Fasting and dealing with imperfection

| May 16, 2014

Supported fasting has been proven to have lasting health benefits, but is quite intimidating for many. Aaron Travers says it’s not about being perfect, but rather being present and allowing for moments of weakness.

Working everyday with people about to undertake “fasting” programs, I’m often asked questions related to “What happens if I do something wrong”? A common example is attending a social event and eating or drinking off plan, or just having a moment (or a day) of weakness. My response is the same: I say to expect it, in fact plan for some measure of failure, because particularly when undertaking something like a “fasting” program amidst our everyday lives, unless you’re superhuman, more often than not it happens.

I personally “fast” for a period of time at least once or twice a month, and how “pure” each “fast” is varies. I have learned though that it’s in the consistency of this health practice where the power lies, not in it being perfect. To be too hard-headed striving for perfection leaves no margin for simply being human and risks falling into an all or nothing mentality.

The point of “fasting” is not about being perfect, it’s about being present and getting to the destination which in the case of our two programs is five or 14 days. If there is a moment of weakness (or even a blow out on one particular day), my experience is if you get back on track later that day (or the following day) and continue on to the end, then that one event has little measurable effect on the final result. In fact, to have the willpower to get back on track can actually bring with it a sense of empowerment which greatly adds to the final outcome.

Planning to fail doesn’t mean that you expect to fail, but rather that you know what you will do and how you will get back on track when things don’t work out.

So then, if you have long thought about doing a “fast” but question whether you’re right for it, I say to you, relax your expectation about having to be perfect about it. “Supported fasting”, as my programs are, are not only supported nutritionally but with the expectation that there will likely be some hiccups along the road. As the saying goes though, “It’s not how many times you fall down that matters, it’s how many times you get back up that counts”.