Do This to Lose That



As mentioned in prior posts, the Calories in/Calories out approach to weight loss is not as clear cut as many conventional organizations would lead us to believe.

Part of the reason is because depending on the type of exercise, there may be a compensatory reaction in the body to eat more. This reaction is mediated by certain hormones related to appetite control.

Key Hormones regulating Appetite:

  1. Leptin
  2. Ghrelin
  3. Cortisol

Leptin is produced in fat cells. As Leptin levels increase in the blood, the feeling of hunger is shut off and metabolism is increased via the thyroid and adrenal glands.

Declining levels of Leptin have the opposite effect, inducing appetite and slowing down metabolism.

Over time if Leptin levels are chronically elevated (from being overweight and eating high density foods), Leptin resistance can develop which can also increase appetite, slow down metabolism and lead to premature aging.

Ghrelin is made in the stomach and controls hunger. When Grehlin is high we get hungry and when it is low, hunger dissipates.

Stress hormones, such as cortisol play a role in appetite, by increasing both hunger and cravings.


Exercise, Appetite and Hormones

There is a growing body of evidence showing that longer-duration moderate intensity exercise, e.g. aerobic zone biking running and swimming, increases appetite after exercise. This is believed to be due to a reduction in Leptin and an increase in Grhelin.

On the contrary, short-duration high intensity activity, such as interval training, may have a short –term appetite suppressing effect by lowering both Leptin and Grhelin.

Low intensity walking appears to have neutral effect.


Metabolism Boosting Tips for the New Year

Build Muscle – Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself. After a bout of resistance training, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate.

Step Up Your Workout – The key is to push yourself. High-intensity exercise delivers a bigger, longer increase in resting metabolic rate than low- or moderate-intensity workouts.

Fuel Up with Water -The body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four.

Have Your Drinks on the Rocks -Ice-cold beverages prompt the body to burn more calories during digestion. Research suggests five or six glasses of water on the rocks can use up an extra 10 calories a day. That might not sound like much, but it adds up to a pound of weight loss per year, without dieting.

Sinless Snacking – When you eat large meals with many hours in between, you train your metabolism to slow down. Having a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours keeps your increases your metabolism, so you burn more calories over the course of a day.

Spice Up Your Meals -Spicy foods contain chemical compounds that kick the metabolism into high gear. Eating a tablespoon of chopped red or green chili pepper can boost your metabolic rate. The effect is temporary, but if you eat spicy foods often, the benefits may add up.

Power Up with Protein –The body burns many more calories digesting protein then it uses for fat or carbohydrates. Protein may require almost 25% more energy to digest compared to fat. Although you want to eat a balanced diet, replacing some carbs with lean, protein-rich foods can jump-start your metabolism at mealtime.

Booster Shot- Black Coffee in moderation can increase your metabolic rate. In addition, coffee has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk for some types of cancers.

Recharge with Green Tea -Drinking green tea or oolong tea offers the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple hours. Research suggests that drinking two to four cups of either tea may push the body to burn 17% more calories than normal for a short period of time.

Avoid Crash Diets -Crash diets, those involving eating fewer than 1,000 calories a day, are disastrous for anyone hoping to quicken their metabolism. Although these diets may help you drop pounds (at the expense of good nutrition), a high percentage of the loss comes from muscle. The lower your muscle mass, the slower your metabolism. The final result is a body that burns far fewer calories (and gains weight faster) than the one you had before the diet.


When choosing an exercise program, keep in mind the FITTE principal:

Frequency– how often you exercsie

Intensity– the intensity of the activity (SEE ABOVE)

Time– the length of time in an exercise session

Type– the type of activity, e.g. weights, aerobics, recreation

Enjoyment– whatever you do, it should be fun!

The FITTE principal variables can be manipulated based on your goals, e.g. weight loss, weigh gain, performance or keeping fit.


A note on using Medical Foods as an Appetite Suppressant

Medical foods are combinations of amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are neural messengers that can suppress appetite and promote fat burning.

Apptrim  is a prescription medical food recognized   by the FDA for use in the management of obesity and metabolic syndrome.  It is available and Evergreen Integrative Medicine by prescription.


Geoff Lecovin, MS, DC, ND, L.Ac., CSCS, CISSN

Dr. Lecovin is a chiropractor, naturopathic physician and acupuncturist. He graduated from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in 1990, earned a Masters in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in 1992, and then went on to complete the naturopathic and acupuncture programs at Bastyr University in 1994. He holds additional certifications in exercise from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, National Academy of Sports Medicine and International Society of Sports Nutrition.


Dr. Lecovin specializes in treating musculoskeletal pain and sports injuries by integrating trigger point acupuncture, soft tissue release, joint manipulation, corrective exercise and nutrition. In addition, he combines exercise and nutrition for weight loss, weight gain and performance enhancement.

His clinic, located in Bellevue, WA, offers naturopathic medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage and infrared sauna therapy.

He can be reached at Evergreen Integrative Medicine at (425) 646-4747 and his website address is:

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin