Intermittent fasting is the easiest way to lose weight -no matter what time of the day you work
I love to fast every day, as I can integrate it into my life. It’s super easy to alter when you are on holiday and during special events, functions, and even surgery! I still fasted every day after I had my hysterectomy. It was easier then because my activity levels dropped significantly; therefore, I was not as hungry. But, fasting helped me heal quickly and retain my muscle mass. That’s important when you can’t lift weights (or anything heavy) for a particular time. Without lifting, the muscle can waste away. Although your job might be super demanding — and you have cutthroat deadlines and endless client meetings — fasting will help you perform at a higher level — despite the lack of food. Whatever your current situation is, fasting can be used to help you in many ways than just a weight loss strategy. It’s far more beneficial, and you should take advantage of it, especially if you are a high performer and demand more of yourself.
Five sure-fire ways to get on with IF while working a 9–5 job
One: Schedule the fasting during your busiest times
To save the hassle and stress of meal timing, allocate your most hectic and productive period by restricting your food. When you get a quiet moment, preferably an hour at least, to prepare yourself for appreciating a meal, then go ahead and eat some protein, fat and vegetable-rich foods. Stay clear of any refined sugar varieties at all costs. You want to be able to enjoy your meal and allow your body to respond positively to the nutrients. There is no point in inhaling your lunch or breakfast. As much as you can help it — try not to swallow food whole, as it will cause digestive distress. If mornings are your busiest time, skip breakfast, and save yourself for lunch and dinner. Perhaps having your first meal in the evenings is more realistic. If mornings are a lot less stressful, eat your meal then lunch, & skip dinner. The time you fast should reflect your lifestyle and goals. Keep that in mind when making a decision. You don’t need to do the same thing every single day. I schedule my feeding times after I train. I always exercise very early in the morning and make sure I have a meal straight after my session to replenish my body. Then my last meal is lunch, apart from one day a week when I have dinner. If I need to train quite hard the next day, I might indulge in dinner or have a small meal in the morning before training. However, if you train hard, schedule all your meals around that time to ensure you have enough fuel and replenish any lost glycogen.
Two: Prepare all your meals, so you have food on hand when you finish fasting
A good idea is always to prepare as much as possible to make life a little easier and keep you on track. Pre-make or buy your meals, and have them ready in a cooler bag or your fridge at work. Depending on your goals, fasting still requires you to eat healthy meals — and eat them in conjunction with your natural circadian rhythm. Keep snacks on hand to eat between meals — if you are a very light eater. Nuts and even eggs are highly nutritious and portable snacks, providing you with protein, fats and sustained energy. You can still put on weight if you fast — and that’s always the result of eating too many calories and lacking exercise. Limit your carb intake if you are not training or want to lose that extra body fat. You will attain your weight loss goal faster when restricting carbs while fasting. Just don’t go low carb every day. Instead, use the carb cycling method for this.
Three: Make sure you alternate fasting and feeding hours to keep your body guessing
Don’t just stick with one particular fasting timeframe; change it daily, and make it hard for your body to suspect your little weight loss plan. This is the best way to kick-start the fat-burning repeatedly. Extended fasting has even more benefits — but only if you do them less frequently. Remember that next time you start to think, it will help you lose weight faster. Twenty-hour fasts trigger more health, longevity and fat-burning potential. You can change your fasting routine by throwing in 20-hour fasts a couple of times a week. Just don’t overdo it. If you find these challenging, why not try them on the weekends or when you have not scheduled exercise. I used 20-hour fasts when I wanted to shape up for a relative’s wedding. When I finally hit my weight loss goal, I stopped them altogether. Usually, I will take on a 20-hour fast when I’m on holiday or sleep in on the weekend. It just means I have breakfast a little later than my scheduled time. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone so long without food.
Four: Allow yourself a day or two of not fasting if you have significant events
Sometimes it’s not convenient to fast, and it’s probably not going to look good if you are the only one NOT eating. It’s perfectly ok to skip fasting for a day or two if that’s what you need and want. Use your discretion, and make this lifestyle as easy and less complicated as possible. A couple of days off will not inflict much damage, giving your body the necessary break it needs. If you are at an event, keep monitoring your food intake, make sure you are still making healthy choices and don’t overindulge in alcohol. Also, stay away from sugar-filled drinks.
Five: Keep in mind that you will get better at this
It can become challenging and quite draining when you embark on the IF journey. The first few weeks for me were rough but not as bad as I had imagined. After a couple of months, it became an unconscious habit that was no longer uncomfortable but welcoming and needed. The longer you stick with fasting, the more of a lifestyle choice it will become and managing your hunger will become easier.
There are many positive benefits of IF that will gladly keep you on track with a committed IF advocate. The only rule is that you don’t consume any calories for a specified period — or keep the calories lower than 50 so you don’t break your fast. It doesn’t get any easier than this rule! It’s so easy and flexible. If you want to eat some pizza when it’s your feeding window, you don’t feel the need to become guilt-ridden as you would on a calorie-restricted diet. Fasting does allow more consumption of those naughty foods without too much damage. The trick is only to allow yourself a treat meal a couple of times a week, no more than this. Try it out for 40 days and notice the difference it makes to your weight loss and health overall. As with anything — see your doctor if you have underlying health conditions.
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