104 posts categorized "Health and Fitness"

Get Rid of the Scale!

No need for a scale
How would you like to save money, look better, feel better, be stronger and fit into clothes that you haven't been able to get into for the last year? Is that all possible? You bet!

Modern fad diets want you to assess yourself by the weight you lose. They tell you to invest in a good, accurate digital scale.

Coach Lazer says save your money. Instead of the scale, invest in tape measure and a few dumbbells or kettlebells. Instead of the fad low-fat diet foods (all junk and chemicals), invest in high-quality veggies and organic sources of protein. 

Most people want to lose weight, and they want to do it effortlessly. There's one major problem with "effortless" weight loss: one loses hard-earned muscle mass, and the strength and metabolic advantages that accompany it. That's not something you want to do: muscles play a pivotal role in boosting our metabolism and immune system, as well as increasing bone strength and actually facilitating weight loss. How? Muscles burn 250% more calories that fat does!

The better way to measure your body is to go by the breadth of your waistline (tightness of your clothes or the hole in your belt), rather than using the scale. The reason is that muscle is 22% more dense than fat. In other words, you could theoretically have two people of the same height; they weigh the same, but one is chubby with a 38" waistline and the other is fit with a 34" waistline. The fit guy is much thinner than his flabby friend, but his muscle weighs more.

Modern fad diets lead to surrendering strategic and vital areas of the body. It's no problem to lose weight – the body is willing to surrender muscle mass with ease; that's not what we want! We want to burn fat.

So what do we do to burn fat? See my feature article, Waistline or Weight?, in this week's new issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - Sensitive to Others

Rabbi Nissan Dovid Kivak - Why Uman?

Dr. Zev Ballen - My Way or the Highway

Racheli Reckles - Choose Life

Yehudit Channen - R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

David Ben Horin - The Curious Case of Nesha Ruther

Lori Steiner - Our True Task

Enjoy, and have a lovely new week!


The Beams Program for Beating Arthritis

No Arthritis
Arthritis sufferers - with Hashem's everloving grace, here's great news: You can beat the rap of arthritis without doctors, without pills, and with virtually no added expense.

Here's the scoop: Since a healthy soul needs a healthy body, I always incorporate recommendations for proper diet and exercise in my spiritual and emotional counseling. During the past six months, I've been in contact with three different people (24 year-old male, 58 yr. old female, 62 yr. old male), who had been suffering from severe depression on one hand, and arthritis on the other. All three have made remarkable progress. Milton (62, from Melbourne) writes:

I would never have believed it! At first (please excuse me), I thought you were crazy, rabbi. But, when you second-guessed everything I was eating, I thought "my, this man knows something." Fortunately, I no longer need steroids, and my situation is not autoimmune like the doctors said. It's a crime if you don't share your painless plan with the whole world. I'm grateful to your website, to you, and to Hashem. May you be blessed in every single way. With sincere thanks, Milton M.

With Hashem's help, you're going to be smiling too. Here's my plan - please follow the entire scheme, for it incorporates the mutual effort of body and soul:

1. From this moment on, no diet beverages or artificial sweeteners of any kind - they are direct causes of joint pain and degeneration.

2. Drastically lower - better yet, eliminate -  your intake of added salt and white sugar - they bleed the body of calcium.

3. Increase your calcium intake. Alfalfa sprouts, sardines, organic tehina, and almonds are especially high in calcium.

4. Raise your body's pH by eating less acidic foods. Alcohol and fried foods should be eliminated from your diet. Eat more vegetables. Junk food is totally taboo - they all contain trans fats, refined grains and MSG, all of which are poison for arthritis.

5. Get as much Omega3 as possible; fish and flaxseed (ground fresh, 2 teaspoons a day, added to yogurt or branflakes) are perfect for this.

6. Move over from white sugar and flour to whole wheat grains/breads and natural cane sugar.

7. Up your natural vitamin E intake - lettuce and wheat germ (2 teaspoons a day, added to yogurt or branflakes)will do the job. Unroasted sunflower seeds are also a terrific source of Vitamin E.

8. Do 5-10 minutes of light stretching and flexing exercises when you wake up and before you go to bed.

9. Walk for at least 30 (Preferably 60) minutes a day, while asking Hashem to cure you and to help you correct your soul.

10. Wash your hands 3 times consecutively as soon as you wake up in the morning.

11. Be careful to make a proper blessing before and after eating.

12. Give a coin to charity every day, then say Psalm 91. For those who seek a faster recovery, say Psalms 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150 (the "Tikkun Klali").

If you follow the above advice to the letter, you'll also trim out and feel younger. Go for it, it works!


An Insight into Emuna Fitness

People who don't know me often say, "Hey, you don't look like a fitness trainer! Why don't you stick to being a rabbi?"

Two answers to the above comment: First, I'm not a YouTube trainer that wants to show off my six-pack abs and flaunt what he can do but what you can't. Second, following in the tradition of our forefather Jacob who outwrestled an angel, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, who was both a juggler and a gymnast who could do pushups on his thumbs alone (see tractate Succoth 53a), Maimonides and many other great sages, coaching people in physical well-being is an integral part of spiritual leadership.

Emuna Fitness is harmony of body and soul. What good is a perfect figure or 21" biceps if you suffer from anxiety and depression?

In my years of athletic experience, training in all different types of sports from running to weight training to wrestling and combat arts, I went through a vicious cycle of approaching what I thought was my peak fitness, then suffering a big setback of an injury or flu. I was repeatedly burning myself out rather than building myself up. Even while learning to become a fitness trainer and health coach, most of my teachers were teaching me the same methods that didn't lead to the results I was looking for.

With Hashem's help, I came to the conclusion that true fitness is the optimum state of body-soul well-being, when physical and emotional ills disappear and a person functions at his or her best. This is opposed to the person who wins the marathon, then spends the next two weeks recuperating in the hospital. With emuna fitness, your goal is not to run the 42 kilometers, to build the massive triceps or to become the aerobic-dance queen who is so carbo-starved after her workout that she eats twice the carbs that she burned. Your goal is to feel good so that you can serve Hashem more efficiently and happily...

I came to the conclusion that emuna fitness is functional fitness. Functional fitness means that you function effectively: despite your age, you can run, walk, climb and lift as you need to. It also means that your body is free of disease and your soul and emotions are free of their diseases - worry, anger, anxiety, worry, depression, jealousy and other negative emotions.

Emuna fitness, which addresses diet, disease prevention, exercise and lifestyle, is therefore the epitome of fitness, the true holistic balance of a healthy body in perfect harmony with a healthy soul.

Enjoy this 90-second video explanation:


THE #1 WEIGHT LOSS SECRET TO LOSING WEIGHT

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How great is this pic?!

Yehuda looks like he had a great time riding on Rav Brody's shoulders, doesn't he? Rav Brody... not so much.

Just kidding. This picture made me think about the Kentucky Derby, where professional jockeys race along their merry way on some of the fastest and strongest horses in the world. I'm wondering if Yehuda sneaked in a kick to the ribs to get Rav Brody to jump around higher. Seriously. You can't believe how much he was jumping with this boy on his shoulders. Rock solid, baby. 

Not sure who I was referring to there, but whatever. The bar mitzvah was AWESOME, and I truly appreciate all of your well wishes. G-d willing our second son will be a bar mitzvah in two years, so book your plane tickets now!

Or is it three years? 

So all this eating has made me never want to see food again, at least for the next 2 hours. Which brings me to the National Enquirer-style topic of this post.

I am about to reveal to you the BEST way to supercharge your weight loss, NO MATTER WHAT YOU EAT!

Is the all caps thing getting annoying? 

This secret can be summed up in two fancy words: intermittent fasting. 

In other words: stop eating. Or don't eat. Pick any combination you like. 

Now David is on the IF kick, and I gotta tell you I find it so annoying. Because when I started doing it a year ago, he didn't want to hear about it. Because I was doing it.

But once he read more from "experts," well then, he was all too happy to jump on the bandwagon! I am personally insulted. I'm not kidding. Really.

Here are a few awesome benefits of IF:

-Low insulin levels: this helps the body get into fat-burning mode. If your insulin is high, you will store the calories you eat as fat, otherwise known as fat-storing mode. I like to call it hibernation mode, which incidentally is what I'd like to be doing right now.

-Cellular repair: Your body can rest from the constant stress of digestion and focus on fixing itself. It also removes waste material from cells.

-Gene expression: Genes are like a switch. They can be turned on and off, primarily depending on environmental factors, not genetic factors as most people believe. So, if you stop stuffing your face for two minutes, your body can focus on turning on the good genes and fixing the Incredible Hulk mutant evil GMO Monsanto genes. This can help you live longer and reduce disease.

Getting healthy is all nice and all (sorry for the redundancy,) but let's talk about the most important benefit: losing weight.  

IF helps increase the body's breakdown of fat and raises your metabolism, which helps you burn even more calories when you eat. If you do it right, you will supercharge your weight loss and have tons of energy.

I suggest you read up on my favorite website about it, dietdoctor.com. In the meantime, here are a few tips to get you started:

Start out with 16 hours on, 8 hours off. Meaning, 16 hours you can eat, 8 hours you fast. That should be pretty easy considering you can schedule those 8 hours during sleep. 

Then move to 12 on, 12 off. If you feel comfortable with that, do 16 off, 8 on. And finally, you can do a full 24 hour fast once in a while. Some do once a month, others do up to once a week. The crazies do 3, 4, even 7 day fasts. Seriously?! I ain't recommending that! 

Here's the thing: while you're in your eating window, eat until you're satisfied. But! Even though I said you can still lose weight while eating what you want, don't stuff yourself with garbage!

Eat healthy fats, limit the dairy, limit the sugar, and keep the carbs down to below 100 grams a day. Below 50 grams will make your tummy go bye-bye in no time! You can read more specifics on the dietdoctor site. 

During your fast, you can drink black coffee, tea, and please drink plenty of water! If you must, you can add a splash of milk to your coffee. 

IF is excellent for everyone, including people who have plateaued in their weight loss. This will get your fat-burning engine out of neutral and into high gear! I know, that was so cheesy. Sorry.

HOWEVER! There are people who should NOT do IF. Please refer to the website to find out if you're one of those people. I don't want to have to say I told you so, even though I LOVE saying those words. They're probably my favorite words in the whole world, right along with "I was RIGHT!" I guess they're kind of the same thing, huh. 

Try it for two weeks and let me know how you're doing! Send me a pic of you holding someone else's pants or skirt that's like 10 sizes too big to make it look like you lost a bunch of weight. I LOVE those pics! 

Oh, and I just thought of a spiritual benefit to IF. It helps you take control over your desire to eat. It's not easy to willingly not eat, especially when you really want to eat. You'll see that as you do this longer, you will actually have less of a desire to eat, which is a great thing - both spiritually and physically.

Please send all donations to my "Post Bar Mitzvah Urgent Vacation" Fund. I'm talking URGENT!

Have a wonderful, almost food-free day! AND I APOLOGIZE FOR THE ANNOYING ALL CAPS.

~Racheli


Kilo by Kilo

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Check it. 

This is my favorite machine at the gym. It's called the Scrunch machine (I think) and it's a great ab workout. In fact, it's way better than a regular crunch or a sit-up, which actually does nothing to flatten your stomach. Yup. You heard me. It's just great marketing. 

A crunch barely has any range of motion and actually uses your back muscles as much as your stomach muscles. And a regular sit-up is just plain bad for your back and neck. They're a total waste of time.

My advice? Don't waste your time.

Instead, do a plank and work up to adding in side planks. If you don't know what they look like, Rav Brody will teach you how to do a perfect plank here, and if you're advanced, he'll teach your more plank variations here. You can also do kettlebell swings, which are a fantastic full body workout that includes burning the living daylights out of your abs and rear end if you do it right. 

Incidentally, was that PC enough? I wasn't being insensitive or offensive by saying "rear end," right? Would it be more inclusive to say "backside" or "posterior"? I'm not sure... I have to be careful, you know. Will the "front end" people come complaining to me because I didn't include them?

Hey, I just thought of a perfect solution! Maybe we should all make ourselves round like a ball so there is no front or back end. Or side end, either. There. That would be liberal utopia, wouldn't it. 

Apparently the liberal dream is still lost on Chinese people, because a few got upset when Apple's iPhone X's facial recognition system failed to tell them apart. If they were liberals, they would have been thrilled about this failure. 

So let's get back to abs. 

I love abs. Flat abs. Eight-pack abs. Abs with no extra toppings. Straight up abs.

And I'm sure you do, too. But you're probably thinking that it's not possible to get the stomach you dream about.

Well, you're wr-wr-wr-ong. 

Today, I'm going to share a few tips with you to get you started on the road to fABulous ABs. 

First! CUT CARBS!! For G-d's sake, stop poisoning your body with white flour and white sugar! It shoots your insulin into Galaxy NGC224, our neighboring galaxy known as Andromeda. Hmmm. Just realized something. Andromeda sounds a lot like android, doesn't it...

YOU SEE?!?! THEY WANT US ALL TO LOOK LIKE ROBOTS WHO LOOK LIKE HUMANS!!

Remember: insulin is a fat-storing hormone. Meaning, the higher your insulin, the more calories you will store as fat. Big no-no! If you cut down on foods that raise your insulin, you'll see the weight start dropping big time around your round waist that's probably enjoyed a few too many meals at Kow Fu Yung's House of Kosher (I Can't Believe It's Not Pork) Pork. 

OMG did I just write the "P" word?? I think I'm going to get in serious trouble for this post. 

Second! DO EXERCISES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Along with posting his video of the perfect plank, I'm sure Rav Brody will be happy to post a video of the perfect kettlebell swing. But if you have issues with your lower back, do bicycle crunches, which give your abs more range of motion and are easier on the back. Rav Brody, if you feel so inclined to do a video on that too, I'm sure our dear readers would enjoy that. 

If you're lucky enough to have one of these cool scrunch machines at your gym that you never go to, hop on one! They're awesome!

Third! And most importantly! START SMALL AND MOVE FORWARD GRADUALLY!! Obviously it's not fair or realistic to expect your body to change almost overnight. It's also not fair to expect to do more than you can actually do. Be okay with your starting point and go from there. 

That's why I wanted to share this picture with you. I started doing this machine with no weights on it at all, and keeping my knees on the rolling pad at all times. You're supposed to bring the knees to the chest while holding your upper body in an inclined plank position.

Well, gradually I became stronger, and slowly added on weights. I started adding 5 kilos and after a few months, realized I could do more. Well, one month led into another, and in less than a year I had worked up to 30 kilos. I also do the machine with my legs straight so my knees don't touch the board. 

And you know what else? This may sound counter-intuitive, but for our purposes the following suggestion can work for certain people.

Don't have a goal. That's right. Don't imagine where you want to be. Sometimes that can create unnecessary pressure and frustration and make us even more upset with our current state of roundness. I'm one of those people that doesn't usually envision the end product when I start a new adventure. I just make a decision to start something new and don't even think about where it's taking me.

That's good and sometimes not good, but in the case of exercising, it's great. I never felt pressure to reach a certain size or gain a certain amount of strength in some imagined time period that I pulled out of thin air. Whoops! I just did it again. Did I just offend the thick air? My apologies! 

If this post didn't make any sense to you, no worries! I won't be offended. Lucky for you, Rav Brody will be giving a super-motivating, take-charge, all-inclusive emuna lesson tomorrow, called... 3 Simple Steps to Success. 

So check out tomorrow's post, where he'll give you the lowdown on times and all that good stuff.

Now about this all-inclusive business.... anyone want to fly me to one of those all-inclusive resorts? I need a week to relax, because my oldest son's Bar Mitzvah is next week and I'm freaking out! How did I get so oooolllllddddd?!?! I mean, youth challenged? 

G-D I HATE YOU PC PEOPLE!!!

Have a great day!

~Racheli


The Secret of Success

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I love this quote. Between you and me, I wish I could take credit for it. But I have a feeling a certain person may get upset. And really, how could I justify taking credit for it if Rav Brody's name is at the bottom? 

So! How are all my almost-gym-goers doing? Did any of you manage to set foot inside a gym yet? Did you at least go for a walk? Cut down on the sugar? Something? Bueller?... Bueller?

Getting in shape, eating healthy, doing anything that brings about success, takes one special, secret ingredient: motivation.

Motivation is what separates the winners from the losers.

When you blame an obstacle for your lack of achieving your goals, know it's not the obstacle's fault. It's your lack of motivation.

We all know that nothing worth gaining in this world (or the Next) is free from obstacles along the way. That's why it's so important to work on motivating yourself every day, as if you're starting fresh.

Whatever your project is, you need to keep pumping yourself up all the time about achieving the outcome you want. And if you don't see changes along the way, don't despair. Maybe at that stage Hashem wants your motivation to come strictly from within, and not from without.

However, if you do see positive changes occurring along the way to your goals, this is great and you should definitely use them to further increase your motivation. For example, when I first started cutting out carbs and lifting weights, I had to keep motivating myself to push forward. The fact that I enjoyed the process was a bonus. But once I started seeing physical changes, it became so much easier to keep with my eating and exercise program. Now I'm at the point where I don't need to convince myself to go to the gym. It's a part of my routine, and I hope it becomes a part of yours.

Giving 50% effort and expecting 100% change is mathematically impossible. I think. I mean, I've never been good at math. Actually, I'm afraid that my oldest son will ask me to help him with his math homework, because I don't know if I can do it. Well, what can I say. Can't be too perfect. It wouldn't be fair to the rest of humanity, right? ;)))

Anyhow. Whatever goals you have, I encourage you to first write them down. Then put them in a place that you can always be reminded of them, like on the fridge door. Then, you need to give yourself pep talks. ALL. THE. TIME.

You know, I just realized something else. Emuna and motivation are so similar. They both need to be worked on every day. But if you work on them, you'll see personal growth and big changes. They're a process, and we should never forget that. We'll never get to the point of saying, "I've had enough emuna/motivation, thank you very much. Now I can go on with my life." Nonsense! That's like a woman saying she has enough shoes, clothes, and jewelry to never go shopping again. Although it may be technically true, G-d forbid!

I'd like to thank Rabbi Lazer Brody for nominating me to be your personal motivational coach, and to let you know that he had absolutely no idea what he was doing when he brought me on. Rav Brody, this award goes out to you and all the wonderful people who put their blind faith in others as they hold their breath while hoping for the best.

I'd also like to thank all of my imaginary readers out there, who for some reason think I know what I'm talking about. You guys rock.

But seriously, keep this in mind: whether or not you achieve your goals depends mostly on you. If Hashem puts up barriers, you need to re-assess if your goals are in fact the right ones. If they are, keep on marchin'. You can do it! Bueller?... Bueller?


Take Care of Yourself!

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I LOVE this little boy!!! 

Of course I love my other kids too (especially when they're asleep or at school,) but they hate it when I sneak pictures of them. This one hasn't yet put up a fight. Soon enough... 

So you might or might not be wondering what a face full of spaghetti has to do with emuna. To be honest, not much. But it does have to do with eating, which is kind of related to what I wanted to write about today, which is related to emuna. It's like six degrees of emuna. I can connect all kinds of dots. It's a talent.

I gotta tell you, I really enjoyed Chanukah, but I'm relieved that it's over. Isn't that horrible to say? YES! I admit it. Actually, I'm not happy that Chanukah the holiday is over. I'm happy that the kids are back in school and life is getting back to my usual routine of absolute craziness. You parents know what it's like to be stuck at home with all the kids for weeks at a time. It certainly ain't no vacation, and the kids just want to eat and be entertained all day long, and I'z be like, "Go find yourself a friend, boy!"

The hardest part of Chanukah was not being able to go to the gym. Hold up! I know that sounds very vain and self-centered. 

But here's my point: I don't take care of my body for vain reasons. I'm not out to win a Miss Zumba Israel contest or anything like that. However! I very much enjoy the feeling that I get from exercising. I feel strong, energized, empowered, and, um, all muscular and stuff.

Aside from feeling great physically, I also get a natural high that lasts for many hours after my workout. It somehow magically disappears when all the kids get home and start pulling me in 80 different directions, but until then, I'm as happy as a little kid in Disney World. 

Along with the endorphin rush comes the incredible stress relief. A good workout does wonders for releasing all sorts of tension and stress, especially the stuff that we're worried about without even realizing it.

People, especially you busy moms out there, there's no reason you can't exercise at least once, if not twice a week. Don't give me the excuse that you have no time. It's valid, but sorry, it ain't gonna fly. No one has time these days. And don't give me the terrible, INvalid excuse that you're too focused on your spirituality to exercise. WRONG ANSWER!

I see tons of people (literally tons) running from this Torah lesson to that prayer service, and another Tehillim group or something like that. Yet many of them eat terrible diets and get their exercise chasing the bus or panting their way up the stairs. 

My point is that spirituality doesn't mean you have to reject your physical existence! This is done on so many levels, more of which I will get into at another time. But for the meantime, I'd like to get you motivated to start taking better care of yourselves. 

It's not selfish to set aside a half hour to an hour a day to work out. It's life-saving! Especially with the terrible diets we eat, loaded with simple carbs, sweets, and too much dairy, the least we can do is try to counter the effects of our slow suicide by exercising. 

All you moms out there, I can't stress this enough. Join a gym and commit to going twice a week. Just do it! Don't worry about logistics to the point where you talk yourself out of it. Ask Hashem to help you figure it out, for the sake of your health, your sanity, and your marital peace, and I'm sure He'll be happy to oblige! 

I have to say that I'm proud of the women in my gym. A large percentage of them are Orthodox, and yes, they don't yet know what they're doing. But they're THERE! They've committed to making a positive change in themselves, not just for their sake, but for the sake of their husbands and children. And that's the hardest thing to do. Learning how to lift weights is the easy part.

If a mother of eight can take an hour out of her day, then believe me, you can do it. Unless you have nine children. That might be a little bit harder. 

This week, I'm asking TEN of you to take the first step and join a gym. I can't believe how much my life has improved just from getting in shape. I'm not only stronger. I have more energy, mental clarity, better focus, and more self-confidence. And all this and more gets absorbed by my family.

Ultimately, a happier, healthier you will have a stronger, deeper, and more satisfying connection with Hashem than you've ever had before. And a stronger connection with Hashem means stronger emuna. BOOYAH! 

If you're one of the ten that will commit to getting in shape, send me a comment below and we'll keep in touch! I'm excited for all of us to grow together and create real, lasting physical and spiritual changes! 

Have a wonderful, emuna-filled, pasta-free day!

~Racheli