How to Start an Intermittent Fast

Today is the day. Time to commit to this relationship and seal the deal – let’s start your first intermittent fast.

In this article, I’m breaking down fasting into easy steps to get you started and offering up tips to ward off the “hangry” (which spells disaster for any relationship). At the end, you’ll find a simple, easy-to-follow intermittent fasting schedule that’s perfect for newbies.

Let’s put the rubber to the road and start your commitment to intermittent fasting.

How to Start Your Intermittent Fast

Check with your doctor

As with any big lifestyle change, it’s probably a good idea to run it by your doctor first – there are actually some medical conditions or medications that may not be intermittent fasting approved.

If you haven’t had a checkup in a while, get some bloodwork done so you can have a point of reference later on to see how much your health markers improve.

Pick the right plan

In my first article, I listed several different intermittent fasting schedules. So now is the time to pick the one that’s best for you. The most effective IF schedule for you is the one that you can stick to! Again, it’s all about commitment at this stage.

For beginners, I would recommend the 16:8 (Leangains) method or the Alternate Day Fasting method. Both are relatively easy to adjust to.

Start slow

As with any relationship, it’s important to take things slow. Keep it simple and easy so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you jump in too fast, you may suffer from some rather unpleasing side effects, like headaches, dizziness, or just all around “hanger”.

So ease into this new eating pattern and listen to your body. Don’t worry if it takes you a few days to get into the swing of things.

Track your progress

Most people are used to tracking their weight on a scale, but don’t rely solely on that number – take before, during, and after photos, too. Body composition changes are way more exciting than numbers on a scale.

Also, consider how you feel and how that changes over time. Do you have more energy? Sharper focus? Write these things down. Nothing keeps you on track more than real progress.

Tips to Deal with Hunger

  • Keep a positive attitude. Go back and read this article to remind yourself of all the amazing health benefits of IF. Whether you want to lose weight or just be healthier in general, keep your goals in mind and stay positive. And remember, if you’re hungry, that means your body has moved on to your fat stores. Hooray!
  • Drink lots (and lots) of water. Staying hydrated is a great way to stop those hunger pangs. In fact, you may even be mistaking hunger for thirst, so drink up!
  • Make caffeine another of your best buddies. Black coffee and green tea are both excellent sources of caffeine to keep you feeling full, while also giving you an energy boost.
  • The majority of your meals should be healthy whole foods – they’re more filling and have the nutrients your body needs. But you should also include some of your favorite not-so-healthy foods so you’ll feel satisfied and happy.
  • Stay busy, busy, busy. If you find yourself hanging out on the couch, fantasizing about the refrigerator just a few steps away, get up and go outside instead. Take the dog for a walk. Find a new hobby. Just keep your brain occupied and keep those seductive images of food out of your mind.
  • Steer clear of any mouth-watering temptations that make your knees weak. One moment, you’re not feeling hungry at all. Then, you spy a cupcake, and you’re suddenly ravenous. Those pesky temptations will be tough when you first start your fast. But with time, your willpower will become your superpower.

Bonus Secret tip To boost weight loss results

During the end of your fast you may feel some ups and downs. One of the major factors is fighting waves of hunger or feeling a lack of energy while your body is adjusting. If your goals are to burn as much fat as possible one supplement I like to take to suppress hunger pains, accelerate fat loss and provide me with a boost of energy for my workout is AMP-V from ATP Science

Although technically this will slightly break your fast it will aid in the release of fatty acids from your stored fat. I generally take it before fasted cardio & weight lifting for greater fat burning effects or if I need to complete a task that requires brain power.

If your goal isn't accelerated fat loss and you're fasting for cell rejuvenation and overall health benefits of fasting then it's best to skip AMP-V. Stick to just water or a dry fast through out your entire fast for best overall health benefits.

What an Intermittent Fasting Schedule Looks Like

Since the easiest way for beginners to commit to intermittent fasting is by following the 16:8 method, let’s look at a typical eating schedule where you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours.

Evening of the First Day:

On your first day, eat regularly all day and have dinner around 7 PM. Then, stop eating. If you are one of those people who crave a bedtime snack, try brushing your teeth immediately after dinner. Who wants to snack on popcorn or a chocolate treat with a minty taste in your mouth? 

Morning of the Second Day:

When you wake up the next morning, congratulations! You’ve already fasted for around 11 hours (depending on exactly when you wake up, of course). Not so bad, right?

Now, just skip breakfast. Mornings are always chaotic anyway, so just delay that first meal until it’s convenient. Once things settle down, you can enjoy your breakfast. If that’s not until 9 AM, then look at you – you’ve fasted for 14 hours!

Finishing the Second Day:

Eat lunch whenever you feel like it. Maybe that’s at noon because your body is still stuck in its habits. Or since you had a late breakfast, maybe you don’t feel hungry until around 2 PM. Anytime is fine – just eat when you get hungry.

You can snack during the afternoon as well if your body is telling you it needs more fuel.

Again, eat dinner by 7 PM. Then, brush those teeth!

Moving Forward:

The next day, try to extend breakfast out a little later. Eventually, you want your fast to last a full 16 hours – but take your time getting there.

Easy peasy, right?

Final Thoughts

Congrats, you’re now in a committed relationship with intermittent fasting!

How long does this commitment need to last? It’s really up to you – you can follow a fasting program for a month, a year, or a lifetime. Just don’t let your commitment phobia get the best of you – stick with it for at least a month before expecting any big results.

To keep you successfully committed for the long-haul, my next article will give you some hacks to keep you from breaking up with your fast.

References

Intermittent fasting is perfect for weight loss, brain, mind and body. But you don't know how to start? Learn the best and most effective ways to IF the correct way. Including 6 tips I use to ward off those hunger pains! #fasting #weightloss #health

About the Author Lilli Valdez

Lilli is a weight training enthusiast with a background in both CrossFit and powerlifting. She lives on a ranch in Texas where she has built an amazing home gym right in her own backyard (err, garage). When she’s not working out, Lilli works as a freelance writer and travels as often as possible.

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