A follow up: What are the benefits of fasting?

by Paul Goodchild on May 28, 2009

This is a follow up to my previous article on the benefits of undergoing a fast for the purposes of detoxification for your body.  Probably best to give that a read if you haven’t already done so, and then coming back here again to see the aftermath.

3 Weeks On…

Since I broke my fast exactly 3 weeks ago, I am still now amazed at the changes in my life that I’m now accepting as the baseline norm.  So much so, it’s hard to know where to start, but I guess that that is where blogging really helps to journal your experience as well as share it.

There is no one particular change that stands out from the rest since it all comes together as package and isolating one from the rest is difficult, at least to articulate.  But I’ll do what I can.

Firstly, energy.  I’ve always been a little bit slothful.  Not lazy per-se, well, maybe a little.  I’d rather sleep in on the weekend (in fact any day of the week) before getting up early to do my weekly laundry, or other similarly ‘mundane’ tasks.  Now, it’s practically boundless.  I don’t want to exaggerate and sound silly doing so, but in relative comparison I need less sleep than before, I get up 30 mins earlier on weekdays and I am more focused for longer throughout the day.  Why is this?  In part it is the detox process I have undergone, but there is more to it.  I’ll address this a bit later in the article.

Focus.  Being alert and focused throughout the day is a another big improvement.  Obviously closely linked energy levels, being focused and directed with my time and my mind means I’m more productive more often, and rather than waste my time on things that are not beneficial to me, I’m concentrating more often on activities that have a larger payoff.  Granted, we all need our down time and I take more of that than I should probably, but it’s all relative.

Joy.  Now I’m probably going to lose some of you here, but stick with me for a moment.  For some people, being around perpetually happy people can get rather annoying.  But why is that?  If you were fundamentally happy in your life and where you are right now, wouldn’t you love to hang out with people of the same frame of mind?  Those people wouldn’t annoy you but instead mirror you and you’d be caught up in a feedback loop with one another.  Exactly the same thing happens with miserable people.  Like attracts like.  We attract into our lives events and people that reflect who we are inside and what we are focused on.  Just try being miserable for a week and see how many happy people you can meet and retain.

So joy, yes, I haven’t even been remotely close to having a ‘down’ day since I got back from my trip.  I’ve been making major life-changing decisions in the last few weeks and that’s bound to contribute to the feeling that I’m moving on with my life and making progress towards my major goals.  You can follow the progress that helped bring me to this point through my life coaching articles.  Being clearer in my mind about where I am in my life and where I’m headed provides an underlying enthusiasm in everything I do right now.  I’m focusing on building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with friends, working towards the plans I’ve put in place for September, and trying to live the last few months of my life in Japan to their fullest.  It’s very rewarding, and while I’m still working, having closure on this chapter also has infused me with a new level of enthusiasm for the work that I do and I’m ensuring I leave the job/company with as many loose ends tied up as possible.

Influential factors

Just like splitting up the benefits of this recent lifestyle into their seaparate parts, it’s equally as difficult to attribute those benefits to 1 particular change in habits.  They all come together to create a new way of life.

In combination with the detox, I believe the other factors that are playing a role here are:

  • diet
  • exercise
  • meditation
  • priority/values adjustment
  • mindfulness and presence

Each of these alone requires a series of articles, but I’ll touch on each of them just very briefly for now.  The trip to Thailand and the detox help to decompress my thoughts a little and provide some space to help me reach some decisions that make me put these factors into practice:


Since returning from Thailand I have maintained a diet consisting on average of about 60~70% raw fruits and vegetables (and nuts), cooked vegetables 20~30% cooked vegetables and about 5~10% meats where they couldn’t be avoided or I opted for fish.  I believe this to be highly contributive to my current state.  The detox program was most valuable in the education it gave me about the importance of a healthy diet, and giving me the wake-up call I needed.


Everyday now I cycle approximately 20 minutes each way to work, with a fast 10 minute run and some light stretching in the gym in the morning.  I started morning workouts about 12months ago and it made a big difference back then.  I can’t imagine not doing exercise regularly in the mornings any more even though the thought of it before it became habitual turned me off the idea of exercise altogether.


I was taking part in guided group meditation sessions each morning during the detox program and it served to reinforce the importance of this to calm, settle and focus me for the day ahead.  I was previously doing this at night, but I was falling asleep too often.  I sometimes doze off in the mornings also, but this is down to me not getting enough sleep the night before.

Priority/values adjustment

As already mentioned, I’ve made some life-changing decisions recently such as leaving Japan in 3 months or so.  These sorts of decisions are based on a growing desire/need of mine to concentrate on the important aspects of living.  Not working for work’s sake, doing as many activities as I can to enjoy my life and grow and sharing quality time with as many similarly focused people in my circle of friends and relations.  Grinding away each day at your work just to save up for a future event that you believe will make you happy is not how I want to play this game.  And make no mistake, this is a game and you owe to yourself to take some time out to really take stock of the direction of your life.  If you do so, and see nothing needing changing, that’s great.  More power to you!  I had to make some changes and readjust the priorities in my life and align with what is important for me right now.

Mindfulness and presence

If you haven’t noticed in my articles yet, I place a heavy importance on the message delivered by Eckhart Tolle and the ‘Power of Now’ writings.  Being present in the now and living each moment to its fullest is a big discussion topic and difficult to relay in any number of articles.  It’s comes down to finding power in being aware of your over-active mind that typically runs your life, the freedom that comes from dettaching many things from your sense of who you are, and gradually becoming aware how everything is connected and learning to stop resisting what is.  Not easy, and it’s a journey of many questions and discovery and sometimes frustration, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This also relates to meditation as it helps to develop the skill of quieting your mind and not getting carried away on a mental movie quite so often.


This is already a very long article and if you have stuck it out this long, then kudos.  I hope you can get something from it, and of course if you have any comments or questions or would like me to dig a bit deeper into anything I’ve alluded to here, please feel free to comment and voice your opinion.  All comments/feedback are welcome as they help to guide me in what topics people find most informative or would like more explanation on.

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