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Is Fasting the New Health Trend? Here’s What You Need to Know

Is Fasting the New Health Trend? Here’s What You Need to Know

Ever quit on a diet? I have. The only way diets really work is if you stay on them forever… and that’s not happening.

I mean, we’re human. No one wants to diet forever — or just, ever. We have parties to attend, vacations to enjoy, holidays to celebrate, and other special occasions (cough, weekends) where we should be free to fully participate!

Diets are long-term, slow to produce results, restrictive, expensive, and usually kill your social life. You don’t party all the time, hopefully, so you shouldn’t diet all the time either.

Fasting is a Legit Health Hack

This dissatisfaction with the current health improvement options has opened the door for a weird trend that’s taking hold of the health/nutrition world: fasting, and it needs to be addressed.

Fasting comes in many different forms, as you have probably seen. There is the 5:2 diet, intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting, the FMD, and maybe you have a crazy friend that just goes days without eating.

Your friend is likely doing these extended fasts because she saw a post on Reddit saying short fasts are great for weight loss, but to permanently change her body, she has to fast for at least 3 days.

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It’s true, lasting health improvements occur when your body enters the metabolic state known as ketosis. In ketosis, your body burns fat for energy after it has run out of sugar from the food you eat, which is the whole purpose of fat — to be stored energy.

The benefits associated with ketosis have caused it to become affectionately known as the “healing state.” Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of extended fasting.

Extended Fast Benefits

    Wow, that’s an impressive list. Who wouldn’t want all those benefits? And all you have to do is fast! Sigh.

    How many of your friends fast regularly? Probably none. Because fasting is hard.

    So we know that fasting essentially “hacks” your body to improve your health, but we can also agree that it sucks.

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    Luckily, there was a group of scientists who felt the same way, so they decided to hack fasting.

    Fasting is Hard — Here’s How To Hack Fasting

    That group of scientists I mentioned was led by a researcher at USC named Dr. Valter Longo, who has dedicated his career to fasting and longevity.

    He began his quest to make fasting doable by asking a simple question: “Is there a way to mimic the effects of prolonged fasting without actually fasting?”

    Turns out you can! And the method Dr. Longo developed to do so is fasting mimicking. It hacks fasting and makes it doable in the same way that fasting hacks your health and life.

    You essentially “fast” for 5 days by eating a set number of calories containing a finely tuned ratio of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats). Voila — fasting while eating!

    I was so impressed with the results after reading the original study that I decided to try it for myself. The results have changed my life forever.

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    I used to be classified as pre-diabetic according to my A1C (blood sugar) numbers. I have since lowered my A1C to normal as well as lowered my cholesterol and blood pressure, and, to be honest with you, I think I eat more sweets than ever (not that you should — it’s bad for you and I’m trying to stop).

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      Additionally, my dad and brother both used to be classified as pre-diabetic and have since used fasting to lower their numbers to normal.

      I have also taught many of our friends how to begin fasting and have witnessed their lives change for the better.

      We have seen people become more active by reducing inflammation, come off their blood sugar medicines, and some even reversing their diabetes.

      Needless to say, ten months later I’m still fasting mimicking for 5 days every month.

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      Here’s how you can do it too.

      How You Can Get Started with Fasting Mimicking

      When you fasting mimic, you get some food — it just has to fit the calorie and macronutrient breakdown as defined by the study. This is everything you need to follow to create your own FMD (fasting mimicking diet).

      • The 5-day protocol provides between 34% and 54% of normal caloric intake, depending on your normal diet.
      • Day 1 provides 1,090 calories
        • 10% protein, 56% fat, 34% carbohydrate
      • Days 2–5 provide 725 calories
        • 9% protein, 44% fat, 47% carbohydrate

      It takes a bit of research the first time to build a menu of foods that fit these parameters. There are tons of ideas all over the place that show you how use foods you prefer, whether that be fresh veggies and nuts or prepackaged on-the-go foods for a fast-paced lifestyle.

      Happy Fasting!

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      1 The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight 2 Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever 3 How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success) 4 How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained) 5 Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

      Why you can’t sleep through the night

      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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      Stress

      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

      Eating close to bedtime

      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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      Medical conditions

      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

      The vicious sleep cycle

      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

      You get a bad night’s sleep
      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

        Here are a few suggestions:

        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

        Sleep better form now on

        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

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