Have you ever thought you desperately wanted something, but you couldn’t get motivated enough to invest the time or energy to achieve it?
That was the problem I faced throughout high school and college with getting into good shape. I’m talking Men’s Health Magazine (prior to the days of Instagram) cover fit with defined muscles and six-pack abs. Yet, I never had the discipline in the gym or kitchen (blamed my genes, too) that is required to get there. Why is that? As much as I compared myself to the guys at that level of fitness, I knew deep down; it was not what I truly wanted.
On the contrary, we must all define what “getting into better shape” means to us. Once we gain more clarity around this notion (and accept it), we can begin to form an exercise regimen into our daily routine to help get us there. It becomes so natural that we don’t even have to think about it, so can we focus on doing the things we enjoy the most. Some of which may include forms of exercise you actually enjoy. Imagine that!
There was a time in my life when I had the damaging belief I never would get in good shape.
Fortunately, that mindset of mine has shifted. I believe now that everyone can attain a level of fitness perfect for that individual regardless of your past experiences. Your reality can involve waking up each day, looking into the mirror, and thinking,
I look good today.
As pharmacists, I believe we are in a unique position to utilize fasting as the vehicle for achieving this goal. Here is why.
1. Embrace Busy
It’s something we as a profession universally accept as normal. We are just too busy to sit down and enjoy our meals. It’s as if we consider it a rite of passage into our profession. Ye’ shall scarf down your meal between all of your other duties. What if you skipped the meal altogether?
I already do that!
I’m talking about skipping meals on purpose and with intention. You can utilize the shifts you are too busy to eat to plan on not eating. Preferably, you would start just by skipping your morning meal and finding some time for a fast-breaking snack in the early afternoon. The ideal snack is something you can eat on the go, even if you are still busy; almonds, macadamia nuts, even some quality beef jerky.
2. It helps you get in the zone. Automatic Zone
Remember how fasting enhances mental clarity and focus? The goal is to utilize the time you are not eating to get super focused on whatever tasks are at hand. Those may include checking the prescriptions, completing patient appointments, or reviewing charts. Personally, fasting helps me focus on my duties in the emergency department during a time
hunger impeded my ability to focus. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t feel the improvement in mental clarity right away. This benefit usually arises after you’ve bypassed the initial week, which can involve some feelings of hunger.
No, you aren’t starving. Stave it off with some cold water and tasks to focus on. The hunger will pass.
Fair warning, once you get in the fasting zone, you may get hooked to the focus and clarity it brings.
3. It can help make you an example of good health for those you serve.
I’m going to go out on a controversial limb here and say that if you don’t appear to be healthy yourself, you are wasting your patients’ time and yours.
We have evidence that patients don’t take our health advice as seriously if we don’t look like we follow our advice. In the past, you’ve likely sensed that your recommendation to “eat a heart-healthy diet” or exercise just fell upon deaf ears, leaving you with the thought
No way they follow through.
This is a separate, but much larger issue I will not discuss further here.
Your responsibility as a health care professional to make an impact on people’s health starts with focusing on your own.
In fact, I believe you’re doing yourself and the people you serve a disservice if you aren’t. Albeit, fasting isn’t the only way to improve your health, but it can serve as a proven starting-point. See the above diagram of all the proven/potential benefits.
There isn’t a single medication you could take that would have even half of these effects.
Of course, it’s best to have a strategy when you want to start fasting. Having a plan will set you up for success to get the most benefit out of it and reduce the chance of frustrations. There are certain factors to take into account, like when you will restrict your eating and what you’ll eat (you can’t just eat anything you want). If you can successfully integrate it into your lifestyle, I believe it can serve as the foundation for a level of fitness that you can sustain simply for life.
Strive to thrive,
Young dad (or soon to be) looking for a way to get healthy and fit without hating the process?
There's an easier way to get on yourself on track.
It doesn't have to involve complicated or time-consuming workout plans and diets.
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