Intermittent fasting is an amazing tool to reach your weight loss goals. Aside from helping you achieve the health and fitness level you’ve always wanted, there are also many benefits to intermittent fasting such as a decrease in blood pressure and blood sugar, decrease in insulin resistance, and better energy levels across the board.
Intermittent fasting is basically time-restricted eating. You pick a period of time, usually called your “feeding window”, in which you are allowed to consume any food or drink with caloric value. You are not allowed to eat outside of your feeding window. Typically, people on intermittent fasting schedules “fast” for at least 16 hours a day, sometimes more.
Weight loss works because it becomes progressively easier to maintain a caloric deficit if you only have a limited time wherein you’re allowed to eat. You also feel more satisfied because you’re eating bigger meals in a short period of time, as opposed to eating smaller meals scattered throughout the day.
But intermittent fasting can also be nerve-wracking for beginners. True enough, it does take some getting used to, especially if you are accustomed to eating three square meals a day.
Perhaps you’re just starting to try intermittent fasting out, and you’re feeling the struggle. We’ve come up with a few pointers here to help you along the way. Today, Evolve Daily shares five tips to make intermittent fasting work for you.
1) Embrace the Hunger
There are no two ways about it. If you’re just starting out with intermittent fasting, you’re going to feel hungry all the time. That’s a sure thing. The trick is to anticipate and embrace the hungry. Understand that it’s the most hungry you’re ever going to be in your life. Understand that it’s tough. But also know that you have the capacity to get through it.
It will take mental strength and willpower to last through the first days of intermittent fasting. But if you can remain disciplined and stick to your feeding schedule, we’re happy to say that it gets easier to deal with because your body adjusts.
Once your body has gotten accustomed to your new eating lifestyle, you won’t feel hunger during your fasting window. You’ll only start to get hungry just before your feeding window begins. If you do feel hunger prior to that, just understand that it comes in waves and doesn’t last.
Also, you don’t get progressively hungry as time goes on. You get less hungry the longer you fast. Needless to say, because your body anticipates your next meal, keeping to a schedule is very important. Any sudden and abrupt changes will throw you off.
2) Don’t Torture Yourself With Food Videos
Whether you admit it or not, a lot of your free time is spent watching videos of food or cooking on social media. They’re everywhere and very easily accessible. Sometimes, you stumble upon them even when you don’t want to. And they’re fun to watch, but they can also make you hungrier than you need to be.
A lot of times you’ll find yourself breaking your own rules, and subsequently breaking your fast due to the urge to eat. Your body sends visual signals from the eyes to the brain when you see food. Don’t add fuel to that fire by watching food videos. One advantage of intermittent fasting is not having to think about food until your feeding window. Which means you can take your mind off food and focus on other things.
It’s best to lay off the internet for a while, especially when you feel the hunger.
3) Maintain a Caloric Deficit
So you’ve made it. You’ve powered through your fasting window, and now it’s time to eat. However, the biggest and easiest mistake beginners on intermittent fasting make is thinking they can eat whatever they want, however much they want. This is certainly not the way it should be.
First of all, you have to be at a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. Which means your body needs to be expending more calories than you are taking in.
A good way to check your daily caloric needs is by searching online for a TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculator. Based on your height, weight, age, and other factors, you’ll be able to determine the approximate number of calories your body needs to maintain weight.
The safest way to lose weight is to take your daily minimum required calories and subtract 500-1,000 from it. This will keep you at a deficit. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. You can lose a pound a week if you’re eating at a 500 calorie deficit every day.
Don’t eat too little also, as it could be detrimental for your health — not to mention that it isn’t sustainable and you’ll be prone to binge-eating.
4) Strive to Eat Clean
Oh, and don’t go eating junk food during your feeding window. This will result in very bad health overall. The urge to eat a box full of donuts, bags of chips, sugary drinks, and such will be very strong. But strive to eat clean and give your body the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
If you up your intake of healthy fat and proteins, fiber, and vegetables, you’ll have way more energy as opposed to if you eat junk food. Train your body to rely on burning your residual fat stores for fuel. Don’t give it a reason to store extra unwanted fat from the food you eat.
Athletes in training understand that the food we put into our bodies directly correlates to what our bodies burn for fuel. If you’re putting in clean fuel, you’re getting the most out of your body and preserving it to last longer. If you’re putting in bad fuel, you’ll be doing damage.
5) Work Out in a Fasted State
Last but not least, and it’s a question many people have when intermittent fasting. When are you supposed to work out? The answer is simple. Work out during your fasting window.
Now some people will worry if they have enough energy to exercise with no food in their bellies. This is a myth. Your body is equipped and genetically wired to give you energy even in a fasted state. In fact, working out in your fasting window does wonders for your energy levels.
Working out fasted also gives you a clearer and sharper mind. In fact, some athletes actually prefer to work out fasted as opposed to working out full.
Just give it a try. It may be difficult at first. But just like everything else, your body will get used to it and adjust accordingly.