Updated: Oct 8, 2020
As the years go on, I find that I have acquired enough experience to discern the key to my success. While it is arguable that I have a dream life when it comes to self-care. Perhaps I sacrifice attention to other areas in my life and that is why I have this body. Meh, my life is far from perfect. I get stressed and put to the test. I binge eat donuts sometimes and probably get a little too much of my calories from lattes.
I usually am alerted when I am off my game when I get out of certain habits. Too much inconsistency in my schedule throws me all off wack, I'm not good at making good decisions on the fly. Therefore, too much idle time in my schedule results in more opportunity to make unhealthy choices. That's just some basic knowledge regarding time management and when applying the principals to health and wellness a lot can be gained.
I break my bad habits in the New Year by focusing on creating new habits. I have practiced this for now the 3rd year since I began my career in fitness. However, back in adolescence in church the congregation took part of a 21 day fast. I learned a lot about fasting and the different types of fasts that can be done. I found it interesting the link the body had with the mind and spirit. Not that I had visions or caught the holy ghost, just that I had determined to take on a stress and dedicated to that for a certain time period and conquered that stress. It was empowering but also child abuse. People abuse ha ha, no one should starve themselves.
Yet the take away was still vast. The body could sustain on water for 21 days. 3 days without water and the body could die. Toxins are pushed from the body now that there is no food the turn into energy. Let's nerd out for a bit and break down how the body utilizes energy.
1. Resting Metabolic Rate- the energy expended to be a human. 70% of the day's energy goes to all the autocratic functions our body does i.e. circulatory system, hormone production, temperature regulation.
2. Thermic Effect of Food- the energy expended to digest food. 6-10% of the day's energy goes to digestion and absorbing nutrients from food.
3. Energy Expended during Physical Activity- the remaining energy is for moving around. 20% of the day's energy is used to move.
Learning this is how I turned my fasts into habit creators. I found it fascinating that the body is so complex that simply being requires most of the energy. Also that the body has to retain energy used to digest food, as in there is always energy for a meal. Death by starvation takes so long because of that certain reservation. Naturally, the extra energy to move is limited during a fast, however the body has already budgeted just how much it will utilize. Once you can trust that the body is strong and nothing being done to it will cause harm, then it is easier to focus on the gains.
These are the things I give up during my fast:
6. Eating before Noon/ Eating after 8 PM
My goal during my top of the year fast is always to become disciplined. The different foods that I eat are comforting but that doesn't mean other foods couldn't fulfill a need. So while I may be cutting out meat and dairy, it is in pursuit to find new alternatives usually in the fruit and veggie realm. It helps me to think on my toes when my budget doesn't allow meat or cheese. I also get to try new cuisines. The discipline I am learning is to try new things. That habit formed will continue throughout the year.
Now the alcohol/caffeine are pretty obvious as far as the benefit of disciplining myself to not indulge. However again, I am learning to seek out other methods to relax and motivate myself. Some folks probably thought, "That's okay just have herbal tea and drink water." Right you are, but this can go even more deep. Do I drink to ignore idle thoughts; am I spending too much money socializing with my friends when I should be getting to know them as they are? Same with caffeine, water could help me feel just as awake and so will 10 burpees. The habit here is disciplining myself to be in a moment rather than on a task.
Tobacco and marijuana are two different things to me. I have done a great job ridding my life of tobacco, however not smoking Mary Jane triggers for a reformation of that habit. I quit smoking marijuana mostly for self acceptance. I am a light user as it is, however back to the caffeine issue I have to learn to self-motivate. What other habits could I form in the time it takes to light up or puff? Maybe networking and texting a client. The discipline of treating such a compulsion as a was to benefit the future. Again, be in the moment not on task.
I am not a proponent for intermittent fasting as a dietary life style. I am a firm believer in breakfast, thank you. However, I prevent myself from eating before noon as a reinforced discipline that breakfast is power. I do not miss out on calories during this fast. My goal isn't weight loss, therefore; I have created the challenge of getting my daily nutrition in an 8 hour period rather than my usually 12-14. I develop stronger habits of packing so that when I do get to eat it's cannot be unplanned. One, I'll be hangry, and two no meat and no dairy put a large restriction on snap decisions. I am developing the habit of being prepared when it comes to meal times and snacks. My body thoroughly enjoys when this part of the fast is over.
Abstaining from sex is a practice that I believe should be used sparingly. Masturbation or sex with a safe partner/s is a form of energy in itself that needs cultivated. Yet during this time, I allow myself to place my mind on other matters of my heart and desire. As a single woman it also allows me to validate my worth as I discipline myself to focus of so many other strengths I possess as a partner.
If you would like to try my 21 day fast, let me know!