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The Unexpected Benefits of Fasting: 2. Elevated Self-Esteem

The second piece in my series on the fantastic and perhaps unexpected benefits of fasting.


FASTING IMPROVES A host of metabolic functions. It lowers inflammation, improves blood pressure and lipids, and reduces inflammatory belly fat. And with that restoration of wellbeing comes a reinvigoration of the spirit.

I was and am one of the fortunate ones who realized many years ago that food matters to health, and that to feel happy in one’s own skin one requires a generous serving of self love––and a nice side-dish of health doesn’t hurt! As I adapted to my favorite form of fasting (which actually isn’t fasting at all, but rather the famous fasting mimicking diet developed at the Longevity Institute at USC) it was by working with my patients that I came to realize the challenges people may face when eating a comparatively small amount of food for five days. This is especially true if they have been virtually addicted to sugar and processed foods, though dealing with a little adversity and challenge is not a bad thing!

To my surprise, but great joy, my patients’ experiences taught me a benefit of fasting I’d never considered: an immense boost to their self-esteem. After they successfully completed the five days of the fasting mimicking diet––and the vast majority did––they acquired a renewed belief in themselves! The self-esteem of the patients who completed the fast or did the fasting mimicking diet grew exponentially. They believed, and then lived to see it come to fruition, that if they could successfully adhere to a fasting or fasting mimicking program for just a few days, they could move on with new-found strength and dedication, and the ability to adhere to a comprehensive lifestyle program, one commensurate with increasing their odds of a long HealthSpan.

I saw people who felt hopeless, believing that they would never lower their blood pressure without drugs, improve their glucose regulation, lose weight, or feel more and more energetic. Fasting completely changed their lives, as self-love replaced self-loathing! They went from hopeless to optimistic, and this new vision of themselves persisted and grew more powerful with each round of fasting. Nothing I’ve ever utilized in my practice has ever had the same uplifting effect on motivation and self-esteem as has fasting and the fasting mimicking diet. Success breeds more success … and more self confidence … and then more happiness. Higher levels of happiness lead to reduced stress and inflammation, as well as improved sleep and gut health. What a wonderful and incredibly surprising turn of events this has been!

The joy of success and the aura of self-love and pride are the unexpected benefits of fasting and of the fasting mimicking diet. It’s actually one of the most valuable of the numerous benefits, for with this newly developed self-esteem and love, the stage is set for the implementation of healthy choices––not for a few days, but for a lifetime, each and every day.

With the growth of self-esteem from fasting, lives have been changed in the most wonderful, powerful … and unexpected ways!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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