In the last two weeks I have covered two benefits of time restricted eating that will help you reduce your hunger. The two benefits are reduced decision fatigue and calorie consumption. In part one of this three part series (click here), I wrote about the importance of limiting the amount of decisions you make and how it affects your will power. Time restricted eating reduces the amount of decisions you have to make by having one golden rule: eat for either 8,9,10,11 or 12 hours and fast for the remainder hours. This golden rule of time restriction allows you to have more freedom in your meal choices. You don’t have to weigh your food or count calories, all you have to do is adhere to the eating and fasting window five day a week. Which means you can get crazy on the weekend and have a social life! Well, we can’t get too crazy and stuff our faces until we can’t walk, but we can enjoy a treat here and there. In fact, having a social life and community is imperative if you wish to live a long, healthy life. Let’s face it, we are social creatures and we need human interactions. If we don’t have a sense of community or relationships, we tend to fill that void with food but we'll save that topic for another week.
In the last installment of Fitness Myths I went over how small frequent meals have no impact on your metabolism and that overall calorie consumption is the most important thing when it comes to metabolism. This week I will debunk the myth that fasting causes your metabolism to slow down, when in reality, fasting will actually speed up your metabolism.
I know we have all heard it before,
“If you stop eating, your body will go into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism to conserve energy.”
I am not sure when this myth started or how it gained its popularity. Maybe it is due to a multi billion dollar industry that relies on people consuming snacks throughout the day in order for it to make a profit. But I digress. The myth states that when you consume smaller meals throughout the day your metabolism will increase more versus larger less frequent meals. This is based off the concept of thermodynamics. Put simply, when you consume calories your body requires energy to digest that food. Therefore, if you eat more frequently then your body would have to use more energy to digest the food, and this is completely correct. Unfortunately, your metabolism doesn’t care about how many meals you consume, all it cares about is the total number of calories.
We all know of someone who seems to accomplish anything, they seem to have an unlimited amount of willpower and a desire to achieve like no other. This person may be your friend, co-worker, or someone you follow on social media. However, they are no different than you and I. They have insecurities, doubts and fears. So what is there secret and why are they more motivated to succeed than others? I believe there superpower is their ability to stay focused on one goal at a time and there is research to back up this claim. Emily Balcetis a social psychologist from NYU recently gave a TED talk on motivation and how focusing on the finish line can improve your success with exercise.
Three months ago I couldn’t muster up the strength to accomplish any goals I had set. During my month of laziness I was eating poorly and not exercising as much as I usually do. I lacked motivation which lead to a decrease in work productivity. I was a little depressed to say the least. So I did some research and tried to find out what was responsible for my lack of motivation. After countless articles read, I came to the conclusion that dopamine is a big influencer of motivation and that if you wanted to become more motivated you needed to increase this powerful brain chemical. Dopamine is a neurotransmitters that is responsible for learning, motivation, curiosity, pattern recognition and habit formation. Writing, reading, exercising, sleeping, and a healthy diet increase dopamine levels in the brain. Nevertheless, increasing your dopamine it isn’t everything. From a genetic standpoint, some people are born with higher or lower levels of dopamine, which means they are wired to learn more or learn less. However, your genetics aren’t everything and don’t determine your fate. Drugs like caffeine, alcohol and cocaine increase dopamine and our energy levels, but we don’t necessarily get motivated to accomplish our goals, unless those goals involve reproduction, but I digress. Therefore, there must be a missing link and that missing link is focus. In order to master motivation, you must increase your dopamine levels through physical and mental activity. The four activities below will help you do just that.