For years, I have never been a true believer of fasting. The thought of not eating for 3 days or more is a concept- that I thought to believe –was only for monks up on the hills in Tibet. Why fast when there are so many people starving in the first place?
Well, years later, I found myself a boyfriend, who was well into new and trendy health theories, and who convinced me that this is just the perfect ingredient for a clear mind and healthy body. A couple of days later, and there I was – saying no to food for 3 days in my beautiful kitchen in the middle of Cape Town.
Why Fast? That’s a Perfectly Valid Question
I didn’t only begin fasting for the obvious reasons – losing weight. I was healthy and lean but I was curious to clear the so-called “brain fog” and a reboot of the immune system, which promised a true mental benefit and a test to my own strength of self-discipline.
Benjamin Hardy, a psychologist and best selling author says:
“Fasting is essentially the putting-off of the physical to tap into higher realms of meaning.”
To be honest, I didn’t reach my higher realms of meaning or any higher sense of self that is… but what I do know is, that it was an experience I urge every one to try.
Here are my 4 most loved benefits of fasting, which I hope will motivate you to start too.
1. Mental Clarity
I was on day 1 of my first fasting experience, and after having my last meal just 20 hours ago, I found myself hiking for 3 hours after just having a black coffee and some water. I never felt better. I was energized, the fog had cleared in my brain, and my endorphins were rushing through me like I was on my way to an exciting music festival. I was sharp, quick, and mentally structured, which I had never experienced before. Need a boost before an important presentation? Here is your tool.
Every decision one makes is important, isn’t it? If you have a track record of bad decisions, you end up with a ‘not so happy life’. This all comes down to lack of self-control. And if you cant control yourself, then what can you control?
If you need to learn self-discipline, let me tell you, fasting is the way to do it. You are constantly choosing NOT to eat, even when you are hungry. If you get good at fasting, you get good at discipline, you get good at life. Period.
3. Weight-loss & Detox
Although my goal wasn’t weight-loss, loosing a couple of pounds and water weight was an added benefit to this whole fasting-thing. (Lets be honest, ladies, who doesn’t love to wake up in the morning and feel like your pants are a little looser?) With that in mind, this brings more confidence in you, thus, more confidence in the workplace. On top of that, scientists say that it is a complete reboot of your entire immune system just after 24 hours. I am sure we all have years of guilty junk food eating habits, so the thought of clearing all those toxins sounded peachy.
As Angela Duckworth, psychologist and popular science author, put it in her TED Talk: “Grit is the power of passion and perseverance.” Why is this so important? It helps you focus on long-term and meaningful goals whilst giving you the ability to persist and move through difficult obstacles.
On day 2 of my fasting experience, I had a minor (well it was a major) emotional breakdown. Google said I had severe “carb withdrawal symptoms”. I felt like I was in rehab. I was literally crying on the couch wanting food and begging my partner to get me something to eat. I felt ridiculous. But I guess my ‘Grit’ got me through it, and I never felt better the next day.
Would I do it again? Probably not, but with the benefits I might consider it. Experts say you should be fasting 2-3 times a year. Practice makes perfect, right? I felt incredibly proud when I finished my 72 hours of fasting. This boosted my self-confidence and provided mental strength and assurance that I can deal with difficult situations and temptations. I feel incredibly focused and motivated,and have the willpower to push through anything – and so should you.