"It's easier to behave in a new way than to behave in a new way."
– Millard Fuller
Fasting is all the rage right now. Depending on who you listen to, it is either a waste of time or a fountain of youth that is able to transform your body and activate latent spidey senses. Those in the pro-fasting camp mention a variety of benefits – weight loss, increased insulin sensitivity, stem cell growth, disease prevention, and world peace.
As much as I want to give you the final interpretation of fasting, the best thing I can offer is that it could have health benefits. And although I can't say for certain that fasting does X or Y, I can confirm that fasting was invaluable to my personal development. In the age of mass consumption, it is transformative to willingly do the opposite.
Fasting changes your relationship with food, This was my own experience as well as the recurring opinion of the friends, relatives and colleagues with whom I have spoken over the years. But what does it mean when your relationship with food changes?
It's not like someone changes their relationship status to "It's complicated with food". How is food related? The best way to explain this is with my own experience.
The hungry child's diary
Most of my life I was praised for my appetite. I liked almost every meal and had an insatiable appetite. This pleased my parents, who appreciated that I wasn't as picky as my older brother and most adult male characters.
Every time I visit friends or relatives, I am praised for the impressive amount of food that I can consume. This became a point of pride that went with my other major source of importance – natural strength.
When I got to high school and got involved in athletics, I was sold the belief that I just had to train hard and "eat anything that wasn't nailed down". Eating more became proof of my commitment and commitment. I had no reason to believe that this simple worldview was a problem. Blessed with a fast metabolism, I broke high school lifting records while maintaining speed and athleticism.
After sport, I put my need for competition and importance into building muscle. If I wasn't known as Shane, the soccer player, I would be Shane, the strongest-looking guy in the room.
This led me to a lot of supersets, stare, protein shakes and food. I committed to eating every three hours and would get nervous around the two hour mark for my next feeding. I bought all of the Get Swole sayings and made sure I came to the gym with the food in my system and ate a large, high-carb meal within 30 minutes of leaving.
I was convinced that if I woke up without food for more than five or six hours, my blood sugar would fall and I would be physically disabled. After about four hours, panic spread and I became an undeniable idiot. These patterns took shape near my obsessive-compulsive disorder challenges, and it is clear that I used the food as an attempt to quench my anxiety.
When I started my adult life, I developed clean eating habits, but continued to eat a ton. I started exercising twice a day so I could eat more. I became obsessed with my need to fill myself up. Wherever I went, I had a bag of snacks with me to prevent meltdown. As a reminder, I made it through the first 26 years of my life without missing a meal.
Then, for some time in the late half of my 20s, I heard enough of the fasting that I thought about trying. I was married now, less concerned about how the strongest man in the room looked and much more concerned about improving myself.
I started meditating and, despite my CSCS Joe Kenn background, was fascinated by Pavel, Max Shank, the kettlebell and the MovNat world. I read the books Tribe and Natural Born Heroes. As a former history major, they resonated with me and suddenly the way I saw humanity and the human body began to change.
We are adaptable beasts. The causes of mental and physical mass disorders are due to the fact that we have broken away from our natural lifestyle. It was no longer normal to move naturally, work for the tribe, eat real food, expose yourself to the elements, or feel persistent hunger. By isolating myself from these experiences, I increased my own fragility and excluded myself from personal growth.
At that point, I had about 30 kg of muscle and was still eating the following menu every day:
Breakfast – large omelet and fruit snack – too many mixed nuts lunch – three or four pieces of meat (yes, I had a problem), mixed vegetables, an apple snack after training dinner A sporadic snack before bedtime – fruit, a scoop of natural Peanut butter etc.
The insights from deprivation
I set my first 16-hour fast for a busy Wednesday morning and thought I had no choice but to hold out if it became unbearable. I finished dinner on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and did not eat until 9:30 a.m. the next day.
To my surprise, it was not that difficult. The physical shutdown I predicted never happened. In fact, I felt good until I started eating. Suddenly the belief collapsed that I had to satisfy any hunger. The hunger not only increased steadily until I rolled painfully on the floor. Hunger came and went and swayed up and down for no apparent reason. The whole thing just amazed me.
I immediately started turning these fasts into a weekly structure with 16-17 hours of fasting every Saturday and Sunday and a larger 19 hour of fasting every Wednesday. When I had children, I wanted to have family breakfast on the weekends so that I could get rid of weekend fasts, but I continued to fast every Wednesday.
Every now and then I stretch that to 24 hours. Whether fasting creates superpowers or not is really not the point. The real strength of these fasts is how they have changed my relationship with food and the way I respond to hunger,
Shortly after this first fast, I got rid of all snacking. Not so rigid. If my wife wants popcorn while watching a movie, we have popcorn. But for the most part, I only eat three meals a day, two if I fast at times. It now seems clear to me that there are enough.
I postponed my training until the morning and found that I would prefer to exercise when sober. So now, on a typical day, I end dinner at 6 p.m., get up early to write, work out at 7 a.m., and then eat at 8:30 a.m.
Without trying, I fell into a daily structure that offered a 14-15 hour break between meals almost every day. I have also significantly reduced the amount of meat I eat every day. Without ever worrying about weight, I am now somewhere between 195 and 200 pounds, amply strong and with better energy than ever before.
My wife has also added fasting to her diary in recent years. She recently started again after a break and her comment seems to best summarize the benefits of fasting: "It is good for me because it changes my relationship with food. I am less in the mood for a snack. I am fine. I have to don't eat every time I think I'm going to be hungry. "
Courtesy of Dr. Ted Naiman, PD Morgan
That's it. Sometimes we get bored and eating seems like a good way to fill the room. Sometimes we are even thirsty. Especially in a world that is programmed for consumption, it is not a bad practice to set a little more limits on consumption. And that's the real reason to fast from time to time – because you're human and don't feel able to give up a bit of food, it means a drastic departure from basic human skills.
Fasting for the holidays
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford not to mention."
Henry David Thoreau
There is so much in the fitness world to counteract overconsumption, Consumerism is fueled by a system that always reminds us of what we lack and then points out something that is supposed to fill that gap.
Food and cravings are an obvious example. However, things are rarely the solution to our problems. The change we are striving for is not to add the things we think are necessary. In fact, it's the other way around.
We are happier when we are less reliant on external circumstances being right. We are happier when we need less. That is why the wealthy Stoic philosopher Seneca proposed a monthly practice of self-denial. While soldiers train in times of peace and prosperity, we should train in times of plenty. Well, the abundance is there and there is nowhere to go.
We always knew we had to train. We will be happier if we are active and healthy. However, this only happens if we tense our muscles and constantly challenge our bodies, In the same way, we can structure other challenges to achieve gradual growth.
At IHD, our Pillar Experience calendars are a structured way to engage in fasting experiences that increase your ability to face a challenge. Each month calls you for a group lesson and a challenge that strengthens your willpower and conveys healthy values. They do this together with a community that can share the wisdom of their own experience and support each other to live healthier lives. This seems to be necessary especially during the holidays.
I love the jubilation and tradition of December, but it also seems to be an exaggeration of some cultural patterns that are already out of control. So I thought it was the perfect month to stretch by doubling my old record for time without food.
This month I will only ride water for 48 hours. I wouldn't start here if you don't have a lot of experience, but I recommend you consider a temporary fast this December – maybe this will just skip breakfast one day.
It is a human experience that can enrich the rest of your vacation. After all, after a bit of struggle, the joys of life are always much sweeter,