Intermittent fasting can yield weight loss results quite quickly providing you know how to do it properly. Fasting randomly without a solid plan or giving up too soon can lead to less than stellar results.
Thinking of trying a new fasting plan? Take a look over these dos’ and don’ts of intermittent fasting and make sure to follow the instructions of the fasting plan you choose for ultimate weight loss success. They will always provide you with detailed instructions.
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DO Pick the Right Fasting Plan For Your Schedule
There are 2 main intermittent fasting plans; one where you fast every day for a set amount of time, the second being where you choose two non-consecutive days in the week and greatly limit your calorie intake. When fasting every day it’s best to select a time that matches your daily schedule i.e. starting before bed and ending just before noon.
When fasting, it’s always a good idea to consume the majority of your calories around midday. Eating before bedtime and just after you wake up can hamper your results. With the latter option, people tend to eat only around 500-600 calories a day on those two days, but as always, please consult with your doctor before doing this.
DO NOT Add More to Your Meals
Overcompensating is a big no-no when it comes to intermittent fasting. The idea of fasting is to naturally create a calorie deficit. By bingeing or making your portion sizes bigger, you’re adding more calories to your diet. This could even place more stress on your digestive system and cause you to have stomach pains, and store more fat. Restrict your portion sizes and try not to snack in between meals.
DO Start Out with Smaller Fasting Time Periods
It’s common for beginners to jump right in at the deep end and start with a 12 hour fasting window straight away. The problem with this is that you’ve gone from zero to hero too quickly and are likely to crave sugary and salty snacks. You might ever suffer from headaches and hanger, becoming angry from being too hungry. Yep, it’s a thing!
Start out with a 4-6 hour fasting window first, then slowly ramp up to 8 hours, then when you’re getting used to intermittent fasting, go for a 12 hour fasting window. If you’re clever, use the 8 hours you sleep to eat into those 12 hours, meaning you only have 4 hours to wait. That means eating 2 hours after you get up, and not eating anything 2 hours before bed; simple.
After you’re used to the 12 hour fasting period, try the more common 14-16 hour intermittent fasting windows.
DO Break Your Fast With the Right Foods
It’s best to break your fast with something small and healthy to get your digestive system working again. Fun fact: that’s why breakfast is called ‘breakfast’!. Choose from a selection of easy to digest foods, and avoid anything high in sugar or salt. A snack high in protein and fats such as a handful of walnuts is a good idea to break your fast before you eat a meal 15-30 minutes later.
DON’T Avoid Fats
Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make you fat. In fact, your body needs fats to survive; even a tiny amount of saturated fats is needed. Make sure to keep within your daily recommended allowance (RDA) of fat intake whilst intermittent fasting. Peanut butter and dark chocolate for example are high fat foods that when consumed in moderation are considered part of a healthy diet.
DO Eat a Rich, Varied & Nutritious Diet on Non-Fast Days
One big mistake beginners make is bingeing or eating unhealthy foods on their non-fast days. The thing to remember with intermittent fasting is that it’s not magic, nor is it your get out of jail free card for easy weight loss. There’s a good reason you’re limiting your calories on fast days and that’s because you want to achieve your weight loss goals faster.
Don’t ruin our hard effort by a cheat day. On non fast days you’ll want to stock up on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, high fiber veggies and whole grains. You can also download an app such as My Fitness Pal to track how much of each macro and micros (vitamins etc) you’re getting.
DO Drink Plenty of Water
As with any food plan, you’ll want to gulp down your water. And only water. The only exception to this rule is green tea which is loaded with antioxidants and is a thermic food in itself, meaning it helps to burn fat. I lost 15 pounds in one month just by intermittent fasting and drinking green tea!
Staying hydrated can also lessen food cravings as scientists have proven that thirst is often mistaken as hunger. Stay away from coffee, creamers, milkshakes and other heavy drinks laden with sugar.
DO Focus on Your Goals
Intermittent fasting will take time to get used to, so try to stay busy and focus on why you’re fasting in the first place. When hunger pangs strike, think about why you want to lose weight. Is it to feel fitter? Look slimmer? Fit into those new pair of jeans? Focus on your goals to keep your mind off the cravings.
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