Firstly, pick the Intermittent Protocol that works with your lifestyle:
- 16/8 Protocol: 16 hours of fasting, 8 hours of feasting every day.
- 24-hour fast Protocol: 24 hours of fasting 1-2 days per week, eat normally on all other days.
Allow your body time to adjust! Just because you’ve created a habit where you’ve been feeding your body every couple of hours for years and years, doesn’t mean you’re actually hungry. This pattern of eating becomes habit forming which in turn creates cravings which the body expects to be satisfied. Don’t confuse this with hunger. Gently ease yourself into this new fasting lifestyle and, like learning any new thing, don’t beat yourself up if you experience a few hiccups along the way. Treat this like a 1-month experiment. See how your body responds, and adjust accordingly along the way.
Treat water as if it’s your new best friend. This should be the only substance that passes your lips during fasting periods. And no, not even black coffee, before you ask! All calories should be avoided during fasting with eating restricted to the “feasting” window. If you really can’t bear to the thought of life without cream/milk/sugar/diet soda, restrict this to the feast window. As you fully transition into an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle and have fully adapted to this new eating habit, look to chip away those unnecessary sugar hits over a period of time.
Exercise during a fast for a turbo boost of fat loss. Fasted morning walks and strength training during the fasted window can help reduce body fat. If you get lightheaded, take a break and drink plenty of water. Make sure you are consuming enough calories during your ‘feasting’ window to support your fitness regime.
Consume enough calories for your body type and goals. During your feasting window, eat healthy sized meals that leave you full. Each meal should include a small amount of protein, such as an egg, fish, lean meat, nuts or beans. Track your progress. If you notice you’re gaining weight, reduce calories by 10%. Losing too much weight? Increase calories by 10%. Remember this is a new lifestyle and to get the best results it needs to be personal to you and will require monitoring and tweaking to get it absolutely spot on.
Don’t overthink it. Traveling? Make that a fast day and avoid unhealthy airport food. Have a birthday brunch to attend? Eat breakfast that day and skip dinner instead. This is not all-or-nothing. Skip a meal if no healthy options are present. Keep it simple and don’t turn it into an unnecessary drama. If in doubt, keep a small pot of almonds on hand for a powerful protein hit to get you through.
Experiment with the different fasting patterns. You need to find the one which is going to work best for you and your lifestyle. Some people find 24 hour fasts easy to pull off, others balk at the thought. As a bare minimum, fast for at least 5 hours between all meals – you’ll be amazed at the results!
For maximum effectiveness, combine Intermittent Fasting with other strategies. For peak fitness and strength, Intermittent Fasting should be combined with exercise, a nutritious diet composed of vegetables, protein, and healthy fats, and plenty of sleep.