I've mentioned recently that I've been delving back into Intermittent Fasting after taking a little break from it. It was tough to get back into the swing of it, but it is getting easier again (though not without effort). I find IF particularly useful around the holidays, since I must admit that I enjoy partaking in the feasting that is going on around me.
But as I say, it ain't always easy. So I'd like to share a few of the tips which have come back to me as I dive back into Intermittent Fasting as part of my overall wellness strategy. First off, I prefer to use the 24 hour fast touted in Brad Pilon's Eat-Stop-Eat. It is the most flexible plan in my mind and allows me to feel like I'm not on some kind of extreme fasting regimen. Some of the "daily window" fasting protocols just don't work for me, but that is a personal choice. I know a lot of people really like the LeanGains approach, which is a daily window program.
Now, to the tips.
- Start with the end in mind: And by this I do not mean your long term goal. I just mean that it helps me to think about how I will feel at the end of the 24 hours. By projecting into the future and reminding myself that when it is over it never really seems like it was all that tough, it makes it easier. I also like to think about how happy I will be with my mini-accomplishment when I make it to 24 hours.
- Avoid idle hands and mind: Nothing reminds you how hungry you are like idleness. I find that I absolutely must keep busy while fasting. This does not have to be physical. Engrossing yourself in any task will do the trick. Last night, I had my nose buried in the computer screen trying to finish the Bodyweight Exercise Revolution ebook that I am launching any day now with my colleague Ryan Murdock. The next thing I knew it was time for bed (way past time actually) and I had not once noticed any signs of hunger. And I had been fasting since noon.
- Finish your fast at a buffet Christmas party: Yes, I am guilty! Today my family attended a buffet Christmas lunch. I broke my fast at the party (yes, I realized even beforehand what a dumb idea it was - but hey, you get to learn from my stupidity...). It's not a bad idea to fast when you know you are going to feast, but break the fast with an enormous salad and some high quality protein before you head to the party!
- Get too hung up on time: Brad suggests a 24 hour fast. It is a nice round number and a cool thing to shoot for. But the benefits seem to peak from about 18 hours on (check out the ebook if you like to know all this kind of geeky stuff). So if a 20 or 22 hour fast is most convient or most achievable for you, go with that.
Cycles of fasting and feasting are a perfectly natural part of the human experience and have been throughout our history. But in this day and age the feasting is easier than ever and the fasting is pretty much non-existent unless you actively seek it out. If you haven't tried it, do some research and see if it is for you. There is a lot of information out there to be had. For a small investment you can pick up Brad's book and save yourself a lot of headache though. He pretty much lays the whole thing out for you. Actually, I read and enjoyed it even though at the time I had absolutely no intention of trying Intermittent fasting. It wasn't until a couple months later that I actually decided to give it a try. Click here if you want to check it out.
If you do try it, or if you have tried Intermittent Fasting in the past, drop a comment below and let me know what your experience has been like. Sharing tips will help us all get more benefit form it.
PS Visit this post if you would like to listen to Brad Pilon speak about Intermittent Fasting.