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Leptin Reset

Give up Snacking?
In December?
What am I, Crazy?

One of my great joys of the holiday season is cookies and hot coffee drinks!  And I finally figured out how to make cookies that we can all eat!

With my usual jump in with both feet attitude I began the Leptin Reset the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I had learned about it the day before.  Now to be sure it wasn’t a huge change from what I was eating already so that made it much easier to make the shift.  It was simply a change of when and how much I ate the same foods I was already eating.
So what is the Leptin Reset?  In short it is a way to reset your bodies sensitivity to the hormone Leptin.  Leptin is what tells you to stop eating.  It should go up when you eat enough and tell your body that you are full and it can stop adding more calories.  It also sets in motion the message that tells your muscles to start working harder and spend any extra energy that your body is considering storing.  It is a beautiful system.  Eat a bit too much your metabolism bumps up and burns it off.  Don’t eat enough and your body says “hey send down some more food”.  Simple.  But if you look around you, it is obvious that plenty of peoples bodies aren’t getting the message.  This usually isn’t for lack of leptin.  This is because of something called leptin resistance.  Their bodies don’t recognize the leptin that is sent out.  It doesn’t have the right key to fit in the lock. So high leptin, low leptin, doesn’t matter.  The body never gets the message to stop eating and it never gets the message to bump up metabolism and burn off a few extra calories. People who are severely leptin resistant can be on extremely low calorie diets and still gain weight.  I read an article about a woman with a gastric bypass who was still gaining and was admitted to the hospital and put on an 800 calorie a day diet and she still was gaining weight!  She was extremely leptin resistant!  Despite what many may say it isn’t calories in/calories out (in the form of exercise) that determines weight gain or loss.
Resetting your leptin has a “trickle down” effect. It can fix thyroid problems, adrenal problems, blood sugar/diabetes problems, and really any hormonal problems.  For the most part all of your hormones are interconnected in your body.  If one gets taxed another one can often take over the functions, at least for a time, to keep you going.  Overtime however the wrong hormones doing the various jobs that need to be done taxes the body and brings on symptoms and diseases.  I don’t fully understand it but resetting this leptin sensitivity, can reset the balance of all of your hormones.  Awesome!  I love it when one change fixes many things.
Dr Jack Kruse is a neurosurgeon who was obese and he decided to figure out why and how to fix it.  He spent time looking into the science available and concluded that he could reset his body to teach it how to function as it should once again.  You can read his story and all about it on his website.  www.jackkruse.com  I have been following the GAPS diet for 2 years.  When I started the diet I was at a very good weight for me. I stayed slim for the first few months of GAPS but then my health crashed and I gained about 20 lbs and got stuck there. I didn’t go up or down no matter how I ate. I increased and decreased carbs and fats and protein trying out various theories.  I was very ill and tried lots of things to try and help myself feel better. This past spring I got my routine thyroid test and I requested a reverse T3 test. I don’t exactly fit the profile and my Dr didn’t expect me to test positive but she humors me and orders the tests I request if I can make a good case for them. Well it did come back positive that I have an RT3 problem.  I have been on a special thyroid hormone to compensate for my RT3 problem ever since. One of the main markers for being leptin resistant is elevated RT3.  As soon as I read about the leptin reset I realized it applied to me.
The basics of the diet is you eat a low carb paleo diet (go to www.marksdailyapple.com  to read more about what that means). GAPS generally fits within that paradigm so I was good.  You eat a very high protein breakfast within 30 min of rising.  50-70 grams of real food protein (no shakes or powders).  This translates into 5 eggs and 5 slices of thick cut bacon, or a bit more than 1/2 a lb of sausage!  Rule #2 No snacking.  Ever. (I thought this part would kill me but it didn’t turn out to be all that hard). At least 4 hours between meals, 2-3 meals a day max and eat nothing after 7pm. There is a bit more to it, but those were the rules that were most important to me.
First observation after I started.  Eating 50g of protein is hard!!!  Cooking and eating it within 30 min of rising is even harder.  My body didn’t want to eat that much that early at first.  Now it is much easier. Also stopping at 30 min was hard.  I used to carry around a mug of coffee with heavy cream in it all morning, but I can’t be taking in calories after breakfast so I had to guzzle it down and then wait. A bit of a bummer on a cold winter morning esp since I don’t really like black coffee (non-caloric beverages are ok but not advised outside of water while trying to reset).  My other major observation that first day was that eating that much made me feel full for a very long time.  In fact I wasn’t very hungry at noon and I just ate a light salad.  Another observation was that other than social pressure to eat/snack I didn’t really struggle with staying on the diet as long as my breakfast had enough protein and plenty of fat. One last early observation, if I could get my kids to eat a huge breakfast too, they didn’t ask for food till noon or 1pm.  Usually they will eat what I used to think was a big breakfast and declare themselves stuffed and then an hour later the clamoring for snacks would begin.  With a big breakfast those requests never happened till late afternoon.  But it needs to be a really big breakfast.  Some days they will eat it and some days they won’t and on the won’t days the snack chorus begins at about 10:30 a.m. and seems like it never lets up all day long.
A big part of the Leptin Reset is giving your liver a break.  Taking a long time between meals means that your liver can get done digesting and then move on to it’s other important work.  Detoxing the body.  Within a couple of days of starting the Leptin Reset I was having massive detox symptoms!  Muscle and joint pains, brain fog, tiredness, It was no fun.  Hey, I thought this was supposed to make me feel better, not worse!  I had already been through 2 years of GAPS at this time and thought my days of major detox were behind me. Boy was I wrong.
So here I am about a month into the Leptin Reset.  Dr Kruse says that it should take 4-8 weeks to become Leptin sensitive.  He also says that one cheat sets you back about 2 weeks so I was very careful despite the holiday temptations. I want to be done with this! Why torture myself in the holiday season if I’m not going to go all the way? And…. I think it is working! After feeling pretty lousy for most of the past month, today, for the first time in a very long time I am feeling like I just might want to exercise. That is not a feeling I have very often. It isn’t laziness, it is survival. Thanks to Lyme disease I usually don’t have enough energy to get through the day. Climbing stairs can be too much for me at times. Last night I fell asleep on the couch right after dinner because I just couldn’t keep my eyes open one moment longer. Today I feel like moving.  It is a feeling I have been eagerly anticipating.  I last had it in October while on vacation to the best of my recollection. This means that I can do my beloved T-Tapp again!  I did the primary back stretch tonight and it was so nice to realize I hadn’t forgotten it after about 2 months of not doing it.
 

I have been missing it and how great it made me feel but until you are leptin sensitive you aren’t supposed to exercise at all.  Jack says that you will then one day feel like moving and to start it up again then. He is right, I now feel like moving. Yesterday I didn’t. I don’t think I am quite done with the leptin reset but I am well on my way. It took about a month but I was already eating the right foods, just not in the right proportions. Your mileage may vary.So tell me, have you tried the Leptin Reset?  How is it going for you?  Are any of you out there stuck with your healing and wondering if this might be an answer for you?  I would love to talk about this more esp anyone who is doing this along with your young children. I’m not forcing my kids to wait to eat if they are hungry as I do for myself on this plan but I am trying to encourage the big breakfast and that seems to benefit them all day long. My older daughter has been on thyroid medicine for a few years  and also Isocort for her adrenals and resetting her hormonal system so that she can get off of these would be great.

You can see my first update on my Leptin Reset experience here.


38 Comments

  1. Hi Patty,
    I just found your blog from the GAPS yahoo group. I have been on that group (on and off) since March when I started GAPS. I would like to follow the group more closely, but when I am not feeling well and working full-time, I don't have the time or energy to read all of the posts. Anyhow, I am now on vacation (from teaching first grade) and have been catching up on reading the posts. I have to say that I have always appreciated your posts and insight, especially because I feel like they directly pertain to me. I have been encouraged by your posts and now your blog :-) .
    I am 31 years old and have been struggling with autoimmune related issues, parasites, low thyroid, wacky hormones, etc. for the past six years. I know that I definitely have gut issues (definitely!!!) and have seen some progress on GAPS. Like you, I gained about 20 pounds since starting and although I am not happy about it, I trust that my body needs the extra fat right now. At the end of August, I started an anti-candida version of GAPS and felt a little better. I also started the low oxalate protocol around then as well.
    In November, I found out about the leptin reset from my naturopath and started that the day after Thanksgiving. I have been doing well on following the rules and haven't found it difficult to eat a huge breakfast. In fact, I am at the point now where I eat a huge breakfast and don't eat until dinner. It's great that I don't have to eat lunch at school!
    Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that my body seems less flabby and more firm (although no weight loss!). I don't have a lot of energy yet, and like you, I actually experienced a ton of die-off. I have lost a ton of hair during the leptin reset (my guess is thyroid??) and continue to suffer from severe adrenal fatigue. I am on isocort and dessicated adrenal in hopes that those will help supplement. I am also trying to get to bed by 9-10 although that is very challenging.
    I am hoping that my leptin will be reset soon. Once it is, though, I am not sure what to do next. According to Kruse, I should start exercising but I was told not to due to adrenal issues. I suppose that I will figure it out. Anyhow, this is a really long comment, but I wanted to let you know that I read your blog and I am encouraged by your progress!
    PS Not married and don't have kids so I can't join the conversation about leptin reset with kids. Lord willing, I hope to get married…and also hope that this leptin reset jumpstarts my slacking hormones :-) .

  2. Hi Briana,
    Thanks for reading and for your comments. We do have a lot in common.
    I think you will know if you should exercise or not. Your body will tell you. At some point you will just crave movement and it will feel good and recovery will be easy. I had to give up exercise for a long time. Sometimes I would want it but I would feel so bad later I knew it was hurting me.
    I think I'm going to continue the reset proticol for a bit longer and see how I feel. Then transition to his post reset program of more carbs and less protein with breakfast and lots of protein for dinner and see how I do. I haven't tolerated carbs for breakfast no matter what else I ate in ages so I am curious if this will work for me.

  3. Patty,
    I am so glad you are feeling better! This is awesome!! :-)

    Would you mind sharing which T-Tapp products you use and have liked? Is it just the 15 minute one you show above?

    Thanks! Wendy

  4. Hi Patty,
    I also got the link to your blog off the GAPS Yahoo forum. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Leptin Reset Rx. I have been following most of the rules and plan to go strict after New Year's. I also gained 20-25 lbs in my first month of GAPS (Feb '11). Not sure if I missed it but did you finally lose that 20lbs? Thanks.

  5. @Wendy-the only thing I have is that book. I do the 15 min workout from it.

  6. I have not lost the weight yet. In fact it is common to gain a bit at the start of the leptin reset, however I have lost something. I am a singer and weight loss effects my breathing when I sing. Sunday at church it was obvious to me that I have lost weight recently.

  7. I think may need this, and it makes so much sense, but I don't want to not exercise :pout

  8. Hi Patty,
    I plan to stick with the Leptin reset protocol for awhile as well. The only thing I am concerned about is the lack of carbs affecting my thyroid and adrenals even more. I have read different things about very low carb being detrimental to thyroid and adrenals. It's hard to know what to do though when it seems like different protocols contradict one another. I know that the reset should eventually help the thyroid/adrenals so I will move forward. I look forward to hearing about your continued progress!

  9. @Abbi- I did not want to exercise until suddenly one day I did. You may have that same experience. Actually I think he says you can exercise after 5pm if you don't have high cortisol and if you feel like it.

  10. @Briana- I have read that same stuff and it just never seemed right to me. I have done some experimenting increasing my carbs and did feel better at first but then I didn't. My thyroid is so messed up that I figure I can't make it worse on this protocol and just might make it better. I could be wrong. He could be wrong. Only time will tell what works for me.

  11. Patty,
    I plan to start the Leptin Reset this coming week. I already follow a Paleo diet, so it won't be a huge change for me except the 50 grams of protein in the morning (and trying to cook it while taking care of kiddos). I am not going to try to reset my three-year-old twins, but I do try to get them to eat a big, high protein, high fat breakfast. It does seem to set a good eating tone for the rest of the day. I do follow a no snacking policy (except in extreme mama-chosen circumstances) at my house and am very strict about it. The boys know they will not get food again until the next meal, so they eat really well at most meals. I don't know how ugly the rebellion would be at your house, but encouraging larger breakfasts by cooking really yummy foods is working wonders at my house (although it's really time-consuming!). I'll let you know how the Leptin Reset goes.
    Heidi

  12. Oops – meant to say above that the large, yummy breakfasts were really helping me to enforce the no snacking rule.
    Heidi

  13. Hi Patty,

    When you explained the rules that were important to you, you didn't mention the one about having it dark 1 hour after sunset/going to bed. Does this mean that you didn't worry about this rule and just went to bed at a reasonable hour? I'm hoping this is the case because there is no way my hubs will be able to try this if he has to be in the dark and in bed by 5:15 for it to work. We might wait until summer to do it if that's the case…

    Thanks,
    Maria

  14. @Heidi- Thanks for sharing that about your twins. Have you started? How is it going?

  15. @Maria- That is right. I didn't worry about making the house darker at night and while I did try to go to bed at a reasonable time I very often didn't. I do think I'm going to try to incorporate that part of the proticol, making the house dark within an hour of sunset, and see if it helps my kids go to sleep at a more reasonable hour. I just haven't figured out all the logistics of it yet. And you don't need to go to bed at sunset. Just not see blue light after sunset and go to bed by 10. Your husband might want to invest in some blue blocker glasses for the evening. They should have a similar effect to dimming the house. I have heard that there is also a program you can download that dims your computer screen for the same purpose or there are blue blocker covers you can get for screens to use in the evenings.

  16. Would you post some of the ways you get 50 gms of protien. I'm doing the reset but find it so hard to eat that much. Sometimes it takes me an l/2 hour just to chew it all that time of the morning. Thanks for your blog. I love reading it.

  17. Thank you so much. I have an ap on my phone called my fitness pal that I use to see how many grams of protein are in a given food. My typical breakfasts have been 5 eggs and 5 slices of thick cut bacon or about .65% of a lb of pork that I browned with some sausage spices. Sometimes I use some cheese to replace an egg. Or have less sausage and some eggs with it. One quick rule of thumb is that 1oz of meat is generally about 7g of protein so an 8 oz steak will easily be 50g. I found that if needed to be sure and include plenty of fat in that meal too. So heavy cream and some coconut oil in my coffee or even just an extra spoonful of coconut oil on top of the bacon and eggs made a big difference for me in feeling good all day long.

  18. Hi Patty,
    I had a question for you regarding the lovely thyroid. I know that my thyroid is low-performing (low free t3, hair falling out, dry skin, etc) but have never taken any medication for it. As I mentioned before, one of my big hopes is that the leptin reset will help "fix" or at least begin to fix my thyroid issues so I don't have to start taking anything. My naturopath recently did the iodine patch test on my forearm and it was absorbed within 12 hours or so. She thinks that I should start supplementing by painting on iodine patches of Lugol's. Have you ever done this? Or do you have any other suggestions as to what I should do? I am hesitant to start something else while on the leptin reset, but if it will help, I will do it. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

  19. Hi Briana,
    You should read what Dr Brownstein has written about iodine. It can be very helpful for some with thyroid disfunction. It caused me to have terrible die off but not much benefit. I hope that the mthfr info I am learning is the key for me. I suspect that my body keeps trying to detox but faltering in getting the toxins out because my pathways are blocked.

  20. Hi Patty,

    I followed the leptin rules for about ten months, it's what I did prior to starting GAPS. I didn't eat paleo, just regular Traditional Foods, not low carb but I did avoid processed foods. I stuck to the no snaking rule faithfully and didn't exercise due to extreme demands on my time (for young children and a very sick husband). I lost two pounds per week and felt GREAT. I planned to continue following Leptin when we started GAPS but the first few weeks were crazy, constant cooking, tasting, etc, and I just slipped back into snaking. I'm determined to get back into no snacking as I feel really gold when I do that. I also love how my kids are genuinely hungry at mealtime when I keep food put away between meals. My kids are little so I let them snack if they want to but I don't offer.

  21. Wow, lots of typos, sorry!

  22. Hi Soliloquy,
    Thanks for stopping by. I can only hope that some day my kids won't ask for snacks when they can't see them. It is so much better when they eat a lot of bacon for breakfast but I can't force feed it and some days they just won't eat it. Sigh. Glad it works so well for you. I too think that no snacking is very important for me. I just wish I wasn't vaguely hungry much of the time. I still don't snack and I don't get low blood sugar symptoms like I have most of my life if I went too long between meals but I get hungry often. I do wonder if it is just a habit that I need to somehow break my body of but it has been 6 weeks now of no snacking and I'm still getting hungry mid afternoon and also in the evening time nearly every day. The only times I didn't feel hungry outside of meals was when I really stuffed myself at every meal no matter how hungry I was. I did that when I first started the Leptin Reset but that doesn't seem healthy either so now I just ignore my hunger and figure I will make up for it at the next meal.

  23. Patty, can you share your resource for counting carbs/protein etc? I saw it somewhere but can't find it now.

  24. Hi Heather,
    I've got it and some other info in my next post. (I just put it up a few minutes ago). It is linked at the end of this one now.

  25. Hi everyone,

    I have bee through a journey of self discover over the last few months.
    I went through 2 rounds of Hcg and couldn’t stabilize therefore gaining all
    of my weight back. I am currently in to my first week of LR I am doing fine with
    cravings, which drove me crazy during Hcg. I was hoping to stabilize on LR however
    I am gaining weight. I have not cheated so I am alittle upset. My thyroid is underactive
    And I have high cholesterol. I am on synthroid for 2 years now. I want to continue
    However i don’t want the weight gain. I am 5″6 and 157.5 today third week of P3 1st week of LR
    LIW: 151.5 I don’t event know if I set and what weight is my set point.

    For LR do I have 2 or 3 meals? I have been at 2.
    Do I have to finish my food within the first half hour of eatti g?
    Once I have been on 2 meals can you ever add a meal if you are hungry?
    Do I have to eat dinner within a half hour?
    Can I have coco crack of coconut millk between meals? I know you can’t snack but
    from what I understand coconut is not counted as calories.
    Are Miricle noodles good to add for fiber, and are they ok to have in-between
    meals since they to don’t count as calories at least during Hcg.
    I try to get eight hours sleep but usually end up with 5-6 I wake up at and try to be asleep
    before midnight.

    • I haven’t done HCG so I don’t know anything about it.
      Have you had your rt3 tested? I lost some weight on the LR and then switched from my t3 only thyroid medicine to naturethroid (a combo medicine with t4 and t3). It took me a while to figure it out and now it will take a while to fix it. I have been reading about his ice baths this morning and am considering adding that to what I am doing. (I need to fully recover from a nasty stomach bug first though).

  26. Sorry for all of the typos. I am posting from my iPhone.

  27. Hi Patty,

    I don’t think I can handle an ice bath. The thought of anything
    cold make me nervous. The last time I checked my thyroid it was in range
    however my cholesterol isn’t fixed and I forgot to mention that I am deficient
    In vitamin D.

    I am 36 most people say I look great but I want my health to be optimal. The HCG
    worked on me however I gained the weight back. I found out about LR through one of
    The posts which said you should do a LR as soon as you enter P3.

    The questions I have are about the leptin reset LR.
    In my post I asked a bunch of questions. I am on my phone so I can’t cut and paste them
    again. I would really like to know I have been searching and can’t find the answers.

    is it ok to have a down day and sleep in the afternoon to catch up on lost sleep?

    • But have you had your reverse t3 checked? That isn’t a typical thyroid test and could explain the weight gain despite being in range. High cholesterol is usually because of inflammation. What is your ratio? You want it over 2. Are you taking d3 to fix your vitamin d issues? Do you take Fermented Cod Liver Oil?

      I don’t know what p3 means.

      Sorry I missed these other questions.

      For LR you need to finish breakfast within 30 min but the rest of your meals can take longer. No guidance has been given by JK that I have seen as to a time limit.

      Yes of course you can add a meal if you are hungry. Just make sure you are leaving at least 4 hours between meals. I usually eat 3 meals but sometimes 2.

      Anything with calories counts as a snack on the LR so coconut is a snack in any form.
      I am not very familiar with miracle noodles but I think they are a highly processed food. And do they have any calories at all? If so they count as a snack. Between meals you can have unsweetened tea, black coffee and water. That is all (and he discourages the tea and coffee).

      Your difficulty sleeping sounds like an adrenal issue. You could have high cortisol or low cortisol so you really need to get it tested to know for sure how to treat it. If it is low exercise at bedtime can help you sleep but if it is high exercise at bedtime will keep you up. I was on hc for many months before I did the LR so I don’t know how it works if you start before you have your adrenals stabilized with meds but for me I felt better very quickly and slept better. Are you following the no exercise rule? Yes it is fine and even good to nap if you need to. Your adrenals aren’t going to recover without enough sleep. Get it when you can.

  28. Actually it is all about calories in and calories out, at least according to all major scientific studies. Anecdotal evidence or hearsay about people getting fat while on a calories deficit do not stack up. This is a law of physics you cannot create something out of nothing. More likely answer would be that either there were calories not accounted for or the methabolism shut down so there was no calories deficit even though it is hard to believe at 800 cal.

    • Well yes it is about calories in and calories out but we burn calories differently from each other. Some burn lots of calories sitting still while others don’t burn nearly so many while moving. So yes in a very basic sense it is calories in calories out. However most people espousing that think that two different people eating the same diet and exercising the same amount will weigh the same and that just isn’t true. It also assumes that what you eat doesn’t matter, only how many calories it contains, and again that isn’t true since the body must convert different forms of food into energy or storage in different ways. My real life friend was eating 3500 calories a day, mostly fat, and losing weight so fast that her Dr’s were alarmed. (she started out thin). She added in some grains/carbs and gained weight back, eating fewer calories. But that is just a story.

  29. What foods did your friend add in, specifically? I am also very thin and trying to gain weight but i am following gaps.

    • She added back cookies and went off GAPS. Her health issues that led her to GAPS continue and have gotten much worse (as do those of her kids) so while cookies and the like helped her gain some weight they certainly didn’t fix her problems. To gain weight on GAPS most say to eat more carbs. One other key is optimizing your digestion. No matter what you put in your mouth, if your body can’t digest it you won’t gain nutrition (or weight) from it. So things like HCL, digestive enzymes and ox bile can make a huge difference for some people in weight gain and regaining their health since they help your body digest the food you consume and therefore allow it to be absorbed.

  30. Hi Patty

    I’m enjoying your blog and recipes. I’ve been on GAPS for 6 weeks and it’s going well. I reference another health plan at the same time which might help you with the exhaustion and weight – it’s called Metabolic Typing. The premise is that one man’s food is another man’s poison. In other words, what nourishes, gives energy and heals one person – disturbs, drains energy and interferes with the healing of another.

    Each type has its own food requirements – foods to eat in certain proportions and foods to avoid. There is a wonderful book of the same title, and a free online test you can take. You can also hire an advisor if you choose and that can be helpful figuring out the details. For me, it was a neon light answer – I finally had energy and clear thinking. After a year of being on the diet, it hadn’t healed my food sensitivities which led me to GAPS. So currently I am following GAPS and referencing my food lists from Metabolic Typing. Here is a link to it below. Off to make your Coconut Butter Bread!

    http://www.metabolictyping.com/

    • I am familiar with the basic premises of metabolic typing and had high hopes for it at one point in time. I am supposedly a “carb type” but I do not thrive on a high carb diet at all. I feel really good when I follow the leptin reset way of eating but it has not healed my RT3 thyroid problem and I have not lost significant weight on it, but that could be because I keep trying to switch up my thyroid medicine and messing up my metabolism. Healing can be very frustrating! I do like how much better I feel on the Leptin reset way of eating though so I’ll stick with it.

  31. Did you have your RT3 checked after the leptin reset?
    Has it help you to keep from regaining weight?
    I know this is a very old post; but was wondering if you could update how you are doing now, and what any medical test that indicate you had a reset of Leptin.
    Thanks
    KJ

    • I am no longer following the leptin reset way of eating. I am still on t3 only thyroid meds. I finally figured out that I am allergic to pork and since removing it from my diet my weight is again shifting downward.

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