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    Ask Me Anything - November

    It's time. I am yours to ask. So whatever has been on your mind of late, fire away. Need I say more?


    #2
    Any tips on how to fight the urge to eat? I am now trying to lose some weight (I am just around one kg above my highest acceptable BMI), started the Combat HIIT program (which helped me with this goal a few times before), I am trying to eat three times a day, reasonable portions, not starving myself, but still have problems with not snacking between meals.

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      #3
      Negras first, congratulations in an excellent, steady approach to getting to your goal. Now, the craving for food between meals that you experience is quite common and although you will need to work out your own best strategy for dealing with it I can give you some guidelines backed by science. There are two elements to it. One is physical. The other one is mental. They are linked. Obviously you're not starving so there is no real reason for your body to want you to eat between meals. It does so because food provides a sense of comfort that leads to a dopamine spike in the brain. Dopamine activates our reward system and drives our motivation so basically when you experience a craving for snacks you are battling your own motivation which is telling you to do whatever it takes to actually grab a snack.

      So no wonder it is a problem and congratulations on managing to resist it at least a few times. A 2013 study that looked at "craving regulation" showed that when you fight a craving, long-term you reduce your ability to control it and eventually it will wear you down. Craving-acceptance, as a strategy, according to the study delivered the best long-term results. Basically you accept that the craving, this time, is too strong to resist. You eat what your craving was for but you reduce the amount and just move on. That seems to make the craving less and less, over time, so that it goes away. The difficult part here is to be disciplined enough to accept a small portion of a snack as sufficient. All this is the physical side.

      The mental side to cravings is also fascinating and part of the solution we seek. Basically when you crave something and you resist it what you are actually trying to do is paying attention to it. It's like me saying here "Don't think of a pink elephant" - before I said it you weren't thinking it but now you actually are even though I specifically instructed you to nor think of a pink elephant. Basically in order for is to "not think" about something we have to actually first think about it and then put in place a menta filter (our brain automatically constructs this) that tries to block it. The more we think of something we think we shouldn't be thinking about, the more mental energy and neurochemical resources are being used up. On a day when you have to deal with daily stress and daily problems in addition to your craving for snacks you have set yourself up to fail because you simply haven't got sufficient mental resources to deal with it.

      You can check out this piece here on how paying attention is energy intensive and can be sapped by stress and other adverse environmental conditions. The link between eating, the dopamine response and how we feel afterwards was further backed up by a 2018 study that used data that linked hedonic hunger (i.e. eating for pleasure) and the BMIS Index. That study is here.

      All of this however also provide us with the key to successfully controlling your craving to snack. The key things you want to achieve are two: First, a reduction of the craving itself (which means a reduction to the dopamine response in the brain that leads to it) and second, a reduction of your brain's focus on the craving (which means a successful diversion of attention).

      So, a successful strategy would include some or all of these elements:

      1. Craving regulation via craving acceptance: give in to the craving but significantly reduce the amount of the snack.
      2. Attention diversion: when you experience craving for a snack divert your attention away from it by taking a walk, for example, and focusing on what you experience (i.e. the air, the surroundings, the feeling of the sun on your face, etc)

      It may also help to note when the craving come. Are they triggered by a particular event or feeling that is stress-related? If so the walk should be your go-to strategy. If you cannot go for a walk you will need to find a way to de-stress that is not food related.

      I hope this helps a little.

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        #4
        Great, thank you for the quick response. Some great advice there. I will try to use the mentioned techniques.

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          #5
          I've noticed some of the workouts lately have five or seven exercises rather than the usual nine or six. That made me wonder, especially with so many workouts in the database now, what goes into the decision making of each individual workout? How do you decide which exercises to include, rep counts, number of exercises etc? I know you do a lot of testing before they're released but I'm curious about the initial development and how you keep making different workouts.

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            #6
            Negras Chewing flavoured low calorie gum (artificial sugars)- feels like a sweet dessert

            Water- fills you up a bit for a few minutes and dilutes the gastric acid

            Warm water/tea- tricks your hunger for a few more minutes when providing all that warm comfort to your belly

            Plenty of low cal foods to go with your meal or as stand-alone snacks to fill you up- think of mushrooms, salads, fruits, some legumes

            Moving your attention to something else when feeling the hunger pangs, such as cleaning a room. Your house will soon be even more spotless

            Watching mukbang videos do help many go through their diets, believe it or not- eg Erik the Electric on YouTube

            Besides gum, my personal favorite is not keeping in the house any extremely delicious food at all and just buying junk food rarely and not in bulk. I eat most food bland, got used to, it s not that bad plus it makes me appreciate its real non altered taste more.

            And just as Damer said, everything in moderation cause there needs to be a balance, like everything in life. One that can t master moderation, is fu*ked. I sure know I don t )
            ​​

            Comment


              #7
              Zastria thank you so much for asking this. Because DAREBEE does so much field testing before a workout is released (typically three months from start to finish for a single workout and six to twelve months for a program) we are plugged into the real world. What we do, as a result, is directly responsive to the needs of our audience and it comes through the feedback we receive. The last couple of years have been extremely trying for everyone. The world around us seems to have gone a little crazy. The pandemic and climate change pose threats which we cannot really ignore. They are always there, in the background and that raises the general anxiety level we experience even if we are not 100% aware of it. This impacts the way we exercise and also the willingness we have to exercise. As the pandemic unfolded we saw a reluctance for people, across the world, to engage with exercise even though they fully understand how important it is for their mental and physical health. As a result we redesigned our workouts to decrease the initial perception barrier in terms of accessibility and difficulty.

              Each workout is a complex synthesis of exercises that help develop specific physical attributes: dexterity, strength, speed. But each one also contributes to underlying physical attributes such as cardiovascular fitness, aerobic fitness, the development of central nervous system (CNS) responses, all of which make us healthier not just physically but also mentally. These are the initial stages of a workout before it gets to testing for flow, accessibility and the ability to be performed by more than just a narrow demographic. We incorporate feedback and change each one accordingly to make sure it delivers specific health and fitness benefits while it is still enjoyable.

              I hope this has answered your question.

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                #8
                Hi! I've always wanted to know about the wim hof method! Can you explain why breath like this?

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                  #9
                  This is kind of a broad question, but I was wondering about your opinion on outdoor exercise parks. I am using these a lot at the moment, mostly out of need as I do not have a permanent method of doing pullups. Granted the pullup bars are generally the same every, but I wonder about some of the other equipment that I see there. Basically I am wondering if the equipment is more along the lines of stuff that is there because it can survive outside versus equipment that is generally useful for exercise.

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                    #10
                    Ooh, I just love Question Time! Here's mine. As usual, it's all about me! My quads are pretty good and I've been working on strengthening my hamstrings and glutes. Now I read that to increase leg height, I need to increase the strength in the hip flexors, especially iliopsoas. How do I go about this? How do I "isolate" or "focus on" my iliopsoas?

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Damer View Post
                      As a result we redesigned our workouts to decrease the initial perception barrier in terms of accessibility and difficulty.
                      Thank you for your answer I really appreciate this change. I like exercise, I want to do it but getting started with each workout and set can be difficult so I've enjoyed having the newer workouts with less exercises and it makes it easier mentally and physically.

                      Also, I wanted to have a look for an extra hand workout to add to my stretching and the first thing on the workout page is Keyboard Warrior. It's perfect for what I wanted and is now going in the middle of my phone home screen so I can be reminded it to do it regularly. It's getting spooky how often you guys make exactly what I need when I need it

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                        #12
                        facuzayas such a short question which requires such a long answer to do it justice!

                        The WimHof method uses cryotherapy to reduce inflammation in the body and speed-up healing and recovery in tissue. We have anecdotal accounts on the health benefits of cryotherapy from athletes but no real in-depth studies so its mechanism is not yet understood. But you really ask about one aspect of the WimHof method which is the preparation of the body for immersion in freezing or near-freezing water through breathing exercises.

                        Now this is the part of the WimHof method that science understands much better. The WimHof breathing method, which anyone can learn, consists of taking a number of very deep breaths very fast, followed by a number of shallow breaths which we hold as possible, followed by 'recovery' breathing. WimHof himself explains it on his website. Taking deep, measured breaths oxygenates the blood, reduces the load on the cardiac muscle, lowers blood cortizol levels and induces a sense of euphoria. This is why we have Breathing Techniques For Anxiety at Darebee, this article, in particular, explains the brain-body loop that is activated by controlled, deep breathing. Breathing correctly also helps with workouts and, helps with sustained physical activity of any kind.

                        But taking deep breaths does a lot more than just oxygenate the blood. It also changes its acidity (pH) to alcaline. This inhibits the acidosis of blood that happens due to extreme or prolonged metabolic activity and increases the length of the anaerobic cycle. A 2021 study on this which was pioneered on sprinters can be found here. Although the sprinters didn't show any improvement of their physical abilities after one session of WimHof breathing they reported psychological and emotional benefits.

                        A Smithsonian magazine article from 2018 details WimHof's extraordinary physical feats and attempts to explain how it is possible. Part of that explanation is found in a 2014 study which looked at the links between voluntary control of our breathing and the impact it has on the body's immune response. The basic science is that deep breathing activates a number of neurochemical changes in the body (including the brain) which, in turn, suppress the immune response, reduce tissue inflammation and oxidative stress and allow us to feel good and work with little seeming stress in adverse conditions.

                        I hope this helps you understand this better.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          CaptainCanuck you pretty much answered your own question here . If you think back to your military experience everything is done to the point of being "good enough" as opposed to being optimal. Outdoor environments call for robust equipment whose moving parts are easy to replace or repair. So although from an ergonomic point of view the set up is usually solid, you will not get the more specialized resistance settings that an enclosed environment (like a home or a gym) with access to good equipment permits. Having said that, bodyweight exercises are the same regardless because the body's weight is a constant and, when it comes to using outdoor equipment, think of going volume in order to compensate for the far lower resistance levels they supply.

                          I really hope this helps.

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                            #14
                            TopNotch I take it by "leg height" you are really referring to jumping higher. Strengthening our hip flexors requires workouts that target them. In The Hive there was a discussion about this some time back and a number of helpful workouts were mentioned. That thread is here. In addition we have a guide to jumping higher and running faster here.

                            I hope this answers your question.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Question on intermittent fasting: the guide here on Darebee explains the science behind it very well (thank you for that!) and it ends by saying that incorporating it "from time to time" in our life is healthy.

                              But what is "from time to time"? For how many days, and how often?

                              I'm asking because I did it for a week (8-16) and lost 3kg, but that cannot be a healthy rate in the long run. I don't want to overdo it and get into starvation mode so that the moment I start eating normal again I gain all the lost weight.

                              Thanks!

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