Posts by josephsacco

Part time philosopher and full-time project manager. I enjoy yoga, meditation, blogging, reading, and strength training.

Giving OMAD a try – Day 2

OMAD 1

Actually yesterday was my second day of using the one meal a day (OMAD) intermittent fasting protocol. In two days I lost 4 pounds, had lots of energy, and ate a couple really big meals. So I was pretty determined that after I had fasted for 23 hours I was going to make sure I got in a lot of calories. The first day I ate just about anything without regard to the quality of the food, but the second day I was more selective having fish, lima beans, almonds, some high protein peanut butter, and a small plate of raw vegetables.

Well now it is Monday and I’m back to my 18:6 protocol, which is 18 hours of fasting and then eating lunch and dinner. The reason I did not continue with OMAD has more to do with being social and wanting to eat lunch with my co-workers than any real major downside to a 23 hour fast.

Overall I would rate my OMAD experience as a very positive experiment, one that I will probably do on weekends to stay trim and enhance the cleansing effect of fasting. To be honest I got pretty hungry after 20 hours or so, and I often felt cold, but my energy levels were high and my mood was very good. The only concern I would have and this may not be a big deal since my experiment only lasted two days is losing 4 pounds. I would worry that if I did this daily I might not be able to take in enough calories to maintain my weight.

As I mentioned my energy levels were high, allowing me to do yoga in the morning, weight training in the afternoon, and I even got in a 3 mile walk the first day when the weather permitted. Remember this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition, like me you might decide it just doesn’t fit into your lifestyle during the week to skip lunch with your friends or co-workers. Don’t agonize over it; you can always go back to OMAD on the weekend. I just might try something a bit more radical next weekend like a 48 hour fast and see what happens.

Sorry I can’t help myself.

Namaste

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Giving OMAD a try – Day 1

OMAD 1

Since the last time that I wrote about intermittent fasting I thought it would be fun to give one meal a day (OMAD) a try. This is day one, and I have decided to eat around 5 or 6 p.m., having eaten last night at about the same time. OMAD is really just another form of intermittent fasting where you fast for 23 hours and then have one hour window for eating. So why would I go from two meals a day to one meal a day?

All the benefits I mentioned in my last post are still true with OMAD. In fact they are all enhanced, which is why I am trying it. I’m particularly interested in gaining greater energy and mental clarity along with a longer detox period for my body. There are a lot of studies that show a strong relationship between fasting and longevity, so it is yet one more reason to give this a try.

Here is a short video on some of the benefits of OMAD.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done a 23 to 24 hour fast, but I’m going to give it a try for a week or so and report back on my results. In the past I was pretty hungry at about 21 to 22 hours of fasting. If you decide you want to try this, please be advised that you should already be following an intermittent fasting protocol where you are eating two meals a day. I wouldn’t advise going from the traditional three meals a day to one without first getting used to some form of fasting.

As of this moment I have 8 more hours before my next meal. I’ll report back tomorrow and let you know how I feel and how my body and mind are adapting to this new approach to intermittent fasting.

Namaste

 

My experience with intermittent fasting

intermittent fasting meme1

I’ve been using intermittent fasting for a couple of years on and off. In the past 4 months I’ve been a little more disciplined about it and do it 5 or 6 days a week. Let me first state that I don’t consider intermittent fasting a diet. I consider intermittent fasting to be a tool that is part of your arsenal for obtaining an optimal level of health.

So what is intermittent fasting? In its simplest form it means going without any type of food or beverage that contains calories for 16-20 hours. So a typical cycle might be eating your last meal at before 8 p.m. and then not eating again until noon 12:00 p.m. the next day, which would mean about 16 hours of fasting. The graphic below illustrates a 16:8 protocol or 16 hours of fasting and an 8 hour eating window:

intermittent fasting 16x8

There are many benefits to intermittent fasting which can be obtained by almost anyone. Even if you decide you just want to lose a few pounds or stay at a specific weight, intermittent fasting can help you achieve those goals.

Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  • Promotes a release of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a hormone that declines with age. Intermittent fasting can increase HGH by as much as 1000%. HGH has an anti aging effect on the human body, so naturally producing more of it can be good for your overall health.
  • It gives your body and organs a break from having to digest foods around the clock and help purify the body of toxins. This is why even doing a 24 hour fast from time to time is good for your health. So intermittent fasting helps you detoxify your body, allowing your liver to recover and rebuild and clear your colon.
  • Improved muscle tone and function will most certainly be a result of intermittent fasting especially when you couple this with strength training and high intensity training (HIT) like sprinting. As mentioned above in a fasted state your body actually increases the production of good hormones like HGH and by coupling it with strength training or HIT you ramp up the production of HGH and testosterone even more.
  • You are likely to lose a few pounds during your first week of intermittent fasting, and there is a high probability that  you will keep the weight off as long as you continue to do intermittent fasting. Don’t mistake this for a silver bullet you still need to have a good diet and not over eat.
  • Intermittent fasting can help normalize insulin sensitivity. Spiking blood sugar levels caused by eating cause insulin to increase, which has effects on storing additional fat and disrupting healthy hormone levels.

My experience

The first week or two can be difficult if you are typically eating 3 meals a day. For me I just skip breakfast and after a few days you become accustomed to not eating and the fasting becomes less difficult. Instead of eating breakfast I drink some coffee when I get up and go on with my day. I personally do not find a 16:8 or 18:6 fasting protocol to be difficult to implement and after a week or two it just becomes a habit.

I did not suffer any adverse effects from intermittent fasting; quite the opposite I feel more energetic, lost a few pounds, and improved my body composition becoming leaner and more muscular. I also changed my diet to be more Paleo like, eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean protein meats and fish. You don’t need to intermittent fast every day of the week, but the more disciplined you are the greater the benefits. You will likely find times where you eat a little earlier in the day, say maybe an early lunch so maybe you only fasted for 15 hours, or you had a late dinner the night before. Give yourself a break, these minor deviations in the program will not effect the overall outcome, so be flexible.

Remember when you are fasting you should be taking in zero calories, so stick to drinking coffee, tea, or water. Don’t use creamer or sugar in your coffee or tea. If you need to sweeten it up you can try a little Stevia, but even with Stevia the jury is still out on whether that causes an insulin response in the body.

A final tip for improving your results is the longer you prolong the fasting phase the greater your results. This means if you can stop eating the night before by 7:00 p.m. and not eat your first meal until 1:00 p.m. you have been in a fasted state for 18 hours and this means HGH levels are still increasing, fat is being burned for energy, and the detoxification process is in high gear. If you really want to ramp it up, then you might consider a 24 hour fast once every week or two, which will provide even greater results.

The following video is a good primer on intermittent fasting, but you can find all kinds of great videos on YouTube that address various aspects of this type of fasting:

If you are looking for a way to increase your energy levels, detoxify your organs, increase HGH and other good hormones, or lose a few pounds, give intermittent fasting a try.

Namaste

 

Book Review – tuesdays with Morrie

I read a lot, probably about 2 or 3 books a month, which for some of you might be pretty typical or maybe even less than others. I decided to pick up the book Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. The book is about 200 pages, and could be read in a weekend if one was so inclined. Now one of the things I want to get straight right from the start is that in writing a book review, I’m not going to spoil the read for you. My intent is only to describe what I thought of the book.

Tuesdays With Morrie

So this is a relatively small book but may be one of the best books I have ever read. Morrie was Mitch Albom’s professor when he was an undergraduate student. The book details the Tuesday meetings that Mitch had with Morrie during the last year of his life. During those meetings they talked about a number of life lessons and that is where the magic of this book unfolds. You will find yourself drawn into the meaning behind these conversations and for me it was a very emotional experience. I would intend to read a chapter and move on to do something else, but I often found myself reading three or four at a sitting.

Mitch-and-Morrie

If you are looking for a book that addresses the big questions in life then this is a must read. You will come away with a new perspective on what is really important in life. What really struck me is how emotional I became when I was reading this book. I was often brought to tears, not by the tragedy of Morrie’s illness, but by the powerful lessons that Morrie discussed with Mitch.

That’s it, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but for me this is one of the top 5 books I have ever read.

Namaste

 

Lighten Up

I’ll use the term or phrase “lighten up” to mean stop taking life so serious. There is a common affliction in our society that everything we do is serious business. We are constantly measured by metrics and KPI’s to attain more each year, to work harder, to be driven, and my question is what does it get us? We sacrifice our health and well being for goals that someone else set for us and make ourselves miserable in the process. I’m going to be a bit blunt here and call out a lot of this serious obsession as bullshit. We are not on this earth to work ourselves into an early grave for the sake of corporate profits or any other obligation imposed by someone else for that matter.

Cheryl Crow gonna-tell-everyone-to-lighten-up

Aside from all the destructive effects of the ultra serious demeanor that we have adopted; the real travesty is that we are sucking the joy right out of our life moment by precious moment. I used to attend a church where one of the parishioners worked for Pepsi corporation and had been working his way up the corporate ladder over the past decade moving his family with each promotion. Anyway I can recall how upset he was when someone brought a Coke product to the church picnic, and of course I thought this was pretty funny. I mean making sugar drinks that make people fat is pretty serious business after all. Now I’m not here to bash soft drink companies because I’m sure in their own weird way they contribute something to society other than obesity and diabetes. It is the serious nature of it all that drives me crazy. So much of what we do is just not serious by nature and we need to be able to distinguish from those things that are really serious in life and those things that we can give ourselves a pass on and relax a bit.

why-so-serious-little baby

Taking yourself or your role in an organization so seriously either emanates from ego or an anxiety you have about delivering something for other people. Let’s get real with ourselves; isn’t it much more fun and productive when we lighten up a bit? Being serious doesn’t equate to great results. I would argue that great results come from a calm state of mind and even more so from a joyful and happy state of mind. Be goal oriented, care about results, but in doing so lighten up and have fun.

Have fun at work pug.jpg

It is your right to have fun and you don’t need anyone’s permission except your own. I’m not saying give up on your goals and screw around all day, quite the opposite. I am saying that you need to stop being so serious and look for enjoyment, fulfillment, satisfaction, camaraderie, challenge, calmness, and fun in everything you do. There are times to be serious, but 95% of the time focus on making life fun.

Namaste

Tune Yourself

If you believe in the law of attraction and understand that what you think you become then read on, otherwise you are wasting your time by reading the rest of this post. I say that because if you don’t believe in the law of attraction what I’m about to explain becomes somewhat pointless.

how-to-manifest-law-of-attraction

In a recent post I wrote about how to stop reacting to life and begin controlling your thoughts to increase your level of happiness. I would like to think that what I’m about to say builds on this idea, refining and expanding upon it. If you believe that what you think about becomes your reality then you must make sure you are feeding your mind good thoughts. If you have a shred of introspection in your mind, you will begin to recognize when  you go from good to bad thoughts and you can then begin to catch yourself steering your thoughts back into the right direction. It doesn’t take much to go from thinking good thoughts about things that make you happy to reversing it and becoming critical. We often obsess over problems we are experiencing and in doing so we have blocked the good thoughts from taking their place. Obsessing over perceived problems is one of the toughest negative thinking patterns to break.

I like this quote because this is your only way out of the negative thinking patterns that come from obsessing over problems.

I dont fix problems-quote

There are basically two choices when it comes to creating that positive mindset that allow the law of attraction to work for you instead of against you.

  1. Stop the negative pattern from appearing in the first place.
  2. Using your ability to realize that you have slipped into a negative state of mind and replace it with positive thoughts.

Let’s take the first one. What are some ways we can stop the negative thinking pattern from occurring? Here are a few things to consider:

  • The best time to set the stage for your thinking is when you first get up in the morning. Remember the idea here is to put those good thoughts in your head so that they become the dominant things on our mind.
  • I find that yoga and meditation both are great ways to start your day on a positive note.
  • Maybe for you it is music or watching some uplifting YouTube videos like the one below:

What about the second scenario where you have already allowed the negative thoughts to become predominant? We would all prefer that this doesn’t happen, but let’s be realistic we all must learn to cope with the negative thinking pattern that now has control. Here are a few ways to overcome the negative thought pattern and turn it into a positive one:

  • First you must understand the damage that is being done. You have now set the law of attraction into motion attracting more negative thoughts. Remember what you think you become, so if you think negative thoughts you become negative and negative things are now being attracted to you. All I’m saying is you have sufficient motivation to change the way you are thinking.
  • The longer you wallow in your negative thoughts the greater the damage, so you need to start catching yourself as your thoughts go from positive to negative. These are the moments when you say to yourself, I wish I hadn’t said that or reacted that way. Recognize this is very good, because you are not only aware of the negative thought pattern, but you are putting yourself in the state of mind to change it.
  • Once you recognize you have negative thoughts pervading your mind then you need to do something immediately to limit the damage and turn things around. Tune into something that you love, which sometimes means removing yourself from the thing you are doing if possible. Here are few ways you can snap yourself out of the negative and tune yourself to the positive:
    • Get up and take a walk for 10-15 minutes, this alone will give you a chance to think about something else.
    • Take a break. They have done a lot of studies that say every 45-60 minutes you need to take a break from what your doing and give your mind and body a chance to recover.
    • Think about some of the things you really enjoy like music, people you love, hobbies, areas of interest, your dog or cat, sitting on a beach, walking on a wooded trail. Add to this list the things that make you feel good. Oh I almost forgot as you think about those things you enjoy, smile!
    • Think about something or someone you are grateful for. As you think about each thing you are grateful for really focus on it for a couple minutes. It’s tough to be negative when you feel grateful.

The law of attraction is a powerful reality and it responds to what you are thinking, so it is imperative that you spend the majority of your time focused on good thoughts. What you think about is a choice so choose wisely. Ultimately it is you that controls the world that you see. Control your thoughts and control your reality.

Namaste