I’m on my 7th day without food, here are some thoughts:
Fasting offers benefits.
Those benefits are both physical and mental.
“I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency.”
Fasting is the first principle of medicine; fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.”
Fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within.
One-name people seem to have more street cred don’t they?
Plato, Aristotle, Madonna…you get the idea.
There are many scientifically justifiable effects that one might experience from fasting. (Good lord there are a lot of studies.)
There are also things that are more qualitative and less measurable.
First and foremost, fasting is a PATTERN BREAK!!!
Human beings are truly creatures of habit—we can see evidence of this all around us.
The key to mindfulness and improved awareness is breaking away from the “autopilot.”
Taking food prep, meals, mindless snacking, and food clean up out of your schedule leaves a noticeable void.
More time for…anything.
More time for deep thinking, and more time for play. More time for music and more time for quiet.
For most of us, our lives revolve around food.
“Let’s meet for lunch” is far more common than “Let’s meet for frisbee.”
Many people are convinced that 3 meals a day is THE optimal strategy for life. Or is it 5? 8? 1? Once every 2 days?
Why did 3 meals per day become “normal?”
After doing a little research, the most plausible reason is the 9-5 workday. Framing a breakfast, lunch, and dinner around the normal workday is efficient scheduling.
As far as breakfast being the “most important meal of the day?” I don’t buy it. Sounds like the cereal companies want to sling more of their trash.
Why doesn’t fasting get more attention in the media?
No one makes any MONEY.
Think about it, if I tell you to take a break from frequent eating, the only thing that happens is that you spend LESS on food.
This is why you’ll get a lot more advertisements and media promoting a special “cleanse” where you have to buy their junk first.
The best way to cleanse is to stop drowning the body with excess food and let it do what it is designed to do.
[Side Note: Nothing wrong with supplements, but it’s better to get the important things right first.
The right amount of quality food.
Sufficient water and sleep.
Movement and play
A green powder or fish oil can be great, but don’t waste your money if you’re not doing the simple, big things consistently. AKA: Don’t major in minors.]
Another cool fasting feature is the pure simplicity of it all.
You don’t need to count calories, or macros…
You don’t need to schedule your day to ensure you eat one apple and 7 almonds at 9am…
You just don’t eat. You drink water and sometimes add a little salt—that’s IT!
I’m a practical guy. I like it when things are very simple and effective.
Physical Benefits of Fasting
Fasting supercharges two cell processes that are essential to clearing out deceased and damaged cells.
Just as creatures do, cells replicate and die. If cells don’t undergo apoptosis (death) when they are programmed too, it can accelerate the most deadly illnesses.
If we don’t clear out the damaged cells, it creates inflammation and worse.
When there is a constant stream of excess food into the system, the recycling doesn’t happen as effectively.
Cellular turnover (rate of change) is different depending on the body part.
Bone cells changeover at different rates dependent on type:
-osteoblast (builder) :~ 2 weeks
-osteoclast (breakdown): ~3 months
-osteocyte (mature bone): up to ~20 years
Taste buds change about every 10 days.
Lining of your guts is just a few days.
The last 2 are really interesting when it comes to fasting…
Does the food you eat guide taste buds and gut remodeling?
Not only can fasting decrease the inflammation in your gut (because there’s no food to cause a reaction), it can also change the way you taste and experience food.
Suddenly, after your fast, that bag of doritos tastes like disgusting triangles of chemicals vs. their former sweet, cheesy escape from reality.
Plus, we also know the mental association with food affects taste. (Example: coffee tastes better because of the mental coupling of a caffeine reward).
Your tastes and cravings are deeply affected by what you consume- it’s quite literally a “feed”-back loop.
In short, excess consumption is the fast track to the most common ways people die, and taking extended breaks from consumption is the quickest way to increase lifespan and lose fat.
Mental Benefits of Fasting
Fasting is a PATTERN BREAK that transforms your eating from Compulsive to Conscious.
This transformation is the most powerful way to create the life you want.
Food as coping mechanism
One thing I noticed during my first experiment with multiple-day fasting was my frequent opening of the refrigerator.
This was usually triggered by some feeling that I wanted to avoid: boredom, fear, anxiety.
I realized that this habit developed during my childhood.
“Can’t do homework on an empty stomach!”
This got me thinking…
Ancestral eating habits:
Eat what is available, or die.
Current eating habits:
Eat whatever you want.
Cream-filled, deep-fried anything—anytime.
One of the biggest benefits of a fast is a reset where you get clear insight into when your body is actually hungry vs. mindless consuming out of pure habit.
Intention before Ingestion
You’re hungry, so you head over to the kitchen.
The lizard brain is in charge so there is no chance you’ll wait a few minutes to make a nice meal, so you eat a bag of chips.
Still hungry you eat half a pint of ice cream.
This whole process happens with no prior intention.
You are pacified until hunger strikes again. But are you satisfied?
And what is the cost of this behavior?
With just a bit more intention before ingestion, you could have much more.
That is the ultimate rule for consumption: Intention before ingestion.
In fact, it applies to anything you consume.
Food, Drugs, Media.
Take a small pause and ask yourself, “what am I aiming to achieve with this?”
That small pause can be the difference between health and disease.
Taking a break from consumption will give you an opportunity to be more mindful about your consumption.
It will also make space for creation.
And creation is the most special quality of human beings.
If you can create something from a place of love, and share it, you just might experience bliss.
Without taking a break from your normal routine, you won’t understand how light/good you can feel.
Most people have no idea how they are poisoning themselves.
You are what you consume.
This includes the things you see, hear, smell, and feel.
This includes the thoughts you send inward into yourself.:
This leads me to an important point: fasting can be done with things other than food.
Hunger for food is a specific form of desire, but humans have other desires that are also very powerful.
Humans crave information to satisfy our limitless curiosity. This is why a lot of people are so easily trapped by news media, and scrolling social media.
WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON!
We want to know if there is danger or if there is a free ice cream social down the block. We want to rubberneck so we can see the car accident on the highway.
If humans have one trait above all the other animals it is limitless curiosity.
But of course, this also distracts us from drawing our attention inward and focusing the attention on ourselves (or important projects).
You know, those things that bring true fulfillment and satisfaction rather than temporarily pacify the discomfort.
An information fast can be one of THE most powerful tools you will ever use. Simply pick a day and don’t plug in to the matrix.
-No news or TV
-No social media
Just quiet and YOU.
This is seriously uncomfortable for many people, so feel free to start with a smaller block of time than a full day. 3 hours of total information fasting in the morning might be a dramatic (and beneficial) change for some people.
So, in summary, the plan is quite simple:
Start your day with movement (like a #5minuteflow)
Then, take a break from the other inputs.
Try one for one day, three days or a week. Let your body guide you.
One more thing:
I encourage you to take out a blank piece of paper and put your thoughts into words, shapes, and/or pictures.
Write down your dream(s) in order of priority.
Write down your fear(s) in order of priority.
Ask yourself WHY you imagine these things.
Write down what you’d like to change about your life.
-What to add
-What to take away
Write down the people who are important to you, and why they have enriched your life.
If you are brave enough, read what you have written out loud.
Make stuff. Draw, paint, sing, dance. Create.
And also, be still.
Surround yourself with trees, water, dirt, and nature.
Get comfortable in the silence and stillness.
Fasting is not only about physiological adaptations like autophagy.
When you clear out all the clutter, you become clear on what is really important in your life. You drop the conditioning, mindless eating and emotional attachments to food.
You connect deeper to your body.
You find mental and physical liberation.
And that, my friends, is gold!
Have you tried fasting? I’d love to hear your experience!
When I fast, I take many walks and resistance train every day.
I don’t aim to hit PR’s in big lifts, but I get a pump every day.
The second day is when I feel the most hungry. After that I only feel a psychic hunger to eat something delicious.
When I resume eating, I like fruit and broth. Then rice and eggs.
In some cases I’ve eaten a full blown meal with cheese, rice, and meat…and I felt fine.
I’ve been doing fasts for years and I always feel charged up afterward, both mentally and physically.
PS: Elasticity is real-time adaptability of FORCE. If you want a body that can absorb force without breaking in any situation, I highly recommend you pick up my latest training plan ELASTICITY.