Intermittent Fasting

Young brunette woman smiling while eating pasta at wooden table

Sticking To A Healthy Diet And Exercise

There is some hype regarding intermittent fasting and its benefits. Intermittent fasting (intermittent energy restriction) is the adoption of various meal timing schedules that alternate between fasting and non-fasting over a given period of time. The idea is that by switching up your eating intervals, your body snaps out of its regular metabolic rate, resulting in increased cellular breakdown of glucose, the burning of more fat and eventual weight loss.

It sounds like another modern-day gimmick for people who struggle to lose weight. All of these diet fads are nothing more than attempts by society to get you to try various weight loss programs. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, a person is going to eat whatever they want; no dieting or fasting will prevent them from doing so.

And why is that? Because it comes down to personality and mindset. If you are truly motivated to lose weight, then you will do whatever it takes to lose it in a healthy manner. You won’t have to rely on diet fads and new ideas to make it happen. It always comes down to a few basics: eat less, eat healthier and exercise your core off!

Why would you ever want to expose yourself to hunger and irritability and wait a few weeks, until your body becomes adjusted to intermittent fasting? It makes absolutely no sense. Anyone who struggles with weight loss would probably give up after a day of fasting. And anyone who already has a normal BMI would never need to fast in the first place.

Unless you are doing it for religious purposes, then there is no good reason to fast. You’ll find tons of articles out there from physicians relying on scientific evidence that intermittent fasting is healthy, and can lead to weight loss, decreased blood pressure and improved glucose regulation. Whoopee! Or you can just stop being lazy and go exercise three times a week, while consuming less carbohydrates and fats.

Humans are pleasurable creatures: we strive on dopamine spurts throughout the day. And there is nothing wrong with rewarding ourselves with food. Sleeping, eating and having sex are the most natural activities of all living creatures. Why mess around with one of them, just because modern-day science is entertaining the idea of intermittent fasting?

It’s good to keep up to date with medical advances and new recommendations, but until more legitimate evidence exists, it’s better to just stick with the basics. No college student goes to medical school to learn how to recommend intermittent fasting to their patients; it’s not part of the curricula.

Always be honest with yourself. How many of you are entertaining the idea of intermittent fasting, because the thought of eating healthier and exercising more sounds unbearable? There’s the problem in the first place: the thought sounds unbearable because you are not willing to put in the effort.

People are always looking for shortcuts in life, but shortcuts do not deliver solid results. Discipline and hard work do.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Couch Laziness

Lazy adult American bulldog sitting on brown leather couch with pillows

When Exercising Is The Last Thing That You Want To Do

. . . is when you have to push yourself the hardest to get off that comfy couch and jog straight to the gym! You think that couch wants you to get off? You think those beers want you to stop drinking? You think your girlfriend wants you to stop paying attention to her? When exercising is the last thing that you want to do, you do it anyways!

It’s so much easier to come home from work and crash on your furniture; just lay back and browse the internet or surf your cable packages. But within 20 minutes of relaxing on your couch and decompressing after a long day’s work, you begin to experience a nagging feeling within your mind, “get off the couch and head to the gym!”

You then begin to contemplate whether going to the gym is even worth it, “I have to jump in some comfortable clothes, actually get there and then put some effort on the machines or free weights, all while experiencing a crowded environment in-between the hours of 6-8 pm.” On the other hand, the little red bastard demon on your left shoulder is whispering in your ear, “forget that BS! Grab a beer or a fat J and kick back and relax!”

Sometimes you give in to the flesh and do just that. But if you want to improve as a person and lift yourself to the next level (no pun intended), then you have to get off your behind and go lift some weights! It actually doesn’t take that much effort after you develop a consistent routine, and you end up feeling better physically and mentally.

It’s easier to take the lazy and comfy route in life, but are you expecting to gain long-lasting results that way? The harder routes are the ones that pay off dividends in the long-run. But many people lose patience and don’t want to put in the work for that long; these are the folks who never learned or applied the concept of delayed gratification.

When exercising is the last thing that you feel like doing, then you go ahead and do it! It’s as simple as that.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Exercising After Thanksgiving

Two people enjoying pie and bread during Thanksgiving

Relying On Exercising To Take Away The Guilt

The idea that some people plan on exercising for the first time or more intensely, immediately following Thanksgiving shows you the desperation that runs through their limbic system. The limbic system is involved in motivation, emotions, learning and memory. Guilt is a common feeling following feasting and exercising immediately after does nothing at all in the long run.

There are some people who believe that exercising after consuming a lot of food on a given holiday, will help them to lose weight. If you don’t already have an exercise routine year-round, it will not do anything except maybe help take away your guilt. But what good does that do, if you are still overweight or out of shape?

Exercising after a holiday is based on false hope and guilt. Guess how long these routines end up lasting? Maybe a week at maximum. People who don’t have a consistent exercise routine will not suddenly maintain one, right after a holiday like Thanksgiving. Establishing an exercise routine should have nothing to do with holidays; it’s about wanting to better yourself in the first place.

You’re actually better off enjoying Thanksgiving and feasting, than feeling guilty and running to the gym immediately afterwards. The latter situation only plays with your emotions and reinforces your lack of desire to exercise in the first place. But the former situation allows you to enjoy all of the hard work which you have been putting in throughout the year.

By eating healthy and exercising consistently throughout the year, Thanksgiving becomes a time to reward your state of mind by enjoying all of the food that you can eat. You see, when you put in hard work, playtime becomes much more pleasantly sweet; feelings such as guilt and sadness don’t overcome you.

The yearly formula that you should adopt includes: exercising + healthy eating + a happy state of mind + feasting on the holidays + repeat.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Taking Breaks From Exercising

Young woman in gym with headphones on tying her right shoe

Space Out Your Workouts

Life is more than just exercising all the time. Once a fitness routine is established, we sometimes become obsessive; we worry if we miss a workout. Unless you are training for the olympics or are a pro athlete, it’s fine and acceptable to space out your workouts and take some pressure off your shoulders.

Working out too consistently can actually promote fatigue and burnout. This can increase your chances of kissing your workouts goodbye for good. Once burnout occurs, it becomes quite difficult to recover; it’s key to avoid it in the first place. Imagine all of your months or years of hard work, only to lose it all because you became burned out!

The key to maintaining a proper workout regimen is to space out the days in which you exercise. Your routine need not be rigidly consistent over a long period of time. This may work at first, but over time, it greatly increases your chances of losing interest. Rather, space out your workouts and be flexible. If on one day you do not feel like exercising, find something else to do!

You do not have to feel guilty or stressed because you skipped a workout day. Rather, find another activity which will take your mind off exercising and bring you peace and relaxation. Sometimes just “chilling” is all you need to feel good and take your mind off fitness.

There are so many other activities which you can do rather than exercising all of the time. Learn to find pleasure in various activities and hobbies; a rigid life will stir up your mental health in the wrong direction and potentially increase your chances of developing a mental illness.

A repetitive life can quickly spiral out of control. It may cause you to not only lose interest in exercising but in life in general. Once a certain threshold of stress has been surpassed, your chances of developing a substance abuse disorder or major depression increase substantially.

Don’t overdo your workouts. Sometimes going with the flow is all you need to remain relaxed and happy in life.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Fun Ways To Exercise

Young fit woman standing near plants having fun during her workouts

Having Fun During Your Workouts

Exercising does not have to be repetitive. By becoming creative with exercising, you will find a renewed motivation to work out and stay fit. A lot of people give up on their exercise routines because they do not spice up their activities; think of a hamster running on its wheel for the next 2-3 years.

One of the keys to successful exercising is having fun doing it. For instance, why are you jogging on a treadmill? Go outside and enjoy the view: jog on the streets or a park in your neighborhood while enjoying nature and your surroundings. Leave the treadmills for the hamsters!

When you are lifting, are you putting on your headphones and rocking out to motivational music such as rock, hip hop or trance? If you are not, then you are missing out on a great deal of unlocked energy and potential which can help make your workouts more fun and enjoyable. Music helps you to establish a rhythm as well as put you in another state of mind which motivates you to work out harder!

When you are playing a sport such as basketball, soccer or tennis, are you actually having fun or just playing because you have no choice? You always have a choice! Either enjoy the sport and take in every moment of it or find something else to do! Do not waste your time playing a sport if you are not going to have fun performing in it.

For some people, exercising is fun when they are teaching others. If you are the type of person who enjoys teaching, find a friend who can start benefitting from exercising and guide them through their workouts; teaching can be very fun and engaging and provide you with more drive to stay active and fit!

You will also feel much better about yourself when you start teaching others. Teaching reinforces the confidence and leadership nature within yourself. It also demonstrates to others that you are a person who can be trusted and who is full of knowledge and credibility. But you must always try to improve as a teacher, in order for your followers to receive the most benefit!

It is no secret that the key to enjoying anything in life is having fun doing it. This is no different with work, education, socializing, vacations or exercising. Remind yourself that everything that you do must be enjoyed in a fun way. Viewing life from this perspective will deliver you more happiness and long-term prosperity!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Keeping Your Drive To Exercise Alive

Motivated woman exercising and doing yoga on blue stability ball

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Exercising on a consistent basis requires motivation and persistence; it is so easy to lose the two and drop your entire routine all together. Somewhere inside of you, you must find a reason to keep yourself determined to maintain your fitness habits.

Whether you want to lose weight, remain healthy or become fit, your goal should be to maintain an exercise routine 2-3 times a week, for about 30-45 minutes per session. If discipline is something that you struggle with, you need to find a way to develop it now before it’s too late. As you get older, it becomes harder to instill new habits and break old ones; as the saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

The discipline to exercise is based on motivation; you must find something that keeps you pushing. Whatever you find will help you exercise on the days that feel the hardest to get going; when you succeed to exercise on those days, your discipline will be reinforced and you will find it easier to maintain your drive to exercise.

Lastly, do not lose sight of the most important factor in regards to exercising: having fun! In anything that you do, having fun is key to maintaining a momentum and succeeding with your goals.

The DSM Ready Movement is about having fun!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Benefits Of Jogging

Woman with headphones jogging in nature on forest trail near green trees

Jogs For Days

Many people find jogging to be boring and mundane, but it can be quite exciting if you keep in mind the physical and mental health benefits, as well as finding a fun and peaceful place to jog. Jogging on a treadmill is probably not the best place to start if you have a preconceived notion that jogging is boring. The best place to jog is in nature: parks, forest trails, boardwalks, around lakes and even on the street (preferably in a nice suburban area).

Physical health benefits of jogging:

  • Helps to build strong bones (considered a weight bearing exercise)
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness (considered an aerobic activity)
  • Burns calories and helps with weight loss
  • Enhances lung capacity (increases the lung’s intake capacity over time)
  • Enhances fitness (improves body tone and shape)
  • Reduces fatigue (endurance is built over time)

Mental health benefits of jogging:

  • Relieves stress (helps you ignore stressful events or allows you to sweat it out)
  • Boosts confidence (you will feel more confident as you become more fit)
  • Boosts happiness (it is great at fighting against depression and anxiety because it distracts you against those issues and keeps you focused on the act of exercising and becoming more fit)
  • Keeps you in tune with yourself (jogging is a very personal act; it keeps you focused on your surroundings and yourself; it allows you to dive into your thoughts and feelings)

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and jog for days! Your mind, body and soul will reward you for it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)