Intermittent fasting (or IF) is the new weight loss method employed by fitness experts and celebrities as a way to lose weight without giving up their favorite food. Compared to other fad diets, IF deals not on what to eat, but when to eat, which is far easier to plan and execute than the former, especially since we spend at least 12 hours of our day fasting (from the time we finish dinner to the time we wake up).
Its efficacy as a weight loss tool is now well-documented regardless of what type of IF you would use. The most famous method among all, the 16/8 hour fast (some call it the “8 Hour Diet”), is considered to be the easiest, in particular among the working folks. All they need to do is keep themselves busy throughout the day until the time that they reach their 8-hour eating window.
Aside from that, IF has been proven to be practiced not just by religious people–even our prehistoric ancestors fast during moments when food is not readily available. Back then, they do not have refrigerators to store food nor grocery stores to buy them. Fasting is part of their daily life.
In the modern setting, IF can be challenging to execute especially for first-timers who are used to eating at least 3-4 meals a day. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways that you can fit it in your schedule, and you do not have to live in a cave to do just that. Here are five of them:
Drink plenty of fluids.
As soon as you wake up, drink as much as half a liter of water to keep dehydration pangs at bay. If you are not used to it yet, you can put in or squeeze lemons or any citrus fruit to add a bit of “fuel” to it. Continue to hydrate with water until such time your eating window rolls in.
Another way for you to stay full is to drink herbal tea or coffee, preferably without sugar or creamer, as these two could add up unnecessary calories that would defeat the whole purpose of IF. Both drinks are also known to suppress appetite for a few hours.
Don’t be idle.
During the first few days, you might find yourself thinking about what you would eat as soon as the eating time comes. If left unattended, you might eventually give in to your cravings and eat way before your decided window time.
To avoid this, make yourself busy. Most IF practitioners fast during the mornings and use their previous breakfast time to either exercise or do the first item on their to-do list for the day. The natural alertness brought by a refreshing sleep would give you just enough energy to accomplish your tasks without having to rely on food.
Plan your windows well.
As the adage goes, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This lesson applies to IF as well. To make it successful, you must carefully plan when would you put your eating window, preferably not when you mostly work.
As previously mentioned, most IF dieters take advantage of the after-dinner-to-breakfast time to squeeze in IF hours. Some finish eating by 8 PM, then fast throughout the evening until 12NN lunchtime. That’s 16 hours right then and there.
Take advantage of the extra resources.
IF primarily helps people by giving them less time to plan three meals a day to only one or two meals. Since mealtimes and food expenses are significantly reduced, you can grab the opportunity to think about the remaining two meals well and improve their quality as a whole. You have the freedom to become more creative and flexible when it comes to food combinations.
Intermittent fasting may be a good excuse to stuff as much food as you want in a short time, but it must never be used that way. The goal of IF is to cleanse your body of toxins and help you lose weight. Gorging as much food as you want apparently defeats that purpose, and may force you to lose hope on the method, and worse, on yourself.
To know if you are on the “bingeing” side, observe your food portions. The secret is to eat as if you are not fasting for the past 16 hours–like it did not happen at all. If you find yourself eating beyond your average amount, portion your meals beforehand by placing them in separate containers, especially if you are bringing it to work.
IF may look like an ambitious venture to try. After all, who doesn’t want to eat? But the beauty of the method is that it helps you control your food intake rather than letting it control you. Intermittent fasting teaches empowerment and self-love without feeling guilty about indulging in your favorite food once in a while. So go ahead and try it!