I learned so much from this experience. More than I could’ve imagined:
1. Discipline and will power is the foundation of achieving anything I (we) want in life.
If one is motivated enough to do something, they will find a way to do it. No matter how hard the circumstances are. Just like the old saying goes,
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”
In my teens, I had no money, no job, no car. I compared myself to my friends and others who had all of that. I didn’t think I was good enough, plain and simple (and still to this day). I was ashamed of my upbringing and felt I had something to prove. I wanted to feel like I belonged.
15 years ago, when I came across physical training I found something that I absolutely loved. So I did it over and over and over – you get the point – and my body responded. 7 days a week, 3 hours a day (no joke) for years. Too much? Probably but I didn’t care. It was medicine for me. It was a form of therapy (another journal entry). I felt like I had an edge over others in this one area of my life because I started gaining respect from others. So from that point on, in my head, I had to work even harder. I had uphold such an image, no matter the cost.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it one bit, but know I realize there’s so much more to training then the physical. Behind that is the mental which is the foundation of everything. Having the discipline to do the thing consistently, even when you don’t want to do it. That’s why this means so much to me. Not the fact that I didn’t eat for 5 days, but the discipline to tell myself that I’m going to do it, AND DO IT.
I literally thought I would shrink if I did not eat every 2-3 hours. Shovelling food down my throat. Never present while I was eating, just getting it in so that my muscles could grow. Sounds ridiculous I know. But that was my thought process behind it. But after not eating it was a huge mental hurdle for me to get over. I did lose weight, muscle mass and fat. I feel skinny but I think I’m okay with it. It’s letting go of my ego. I know that it will be a constant hurdle but with time I know it will get better as it already has.
3. I have a true appreciation for food as I used to take food for granted.
Visiting my hometown, the Philippines, with my family a few years ago was a complete culture shock. I saw two extremes – the wealthy and the poor. The poor had nothing. They lived in open shacks made of wood and mud. I saw two kids playing in knee high mud, splashing around, having the time of their life. The crazy thing, they were smiling. They seemed so happy. And here I am complaining about everything I don’t have. Why is it that we have so much but only focus on everything that’s missing. They would die to be in our shoes. Why can’t we see that?
There are people out there starving not knowing where their next meal is going to come from. It makes me sad just to think about it. But now having felt complete starvation, it gives me a tiny bit of insight on how they feel, everyday.
4. I am even more cautious about what I will put in my body.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that we should still live life and enjoy the foods/drinks we want to, but within reason. There needs to be structure so that will allow you the freedom to indulge, a bit. “Structure gives you freedom.”
What we put (or not put) in our body affects how we function and feel, physically and mentally for days. Think about that in the long term and how that can determine the quality of our life. The one life we have.
Taking away everything and then bringing it back makes me realize the types of food that make me feel like shit or make me feel better. Again, It’s all about moderation and giving yourself the respect to not just inhale everything around you. Your body deserves better.
5. Practice self control over things I want vs things I actually need.
Not to say that we don’t need food because we do. But more in a sense of wanting vs needing – applicable to (junk) food and pretty much everything else in life. Always wanting more of this, more of that, but when does it end? Stop and ask yourself, “Do I actually NEED this?” “Will this make my life better or worse?” If not, don’t eat (drink) it. Don’t buy it. Simple as that. You’ll most likely feel better and It’ll save you the money in the long run. Live with less and have a more simple fulfilled life.
6. I can’t let myself (others) down.
As Don Miguel Ruiz states in his book – The Four Agreements:
Be impeccable with your word.
Do what you say. Say what you do. Because our word is sacred. This applies to all that you do in your life. Keep your word and be reliable to yourself and others.
7. We all need a break.
Taking this break has given me a full reset. Just like you would turn off or reset your computer, I feel I have done that with my body and mind. Giving my gut a break: from eating, drinking coffee, supplements and alcohol. Also a break from smoking weed and giving my muscles a break from intense training (still did light workouts 2/5 days) was exactly what my body and mind needed.
It forced me to slow down. Literally, if I didn’t I felt light-headed. Otherwise, I don’t think I would’ve especially from physical training. I came back revitalized. My workouts now feel stronger and I feel re-motivated with my work and life in general. It was exactly what my mind needed.
Not to mention all the other benefits associated to fasting (in previous journal entry) Well worth the 5 days. And I’ll gladly do it all over again, every year for the rest of my life. Remember, longevity is the name of the game. So we can do the things we love, with those that we love, for the rest of our lives. Because if we can’t, what’s the point?
Thanks for reading. Come back, anytime. Grateful for you.