How to “Cheat” Your Way Thin (hint: up your leptin levels)

leptin levels and weight loss

Have you ever felt like being “lean” and having a desirable body just wasn’t possible for you? That no matter what you did or how hard you tried, you’d still never succeed? I have, and I can tell you firsthand, it’s not fun.

If that sounds familiar to you, let me assure you… it’s not your fault. You see, the unfortunate reality is that our bodies are naturally programmed (with good reason) to make weight loss painstakingly difficult. Fortunately, there is a solution…

But first, you need to understand one solitary hormone that can either make or break your weight-loss journey… In fact, if you don’t learn to control this hormone, you might as well forget about losing fat at all…it’s that big of a deal.

You see, the REAL underlying reason you’ve failed to lose weight in the past isn’t for lack of trying, you don’t have bad genetics, and there’s nothing physically wrong with you… the truth is that you failed simply because you didn’t know how to control your #1 weight-loss hormone… leptin.

Leptin (derived from the Greek word leptos, meaning thin) is essentially the “master” hormone that more or less controls EVERY other weight-loss hormone in your body… and your ability to burn fat as a whole.

Let me explain…

Why Leptin Levels are Key

First, to burn fat, your body depends on two things: 1) high levels of leptin, 2) highly sensitive leptin “receptors” (which act as the “lock” to leptin’s “key”).

Now for the bad news… Anytime you go on a diet and reduce your calorie intake, leptin levels plummet and fat burning is dramatically reduced. Why? Because leptin’s main function is to protect your body against starvation, and in the midst of decreased food intake (i.e., dieting), your body unfortunately views your stored body fat as a huge asset to survival. After all, body fat provides a vast supply of stored energy and warmth, both highly valued resources when food is in short supply.

See, when you go on a diet, your body isn’t aware of your hopes for a slim, tight waistline or your desire to drop 20 pounds in time for your high-school reunion or summer beach season. In fact, the only thing it does know is that your calorie intake is now below “normal”… and to your brain, that’s a big red flag.

The result: reduced leptin levels and dramatically decreased fat burning. In fact, research has shown that leptin levels drop by as much as 50% after just 7 days of dieting. That puts you at only 50% of your fat-burning potential just one WEEK into your fat-loss plan, and it only gets worse with each passing day.

The scenario I just explained is actually only HALF the problem. The other unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of people are ALSO suffering from a condition known as “leptin resistance” due to years of high body fat levels and a diet full of processed foods.

Leptin resistance simply means that even at high levels, leptin is no longer able to properly signal fat burning to your body, dramatically decreasing its fat-loss effects. That’s a pretty disheartening truth for the fat-loss enthusiast, but as I mentioned earlier, there is a somewhat odd, but extremely effective strategy you can begin using today that will ultimately end your struggle with leptin once and for all and finally allow you to experience the excitement of seeing a thinner waist, flatter stomach, and a more defined body when looking back at yourself in the bathroom mirror each morning.

Cheat to Win

The technique is known as periodic overfeeding, or more simply put, strategically “cheating” on your diet with all your favorites foods… like pizza and ice cream, or if you’re like me, my mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies or my grandma’s mac n’ cheese…now that’s good stuff. ☺

Now, you may be wondering how in the world eating these “bad” foods can actually have a positive effect on your waistline. It all traces back to leptin.

Recall that leptin levels are highly correlated to your calorie intake, and that after only one week of dieting, levels can drop by as much as half, putting you at a dismal 50% of your fat-burning potential. And while that’s clearly bad news for anyone looking to achieve a flat belly fast, there’s also a glimmer of hope hidden in that unfortunate truth.

You see, because leptin is so closely related to your calorie intake, research also shows that periodically going OFF your diet and indulging in your favorite high-calorie foods can give suffering leptin levels a much-needed bump in the right direction.

For this reason, I recommend to all my clients that they incorporate a weekly “cheat day” into their nutrition programs—adding 1,000 or more calories in one day—and it’s something you should definitely consider adding to yours.

Of course, my Cheat Days aren’t exclusively made up of these “treat” foods, but a few sprinkled in here and there along with overall increased carbohydrate and calorie intake make for a very satisfying, leptin-boosting day.

Naturally, you can’t have a cheat day EVERY day and expect to lose fat, but go ahead and indulge ONE day a week to skyrocket your fat-burning potential! Here are some of my favorites:

cheat foods for leptin levels

Here’s to cheating your way thin!