Six ways to Make Intermittent Fasting Successful & Easy

Six ways to Make Intermittent Fasting Successful & Easy

Make the best of the time you have with a flexible IF approach.

Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to lose body fat, gain muscle, and transition toward better health. It’s far more effective than calorically restricted diets — or any other kind of diet. I have tried and failed to stick with diets for most of my lifetime! Intermittent fasting works so well because it restricts eating and naturally limits your calories without too much effort. The window of opportunity for food consumption allows nutrient replenishment until the fasting process begins again. Much research shows that fasting is effective for weight loss and health. You could even apply to fast only 2–3 times per week. It’s not necessarily true that you should fast daily for fat loss. We all have different goals & time restraints. Although you are restricting your eating time, it’s still imperative to eat the right foods and eat in proportion to the energy you require. Unnecessary calories you consume always lead to weight gain. But the whole concept of fasting is for lifestyle and convenience. So it needs to fit into your schedule and life and be more effective and easier to stick to long term. If you can only resort to fasting from Monday to Friday, you can still get great results (as long as you don’t binge on the weekends!). Whatever the decision is — you plan your life around fasting — not the other way around. I can confidently say this is the best lifestyle habit to carry you throughout your lifetime! Here are some winning points to remember as you begin your fasting journey to ensure you get the best benefits — no matter what days you decide to take the plunge. 


One: Always plan your meals right

When I create my meals, I have found that I’m never short on getting the necessary macros for my body to sustain the fast. It’s important to be mindful of this because if you are eating only one meal a day — that meal will have to be very nutrient-rich. This isn’t about avoiding foods but filling the time you can eat with the right foods. I made a mistake when I began fasting — eating a lot less than I should have, which caused a few adverse side effects — such as;

  • Losing my hair
  • Anemia
  • Brittle nails and more delicate hair
  • Extreme lethargy

At the time, I was trying to lose weight for my niece’s wedding. Although I succeeded, I did go about it wrong and later put on weight because it wasn’t a sustainable strategy. Make it a priority to ensure you get enough protein and vegetables with every meal. For a more intense fat loss solution, restrict carbs periodically (carb cycling) and only allow the consumption of them (the healthy kind, of course) when you work out. These little things will ensure you stay healthy, have enough energy, and enjoy the fasting lifestyle — instead of detesting it. 


Two: Keep changing up the fasting hours

The one effective method is to keep alternating your hours every day. That’s one method I used to get my nutrition, especially when a hectic training program drew near. I used to call the shorter hours my ‘mini fast break’ because I regularly only had one meal per day. I fast for 18 hours, then slot in 17, 15 and 12 hours. Changing it up a bit helps to shake my body up and bypass those dreaded plateaus we all seem to face once in a while.



Three: Avoid the urge to binge eat

Food portions are significant when you aren’t fasting. Restricting your macros is essential if you aim to lose weight. In addition, that will help you fast-track your progression. Don’t get stuck in a bingeing spiral where you want to overfeed yourself to compensate for the lack of calories consumed when fasting. You can probably guess I’m mentioning this because I have some of my bingeing experiences — and they aren’t pretty! Studies show that keeping a food diary can help you lose weight and hold yourself accountable. One thing is sure — many people are plagued with emotional eating. Emotional eating is one of most people’s critical downfalls, sabotaging weight loss goals. We don’t necessarily do this on purpose, but bringing awareness to the hurtful situation is the key to eliminating it. Read more about it here:A Study Approved & Successful Weight Loss Hack All Women Should UseStudies show that using this to lose weight is essential-dimos.medium.comA regular treat is OK, as long as it doesn’t lead to a whole bar of your favourite chocolate. 


Four: Keep well hydrated

One of the best ways to curb hunger and see you through your fasting times — is to keep hydrated. Exercising will dehydrate you somewhat — especially during warmer climates or the intensity you are training. Drinking water regularly will help remove the lethargy that seems to plague us when we’ve forgotten to drink enough water. The more water you drink, the less likely you will suffer headaches and constipation. How do I mix constipation into the mix? Fasting can trigger this, so the more you drink and exercise, the better it is. 


Five: Keep on exercising for both your mental and physical health

Exercise is one of the best activities for weight loss and mental health. Our emotional state can sometimes cause us to choose the wrong foods and beverages to soothe an uncomfortable situation. Exercise helps to calm the storm brewing inside our body and mind. Studies show that exercising helps to diminish your appetite, allowing you to eat less without struggling. Read about it here:Ladies — A Super Simple Way to Curb Your Hunger and Lose WeightYou can naturally suppress your appetite by doing this every single daymedium.comTraining with weight is one of my favourite ways to work out. I see exercise as more than just a means for increasing your health potential — but a builder of resilience, self-belief and confidence. For example, before I prioritised weight training, I was weak and didn’t believe I could reshape my body. But with patience, care, and a little mentoring, I slowly did it, and I’m still going. Slowly, you build muscle to increase your metabolism efficiency. Then, adding in some helpful fat-burning cardio is excellent, but I advise you to go as far as you can with weight training. After all, becoming stronger and building some form of muscle over the long term — will assist you in maintaining your weight and enhancing your health. I have always said — don’t do more cardio than you need to — the low impact is effective for fat burning.


Six: Remember that you may not even be that hungry when you aren’t fasting

Hunger pangs can be torturous for some people, including myself. As you start to fast for a while, these pangs can be easily ignored by focusing on something else, exercising or having a glass of water. Although I won’t touch on this much, fasting brings a spiritual aspect to my mindset and helps build that resilient barrier against allowing my body to be the dictator of my life. Of course, hunger is a conditional response, and we don’t always necessarily need food at the onset of rumbling. However, many people go several days without food; healthy people without any underlying health conditions can complete a seven-day fast without any problems. Your meal doesn’t last you the whole day, so we use black coffee, water, tea and even chopped fruit with ice in a tall glass of water. Allowing your hunger to linger for several hours isn’t going to cause any harm — unless otherwise specified by your medical practitioner, Next time you are hungry, see how long it takes to eat something and casually observe those hunger signals. They are like waves — constantly coming and going at a high and lower intensity. Then, we can ignore it and eventually tell our stomachs that we’re the boss. 

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