At first glance, fasting may seem unapproachable. Most people (myself included) initially dismiss fasting as too extreme for a long term weight loss plan.
The truth is after you do more research, you’ll find that fasting intermittently is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off for good.
Fasting Is Effective for More Reasons Besides Weight Loss
There are many benefits to adopting a fasting protocol besides weight loss.
These benefits include:
- Decreased risk of metabolic syndrome– Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of ailments that include abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
- Increased energy and focus (after an adjustment period)
- Improved sensitivity to insulin which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduced inflammation in the body which helps ward off heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
The easiest way to reap these benefits is to adopt the Leangains method (16:8) way of fasting popularized by fitness guru Martin Berkhan.
Essentially you fast for 16 hours a day and have an 8-hour eating window. This is the perfect fasting schedule for beginners.
You can even shorten the fasting window to 12–14 hours if some days are difficult. The goal is for your body to get used to fasting. Strict fasting and eating times will only make failure more probable.
Make Fasting Work for Your Schedule
When you first start fasting you may think that your body won’t respond well to limited eating times.
Going from eating 3–4 meals a day to one or two will be an adjustment.
But the key is to make fasting fit around your current schedule. If you find that you need to eat breakfast, consider skipping dinner in order to fulfill fasting for 16 hours.
On some days fasting may not be possible and that’s ok. If you’re fasting 4–5 days a week you’ll still see results.
I fasted 5 days a week in my first year of fasting. I still saw amazing results. What you do most of the time matters more than what you do some of the time.
Other ways to get adjusted to your fasting schedule include:
- Take time off if you start to feel drained– A while back I was fasting for 24 hours daily. It was winter and after a month I started to feel cold and tired all the time. I took a few days off from fasting and made sure my meals were warm and wholesome. When you have refueling days, you’ll have more energy, and over time and you’ll be able to fast for longer periods of time.
- Lower workout intensity temporarily– If you have a robust workout routine and then start fasting this may cause a shock to your system. It is best to lower intensity in workouts for the first few weeks of fasting. This way you won’t be tempted to overeat during your eating window. Too many big meals will cancel out any weight loss goals you have.
- Keep as hydrated as possible– Good water consumption is key to having a successful fasting lifestyle. If you’re not properly hydrated you may experience dizziness, extreme hunger, fatigue, and nausea. Keep caffeine consumption at a minimum. Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to dehydration and unnecessary anxiety.
Fasting shouldn’t put a damper on your life. It should enhance it making it better than ever.
Tune Into What Your Body Is Telling You
Fasting allows gives your body rest from digestion. Digestion takes enormous amounts of energy. When you are free from digestion, you have more room for focus. You’ll also begin to notice the difference between what you want and what your body actually needs.
The best way to be more in-tune with your body is to practice fasting along with consuming a whole foods diet.
A diet filled with processed foods like the Standard American Diet (SAD), will cause your body to experience intense cravings. You’ll also have brain fog and poor energy.
Diets that are comprised of whole minimally processed foods allow you to differentiate between the needs and wants of your body. Eventually, you’ll also be able to work out at a higher performance level.
The 16:8 protocol is best for beginners. Shorten fasting times as needed. There is no reason to be super strict about meal times. This will only cause resentment in the long run.
Make sure your diet is at least 80% healthy and have proper hydration. This allows for a more pleasant fasting experience.
Fasting should make your life easier and more healthy. If it isn’t consider taking a break or look into other options for healthy living.
If you start fasting with these practices in mind, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.
Here’s a Guide That’ll Help You With Hunger As You Implement Fasting
Download the Stop Hunger Guide. Implement the 5 tips suggested. You’ll see a positive change in a short period of time.