Your trouble focusing on important tasks is not something you were born with. You don’t need nearly as much sleep as you think you do. Cancer is not a guarantee no matter how many of your relatives have had it. You can look and feel much better than you currently do if you just implement this simple practice.
If your car was designed to get 30 MPG but your dashboard is continuously reading 20 MPG average, what would you do? Would you just put up with it and spend a few extra hundred dollars a month on the wasted gas? Would you take it to the shop and get it checked out? Would you sell it and buy a new car?
Odds are, if your car were only getting a fraction of the miles per gallon it was designed to, you would not be happy and you would probably try to do something about.
Well, our bodies are quite similar to a car in this regard. Your body might only be operating at 70% efficiency right now but it's more likely that you are getting your car regularly serviced then it is you are improving your body. That Ford Focus in your driveway might be the vehicle that gets you to and from work for the next five years but your body is the vehicle that will take you through life every day for the next 60 years. If your body were a car it would be bleeding money right now due to its inefficiency.
Good news though. There’s a simple solution that’s easy to implement, doesn’t cost you a dime, and will get your efficiency up closer to 100% . It's almost a simple as getting an oil change for your car every few months.
This solution…. FASTING.
If you’re like I was, just the sound of that word scares you. Your mind conjures up images of Gandhi, shriveled and tiny from years of fasting...
I’m not asking you to fast for weeks on end like Ghandhi though. I’m asking you to fast for a day or two every month or so. Much more manageable. I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t go a day without food. That’s ridiculous.” I encourage you to think again. It is much easier than you think and the benefits are tremendous.
To name a few:
Increased Brain PowerShedding of unhealthy weightMore Energy and Less SleepLower your risk of fatal diseasesImproved physical appearanceA great practice in self discipline
First things first. Food is a distraction. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to eat. I could just go through life without having to prepare, cook, eat, and wash dishes. It is such a time consumer but a necessary evil I suppose. I have found a way to cheat this though. The nutritional system I have been using for the last 5 years allows me to have two meals a day that take two minutes to prepare, two minutes to eat, and two minutes to clean up. Only one of my daily meals is time consuming at all. The system also implements "nutritional cleansing," a day or two off from eating traditional food every few weeks. This system allows me not only eliminate harmful toxins but also the the distraction and time consuming ritual of cooking and eating, so that I can focus more on what's important.
Makes sense right? Eliminate the 3 hours of the day you need to take off to eat and you can get a lot more done. Not to mention the feeling you can get after a meal. Tired, unfocused, ready for a nap. This feeling is also eliminated by taking a day off from eating.
On a more scientific level, fasting does two things for the brain. It helps clean out the junk and increases brain cells:
1) Autophagy: Cleans out the junk
-Autophagy is a natural cellular process in which living cells consume parts from dead cells, essentially acting like a recycling facility for the tissues of the body. Autophagy is one of the many marvels of the human body. It allows organs to be extremely efficient by using waste product rather than regenerate from scratch.
When it comes to fasting and the brain, this process is greatly increased. Something about fasting increases the brain's ability to recycle. This leads to better memory and mental function. Increased autophagy in the brain is also tied to a decreased risk of alzheimer's, dementia and other cognitive diseases.
2) More Brain Cells
Fasting also increases the brain's ability to generate new cells. These new brain cells obviously serve a great function for the brain. More cells = more tissue = more brain power.
So it is settled then. Your brain wants you to fast.
**SHOCKER HERE** Taking a day or two off from food will help you shrink your oversized gut and fit into those pants your grandma bought you for Christmas last year.
This comes a no surprise to people. If you eat less you will weigh less. But here is the awesome thing about fasting. Rather than live a life of deprivation where you are constantly saying no to things you just have to say no for a day or two every now and then. What I love about fasting is the fact that I don’t feel bad about a weekend trip to the ballpark with some hot dogs and beers. If my friends ask me to go to happy hour for burgers and drinks after work I can gladly say yes and indulge myself. I simply have to schedule a few days a month where I will have to say no to things. Other than that I can say yes to most things without seeing an increase in weight.
The reason fasting works so well for weight loss is that you finally give your body’s natural cleansing systems a chance to catch up. You see, our bodies were designed to have to go a few days without food every now and then. The primal human roaming the jungle for food was not guaranteed three, 1000 calorie meals every day. Therefore, our bodies don’t have the equipment to digest three, 1000 calorie meals every single day. The average digestive system can digest an entire meal from beginning to end in about 8 hours. So if we are doing that 3 times a day then:
3(meals) x 8(hours) = 24(hours)
24 hours to digest food and 24 hours in the day. This leaves 0 hours for our organs to rest and cleanse themselves.
The lack of rest and cleansing leads to a build up of junk. This junk causes your body to hold onto more fat and feel crappy and sluggish.
Fasting just a few days per month can lead to drastic amounts, of healthy and sustainable weight loss. Unlike yo-yo diets where weight is lost and gained back and lost again, fasting is very sustainable. Do this a few days every few weeks and you will lose weight and keep it off.
Before writing this article I did not know if there was any scientific data to back this claim up. I’d never really done any research on it. But from my own experience I know that the day after a “cleanse day,” as we call it, I feel amazing. I wake up and jump out of bed ready to attack the day. I don’t get the 2 o'clock feeling in the afternoon. I get my best workouts the day after a cleanse day. I just feel like my energy is through the roof.
Well after doing some digging I found that I’m not the only one who feels this way. And I also found that this isn’t a placebo effect.
On a normal day of eating our body creates energy from carbohydrates found in our traditional food sources. While fasting, the body no longer has access to this source of energy and it must look for other stores of energy from within. Fat is where our body finds these stores. Ketones contained in fat make the perfect source of energy when food supply is lacking. Ketones however take longer to process as they must first be sent to the liver before being used as a source of energy. This results in a more slow and steady release of energy rather than the quick up and down energy spikes from carbohydrates. The result of this science is that people who fast feel a consistent and steady stream of energy rather than the energy spikes followed by 2 o’clock feelings.
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) conducted a study in which they found that 43% of Americans say they feel too tired and groggy to function at work. While sleep is an extremely important factor in this, and I plan to write an article on that soon, there is another way to help with this problem. Fasting can be part of the solution. Nutrition and diet are as equally important for energy as sleep is.
Fasting does incredible things for our health, both in the short term and the long term. Short term effects include a better immune system and a decrease in inflammation. Long term effects can include decreased risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, and as previously stated neurodegenerative disease.
In the short term, you can see and feel some immediate effects to your health once you start fasting. You’ll notice you get colds, flus, and viruses less often. You might notice that some ailment you’ve dealt with for years decreases in intensity or disappears. That stubborn fat that we already talked about… It leads to a lot of health issues as well. Dropping that weight helps your joints and your organs.
Decreasing inflammation in the body will decrease acute diseases and health issues. Skin issues might clear up, auto immune disorders can decrease in intensity, gastrointestinal issues might just disappear.
I love these short term effects for my health. But I’m someone that would like to live to be at least 250. I mean there’s just so much to accomplish. So many people I want to meet. So many places I want to see. So many business I want to build, books I want to write, and adventures I want to go on. 100 years simply won’t be enough. So after a year of fasting, when I found out that fasting might be tied to decreasing risk of fatal disease, I was clearly ecstatic...
If you’re a relatively healthy person that makes into adulthood and doesn’t die in a car crash or freak hang gliding accident (Will Ferrel Reference) then there are essentially 4 things that are going to kill you. These 4 things have many different types, many different names, and many different symptoms. They can appear when you’re young or when you’re old. And you might have multiple. But 1 of these 4 things is what will kill me someday so I’m gonna do my damndest to delay the onset of all of them.
The 4 ways to die:
- Cardiovascular Disease
Fasting is shown to decrease risk of all 4 of these!!!!
These four health issues happen at the cellular level over the course of many years. They are metabolic diseases with various risk factors. Some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke include blood pressure and signs of inflammation. Risk signals for cancerous disease include glucose and IGF (Insulin Growth Factor). While neurodegenerative diseases are less understood there can be correlation to similar factors. Fasting has been studied to show decreased levels of blood pressure, inflammation, glucose, and IGF.
Inflammation appears to have a very strong correlation to this risk factors.
Quote from Dr. Axe : “Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, writes that inflammation is now recognized as the ‘underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.’ Although inflammation has long been known to play a role in allergic diseases like asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease, Edwards says that Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s disease may all be related to chronic inflammation in the body.
It’s ‘an emerging field,’ says UCLA’s Dr. David Heber. ‘It’s a new concept for medicine.’ Why is it a new concept? Because modern medicine focuses on treating symptoms, not addressing the root cause of an issue. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Heart disease is inflammation of the arteries. Instead of taking a medication to reduce joint pain or lower cholesterol, we would be better served by reducing inflammation in the body.”
I love that statement because it is so true. We focus so much on treating symptoms when we may be really missing the big picture badly. If we just treat the causes the symptoms will take care of themselves. And it looks like fasting does exactly that.
In a world where we are obsessed with looking like Karlie Kloss or Dwayne The Rock Johnson, everyone wants the quickest and easiest way to have a six pack or look better at the beach.
Well fasting is the best way that I’ve found and a lot of these people you’d like to look like use fasting to look that way. I would be remiss not to satisfy my own vanity by showing what fasting has been able to do for me physically.
On the left I was 21 years old, extremely active, and eating decently. My day to day diet has definitely improved since then. My workouts have actually decreased in regularity and intensity. But the biggest change between my 21 year old self and my 23 year old self on the right is my use of intermittent fasting. Several months after the first picture was taken, atop Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, i implemented a new nutritional system, the one I mentioned earlier. The system includes periodic fasting or as we call them “cleansing days.” For the past two years I have been fasting for 1-2 days every 3 or 4 weeks. I am ecstatic by the physical results I have been able to achieve from this and am astonished that I was able to do so while cutting back on gym time.
Abs are made in the kitchen!! Physique truly is 80% nutrition and 20% fitness.
What it boils down to is this. We are all lean creatures with plenty of muscle mass. Some of us have hidden this body through years of bad dieting, over drinking, and many other issues. But if we are able to burn away all that build up of fat and toxicity we have amazing physiques underneath. Fasting will help you melt away the crap and unleash that beautiful body you were designed with. It's your job to show it off and quit hiding it under all that fat!
Last but not least on the list of benefits from fasting is the personal growth and a great practice in self discipline. We’ve grown to be pretty comfortable and pretty soft both mentally and physically with our pillsbury dough boy stomachs. A day or two off from eating is actually incredibly easy. Especially with modern technology and awesome supplements that can help us with cravings and energy.
However, most of us are just too soft to go through with it. We are super comfortable with our daily routines of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We can’t imagine going without them. I was this way too! When I started the nutrition system I’ve used for the last 5 years it was based around several things including meals, snacks, supplements, and fasting. And I told the person that helped me get started that I wanted everything except the fasting.
I thought, I’m not going to fast. Fasting might be for a sedentary person who burns 1,000 calories a day but consumes 3,000 calories. Fasting might be for someone who wants to lose 50 pounds. But, I was a college athlete in, what I thought at the time was, “peak physical condition.” I’m extremely active and I didn’t have any weight to lose. I didn’t need fasting.
Well at the time I didn’t know all these awesome benefits but, mainly I was just a softy. I was scared to go two days without food. I love food. I love it a lot. I’ve been known to SMASH huge Italian meals for birthdays and special occasions. Im talking about the Italian meals that are 5 courses you know?
It's truly amazing how easy it is though . Our bodies were built for it and it is entirely mental. After you do it a few times you will be that much more confident in your self discipline and your ability to overcome challenges. While its a small feat it is a great practice in self discipline. You feel POWERFUL after completing a fast.
In summation I want you to know that you are INSANE if you aren’t implementing fasting. We are going to look back in 50 years and say, “Those poor people. If only they knew about fasting back then they’d all still be alive. They’d be young and healthy and active instead of old and decrepit. If only they knew…”
Well I’m choosing to not be one of “those poor people.” I’m on the early adoption train. I’m all in on fasting and I’m not going to wait for everyone else to do it first. This is my ticket to mental clarity, more energy, fat loss, super human health, a sexy bod, and extreme self discipline.
I’ve got a ticket for you too. Hop on board and join me in being the best version of yourself.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need help getting started on your new health journey including the powerful practice of fasting.