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If it’s not simple, I’m not doing it. Just like the tagline of my blog says.
As a 45 year old woman with two kids I have zero time or tolerance for complicated systems and processes. What and how I eat is very high on that list. Lucky for us, not only is intermittent fasting simple, it’s a breeze to get started.
Simple steps to get you started.
#1. Start with a small fasting window.
The great news about starting your intermittent fasting plan is you can start small. I recommend it! If the plan is to start living the intermittent fasting lifestyle, then you have the rest of your life to work your way up to a longer fasting window. I mean, you probably don’t need the rest of your life, but go right ahead and start smaller. If a 16 or 18-hour fasting window freaks you out, then a 12-hour fasting window is a great place to start.
For example, you could stop eating at 7:00 pm at night and open your window with a small breakfast or a smoothie at 7:00 am the next morning. Now, that doesn’t seem too daunting, does it? Do this for about a week, and once you get used to that plan, start adding an hour onto your fasting window.
Take it slow! There is no need for you to jump right into the longer fasting times right from the get-go. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been “dieting” for decades, so what’s a few more weeks of easing into a new lifestyle? Just keep in mind that you won’t start to see the health benefits of fasting until you increase your fasting window, but like I said, you’ve got plenty of time to get there. Consider this Phase I of your fasting lifestyle.
#2. Start clean
Ya’ll aren’t going to like this, but it’s so worth it, I promise!
The best way to start fasting is with a clean fast. That means nothing but water, black coffee or black tea in your fasting window.
I know, I know. No creamer? No artificial sweetener? That’s a no and a no. I know some fasting advocates will recommend that you start this process off slow (a dab of creamer or a smidge of sugar), but I’m a hard pass. I found that by adding a little dab of creamer to my coffee derailed my entire fast and IGNITED my hunger hormones. That little dab of creamer caused enough of an insulin spike to shoot me into a crazy hungry state. In a state like that, there was just no way I would last until my eating window opened, so I ate, and I ate a lot. To reduce igniting my hunger hormones, I stick with black coffee, sparkling mineral water and just plain water.
But, BUT! If you really can’t pull the black coffee Band-Aid off that quickly in the beginning, then go ahead and add your creamer, etc. BUT, start to phase it out as you go deeper into your intermittent fasting journey.
I highly suggest you check out Gin Stephens blog post about clean fasting and why it matters. She even has a great little graphic showing what’s OK to have in the fasting window. You can find the link to that here.
#3. Stop tracking.
You may have hated what I had to say in #2, but you are going to LOVE this. When you IF you don’t need to track a thing. Not a calorie, not a carb, not a macro, nothing! This does not mean that you get to eat all the things during your eating window, but tracking just isn’t necessary when you fast. Why? Because your body, in a fasted state, will start to pull from your fat stores and not your food stores to keep you going! Amazing news, right?!
For more information on why we should fast and the health benefits of fasting, take a moment to watch the following Ted Talk from Cynthia Thurlow. It’s a short video, but it’s full of information. It might just blow your mind a little. Especially if you eat all the meals and all the snacks all day long.
#4. Research (Books & Podcasts).
Take some time to read some books and listen to some podcasts on IF. Don’t read? Listen to them on Audible! I’ve convinced several friends to listen to some of my favorite IF books on their commutes to work. You can find my favorites in my store! (They are currently listed in my sidebar, too!) All the books are short and sweet and full of information. Once you take a little time to understand the benefits of IF, you’ll have more success on your IF journey. I promise!
Head over to my shop to purchase some of my favorite books on intermittent fasting. My favorites include The Obesity Code, By Dr. Jason Fung, Delay, Don’t Deny, by Gin Stephens and The Power of Appetite correction, by Dr. Bert Herring. All very short and very information-dense reads.
#5. Find your community.
Community is key. You need to find like-minded people in the IF community that have the same goals and ideas about this lifestyle as you do. When you tell your friends that you’re trying IF, they’ll probably look at you like you have three heads, but I’m here to tell you that there are a lot of us out there! Welcome!
If you want an active, knowledgeable and amazing FB group to join, check out the Delay, Don’t Deny FB Groups. I’m not usually a groupie of anything or anyone, but Gin (the author of Delay, Don’t Deny) is a woman to follow. She’s down to earth, takes no crap and is there to help those in the FB group. She’s very active in the group, she’s consistent with her feedback, and her book and FB page have helped me navigate this amazing lifestyle.
Disclaimer: You’ll need to answer a quick question about Gin from her book to get into her FB group. But, honestly, the book is such a quick and easy read you shouldn’t have an issue. My sister got in 24 hours after receiving her book.
(If needed) Talk to your doctor.
Is IF for everyone? I think so, but there are a select few that really shouldn’t do it. I’ve always been a pretty healthy person, so rolling into this lifestyle was not an issue for me. If you feel like you may be one of the select few who just can’t do IF, then have a conversation with your doctor.
To be honest, there is really only one step to starting IF, and that’s step one, the rest is gravy!
Are you ready to start the easiest lifestyle change you’re ever made in your life? I hope so! Take care and fast on!!
Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments.
Curious about what intermittent fasting schedule you should follow? Check out my Intermittent Fasting Schedules Defined post where I highlight the most popular and effective fasting schedules around!
Still super curious about some of the additional benefits of intermittent fasting? Check out my what my 6 Unexpected Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting were. Pleasant surprises all around!