Enjoying More- Ideal for a social life

Eat Less, Enjoy More is ideal for a social life

The Problem

  • People believe they need to avoid social fun to get healthy/lean
  • People always regret divulging or stepping off their diet

The solution

  • Eating a little more after a hard workout avoids most if not all of the fat gain
  • Eating a little more increases social hormones making people happy & go-getters
  • Enjoying a moderate mix of pleasures makes people happy so we can’t “eat healthy” all the time.

 

When people start dieting they tend to shut off the world and come so wrapped up in their own diet.  Inherently, they start believing what they are doing is the right thing and they start to label foods as “taboo” and going out as “unhealthy”.  It’s just the way we are wired as humans.  We want to believe what we are doing is the best thing.  I mean why not be in your own corner?

Unfortunately, as I will describe , eating less is not doable in the long-run.  Hormonally we adapt to eating less (with a major decrease in social hormones) while increasing hunger hormones.  So in short you’re moody, anti-social and obsessed with food (atleast under the typical dieting via cognitive restraint platform).  By simply enjoying more every couple of days (what works best for your goals/lifestyle) allows you to re-insert these social hormones. 

Can you say good vibes amongst the local tribes?

Eating a little more or what I like to call “Enjoying More” was also the birth of the original social life.  By eating more you take the focus off of food, increase social hormones and are truly able to focus on having fun.  This relates to primal times as we would feel flush or good after a big meal and then have fun at a tribal party.

Are DNA is wired to make us feel good around things that could potential pass along our DNA.  So eating is the primary requirement.  So by eating a tad more every couple of days you re-insert these happy & social hormones and feelings.

The only thing I ask is that you lift weights, sprint or do a fun activity before enjoying more

Similar to a hunter capturing the big feast, these intensive activities prime your body for nutrient uptake.  Specifically you activate GLUT4 the ultimate muscle glucose translocater.  So these extra calories (especially from carbohydrates & protein) get plugged right into your muscles.  So you not only can have fun but you also will gain some muscle too.  So if you’re going to enjoy more try and perform some progressive load training in the gym (lift a little more than you did last time) or atleast get in some sprints.  Or better yet do a fun activity or sport that involves maximal athletic effort. It’s as simple as that to minimize fat gain when eating more.

Also, you can consider being a little more careful with your macronutrient selections.  Basically this is the hierarchy of fat storage (From easiest to hardest to be stored in fat tissue)

1-    Fat is stored the easiest, so don’t eat too many fatty foods while “overeating” or drinking

2-    Carbohydrates- it is possible to turn carbs into fat via de novo lipogenesis.(DNL)  However, after a hard workout and not eating too many carbs as a lifestyle these should get plugged directly into your muscle and liver stores.

3-    Protein – like carbs this is possible to be turned into fat, but you would first have to convert the protein into glucose, then go through DNL.

Alcohol- alcohol itself is never turned to fat.  Just be careful.  When drinking your body needs to concentrate on breaking it down so you won’t be burning much fat, if any at all, temporarily.  So that’s where people are wrong.  Drinking doesn’t make you fat, it’s the extra food and poor choices that do.  So enjoy a drink or a few, just take it a little easier on the fats.

Prep Week- Vol. 1 – July 4th

So you have a big weekend coming up. Might be one that you planned for way in advance with a beach house, visitors from out of town, a plethora of good food all while having a drink in hand.

How would it be possible to take on a weekend like without getting fat? Could it be done? How does Johnny Gotm prep for a weekend of all weekends…one like July 4th.

I bring you “Prep Week” and it’s a tactical plan to peak on the weekend all while minimizing the damage. The plan is un-rivaled and could very well be the code on how “peak” when it matters most…on the WeCan Weekend.

Step 1- Create a caloric buffer: Reduce calories for the 5 days before your WeCan Weekend. Since fat stores are primarily a function of energy balance you’ll burn quite a deal of fat being in a deficit. This also gives you some extra wiggle room when the weekend hits so if you really go HAM you will still break even in terms of fat balance.

To put things in context, I naturally burn about 2200-2400 calories a day naturally. Add in some extra activity through walking, some sprints, I might hit 2800 calories if I’m lucky. My intake for the 5 days prior was around 1200 calories each day of primarily protein, some healthy fats (fish oils), fibrous vegetables. So you are looking at a caloric buffer of 7000 calories or what we like to call a 2lb fat loss. Btw, under any diet, I’ve never seen anyone (besides the very hefty) lose more than 1-2lbs of fat a week.

This caloric reduction will come with some noticeable tightening but more importantly it allows for freedom this WeCan Weekend.  My caloric buffer was more realistically about 5000 calories after my Wendesday night diet break as discussed below in the bonus section.

Step 2- Enter the WeCan Weekend with fully depleted glycogen stores

This comes with part 1…as you reduce calories, strip out the carbs. This will create room for the weekend onslaught of carbs…many of these come in liquid form and you know exactly what I’m talking about. Further, studies show that periods of low-carb or glycogen depletion allow for supercompensation or holding more glycogen than you normally would. This is why, you might actually be able to avoid fat gain during a weekend (even in a caloric surplus) as long as most of the calories come from protein, carbohydrates and alcohol. Basically, these nutrients either get plugged into your stores or burned off through thermogenesis.

Step 3- Consider increasing sodium intake for a few days.   By having slightly more sodium (Salt) in your diet for the 4 days prior to the WeCan Weekend and then reducing intake you’ll retain less water.  For me, the simple solution here is the cottage cheese solution.  Cottage cheese works perfectly in prep week for two reasons. One, it’s higher in sodium so you will retain more water throughout the week. This helps preserve muscle in the deficit. Not to mention, it’s primarily slow burning protein aka casein. This will also help preserve muscle during the deficit.

Once you cut out the cottage cheese on say Friday and for the weekend, you will drop the water retention quicker than that Friday class you signed up for at 8am in college. Our bodies have a unique way of adjusting to sodium intake. This is why people who are on the “low sodium” diet aren’t exactly tight at all times as their body adjusts. People who also have salty diets aren’t exactly bloated because their body adjusts. The only way to look tighter than you normally would be in the short-term through a moderate increase in sodium intake followed by a period of reduction in sodium intake. Cottage cheese will do this for you.

This also made the caloric reduction quite mindless as eating the same thing 3 times a day made it somewhat mundane (and when it’s mundane we eat less). I had a pint of cottage cheese 3x a day. This was a 190g load of protein with not too many calories…just above a 1000.

cottage, fetta, egg, vegetables, baconThis was usually my first meal on these “eat less” days.  Usually consisted of cottage (sprinkled with bacon), fibrous vegetables (spinach, cauliflower, red onion sprinkled with a little fetta cheese).  I also added 3 eggs to make my caloric defciit more moderate.

cottage &water

Meals 2 & 3 during my prep week consisted of you guessed it..more cottage cheese.  I also had some raw vegetables with each (not pictured).  What you will notice is that I took down alot of water this week.  This further helps with the weekend water retention.  In short, the more bloated you are on a Wendesday, the more ripped you’ll look on a Saturday.  Water is also a great tool for “eating less”.  Alot of people will mistake thirst for hunger.

 

Step 4- Get a workout in before the weekend starts: This is very important for “channeling the weekend nutrient uptake”. By working out with weights or sprints you will have a nice up kick in nutrient uptake. This activates glut4, increases insulin sensitivity.

What is cool about your Friday workout is you will start to feel a nice dopamine kick in the weight room. The high is real and I can attest to it first-hand. If you read my article on taking advantage of your dopamine system you will understand why your mood is elevated during this Friday workout session. You are in anticipation of the reward of the WeCan Weekend.

Consider doing a full body workout with your friends. Bring your friends so they can join in on the fun of “channeling the nutrients”. Make it full body as you’ll be able to have better uptake all over instead of just across one or two muscle groups. So unfortunately doing a beach workout of abs and arms isn’t going to work. Squat, bench, weighted chins, shoulder press. Why not.

The Weekend itself- a few tips:

1) Since you went through the whole week fully depleted, you are ready to suck up carbs like a vacuum. Although, I wouldn’t stuff your face. Instead, try to enjoy your weekend instead of just primarily consuming. Trust me, you’ll definitely eat up…just make it social and fun. Don’t be the person in the corner stuffing their face in attempt to repack glycogen stores.  Relax.

2) As far as storing fat you are better off keeping fats more moderate this weekend. When drinking your body goes through a process to remove the acetate (poision). In turn, you aren’t burning ton of fat. Luckily, you still oxidize proteins and carbohydrates at a similar rate. This is why you should opt for a beer and a steak or ribs as opposed to woofing down a block of cheese at happy hour.

A few quick notes on macros and how easily they are converted to fat in the short-term:

Alcohol- never turned to body fat, perfectly oxidized*

Fats- easily stored in caloric surplus also in face of high insulin (carbs, protein)

Carbs- only converted to fat via DNL aka de novo lipogenesis (luckily since you went into the weekend depleted, this isn’t going to happen)*

Protein- similar story to carbs, but even tougher to convert to fats. Basically your body would have to convert excess protein to glucose then go through DNL*

As you can see, stick to eating meats, some corn on the cob and maybe even some potatoes.

And if you happen to want a cheesburger, it’s really no big deal. That is why you created the caloric buffer (#1) in the first place. It allows weekend freedom. So don’t fret it if you happen to consume some fats on the WeCan Weekend…it’s really no big deal in light of your whole week. If you are going to enjoy the cheeseburger, have it.

3) Stay active during the weekend- instead of just lounging all weekend consider body surfing, some beach volleyball, dancing or any other primal workout you can think of. This will further help channel the weekend nutrients.

4) Don’t forget to cycle in some waters during your WeCan Weekend. With the sodium manipulation along with the drinks you’re going to be looking pretty tight all weekend. Throw in some waters to keep the party going.

5) Consider shrinking your eating window if you are doing back to back to back partying. So if you happen to crush some pizza at 3am on Friday night…try not to eat breakfast the next day. … I won’t have my first meal til 3pm the following day. This doesn’t have to be done but it’s a good way to minimize the damage, allow a brief detox period and get you ready for another afternoon/night of fun.

I usually will wake up around 11am, get some coffee, hit the skimbaord for a few hours then get ready to do it all over again. Not saying this is what you need to do, but I find this schedule most enjoyable and it also helps avoid “crashing” mid-weekend.

If you want to have some breakfast on your WeCan Weekend, go for it…but generally my breakfast comes “late night” ha.

Closing Notes: Any ways, be safe, have fun and don’t get too carried away with cyclical dieting. If anything allow this to be a valuable tool the help you really enjoy your WeCan Weekend where you can forget about dieting, calories, your job and any other stress for a few days.

 

See you on Fire Island,

 

Gotm

 

Bonus 1:  I didn’t stick to this caloric deficit for 5 days straight.  I actually took a break from it on Wendesday Night. For alot of people a stint of dieting may lead to runaway hedonism once they re-introduce carbs or other highly palatable food.  So instead of going 5 days, I had a post workout “enjoy more” night so I was mentally prepared for a weekend full of hedonic temptations.  I don’t plan on avoiding the hedonic party but I’d rather concentrate on enjoying it rather than consuming.  For some people, a small break or reward mid prep-week will be a great way to have a more moderate intake during their WeCan Weekend.

salmon and baked potatoSalmon, baked potato was a nice main course

chicken and rice soupThis was also paired with some chicken and rice soup..

corn flakes..and topped off with a bowl of corn flakes w/ banana and cinnamon.

*Since protein, carbohydrates and alcohol aren’t stored to fat in the short-term alot of diets go wrong recommending exactly that, low-fat with ad-libitum carbs, protein.  I wouldn’t recommend this as our body has a unique we of upregulating the DNL process. (you can’t exactly avoid fat storage by having a low-fat diet).   You can use this to your advantage in the short-term (say on the WeCan Weekend) by keeping fats lower.   You will also notice my Wendesday night diet break did not have a ton of fats (besides the omega 3s in the salmon).  Btw, make sure to get your fish oils.  Remember a caloric surplus of just about any macronutrient combination will lead to storage, so keep the hedonic spurts short-term.

Bonus #2 Why this all works from a philosophical standpoint:  Beyond fat storage, cyclical dieting the WeCan Weekend is philosophically sound.  We inherently want what we can’t have so by restricting certain things for even a short period of time we upregulate our sensitiity to those things.  The WeCan Weekend is the opposite of alot of what was going on during the Week.  This is what makes it so much fun as it’s a true balance to your system.  You’ve actually set yourself up for enjoying the situation more based on the way the human mind self regulates to pleasure.   (This is why cyclical dieting is more philosophically sound then just “eating healthy of the same” every day).

Low Calories >>>>  Higher Calories

Restriction>>>> Freedom

Getting Things Done>>>> Social fun

Solitude>>>> Social Interaction

 

Find your balance..

Eat Less, Enjoy More

 

 

 

 

“Enjoy More”: It’s the WeCan Weekend whenever you want it to be

Over the past few years I developed a system known as “Eat Less, Enjoy More.” At its core, the system involves eating less on certain days (for fat loss, health, getting things done) paired with “Enjoying More” of life’s simple pleasures when it works best for you (for strength, re-inserting social hormones and simply because it’s awesome). 

 I commonly get asked : “How is this a better plan the classic 5 &2 model, i.e. Work week diet, weekend anything goes?”

The Cliff Notes version:  The “5 & 2″ fails to maximize the reward of enjoying more.    “Working for the weekend” has led us down a sub-optimal path for getting things done, body recomposition and  social fun.   You need to enjoy more when it works best for you, regardless of the day of the week.

Here is some more info on why you should “Enjoy More” before the WeCan Weekend rolls around:

Going 5 days without enjoying more is too long of a discount time frame.   It’s sub-optimal in terms of “delay discounting”:
  • The 5 &2 model is essentially delaying the reward of the “2-day The Weekend” to drive your 5 day work week action plan.  This comes with a steep price (or shall I say discount).  Similar to a present value calculation, the weekend is discounted mentally.
  • This mental PV calc is a primary driver to your action plan (getting things done, eating less (if fat loss is a goal)).
  • Although counterintuitive, the reward of enjoying more (eating more) mid-week makes the actions of eating less & getting things done much easier.   This cuts your discounting time frame in half, making the reward of “enjoying more”, more valuable.
  • We all have our “sweet spot” and it’s definitely not 5 days away.  It’s every  2nd, 3rd or 4th day, depending on your internal hyperbolic reward curves.

5 days doesn’t align with your personality:

  • We’re all unique people, so enjoy more when it works best for you.  (Our personality actually plays a big part in this).
  • Positive extroverts will probably do better with enjoying more every 2nd or 3rd day (in a moderate portion).
  • People who are more introverted may do better with a larger reward every 4th day (they don’t discount rewards as steeply).
  • If you’re right in the middle of the personality continuum, perhaps every 3rd day could work.
 Just because it’s not “The Weekend” doesn’t mean you can’t “Enjoy More”

Some “Enjoy More” Ideas:

•Larger dinner with your family

•Some extra snacks at a movie

•A piece of your favorite dessert cake

•A larger portion of what you normally eat

•Sweet potato fries with friends

•Some extra appetizers

•Going back for “seconds”

Closing Remarks: Don’t ever avoid a social situation to “stay on your diet”.  Instead, consider getting in a workout and making it an “Enjoy More” night.  You can always eat less and get things done tomorrow.  But for tonight…we enjoy more.

GOTM

Quality Impressions Count

There is an idea, the greatest idea in the world. It starts with one person.  This person shares this idea with someone else.   Since this idea is so great, so universal, that same person, that was just exposed to this new idea feels the need to share it with 1 person on the following day.  Within 33 days*, the entire world’s population would know of this idea.  This is why quality impressions count. 

One quality impression can go much further than 100 or even 1,000 mediocre impressions.  Why?  A mediocre impressions usually stops with whoever you made that impression with.  A quality impressions is one that gets “re-marketed” from person to person.

 

The stronger the impression, the more levels your impressions can reach.  Try and make 1 quality impression a day and you’ll be amazed at where it will take you.

Quality-Impressions-Count

IMG_5972

 

 

 

* This is a simple mathematical equation, where it doubles each day.

Day Impressions
1 2
2  4.0
3  8.0
4  16.0
5  32.0
6  64.0
7  128.0
8  256.0
9  512.0
10  1,024.0
11  2,048.0
12  4,096.0
13  8,192.0
14  16,384.0
15  32,768.0
16  65,536.0
17  131,072.0
18  262,144.0
19  524,288
20  1,048,576
21  2,097,152
22  4,194,304
23  8,388,608
24  16,777,216
25  33,554,432
26  67,108,864
27  134,217,728
28  268,435,456
29  536,870,912
30  1,073,741,824
31  2,147,483,648
32  4,294,967,296
33  8,589,934,592

*World population is around 7.22B.  So between the 32nd and 33rd day your idea would have reached the world.

 

How to feel awesome- Rollercoaster Dieting

Happiness when it comes to consumption follows a U-based curve. People who always eat more aren’t the happiest (the over-consumers) while people who live with perpetual cognitive restraint aren’t much better off (the health phenoms). The happiest consumers have a mix of moderate pleasures. (via the World Database of happiness(1))

This was one of the principles of “Eat Less, Enjoy More”.  It’s a lifestyle solution that augments the good life all while keeping you lean, healthy & strong.

The Good Life Theory

A good life is a pleasurable life.   By no surprise food is the most frequent pleasure point in our lives.  This is why we  love hedonic eating (beyond our needs).  It’s pleasurable and avoiding it would be denying the good life.  But we can’t just enjoy more all the time as it wouldn’t align with getting things done, staying lean and healthy.

A great way to fend off eating more perpetually is to enjoy more intermittently.  This creates an awesome roller coaster. (click image  to enlarge)

RollerCoaster

Further, “eating up” intermittently keeps the ride fun as experience blunts sensitivity.  Removing those foods you desire/crave and then re-inserting them at the right time (or just after a few days) allows you to REALLY APPRECIATE them.  Think of your favorite treat (say ice cream).  Instead of “removing it” consider having it every 3rd or 4th day as a reward.  You would be very sensitive to that experience making it  very pleasurable for you.

 

and mmm-mmm-mmm..

delish

 

 

 

Putting it all together “Eat Less, Enjoy More” in 4 steps:

1) Become organized(4).  Plan out what days during the week “eating less” would work best for you.  Pair eating less with work or a to-do list.  (Being busy with meaningful work(4), also keeps you from fretting about “eating less”.

2) Line up “enjoying more” with your social life(4).  There is just something in our genes that screams “tribal feast” when we get together for food.  After all, people who go out and enjoy some extra food with friends are happier than people who don’t. (2)

3) Workout(4) before  “enjoying more”.  This is a fool-proof way to channel the extra calories/nutrients into your muscles instead of fat stores.  By activating the nifty Glut4 you lessen the load on insulin to uptake the extra glucose.  This is also why working out is great for preventing diabetes and also treating it in some cases.(5)  So if you’re going to crush some sweet potato fries with friends do some sprints or get a lift in.  It’s that simple.  You’ll also increase insulin sensitivity (i.e. you’ll need less of it to uptake glucose).  This doesn’t take much volume and even a few sprints could do the trick. (6)

4) Don’t sweat it.(4)  Sometimes we end up enjoying more at unexpected times and this is okay.    In fact, stepping off you diet and “enjoying more” is a great way to stay healthy and even live longer. (3)

 

Oh btw, eating up increases those “social hormones” so prepared to laugh it up with some friends.  Not to mention the nice kick of meal induced dopamine.

Hehe

*Remember to partake in some hedonic laughter.(7)  Also, consider a fast to reverse a hedonic night that got out of hand.

References:

1)Veenhoven, R.: 2001a, World Database of Happiness, Ongoing Register of Empirical Research Findings on Overall Enjoyment of Life, Available at: www.eur.nl/fsw/research/happiness.

2) Clark, L.A. and D.Watson: 1988, ‘Mood and the mundane: Relations between daily life-events and self-reported mood’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 54, pp. 296–308.

3) Deeg, D.J. and R.J. VanZonneveld: 1989, ‘Does happiness lengthen life? The prediction of longevity in the elderly’, in R. Veenhoven (ed.), How Harmful is  Happiness? Consequences of Enjoying Life or Not (Universitaire Pers Rotterdam, The Netherlands), pp. 29–43.

4) Fordyce, M. W. The psychology of happiness: Fourteen fundamentals. Fort Myers, Fla.: Cypress Lake Media, 1981. (Also available from the author, Edison Community College, Fort Myers, Fla. 33907.)*

5) Kennedy, John W., et al. “Acute exercise induces GLUT4 translocation in skeletal muscle of normal human subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes.”;”>Diabetes 48.5 (1999): 1192-1197.

6) Babraj, John A., et al. “Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males.” BMC Endocrine Disorders 9.1 (2009): 3.

7) Vascular Medicine; Watching funny movies boosts blood flow to the heart. Health & Medicine Week,1660. Research Library database. (Document ID: 980266611); 2006.

*The four spots I referenced above include the following of the fourteen (Keep busy and be more active,Get better organized and plan things out, develop an outgoing social personality &  be productive at meaningful work).  

There are also some other great ones such as be yourself, eliminate negative feelings and problems, know that close relationships are the number one source of happiness, put happiness as your most important priority, stop worrying, become present oriented, lower your expectations and aspirations. (We make too many grand plans without having simple fun.)

 

What is Healthy?

Most people will go their entire life without knowing what healthy actually is.  However, they are quite comfortable identifying every food/beverage decision of theirs (and others) as “healthy” and “unhealthy”. Why is this?   It turns out “Healthy” is primarily a marketing tool as it excites the majority to “consume more”.   Luckily for marketers, we are prime targets to store all of their information.

Our minds perform a procedure known as chunking where we store nearly everything we hear/see.  However, due to lack of mental organization we have aggregated an immense amount of thoughts.  Have you ever seen a flooded email box?   Your mind isn’t much different.  In fact, it’s much worse.

Our mind has become an unorganized email system of “healthy” & “unhealthy” ideas. 

  • We’re all on “auto-response”- we’re quite comfortable “auto-responding” with comments such as “that looks healthy” or “that’s not healthy!”.  These verbal impulsive comments are only accepted in society because everyone else does the same thing.
  • You’ve got mail!- we think about food & beverages 200-300 times a day, resulting in information overload. (non-dieters on the low-end with the obese and health phenoms at the high end of the range)*   So that little icon you see on your desktop (your mind) will keep growing.  It’s going to be up to you whether you organize this information in a positive and useful manner.

Are you actually considering how something works for you?  Or are you purely just a storage center for marketing ideas?  Make your move.

The Solution:

  • Take everything you hear with a grain of salt-  this will help start a primary “filter” for your mind.  Perhaps you can label a folder,  “Healthy non-sense” and start auto-forwarding 90% of what you hear in there.
  • Consider going on a fast to re-establish your relationship with food.  Get up in the morning, have some black coffee and push on til the afternoon without eating anything.  Write down all the things that made you hungry.  What really makes your mind jump?
  • Don’t be so judgemental of your meals.  Try to enjoy it instead of “putting the food on the pedestal” and labeling it as “healthy” vs. “unhealthy”.

Closing remarks:  organize your thoughts so you can start to make some great decisions.  After all, healthy isn’t just the act of consuming healthy things..it’s about finding a balance.   Learn to take what you hear with a grain of salt and more importantly apply it to your life in a positive manner.

If someone happens to ask you, is that healthy?  Just say, I’m not qualified to answer that, you’re going to have to call someone in marketing.

*A note on the obese and health phenoms thinking about food equally:  I would say being a “health phenom” isn’t mentally healthy. You shouldn’t be obsessive over food or your diet.  After all, mental health is a huge part of the battle.  You should be towards the lower end of the “food and beverage thought range”.    Do what works for you and simply enjoy your meals/beverages.  It should be that easy. No?

 

 

Fasting is Euphoric

Fasting is a term to describe a period of deliberately restricting food intake.  Fasting increasing longevity and is also an avid fat burner.  It has shown enhancement in mood and in some studies to a euphoric state.  Right now 14% of the US population integrates “intermittent fasting”(9) while  it’s a bit higher in Germany at 15-20% (10).  Perhaps you can join this growing group of innovators?

If you are looking to open your mind, re-visit happy memories and enjoy the moment  you’ve come to right place.   Fasting creates a strong physiological stimulus that induces pronounced positive feelings. (1,2, 11).  With that let’s get you started on a simple yet effective plan to reel in the positive mindset.   This post dives into the scientific literature while creating a 4-step protocol simultaneously.

The 4-step Euphoric Fasting Protocol:

Step 1- Get Depleted (i.e., Don’t eat for 12-24 hours):  Depletion is the essential first step of euphoric fasting as it is a precursor to neuroendocrine activation (NA)  or “opening of the mind.”  The main factors that initiate “NA ” are decreased brain glucose availability, leptin and insulin depletion, and perceived hunger.  (3,4).   Depending on how big your most recent meal was will determine how long the depletion period will be.

For example, if you eat dinner followed by sleeping through the night may be “depleted” by brunch time.  For others, pushing on til lunch or later may be required if you “ate up” last night.   Working out also speeds up the depletion processDepending on intensity, you could deplete glycogen stores in 1-2hrs.(13)  This is why I skimboard during my fasts.   I also go on long walks with feel good music.  It’s a nice way to deplete resources as I enter into a euphoric fasted state.

Step 2- Prepare for mind activation: With depletion comes the “NA” of endorphins(5), noradrenaline(1), adrenaline (1) creating a euphoric like effect.   Most people can relate to “adrenaline” as it’s the feeling you get in response to an exciting quick turn of events.  Endorphins are”endogenous  opioids”  which are psychoactive chemicals released from the pituatary gland, creating a feeling of well-being.  We can all relate to this as it’s that good feeling you get after a workout.

Consider having a coffee or green tea, as you become more sensitive to them during a fast.  This is primarily due to the blood pressure lowering effect of fasting. (6)  I wouldn’t abuse the caffeine as you may have some shaky hands during your fast.  (14).  I usually have a cup of black coffee to start the fast and then consider a second cup mid-day.

Step 3- Let fasting “grow your mind” :  Luckily, fasting increases BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factors) which in turn activates the serotonergenic system which enhances learning, memory and also promotes neurogenesis (7,8). (this is the process by which your brain gives birth to new neurons).  This is why so many people come up with great ideas during fasts.

Step 4-  End the fast:  Fasting is awesome however it needs to come to an end at some point.  Men can typically fast a little longer so consider a 15-24 fast.  Women are a little bit more sensitive so perhaps a 12-18hr fast.  Usually once your euphoria peaks it’s a good sign to end the fast.  After all, long term fasting will result in a decline of many of these feel great hormones. (12)

My Euphoric Fast:

I woke up on a Sunday and proceeded for a long walk on the beach with a black coffee.  My last meal the night before was around midnight with some friends.  Around noon I had some green tea followed by some skimboarding along the coast.  The focus and positive vibes started to settle in.  After a few runs I was beginning to really feel the endorphin & adrenaline kick.  From here, I pushed on to do some research poolside for a few hours.

Around 5 30pm the “euphoric fast” had settled in.    This is where the idea of “co-existence***” came to me.  This fast “balanced out my system” to all the great meals I had during the week.

I decided to break the fast with a normal meal consisting of various vegetables, cottage cheese, turkey and a mixed bean & olive oil salad.  Interestingly, this awesome mood followed me after breaking the fast all the way until bed time.  (The euphoria didn’t just end with dinner).

Since I was feeling so good I decided to meet up with some friends for a night out.  There was a great sense of clarity throughout the night, as I felt sharp and smart with my words.  Further,  everything seemed funnier than normal as many conversations lead to bouts of hedonic laughter.

This made me realize that fasting goes way beyond the fat loss, health benefits and longevity.  It’s a great tool to help you enjoy your life.

Fasting is euphoric.

-Johnny Gotm

References

1. Palmblad J, Levi L, Burger A, et al.: Effects of total energywithdrawal (fasting) on the levels of growth hormone, thyrotropin, cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, T4, T3 and rT3 in healthy males. Acta Med Scand 1977, 201:15–22.

2. Michalsen A, Kuhlmann MK, Lüdtke R, et al.: Prolonged fasting in patients with chronic pain syndromes leads to late mood-enhancement not related to weight loss and fasting-induced leptin depletion. Nutr Neurosci 2006, 9:195 *

3. Bergendahl M, Evans WS, Pastor C, et al.: Short-term fasting suppresses leptin and (conversely) activates disorderly growthhormone secretion in midluteal phase women: a clinical research center study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999, 84:883–894.

4. Ahima RS, Prabakaran D, Mantzoros C, et al.: Role of leptin in the neuroendocrine response to fasting. Nature 1996, 382:250–252

5. Komaki G, Tamai H, Sumioki H, et al.: Plasma beta-endorphin during fasting in man. Horm Res 1990, 33:239–243.

6. Maoz E, Shamiss A, Peleg E, et al.: The role of atrial natriureticpeptide in natriuresis of fasting. J Hypertens 1992, 10:1041–1044.

7.Rumajogee P, Madeira A, Vergé D, et al.: Up-regulation of the neuronal serotoninergic phenotype in vitro: BDNF and cAMP share Trk B-dependent mechanisms. J Neurochem 2002, 83:1525

8. Buhot, Marie-Christine, Stéphanie Martin, and Louis Segu. “Role of serotonin in memory impairment.” Annals of medicine 32.3 (2000): 210-221.

9. Johnstone AM: Fasting: the ultimate diet? Obes Rev 2007, 8:211222.

10. Stange R, Amhof R, Moebus S: Complementary and alternative medicine: attitudes and patterns of use by German physicians in a national survey. J Altern Complement Med 2008, 14:12551261.

11.Michalsen A, Weidenhammer W, Melchart D, et al. Short-term therapeutic fasting in the treatment of chronic pain and fatigue syndromes: well-being and side effects with and without mineralsupplements [in German]. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2002, 9:221-227*

12. 36. Göhler L, Hahnemann T, Michael N, et al.: Reduction of plasma catecholamines in humans during clinically controlled severe underfeeding. Prev Med 2000, 30:95-102**

13.  Saltin, B., and J. Karlsson. “Muscle glycogen utilization during work of different intensities.” Muscle metabolism during exercise. Springer US, 1971. 289-299.

14. Wharrad, H. J., et al. “The influence of fasting and of caffeine intake on finger tremor.” European journal of clinical pharmacology 29.1 (1985): 37-43.

Research comments:

*Fasting is used for chronic pain treatment.  There was also a documented  rise in mood in for these patients.

**The study speaks specifically of catecholomines.  Three major catecholomines are adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine which play an integral role in feeling good.

***Co-existence (5 intriguing questions)

Continue reading

How to take advantage of your dopamine system

Why do we need to take advantage of our dopamine system?
  • Our dopamine system was put in place as an evolutionary trait to make us feel good around actions that could potentially pass along our DNA.  Since food is a primary requirement we do indeed feel good when our meals “hit the spot.”
  • As such, having well-timed meals that “hit the spot” make us feel happy via positive affect. (Consummatory PA, i.e. C-PA)
  • We also have positive emotions associated with anticipations of these meals such as “I’m excited for dinner tonight”. (Appetitive PA, i.e. A-PA)
 
How to take advantage of your dopamine system:
  • Having a cyclical lifestyle allows you to maximize consummatory and appetitive PA (both trigger dopamine)
  • Create a balance of anticipation & actual consumption of your rewards (you can’t always just have more now)
  • Follow a plan such as “Eat Less, Enjoy More” tailored to you, maximizing A-PA & C-PA.

Eating Less/Getting Things Done can have positive emotions too:

  • Dopamine D1 & D2 are “the drivers” to your actions.
  • Eating less is a appetitive/anticipatory action of “enjoying more”.  As such, there are positive emotions associated with eating less.
  • You become driven to get things done because conquering work allows you to reap social reward.
“A cyclical lifestyle such as “Eat Less, Enjoy More” is optimal in terms of augmenting positive feelings.”
Dopamine release via Memphis BBQ:  It’s intriguing how our brains anticipate these rewards before they come along.  I played a mind game to test this theory.   I had a really hard workout in Memphis on a business trip.   One that was deserving of an “enjoy more” meal.  However, I convinced myself (really believed) that I was going to just “eat light”.  Out of nowhere, my mood wasn’t in the best place as I was in the car about to go pick up some typical “eat less” items from the grocery store.  Next I flipped the switch and said “I’m headed to the BBQ”.   As I was driving the music just became that much better, I started hooting and hollering in joy.  What had happened is my limbic system had kicked in the dopamine in anticipation of the reward.  So we can conclude that eating up and the thought of eating up makes us happy.
Enjoying More creates consummatory positive affect while Eating Less creates anticipatory positive affect.  Balancing the two in a manner that fits you is optimal for life as we know it.  You’ll smile more too.”