5 tips for intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a wonderful and natural way of living a healthier life, losing some weight, and supporting your body to become strong and lean.
Intermittent fasting means that you are not eating for a certain time. And while this has remarkable effects on your body, it can act as a cure for your mind as well.
There is not one correct way of intermittent fasting written in stone that has to be followed by all. No - intermittent fasting comes in different shades with amazing names like 16:8, 18:6, OMAD, AF, 5:2, or any other variation. And the best is: everyone can adjust it to their own sweet spot.
This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting is such a powerful tool because it is easy to integrate into everyone's life.
The different shades of intermittent fasting
Yes - What do those fancy names mean? Let me try to explain this to you:
The names of the different fasting styles are explaining the rules for your fasting based on the timing.
You are not eating for 16 hours, and you have an eating window of 8 hours for two to three meals.
An example would be: You have your first meal at 10 am and your last meal at 6 pm. You are not eating between 6 pm, and 10 am.
You are not eating for 18 hours, and you have an eating window of 6 hours for two to three meals.
An example would be: You have your first meal at 12 pm and your last meal at 6 pm. You are not eating between 6 pm and 12 pm.
You get the idea behind it, right?
You can carry the time to your favorite meals: You do not want to miss your breakfast? Start your first meal early, and stop earlier accordingly. Just make sure you are not eating anything during the fasting window.
You are not eating for close to 24 hours, and so you eat one meal a day (OMAD = One Meal A Day).
This meal will be your feast, and you need to make sure to eat enough during this one meal. Keep in mind: It will be more than what you ate per serving in the days of 3 meals a day.
Don´t limit your portion size and eat until you are full. It might feel odd to eat more initially, but you´ll get used to it quickly. Do not forget: You are not eating for a full day. Celebrate your meal accordingly.
You are not eating for 36 hours, and you have an eating window of 12 hours for two to three meals. AF stands for Alternate Fasting, and with this way of eating, you are only eating every other day.
This one is more challenging, and I only recommend it to you if you were successful on OMAD for a while.
You are eating normally on 5 days of the week, but you are not eating on two days. Usually, the two days are not following each other. You could fast on Monday and Thursday, and you are eating on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Fasting is natural
Believe it or not, but there has not always been a grocery store around the corner, not always a baker down the street, and not always a fridge full of food.
There was a time when we as humans needed to go hunting to get food, we needed to collect what we were going to eat, and there were times when the hunt was unsuccessful, or it was too cold to find any crops left. Human beings were always going through fasting times, where they needed to wait a couple of hours or even days or weeks until they got the next bite.
Interestingly, while waiting for the next meals, humans are not losing their energy, will, and sharpness. Rather the opposite - while not eating, we are mobilizing the fat storage that gives us enough energy to run, hunt and search for food. We are not forced to lay down and spare energy. No - we can go on. And doesn´t it make sense? If you do not have any food - you need to be strong enough to find new food. If the body shuts down and hoping for a good fairy to bring us the next steak - that, by the way, would never come - humans would have been erased from this planet hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Fasting has always been a part of human history, and even you are fasting daily - e.g., when sleeping. Also if you did not know that this already counts as fasting. Well, it does.
Besides the ancient and enforced fasting based on food shortage, there is also a more modern and kind of voluntary fasting in our history: Religious fastings.
All religions implemented fasting into their core, and for centuries, humans were practicing fasting as part of their beliefs. And survived.
The positive effects of fasting have been documented widely, and most people can benefit from fasting. If you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend the books and videos of Dr. Jason Fung.
What to do when waiting for the next meal?
Once intermitting fasting becomes a part of your life and a part of you, you will go through your fastings easily. You might not even think about food or your next meal at all. Once you overcome old habits and traditions, your new me will not even remember that you struggled in the beginning,
But as long as you are not 100% used to longer eating breaks - the following tips will help you to stay in your fast! Enjoy!
5 tips for intermittent fasting
Drinking water does not break your fast. You can, and you should drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
Also, drinking water is a nice little trick to keep your body busy when you feel hungry. Water will fill your stomach and give it the feeling of `being full´.
If you have not noticed it yet: Hunger comes in waves and goes away again, even without eating. You only need to ride those waves like a surfer and make sure to overcome the hunger pang.
Filling yourself with water is, especially at the beginning of your fasting experience, a smart way to trick your hunger and stay in a fasting state.
Go for still or sparkling water, depending on what you like more.
Eating a bit of pure salt sounds weird to you? Believe me: It is not.
A bit of pink salt here and there, and your hunger pangs go away. Another benefit of salt is that you can avoid possible dizziness you might face while fasting.
Just make sure not to overeat salt. That´s maybe less of a good idea.
Did you ever try a bit of salt on a bite of pure butter? Delicious - and a small serving will also not break your fast.
If your thoughts are circulating around food all the time, you can keep yourself busy to let your head focus on topics apart from food and cooking.
Do you have a hobby or work that allows you to enter a kind of flow state in which time flies? Go there! This will make it easier to stay in your fast and not break it unwantedly. You also have barely time to think about food at all.
To stay busy, you can do whatever you prefer to do. Read a book, watch a movie, play with your kids, or clean the house. Whatever keeps your head away from food and yourself from the fridge does the trick.
You can schedule your fasts around your sleeping time. And if 8 of your 18 hours of fasting are already planned for your sleep, you only have to deal with 10 hours.
And here, you even could split the remaining time into a before-bed and after-bed phase:
Let´s say you go to bed at 10 pm. Now you have 5 hours of fast before you sleep. That puts your fasting start at 5 pm. Now 8 hours of sleep, wake up at 6 am and so additional 5 hours of fast and your first meal at 11 am.
Basically, you only need to deal with 5 hours in a row - that´s manageable, right?
And now one of the best news I have to share with you: As black coffee or unsweetened tea does not break your fast, you can enjoy a wonderful and relaxing morning routine with your coffee.
Last but not least as we are talking about sleeping: You could take a nap during the day to overcome a hunger pang. Half an hour on the couch, and your hunger is forgotten.
Go for a walk
Sometimes the best you can do is getting into your shoes and go for a walk. Enjoy the fresh air and nature and the fact that you are far away from your fridge.
Do you have a dog? Perfect - he will love your new attitude to spend even more time outside with him.
And if you live together with others, going for a walk might become your favorite new routine when your family members sit down for their dinner or lunch. Let´s be fair: Sitting at the dining table seeing and smelling the meal is not helpful and can trigger the strongest of us to break the fast before we initially planned to.
Go outside and enjoy some lovely me-time while the others are enjoying their meal. And even while the conversations and the time spend with your family at the dining table is enjoyable and rare, maybe you can join them for a talk after they finished their meal.