You know the drug in the movie Limitless? Fasting is the natural, healthy, and sustainable version of that.
1. Superhuman Willpower
Fasting, by its very nature, is the putting-off of the physical in order to tap into higher realms of meaning.
Destructive addictions and other sabotaging behaviors are the opposite of willpower. And they slowly but surely ruin your life.
Every decision you make is important. If you justify poor decisions from time-to-time, you’re stunting the development of quality habits. More accurately, consistent poor behavior is in actuality the reflection of bad habits.
And bad habits are a fast-track to a crappy life — the root of which is a lack of self-control.
If you can’t control even yourself, what can you control?
But while you’re fasting, you are consciously choosing not to eat — even if you feel hungry — for something else. And there’s nothing more fundamental to survival than food. Consequently, when you learn to control your own eating, you develop the ability to control less fundamental and often destructive addictions.
Fasting is by far the most sophisticated willpower workout available. If you get good at fasting, you can learn to control every other aspect of your life. If you get good at fasting, you can overcome any addiction, not matter how deeply imbedded. Medically, fasting has been found to rapidly dissipate the craving for nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and other drugs.
2. Superhuman Confidence
Neuro-chemically, fasting increases levels of catecholamines — such as dopamine — which elevates your happiness and confidence while reducing your anxiety.
But it’s simpler than that.
Without self-control, you can’t have confidence. Indeed, confidence reflects your view of your own capability. And if you constantly self-sabotage, rather than confidence you’ll experience internal-conflict.
Internal-conflict corrodes your willpower. It’s exhausting and leaves you constantly on the defensive — both to other people and yourself.
But when you see yourself act in ways you intended on acted, your confidence in yourself increases. You develop greater trust in your own capabilities, and this prompts you to take on bigger goals, risks, and challenges in the future. Eventually, you develop the self-efficacy that allows you to control your destiny and future. Complete power and confidence.
3. Superhuman Brain Functioning
Fasting actually increases your number of brain cells. Here is a short list of some of the scientifically backed cognitive benefits of fasting:
· Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy (e.g., “self-eating,”), which is how cells recycle waste material, downregulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves. Brain health is dependent on neuronal autophagy. Another study shows that interference of neuronal autophagy prompts neuro-degeneration. Simply put, without the process of autophagy, brains neither develop properly nor function optimally.
· Fasting increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that interacts with neurons in the hippocampus, cortex, and basal forebrain (the parts of the brain that regulate memory, learning, and higher cognitive function — uniquely human stuff). BDNF helps existing neurons survive while stimulating the growth of new neurons and the development of neuro-synaptic connectivity. Low levels of BDNF are linked to Alzheimer’s, memory loss, and cognitive impairment.
· Evidence suggests that low BDNF is related to depression. Indeed, antidepressants increase BDNF levels. Thus, many doctors believe fasting can reduce depression.
· Fasting reduces the likelihood of having a stroke.
· Fasting reduces the oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cognitive decline that normally results from brain trauma. Research has found that a 24 hour (but not a 48 hour) fast was neuro-protective against trauma to the brain like a concussion.
· Fasting reduces cognitive stressors that bring about aging, cognitive decline, and chronic diseases.
· Fasting reduces your risk of cancer.
· Fasting increases your longevity and lifespan.
· Fasting enhances learning and memory.
· Fasting elevates your ability to focus and concentrate.
If you’ve fasted before, you can attest to the radical mental benefits of fasting. If you haven’t, please start a regular practice of fasting. Over a period of time, you’ll be startled by the cognitive results.
4. Superhuman Clarity & Direction
With the increased clarity and cognitive functioning brought on by fasting, it is easier to analyze your poor habits and make critical decisions about the direction of your life.
When you remove yourself from the noise of addiction — even food addiction temporarily — you clear space for the subtle signal of your guiding truth.
While fasting, you will quickly become aware of the incongruencies in your life. Your poor habits, lack of organization and intention, and misdirected path get put under a cognitive and spiritual microscope.
With increased perspective and willpower, you can use fasting as a vehicle to “let go” of addictions, behaviors, relationships, the past — whatever you want — restart, and move forward. Physically, cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually, fasting is quite literally a reset. It allows your body to catch up on needed digestive functions it generally delays due to our constant eating. But it also helps you reset in other ways.
Fasting can become your trigger to keeping proper perspective on what matters most in your life, and it helps ensure you remain on the path you desire to be on.
5. Superhuman Health
As a society, our brains have been miss-trained about the true nature of hunger, chemically tricking us into feeling hungry every 2–4 hours. But this is actually ludicrous. Naturally, our bodies shouldn’t experience hunger for 12–24 hours after eating.
Research has shown that obese individuals do not receive correct signals letting them know they are full due to excessive eating patterns. Their neuro-chemicals and hormones are all out of whack due to improper eating.
As you fast, your body regulates the release the correct hormones, so that you can experience what real hunger is. Further, with the proper flow of hormones, you get full quicker.
Other scientifically backed health benefits of fasting including:
· Fasting can reverse binge eating disorders, and help those who find it difficult to establish a correct eating pattern due to work and other priorities.
· Fasting can clear your skin from acne, allowing you to have a healthy vibrant glow.
· Fasting “reboots” your immune system from free radical damage, regulating inflammatory conditions in the body and killing-off cancer cell formation.
· Fasting improves blood pressure levels.
· Fasting improves cholesterol levels.
· Type 2 diabetes has become commonplace in our unhealthy culture. Fasting has been shown to strongly support insulin resistance and lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels.
· Similarly, blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
· The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5X. Higher levels of growth hormone assist fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits.
Not only will your body functioning improve as you fast, but your decision-making regarding your health and fitness will improve.
6. Superhuman Motor Skills & Precision
Research has found that age-related declines in cognitive and motor abilities (such as physical balance) can be reduced by fasting.
My 93 year old grandfather, Rex, is an incredible example of this. As a Mormon, he has had the regular practice of doing a 24 hour fast, monthly, his entire life. He attributes his longevity and healthy brain and motor functioning in large part to his regular practice of fasting.
It’s fun to watch him. In the past five years, he’s written three books. He lives with his son (my father) and takes responsibility over mowing the lawn weekly and making sure the yard work is done. He has an amazing daily routine of going to bed at 8 P.M. and waking up at 4:30 A.M. every day. He spends the first 2.5 hours of his day reading or listening to instructional/inspiring content. He eats a bowl of oatmeal at 7 o’clock sharp, then he works until about 2 P.M. every day. He even sets timers every hour to allow him a 10 minute Solitaire break (which is also timed). The second the timer goes off, he gets back to work.
All those incredible habits and he attributes fasting to be a crucial needle, threading them all together and making them all possible.
7. Superhuman Sleep
If you travel a lot or have a lackluster sleeping cycle, research has found that a 16-hour fast can reset your sleep cycle. Other research has found that fasting can improve the overall quality of your sleep.
8. Superhuman Productivity
“If you want to get more done in life, eat less food.” — Robin Sharma, best-selling author
Human beings are holistic. When your body is over-full, particularly on processed foods, your energy levels are low and your mind becomes dull. Conversely, research at Yale has found that being on an empty stomach helps you think and focus better.
While you’re fasting, if you want to take it to a higher level, chew gum. Research has found that chewing gum can increase your concentration and mental accuracy. It also stops you from eating out of boredom — which is the primary reason for most eating.
In a fasted state, your mind can narrow in on your work. I believe this is because the cognitive and sensual amplification of fasting forces you into the moment. In other words, fasting helps you live in the present. It’s powerful and beautiful. High focus and psychological flow are commonplace for me while I fast.
9. Superhuman Emotions
Fasting stabilizes your emotions. This happens by detaching from the emotional dependence on food, in addition to removing over-stimulating foods like caffeine, processed sugars, recreational drugs, tobacco and trans-fatty acids — all of which negatively effect our emotions.
Fasting can also reset your negative emotional patterns. We all get locked-up in weird emotional cycles, and fasting can break us free of them — allowing us to experience the world in a healthier way. It’s also important to note that our emotions are heavily influenced by our environments — and fasting allows us to perceive the incongruencies of our life more clearly — thus challenging us to reshape our environments.
10. Superhuman Energy
Fasting gives you a feeling a physical “lightness,” which provides a boost of energy. Another reason for this energy-surge is because, in a normal diet, our body generally converts foods through carbs and sugars. But fasting retrains our body to convert energy from fats, thus boosting our natural energy levels.
11. Superhuman Weight Loss
Fasting has facilitate weight-loss of 3–8 percent of total body mass in just 3–24 weeks! During that same time-frame, you could lose 4–7 percent of your waist circumference (e.g., harmful belly fat that causes disease).
Fasting decreases insulin levels, while boosting growth hormone levels and increased quantities of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) — a hormonal coctail that breaks down body fat and enables its use for energy.
Consequently, fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 4–14 percent, helping you burn more calories.
12. Superhuman Inspiration
Fasting taps into higher realms than merely increased consciousness. My experience with fasting is physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual. And I leverage fasting for all it’s worth. I openly pray while fasting for miracles and blessings to come into my life and the into the lives of people I care for.
And I genuinely believe it works.
Regardless of the source of my inspiration, I keep my journal and pen constantly at my side while I’m fasting. The majority of my ideas for writing come while I’m fasting. It’s like drinking from a firehose. “My cup runneth over.”
If you’re looking for mental and spiritual breakthroughs — or simply an increased free-flow of intelligence — regular fasting will aid you in this.
13. Superhuman Appearance
Fasting clears the skin and whitens the eyes. It is common to see acne clear while fasting; and the whites of the eyes never look so piercingly clear and bright as they do after fasting.
The reason for this is the release of human growth hormone, which has been found to make your skin look younger and more vibrant.
But it’s even simpler than that. When you’re living a life of self-control, your health and confidence shine through. You smile more, laugh more, and are more perceptive and discerning of others. Human beings are holistic. When we’re out of alignment, it’s actually quite apparent to others. When we are in alignment, it couldn’t be more obvious. You will simply look more attractive by resonating on a higher physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual plane.
14. Superhuman Learning
Research confirms that being in a fasted state improves focus, memory, and ability to comprehend information.Put most simply, fasting improves brain efficiency and effectiveness.
15. Superhuman Senses
It’s easy to get addicted to sugary foods. When we do, we stop craving healthy, earthy, and wholesome foods. But fasting restores our appreciation for these delicious flavors. Your taste-buds become electric after fasting, and eating healthy foods never tasted so good.
Beyond taste, fasting increases the acuity of all your other senses as well, including hearing and smell, and sometimes even vision.
Actually, it can be a startling experience when your brain functioning radically elevates during a fast. Your listening skills sharpen, and you focus in on every word the other person is saying. Your thinking is honed and your ability to quickly and accurately respond is dynamite.
You can hear the slightest sounds in your natural environment which you are usually unaware of.
Time slows down.
Everything is heightened. The colors you see, the sounds you hear, the thoughts bouncing around in your head, your connection to your physical body and external environment.
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