If you’re ready to begin to micro-fast, you may be curious about how you go about doing so. When you start, consider micro-fasting every day. Although you don’t necessarily have to, from our experience, most people’s adherence tends to improve when they micro-fast every day. That is, most people seem to have an easier time doing away with breakfast altogether and creating a new habit than they do when they just cut it out a couple days of the week.
Feel free to experiment with micro-fasting and see what works for you. If micro fasting every day sounds like too much at first, work your way up gradually. Start with two to three days a week, and once you are comfortable with that, add another day every week or every other week. If you’re going to implement micro-fasting, implement it at least two to three days a week.
Micro-fasting is about restricting the amount of time you eat throughout the day. In other words, you’re simply compressing your daily food intake into an eight-hour window. This eight hour window isn’t an arbitrary number. Most of the benefits of fasting have been shown to occur within the first 16 hours.
Identifying the ideal times to eat
Most people who practice micro-fasting say that 16 hours of fasting feels just right you get hungry, but not too hungry. The peskiest part about micro fasting, however, is identifying the ideal times to eat, more specifically, where to place your eight hour eating window.
Most of the time, your first meal when micro fasting happens sometime between noon and 2 p.m. To be successful, however, we recommend that you stick to a regular schedule. For example, if you stop eating at 8 p.m., you may start eating again each day around noon, which is a great schedule to live by. So in essence you eat from noon and 8 p.m. and fast from 8 p.m. to noon the next day.
Of course, you can play with micro-fasting a little bit. If you’d prefer to stop eating later, say around 9 p.m., then you simply move your eating window back an hour to 1 p.m. So long as you maintain the ratio of 16 hours of fasting to 8 hours of eating, you can be successful.
For your convenience, here are the five most popular eight hour eating window schedules:
- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- 12 noon to 8 m.
- 1 to 9 m.
- 2 to 10 p.m.
There are no hard rules to the eight hours that you eat. Our best advice is to make it work with your schedule. Don’t make micro fasting any more difficult than it needs to be. Place your eight hour eating window where it’s going to be most convenient for you. That is, make micro fasting work with you, not you for it.
Recognizing what you can eat
The food you consume during the eight hours, how you choose to consume it, and how much you choose to consume greatly affect the effectiveness of your fasts. Fasting for 16 hours doesn’t grant you permission to binge for the remaining eight.
Fasting works primarily by creating a caloric deficit. If you fast for 16 hours and then overcompensate the remaining eight, you’re negating one of the primary benefits of fasting. So take our simple advice on what you can eat: Eat normally during your eight hour window; in other words, eat only as much as you need to feel satisfied and not a smidgen more.
When eating, make sure you focus on quality over quantity. The quality of the food you put in your body is just as important as how much you consume.
Furthermore, quantity dictates your weight, whereas the food quality impacts your overall health.
For what you eat, we again recommend the Paleo Diet, which simplifies making good food choices, because it focuses on eating foods that have the highest nutrient-to-calorie ratio, and eliminates all processed junk foods.
In addition, here a few more quick rules for eating during the eight hour window:
- Make your first meal your biggest Coming off your fast, ensure that your first meal is your biggest meal, especially if you just worked out. Fasting increases assimilative capacity, or how much food your body can process efficiently at one time. So yes, you can get away with eating a slightly larger meal than usual coming off a fast and not have to worry about storing excess body fat, as long as you don’t completely overdo it.
- Eat until you’re satisfied, not A popular publication recently wrote an article on micro-fasting that misled people into thinking that they could eat whatever they wanted, as long as they kept their eating within an eight-hour window. This article was wrong. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You want to eat sensibly throughout the eight hours, which means you eat healthful foods and only as much as you need to feel satisfied, not full, stuffed, or bloated.
- Fill up on protein and veggies Make your calories count, so fill up on the good stuff first the stuff that has the highest nutrient to calorie ratio. In almost all cases, that stuff includes protein sources, such as fish, meat, and poultry, and fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. From there you can move onto more complex carbohy drates, such as fruits and/or sweet potatoes.
- Eat when you’re hungry and don’t eat when you’re not hunger The eight-hour eating window doesn’t mean that you should spend the entire eight hours eating. You want to eat when you’re hungry and not eat when you’re not hungry with a strong emphasis on the latter.
- Space your meals out as much as possible to prevent overeating and to not overtax the digestive system. For example, having two meals four hours apart or something close to that is better than having one meal every hour.