If you’ve been thinking about giving fasting a try, but you’re not sure it’s something you can do. I encourage you to give intermittent fasting a try. There’s an easy way to get your feet wet and see if this is something you can do to burn more fat, improve your health, give your body a chance to heal itself and gain mental clarity all at the same time. And all it takes is pushing back breakfast for a few hours (or skip it altogether).
If you are new to my blog, my name is Paula. I’m a mother to three beautiful kids and the wife of a Law Enforcement Officer. Because of my interest in health and fitness since about the age of 12, I ended up getting a degree in Health Education. My heart and passion have always been to help people get healthy from the inside out!
However, I have always struggled with the right balance between food, exercise and enjoying life. But because of my “education”, I thought intermittent fasting was bad for me. Turns out, it’s incredibly healthy and has helped free me from the diet roller coaster I’ve been on for the past 30 years.
Start With a 12 Hour Fast
I promise you that you can do this. Eat an early dinner, sleep through the majority of your fast and then postpone breakfast by an hour. You can do this. In fact, most of us fast for 12 hours already unless we’re bad about snacking after dinner. If so, skip those snacks for a week and you’re there.
Next, see if you can push yourself a little further. Push back breakfast until you’re really just eating lunch and dinner. There are quite a few people who work on a 16:8 schedule. They fast for 16 hours per day and eat two meals in an 8 hour period. It’s a lot easier than it sounds.
Let’s say you have dinner around 6 pm. You eat a big meal so you don’t need a snack before heading to bed at 11 pm. You wake up at 6 am and are already 12 hours into your fast. You get a shower and grab a cup of black coffee while you get ready for work. You head to the office and by the time you get there at 9 am, you’re almost there. Get some work done and head out for a late breakfast or early lunch around 10 or 11 am. Heck, if you’re doing well, just stick it out until noon for an even longer and thus more effective fast. Eat a big lunch and you’ll be full until it’s time for dinner at 6 pm.
Figure Out What Works for You
From there feel free to experiment with other types of intermittent fasting. Some people work well eating two to three meals in an 8-hour window. Other’s cut it down to one big meal in the late afternoon, running on coffee and bone broth the rest of the day.
Or maybe you like your current schedule of three square meals per day. You can still benefit from intermittent fasting by fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. You can forgo all food and stick to just water and coffee, or have a little food (usually under 500 calories per day) on your fast days. Being able to have just a little food (like soup for example) on your fast days makes it easy for people to stick to it. Plus you know you’ll be able to eat whatever you like in a few short hours. That really helps with willpower.
If intermittent fasting scares you, start slow. Give it a try on the weekend when you’re already sleeping in. Start with coffee and just see how long you can comfortably go without food. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy it really is and that you can still function well enough to get work or exercise even if you don’t eat for a few hours.
3 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Intermittent Fast
While intermittent fasting is much easier to do than traditional fasting, it can still be a bit of a challenge to get used to this way of eating. To make things easier and set you up to succeed, I have three tips for you to help you stick to your intermittent fast. Give them a try and see if they help you get going. Once you get used to this way of eating and lifestyle, you likely won’t need to rely on these simple but helpful strategies any longer.
Drink Lots of Water
As your body starts to burn through its sugar stores, you can start to feel hungry, light-headed and hungry. You may also experience slight headaches. The best way to deal with all these slightly unpleasant side effects of fasting is to make sure you stay hydrated.
Drink plenty of water during the hours you’re fasting. It keeps your stomach full and will help with the headaches. Plain tap water, mineral water, herbal tea, and lemon water are all good choices. Black coffee also works and the caffeine helps when your energy dips and of course it will make your head feel better as well.
Add Some Fat
While carbs and protein are a definite no-no when you’re fasting, most people do fine with some pure fat consumption during fasting hours. Unlike carbs and to a lesser degree protein, pure fat does not cause your insulin to spike, which is the main internal mechanism we’re interrupting with intermittent fasting.
If you’re struggling with your fasting, try adding some pure coconut oil to your coffee or tea. Or grab a chunk of grass-fed butter and see if that doesn’t curb the hunger and cravings. Another option is to make a batch of bone broth and sip on a cup here and there during your fasting hours. For added fat, add a tablespoon of butter to each cup.
Fasting is all about your head and how you think you feel. Believe me; you’re not going to starve by not eating for 16 hours. I’m sure you’ve done it when you’ve been sick without complaint. But when all you can think about is the fact that you can’t eat anything else for another 12 hours, it starts to feel like you just might faint.
The key here is to stop thinking about it and move on with your day. Stay busy. Go for a walk, run some errands, dig into work, watch a good movie, call a friend, or lose yourself in a good book. Stay busy until it is time to start eating again.
And keep in mind that this will get easier. Your body is very adaptable. It won’t take you long to get used to intermittent fasting. After a few days, it will get easier to ignore the feeling that you should be eating. And after a few weeks, this will feel normal. The key is to find some coping mechanisms in the meantime and do what you have to so you can stick to it.
Need more help getting started? Check out my free guide Intermittent Fasting Made Easy!
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