I have always heard about the benefits of fasting but only in the last few years have I made an attempt. Last year I started with a very simple 16:8 fast – meaning fasting for 16 hours and having an 8 hour window to eat. I felt pretty good and also dropped some weight. However I couldn’t keep up the consistency.
Since yesterday I have started a 18:6 fast, fasting for 18 hours and having a 6 hour eating window from 11 am to 5 pm everyday. I plan to do this for the next 3 weeks and measure results in terms of how I feel, my weight, my focus and anything else.
From my limited fasting experience, I have had few key takeaways. One big one was that we eat way too much than what our body needs. Human biology is amazing, it extracts energy from different sources as it has a survival mechanism. The other thing is portion control. When I reduced the portions on my plate, I didn’t feel much difference. But I consumed 100 – 150 calories less and eventually this adds up and has a significant impact. Next time you go out to eat and maybe you are getting a large dosa, just change it to medium dosa and see what happens 🙂
Another lesson was in mental strength. When I was not fasting, I would randomly look for snacks, sweets, and eat at random times. But when I started fasting, my mind knew eating wasn’t an option so I felt a lot more focused on the other things I was doing. The snacks were still sitting in the kitchen but I wasn’t making random trips there anymore. I must admit I did find myself opening the refrigerator a few times and just closing it, such is the conditioning my friends!
I also felt that I had more energy throughout the day. It seems a little counterintuitive because food is meant to give energy but for me I think eating less increases my energy. Perhaps I was eating more than what my body needed and after a point it probably reduced my energy levels.
Tracking is everything. The moment I stopped tracking, I fell off from the routine. I also realized how conditioned we are to eating. Many times I was pretty full but still found myself looking for a snack here and there. Even my body didn’t indicate any signals to me but that’s what conditioning does to us.
And how can there be something that Swami Ji hasn’t shed light on? Here is a video where he talks about fasting.