So you want to start intermittent fasting? I don’t blame you, it is getting a lot of visibility over the last few years. Actors are doing it to get in shape for films and everyday folks are doing it with success. My best advice is to listen to your body. But the following are a few truths I have found over the past 2 and half years of fasting:
- Black coffee or tea is your new best friend
It takes a little getting used to it, but a good cup of black coffee is a good way to keep a fast going. Obviously you want to drink water, but coffee seems to suppress hunger pains when you need it the most. I’ve always liked a good cup of Joe, but used to drink it with plenty of milk and sugar. Black coffee is what I prefer now, even when I’m in my feeding window and could use milk or sugar. You also begin to appreciate higher quality coffee. You can’t cover up the cheap stuff with cream and sugar any more!
Cold brew coffee was a game changer for me. I bought a simple cold brew mason jar off amazon and it rocked my world. Cold brew coffee is smoother than traditional and doesn’t have that slight bitter taste. Cold brew is also popular now at most coffee shops. Check it out!
- Your friends won’t understand
You are going to have to explain intermittent fasting to your friends a lot. Just get used to it. You will get funny looks or laughs at first, but after a few months of dedication, the results will speak for themselves. The funny looks will turn into, how do you do it? Don’t let the initial skepticism stifle your start. Find a community of support. Whether it’s friends, family, or an online group.
- Family meal time needs to be a planning factor
You are probably used to some type of family meal routine. I highly recommend you try to accommodate your fasting window to what you do now instead of changing your routine to accommodate your fasting window. Kids won’t understand. They will just see dad not eating. Find out what works best for you, but still make time for family meals.
- Workouts should be done during feeding window
I’ve seen mixed articles on working out in a fasted state. If you read my first post and experience then you probably know why I’m against it. Based on my experience, my energy level is much lower when I work out in a fasted state. I’ve done it plenty of times, but that’s usually due to a busy schedule, and not by choice. I’m the kind of person who has to workout everyday or I’m just off. So I’ll get it where I can even if I’m still in my fasting window.
- 16/8 method is the most reliable to start
16 hour fast followed by 8 hour feeding window seems to work the best and is a good start for beginners. I’ve tried several different variations, but seem to always come back to 16/8. Personally I fast everyday with a cheat day thrown in there roughly once per week. I’ll also extend my fasting window sometimes to 18,19,or 20 hours if I’m feeling froggy! I like to keep my body guessing, that’s just me. You just need to see what works best for you.
- Gum counts as calories
So I’ve seen mixed reviews on this, but will recommend not chewing gum during a fast. It is said to create a metabolic response meaning your body thinks it is eating and stops doing all the good things it was doing in order to prepare to digest your upcoming meal. With that said, I’ve chewed gum during a fast, but do my best not to.
- Eat a protein heavy meal to break your fast
As much as I want to grab a snickers or some other sweet treat to break my fast, I try my best to eat something with a good amount of protein to break the fast. Think about it… your body is needing some food and is going to efficiently burn the first thing you give it. Give it something that it can use to help rebuild and strengthen your body.
Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. But I can say with confidence that the results are legit and it gets easier over time. Just remember that you have been trained to eat three or more meals a day. Even if you are not hungry, your body will naturally give you the feeling of hunger during those times. Its been like that for as long as you have been alive. So when you change it up, expect your body to panic a little.
Let me know how your experience goes and what other topics you would like me to cover!