Fasting is the discipline of controlled intake.
I know– sounds fun, sexy, and easy, right? Oh so simple. Nope.
There are words in that statement or definition if you like that most if not every person you know battles with.
Words like “discipline” or “control” are some of the hardest things to maintain as a human, because let’s face it… we’re imperfect, maaaan. We got flaws.
So here’s the opinion that I have that lets you do what you do or need to do when you aren’t good at something or you feel there’s a weakness you can improve on, OR you’ve ever heard yourself mumble an all too familiar phrase I hear so often– “I could never fast/skip breakfast/skip dinner. I get too hangry…”
Guess what, dude? That is an admission of a lack of control. Are you willing to accept that?
This opinion IS an opinion as most things in this blog will be– ‘the lean mindset approach to creativity’ being more or less the tagline here.
Remember that any recommendations are that. Recommendations from my own experiences as well as from friends and colleagues. So to be clear, do what you want and try what you want at your own risk. Just know that the decision to do nothing is still a decision (thank you Tony Robbins for that one).
My standpoint here is simple. Fasting is practicing discipline.
In that I mean TWO things. The first being that yes, you are practicing (as in actioning) the habit of fasting (see other blogs explaining intermittent fasting in more detail).
The second I mean is that you are practicing (as in rehearsing) the habit of positive and helpful self-discipline by fasting.
Both definitions apply here, and what you are doing by abstaining from a calorie intake whenever you do is you are strengthening the muscle or muscles that make doing other difficult things in your life that are ultimately better for you. I’ll explain.
We all have a level of self-control. A finite accumulation of wicked willpower that we can bust out when we need to hit that work deadline OR get that uni assignment done OR learn those lines and tape them before your agent drops you like a Keep-It cup just because you had the wrong coffee beans inside you. Yes, we have a limit.
And I know, I love Limitless the movie too. I just want to take NZT all day, bust out masterpieces one-after-one and function at a maximum at aaaall times. But here’s the thing… if you’ve seen that film, you know something inevitably happens. Eddie Morra begins to overdo it. He begins to break done. But the message isn’t lost in that: you CAN raise your limit of willpower/creativity/focus in a healthy way; just have the self-awareness to know when you pull it back for the day/week/month.
The same applies to fasting.
Fasting is an excellent and natural way to begin to push your extents of willpower and focus, like raising the limit on a bank ATM withdrawal (not to be confused with raising a credit card limit– baaad idea, hombre!).
Whilst you are fasted, you are practicing your decisionmaking – “I choose NOT to eat until this time today”.
You are practicing your self-discipline – “My decision to restrict my eating to a window is my own that only I control” OR if you are beginning “I am removing food from the first half of my day, and next I will remove calorie-heavy beverages like sodas or milky milky coffees”.
You are even practicing your focus because even though eating is inarguably a necessity for us all, you are enabling time to focus on other personal necessities for happiness, productivity, and prosperity in either mornings or evenings (or the whole day if doing a 24+ hour fast).
Essentially, you are building a base to add other helpful or strengthening habits to– habits like reading daily, journalling (check out Tim Ferriss’ stuff on this. Absolutely unreal), a minimalistic approach to the day, or even adding a evening wind-down routine which is one of those things that 90% of the population don’t have. Not a positive one that sets up the next day anyway.
So here’s how I practice disciplining myself; reeling myself in when I need to and restricting the unhelpful by choice starting with extra or untimely calories:
- Get up earlier – starts your morning fasted period early and means you’re eating lunch the same time as anyone else you may be eating with you. You practiced your discipline all morning and it started the moment you got up, didn’t hit any snooze button and didn’t open that fridge/packet/box of [insert crap here]!
- I experiment with different calorie-free drinks like coffees (always long black or Americano BUT different beans or instant or different coffee shop– whatever keeps it fresh and gets the job done, one day at a time.
- Daily practice. Intermittent fasting is a daily habit. Anyone out there that is elite at anything whether sports or business or writing or bloody yoyo tricks– they go through the motions every single day. The difference here is it is so much more management and maintainable because fasting is an ommission of something, rather than having to fit it into a schedule. When you have the self-control to control your fasts, you have the flexibility to eat when you choose to and most importantly, when you really need to.
And the better you get at fasting, the better you get at fitting in the other good stuff along the way. How do you think I’m writing this blog post on a Monday morning in the middle of Vancouver, CANADA?
Now… Get Creating Yaself.
– The Fasted Artist.