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Liquids till Lunch
Probably the most well-publicized benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss. There’s a common misperception that the pounds will start to fly off because not eating breakfast means you’re consuming fewer calories during the day. Fewer calories into your digestive system mean less energy to store away as fat. A reduction in fat storage means weight loss, right?
Not quite. Fat burning is a hormonal response regulated by insulin. It’s not about how many calories you take in versus how many you burn, but rather how balanced your blood-sugar levels are.
Weight loss doesn’t necessarily happen right away, but it will happen over time. As soon as a few weeks after making Liquids till Lunch part of your life, you may notice subtle shifts in weight. Your jeans might fit better. Your face might look less full, and you may experience less gas pressure.
Chew Your Food Until It Becomes Liquid
Chewing your food until it’s liquid holds tons of power. In fact, it can completely boost your energy level by jump-starting your digestive process.
Most people believe that digestion begins when the food you’ve eaten hits your stomach. This is false. Digestion starts when you bite into a piece of food and the glands on the inside of your mouth, under your tongue, and beneath your jawbone secrete saliva. When that saliva lubricates the food in your mouth, and your teeth begin to rip, grind, mash, and crush it, the process known as mastication has begun.
When we chew our food into tiny particles or liquid, we also create a greater surface area on every morsel that enters our digestive tract. Since digestive enzymes only work on the surface, creating more surface area means you can metabolize the entire meal rather than just parts of it. More food metabolized means more energy-boosting essential vitamins and minerals entering your system. You get all the benefits of enjoying a delicious meal from the taste to the multitude of nutrients!
Finally, when you swallow chunks of food rather than liquifying them in your mouth, you steal energy from one part of your body and give it to your relatively inefficient stomach. It takes more energy for the stomach to break down food than it does your mouth, so blood rushes to your belly from other parts of your body, delivering cellular energy that could have gone to other essential functions. Ever wonder why you feel tired after inhaling a huge meal? It’s because your brain has literally been deprived of energy, and your body shuts down, desperate to conserve what little it has left.
Drink Half Your Body Weight in Ounces of Water
Even if you’re barely active, your body is using the water in its cells. For example, you lose a total of seven cups of water a day just by exhaling and urinating. You’ll be shocked if you measure how much that is. Seven cups of water poured into pint glasses is almost four full glasses! And you did next to nothing to lose that.
Drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day is a rule of thumb for good health that reaches all the way down to the cellular level. Drinking enough water every day is an absolute must. While there are other actions you can let slide for a day or a week, you cannot, under any circumstances, drink less water than you need.
Don’t we all want to be healthier than a donut? Don’t we all want to feel more energetic, experience greater mental clarity, and embrace satisfying routines and practices that cause us to move forward every day? Yes, definitely. That’s why you have to think very carefully not only about what you’re putting in your body, but also how much. You are nothing more than a bunch of cells that come together to form a bunch of organs, so you have to treat yourself well all the way down to these teeny, tiny building blocks of life. There are few things more beneficial to cellular self-care than portion control.
Portion control is not as straightforward as you might think. Eating the right amount may not be about eating less. Some of you may need to eat more, and some of you may need to sit down for meals at different times. Portion control is a feeling and a way of conducting yourself. It’s an understanding of your body’s digestive needs and a sense of when you’re full. It’s the realization that you have power over your food, rather than the reverse. Your body strives for balance, and when you master the art of portion control, that’s what you achieve.
Eat Healthy Foods
Unlocking the secret of healthy eating is as easy as opening your fridge once a day and taking a close look inside. Some people take kitchen inventory once a week, right before they go grocery shopping. I think this is overwhelming, so I don’t recommend it. You’ll forget to add things to your list. Or you’ll discover rotten fruit buried in the fruit bowl and get mad at yourself. Your son might interrupt you, begging for a snack, and what you thought would take you twenty minutes will take you half an hour. Then you’ll be late to soccer practice. Instead, take five minutes once a day, at whatever time is best for you, and I promise you’ll not only start to choose healthier foods, but you’ll feel on top of your life.
Research supports the idea that an organized home leads you to make decisions that are better for your body. Three different experiments published together in 2013 looked at two groups of people: one whose homes were disorderly and one whose homes were tidy. When asked to choose between an apple or a piece of chocolate for a snack, the people who surrounded themselves with order rather than chaos were two times more likely to choose the apple. Organization isn’t just good for your home; it’s good for you!
Get Fifteen Minutes of Direct Sunshine Each Day
Letting the sun wash over your face doesn’t just feel good. It’s also a pure dose of good energy for every part of your being. Let’s break down how this works.
The sun emits electromagnetic rays in the form of visible light, ultraviolet light, infrared, radio waves, x-rays, and gamma rays. While some of these are harmful—like ultraviolet light (UV), which damages your DNA and can lead to skin cancer—others are good for you.
Exposing your skin to sunlight also triggers a photosynthetic reaction in your cells that leads to the production of vitamin D. While you can get a daily dose of vitamin D from fish, eggs, and supplements, this essential vitamin is much more abundant in sunlight.
People who work the night shift or spend too much time indoors in front of a screen—which, let’s be honest, is many of us—often don’t receive this healing fifteen-minute shot of sunshine during the day. Not being exposed to the sun long enough—or at all—throws off our circadian rhythm, which then affects our metabolism.
Sleep Seven to Eight Hours
Deep down, most of us understand that sleep is the foundation on which a solid, healthy life is built, but we don’t appreciate or act on that every day. Too many people think of sleep as something they can slot in after they’ve finished all their work or only when they’re caught up on their favorite Netflix series.
Specifically, when you sleep, your blood pressure goes down, giving your cardiovascular system a time to rest. Your heart beats softly, your breathing slows, and what was once a raging river during the day quiets down to a gently flowing stream. When you don’t sleep enough, your blood pressure stays high and, over time, that puts you at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
Sleep influences your hormones as well, and when you fall into REM sleep—the deepest, most restorative stage of your night’s rest—your endocrine system activates. The endocrine system is the collection of glands that make hormones for metabolism, growth, reproduction, and more.
Fifteen Minutes of Stretching
When it comes to flexibility and range of motion, no two people are alike. There are some people who will absolutely never be able to do a backbend, and there are others who could hold themselves up in the wheel position for a few minutes, no problem. People who are more limber tend to have more collagen and elastin—the protein fibers that help give skin its structure—within their joints and ligaments. While a relatively inflexible person won’t magically become hyperflexible after stretching regularly for a month, the many health benefits of stretching prove that it’s one of the fundamental parts of a good exercise routine.
The principle behind stretching is that it pushes your muscles, tendons, and ligaments from a state of inactivity to one of growth and production. The process may not be comfortable—a good stretch can feel like your muscles are on fire—but it is growth through pain. As you force your body into a difficult space, stretching beyond its limits, your stem cells begin to produce more protein, including collagen and elastic. Over time, the stretch will begin to feel less painful as you add length to your muscle fibers.
Thirty Minutes of Exercise Daily
When it comes to fitting exercise into your routine, there really is no excuse to skip it. Just as drinking half your body weight in water is essential to your physical and mental well-being, and you must do it every single day, scheduling exercise is critical. Sure, there may be a day here and there where you can’t find the time, or you might have an injury or an illness that prevents you from working out for a few weeks, but the permission slips stop there. You must be deliberate about carving out time in your day and your week, and you must consciously execute those plans.
Stress is like karma. Whatever you put out there is going to return to you—in a similar or worse form—in the future.
We are all part of the collective, bound together by natural law, the order of the universe, and the fact that we live on this planet together and draw from its ecosystem. Very, very few of us live alone in the jungle or woods, completely detached from modern society. We’re in this life together, and our actions affect everyone around us. If someone cuts me off in traffic and I roll down my window to yell at them, that road rage is going to make that driver tense and upset.
The happiest, most directed people in the world are those whose internal energy matches or balances the external energy that surrounds them and that they share with others.
No one is born a pessimist. Babies innately know to reach out for others, looking for comfort, and, as they grow, they constantly strive to do better, get stronger, and learn more in order to bolster their happiness. Over time, though, the disappointments and traumas of everyday life may shift people’s minds from optimism to pessimism. Life can wear you down, causing you to think about the bad things more than the good. You don’t have to be stuck in this place. Positivity can be learned, and you can practice making it part of your life.
Believe in a Universal Force of Goodness
That “lot of positive stuff” is the universal force I’m talking about. Your greater power may not feel like it’s present in every molecule of energy around you or in every second of time in the day, but it’s there. You might as well recognize it. It’s to your benefit to move toward it and allow it to give you the will to persevere even while you acknowledge that life is not always fair.
Most of us have heard the phrase “Without the rain, you can’t appreciate the sun.” The terrible things that happen in life are there just like stormy days that ruin your best-laid plans. You can’t avoid them, and they inevitably will happen. But if they didn’t occur, you’d be much less grateful for beautiful sunny days and you’d be less strong. In fact, you might take life’s wonderful moments completely for granted.