How To Create the Best Intermittent Fasting Routine for You
We all have our unique relationship with food. We have different appetites, cravings, guilty pleasures, and habits that make up our diet. We also know that those diet habits and those cravings hold a profound influence on our general health.
Enter intermittent fasting. It’s likely something you’ve heard about before: an eating schedule that focuses on relatively prolonged stretches of non-eating (otherwise known as — wait for it — fasting).
As we’ve alluded to in previous food-centric blogs, intermittent fasting is not some food-related fad or a fancy way of starving yourself. The science of intermittent fasting is valid, enlightening, and eye-opening.
Though it might look intimidating from afar, intermittent fasting is a simple — but not easy — diet habit that can yield stellar results for your mind and body. Here are some of the best intermittent fasting techniques and tips.
Before we can adopt the best intermittent fasting techniques, we must first know the basics.
John Hopkins Medicine defines intermittent fasting as “an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule.” It’s a dietary routine that focuses on weight loss and your body’s metabolism.
After hours of not eating, the body enters a state of metabolic switching, where “the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat,” also according to John Hopkins.
Intermittent fasting is a regimented diet routine. It contrasts with the usual diet pattern of eating after waking up and before you go to bed.
An intermittent fasting routine gives your body time to reset itself. You can prolong the benefits of intermittent fasting by adopting a healthier lifestyle of diet and exercise.
As with anything diet-related, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for intermittent fasting. The best intermittent fasting routine is entirely dependent on what your goals are and your current health situation.
Success is in the eye of the beholder, so pick an intermittent fasting schedule that is right for you.
For beginners, you don’t need to jump into the deep end. Start with a fasting schedule that is easy to adjust to.
Many intermittent fasting aficionados recommend starting with the 14/10 ratio (fast for 14 hours and eat for 10).
Your general health goals will also determine how you want to adopt intermittent fasting. The one throughline is that you fast for the allotted amount of time. Talk to your doctor about the best intermittent fasting approach for you.
Developing new habits is always difficult. A study by the European Journal of Social Psychology found that habits can take anywhere between 18 and 254 days to become automatic!
Regardless of how long it takes to develop a new habit, the hardest part is usually in the beginning. Those 17 or 253 days (hopefully not in your case) will see your body and appetite adjusting to the new dietary norm.
When in doubt, remember there’s always an app that can help. Some of the best intermittent fasting apps include:
All these apps are designed to help make the intermittent fasting road a little more manageable. Still, a mobile app can only do so much on its own. You have to show up too.
To get through the final hours of intermittent fasting, have a refillable water bottle by your side. Water is a proven appetite suppressant and has no caloric value.
Drinking water will help you get over the early hurdles of your intermittent fasting journey (your office plant will benefit from water, too). Also, we could all use a little more water in our lives.
Coffee and tea are other non-caloric drinks that you can have while fasting. Get that Keurig and teapot ready for the best intermittent fasting experience.
There’s a reason why intermittent fasting is so popular: it produces fantastic results when done right. It’s also super simple: don’t eat for a while, and fill your body up with healthy food when it’s time to grub.
It’s a simple formula that has great long-term effects, including:
Intermittent fasting allows your body’s metabolism to reset through the consistency of your schedule.
The best intermittent fasting methods allow your body to reset itself. Just like our brains and minds, we need to give our bodies and digestive systems a break.
View intermittent fasting as a restorative activity for your body (and maybe even do some yoga or meditation in the meantime).
So you’ve fasted for 14 hours. You filled your body up with water, coffee, or tea — hopefully you’re not too caffeinated.
Now the 14th or 16th hour has passed, the clock has struck midnight on your intermittent fasting clock. Though it’s likely lunchtime by then, it’s now time to break your fast.
If you’re in the early stages of your intermittent fasting journey, you might be starving with the thought of a greasy cheeseburger pervading your mind. You’re now salivating at the thought of eating it, completely undeterred by the sluggish aftermath.
This is where the second part of the intermittent fasting equation comes in: how do you break your fast?
Your stomach is empty, ready, and open to fill itself up with only the best of the best foods. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the best foods to break your fast are the “healthy” ones. You know what they are:
The main rule of thumb is that if it’s green, you can and should eat it.
It’s like what you should do after a meditation session: your mindfulness will be undone if you start scrolling through social media right after. In the same way, even the best intermittent fasting routines will be undone by the presence of anything fried.
The best way to build on your practice is to adopt habits and activities that complement your practice. It’s not easy, but worthwhile habits almost always require discipline and sacrifice.
Also like meditation, the essence of intermittent fasting is to do nothing. Your body needs time to naturally metabolize and repair itself, whether it be from a strenuous workout at the gym or a six-course meal.
The success of your intermittent fasting routine is entirely up to you and the trajectory of your health journey. Everyone’s journey is different so find the right routine for you and run with it.