Are you enjoying the Beams Purim tish? Here's some more, enjoy this - l'chaim and Happy Purim!!!! (After you see this, scroll down for more fun, including our Breslever representatives at the NFL and at Motown - have fun!!)
In loving memory of my father, Yaacov ben Yitzchak, who loved a l'chaim and a good laugh. It's ever so suitable that his yahrtzeit is on Shushan Purim, tomorrow. This one's for you, Pop...
L'Chaim and a Happy Purim with a wonderfully joyous new week!
Breslevers have a good time all year long, and especially on Purim. Here's what happens when Menachem Herman and I get together on Purim; when we're sober, we turn Sweet Home Alabama into Sweet Home Jerusalem. After a couple glasses of vintage Gush Etzion wine, Wilson Pickett becomes a Breslever Chassid, and the Midnight Hour becomes a song about hitbodedut, personal prayer with Hashem in the wee hours. I hope you have as much fun watching this as we did recording it. May your Purim smile last all year long, amen!
This is a BIG week for me - and not just because my kids are going to be home until Sunday (G-d help me.)
Today, the 12th of Adar, is my Nachman's 6th birthday! HOORAY! And then, of course, it's Purim! HOORAY!! And then, on the 18th of Adar, it's my little Batyam's 4th birthday! HOOOOO to the RAYYYY!!
I can't say for sure that I'm going to be sick of eating birthday cake and hamantashen (those little triangular cookies that are supposed to resemble Haman's ears.)
You know the story, right? Haman was famous for his triangle-looking pointy ears that were so full of wax, they were oozing out globs and globs of wax. Seriously. It's a shame q-tips weren't invented back then. Maybe he wouldn't have been so bitter. But then again, would his ears be so famous if they had been clean? And shaped like human ears?
Was Haman really an elf?
Such deep questions stem from a lack of sleep and depleted of brain power due to having spent the last 8 hours wrapping 150 professional-looking Purim baskets.
Okay, I'll try to be serious for a second. But do you really want me to??
Obviously one of the most funnest, awesomest parts of Purim is that we get to put on costumes. I mean kids. And men. Unfortunately I don't see too many women around here dressing up. But that ain't gonna stop me! I'm getting dressed up as something - just not sure what.
After thinking about costumes for half a second, I suddenly realized that every day is Purim.
Not that we get drunk every day, hopefully... But that we each wear costumes and masks every single day.
You know what?
We're a bunch of fakes.
Fake smiles, fake hello's, fake concern, fake attention, fake friends on Facebook, fake friends in real life, OMG the entire world is just one big ball of FAKE.
Interestingly, the fake reality of Facebook is probably where most people get real. They feel safe behind a screen, knowing that most of the people don't know who they are, so they take off the mask and let the nasty, self-righteous, resentful person that's hiding underneath all the fakeness come out in all his glory. Hence, the incredible amounts of insults and all that good stuff.
Now there's a lot to be said for being fake. Sometimes politeness and common courtesy are preferable to getting a piece of someone's mind. It's good to have a filter. Wish I had one of those. But they don't sell them here in the Middle East, because everyone here just says what they want with ZERO filter.
It's part of the charm of the locals, I guess. LOLOLOLOL
Even this beautiful world that Hashem created for us to enjoy, as real as it feels, is fake. It's on the lowest level of reality. The spiritual world is the real world, but we can't experience it, so we can't really know it. And that's okay! Just the awareness that this world is not the Ultimate should be enough to help keep us from getting too involved in the fakeness.
So what's the answer to dealing with the fakeness (and globs of wax-filled ears)?
Rebbe Nachman says life is like a narrow bridge. It's not easy to find balance in life. But again, that's okay! It's one of the main things we're supposed to work on - how to balance the spiritual and physical worlds. Not easy!
Purim is a good reminder that the world really is a stage and everyone's an actor. Good call, Shakespeare. Hope he wasn't anti-Semitic.
Remember: sometimes fake is good, and sometimes it's not.
How ridiculously profound.
Have a wonderful, safe, and delicious Purim!
And for G-d's sake, don't drink and drive! Let your poor wife who isn't allowed to dress in costume or drink be the designated driver. I'm sure she'll really appreciate that.
Oh, and a very important p.s. from Rav Brody!
Important Notice: Rabbi Shalom Arush can be your shaliach (representative) in fulfilling the mitzvoth of Zecher Machtzit Hashekel (commemoration of the mitzva of giving the half shekel) and Matanot L'evyonim (gifts to the poor) on the day of Purim. Simply Donate to Emuna Outreach during the coming days before Purim and Rabbi Arush will make sure that the money will be distributed on the day of Purim.
OMG I am drooollliiinnnngggg just looking at this picture!!
It's from our bar mitzvah two weeks ago. Or three weeks ago. I really have no idea.
For G-d's sake, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY MEMORY?!?!
I'll tell you what happened.
It got trapped in the sugar high that I'm currently experiencing. Like, high in the sky.
My taste buds are flying because I just cheated... with a HUGE almond croissant!
And a warm, soft baguette loaded with butter.
And another hot, buttery, gooey, almond croissant.
And... a huge cup of all-milk cappuccino. Was that redundant, by the way?
Oh, and I learned a new word today! Freddo! FREDDO!
As in, "You broke my heart, Freddo!" If you remember that phrase, you're old. Just sayin'.
Actually, the sophisticated waiter told me that Freddo means cold. Is that true? Any Italianos in the house? Adoro parlare in italiano, ma adoro gli spaghetti in salsa margherita ancora di più!
My stomach looks like a water-filled balloon, and I feel totally disgusting, but you know what?
I LOVE CHEAT DAYS!!
I'm talking about food, you know. Seriously, what's wrong with you people. Disgusting.
One day a week, you gotta live it up, I say! Live it up to the max! Wear pants with an elastic waistband that'll stretch at least 3 or four inches. Wear that maternity skirt that's collecting cobwebs in your storage bin. LIVE IT UP!!
I have great self-discipline most of the week, except for Shabbat and today, when David decided to remind me that we're married and get to go out on dates once in a while.
Oops. I forgot. I thought being married meant I have the privilege of doing his laundry and cooking for him and raising his children for the rest of my life. Didn't know there was supposed to be some fun stuff in there! Should've read the contract better. I always assumed fine print was for lawyers. And people with really good eyesight.
OMG I just realized something. Thank G-d there's no foot massage clause in there. Yech.
So let's talk about this cheat day. It's awesome because you get to cram in all the goodies you would have eaten all week into one 24-hour period, and then feel like, well... you know...
But it's still awesome!
By the end of your cheat day, most of you will feel so sick... of sugary, carbo-loaded, delicious junk food, that you won't even want to look at it... until your next cheat day.
I mean, you can't live in super health guru mode forever. At least, I can't. Because I like to think I'm normal. I'm certainly no health guru with superhuman willpower.
Speaking of which, I've created a monster! David is driving me crazy with the intermittent fasting! Now he's all like, "I've gone for 12 hours and 16 minutes. Only another hour and 44 (was that right?) minutes to go! Would that make 14 hours? Golly, my math is so bad.
Have I created any other monsters out there besides David and Tena? Seriously, woman! TWO DAYS??? What are you, an angel?? Did you have an out-of-body experience?
In conclusion, here are my TOP 3 CHEAT DAY TIPS:
1) Cheat only one day a week! Because anything more is, like, a relationship. And you don't wanna go there.
2) Drink grapefruit juice! Interestingly, the fructose in the juice will flatline your glucose response, which means it essentially stops your insulin from spiking. Remember, insulin is a fat storing hormone, which means that when it's high, your body is in hibernation mode, i.e., storing calories as fat. You know, for those rainy days when you might be out in the middle of the woods with nothing to eat but twigs and berries.
3) Make your first meal of the day a normal meal! Your body still needs something that resembles food, duh.
Three times throughout your cheat day, do a set of 30 squats. It's supposed to help re-route the calories to the muscles instead of the fat. Pretty incredible, right? There are glucose transporters that use similar pathways to bring calories to muscle and fat cells. The squats create muscle contractions, which open up the pathways to the muscles, which helps get the calories to them instead of the fat cells.
It's like switching the direction of the train track as the train is approaching.
If you don't feel comfortable with a full cheat day, do one cheat meal per week. But remember! The most important thing is to keep your carbs low, low, low! Below 100 grams a day if possible. If you're pregnant or have any medical issue, DO NOT DO WHAT I JUST WROTE! Please consult with your health care provider before starting a new diet or exercise, blah, blah, blah.
Now I've got to finish going through these awesome bar mitzvah pics. Hopefully I'll get an album done before the next one!
Oh, and the guy in the back of the picture - that's the caterer. He's laughing because we decided to spike all the chocolate cakes with Everclear.
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.
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?