Chapter : Tips To Help You Be Successful With Intermittent Fasting
If youve never done any fasting before, even short-term daily fasting can sound kind of scary.
Its really not that hard. But it does help if you take a smart approach, and make things easier for yourself
A lot of it comes down to starting slow, and eating enough food when youre not fasting.
In this chapter, Ill go over a few of my best tips to help you get an easy, successful start with intermittent fasting.
Are There Any Potential Downsides To Intermittent Fasting
IF isnt recommended for people with a previous history of eating disorders, like anorexia or orthorexia.
In some people, IF may impair sleep patterns and alertness. It can also cause an increase in stress, anxiety, and irritability for some.
Intermittent fasting isnt recommended for those with a history of disordered eating.
Fasting Tip #: Drink Coffee Or Tea
The caffeine in coffee and tea suppresses appetite, increases fat burning, and helps maintain optimal energy levels.¹ ² In other words, caffeine not only makes fasting easier, but it enhances its benefits.
Studies show that even has appetite-suppressing properties, which is good news for caffeine-sensitive people.³
You might be wondering, But, doesnt coffee break a fast?. The short answer is not usually. In fact, it supports most fasts.
Although coffee and tea make fasting easier, many of the things we habitually add to these beverages will break a fast. So, think twice and do some research before adding creamer, sweeteners, or anything else to your coffee, decaf, or tea.
Is Intermittent Fasting Right For You
Fasting, like eating a low carb-high fat diet, is another tool for weight loss and improving your health. But the effectiveness of these tools rely on whether you can do them consistently over the long run.
Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:
- Its simple and easier to stick to because you simply skip a meal when youre not hungry or too busy to eat.
- You can fit it into your lifestyle, i.e. schedule around special occasions, Holidays.
- However, theres the hunger . You need to develop the skill to ride the ebb and flow of hunger by being more mindful about why you eat. But because its a skill, you can learn it.
What if you achieved the health benefits you want from intermittent fasting?
How will that change you?
âYou donât have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.â
â Martin Luther King Jr.
If youâre looking for a simple, doable way to practice fasting, I get it. It shouldnât have to be hard. Get my FREE email course below that shows you the easier way.
Is This List Of Water Fasting Tips A Poorly
If it were, I would be the one being exploited even more than you.
Amazon, not Dr. Fung, does pay me a small commission if you buy The Complete Guide to Fasting through my link. But even if you and a hundred other people were to click the link and buy the book Id only net about $75 total. Since I spent at least fifteen hours making this post, not to mention the time I spent reading his book, taking notes, and experimenting with fasting, and replying , thats a horrible wage.
I made this post because I truly believe fasting can improve peoples lives and of all the books, podcasts, and articles Ive read, Dr. Fungs was by far the best.
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How To Make Water Fasting Easier
If you have decided to cut on solid foods and drink water only, then there are some tips you should abide by. If followed properly, your hunger-strike will be pretty simple. Adhere to the following:
- Start small. If you have never fasted before, start with one day. Do not fast for more than three days in a row without first asking for medical advice.
- Eat well before the fast. Make sure you consume foods rich in energy .
- Pick the right time. Fast only when you are resting and not at work.
- Do not fast if unwell. If you are sick, eat so that your body gets the necessary nutrients to keep going. Also, if you are tired, do not attempt the practice.
- Avoid exercises. Exercises will consume a lot of your energy, forcing you to eat in between your fast.
- Drink enough water. Spread this throughout the day. Drinking too much water too fast should be avoided as it can be harmful to your health .
- Eat less at the end. Build up gradually after you break your fasting to avoid feeling sick and stomach aches.
What Does Intermittent Fasting Do
There are different mechanisms to account for the success of intermittent fasting.
First, skipping meals and cutting out snacking naturally reduces the amount of calories one eats during the day. Thats why it is important to try not to eat more during your eating window to make up for the missed meal. That would negate one of the main benefits of fasting!
The second potential reason for IFs success is its ability to lower insulin levels. Studies show that fasting tends to lower insulin levels, although it is not scientifically clear the extent to which lower insulin levels can directly explain better weight loss.
However, a 2020 study from Dr. Ethan Weiss and colleagues created some doubt about whether short fasts of 16 hours, in the absence of any other dietary modification, can lead to improved weight loss and metabolic health. The studys authors concluded that time restricted eating was no better than eating throughout the day for weight loss.
We wrote about this study, noting that the fasting group did not reduce caloric intake, which puts it at odds with other studies that have suggested at least part of the benefit of fasting comes from reduced caloric intake.
But even though human data on longevity are lacking, the other benefits of IF and its ease of use likely make it worth a try.
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Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting
Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.
The longer you fast each day, the better. Dont worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until its time to eat.
Its best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. Ill then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 oclock rolls around, its back to fasting.
My experience with intermittent fasting is that its best to start with a 16 hour fast for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.
You dont have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.
Start Reducing Your Eating Window
Your eating window is the time within which youre permitting yourself to eat. So, if youve managed to balance your blood sugar and remove snacking it should be pretty easy to get to 16 hours. That said, you can start with just 12 hours of abstinence and work up from there if you prefer. You can also, go beyond 16 hrs, all the way to OMAD territory one meal a day. But, lets not get distracted, 16 is the goal!
- The hands-down easiest way of reaching 16 hours with minimum fuss and zero pain is this, have an early supper.
- Skipping breakfast can be replaced with more sleep and/or some exercise. Because were no good at digesting and working out at the same time the minute you start huffing and puffing your hunger will vanish into thin air and youll be nearer your goal!
- If you feel hungry before your fast is up try drinking a large glass of water if that doesnt cut it try a black coffee and get busy with something. Last resort is watching TV.
The earlier your evening meal the quicker the 16 hours will seem to go. Bear in mind, you should be asleep for about 8 hours, thats halfway there already! Lets look at what 16 hours actually looks like on the clock, infographic below.
The most frequent mistake I see people making is this: they only do Monday to Friday.
its not all about weight loss.
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How Should I Break My Fast
Try to resist the formidable urge to stuff your face with chocolate cake, hamburgers, and beer to celebrate the end of a long fast. Your stomach and its microbiome will be in a sensitive state and especially vulnerable to any junk you shove into it. The longer your fast, the more careful you should be.
Try to avoid:
- High carb meals. Processed carbs, in particular.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Dairy and eggs.
Your best bet is a fresh salad dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and maybe a bit of chicken or fish. Give that some time to settle in your stomach, see how you feel, and go from there.
Better yet, take advantage of this new beginning to get started on a healthier diet.
How To Do A Fat Fast With A : 8 Intermittent Fast
To work this extreme version of intermittent fasting into your diet, you need to be smart with your food choices.
Common healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, and cheese contain some carbohydrate and protein grams, so you cannot munch on these foods with carefree abandon during your eight-hour eating window.
Instead, you need to stick with your more healthy saturated fats, like butter MCT oil, and coconut oil.
These foods are almost purely fat and can be consumed in a hot drink, such as coffee.
Dave Asprey popularized a high-fat coffee drink that he calls BulletProof Coffee, which is a coffee drink that includes butter and MCT oil.
Today we see many versions of this original recipe, most of them going by the name Keto Coffee.
My husband has his own version of this buttery coffee. In his version, which he calls Fat-Fortified Coffee, he adds heavy whipping cream for flavor. We share the recipe in our 2 Fit Docs 21-Day Challenge.
As Keith was losing weight, he would occasionally do a fat fast by consuming two Fat-Fortified Coffees within an eight-hour window. That was it, nothing else to eat.
While it sounds like hunger would be a big factor, he stated that the fats helped to keep hunger at bay.
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Safety And Side Effects
Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.
You may also feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as youre used to.
This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.
If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
This is particularly important if you:
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
- Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if youre healthy and well-nourished overall.
The most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting with a doctor first.
Here are answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.
Are Any Foods Or Beverages Allowed During Fasting Periods
Most individuals find that hunger is not a huge issue during fasting, especially once the body adapts.
No food is allowed during fasting periods aside from water, black coffee, unsweetened tea, or other non-caloric beverages.
Some intermittent fasting plans allow for small amounts of low-calorie foods during fasting periods. During nutritional cleansing with Isagenix a program based on the scientific results of the 5/2 method of intermittent fasting Cleanse Day approved snacks and beverages are allowed during the two Cleanse Days.
These specially designed snacks and beverages help fuel the body and fight off hunger while still supporting the bodys natural cleansing process.
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The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.
Dont Be Stupid Like Me About Fasting
Easy. Dont eat.
Stupidly, thats all I thought I needed to know about fasting before I attempted my first extended water fast. That made the fast a lot harder than it needed to be.
I dont recommend you do the same, which is why I put together these water fasting tips. They answer the questions I once had and am now often asked.
I did my best to write in simple Englishnot over-complicated doctor talk. And while Im 100% unqualified, the scientific info here does come from a doctor, Dr. Jason Fung.
Fungs book, The Complete Guide to Fasting, is the most easy-to-read, helpful, and motivating resource on fasting out there. Start with these tips, then if you want more detail, read the book.
Even though its long, I recommend you read through every tip below because the more you understand fasting and how and why to do it, the better your experience will be. Then, youre more likely to fast again are really reap the benefits.
Dont be stupid like me.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting And Why Would You Do It
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesnt change what you eat, it changes when you eat.
Why is it worthwhile to change when youre eating?
Well, most notably, its a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you’ll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.
With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. We’ll talk about how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss in a moment.
Perhaps most importantly, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies we have for taking bad weight off while keeping good weight on because it requires very little behavior change. This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of simple enough that you’ll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.
What Does The Research Say
In terms of weight loss, there have been several studies showing the benefits of IF.
A small showed that people who ate only between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. had lower appetites and increased fat burning after practicing IF for 4 days.
A small showed that alternate-day fasting resulted in bodyweight loss of about 2.5 percent after 22 days.
IF may have the potential to manage blood sugar and insulin levels, according to a 2018 study.
A few rodent-based studies suggest fasting can extend the average life span and improve the aging of the brain.
A indicated that IF may offer protection from:
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Will I Lose Tons Of Weight If I Do A 3 5 Or 7 Day Fast
The good news is from a 5 day fast you can lose 10 pounds or more!
The bad news is that of those 10 pounds, 85% will be water.
Heres the reality:
You can only expect to burn half a pound of fat a day while fasting, and thats only after you burn off all the sugars in your body first, which can take up to two days. So if you do a 5-day fast, you might only burn 1.5 pounds of fat. And since average human weighs 137 pounds and has about 25% body fat, they have 34 pounds of fat to burn, meaning theyd only lose 4.4% of their body fat in a 5-day fast.
The huge potential weight-loss benefits are long-term.
If you continue with a healthy diet and periodic fasting, you will reset your metabolism which will cause a gradual decline in your fat levels and eventually lead to notable and very visible results. A fantastic book that explains this process and can get you on the right path is The Obesity Code, by Jason Fung.