Intermittent fasting is a diet protocol that requires you abstain from food for an extended period of time.
And while there are many different versions of intermittent fasting, the most common version is the 16-8 in which you fast for 16 hours out of the day and eat the remaining 8.
Some of the many benefits associated with intermittent fasting include stronger immunity, a faster metabolism, improved athletic performance, and fewer issues with insulin resistance.
But let’s be 100% honest. While those are wonderful benefits, most people try intermittent fasting because they want to lose weight.
With that being said, here are a few simple strategies that will help you get the most out of intermittent fasting.
Don’t Overdo It During Your 8 Hour Window
Just because you have fasted for 16 hours does not mean you can binge on everything in sight. If you make your 8 hour eating window a free for all you will open yourself up to a lot of unwanted issues. The biggest one of course being weight gain.
For best results you should plan your meals ahead of time. And while you can technically eat whatever you want during your 8 hour window, if you want to maximize fat loss you should focus on lean proteins, vegetables, good fats, and high fiber starches.
Be Aware of Your Cortisol Levels
When you are hungry metabolic stress occurs. If you are already under stress metabolic stress will only add to it.
Whenever you are stressed your cortisol levels increase. Cortisol, also referred to as the stress hormone, causes your body to store fat and breaks down any muscle that you have worked so hard to build.
When you are fasting for 16 hours out of the day, do your best to keep your cortisol levels balanced. That way you won’t undo all of your hard work.
Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing are all great ways to relieve stress. Supplementing your diet with magnesium is also a great way to keep stress at bay.
Go Easy On The Coffee
While drinking black coffee is perfectly okay during the fasted state, it is not something you want to make a staple in your diet.
If you start relying on coffee to get you through the day not only will you be jittery, but you will also notice your cortisol levels remain elevated throughout the day.
It is therefore recommended that you only have one cup of coffee per day. After that you should opt for a cup of green tea.
Green tea consists of ECGC which has a thermogenic effect on the body. It also contains theanine which helps keep you calm when things get challenging during the day.
Its best to brew your own green tea at home. Take ten organic green tea bags and steep them in a gallon pitcher. For a sweetener use stevia.
After you have it sweetened to your liking put it in the fridge and let it cool down.
Skip Dinner Instead of Breakfast
Most people don’t have their first meal until lunch time. And while this approach can work, it is not the most ideal approach. Especially if you work away from home.
A good breakfast will get your metabolism revved up so you can be ready for the day.
When you skip breakfast you will notice your cravings increase and you will have less energy throughout the day.
Instead of skipping breakfast try skipping dinner a few nights a week. You will still get the 16 hours of fasting minus the morning fatigue.
Load Up on Fiber
Fiber just may be one of the best appetite suppressants there is. Not only does it keep you regular, but it also helps balance your blood sugar levels.
Fiber powder contains no calories which means it is an approved option for most intermittent fasting plans.
Drinking a glass of fiber powder will help alleviate hunger pangs and cravings during those 16 hours of fasting.
When you are fasting drink one teaspoon of fiber powder every one to two hours.
Intermittent fasting is a great way to not only lose weight, but to improve your overall health. The key is learning how to balance fasting with a healthy diet.
When doing intermittent fasting you want to avoid taking it to the extreme. Pay attention to your body and make adjustments if you need to.
Also remember that there are different versions of the diet that you can try. If fasting for 16 hours is too much for you that’s okay. No need to push yourself if it isn’t a good fit.
Instead of fasting for 16 hours a day you can try fasting for 10 hours a day. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments as you go.
During your eating window feel free to eat whatever you want. Just do so in moderation. Otherwise you will not get the results you are looking for with intermittent fasting.