Leptin resistance - signs/symptoms?
I've been reading a bit about leptin and leptin resistance on this forum and other places, and I'm trying to determine if this is likely an issue for me or not. I am 6'1", 225 at ~20-23% BF (about 40 lbs overweight). I have had a tough time losing weight, and it just seems to be getting tougher. I've gotten down to 190 within the past couple years, but my body always seems to want to settle back at around 215-230 no matter how much/little or what kinds of foods I eat (hence my worries about leptin).
i've only been primal for about a month now, lost 5-6 lbs the first week and have been stagnant ever since. I'm probably eating 50-100 grams carbs a day, and have recently started incorporating 18-24 hr fasts a few days a week (mainly since hunger has become less of an issue and I like eating bigger meals in the evening after I work out since I am sedentary at work all day). I'm definitely operating in a caloric deficit, and even after the fast days I don't seem to lose weight...always hovering at 225.
I had some blood work done before going primal and here are my results.
Cholesterol - 163 mg/dL
Trig - 31 mg/dL
HDL - 47 mg/dL
LDL (calculated) - 110 mg/dL
LDL/HDL - 2.3
Cholesterol/HDL - 3.5
Glucose - 89 mg/dL (after fasting for 18 hours)
Hemoglobin A1C - 4.9%
Est Mean WB Glucose - 94 mg/dL
Thyroid TSH - 1.1 uIU/mL
Vitamin D 25 Hydrox - 38 ng/mL
Everything seems pretty normal to me (and my doc), but I'm not sure if there's anything here that might be linked to leptin resistance that I'm not seeing. The only thing I've read about as being linked is high trigs and insulin resistance, neither of which seem to be an issue for me.
Are there any other signs I should be looking for that might be indicative of leptin resistance? i know I haven't been primal very long, but my lack of progress in the first month (beyond the initial water weight loss) makes me curious if I'm approaching this the right way.
Last edited by GrainsRLame; 06-29-2011 at 12:00 PM.
My humble opinion, based on your numbers, is that you are doing very well. I doubt your body is screaming for the leptin reset, but no harm in trying it. A lot of people are doing it anyway and reporting what happens.
TSH is a shitty thyroid test, but the fact that yours is low at least is positive, and so is the low trigs. We don't know your insulin but I doubt it would be high with other numbers as good as yours. I wouldn't suspect signs of insulin resistance, and therefore wouldn't suspect a big problem with leptin either.
You didn't get the number Dr Kruse uses to check for leptin resistance, which is rT3. That test is hard to talk a doc into because most don't know what to do with it anyway. Many labs don't even do it. When mine is checked, the blood is sent to another state for the lab work.
I'm very skeptical of fasting unless one has their hormones in line, and I don't see anything in yours to hold you back, unless I missed something.
When I had high rT3 in 2007, trigs were high, insulin was high, Vit D was low, and I don't remember HDL/LDL from then but it wasn't great.
Troubleshooting a weight loss stall is much different if you are a hormone wreck, and I don't think you are in that group.
I would ease up on the carbs and not worry about fasting yet.
Thanks for the helpful response, DFH. The only carbs I have been eating are smallish amounts from veggies, berries, the occasional orange or peach, almonds, and modest amounts of full fat greek yogurt and cacao nibs a few days a week. I might just try cutting out fruits entirely, but I know that even with the amount I've been eating I've been in ketosis consistently (verified w/ Ketostix). The fasting thing has been more because I like how I feel when I'm fasting, and training myself to eat when I'm genuinely hungry, not so much because I think it provides a big hormonal advantage over a "3 square primal meals a day" approach.
Originally Posted by DFH
The one thing I remember is that if most of your fat is in your midsection then you may be due for a leptin reset.
Just my opinion here, but I would guess you are not operating at a calorie deficit. I find it super-hard to find my calorie sweet-spot as it changes as you lose or gain weight. I lost pretty well eating 2500 cal a day (5'10/male) and went from 220 to 185 without a stall in about 3 mo. Then stayed at 185 for 2 months, through calorie manipulation I am starting to lose again. My advice would be to track your calories for a while, then try to cut them by about 300 cal a day. When you stall out, re-examine and adjust. Cutting calories drastically can have detrimental effects and can cause water weight gain/muscle loss. Be careful not to get into that trap. But seriously, just eating good food, not snacking, and exercising is usually enough for someone like you who is just a little overweight and doesn't have a lot of metabolic problems.
Thanks otzi. I've actually been tracking my intake this week on Fitday and I'm at 1800-2100 cals/day. Probably a bit on the low side, since I'm also exercising almost every day, but I'm just not all that hungry! I hate to have to force myself to eat a certain number of calories...I'm trying to go on "feel" (which seems much more primal to me). I guess I'll just keep at it for a while and pay less attention to the scale and more attention to my waistline.
Originally Posted by otzi
Doesn't most every male who has >20% bodyfat have the bulk of that fat in their midsection? I can't think of a single fat man I've seen with a narrow waist but big hips or fat arms/legs or anything.
Originally Posted by geostump
True but then again most of those have beer guts or look perpetually pregnant. I fall into this category as a woman.
Originally Posted by GrainsRLame
I think for people with chronic stress the hard, round "beer belly" is really a cortisol belly.
here's your problem, the reason your weight is stagnant is because you cut your calories too fast. Since your over weight, your maintence level of calories was high. when you cut calories to fast, your body gets used to it, your maintence level of calories decreases and this causes your metabalism to slow down. meaning you will need even less food to lose weight. What you should do is increase your caloric intake to maintenece level, keep that for about a month or so. You will gain weight, But once your weight gain becomes stagnant again you should SLOWly, decrease your caloric intake. and when you reach a plateau, do a carb refeed once a week and you should continue losing weight.