I regularly fast for around 16 hours a day and abstain from food for a whole day sometimes. This may sound unhealthy if you’re accustomed to the old rules of eating six square meals a day so you can stoke the metabolism or that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but these notions were debunked a long time ago.
This is another post to debate about if you should eat breakfast or not, do what works best for you. My mission in this article is to provide you an alternative. If you hear the word fasting, you may begin to think that you’re starving yourself or ruining your metabolism. But rest assured, none of those scenarios are an actuality.
To even start to have any effects of your metabolism slowing down takes around 72 hours (even then, it’s only a decrease of a little under ten percent). Three days is highly uncomfortable to go without food, but far from being unhealthy.
In fact, by fasting, you’re giving your digestive system a rest, and this can help your metabolism in the long run by making your body more efficiently burn calories.
I like fasting because it works perfectly with my preferred lifestyle and I normally don’t have a huge appetite in the mornings.
With all of this said, adopting some type of fasting routine can provide big dividends to your life, productivity, health, and looks. Here are six of my favorite benefits to fasting.
1. Helps you build the “courage muscle”
Sure, committing to fasting seems like a decision purely out of improvement of your health and hopes to improve the way your body looks, but it’s much bigger than that. Committing to fasting is beneficial because to commit requires courage (an essential habit needed if you want your life to change for the better).
Therefore, fasting is providing training on commitment and building the courage habit which is essential to better relationships, business, and growing as a man.
It’s easy in today’s society to slip out of things, back out, seek convenience, and traveled down the more common path in life. When you agree to fast, you’re ridding yourself of those everyday traits that people operate under. In simpler terms, you’re distancing yourself from being the average everyday guy.
2. Helps with discipline
By fasting, you’re automatically becoming more disciplined and adding structure to your life because you now have constraints and rules to help keep you in order.
Through fasting helps your discipline, which helps better control your emotions.
Fasting helps you separate desires to do something compared to true needs and wants. Is it true hunger? Or do you just want to eat “just because”? Are you eating to mask away some other emotional pain and discomfort in life (stressful job, relationship, etc)?
In relationships and business, when you can control your emotions and discipline, you’re not as likely to fall into temptations and make regrettable decisions.
3. Keeps your heart and brain healthy while fighting off chronic diseases
One day without food can potentially cut the risk in half of developing coronary artery disease. Besides that particular disease, fasting helps reduce the risk in many other chronic diseases. Fasting for 24 hours has been shown to increase the brain’s production of growth hormone by up to 2000 percent in men.
Why is this impressive about growth hormone?
Because growth hormone is good for lowering body fat, slowing down aging, improving bone quality, and helping improve your longevity.
4. Helps you live longer
One of the biggest benefits to adopting some type of fasting strategy is that it helps improve the longevity of your lifespan. As you age, your metabolism slows down and hence, our time on the earth comes closer to an end.
But, by giving your body a break from food, you’re helping into it repair itself. The reason why its good to give your body a break from food is autophagy. This is where your cells can regenerate and replenish themselves and thus slow down the aging process some and hence allow you to live a longer life.
5. Forces you to get outside your comfort zone
I’ll be honest, one reason why I like fasting is because it’s making me slightly uncomfortable. Comfort drains your ambition, growth, and development as a man. My stomach growls sometimes, but often, this is due to me being used to eating on a routine basis, not because I’m starving. If I stay properly hydrated and practice good sleep habits, this extended period not eating isn’t as bad as many think.
When you get outside of your comfort zone, you’re able to learn more about yourself and build your mental toughness up.
6. Burns off fat an efficient rate
This was the biggest reasons why I started fasting years ago before I learned about the other health benefits.
Fasting allows you to have an improved sensitivity toward insulin which is helpful because it allows you to handle carbohydrates (sugars) more efficiently (this doesn’t mean all you can eat in the candy aisle). This happens due to your insulin being more effective at communicating to your cells to take glucose up from the blood.
Ina addition to helping there, your weight efforts will be helped because fasting allows you to hit the reset button and course correct some hormones.
The big picture
There’s a lot of supporting evidence to intermittent fasting, but this isn’t remotely close to being the only way you can improve your health, weight, and productivity. Intermittent fasting is only one of many tools at your disposal. In fact, many of the clients I work with don’t fast because as with anything in life, there are potential drawbacks that may be difficult for you.
Fasting means going without food for a certain time period and a hunger hormone-like Ghrelin will surge and if you don’t have strong enough discipline or can’t handle the uncomfortableness with being hungry at times, then intermittent fasting isn’t for you. If you still want to try, then abstain from food in smaller windows instead of starting out with big time frames.
Also, if you have a history of disordered eating or just a not-so-healthy relationship with food, maybe this isn’t for you because, during that feeding window, you might not be able to handle it as appropriately as you should.
If you’re hypoglycemic, diabetic, don’t want to skip meals with loved ones or the eating schedule becomes a burden, then don’t practice intermittent fasting.
At the end of the day, when you eat isn’t as important as what and how much you’re eating.
Photo: Getty Images