Winter is coming. And I have here two healthy habits for the winter season. Cold therapy and intermittent fasting.
For some it is time of winter depression – oh the summer is definitely over! I heard people say. But for some, it is a time of new vigor. It’s the magical season that can bring you back to yourself more than ever! Summer is full of vacations, procrastination, the blood is hot and we are all lazy to start big projects and endeavors. Well maybe not, people are different. But where I am going with this is that even the winter can be a season where you recharge your batteries and recover your zeal for life. Summer is charging you with vitamin D. Oh well, then supplement vitamin D! But the winter is pulverizing our lethargy and is urging us to move forward. Your body says: Move!
When the winter comes, two things are on my mind – cold therapy and intermittent Fasting.
It’s Cold in the Winter
Ever since I got to know this guy I was obliged to throw away my jackets and long live the shorts. He claimed to have developed a method, which is honestly just hyperventilation, cold therapy, and commitment. The last one of the three has made a significant impression on me, because we do have to believe in something, and I think even dogmatically. So God helps us it is something commonly good that takes us closer to ourselves and nature.
Meeting Wim Hof in Bratislava was sort of like attending the church or rather some sectarian jamboree staring the Iceman. He was communicating non – verbally like a shaman, spreading determination and pure belief for his cause. And I am not like a guy who is blinded by idols, but I sense the benefits that come from following him. He speaks for coming back to our senses and body. Maybe in his own cruel way – putting us attendees to take a bath in 4 degree Celsius water. It is freaking cold in 4 degree Celsius bath, I tell you. But you can make it! Especially when it’s hyped environment around and it is collective in action.
But nature is cruel itself. Once it was very tough out there to survive in nature. It was not this materialistic wonderland (for some). Nature is cruel but righteous. If you think of it the only truth and justice come from nature. Like that we die someday. That counts for everybody.
Is the cold good for your health? You can read some of the benefits of cold showers. There it goes, stress relief, depression ceased, alertness enhanced and so on. I am not even thinking about that stuff. I am just doing it, every morning as a habit. And if I am not like taking the shower in the morning, I just go out in the short-sleeved T-shirt, when it’s freezing outside I do it.
Most of the benefits of cold therapy come down to cardiovascular circulation. As cold water hits the body, it’s ability to get blood circulating leads the arteries to more efficiently blood pump, therefore boosting our overall heart health. Wim Hof also believes you can take control of your immune system, thus making it more effective. You know, mind over matter. Empirical data suggest that people who are more resistant to cold are not getting flues that often, or their recuperation period is set to minimum.
One clear benefit of exposing yourself to cold is that your body needs to produce more heat. That seems like something that is clear and given, doesn’t it? Your body needs to produce more heat and needs to burn more energy. So, in fact, I think winter is even better to lose some of that overweight kilos to summer. Of course in the summer we are intrigued socially to lose some weight because of bikini season. But still, why do we end up fail up doing so? Exposing ourselves to cold creates brown fat. Tissue that is used to heat up our bodies. There is a good article written about brown fat here.
But screw the cardiovascular, stress resistant, fat loss or any other. Embrace the cold and feel it, like there is no escape from it. You do not need to escape, maybe it’s just time to embrace it and find the way closer to yourself. When you are out there in the short-sleeved T-shirt when it’s freaking freezing outside.
Instead of finding a heat immediately and think that you are focking freezing, just breathe! 100 x deep breathes will do. Our aim is to be more vigorous, sensual and creative. Use cold to get closer to your self and instead of that mortgage – freaking little mind – voice bullshit, focus on breathing in the cold. Another way how to get closer to yourself and find energy in the winter is eating habit. Try intermittent fasting.
I am sure you have been there. Vegetarian diets; Low – carbs diets; Low – calorie diets; Low – fats diets; Crash diets; Detox diets; Religious (religion based) diets; All-time, same mission. Lose some weight and feel great. I used to be up to low – carbs diet and I am not a friend of sugar in general. Dr. Mark Hyman, the sugar warrior, can tell me it all, I am swallowing all his articles and talks.
If there is a sugar Kill from a diet talk, I am in the first row. The whole 30 diet is my piece of cake also. The closest we can get to raw, natural foods and nutrition, the better I believe. But I also must confess that I am never 100% consistent. Have you ever tried not eating carbs at all, like under 20g per day? Try not to eat carbs for two days and then drive around Mcdonalds each day, what will happen. Oh, such a craving, it’s infuriating! So I eat what I want. If only it’s eating like a tiger.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat. It’s not a hard concept to explain. It’s harder to execute. But it’s not as hard as diet, at least not for me. You eat what do you want, then pause from 8 – 24 hours. Most of the time you eat twice. I decided to skip breakfast and have my first meal at around 12 am. This is a big commitment for me since I am a breakfast guy. I l love the food typically served on breakfast. And I love to eat a lot of breakfast, like my main dish of the day. But I figured out that it would be a good pattern to skip the breakfast. I was eating breakfast alone anyway, and my wife is actually happier since I do not make any noise in the Morning preparing them.
But, there are more regimes you can try.
I got to know about IF method from James clear.
The more about the method and lifestyle of eating you can find here.
What I love about this method is that highly customizable to your regime and needs.
Different IF regimes
So, the principle of intermittent fasting is quite clear by now. You feast, you take 16 hours break you eat again, and then you take a break again, 8 hours if possible.
There are different regimes you can take and you can even prolong your fasting up to 3 days, which is known as Tim Ferris 3 day fasting.
In three days your digestive system can clean itself substantially. Your senses will go up, you will be full of energy (quite contradictory, isn’t it?)
I use an app called VORA, which is a simple app that just shows you how much time you’ve been without a food.
It’s a simple app, just tracks your time. You could do it by doing simple math, but you know, you got an app for that.
I want to encourage you to look at the different IF regimes and experiment for yourself, which one suits you the best.
You will see that soon you progress from 16 hours regime to 24, maybe 36 and maybe even two whole days without a food, ouch!
Keep being busy when fasting
When you are a fasting you got to keep yourself being busy. Eating takes a lot of time for us, especially when you are preparing your own meal.
If you get rid of it suddenly you’ll get at least two hours plus to do something else.
And you’ll be surprised how much energy you get when your brain is not preoccupied with digesting. How much does digesting take of your capacities 20 – 30% even more?
Food cravings will come though. We are used to eating according to meta-narrative stories of metabolism – 5 meals a day and so on.
Cravings, what hurts is to be attenuated. I am sure you have heard that your best friend when fasting is tea.
This is the tea I am using and I can’t say enough, how much I love it when my stomach is totally empty.
But, I guess the point I wanted to say here is that. Don’t worry to ignite and clean up that garage you’ve long been procrastinating to do so. Or just don’t skip off being productive at the office, because now it’s actually time to compensate and stay active.
You will see that you’ll actually have more energy to do stuff. At least that’s my experience.
Cold therapy and intermittent fasting – here we go!