OK, the New York Times offered up some potentially depressing news in an article titled, ominously, Biological Changes Thwart Weight Loss Efforts, Study Finds:
For years, studies of obesity have found that soon after fat people lost weight, their metabolism slowed and they experienced hormonal changes that increased their appetites. Scientists hypothesized that these biological changes could explain why most obese dieters quickly gained back much of what they had so painfully lost.
But now a group of Australian researchers have taken those investigations a step further to see if the changes persist over a longer time frame. They recruited healthy people who were either overweight or obese and put them on a highly restricted diet that led them to lose at least 10 percent of their body weight. They then kept them on a diet to maintain that weight loss. A year later, the researchers found that the participants’ metabolism and hormone levels had not returned to the levels before the study started.
Now, I was a liberal arts major, so this might not hold up to rigorous scrutiny or anything, but I got an idea from this article.
The study showed that losing weight could cause leptin, a hormone, to fall. Lower leptin levels can decrease metabolism and increase appetite. My big brain idea was to google quickly to find natural sources of leptin.
I don’t think I’m the first person to wonder if I could find a source for this hormone, which I think I now understand is produced entirely within our bodies. I’m sure it can be synthesized, because hey, they’re making meat in test tubes these days, but I don’t know if it is easy to find on the open market.
I did read on one site that getting more sleep (restful, deep sleep) might help increase leptin production.
Now, here’s where I do science.
I proclaim the sleep diet! I’m going to do my best to get even more restful sleep at night in hopes of bulking up my leptin stores. Then, I’ll write a book about it. I’ll sell millions of copies. How could I not? Would you rather follow the sleep diet or the cabbage soup diet, and don’t even tell me you didn’t just say sleep diet—amirite?
Then, once I make the money from the books, and get in a few appearance fees and speaking fees, I’ll hire a full-time chef and personal training staff just in case the sleep/leptin thing doesn’t actually work out.
(The moral of this story is that next month, if not next week, the ol’ grey lady will have yet another article that either offers me new hope or freaks me out. In the meantime, I’ll just keep trying to eat healthier and keep up with the regular exercise.)