We have all known someone with the ability to eat large amounts of calories, not even workout, and still look lean and defined year round. By chance, these people have a revved up metabolism. What often happens to these people is they are lean when they are young, then at some point their metabolism slows down and they put on weight. In fact, this was more often than not the case a couple generations ago.
[This picture was taken in the late 1940's at Playland in Rye Beach, New York. Up until the late 1980's, the majority of teens were lean without even trying.]
All Young Adults Were Lean in My Dad’s Generation
My dad was born in 1940 and grew up in the 40′s and 50′s. He stayed lean while eating a boat-load of food in in his teens and 20′s. I used to think current childhood obesity rates are because of the activity levels of young people back then compared to now, but have since changed my mind. My dad’s sister (my aunt) ate until she was stuffed 3 times per day, was inactive, and stayed lean into her late 20′s as well.
You Really Can’t Blame Carbs Either
Back in the 50′s when my dad was in his teens, dinners typically had a large amount of carbs. Meat was always served with a large portion of carbs. I think my grandma served potatoes with almost every meal back then. They ate large volumes of carbs and stayed lean.
1980′s = Beginning of Widespread “Leptin Resistance”
You have probably know about insulin resistance…and my guess is that you have read about increasing leptin levels while dieting using cheat meals. This is something different altogether. Those with leptin resistance typically have plenty of leptin in their body, but it doesn’t work properly to regulate body fat. What sucks is that cheat meals won’t do anything to help with leptin resistance.
[Speaking of the 80's...some stellar anthems came out of that decade. Here's an incredible live performance of 1988 mega-hit Never Tear Us Apart. In my opinion, one of the best songs ever written.]
Leptin Resistance Makes Calorie Reduction Difficult
A simple way to look at leptin is that it is your hunger hormone. When you eat a large amount of food, or have a extra body fat, your body releases leptin as a signal to eat less. This is one way the body regulates body fat. If you are resistant to this hormone, your hunger continues despite adequate calories or excess body fat.
Leptin Resistance Sets Off a Nasty Chain of Events
Here’s an interesting study —>Circulating leptin levels predict the development of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged men: an 8-year follow-up study
This study suggests leptin resistance and insulin resistance usually work as as team (in a bad way). Leptin resistance makes you hungry, you eat more, insulin resistance causes you to store more body fat, etc. This study also showed that those with leptin resistance were more likely to have abdominal obesity and high blood pressure.
Metabolism Goal #1: Increase Leptin Sensitivity
One of the keys to a strong metabolism and the ability to stay lean without counting calories…is increasing your sensitivity to leptin. In part 2 I’m going to talk about what it takes to get your leptin sensitivity (and metabolism) back to a normal range. I’m going to lay out a 2 month game plan to get your metabolism rocking again. This way when you reduce calories, you will create a calorie deficit, and you will lose body fat.
Note: You have to be willing to eat more and you may even add a little body fat when repairing your metabolism. Once your metabolism is recovered, your body will respond to good strategic fat loss routines. If you are someone who can’t get lean on a low calorie diet…the next post is going to help you in a big way.