Recently, I shared the not-so-shocking news that obesity may be the second most dangerous player behind severe COVID-19 infections. Not heart disease—or even lung disease.
The latest numbers show obesity is outranked only by age as a risk factor for hospitalization. And with close to half the United States now qualifying as obese, this news is alarming, to say the least.
But there is a silver lining here. Because unlike your age, you can change your weight. And a whole lot faster than you might think, too.
Of course, my A-List Diet is your ace in the hole, so to speak. But when you eat is just as important as what you eat. And the benefits of honoring your body’s natural rhythms reach a whole lot further than the bathroom scale…
“A Time to Eat and a Time to Exercise”
That was the name of the article that caught my attention recently. And it’s pretty easy to see why.
The study it described considered the potential of time-restricted eating (TRE), which you may recognize as a form of intermittent fasting (IF)—a topic I’ve covered here a number of times in the past.
So, why does this topic matter so much to me? Because, simply put, our modern lifestyles are a complete nightmare for our circadian rhythms. And it affects everything from our weight to our immune system.
Your circadian rhythms are the 24-hours cycles that your entire body operates by, right down to the cellular level. Light and darkness, which dictate your sleeping and waking patterns, are the primary drivers.
But they’re certainly not the only ones. And other cues, like the timing of meals and physical activity, matter too—for better or for worse.
Artificial light is one force endangering our circadian rhythms. But it’s not the only modern circadian disruptor. There’s also unrestricted access to food (junk food in particular) and non-stop sitting—neither of which are “natural”—to contend with.
That’s exactly why TRE and other forms of IF (which mimics the eating patterns of our hunter-gatherer ancestors) is so much more powerful than simply cutting calories.
This field of study is called “chrono-nutrition.” And as I’ve shared here before, research shows that eating according to your body’s natural clock can balance hunger hormones, boost insulin sensitivity, and supercharge metabolic health—driving down weight, blood pressure, and inflammation.
And it’s especially powerful in combination with exercise.
Restore your body’s internal clock
Yes, I talk about the benefits of regular exercise all the time. But something I probably don’t stress enough is that low cardiometabolic fitness is actually more lethal than obesity.
Meanwhile, even a single workout can boost blood sugar metabolism significantly. Do it regularly, and you’ll see prolonged payoffs in both insulin sensitivity and glucose control.
Ultimately, you can prevent at least 40 different chronic diseases just by moving more. And it’s really no wonder why, when you think about it: Exercise is actually one of the most effective ways to reset your body clock and restore healthy metabolic function.
Laboratory research shows that exercise helps stabilize circadian rhythm in older mice. It also shows that younger mice who stop exercising suffer the same circadian disruptions as their older counterparts.
In other words, regular exercise makes everything else about the body—from sleep to digestion—more regular, too. And in a world that’s up and running 24/7, that balance could be nothing short of lifesaving. Even (and maybe especially) during a pandemic.
Last month, I explained why exercise is a critical ally for your immune system. (And gave you some tips on staying active at home—all it takes is 20 minutes each day.)
But what you may not know is that IF can also reset immunity and shore up your body’s innate defenses. Which is why I devoted an entire feature to the subject in the latest issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“Boost your immunity and rejuvenate your metabolism… in 36 hours or less”).
So as always, if you haven’t yet, consider subscribing today—the stakes have never been higher.
“A Time to Eat and a Time to Exercise.” Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2020 Jan; 48(1): 4–10.