intermittent fasting for beginners
Intermittent fasting for beginners has two rules to follow: (1) Fasting should be enjoyable and NOT stressful. (2) The fast has to be simple and NOT rigid.
From the point of view of an experienced faster, I have some suggestions for beginners to intermittent fasting. There are two main reasons why people want to do intermittent fasting (IF): weight loss, health, or both. In any case, it is good to observe these two formulas:
More rules = more complicated = little chance of success
Fewer rules = less complicated = high probability of success
In terms of health, a 24-hour period without eating is very healthy, it helps you cut calories without sacrificing what you like to eat on days you don’t fast, and perhaps even more important, it stimulates your body to produce more hormone growth. Yes, that’s right, growth hormone, the same one you hear about celebrities taking to ‘stay young’. Growth hormone has many anti-aging benefits, and one of the most interesting is fat burning!
How to do intermittent fasting?
In an ideal situation, 2 sessions of 24-hour fasting in a week will be good enough to produce significant health and weight loss benefits. However, for beginners, starting with a 24-hour fast is not recommended unless you are absolutely sure you can do it.
There is no standard rule for doing IF. Just give it a try and make it work for you. Let simplicity and flexibility be your fasting motto. Don’t make it stressful for you.
As a beginner to intermittent fasting I would say ‘clear your mind of any other weight loss method and focus on IF’. This is your first step towards IF success. Think about how many times you’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day or that you need to eat 6-10 small meals a day to lose weight. I’m not saying these rules are wrong. If these rules work for you, stick with them. But if you’re just starting out on intermittent fasting, you’re better off putting these concepts aside at least for the period you’re trying IF.
Do you have your IF mindset ready? Then start with ‘skipping a meal’ and see how your body responds. I would say this is the simplest and easiest way to start your intermittent fasting journey.
Pick a day to try to ‘skip breakfast’. Drink fresh juice, water, or tea instead. No coffee please. If that works well, try ‘skipping lunch’ and gradually work your way up. A 24-hour fast can be done by anyone with a proper fasting mindset. A useful tip is not to think about food. Avoid social conversations in the pantry during lunchtime. Go for a walk or do some simple exercises.
You can also explore these IF options:
• Condensed eating window, eg eating ONLY between 11 am and 5 pm;
• Skipping meals unplanned, as long as it is natural and does not interfere with your daily work;
• Early and late, ie skipping lunch;
• One meal a day, ideally dinner only when you are relaxed and really have time to enjoy the food.
To repeat, the fast has to be pleasant and not stressful. Don’t push yourself too hard. Be flexible. This is very important. Don’t annoy his boss when he’s called to a business lunch by telling her he’s fasting. Do it as you see fit and your schedule allows.