As some of you know I have just completed a 38-day fast to cure myself of chronic illness. I was inspired by Tyler Tolman’s interview here on Addicted2Success to give it a go. It’s changed my life, and I have learnt so many vital lessons. Surprisingly, many of those lessons are directly linked to the basics of success.
It’s been a hell of a ride with ups and downs. I have learnt a lot about myself and who I want to be. I have released years worth of toxins and toxic emotions that just sat there. I always thought that when I changed the way I lived in 2012 after a Tony Robbins seminar, that this change would be enough.
What I have learnt is that you can start eating healthy and living better today, but if you don’t release all the years of bad food and toxic emotions, you won’t get the true benefits. You deserve to be the best version of you each day, and you deserve to be successful – let me show you how you do that.
Below are the eleven lessons I learnt from doing my 38-day fast.
1. Energy will change the game for you
The first and most important lesson I learnt was all about energy levels. Most of us think we have high levels of energy but compared to what I have now; we really don’t. After the first four days of fasting, once all the toxins were released, I had a new kind of energy.
I found myself being able to work longer than other people at a peak state consistently. I started to see that to live the life I wanted; I needed more time. The only way I have found to have more time is to have more energy.
By having more energy, it means that every minute is not wasted lounging around, and I can achieve my goals consistently. I also found that my passion for what I do increased because the new levels of energy allowed me to show more emotion and be more vulnerable.
The way I chose to be more vulnerable was to put myself out there and share my story with over 40,000 colleagues. For days, I was inundated with emails and messages from people who connected with my story and wanted to be around me to learn some of what I know.
What can high levels of energy do for your own life? How can you change the game?
2. Food is so good
So it’s no surprise that after the 38-day fast I now have a new perspective on what food means to me. Just having an avocado now is the most amazing thing I have ever tasted. Whereas before, unless it was full of salt and came from a takeaway shop, it didn’t excite me.
Most of my fast involved eating nothing but fruit (which is basically water) and so I started to see fruit in a completely different light. The fruit was very detoxing, and it was also sweet (the good kind). I began to look forward to getting home and pigging out, except this time it was on fruit.
That first moment when I broke the fast and ate something other than fruit again is something I will never forget. It’s a very mindful experience because rather than just scoffing down the food, you savour each bite.
Now that the fast is over, food has become something I love, even more, and I have a new sense of gratitude about it.
3. You will see if you have willpower
The other highlight lesson for me was around willpower. In 2011, I went from 65kg to over 100 kg’s by training with a personal trainer. One thing that I will never forget is that my trainer said to me, “Tim I have trained a lot of people, but you have determination and willpower like I have never seen before.”
For over one year I trained every single week, even through public holidays, winter storms, temperatures of more than forty-five degree’s to achieve my goal. Most people that try to do the same thing would have days off, holidays and time when they couldn’t make it to training – I never allowed this to happen (sacrifice).
From this gym experience to my recent experience of fasting, I have again seen my willpower and determination shine through. It’s an attribute I never thought I had, but there is no way that these two situations are a coincidence.
While you may not have the same willpower as me, if you can do something like a fast, you can certainly build it as a strength. The way that I stopped myself from breaking the fast was to think about all the hard work I had put in thus far and all the rewards I would miss out on if I gave up.
I mean I sacrificed four days of holidays to even begin the fast, if I had to start all over again, I would have to give up another four days. What I have just described to you here is the process of reframing that was taught to me by Tony Robbins.
It’s the most powerful success tool I know, and it’s what allowed me to conquer my fear of fasting.
4. All food addictions can be abolished
Like most of us, for many years, I have suffered from sugar and salt addictions. By doing the fast, I was forced to abolish both of these things. When you don’t consume salt and sugar for a long time, your body stops craving it and it’s a great way to change your eating habits.
Now when I eat something, if it has even a bit of salt I can taste it straight away. It’s not that I don’t want salt or sugar anymore, it’s just that it doesn’t serve me on the path to success that I am creating for myself.
5. Let your body heal
All of our lives we are told to eat lots of fruit and vegetables and we never eat enough. We put things like alcohol consistently into our body and never give ourselves a chance to heal. While our bodies rest at night-time, just as we are starting to clear toxins from the body, we wake up and stuff more food into our mouths.
What I learnt from my 38-day fast was that when you give your body nothing but nutrients and vitamins for a prolonged period of time, your body thanks you in so many ways. During a fast you are giving your body a chance to heal and to break down all the old cells and create new ones.
We can’t recover from medical issues unless we let the healing process begin. This healing process will never start with hamburgers and deep fried food so let your body heal once in a while through something like a fast.
6. You won’t die from fasting
The biggest fear I had about fasting was that I was going to waste away and become skin and bone. After doing the fast, I can tell you this is completely false. Think back to the cavemen, their bodies were programmed by nature to go through feasts as well as famines. This same programming still exists in humans today but we just never use it.
Someone said to me a few weeks ago that they didn’t think they could go three hours without food otherwise they would get sick. I too believed this once before and now after fasting, I know this to be entirely untrue.
Most of what we are eating is creating our sickness and then feeding it when we are sick. Consider a new perspective and maybe try a short three-day fast to see for yourself. Many people asked me why I chose 38-days and not another duration. The reason for this is that the human threshold is about forty days, and I wanted to come in just below the extreme.
Now you will lose a few kilograms but most of this will be fat and all the stuff stuck in your colon, liver and kidneys. Once you complete your fast, and your body is healthy again, you will put a good level of weight back on pretty quickly so don’t stress!
7. There are going to be real lows
During any extreme task like a 38-day fast you are going to experience some lows. For me, my biggest lows were day three and day four. I was walking down the street on day three and then all of a sudden I started wanting to vomit and I couldn’t stand up.
Having never experienced these sensations before all at once, I wasn’t sure what to do. I checked with the online fasting group, and they told me this was perfectly normal. As toxins leave the body in a hurry, they come up to the surface and make you feel very unwell.
On the night of day three, I could feel the toxins coming up through my mouth, and there was this liquid that went onto my tongue and tasted horrible. Day four was much the same, and I was starting to panic. I figured that everyone was right and that not eating normal food was what was causing the sickness.
Using the self-development techniques I have learnt over the years, I decided that anything worth doing was going to be tough, and I stuck it out. By day five the sickness had passed and I started to feel better.
“Success is something that is going to have real lows, and you need to be prepared to face them, and overcome them with courage, patience and determination”
8. Whole foods are really good for you and cheaper
My 38-day fast had a number of different types of fasting built into the program. For thirty days of the fast, I ate nothing but fruit every single day (not really what we consider as food because of the high water content).
I expected that this diet of eating whole foods would be much more expensive. Per item it was, but overall, it was much cheaper than the junk food and takeaway food. The fact I didn’t get sick and had higher levels of energy also meant that my capacity to add value (and make money), was drastically increased. So, overall, I believe that whole foods are not only better for you but also cheaper.
9. People will judge you
An unexpected outcome of my 38-day fast is that I found some people really wanted to judge me. They either thought I was crazy, different, not normal or a freak. The way I see it, the road to greatness is not for everyone so the people that achieve it stand out in lots of different ways.
Standing out is a good thing because it means you are not going to achieve the same results as everyone else. People continually told me that they thought fruit must be so hard to eat and so boring. Actually, it was quite the opposite. Fruit has natural sugar and tastes really nice.
On top of that, the fast was helping me heal my body and feel amazing, so there was no way I could view it as hard or boring.
10. Proper hydration is life changing
A few years ago I was introduced to a book called “The Body’s Many Cries For Water.” The basic message of this book is that when your stomach is rumbling, or you want food, what your body really wants is water.
During my 38-day fast I learnt pretty quickly that this statement was so very true. Every time I got hungry and drank lots of water the hunger went away. I often found that eating a bowl of fruit would make me very full.
This book teaches us that when you are full from fruit, it’s actually not the case, it’s just that the fruit’s water has properly hydrated you and now you don’t feel like any more food. I found it phenomenal just how crucial water was during the 38-days.
The level of water I drank directly reflected how I felt. So the lesson here is to do what we have always been told, drink more water and consume more water-rich food.
11. You’ll never let yourself get backed up again
The final lesson I learnt is that once I went through this gruelling 38-day process, I realised that I never wanted to become backed up and unhealthy again. Seeing all the poisons and years of abuse I put my body through, was kind of enlightening and made be decide to think twice from now on.
Once my body was clear and I could think straight again with high levels of energy, I began to see a new level of what I believed to be possible. Life changing events like a 38-day fast can rewire your neural pathways for life and leave a lasting effect on you.