This being the first week in January, many people are making resolutions to improve their lives. Earlier today I reviewed my 2019 goals and showcased my 2020 goals. I hoped that inspired you to make your goals for this year. Now, let’s change your way of eating. If you’re wondering how to start intermittent fasting, this post details the tips and suggestions which worked for me.
How To Start Intermittent Fasting: Determine Your Fasting Schedule
If you research fasting, you’ll come across the various fasting schedules (which I’ll list a few below):
- Timed Eating Windows
- Alternate Day Eating
- Full Day Fasting
The amount of information regarding fasting online can be difficult to understand and/or follow at first, as it was for me. But I suggest you choose the Timed Eating Windows as that’s pretty easy to follow and maintain.
The premise behind this is you can eat only during specific time periods. The most popular is the 16/8 schedule: You fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours. This is the schedule I continue to follow, even after nearly 2 years intermittent fasting. I usually break my fast around 1230pm. Then I don’t eat anything until I come home from my day-job which is around 7pm to 745pm, depending on the day. I have my final meal before 830pm.
While this works for me, you don’t have to follow this exact schedule. You can eat in the morning (breakfast) and in the afternoon (lunch), then start your fast after lunch.
Some people eat breakfast, skip lunch, and eat dinner but that schedule doesn’t really work. To gain the benefits of fasting, you must not eat for an extended period of time, at least 12 hours.
You aren’t fixed to any schedule as you must find one that works for your body. And you don’t have to eat two meals a day. Eating One Meal A Day (OMAD) works for many people (I’ve done it quite a few times). And I know people who eat two or three meals for one day, then don’t eat the next day.
How To Start Intermittent Fasting: Push Back Your First Meal
Even though I don’t eat breakfast now, back when I started intermittent fasting in late 2018, I ate three meals a day. And like many people, I woke up hungry so I ate breakfast.
But all the fasting research I read said to ease into the practice by pushing back your first meal (normally breakfast). Start by waiting one extra hour to eat: If you normally took your morning meal at 7am, eat it at 8am. Do that for a week. Then next week, push your breakfast time an additional hour. As you keep pushing back your first meal, you won’t feel hungry until the early afternoon. But some people can wait until 2pm or 3pm before they break their fast. I can do that, especially if I’m really busy with a task.
Learn When You’re Dehydrated
Before changing my eating habits years ago, I constantly ate because I thought I was hungry. Too many people do this too. But usually the problem is dehydration. I was thirsty but I misinterpreted the signals from my body as hunger and would eat something. And when you eat, you usually consumed some type of liquid.
But when you fast, you definitely need to learn the signs of when you’re thirsty. For me, I get stomach pains. These are the pains one usually get when you’re hungry. But now, instead of grabbing for food, I drink water. And if I have been working hard and I’m sweaty, I add Pink Himalayan Salt to my water to replenish my electrolytes.
Speaking of salt, adding a good, natural (unbleached) salt to water also keeps hunger pains away so you can fast longer. And you don’t have to add much to your water. I usually do half a teaspoon when I drink at least 8 ounces (237 ml) of water.
Keep Yourself From Temptation
You’re probably going to fast at work. And there is always some type of food at work. It’s usually someone’s birthday so there’s cake. Maybe a coworker went out for lunch and brought their food back so he/she can eat at their desk. Finally, it could be Girl Scout cookie time and someone brought in boxes for the department to enjoy. Whatever the reason, you must learn to resist temptation!
I recommend taking a break outside to walk around. Not only will you get away from the alluring food, but you’ll get some exercise.
If seeing the food tempts you, put yourself somewhere where you can’t see it if possible. Maybe choose a conference room for an half an hour or so.
Finally, if someone offers you food, just be honest with them. I tell people I’m currently fasting and can’t eat at the moment. You’ll probably get questions about it, but most people are accepting and will move onto the next person.
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