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Ghrelin – The Hunger Gremlin Inside

In my prior post, I discussed Leptin Resistence, how it’s linked to overeating, frequent blood sugar surges, excess fructose consumption and stress. Equally annoying is the fact that people with excess fat stores pump out plenty of leptin but their hypothalmus has become resistant and doesn’t hear it’s calling. Instead, it thinks you’re starving and sends out a SOS!, Neon News Flash! to lower your metabolic rate and increase your hunger. In addition, there’s another hot -tempered hormone wreaking havoc on your weight loss efforts –Ghrelin.

Oh…ghrelin…that little gremlin. You know this moody guy all too well. He’s the one who also makes you hungry…The one who gives you a mad case of the munchies…after you’ve eaten that healthy, clean lunch. Yep, that’s Ghrelin the Gremlin. This appetite stimulating hormone (made in the stomach) rises before meals and quiets down after meals ( Sorta) Because he’s still wreaking havoc by not permitting fat utilization to take place in some bodies…..and just give a guess which bodies I’m talking about?

You got it. Our overweight, stressed out sisters, as ghrelin is also released in response to stressful situations (which explains why so many people seem to overeat during times of stress) How sickening are those skinny gals that say “Uy! I was so upset I just couldn’t eat” Not moi, no, no, not this gal! I got gremlin going for days when I’m depressed/stressed.

Ghrelin11Gremlin 411:

An appetite increaser. He hangs out in your stomach, and when it senses that there isn’t enough food in your tummy to give you energy, he sends a message to your brain. This message is “FEED ME….FEED ME NOW…LET’S GO! …GRAB THAT GRUB! He’s a bit of a nudge about getting food into your gut ASAP and that is what can get you in a colossal conundrum with cravings.

My advise (when this grumpy hormone growls and howls )“Hello !I’m hungry…How about it sparky?” is to have your grab and go, low carb favs at the ready, to shush up his embarrassing belly, rumble grumble.

Also, you can expect ghrelin’s yellin’ every 3-4 hours so be prepared people—cause when he comes a callin’, , you’ll be ballin’ if you broke down and ate a case of carbs! What to eat? Protein and more protein and yes some beautiful fat!!!

A little low carb tortilla with some turkey, cheese, tomato and mayo ! Yes, dieter’s, way better than any of those killer carb culprits that derail your best weight loss efforts! Did you hear right? Yesiree! I love me my mayo! as it’s satiating and is absolutely fab and fine on my ketogenic protocol..

Newsflash! Many people don’t realize that the fat on their bodies  actually comes from the SUGAR they eat, NOT the fat they eat! The same is true of Cholesterol. Many peepes have high cholesterolnot because  theyr’e consuming lots of bacon or heavy fats but rather from the large quantities of refined grains, sugars and starches.

SO– dieter’s,  when you hear Ghrelin’s roar, give him more …protein and fat, and watch how your ’s will slowly disappear.

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How to Keep Ghrelin the Gremlin Quiet

Since Ghrelin the Gremlin makes it nearly impossible to get any work done in your life without wanting to scarf down everything in sight, your mission is to shush him up. You can do this simply with these tips:

  • Sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a night. Research has found lack of shut eye disrupts leptin and ghrelin levels, so get your zzzzz’s ,please!
  • Bulk up on fiber. Fiber swells in your belly and that will keep Ghrelin the Glutton feeling as though the stomach is full.
  • Eat lean protein. Lean animal protein or plant -based protein keeps Ghrelin very perky. He loves to chomp on healthy things like nuts, seeds, hummus, eggs, yogurt (greek) and very lean, meat (occasionally) It will keep you satiated for hours!
  • Drink a lot of water. Ghrelin gets confused sometimes. He may have enough food, but the lack of water is what gets Ghrelin all grouched out. So—guzzle that H2O .
  • Reduce stress in life. Ghrelin thinks he needs more energy from food when you are stressed. Reduce your stress, Reduce this bad ass’s bullying behaviorAvocados, Evoo yum! etc..
  • Give your body fats including avocados and evoo!
  • Now, you know all about Ghrelin and how to tame this testy hormone who could be hijacking your health. Go ahead and start working with him instead of against him. You may just find he is pretty easy to take care of in your pursuit of a purrrfect weight & rockin bikini bod!.

Any questions please feel free to contact me at

The Scoop on Leptin and Hormonal Havoc


As a nutritionist/weight loss expert, I am always stressing to my dieter’s to slow down!
You need to slow down because eating fast is similar to going shopping without a list, you end up buying too much and this ultimately leads to waste. In this case, the waste is the excess fat that builds up from the excess you are consuming because you aren’t allowing your brain to receive feedback from your digestive system, which naturally dictates when you should stop eating (because you’ve had enough rather than eating until you’re filled up.)

You have to give your brain (hypothalamus) the chance to receive a series of signals from your digestive hormones. In other words, behind the scenes, there’s some serious stuff secreting (from your gastro tract) after you eat, and these hormones, particularly a power player named Leptin, literally has everything to do with how much fat we carry in our bodies.

Leptin has a starring role and it’s main gig is in long term regulation of energy. If we have enough fat stored, it tells us that we don’t need to eat and can burn calories at a normal rate. It also tells us when we have reached satiety.

You know the feeling, just before your belly bloats and blows up like a basketball. That’s Leptin sending out that satiated feeling.. However, there’s a fine line between where Leptin’s work ends and where its Arch rival, Dopamine’s starts (and this is where it gets complicated.) Dopamine is all pleasure and that sweet feeling of belly fullness (and you want to keep eating because you’re enjoying it) That’s Dopamine working, despite Leptin telling you that you’ve had enough.

As leptin works to maintain homeostasis, it’s supposed to send the signal to all (particularly after a meal) that you have enough body fat and no more food is needed. Hence, there’s no accumulation of excess fat (adipose tissue) and weight stays consistent.

The problem is that (for complex reasons) overweight dieters are not getting that signal, even though they’re actually producing tons of leptin. You see, fat cells produce leptin in proportion to their size and truly obese peeps have leptin for days, but their brain is overloading with these Leptin signals. Therefore,  a case of information overload occurs.

As more and more leptin signals the brain, the brain is missing that “call” and the more body fat one has, the less food is needed, but the overweight/obese person’s brain is erroneously thinking it’s starving! This leads them needing to eat more which leads to more fat storage.

Indeed, its a vicious cycle and is a total nightmare, that is so truly unfair because Leptin (and it’s colleague and partner in theatrics) Dopamine are inadvertently causing the overweight dieter to be hungrier and overeat.

Next up; Stay tuned to scoop about  power player/hunger hormone , Ghrelin!

My Story



Melissa Love, AKA “The Westport Weight Whisperer,” is a certified nutritionist and weight loss expert, who ran the Ideal Protein Weight Loss department for a doctor in Fairfield, Connecticut for several years before venturing out on her own in 2015. For the past year and a half, Melissa divides her time between her Fairfield and Stamford office, where she is Director of Nutrition and Weight loss for Vivacity Life Center, a medically owned and physician run , state of the art, health and wellness, anti aging  center. Melissa works side by side with Dr. Richard Koffler, an integrative physician who specializes in hormone rebalancing, hypothyroidism, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a host of other ailments that have a profound impact on one’s ability to lose weight.


The back story:     Melissa is an  NYU psychology graduate who, years ago, had the fortuitous luck of starring in a Dannon yogurt commercial, which caught the attention of Norman Lear , the iconic television producer who liked Melissa’s quirkiness enough to fly her out to Los Angeles to meet his television partner, Bud Yorkin, who wound up hiring Melissa to co-star in a television series with Melanie Griffith. Acting work begot more work for Melissa (Steinberg at the time) and she became a successful working television series actress and writer, who collected a bevy of well-known industry and celebrity friends a long the way.


While in Los Angeles, Melissa married a residential developer/ builder and segued into decorating the interiors of her famous friends’ homes, before deciding to formally study nutrition  at CSUN, in Northridge, Ca. Her core curriculum in food science, nutrition, and dietetics gave her the foundation to springboard into crafting a weight loss regime which she honed, throughout the years, by keeping up with evolving scientific discoveries and methodologies, and attending multitudinous health and wellness conferences offered throughout the country..


Her first group of dieters were actually some of these well-known clients whose homes her hubby had built and she had decorated. In terms of Melissa’s own weight problem at the time, she believes the catalyst for her to finally deal with a compulsive overeating issue coincided with selling their Pacific Palisades home to Larry David and his wife, Laurie, and moving up the street into the old estate of the late Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. “I had what anyone would consider the perfect fairytale life: Two beautiful girls, a great husband and friends, a thriving career, and an majestic estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean, except I was miserable. I was in fat-girl Hell, hating how I felt and looked and thinking ‘Princesses that live in palaces aren’t supposed to be portly’.”


Her life-altering moment happened literally the first night intheir new home when she and her husband clicked on the television and saw a rerun of a comedy series Melissa was a regular on, called “Bizarre,” created and directed by Bob Einstein (of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fame). It was a silly sketch that relied on a play on words, where Melissa portrayed a hysterical woman reporting to a police captain and policeman that she had just gotten (bursting into tears) “graped.” The two men say, “You mean—” She cuts them off and screams “Grape! Grape! Don’t make me repeat it—Uck! it’s such an ugly word!” After she finishes describing what happened (substituting new words for the ones too painful to say) and makes her exit, the policeman asks the captain whether he believed her story. The captain responds, “Are you crazy? Who in their right mind would want to grape her? Did you get a look at the size of her bass?” (Referring to Melissa’s fat ass.) Gulp!


A devastated Melissa realized at that moment that her weight problem had precluded her from many acting opportunities in her career; the same thing her closest friend and agent, the beloved and celebrated Howard Goldberg, tried to tell her throughout their deeply bonded years together. She’ll never forget the night

when she revealed to Howard that Bob Einstein teased her and called her “thunder thighs” (which Melissa always laughed off) and Howard burst into tears.


Melissa’s Oprah “aha! moment” hit her all at once and forced her into immediate action. Pulling an all-nighter, and with fierce determination, she barreled through a maze of moving boxes that contained all of her academic books on clinical nutrition, health and diet disciplines, and authoritative reviews of the many weight loss protocols at that time. One particular article that she read advocated the benefits of a diet based on the total removal of carbohydrates, allowing just protein and fats in order to achieve a ketogenic, fat burning state.


By 7 a.m. the next morning, Melissa was off to the library to formulate her own weight loss plan that incorporated the science of emptying the body’s reserve of carbohydrates to encourage this burning of stored fat.


This protocol became a world -wide success when Dr. Atkins came out with his book, touting this blissful state of ketosis, where, Melissa says, your hunger dissipates, your energy elevates and a host of other feel good physiological effects take over. “Finding Ketosis was like capturing the Holy-Grail”



During this time, Dr. Atkins had just come out with his new “Diet Revolution,” advocating much of what Melissa had discovered in her science texts, and it was the very protocol she was adhering to herself.


Cut to : Several months later, and a new Melissa emerges, having lost 50 pounds. In fact, she has maintained this weight loss and her healthy weight of 118 pounds for the past 26 years. Melissa attributes the deep connection she shares with her patients to the fact that she has walked the talk. She understands in a way only a “true fat girl” (as she says) can understand, “It’s the shame, self loathing and anguish one experiences being so out of control with food.”


Using the protocol that has worked for her, she has made it her life’s mission to “pay it forward.” Her thriving private practice runs the gamut from obesity related issues, compulsive emotional eating and self-medicating with food, to stubborn plateau frustration, and sugar addiction. She treats the interplay of behavioral, psychological, medical, and nutritional components to create long-term success with weight loss. Melissa believes most chronic health conditions and adverse symptoms are due to imbalances related to one’s diet and lifestyle. In clinical terms, she helps her clients manage their macro and micronutrients while encouraging exercise to support the formation of neurotransmitters, in order to access those feel-good guys like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine etc. She also advocates sleep, critical for a healthy heart, weight, mind, and long lifespan.


Melissa offers a permanent solution and liberation from a lifetime of food deprivation/starvation cycles and the inevitable weight gain and depression that follows. Her rapid weight loss protocol stabilizes blood pressure and blood sugar, often reverses Type 2 Diabetes, and greatly improves one’s lipid panel while shrinking one’s waistline. The beauty of her protocol is that the body’s pancreas is given the unequivocal chance of restoring its proper regulation of glycemia. “By the time you reach your goal, you will have transformed your body’s ability to metabolize sugar by re-educating your pancreas to use the correct amount of insulin to move into the receptor cells and no more.


Melissa explains her approach: “Carbs cause an overabundance of insulin, which is the hormone that transports excess calories into fat cells, and the insulin locks the carb in, preventing it from being used as a source of energy. Excess insulin creates sugar cravings, encourages fluid retention, and shifts metabolism into storage mode, also known as weight gain. It also creates that vicious cycle of craving more and more sugar and carbohydrates.” When sugar is metabolized in your fat cells, those cells release a surge of leptin— normally an appetite regulator that signals to your brain you’ve had enough food— however, when you’re constantly consuming too much fructose and the body keeps accumulating more fat, the surges of leptin increase, but the brain becomes de-sensitized. It’s like the mother of the boy that keeps on crying wolf: the cells ignore the warnings that you’ve had enough nutrients and become resistant. Hence, the brain thinks you’re still hungry and you end up eating more, and craving more sugar. This is a vicious cycle because refined sugar is the very thing that causes leptin resistance. Studies show that leptin changes the brain chemistry and controls the way your body stores fat. “So many of my dieters are leptin-resistant, which leads to “insulin resistance,” says Melissa. She takes a deep breath, “Obesity is a very complex disorder.”