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The Terrible Ten: Those Last 10 Pounds

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Why do those last few pounds of fat seem next to impossible to shed? You've been painstakingly following a weight reduction program for the past few months. You look and feel better than you can ever remember, but one thing is wrong - that last bit of fat is clinging to you for dear life.

Why do those last few pounds of fat seem next to impossible to shed? You’ve been painstakingly following a weight reduction program for the past few months. You look and feel better than you can ever remember, but one thing is wrong - that last bit of fat is clinging to you for dear life.

Almost anyone who has tried to lose excess body fat can relate to this problem. Why do those last few pounds seem next to impossible to shed? The secret may lie within a little-known hormone called leptin.

A hormone produced by our fat cells, leptin plays numerous roles in our biochemistry. One of these is to regulate bodyweight by sending satiation (fullness) signals to the brain. Another is to increase our overall energy expenditure - our body’s ability to burn fat.

When we lose body fat, leptin levels decline along with the excess fat. When we gain fat, leptin levels rise.

In fact, leptin does its job so well that one human study presented in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that moderately overweight healthy women following a low-calorie diet over a three-month period actually increased their appetite two-fold. The subjects who experienced the greatest decline in leptin levels also experienced the greatest increase in their desire to eat.

Leptin also has the ability to lower our metabolic rate by negatively affecting the conversion of thyroid hormones when we skip meals or severely restrict our calories. The end result is we find it next to impossible to lose any more fat.

A human study presented in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism proved that the thyroid-lowering effects brought on by declining leptin levels - through weight loss and dieting - could actually be reversed by administration of “replacement” doses of leptin. But before you go asking your family doctor for an injection of leptin, let me explain how you can naturally stimulate its production.

Don’t be deceived by the “fad diet promise” of losing tons of weight in minimal time. Severe caloric deprivation will send leptin plummeting. Instead, teach yourself to eat smaller meals five or six times a day. Whatever you do, don’t skip meals because that only leads to lower levels of leptin and negative changes in your thyroid hormones.

Another little trick is to supplement with the mineral zinc (10 to 30 milligrams, depending on individual needs). Zinc has been shown in studies to raise leptin levels. In fact, a study published in the journal Life Science showed that zinc was able to increase leptin production by a whopping 142 percent.

So try a little zinc and say ta-ta to those last 10 pounds.

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