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I have had many questions about my tips for starting intermittent fasting. So, I thought I would share my top tips with you all.
Let me say again, I am not a doctor, medical professional, or nutritionist. I am sharing what I have learned and have experienced through my own life and fasting journey.
Intermittent fasting has changed my life tremendously and I can’t help but share it.
Tip #1 Define Your Goal & Your Why
As with any change in life or habit you want to make part of your life, you have to first develop a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish. Then align your mind up with your goal, and then put into place little doable habits that will lead you there. Mindset is the most important component to the process.
Knowing your why is so important. So ask yourself “why do I want to add intermittent fasting into my life?”
Is it for weight loss? Is it for healing? What kind of healing? Is it for spiritual reasons? Anti-aging benefits? Mental clarity? Or a combination of these all?
Intermittent fasting is known as the ‘health-hack’ with the side-effect of weight loss. So, there are many reasons to add it into your life.
For me, the main reason was for obviously, weight loss. I had struggled for years and was so tired of the struggle.
But to my surprise, I also got to experience healing of my body & growth in my faith life it took on a depth I never had before. In addition I experienced a clearer mind, more efficient thinking process, & increased motivation because of it. Also, I never thought that fasting would truly make me look younger, but according to my husband and children, fasting has done just that! – (not gonna lie – I love this compliment 😉)
Tip # 2 ~ Learn & Then Learn More…
Once you have come up with your ‘why’ you will then have to decide how you are going to put fasting into place. I highly recommend the information resource in the book Fast Feast Repeat by Gin Stephens to begin with. So much information and it has plenty of reasons why fasting is a good option.
You can get your copy of Fast Feast Repeat HERE
There are plenty of other books, YouTube videos, podcasts, websites etc. But, the Fast Feast Repeat book will really give you all the knowledge you need to get started. It even includes a detailed Fast Start plan for the first 28 days of your intermittent fasting journey. Follow the guide and you will be well equipped to move forward with confidence.
The good news is, that you already do ‘fast’. Every evening from when you put the last bite of food in your mouth until you wake up and begin eating again the next morning, you are fasting. Isn’t that cool?
The next step is to decide on the hours you want to designate as your ‘fasting hours’. You can begin with 12 hours and work up from there into a regimen that will really work for you. So, say you stop eating at 8:00 pm. Then you don’t eat again until 8:00 am the following morning. Because your sleep hours count, you have just fasted 12 hours.
12 hours is a good start. Once you are confident with the 12 you can start to add on 1/2 hour or hour either in the morning or at night, or both. I found that pushing my breakfast back later and later worked very well. I just would sip on my black coffee and water until the time came that I would ‘open’ my eating window.
Now, 12 hours is a good place to begin and there may be benefits that you will obtain. But, for most people who are looking for weight loss, 12 hours is usually not enough to see any significant loss of weight. Some people begin to see some weight come off at 16 hours fasted and and 8 hour eating window. That could be a first goal to work towards.
For me, 8 hours of eating is just too long and I would eat far too much. So a shorter eating window works best for me. You can play with your fasting hours and like Gin Stephens says in her book – ‘tweak it until it works”. I have come to know what works for me and what doesn’t, but that came through plenty of research, trial and experience.
Prepare to learn so much about yourself and your eating habits as you go through this process. It will be your experiment of one and you will certainly be able to make your fasting schedule continue to benefit you and become your own.
And know that it will take time. The amount of time it takes to see results will vary from person to person. Just realize this is a journey, not a sprint. You are doing something wonderful for yourself. Make your mind up to enjoy the process your body & life will be going through.
Tip # 3 Fast Clean
One of the main tips for starting intermittent fasting, is to make sure you ‘fast clean’.
What does a clean fast mean?
During your fasting hours, you can drink black tea, black coffee, and/or water. The temperature doesn’t matter, hot, warm, or cold is fine. But there must be no flavor at all. I know coffee has flavor – but it is on the bitter scale and that makes it okay.
Some people find they can’t ‘do coffee’. If that’s you, then you can stick to tea and/or water. It certainly doesn’t mean you can’t make fasting part of your life.
So, no fruity flavors, no flavored water, no flavor drops, no creamer, no sweeteners what-so-ever. Gum or mints are also off limits.
You absolutely can have those things, just not within your fasting hours. Fasting isn’t a time for a party in your mouth. Plain coffee, tea, and/or water is all you got girl.
‘Fasting clean‘ makes fasting easier. If you are constantly stimulating insulin with flavors, sweeteners, and such you will have a hard time to fast. I know from experience. In the beginning I tried diet soda, sugarless gum, and stevia during fasting hours. It made fasting very hard and I struggled to make it to my eating window. These things just made me hungry.
You are free to go ahead and try, but I’m sharing with you that adding any flavors can and probably will decrease or stop any of the weight loss and/or benefits you would otherwise be experiencing.
Tip #4 Keep Busy
Once you begin to fast, you will learn that we usually just put things in our mouths out of boredom or emotion.
Do we really know what hunger feels like? For me, I really had not experienced true hunger. I was always within reach of something that I could quickly and easily consume.
By practicing keeping busy during your fasting hours you are easily able to fast longer without even thinking about it. This is so helpful especially in the beginning. When your mind and body are occupied, and away from the kitchen or break room, avoiding mindless eating becomes a lot easier.
Cleaning, going for a walk, writing content, or doing some needed task are all ways to keep your mind and hands busy. When you do that, you will see that all of a sudden you have effortlessly added hours to your fasting time and you didn’t even notice.
Tip #5 Enjoy The Journey
My last but most important tip is to remind you that we can always call on God for help and direction. It was when I surrendered and asked God for help and at the same time believed that he would indeed help me, that my health and life journey started to turn around.
It was then that I got the blessing of experiencing real success and joy along my journey to a more whole and healthier me. Sometimes we get so caught up wanting to have the results we are looking for, that we forget to really live in the ‘here and now’ and relish every step along the ‘transformation’ process.
Consistency is the key. If you mess up and don’t do it exactly like you planned to, acknowledge it, recommit, and then carry on fasting again. We become our habits…so, make sure you are investing in the best ones for your future you.
When I look back on old photos, I hardly recognize the person I was just 6 years ago. I am a different woman and I know that hard work joined to, and covered with God’s Grace is where I finally found this path and the ‘me’ I had been long searching for.
A Catholic mom of 10 & a Deacon’s wife.
A Christian who lives an intermittent fasting lifestyle, my days faithfully begin with prayer & black coffee.
I want to encourage women to realize their life’s purpose, share their faith, embrace God’s Word, grow in confidence, and commit daily to reclaiming overall health while living a life dedicated to their vocation.