How Intermittent Fasting Will Change You

How Intermittent Fasting Will Change You

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Last November I resolved to finally get myself into great
shape. I have always been a runner and naturally athletic. But my lifestyle had
pulled me far away from this reality. I was overindulging (not a hard thing to
do in New York) in rich restaurant foods and alcohol. The gift was I had what I
believed to be a thriving social life, the curse was packing on pounds and
feeling suboptimal much of the time.

So, I chose to combine intermittent fasting with my workout

Here’s the thing: every single one of us has set a goal like this in some area of our lives. And so many of us don’t achieve it. I’m going to share 3 important lessons I learned that will help you on your journey towards wellness and personal power.

The Topic is Never the Topic…Look Harder

As a trained coach, I’ve learned that most of people’s struggles, including my own, have layers. We go to a friend for advice or a coach to process, only to find out it’s not about our partner not doing the dishes; our friend being late all the time; not getting the promotion when we thought we deserved it. It’s about something much deeper and more foundational. It’s about respect or boundaries or being enough or feeling valued and seen.  

We’re all a bunch of onions.

So when it comes to our health, eating habits and fitness
our layers show up here too. My story has always been one of overindulgence.
I’m a 7 on the enneagram, our dark side is gluttony. It shows up everywhere. Oh,
and we like to reframe it as a good thing. We’re tricky that way.

With my health, it’s shown up as overeating. In my 20’s, I
felt I didn’t have the control to be any different. I marveled (and cursed) at
the people who followed through on their diets and lost weight. Or who always
went to the gym. And, I feared I could never become one of those militant exercisers/eaters.
I told myself I just liked food too much and I was too busy for a regular
exercise routine.

But the topic was not the topic. Succumbing to impulses and
calling it my zest for life has been the easy way to live. The truth was, food
had become a friend and an impulse. It was there for me when I was stressed,
excited, sad, anxious, bored, tired, worried, scared or procrastinating. Food was
more comfort more than it was sustenance. But that comfort was fleeting, which
meant I could easily overdo it.

The topic was not that I couldn’t improve my eating habits,
it was my relationship to food.  And, it
was a need to create healthier, lasting ways to give myself comfort.

Awareness is the first step to making a change. Once I knew,
I couldn’t pretend. It’s like taking the red pill in the matrix. In this
fasting process, I found many other ways to comfort myself and maintain
awareness of my eating. It doesn’t mean I never messed this up again, but it
does mean I am aware when I do. And I am softer in my correction, because I
have compassion for myself and the role food has played in my life.

When You Mess Up, It’s Ok. Dust Yourself Off and Get Back in the Saddle

If you fall off your horse, fall forward. Now I wouldn’t
recommend this in real life, you could be trampled. But for metaphorical
purposes, it works. Often when we veer off course from our goals, we stop pursuing
them. Somehow our minds get made up that a mistake or two means we just can’t
do it. We create a belief about who we are. But what if instead of beating
yourself up about your “failure”, you looked at it as a place to observe and
move forward.

Limiting beliefs are like quicksand- we take one step onto
what looks like solid ground and suddenly we’re sinking. Many times, we don’t
even realize we’re going down until we’re just about to suffocate. Catch
yourself in the false beliefs you make up, be kind to yourself and get back in
the saddle.

When you’re on the ground dusting yourself off, here’s a fun
rule to keep you both compassionate and accountable: only mess up once. I used
this when I hit my first roadblocks with fasting. I wanted to eat later than
7pm and that would ruin with my hours. I’ve had multiple mess ups in the last
year, but I come back to center by reminding myself I can only mess up once. We
must allow ourselves to be imperfect humans, while holding ourselves to higher
standards than before. This is how we build personal power.

You’re probably wondering if that’s once a day/week/month.
That’s up to you. You know in your heart what it feels like to be committed to
what you want. Choose what makes you feel truly committed and roll with that.

Your Desire to Change Has to Outweigh Your Fear of Change

We can apply this to anything in life when it comes to the
reasons we don’t change. We’re incredibly complex beings. Looking back on when
I knew I needed to change and didn’t do it, I was afraid. Afraid to look,
afraid of a new me, afraid of a new standard for myself. I was afraid of how
that would impact the people I loved. Afraid of how I’d fully accept myself and
hoping my people would still accept me. Can you feel how scary all of that is?

Letting fear control you is like paying to stand in wet concrete until it dries.

Once I got really into fasting, overtime I started seeing my
experience of food differently. I saw how much food my body really needed, what
my body responded well to and what it really craved. I smiled at how simple it
all was and reeled at how long I’d let myself go down a road I didn’t want. Our
behaviors create change in either an upward or downward spiral.

The experience was and continues to be seriously healing.
Fasting drove forward my desire to become more fit than I’ve ever been in my
life, more spiritually connected, more ambitious, more grateful and more
content. All the things I want in my upward spiral! What’s happened as a result
is my old, downward spiral behaviors are not needed anymore.

My transition has had many moments of discomfort too. Like
the phrase “you can’t go home again”, it’s beautiful and sad. I know I don’t
want to go “home”. But sometimes I miss the comfort, the way things were.

As we continue to undo what hasn’t been working and step
into this new version ourselves, we also impact those around us who weren’t
expecting (or sometimes wanting) us to change. I’m still going through changes
in my relationships and adjusting. I had to leave some behind (with as much
love as I could), I had to change some to make them work better for my
boundaries and I continue to watch so many beautiful relationships flourish.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t gotten so sick
of the direction I was headed in, that I had to veer to a new one. My desire to
change far outweighed my fear of it. And thank god it did! Applying these
things can be positively pervasive. Once you’ve tried this in one area of your
life, you’ll see the possibilities in others.

Remember, change is simple, but it’s far from easy. I still struggle with my fasting sometimes, and sometimes I don’t feel like running. There are areas of my I can’t wait to fully muster up the courage to apply what I’ve written in this very article. But every day, I make small moves towards what I desire.

The truly fulfilling thing is watching yourself put in the effort and feel stronger than you did, building your personal power and bravery. The outcome, whatever it may be, is just the cherry on top.

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