In order to succeed with your intermittent fast, you first need to be able to embrace those feelings of hunger. Be aware that feeling hungry or wanting to eat aren’t true feelings of hunger or deprivation. Your mind is merely telling your stomach to feed because that’s what your mind is used to doing. Being able to develop the fortitude to forego food for a short amount of time is incredibly important because only when you stop eating can you go from a fed state to a fasted state and reap all the wonderful benefits of fasting.
If you have never fasted before, being hungry can be very uncomfortable. If you attempt to fast too long on your first couple of tries, you run the risk of breaking the fast by gorging on unhealthy foods, instead of eating healthful and nutritious foods that will help take advantage of the fast that you just completed.
When you first start an intermittent fast, you may want to set shorter fast periods, such as fasting for 12 hours, and then increasing the duration each time you complete a fast until you’ve reached the full recommended 24 hour fast period. Doing so may take several weeks, which is okay. You’ll have more confidence in your abilities if you set a shorter fast period and succeed rather than trying to go for the full 24 hours on your first try and failing.
Embarking on a new diet or fitness regimen may feel novel and exciting, but oftentimes that novelty wears off and you find yourself having difficulty sticking to it, and you begin searching for something new. If you find yourself in this situation, make a promise to yourself to stick with fasting for one full month before deciding to try a different approach.
Figuring out the best times to fast
Intermittent fasting is inherently flexible. Because you only need to fast one or two times a week, you can begin your fast at the time that is most convenient for you as long as you ultimately fast for 24 hours. As a result, you can start your once or twice weekly fast at any time on any day of the week. That means intermittent fasting has no set schedules. You can easily adjust your fasting days for what’s best for you. Say, for instance, you’re planning on fasting Wednesday evening through Thursday, but a social engagement dinner with friends comes up; you simply can start your fast the following day.
When people sleep, they naturally fast. As a result, fasting from dinner to dinner is easiest for most people, meaning if you finish eating at 7 p.m., you can abstain from eating or drinking anything with calories until 7 p.m. the following evening. If you’ve ever tried going to sleep while hungry, you know doing so can be a challenging feat. But by following a dinner to dinner fasting period, you can fall asleep without having to contend with an empty stomach.
Another popular time to begin and end your fast is a lunch-to-lunch fast. If you choose this fasting schedule, you eat lunch, ending at around 1 p.m. and don’t eat again until 1 p.m. on the following day.
We do caution against trying a breakfast to breakfast fast. This fasting schedule requires you to fall asleep at night on an entirely empty stomach. Although this schedule may work for some people, more than likely you’ll be so hungry by the end of the first day that you may break the fast early and with suboptimal food choices, such as with sugary treats or with a desperate, hunger driven run to the nearest fast-food restaurant.
Intermittent fasting is also flexible over time. When you first begin intermittent fasting, you may find that the lunch-to-lunch fasting period works best for you, but as time goes on and your work and/or personal schedules change, you may find that you need to switch your fast times, which is completely okay. We want you to fast successfully. Flexibility in when you fast is key to making that happen.
Intermittent fasting should work for you, not against you, so experiment with different fasting schedules. You may find a dinner to dinner fast too challenging given your work schedule, or that at first, the lunch-to-lunch fast leaves you too hungry at night to fall asleep. Play around with the different schedules and see what works best for you.
Knowing when not to fast
If you find yourself in one of the following groups, you shouldn’t do intermittent fasting:
- If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant: When you’re preg- nant or trying to get pregnant, focus on the After pregnancy, if you want to try intermittent fasting, talk with your physician about whether or not fasting is a good option for you.
- If you’re immunosuppressed: Consult with your doctor first before doing an intermittent Although some very interesting research focuses on the benefits of fasting for people undergoing chemotherapy, you should never begin fasting on your own if you’re currently battling cancer, HIV/AIDS, or any other sort of immunosuppressive ailment without first garnering your doctor’s approval.
- If you’re diabetic: Intermittent fasting has shown to positively affect insulin resistance; however, if you’re diabetic, fast only under the direct supervision of your healthcare
- If you’re under 18 years old: Studies on the effects and benefits of intermittent fasting have focused primarily on For this reason, we don’t recommend intermittent fasting to children. Intermittent fasting is therefore only appropriate for otherwise healthy adults and adults who have been cleared to fast by their physician.
You should always check with your physician or healthcare provider before starting any diet or fitness plan. He or she can advise you on whether intermittent fasting is a safe option for you.