I’ve heard lots of reasons why my patients think they are overweight. We all try and find a reason why it’s not all down to lifestyle, but due to a quirk of nature, a run of bad luck, or a medical problem. Doctors used to regard the most commonly given reason, “it’s my hormones” as a feeble excuse. As time goes by however, we’re having to realise that for many people it’s true. It is their hormones! Scientific developments have revealed there are many different hormones, chemical messengers in the blood, which can make it easier, or harder for someone to keep to a healthy weight.
When we eat a meal, it’s not just our stomach becoming fuller that tells us we’ve had enough. Hormones, such as leptin, or another, PYY, are secreted from the stomach into the bloodstream, rapidly reaching the brain and sending out a powerful signal. Stop! I’m full! Unfortunately, some of us respond quicker to these hormones than others. For those that do, a small meal might satisfy. For those of us that don’t, we keep on eating till eventually the chemical message does hit home, and sometimes after we’ve eaten more than we might have chosen.
The point is this. Deciding how much to eat, what portion to have, is in some part an intellectual choice, and in another, physiological. Not beyond our control, but requiring a little bit of extra effort. So, if you want to help those hormones along try eating more slowly, put the fork and knife down between mouthfuls, stop to chat to your family, and take your time. A slow eater, might just be a smart eater. And so the next time you’re asked why you’re carrying too much weight, look them in the eye and tell them “it’s my hormones” But make sure you wink at the same time.