A few weeks ago I did a post on Intermittent Fasting (IF) explaining my journey with it. I received questions from a few people about its use for weight loss. The questions led me to write this post instead of the one I had originally planned to do.
A quick recap
Intermittent Fasting is cycling between periods of fasting and eating. It's different from a diet plan because it focuses more so on when you eat than what you eat. There are several methods to follow, but the popular and easiest one to follow is the Leangains Method.
The Leangains Method calls for restricting your window of eating to 8 hours or less a day, leaving a fasting window of at least 16 hours. Makes sense? Eat during those 8 hours; fast during those 16 hours.
Alright! That’s the basic explanation of IF. For more on it check out my post here.
Now, on to how to have successful fat loss with Intermittent Fasting. Here are seven tips to ensure your success.
Shoot for at least 16hrs of fasting
Our bodies enter a fasted state around 12 hours. Between 16 and 18 hours of fasting our bodies release ketones beginning the process of ketosis. The longer you fast the more fat burning.
If you’re thinking about starting IF begin by focusing on getting used to the time and actually fasting and don’t focus so much on what you eat. This is so not permission to eat a bunch of bs. But, use this time to focus on getting in the habit of fasting.
Aye, fasting means no food! Water, black coffee, and tea only. Not sweet tea, either.
Create a fasting schedule around your lifestyle
Schedule your fasting time for the busiest part of your day. This way you won’t think about eating or have time to stop to eat. Schedule your eating window to include meal time with your family so you don’t have to sit (with nothing to do) and watch them eat.
Don’t make a schedule and strictly stick to it. Adjust it as necessary to fit your day. If you have to go somewhere that involves eating and it’s during your fasting window adjust your windows for the day.
Here’s an example: You normally fast from 7pm to 12pm the next day, but you’re going to dinner at 8pm. Extend your eating window until dinner is over. Let’s say you finish eating at 10pm. Fasting for you would begin at 10pm that night and you can either open your eating window at your normal time or extend it to 3pm putting you at 17 hours of fasting.
Or you can choose not to fast that day and begin again once you’ve had your last bite at dinner.
Don’t stress over it. You want sustainability. Be flexible with your schedule. Thats the beauty of it.
Speaking of sustainability, be practical with yourself. Give yourself a break every now and then. I stress again, don’t be strict about your schedule and don’t be so strict about your food choices all the time. Take a day off from fasting. Just remember your goals and get back to it the next day. Perhaps you should try to extend your fast a little that next day.
Food hydrates you. Therefore, fasting removes some of your daily sources of water. You will need to drink plenty of it. I've written a post on how to increase your water intake.
Carbonated water with no added sugar or sweeteners is just as healthy as regular water. It also provides a fuller feeling because of the carbonation. Something to consider to assist with feeling hungry. Switch it up, occasionally.
If you’ve experienced headaches while fasting chances are you weren’t drinking enough water. Add alkaline water to the rotation.
Change your perception about the numbers on the scale
If you’re consistent, you will have success. Instead of using your weight to gauge your success, use it to understand your body. When do you typically retain water during the month? Check your weight often in the beginning. Not to see your weight loss, but so that you can learn when your weight fluctuates.
Seeing the progress or lack there of, however, will help you learn what’s a good fasting schedule for your body. If 16/8 hasn’t worked for you after a few weeks try 17/7 and so forth. Chances are you do actually have progress it’s just not showing on the scale yet. Use your pictures to measure your progress, as well.
Also, choose a time to check your weight and stick with that time or close to it. Our weight fluctuates throughout the day due to many factors.
Break your fast properly
This is where food choices come in. Try breaking your fast with foods that are low on the glycemic index and with foods that are easily digestible. Ease into it.
The foods you choose to break your fast with can also help to continue the fat burning process while you eat. Remember that carbs will produce insulin. Insulin enters, the fat burning process ends. Combining a low carb diet every now and then with IF will propel fat burning.
Get up and move Exercise helps to build and retain muscle. Muscle helps to speed up the metabolism and helps to burn fat.
Exercise can be as simple as taking a walk. Just be active.
If you can, exercise an hour or two before you break your fast. Exercise while in fat burning mode will increase the fat burning.