Building a Fasting Habit

Habits are hard to develop.  From what I’ve read, they require three things that form a loop:

Habit Loop.png
  1. A trigger - the input that kicks off the action
  2. An action - the activity itself
  3. The reward - the benefit you derive from the action and sets up you reacting to the next trigger.

It’s even tougher when you have to replace one habit with another. The new habit must have a better reward to make it stick.

When you add fasting to your routine, you’re replacing the habit of eating. This is a habit you’ve likely been doing every single day of your life since you were born. And if you’re replacing eating out or eating packaged food like TV dinners, it’s even harder because that food is often designed to trigger rewards that akin to highly addictive drugs. (They talk about this extensively in the book Salt. Sugar. Fat - definitely worth reading if you need a shock to stop eating any fast or processed foods). 

Knowing this, let’s build the our replacement habit loop.

1. The trigger

This newsletter is designed to be the trigger to remind you to fast. That’s why it’s called the “Fast Club Weekly Boost”.

2. The Action

In the case of fasting, the action is mental. It’s the willpower to eat nothing.

3. The Reward(s)

The reward is harder because everyone I’ve spoken to that has tried fasting has had different experiences. In my view, these experiences fall into a short term and long term bucket.

Short Term Rewards:

  • Euphoria - I’ve had this experience as have several other members. Mine occurred after my first fast.
  • Diminished Sugar Cravings - I didn’t notice this until another Fast Club member mentioned that this was a benefit she experienced. 
  • Mental Clarity - Many people have noticed, as have I, that they felt clearer mentally after a fast, or in my case, even on the night of a 36Power fast.
  • Accomplishment due to Will Power - I’ve felt this especially after my tougher fasts. The feeling of accomplishment of sticking to it despite hunger cravings in my case was immensely rewarding. Based on other members responses, this can be subtle, so you might have to look carefully for it, especially if you do an M2M or Skip1 fast.
  • The Value of a New Relationship with Food - my cousin and several others have noticed that fasting has changed their relationship with food. It’s made them realize that we eat too often and too much.

Long Term Rewards:

  • Medical Benefits - Fasting has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of Alzheimers, diabetes (it stabilizes insulin levels), and cardiac disease. Tom M., a fast club member said that combined with a vegan diet, it helped normalize or improve all of his health indexes on before and after blood tests.
  • Improved Immune System - I've only been partially sick two times in 1.5 years of fasting, and in both of those situations I was still able to go to work and maintain my rigorous schedule.
  • Reduced / Eliminated Allergies - It took me about 3 months to realize that my allergies and asthma were gone. My seasonal allergies were gone as was my asthma. Other members have also noticed that their food tolerances changed after longer periods of periodic fasting. Note that my diet mostly consists of brown rice, veggies, and fish and I don't drink coffee or consume much if any sugar during a week, which I believe helps considerably towards reducing/eliminating allergies.
  • Accomplishment of Weight Loss - This happened gradually for me at roughly one to two pounds a week. Thinking about this carefully, I realized that the weight loss wasn’t the reward in and of itself. One of the rewards of losing weight was the feeling of accomplishment associated with it.
  • Self Esteem due to Weight Loss - Losing weight made my clothes fit better, which impacted my self esteem. I’m now at my college weight, and had struggled with being about 25 lbs overweight for a long time.

You may not value what I value, but there are enough rewards here that you should be able to find one that resonates. A reward that makes it worth sticking with fasting for long enough to experience the benefits. And if you come across anything else or I’ve missed an important reward, let me know, I’ll updated the article on post publish date.

Hope you found this article useful and I sincerely hope that you find a reward or rewards that make the experience worthwhile.

Happy Fasting!