Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just want to experiment with different lifestyle decisions, intermittent fasting might be something that sounds appealing to you. It’s a simple enough concept that virtually anyone can try—but only after you take the right approach to understanding the strict rules that govern a fasting cycle and how fasting may impact your daily life.
Factors to consider
Intermittent fasting is about much more than just not eating; it’s about making a controlled lifestyle change. To make sure it has positive effects on your health and wellbeing, it’s critical to take a calculated approach. Here are a few considerations to review before adopting an intermittent fasting diet.
For some people, fasting may be more difficult than simply not eating. If you have a condition like anemia, for example, you might have to speak with your doctor to make sure you’re taking an iron supplement, to keep from getting faint throughout the day. In fact, it’s a good idea for anyone to consult with their physician if they’re thinking about making a dramatic change to their diet.
Fasting is generally safe for just about anyone, but understanding how you might have to supplement your fasting days or learning how to fast in spite of a chronic condition are variables you should know upfront.
Depriving your body of food for extended periods of time will change the way it responds to your demands of it. For example, if you don’t eat for 12 hours and decide to run a long distance, you’re going to get dizzy and feel faint because your body isn’t able to supply itself with the energy you’re demanding of it.
Understanding how your body is going to respond to fasting and what lifestyle variables you may need to adjust or pre-plan for is important in making sure you don’t A) break your fast too early or B) bring harm to yourself by not recognizing restricted capabilities.
Opportunity for habit
Depending on your everyday schedule, fasting may be harder for you than it is for other people. Consistency is key in fasting, so being able to plan ahead is important. If you work a job with on-call hours or aren’t sure what tomorrow will bring, it’s going to be tough to stick to a routine fasting schedule. Do your best to plan ahead and when it’s not possible to do so, be prepared to adapt in ways that might not always be convenient.
Determining the right schedule
Deciding what type of fasting schedule best fits your lifestyle is an important first step to make, because it’ll dictate how, when and what you might be eating. For example, if you choose a 16/8 schedule, you might not have to change your diet all that much, whereas if you choose a modified eating schedule, you may need to plan meals and structure your day differently.
Also something to keep in mind is your ability to go without food in certain intervals or for specified periods of time. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, for example, you might need to stick to a modified eating schedule, rather than attempting an on-off-on fast for 24 hours. You should be choosing a schedule that’s compatible with your body, not one that stresses your health and wellbeing.
Choosing good meals
People concentrate so much on the fast that they often give themselves license to chow down when the time for eating finally comes around. While it’s a good idea to eat heartily during your scheduled eating periods, be sure you’re paying mind to foods that will tide you over until the next scheduled meal.
Proteins and legumes are some of the best foods to eat because they offer a lasting feeling of fullness. Chicken especially is a friend of fasting individuals, along with nuts and variations of rice. Vegetables provide a good source of fiber, which helps with digestion during fasting periods. Fruits are always a good option, along with moderate amounts of healthy fats and a healthy dose of carbs.
Foods to shy away from during an intermittent fasting routine are those high in sugar and those with saturated fats.
Put together a plan
To be successful with intermittent fasting it’s important to properly plan your approach, understand the change to your lifestyle and make eating decisions that support your decision to fast. Putting these essential variables together will result in an intermittent fasting diet that works for you.