This surprisingly easy roadmap will lead you to the benefits of intermittent fasting. In 5 steps you’ll know how to start and stick with it.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet. It is a lifestyle where you eat within a time interval and fast in a longer time interval.
The following 5 steps to start your intermittent fasting may encourage you to move into the action phase.
- Identify your personal goals.
Do you need to: Lose weight? Control your cholesterol? Control your blood pressure? Control your blood sugar? Sleep better? Increase your energy and mental focus?
Your goals should be tailored to your individual needs and fit your schedule and lifestyle.
- Prepare yourself mentally and physically.
Keep away from processed and sugary foods.
Stop snacking between meals.
Wean off sodas and juices.
Decrease alcohol intake.
Drink at least 10 cups / 3 liters of water a day.
Take as long as you need to transition to healthier choices. You don’t need to do it perfectly, just do your best. It’s okay if you need to adjust your plan. The only way to lose is to give up completely.
- Choose the fasting method that fits your needs.
You can experiment with different styles to see which one works best for you.
Intermittent fasting 5-2/18-6 is the most popular and easier to adjust. It entails 5 days intermittent fasting and 2 days free; 18 hours fasting and a 6-hour window to eat 2 meals. Here is one example of how to get to 5-2/18-6.
Week #1 – Do 12-hour fasting overnight.
Week #2 – Skip random meals and continue 12-hour fasting overnight.
Week #3 – Increase overnight fasting to 14 hours and keep skipping meals.
Week #4 – Increase overnight fasting to 16 hours and eat 2 meals within 8 hours for 5 days. The other 2 days eat 3 meals a day.
Week #5 or when you feel ready increase overnight fasting to 18 hours and eat 2 meals within 6 hours for 5 days. The other 2 days eat 3 meals a day.
Some people skip breakfast and eat lunch at noon and finish dinner by 6 pm. Others have a late breakfast around 10 am and finish an early dinner by 4 pm. Feel free to experiment and see what works for your lifestyle.
Studies show that eating in a six-hour window and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, promoting several health benefits.
- Plan your meals.
Write your grocery list and do your shopping with your goals in mind. Have plenty of options of good nutritious foods like salmon, avocado, eggs, lean meats, yogurt, cheese, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables. Enjoy what you eat, make sure your meals are delicious, choose foods you like.
It’s not necessary to count calories, but you want to make sure the food you eat has good nutritional value. Eat enough good fat and protein in each meal to feel satisfied.
Usually, you don’t feel hungry while doing intermittent fasting. The hunger hormone Ghrelin may go up at intervals, but it goes down after a little while. Drinking enough water will help you get through the fasting hours. If you want, you can drink coffee or tea without sugar or cream.
- Celebrate! Have fun!
No matter your goal for changing your eating habits, it takes commitment and purpose.
You deserve to celebrate your small and big victories. Research shows that celebration gives you a hit of dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. It helps to consolidate new behaviors. You change by feeling good, not by feeling bad.
Be good to yourself if you fall off the wagon once in a while. Just go back in and keep going. Celebrate the efforts you’ve made in becoming healthier.
- Save money on food.
- Less snacking, less chance of junk foods.
- Enjoy more free time as you cook and eat less times a day.
- Reduce decision fatigue you have less meals to plan.
Most people can practice intermittent fasting safely and get health benefits. But talk to your healthcare provider first, intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
I’m here for you!