Sluggish afternoons, vending-machine cravings, and a growling stomach (even though you just had lunch) can pack on the pounds and erode willpower. But tackling those healthy-eating hurdles may be about more than just self-control: What and when
you eat is also determined by hormones—which are, in turn, infuenced by both your biology and your behaviors. Here’s how to harness four of the biggest players in your internal hunger games.
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Named for the Greek word leptos, meaning “thin,” leptin is produced by fat cells and released into the bloodstream as you eat. When the body functions properly, it tells you when to stop eating. Overweight people, however, can produce excess leptin and may develop resistance to chronically elevated levels. Their brains ignore the satiety signals, leaving them hungry even after meals.
Make it work for you: Regular exercise—especially moderate- to high-intensity interval training—can help keep leptin levels functioning properly, according to a study from Tehran University in Iran, as can getting seven to eight hours of sleep
a night. For people with leptin resistance, research shows that electroacupuncture (which uses needles that carry a small electric current) may help lower levels and suppress appetite.