Not Sure How to get Started?
Often when we come across something new, we research our brains out and then find it difficult to know where to start.
Here’s a few tips to help you along on your first fasts, so you too can become an Intermittent Faster.
The first thing you need to do is to research and decide on what type of fasting plan to try. You can find a summary of all of the intermittent fasting methods here or read ‘The Quick Start Guide to Intermittent Fasting‘ which tells you how to create a plan suited to you individually.
Start off slowly and pick a day, start time and duration that you know you’ll be able to finish without too much effort.
If you feel anxious about the thought of going without food a good place to start would be a 16 hour fast from 7pm to 11am.
That way, when you finish the fast you’ll have the confidence to do another fast the following week and to increase the duration of the fast. Make sure you don’t schedule two fasts during that week, or if you do, make sure they’re three or four days apart so that you wont burn out and end up overeating afterwards. Slow and steady wins the race here!
If you don’t get anxious about the thought of fasting you’ll probably be able to manage with a full 24 hours fast (if that’s your goal) on your first try.
Again, refer to The Quick Start Guide to Intermittent Fasting before making your choice.
The Day Before
You don’t need to do anything different at all the day before your fast. Try not to overeat, which some people tend to do because they’re anticipating not being able to deal with feeling hungry the next day.
Stock up on whichever drinks you’ll be using during your fast such as green and herbal tea, mineral water and coffee (remember all tea and coffee must be made without milk to make sure they have zero calories and please limit your caffeine intake).
During Your First Fast
Keep busy. The busier you are the less likely you are to even remember that you’re fasting. If you’ve ever been so busy that you forget to eat breakfast or don’t get around to eating until later in the day then you’ve probably already been in a fasted state for 12 hours or more without even knowing it.
Have plenty of drinks on hand to sip throughout the day to curb your hunger. Remember that our ancestors often went without food for sometimes days at a time and that we are designed to live that way. Hunger is a signal to remind us to eat but doesn’t mean that our bodies are starving for nutrients or energy. Remember that you’ll have plenty of stored energy from the meals you’ve eaten prior to your fast.
Take note of all the times you feel like giving up. Is it because you’re actually hungry? Or just anxious about skipping a meal? These ‘cues’ will help with your future fast and managing any negative feeling towards fasting.
Remember the health benefits (and weight loss benefits) of fasting. This should be encouraging in itself! Read though the research on this site (and others!) again to remind you why you are doing this and the evidence behind it.
Setting a Routine
If your first fast is difficult or you give up part way through, make sure you don’t try another fast for another 3-4 days at least, and for a shorter duration that you know you can achieve so that you don’t develop anxiety towards fasting.
Once you can manage with one fast each week, start to gradually increase the amount of fasts (if trying alternate day fasting or ‘eating window’ fasting) or the duration if aiming for 24 hour fasts.
So now you’re ready to give it a try!