Our Ancestors Want Us To Be Fat…
Our ancestors struggled. I don’t just mean your grandpappy, I mean our ancestors from thousands of years ago. Nutrition and water were more difficult to find in those times, and our bodies had biological processes to help us survive. This article isn’t blaming evolution, or biological processes for us being fat, but explains why it is difficult to lose weight.
Ghrelin: The Don’t Lose Too Much Weight Hormone
Ghrelin is a hormone secreted in the stomach to help increase appetite. At the time of this article (2019), it doesn’t seem too important of a hormone in the fast food, microwaveable, Little Debbie option world. However, millennia ago, our ancestors would sometimes go days without eating. Our Hunter-Gatherer ancestors would sometimes only eat a hand full of meat a week! (1)
Ghrelin is a hormone that helps us prevent famine. To most, this doesn’t seem very useful, but there are still places in the world today where it is useful.
The problem with Ghrelin for dieters is that it increases when we start to lose a few pounds. As a survivial hormone, Ghrelin says “Hey, you are losing too much weight! We need to survive, so I am going to make you really hungry!”
Here are 5 tips to control Ghrelin
- Increase protein consumption: Protein controls Ghrelin better than other macros. This is also the one macronutrient that will help keep you fuller longer, builds lean muscle that burns fat, and is the last macro that turns to fat!
- Increase water consumption when hungry. Water can convince your stomach that you are full, and also increases metabolism!
- Make your workouts harder! HIIT cardio is better at lowering Ghrelin, and steady state (walking or jogging for long periods of time) actually increases Ghrelin!(2)
- Sleep, get it! Shoot for 7-9 hours of quality sleep to decrease Ghrelin and cortisol, the stress hormone!
- Royal XXI King/Queen system from 1st Phorm will help control appetite, increase thermogenics, and help with hormones!
ADH: I’m Going to Make You A Sponge and Hold All the Water Hormone
Similar to the scenario with our ancestors and Ghrelin, ADH (Antidiuretic Hormone) tells your body to become a sponge and hold onto water when it doesn’t get enough. Our ancestors sometimes went long periods of time without much water. ADH would be released from the pituitary gland and would tell the body to become a cactus in a desert. Hold all water you can!(3)
The problem with holding water is that the kidneys won’t process waste as effectively as when it has plenty of water. It causes your body to bloat and hold on to much more weight than normal. This will also decrease metabolism!
When we drink a lot of water, we then stop holding on to water. Your body goes “Oh, we have water now, so let’s release all the water we were holding for emergencies.”.
Tips for reducing water weight
- Drink 100 ounces of water a day. I have had clients lose 10 pounds in a week from eliminating the bloat!
- Eliminate soda!
- Lower sodium! Sodium also tells your body to hold onto water.
- Reduce carbohydrates! Carbohydrates hold 3 grams of water per gram of carbohydrates. Reducing carbohydrates will decrease bloat.
Ghrelin and ADH are just two of the many biological processes that were adapted during the history of humans. They make losing weight more difficult, however with these tips, and with hard work, you will reach your health and weight loss goals!
Thank you for reading!
NASM Weight Loss Specialist/Personal Trainer
- The Evolution of Diet, National Georgraphic, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/evolution-of-diet/.
- Plasma ghrelin levels during exercise – effects of intensity and duration., Pub Med, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17570540.
- Hormones that act on the kidneys, VCU, http://www.people.vcu.edu/~elmiles/hormones/KidneyHormones_print.html.
Note: I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. Please see a professional before starting any workout or diet plan.