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7 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Transform Your Health

7 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Transform Your Health

While most people that you mention your intermittent fasting schedule to will either call you crazy or say that “they could never do that,” the practice is relatively easy and has lifelong benefits. Why would anyone want to deprive themselves of food for hours or days at a time? Widely debated studies have existed on the medical implications of controlled fasting for some time. However, there are a number of great benefits to intermittent fasting.

1. You’ll have better cognitive abilities

Despite what Snickers would have you believe in their “Why wait?” campaign, being hungry during the day can help you think more clearly and keep your mind sharp.

2. You’ll get more of your day back

Think about it: if you start your fast at 12:00 am when you go to sleep and don’t eat again until 4:00 pm, that’s 2-3 meals you aren’t having to prepare and cook or go and pick up. When you stop thinking about food, you’ll realize how much of your time you actually spend worrying about where the next meal will come from, your grocery list, and who you’re going to lunch with.

3. It’s closer to how our cavemen ancestors ate.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors hunted and foraged for food all day and then prepared it and ate after sunset. Have you ever seen an overweight caveman?

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4. You’ll have a longer life

Simply put: your lifespan is directly related to what you eat, or in this case, what you don’t. While still being studied, some early clinicals suggest you’ll live longer.

5. It helps prevent disease

Two of the biggest killers today in America are directly food-related: heart disease and diabetes. With a scheduled eating regimen, you’ll be significantly reducing your risk factors for both.

6. You’ll have more energy

Assuming you are still getting your recommended caloric intake for the day, your body will expend less energy digesting and leave you with more energy to get all the things done in your day.

7. You’ll lose weight

With intermittent fasting, you are basically telling your body to stop burning sugars that you intake during the day and directing it towards burning fat.

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The program itself is fairly straightforward and simple: you have a fasting window in which you don’t eat and an eating window in which you can eat what you want. There are many variations of this, so you’ll want to find your own rhythm, but probably the easiest is to stop eating an hour or so before you go to bed and start a 16-hour clock for your fasting window. This schedule is nice because you’ll spend a large portion of your fast sleeping. Let’s say you go to bed at 12:00 am. In that case, you will fast until 5:00 pm and then eat until 11:00 pm. Pretty easy.

Tips to help you stick to your plan:

1. Stay hydrated

Not only is water excellent for every faucet of health, it also helps you maintain a feeling of being full, which will stave off cravings.

2. Exercise right before you eat

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This way, you’ll be able to resupply all those hungry muscles right after you finish your workout.

3. Set goals for yourself and measure your progress

If you don’t know where you’re going and consider your progress every now and again, how will you recognize the benefits?

4. Pack some emergency snacks the first few days

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While there is evidence eluding to the fact that intermittent fasting can help regulate your insulin levels, the first few days may be a little tough — it’s okay to grab a granola bar or piece of fruit if you start feeling faint.

5. Stick to your plan

It takes a few weeks to break or change a cycle, and the first few days will be toughest. New fasters typically describe day 3 as “the wall,” in which you may be driven to drop your guard — stick with it. You’ll soon be reaping the benefits and be glad that you made such a positive lifestyle decision.

6. Stay busy

If you’re active and engaged in work or play, you’ll seldom have time to ponder on your hunger status.

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7 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Transform Your Health

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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