Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity as a great way to both lose weight, and keep those kilos off for the long-term. Research has shown it can improve your metabolic health and potentially even extend your lifespan – what’s not to love about that!
But it’s not as simple as waking up one morning and deciding not to eat for half the day or cutting your calories down significantly. You need to look into the different methods available and decide which one works for you and then ease your body into it, so it doesn’t come as a big shock. It’s worth noting that this isn’t just a diet – it’s a lifestyle change. You’re committing it to the long-term, which is why slow and steady wins the race!
Intermittent Fasting Methods
There are a number of different methods you can take when it comes to a fasting diet – it’s about choosing what works for you. The two most popular ones that we are going to take a looking at are The 16/8 Method and The 5:2 Diet.
The 16/8 Method: this involves fasting each and every day (yes, you read that right!) for about 14 to 16 hours at a time. This means your eating window each day is a 8-10 hour period.
Most people stop eating after dinner (say from 8pm) and then don’t eat until lunch the next day (around 12pm). If you’re a breakfast person, this method can take a bit of used to at first. You can check out some tips to get you started below.
During the fasting period you can drink water coffee, and other zero-calory beverages, which can help with those hunger pains!
The 5:2 Diet: this diet involves eating normally for 5 days of the week, while restricting your calory intake on two days of the week.
You can split your fasting days up throughout the week, and even chop and change days from week to week to fit it in with your lifestyle and any plans you might have.
On the fasting days, it’s recommended that women eat 500 calories, while men limit to 600 calories.
Ready to get started? Read on for some tips to help you out.
Tips For Starting A Fasting Diet
Starting a fasting diet isn’t always easy. It can take a while for your body to get used to it. Here are some great ideas to ease you in:
- Set Your Personal Goals
Why are you doing this? Are you looking to lose weight? To maintain your weight? To improve your health? Determining your reason can help you choose which method will be right for you.
- Pick A Method
It’s best to pick a method and stick to it for a month before trying a different one. You need to give it a good shot to see results before giving up and moving. Think about your current eating habits and your goals determined above to help you choose which method to start with.
- Make A Plan
While you can just dive in cold turkey and give it a shot, it helps to have a plan in mind. If you’re going with the 16/8 Method, it can help to slowly stretch out your fasting period. Aim to make it from 8pm to 9am that first day and see how you feel. If it’s hard and you’re struggling, stick with this fasting period for a week to get used to it. Once you can make it with ease, stretch it out until you find yourself fasting from 8pm until 12pm the next day.
If you’re doing the 5:2 Diet, meal plan your fasting days. It helps to count the calories the day before, so you know what you’re going to eat and when. This will stop you from being tempted by other things in the fridge or from going over your allocated calories for the day. Once again, you can ease your way into it by allowing yourself more calories to begin with and working your way down.
- Stick To It
Some days are much harder than others, and you’ll find yourself wanting to give up and give in to cravings. Keep reminding yourself why you are doing this in the first place. Go back to your goal above.
If you do cave and ruin your fasting day, or cut your fasting period short, that’s OK! Just count your losses for the day and have a plan in place to start fresh the next day. Whatever you do, don’t use this as an excuse to give up altogether.
Once you get on track, fasting will become a lifestyle change for you and you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits that come with it.