🌼6 Hidden Benefits of Fasting That Have Nothing to Do With Health
Everyone and their pet goldfish seems to be trying intermittent fasting these days. Most of them do it to lose weight. Some for the other health benefits.
But [new research](https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/cancer-intermittent-fasting-health-risk-b2290767.html) has come out that has caused a bit of a stir in the fasting world. There’s talk that “Skipping breakfast may be bad for the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infection”.
Regardless of what new studies say, many people swear by fasting and say it’s transformed their lives. And regardless of the possible risks, there are definitely many health related benefits.
With all this in mind, I’ve started to think beyond health and look into the other aspects of fasting that are able to transform your life.
As a [Baha’i](https://www.bahai.org/), I’m currently going through a 19 day fasting period (no food or water from sunrise to sunset) and it’s got me reflecting on some of the other possible benefits of fasting that may often be overlooked.
Here are 6 non-health related ways I’ve found fasting can improve your life.
# **1. **Build the Trait All Successful People Have
In Alex Hormozi’s [podcast](https://podcasts.apple.com/dk/podcast/mastering-wealth-through-reciprocity-time-sacrifice/id1254720112?i=1000579282773), he frequently discusses the 3 traits found in all ultra-successful people. One of those is ‘impulse control.’
To be successful at anything, you need to have a strong element of discipline. And discipline comes from being able to control any bad impulses you have.
Whether that’s to check your phone when you should be doing focused work, eating a Cinnabon when you shouldn’t, or making a sarcastic comment to your boss, self-control is key to achieving almost anything.
Fasting helps build that discipline and control.
Every time you have the impulse to snack, resisting the urge sends a message to your brain that says ‘I’m in control’. Instant gratification is the killer of most dreams, whereas being able to delay gratification (even if it’s just till dinner) means you’re almost guaranteed to succeed over a long enough time frame.
If you fast consistently, you build this discipline and the benefits will ooze into all aspects of your life. Impulse control works not just with food but with procrastination, financial planning, and pretty much everything else in your life.
Even if you don’t continue fasting beyond let’s say, 19 days per year, that period of time helps rebuild or at least remind you of your ability to say no to your impulses and do what is best for you.
# **2. **Build the Trait All Happy People Have
Do you ever look at a baby, knocked out and happily dreaming in their stroller, and think “that baby has no idea how good they have it”?
Fasting means you can’t eat when you normally do. That usual satisfaction you get from eating a peanut butter sandwich during your coffee break is gone.
Instead you’re left hungry and thinking about how much you miss everything you’re used to eating. And this develops a strong sense of _gratitude_.
They say you don’t realize what you have till its gone. In most cases, you won’t ever need to stop eating your PB sandwiches so will never take the time to appreciate what they mean to you.
As you fast, you start to build a sense of gratitude for the things you usually take for granted. There are days when you’ve probably had to miss a meal because you were busy. It’s not the best feeling but it’s usually a one-off and doesn’t happen often.
But when you do it consistently enough, a sense of gratitude solidifies in you.
At the same time it makes you think of those less fortunate than yourself. It allows you to empathize with the many around the world in poverty who are forced into hunger. Knowing when your next meal is (something at least 25% of the world can’t do), makes you feel even more grateful for the life you have.
And if channeled correctly, gratitude pushes you not only to empathize with the less fortunate but drives you to build a better world for them.
# 3. Enhance Your Ability to Be Patient
My 1 year old daughter is really starting to test her boundaries. She recently started to walk and now goes literally everywhere her little legs will take her.
I thought having a late lunch was tough, but looking after a wild, little toddler when your energy is depleted brings being ‘hangry’ to a whole new level.
It’s a lot easier to be calm on a full stomach after a good night’s sleep. But when you feel like your stomach is starting to digest itself and your toddler just emptied her bottle of juice on your office shoes, it takes a lot to be _patient_.
Patience is built when it’s tested. The more frustrating the situation and the more your body is shouting at you to stuff a cheeseburger in your mouth, the harder it is to take a step back and not blow your top off.
Nobody is perfect and it’s common to be more snappy when you’re hungry. But the more you take control of situations and make a conscious effort to be patient even when you’re in physical discomfort, the more you’ll be able to deal with any difficult circumstance you face.
# **4. **Get Back Your Most Important Asset
Eating meals and snacking actually take up a lot more time than you realize.
It’s not just the eating part. There’s deciding what to eat, preparation, cleanup, etc. It’s only when you cut these out that you realize how much extra time you have on your hands.
Those hours during the day you usually spend on food allow you to:
– Spend more time on focused work because you’re not breaking concentration to eat.
– Spend more time on hobbies or side projects you don’t usually get to do.
– Have conversations and spend more time with the people you love.
Granted, taking breaks to snack may be helpful to prevent exhaustion, but having no distractions and getting focused work done means you can take longer breaks once your work is done.
# **5. **Your Pockets Will Thank You
This goes without saying but fewer meals and less snacking means you’re spending less.
Assuming you don’t splurge to compensate when you _do_ eat, your food budget will naturally decrease. And putting boundaries on _when_ you are allowed to eat means you cut down on your impulse buys.
If you’re walking to your office and smell a fresh batch of donuts at the local coffee shop, on a normal day you’ll contemplate buying one. But if you’re fasting, you’ve already promised yourself that food is off limits so you don’t need to face that internal battle and your wallet reaps the benefits.
Whether it becomes a lifestyle choice or if you do it for a specific number of days every year, small changes add up and spending less on food for even a short period of time could mean you’re able to spend more on something a bit more meaningful to you.
# **6. **Understand Your True Self Better
Eating is a physical experience. And when you’re not busy worrying about your physical cravings, you’re more inclined to think, reflect, and connect with your soul.
I’m not going to sit here and act like 1 hour before sunset I’m sitting peacefully on a rock meditating. But when you get into the habit of fasting, there’s a deeper sense of understanding you get; a consciousness that you are more than your cravings.
There’s a great quote from Baha’u’llah that says:
> “Though outwardly the Fast is difficult and toilsome, yet inwardly it is bounty and tranquility.”
Just like running a marathon is both a test of physical fitness as well as mental strength, as you fast, great things are happening inside both your body and spirit. You’re building less of an attachment to food and instead enhancing your character and becoming more aware of yourself’.
They say every action you take is a vote of who you will ultimately become. Whether fasting is a part of your lifestyle or something you commit to doing for a certain period each year, the benefits are clear.
With each day you fast, you build up mental and physical strength that largely remains hidden. Just like working out, your effort doesn’t immediately show. Sometimes it never does.
But what’s going on inside is guaranteed to bring out the best in you and lead to healthier and happier life.
Contributed by Nate Sanna
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