MOST of us have got the message that lifestyle is a major contributor to chronic illness and disease but it sometimes feels difficult to sustain the change necessary to restore the health we need and deserve. The arrival of 2014 is the perfect opportunity to put in place the changes that we want to make. Have no fear, this is do-able and the rewards are totally life-changing. It is my pleasure to contribute general principles of healthy living through DownNews that will serve the community of South Down writes Paul Curran.
But before we get started, I want to also register my protest at the proposed reduction of A&E services at Downe Hospital. A few years ago A&E services saved my life. They are essential to serve the community of South Down and our hospital must be staffed appropriately to provide the security we need.
Many of us will have begun to take down Christmas decorations and may be looking guiltily at empty sweet tins, biscuit packets and cake boxes. Once they’re in the bin they can be forgotten but there’s no mistaking the added pounds registering on the scales. They’re often much more stubborn when it comes to disposing of them.
I’m going to tell you that it can be done, without ‘bin liner sweatathons’, 20 mile hikes or other draconian measures. In fact, by consistently observing a few straightforward principles your body will automatically adopt the weight it needs to be for the demands you make of it and you will enjoy improved health in all areas of your life.
What we’re working toward here is a ‘Leptin Lifestyle’. Leptin is a master hormone, produced in our fat cells, which provides signalling to the brain to tell it that we’ve had enough to eat. Think of Leptin as the conductor of our hormonal orchestra. When Leptin is conducting then everything works beautifully and good health results. However, with our culture of overeating and snacking we have become ‘Leptin Resistant’ and there’s no conductor. Things don’t sound too good and we go for the antacids and Ibuprofen etc which over time make our situation worse.
Since adopting a Leptin Lifestyle I have dropped two stone in weight and have found it to be consistently 11stone +/- 1 pound over the last two years. There’s no dieting involved, very few banned foods and no medications.
So how do we do it?
Clinical nutritionist, Byron Richards, describes 5 rules for Leptin control:-
* Eat only three meals per day and do not snack. Snacking interferes with Leptin signalling
* Leave approximately 6 hours between meals and 12 hours overnight between supper and breakfast. The overnight fast allows the body to progress from burning glucose to burning fat for up to four hours before breakfast.
* Finish eating your evening meal at least three hours before bedtime. This allows Leptin to peak naturally during the hours of sleep and reduce slowly during the night.
* Eat modest size meals and eat slowly. This reduces insulin release and hence the amount of fat deposition.
* Have some protein with every meal including breakfast. This maintains the metabolism at a steady rate
Wot? No Snacks?
This was my major hurdle and it took many months for me to get there. The trick is to immediately change the nature of your snacks so that they’re healthy and over time to reduce and eliminate them. For me, I used a blend of nuts and dark chocolate. I’d make up a bowl in the morning and nibble at it during the day. The deal was that when the bowl was empty it could not be refilled until the next day.
My other realisation is that very often our ‘hunger’ urges disappear when we have a cup of tea instead of food. This will reduce the rate of insulin production and release.
There are very few banned foods, but unfortunately they are widespread. Sugar is the scourge of the Western World and the major contributor to overweight, obesity and Type2 diabetes. It leads to atherosclerosis, heart disease, fatty liver, cancer and dementia. It also plays havoc with our immune system and weakens our natural defences. Reducing or eliminating sugar from the diet is the best thing you can do for your health apart from stopping smoking.
There, I’ve said it! That’s the toughest thing you’ll read in this column and over the weeks and months we’ll look at ways to do it. I’d also like to hear your ideas for transitional foods and eating challenges as you start your new lifestyle. Send your ideas into Down News – to [email protected]
Join me on my Journey to Health in 2014 and be astonished at how quickly your body will heal itself.
Good luck with the Leptin Diet!
Action Centred Health
Tel: 07876 741679