So, let me get this straight, you want me to go extended periods of time without eating? Like, how long are we talking here? 16 hours?!? Every day?
Like Personal Growth on Facebook
For many people, this is the natural reaction upon initially hearing about intermittent fasting. It may seem an exercise in insanity, so severely limiting your window of eating time as a lasting lifestyle choice.
In truth, however, this type of diet plan is a popular and effective option for individuals seeking to reduce body fat, build muscle and maintain an overall high level of personal health.
If you seek to do these things, consider the potential benefits of this type of diet and give the system a try. Doing so is actually easier than you might think.
For intermittent fasting to work, you have to be committed to the plan. Build your commitment by considering the proven health benefits of following this type of diet plan. Research supporting intermittent fasting as a healthy and beneficial option dates back to the 1930s when Cornell University nutritionist Clive McCay found that calorie-restricted rats lived longer.
This axiom was further proven a decade-and-a-half later when University of Chicago scientists found that alternate-day feeding had the same beneficial effects. Contemporary research continues to support these initial studies. Reviewing this research and committing to the validity of it will almost certainly make this potentially major lifestyle change an easier one to stick with.
2. Pick A Plan
Not all intermittent fasts look the same. Consider some of the most popular options and select the one that fits best with your dining preferences. Some popular options include:
Leangains – Followers of this plan fast for 14 to 16 hours a day, generally through the night and into the morning.
Eat Stop Eat – This plan requires alternating between 24-hour periods of fasting and 24-hour periods of eating.
The Warrior Diet – Warrior dieters consume only one meal a day, fasting for 20 hours and breaking the fast with a sizable nighttime feast.
Fat Loss Forever – This fasting pattern is by far the most complicated. It involves a 36-hour fast followed by a period of eating then the completion of interval fasting and feasting through the rest of the week.
3. Schedule Your Day
For intermittent fasting to work its magic, you need to live and diet by a schedule. When your body becomes a lean-mean fasting machine, your metabolism will work with you, reducing your body fat and increasing your muscle mass naturally in response to your new structured eating plan.
Create a schedule you can work with by listing your current like-clockwork activities. If you’re a live-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, you’ll likely have to put the kibosh on some of your tendencies to make this plan work.
Start by deciding when you want to be able to eat each day. This period of time, known rather indelicately as your “feeding period” should remain constant. Many experience the most success making this portion of their day the afternoon and evening hours, as this is when most people eat socially.
Once you have decided on this window, plan out when inside the window you want to consume your major meals.
Pro Tip – Many master fasters recommend exercising either during or right before your feeding period. If you try to engage in strenuous exercise during a time when eating is verboten, you are more likely to let your hunger induce you to break your fast.
4. Ease Into It
It took time to build those muscles of which you are so proud, and it will take some time to get use to your new fasting lifestyle. If you ultimately plan to fast for 16 hours a day, start slowly, shaving hours off your current feeding window little by little during a two or three week acclimation period.
For example, if you normally eat breakfast at 6 a.m. before you head to the gym try pushing it back to after you return home, eating this first meal at 8 a.m. instead. Once this routine has become comfortable, push your first food of the day back even further, starting with a 10 a.m. pre-lunch snack.
By following this deliberate pattern, you can avoid shocking yourself and reduce the frustration that may otherwise lead to you to abandon the plan.
5. Analyze Your Success
Sticking to a fasting plan can prove difficult. Increase your natural motivation to keep on fasting by checking your muscle mass and body fat regularly. As your approach your goals in these areas, you will likely find fasting a bit easier to stomach.