How to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier
Fasting. It’s a word that brings with it all kinds of thoughts…feeling hangry, lusting after a lettuce leaf, the hunger games. But what if we told you that fasting – particularly intermittent fasting- doesn’t have to be a constant struggle?
Because it doesn’t.
Intermittent fasting, or if you prefer, intermittent eating, can be made a whole lot easier if you know how.
Use these tips, tricks, and tools to make intermittent fasting easier. You’ll not only enjoy the health benefits intermittent fasting offers, but you’ll also start associating new thoughts with the word fasting. Like weight loss, good health, energy, and visible results.
Why You Should Be Fasting
Science has uncovered a wide range of benefits associated with intermittent fasting, and new benefits are regularly being discovered.
One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that fasting and the state of ketosis that arises from it can improve blood glucose regulation, reduce systemic inflammation, and increase your resistance to stress – benefits that carry over into non-fasting periods as well.
Another study from the University of Chicago Illinois, published in 2021, found that intermittent fasting practices can lead to clinically significant weight loss while improving the metabolic health of obese patients at the same time.
Here’s how to make the most of the benefits of intermittent fasting without it feeling like an uphill battle.
A review of the research has shown that alternate-day fasting and 5-2 fasting methods produce the most clinically significant weight loss trials among all intermittent fasting methods, making them the best intermittent fasting schedule types to follow.
The Best Times to Fast: The Best Intermittent Fasting Schedule
What are the best ways to intermittent fast?
There are a few different forms of intermittent fasting, namely time-restricted and alternate-day fasting, which you can follow while practising intermittent fasting.
The time-restricted method includes diets such as the 16-8 method and the 14-10 method, which restrict your eating to specific time windows each day. For instance, in the 16-8 method, you could have your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm or at other times, as long as they fit within an 8-hour window.
According to MedicineNet, the key to success with any time-restricted fasting method is to listen to your body’s needs and understand your individual hunger patterns. When are you most comfortable eating breakfast and enjoying your last meal of the day? Design your fasts around your preferences and schedule as much as possible to make adhering to your diet in the long run easier.
Then there are the alternate-day fasting methods, which include the 5-2 method and alternate-day fasting. These tend to be more flexible. In the case of 5-2 fasting, you would restrict your 24-hour calorie intake to around 500 calories for two days of the week and eat normally for the remaining five days.
You could also practice alternate-day fasting, which involves one day of fasting, one day of normal eating, another day of fasting, and so on. It does not matter as much during your fasting days when you eat as long as you restrict your calorie intake sufficiently.
How to Break Your Fast
According to an article reviewed by Dr Bret Scher, MD at DietDoctor, it is important to break your fasts with balanced, healthy meals. If you eat highly processed and sugary foods instead, you can undo the benefits of your fasting periods.
The publication recommends eating a healthful, low-carb and moderate protein meal to break your fast. This has the added advantage of balancing your blood glucose levels for sustained energy throughout the day.
DietDoctor also notes that some foods tend to be consistently problematic for people breaking their fasts and could cause gastrointestinal irritation and unwanted side effects. Although not all people experience these effects, you should take caution when breaking your fasts with nuts, seeds, nut and seed butter, raw cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, dairy products, eggs, and alcohol.
When eating between fasts, you should also aim to eat as many healthy, unprocessed, fibre-rich foods as possible. The Mediterranean guide, shown to produce weight loss and lower cardiovascular risk factors in trials, is an excellent template for inspiration. This eating pattern focuses on fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, seeds and nuts, olive oil, small amounts of fish, lean poultry, yoghurt, and cheese.
How to Use Supplements to Give Yourself a Boost
Supplementing your diet during fasting is another excellent way to make fasting easier and more effective in enhancing your physical health.
Spermidine, a physiological autophagy inducer that acts as an ‘anti-ageing vitamin’ in humans, is a fantastic option. Studies show that it reduces mortality risk associated with age-related and heart disease and extends human lifespans.
Medium chain triglyceride oil, or MCT oil, is another supplement worth considering, and it’s widely used to boost weight loss and increase energy levels. This oil helps to promote a state of ketosis within your body, which enables it to use ketones made from fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel.
Research has also shown that MCT oil helps with satiety, helping you to feel full during fasts and eat less overall.
Use an App to Track Your Eating Habits
Yes, there’s an app for that!
There are many free and paid-for intermittent fasting apps available that are designed to make intermittent fasting easier. These apps enable you to track your eating habits and eating windows, set reminders, and track your calorie consumption conveniently using your smartphone or tablet.
Some of the highest-rated apps today include Zero Fasting, DoFasting, and Fastic. These apps boast a range of features and functions that simplify fasting and keeping track of your eating patterns.
Track Your Progress
Few things are more motivating than tracking and identifying your progress during any diet. Remember that it will take time to see actual progress and results. Intermittent fasting may help towards producing slow and steady weight loss.
The simplest way to track your progress on an intermittent fasting eating regime is to weigh yourself weekly and make notes of the results. If you are losing around 1 or 2 pounds per week, you will soon see a weight loss of 4-8 pounds per month, which can quickly add up over time.
Suppose you are practising intermittent fasting for health reasons. In that case, you can also approach your doctor or nutritionists for testing to determine whether any positive changes in your blood pressure, blood glucose levels or triglyceride levels have arisen. Note these results and have these indicators regularly tested to keep track of your progress.
Get The Most Benefit From Intermitted Fasting
Intermittent fasting offers a wide variety of health benefits. As we saw above, science has recently proven the alternate day fasting and 5-2 methods to produce weight loss results and improve metabolic health effectively.
Follow our guide to making intermittent fasting easier to maximise the benefits you gain from this tried and tested dieting practice.
Disclaimer: If you have any health conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding, are on medication or suffer from ill health, intermittent fasting may not be suitable for you. Always talk to your doctor before changing your eating habits or taking supplements.