10 Mental and spiritual benefits you'll gain while fasting for weight loss

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Quick note from Jenn: This is a guest post from Scott of EternalOak.com. As you may know, I’m a huge proponent of intermittent fasting. Though I can’t do it right now, I still believe intermittent fasting has a ton of benefits and I assume I will take it up again when another tiny human isn’t depending on me for nutrition. Also, please see disclaimers at the bottom.

Fasting is no easy feat. For some people, it can be really difficult to mentally wrap their minds around the concept of fasting. However, there are others who swear by this particular practice. Intermittent fasting lets you eat what you want and still lose weight.

By definition, intermittent fasting involves alternating fasting with eating.

The most commonly used intermittent fasting style is the 16:8 method. You set an eating window of eight hours a day then fast for the remaining 16 hours. There are many different fasting methods though.

While fasting has its benefits, it's always wise to consult your doctor beforehand. When you decide to embark upon a fast, it's best to choose whichever option you're most comfortable with.

At the same time, while you may be fasting for weight loss, understand that there are mental and spiritual benefits you'll gain as well.

Mental and Spiritual Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

1. Discipline

Out of all of the things you can attain in the world, discipline is one of the most valuable. Discipline is the main factor that you'll need in order to achieve long-term success. While you may be fasting for weight loss, there is a significant emphasis on discipline because you have to actively train your mind to not want the food that your body desires. In many cases, people allow their fleshly desires to take over and make decisions for them.

When you're fasting, you're actively exerting discipline to make sure that you don't allow your body to make the decisions for you.

When you're able to maintain discipline, this impacts your entire life. When you choose to give in to your desires, this will eventually lead to your demise (take a look at the #MeToo movement…).

2. Patience

It's often stated that patience is a virtue. When you're able to develop patience, you can endure and weather any difficult situation with the knowledge that you'll make it through to the other side.

The opposite of a patient person is one who exerts temper tantrums. Temper tantrums are typically associated with children. Essentially, an adult can easily be viewed as one who hasn't matured because when they don't get their way immediately, they throw a fit.

When you are working towards a goal like weight loss, there is going to be some self-denial involved. This doesn't mean that you're never going to be able to indulge. It just means that you can't have a certain thing immediately.

When you're able to actively engage in self-denial for a temporary season because of a specific goal, you'll be able to apply that virtue to other areas of your life.

3. Clarity

In many cases, people have shared the power of fasting on their mental clarity. So many people walk around with stress, worry and anxiety. When you're able to get rid of those factors, this helps you to focus in a different way. This is mainly because you don't have the fog associated with mental angst.

When your mind is clear, you'll be able to think in a way that is organically authentic to what you want.

When your mind is clouded by stress, you'll make decisions that aren't always the best. Those decisions won't truly reflect what you deeply want because they are influenced by fear.

When your mind is clear, you eliminate factors like fear, worry and depression.

Understand the power of the mind. Wherever your mind goes, your life will follow. When you're able to gain clarity, you'll be able to gain an entirely different yet powerfully potent experience.

4. Focused Reliance on Something Higher

For centuries, fasting has been recognized as a major component of specific religious groups. It is popularly practiced in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Most people who develop the habit of fasting do so at specific times of the year (Ramadan, Lent, etc.). During these times, they eliminate something they specifically desire (food, tv, social media) to focus their attention on God.

When you're deciding to fast for weight loss purposes, your approach might feel a little bit different. However, if you do maintain a spiritual belief in a higher power, this will impact that relationship. This is mainly because you be able to have a focused reliance on something higher than you in order to help you to persevere through the temptations of your flesh.

This practice is especially good for people who emotionally eat in order to cope with their feelings. When you don't have food at your disposal, this forces you to lean into the higher power (religious or not) to get the strength you need in order to make it through the difficult moments.

5. Confidence

In many cases, people don't give themselves the opportunity to develop the strength that's truly within them.

  • When you're able to work through denying yourself through the practice of fasting, this is a confidence-booster.

  • When you're able to check something off of your to-do list that is really hard, this makes you feel better about yourself and your abilities.

  • When you know you can conquer something that's difficult, this changes the way you view yourself.

It also impacts the way you view future challenges. When you are able to get over a hurdle, it gives you the confidence to be able to continue. When you feel mentally strong, this will impact your ability to look at the situation and instead of shrink, you'll rise to the challenge.

6. Reset

There are times when people are constantly consuming and they don't get a chance to detox. When you fast for weight loss, this is a perfect opportunity to gain a reset.

You're allowed to detoxify your system and get rid of any impurities. This isn't just from a physical standpoint. This is also from a mental and spiritual standpoint as well.

If you'd like a proverbial reset, many people do something like this after the holidays are over. During the holidays, people eat and drink because it's a celebratory season. However, it's not uncommon for people to feel a sense of heaviness after it's all over.

This is one of the main reasons why people begin weight loss journeys as New Year's resolutions. For many people, it's an attempt to detoxify and reset the system.

7. Productivity

There are so many different articles, podcast and interviews where people discuss how to become more productive in life. To maintain a high level of productivity is to achieve great success in the eyes of many. While this isn't necessarily true for everyone, many people believe this.

As a result, so many people are looking for ways to increase their productivity so they can feel more successful. If you would like to enjoy an added benefit of fasting, understand that productivity might fall under this umbrella. This is mainly because productivity can be a byproduct of clarity.

When you're focused and don't have that cloudiness of stress on your mind, this will naturally enhance your ability to produce more. Consider how you feel after you've eaten Thanksgiving dinner. In most cases, people become tired and long for the closest bed. While the body takes time to digest all of that food, it takes a lot of energy from your efforts to complete other tasks. As a result, people slow down and want to take a nap.

If you're fasting, your body isn't taking a lot of energy to digest anything but water. As a result, you'll have a lot more energy to exert on other tasks.

8. Rest

One of the mental benefits of fasting for weight loss involves your ability to relax and rest. When your mind is clear and you're not dealing with as much stress, this will help you remain in a meditative state for a longer period of time. As a result, when it's time to go to sleep, it'll be easier for you to drift off to sleep.

This is excellent news for people who struggle with insomnia or sleep issues. Once you develop a nighttime routine and you're in the middle of a fasting period, your body will be able to mellow out and have an easier time getting quality rest.

9. Willpower

When you have willpower, you have perseverance. When you have perseverance, nothing can stand in your way. One of the benefits of fasting for weight loss involves the willpower that you're able to develop. When you're working towards developing willpower, it's a good idea to start small.

Consider fasting for a certain amount of hours for just one day. Then, as you master this goal, build upon that with more hours. Before long, you'll be able to do a three-day fast without too much difficulty. When you're able to fast for longer periods of time, this increases your endurance and willpower.

10. Strength

One of the reasons why people love superheroes is because of their strength. They're able to tap into a strength when they need to conquer a goal.

Even though superheroes have their weaknesses, they're able to find ways to overcome and get to the other side. When you are able to fast for weight loss and drop the weight, this allows you to develop an inner strength that you can apply to your spiritual life, personal life and professional life.

No matter what, realize that there are so many benefits to fasting. Don't believe the hype when people say that fasting is dangerous.

When you do it properly, it can directly impact your entire life and make you a better person. While you might be doing the fast for weight loss, the mental and spiritual development will enhance your life dramatically.

What benefits of intermittent fasting are most appealing to you?

Cover photo by Tom Crew

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, nor am I able to give out real medical advice. Check with your doctor before starting any fasting program. Blah blah blah other legal jargon so you won't sue me if you try intermittent fasting and have an issue from it. More here. Okthanksloveyoubye.