Staying on track with Intermittent Fasting (IF)
There are a lot of diet and eating plans out there. One of the most popular and successful is intermittent fasting (IF), but it’s not a traditional diet. Instead, it’s considered an eating plan or “eating pattern,” because it focuses on when you eat instead of what or how much you eat.
IF can be tricky to navigate if you’re new to the idea. Fortunately, once you get the hang of the pattern and find tips and tricks that work for you, you can easily make it part of your daily health routine.
What is intermittent fasting?
IF is an eating plan that revolves around periods of fasting, or not eating, followed by specific periods of eating. During periods of fasting, you’ll eat nothing or just a very small amount of food. IF is often simple, healthy, and sustainable in the long term—which is why we recommend IF as part of the LOVIDIA Way.
There are many ways to do IF, but the most common method is fasting for 16 hours, followed by eating within a period of eight hours, known as the 16:8 method.
The goal of IF is to force your body to rely on stored energy (like fat) for certain parts of the day. This helps promote weight loss and more.
When you follow an IF plan, your body undergoes a few changes. Your stored body fat becomes more easily accessible, meaning it’s burned off faster. Your cells also begin a cycle of intense repair.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
The biggest benefit of IF is weight loss, for a few reasons. First, IF can help you reduce your caloric intake because you are not eating at all times of the day. When you reduce calories, you naturally reduce the amount of weight you can gain. Second, the changes your body goes through make it easier to burn off stored fat for energy. This means that your fat stores deplete faster, resulting in weight loss.
Beyond weight loss, research shows IF may have many other health benefits that promote life-long health. For example, it may help reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve heart and brain health.
Staying on track with IF
Although IF is relatively simple, sticking to the eating plan can be challenging. Hunger pains and tempting snacks offered outside of your eating period may force you to break your fast. And, once it’s broken, getting back into the routine can be even more difficult. LOVIDIA can help you succeed with IF by taking the edge off hunger during fasting periods. Here are some other useful tips to help you stick with IF:
- Plan ahead: IF is much easier if you take time to plan ahead and work around your fasting windows. Plan to fast when you are most likely to not eat (like when you are sleeping). Many people eat from 1-9 p.m. and fast through the night and into the morning. This period allows you to eat a late lunch and normal dinner, which can accommodate social plans.
- Plan around your lifestyle: You can also adjust your fasting window to match your lifestyle. If you’re an early riser, you may want to make the eating period earlier to accommodate when you will be awake. Or, if you go to the gym at a certain time, you can plan to break your fast before then, so you have energy.
- Adjust the method: You also have the freedom to adjust the length of fasting and eating periods to match your needs. If the 16:8 method doesn’t work for you, another IF method like 12-hour fasts or alternating days might work better. Starting small and working your way up to longer fasting periods may be easier if you’re new to the eating plan.
- Remember to drink: Fasting does not extend to non-caloric or low-calorie beverages like water, coffee and tea. If you’re feeling hungry, try drinking a cup of something. Just make sure you’re not adding sugar or creamer that contains calories!
- Distract yourself: If you’re starting to feel hunger settling in, you might be more likely to focus on the hunger and even break your fast. To help keep your mind off food, find things to distract you, such as work, a hobby, a brief walk, or light exercise. Some people find meditation beneficial in clearing the mind and pushing off feelings of hunger.
- Make healthy choices: Some people give up on IF early on because they aren’t seeing results just from fasting. Remember, making healthy food choices is still an important part of IF. Loading up on junk food and lots of calories during your eating period may cause you to keep weight on and feel worse. Eat nutrient-dense foods to keep you fuller for longer and prevent nutrient deficiencies during your fasting period.
Fasting is a great way to get your health back on track in more ways than one. Just make sure you’re sticking to a fasting schedule and being smart about what you eat. Keep yourself accountable and your dedication is bound to pay off!