Intermittent fasting is not about starving yourself or eating as little as possible, there is far more to it than that. This new lifestyle has quickly become increasingly popular as celebs, competitors and ordinary people embark on this new way of eating. The only struggle is perfecting this way of eating to ensure you feel your best while reaping all of the benefits.
A little bit about intermittent fasting…
Our article on intermittent fasting has the whole story on exactly how it all works but in short, intermittent fasting is famous for promoting good health and weight loss. It involves timing your meals and eating at certain times of the day. Just like the name suggests, you’ll fast for some part of the day and eat at a specific time. It is one of the few diet (for lack of a better word) plans that actually allows you to eat what you like (well, to a certain extent).
By lowering appetite and aiding burning of more calories, intermittent fasting can actually help you with weight loss, some research has found. A number of people have also reported having more energy.
The timing of meals can affect your 24-hour energy metabolism. Coordinating your meals with circadian rhythms can work as a powerful strategy for reducing appetite and improving metabolic health.
Now you know what it is, how do you make it work?
Tips to make intermittent fasting work for you
1. Plan plan plan
As the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Ideas come and go but until we plan exactly how we’re going to implement these ideas into action, it’s not going to happen.
Take a look at the various types of intermittent fasting and choose a time period that suits you best. From there you should plan when you’re going to eat and exactly what you’ll be eating too. By having a detailed plan and by meal prepping some meals, you will be more inclined to follow the plan and remain consistent.
2. Stay hydrated
Drink lots of water and calorie-free drinks, such as herbal teas, throughout the day. This will curb any feelings of hunger and will keep you from snacking or breaking your fast.
3. Don’t obsess about your food
Plan plenty of distractions on fasting days to avoid thinking about food, such as catching up on some work, working out or going to see a movie. This will ensure you don’t sit around thinking about food and how you ‘can’t’ have it. This is something that requires some getting used to because we are programmed to want to eat any time we experience a bit of hunger.
You need to be able to fight past the feelings of hunger!
4. Try not to overindulge – strive to eat clean
‘Strive to eat clean’ – we don’t mean that your first meal should be a salad and a glass of water (then what’s the point in fasting?). What we mean is you should try to make every calorie count by selecting nutrient-dense foods that are rich in protein, fibre, and healthy fats. Examples include beans, lentils, eggs, fish, nuts, and avocado. By doing this, you will feel full and satisfied for longer. You can see some examples of these meals here.
5. Be consistent
It takes a while to establish a new routine and get used to doing something different. Every new diet or lifestyle will take time to reflect changes on your body. You have to follow it religiously and consistently for at least a few weeks for it to work and for you to become accustomed to eating that way.
6. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a great way to increase endorphins and make you feel great. Now we don’t mean spending countless hours at the gym torturing yourself on the treadmill.
Intermittent fasting comes with the added benefit of making you feel healthier (as it involves syncing your mealtimes with your body’s circadian rhythm). Combining it with exercising is going to be all the more beneficial in terms of making you feel healthy and burning calories. Regular exercise can include going for walks, hiking, working out with a friend (etc), you can make it something you’re excited about rather than something you hate.
Intermittent fasting is just like any other new thing you try, you need to remain consistent with it and fight through some of the uncomfortable feelings you may experience. When your body is used to a certain lifestyle, it takes a while for it to adjust and feel good again. But remember, every diet is different and the outcome is unique to each individual so be sure to do what’s best for you!