"God, it's only Wednesday? I'm going to pull my f'ing hair out..." I could hear my mind loudly ranting at me around lunch time on Hump Day of the week I decided to try my hand at the Prolon Fasting Mimicking Diet.
It had been a long trek in my health by that point with lots of little crumbs leading me to the decision that what I need to do was not doing something. Bothered by a list of ubiquitous, generalized digestive concerns over the last 2 years - skin issues, bloating, gas, even my mood suffering - I was starting to lose my mind because there was just no clear answer to what the hell was going on.
By every measurement, I thought to myself, I should be a healthy person. What gives? I've been meticulous about my nutrition, taking dozens of pills per day, exercising as a professional athlete regularly, living an active lifestyle and avoiding smoking, drinking and so on.
"Why me?" I kept asking.
Through a series of serendipitous events, life thankfully lead me to some answers - even if it meant dragging me by the hand like a screaming, complaining child to where I needed to go. I initially came across a podcast by the author of The Longevity Diet and creator of the Prolon FMD (linked above), Dr. Valter Longo, where he unpacked the power of fasting as a tool to incorporate into our health routine and how it can be done safely and intelligently through periodic 5 day fasts (the Prolon kit) as well as intermittent fasting where you eat all of your calories within a 12 hour window, allowing the digestive system to regenerate.
By that point I had spent thousands of dollars and hours trying to get to the bottom of my collection of generalized symptoms with very little answers. I had found through a food intolerance test that dairy was no longer my friend, so I took it out and noticed some good results with the skin issues I was having. But, the bloating, gas and mood stuff kept nagging at me. Something was still missing. When I heard Dr. Longo's podcast, I figured I had nothing to lose so I went and got myself a Prolon kit and dived into my first ever, consciously chosen period of withdrawal for 5 days.
It was brutal, but it opened a door to an amazing world that I had been missing in my approach to my health and that was the world of space, patience, waiting and fasting.
In my recent podcast episode, "The Power of Fasting," I talk about this experience as well as why fasting is an important tool in our arsenal to develop appreciation and sensitivity. As I'd also recently come out with a book on Gratitude, The Gratitude Map, one of the main habits I had outlined was fasting and its impact on our ability to be grateful.
Gratitude is the key to enjoying life and one of the most important components of maintaining a grateful state is the ability to use our senses.
Your senses make you "efficient" at life - that is, they allow you to extract massive pleasure from very little. That's what they're designed for, actually. To experience a vibrant, amazing life in all of its sensual glory. Sensual in this case doesn't necessarily mean sexual but rather physically in the sense of your 5 senses. The senses are the gateways to reality and, unfortunately, in our modern consumption-driven lifestyle, one obstacle of being grateful and fulfilled or present is that senses become habituated or de-sensitized to what is in front of us.