Let's Get Started with Intermittent Fasting

So you've heard about the MANY benefits of fasting and you've decided to give it a try? Great! But where do you start?

The answer is absolutely anywhere you please!

Fasting sounds formidable. (At least, it did to me.) But you are the choreographer of your own fast. You can be kind and gentle with yourself when you're fasting. You can listen to your body. You can take baby steps, like me, or bigger steps if you feel ready.

It is perfectly fine to begin the foray into fasting with a longer fast. Of course, a longer fast (24-48 hours, perhaps) might feel a bit too intimidating as a starting point. Many doctors recommend doing longer fasts (like a 4-day fast) under supervision. There are clinics all over the world which offer this exact service. If you have loads of money, you might want to go this route. Of course, with any fast, whether you are at home or at a clinic, you can simply stop if you feel sick or just uncomfortable.

I have decided to begin with fasting for 16 hours out of every 24. This leaves an 8-hour feeding window each day. I have chosen to skip breakfast (gasp!!!) on a daily basis. My feeding window opens at 12 noon and closes again at 8pm. For me, this is totally doable and very comfortable. (I must confess, I have never been a big fan of fasting. I HATE deprivation of any sort. And going without food seems like the very worst form of deprivation. I have never managed to fast for a full 24 hours. But I assure you, this type of intermittent fasting is not difficult at all.)

Now, you might already skip breakfast most of the time. This is pretty common. If you aren't much of a morning eater, fasting for 16 hours each day will probably be super easy for you. You can even enjoy your morning coffee or tea during your fast! (Black is recommended, as this has close to zero calories, and definitely do not add sugar.) Just hold off on eating anything else until noon. I find that staying busy and active during the morning hours helps take my mind off eating. I have hunger pangs, but they are very minimal and nothing disturbing. I have lifted weights, walked the dog, gone shopping, practiced zumba, cleaned the house, led bootcamp workouts, all while fasting. I find I have plenty of energy.

The really nice thing about using intermittent fasting for weight loss is that you can eat as you please during your feeding window. If you are craving a treat, you can have it. Strangely enough, it has been shown that eating the exact same amount of calories spread out throughout the day causes weight gain when compared to eating them within an 8-hour feeding window. Fasting switches the body over to fat burning AND helps insulin work more effectively once eating resumes. WIN WIN!

Over time, fasting will shrink the size of your stomach, so even when you have the opportunity to eat, you may find yourself naturally eating less. This will help you continue to lose weight as you acclimate to longer fasting periods. Again, you will not feel deprived. Instead, you will feel full and satisfied with a smaller amount of food.

My next step might be to reduce the length of my feeding window. But I don't plan on changing this any time soon. I've only just started this regimen and I want to continue for most of December to see if it works. I am using my waist measurement as a yardstick for my progress. I'll keep you updated!