Celebrity weight loss
All the celebrities seem to be at it - losing weight, that is. Tom Kerridge has lost 12 stone whilst Gordon Ramsay trumpets that he has lost 4 stone. Frank Skinner is looking newly trim, having lost one and a half stone 'without any difficulty' and even the formerly curvaceous Nigella has been photographed looking newly svelte.
So what's this all about, and what is the secret of losing weight ?
In an article in the Sunday Times last week, Nigella credited yoga with her weight loss, and the commentary noted that by reducing stress through yoga, the body released less of the stress hormone cortisol, one of the by - products of which is to encourage over - eating.
I regularly work with clients seeking help to lose weight, and an important part of the process is helping them to understand the cycles and loops in their minds and bodies which encourage more eating than is necessary.
The reduction in cortisol is the beginning of an explanation, but to really understand how the mind encourages the body to consume more, we need to understand about two other chemicals in the body, ghrelin and leptin.
Putting it simply, ghrelin is the hormone that tells the body that it needs to eat to boost its energy intake whilst leptin is its counterpart that tells the body that it reached the energy level sufficient to meet the energy output, beyond which any excess will be stored as fat. Leptin, in theory, regulates the energy balance of the body to make sure that the energy you take in by eating matches the energy you use up by exercise and daily activity.
Unusually for the body, though, leptin is actually generated from within fat cells, so the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce. The abundance of leptin produced by carrying too much fat overwhelms the regulatory system, with the result that the body goes into survival mode just to be on the safe side; eat more and expend less energy. In other words, stay on the sofa and reach for the crisps.
And just to complete the picture, all that cortisol acts to reduce the movement of fat through and out of your system so it stays firmly put on your spare tyre.
But the great thing is that once you understand this balance consciously, the body has a wonderful way of re - adjusting itself without your actually having to try very hard. After a few weeks my weight - loss clients notice that they just don't want those chocolate biscuits any more, and life suddenly starts to look brighter, happier and - goodness, can this be true ? - slimmer as well.