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How can I achieve real weight loss?

If you’re dieting, stop.

Not only because it will make you gain more weight — but sooner or later, you’ll beat yourself up for failing.

That’s what happened to my patient. Her weight yo-yoed between 120 and 180 pounds for more than a decade.

Like most people who diet, my patient blamed a lack of willpower and her genes for her weight loss failures – and so did her doctors.

But her willpower and genes were fine. The problem was decades of poor nutrition, along with decades of dieting, had created a serious hormonal malfunction.

This breakdown caused her brain to think that her body’s fat stores were diminishing, even though the exact opposite was happening.

You see, my patient was always hungry. So no matter how hard she dieted, the weight came back.

She was unaware she suffered from a condition called leptin resistance — which had knocked two little-known “hunger” hormones, leptin and ghrelin, completely out of balance.

Mainstream doctors know almost nothing about the roles of leptin and ghrelin in your body. Yet leptin resistance is now believed by scientists to be the leading driver of excess weight gain in humans.1

Ghrelin tells your brain, “I’m hungry, let’s eat.” And leptin is an appetite suppressor. It tells your brain, “I’ve had enough, I’m full.”

When you have leptin resistance, the levels of ghrelin and leptin increase, but leptin signaling has more or less shut down.

That means your brain is telling your body, “I’m hungry, let’s eat,” all the time and the signal to stop eating simply can’t get through.

Leptin is made by your body’s fat cells, and ghrelin is produced mainly in your stomach and intestine. Both hormones respond to food intake. And they have a direct impact on the part of your brain that regulates appetite.

Basically, leptin is a natural appetite suppressant.

In fact, leptin levels are directly linked to excess fat. The more fat you have, the more leptin your fat cells produce.

Eventually, this leads to leptin resistance, which causes the signals from both leptin and ghrelin to get all mixed up.

And the more you diet, the bigger the problem becomes.

Numerous studies prove that if you’re trying to lose weight by dieting, your biggest enemy is human biology. Your own body launches a backlash against dieting…

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 50 obese patients were put on an extreme diet for eight weeks. They lost an average of 30 pounds.2

But over the next year, even though they were counseled on healthy eating habits, the group gained an average 11 pounds each.

The subjects also reported feeling far hungrier and more preoccupied with food than they did before dieting.

Leptin levels decreased — but only during the extreme dieting period. When that stopped, leptin began to surge again as the subjects began to pile on the “rebound pounds.”

By the end of the study, their ghrelin levels had increased as much as 20%!

And even though leptin levels “stop eating” signals made it to the brain, the receptors no longer responded to the hormone.

Reboot your hunger hormones for lasting weight loss

The good news is that you can reset your leptin sensitivity. Here’s what I recommend to my patients…

  1. Eat more fat and protein. I tell my patients to cut out all processed foods; seed oils like soybean, corn, and canola oil; refined sugars, and carbohydrates from their diet. Removing them will dramatically reduce the inflammatory response in your body. Your meals should be based on protein and healthy fats.

    Eating this kind of natural diet also lowers triglycerides, the main constituents of body fat. Studies show that having high triglycerides prevents leptin from crossing the blood-brain barrier.

  2. Stop exercising so much. Long cardio workouts increase fat. My PACE program uses short sessions of high-intensity, progressively challenging workouts.

    It conditions your body to burn fat for up to 24 hours after you exercise — not just while you exercise. This is key to lasting fat loss. And you can do it in as little as 12 minutes a day. Click here for a complete workout to help you get started.

  3. Supplement with this herb. One of the best ways I’ve found to rebalance leptin is a West African herb called bush mango or Irvingia gabonensis. Research shows this herb helps keep your leptin levels in balance and supports your leptin receptors.

    In a study of overweight people, those who supplemented with bush mango lost an average of 28 pounds over the course of 10 weeks.3

    For improving body weight and leptin function, I recommend 150 mg a day of Irvingia seed extract. But make sure the supplement you take is 100% natural extract of African mango. There are a lot of fakes out there.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

 Al Sears, MD, CNS


1. Park HK and Ahima RS. “Physiology of leptin: Energy homeostasis, neuroendocrine function and metabolism.” Metabolism. 2015;64(1)24-34.

2. Proietto J, et al. “Long-term persistence of hormonal adaptations to weight loss.” N Engl J Med. 2011;365(17):1597-1604.

3. Oben JE, et al. “Irvingia gabonensis significantly reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight humans.” Lipids in Health and Disease. 2009;8:7.