both are on the menu this weekend.

If I sneak into the kitchen for more, I can just blame the devil, and his name is Leptin.

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2 thoughts on “Calories, Leptin and the Van Ride “Home”

  1. My favorite excuse that I heard repeatedly was “I have a slow metabolism.” Fine, yes–medically I’m sure many people have slow metabolisms. But when you are stuffing your face with cheeseburgers and milkshakes and eating 10,000 calories in a day…are you really going to blame it on your slow metabolism?

    I was never much of an excuse maker b/c I quickly realized that they were just those–excuses. I think you can only move on with a weight loss and fitness journey if you are honest with yourself and say “hey, I’m fat because I eat chocolate cake every night and stop in the McDonalds drive-thru every other day.”

    A slow metabolizer may have a low BMR but at the end of the day it’s just like you said: calories in/calories out. Eat a little less and work out a little more!

    I’m sad I missed the leptin lady 😦 That would have been entertaining…almost as entertaining as Stacy the Crazy challenging Paige during a lecture on caloric budgets 🙂

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