Fasting is no easy endeavor at the start.
Likely, you’ll be going from having 3-4 meals a day to 2 meals a day. While this will be a shock to the body, it’s even more of a shock to the mind. You’ve spent years conditioning yourself to eat one way and now all of a sudden you’re making a drastic change.
This change can cause overwhelm and early failure.
Here are 3 mindset shifts you need to make in order to make fasting a success long-term.
Shift #1. The misconception of starvation must be obliterated
Most people think that fasting daily is borderline starvation.
In fact, fasting allows your body to utilize the energy stores it already has. Most of us have enough fat stores on our bodies to last several weeks if not months. Fasting helps you break through weight-loss plateaus that were unachievable before.
Most hunger and discomfort that you’ll experience during the start will wane in a few weeks.
In fact, the first few weeks will not give you a clear picture of how fasting impacts your life. Instead, the first few weeks should be used to get acclimated to fasting (rather than trying to lose a bunch of weight). It’s also a great time to also assess your diet and see what changes can be made.
Think of your diet as the foundation that holds up your fasting practice.
If you consume heavily processed foods, it’s best to work on eating more minimally processed foods before starting a fasting protocol. That way once you start fasting you’ll be able to have a more pleasant experience.
When you eat a healthy diet in addition to fasting you won’t feel as hungry which will reinforce the fact that you are not starving.
Shift #2. Create a positive plan for future failures
Failure is an inevitable part of your fasting journey.
Rather than looking at failure in a negative light, try to reframe knowing that failure is your biggest teacher. Failure shows you contrast on what works and what doesn’t. Without failure, there’s no way you would learn how to best fit fasting into your life.
Once you encounter failure, a positive plan is useful to bounce back quickly.
For example, say that you’ve been fasting consistently for 14-16 hours in the last two weeks. Then you go to a party on Saturday that has lots of decadent food. You indulge a bit (which is no big deal). And once Sunday and Monday roll around, you’ve completely let fasting slide. All food in sight goes instantly into your mouth.
Your first instinct might be to throw in the towel completely.
But if you have a positive plan in place, you have something to fall back on. Instead of quitting, you wake up on Tuesday with a plan of action. Ideas on a plan of action include:
- Start the day out with a vigorous workout. A great workout will knock you out of the funk and get endorphins going so you start thinking more positive again.
- You prep healthy meals for the next three days. Knowing what you’re going to eat reduces overwhelm (and the temptation to reach for that bag of chips). You’re able to look forward to delicious meals knowing they’re supporting your fasting efforts.
- You start (or go back to) tracking a metric. What gets measured gets managed. Tracking allows you to be held accountable without needing external influence. Good metrics to track are; daily sugar consumption, carb intake, and water intake. Tracking is a good way to bounce back without lag time.
Over time you’ll be able to attend parties without falling off the rails.
Understand that habits take a while to become solidified and fasting is no exception.
Shift #3. Embrace the marathon mentality
Speaking of habits taking a while to form, you need to embrace the marathon mentality.
Some habits can take over a year to become fully automatic like brushing your teeth. This is especially true with a habit like fasting. More than likely there’s a long negative history of weight loss and your relationship with food. Fasting can help heal these areas. But it takes time.
No master of any craft just woke up one day and became the best instantly.
There was a long road of twists and turns. With fasting, you’re changing all of your eating habits. Most of these habits have been with you since childhood. So there will be a lag in the new programs that you’re installing.
It’s best to be gentle but firm with yourself.
Know that most will never attempt to do such a wonderful act of self-improvement. You’re way ahead of the game and this should be celebrated. Yes, the road may be difficult at times but the payoff is worth any trouble you encounter.
Sit back and watch the weight fall off.
You have much to offer this world. And fasting will help you achieve those seemingly unachievable goals.
Give yourself the gift of time. In a year or two, you’ll look back in amazement at how far you’ve come.
And it’s just the beginning.
Here’s a guide to help you with hunger once you start fasting consistently
Download the Stop Hunger Guide. Implement the 5 tips suggested. You’ll see a positive change in a short period of time.