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When it comes to intermittent fasting (IF) for weight loss, what is the very first concern that comes to mind?
If you said, “How am I going to make it that long without something to eat?” You’re right. If you said, “Black coffee? Really?” You’re also right! (LOL!) When it comes to intermittent fasting, managing your hunger is key.
Great Read: 5 tips to help you drink and enjoy black coffee.
Unlike just about all diet plans, intermittent fasting doesn’t come with a manual. You don’t get a box of food to heat and eat, and you don’t get packets of shakes and smoothies to drink.
Sure, there are some extremely helpful books on intermittent fasting, but there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to intermittent fasting. You stop eating, and when your scheduled fast is over, you eat!
Good Read: 5 Steps to Start Intermittent Fasting.
If you’re new to IF, or if you are an IF master suddenly struggling with how to manage your hunger (especially in the final hour or two of your fast) then look no further! I’ve got the goods to help see you through to complete your fast successfully every day.
First step to manage your hunger: Create your plan!
I talk about this in more detail in my free 3-day short course, but you need to create a plan!
What’s your day going to look like? Look at what you do consistently on a daily basis? Write it down. Use that consistency in your day to help get you through. Consistency is key!
Take a look at your day and create your “bookends”. You do this by creating a very structured beginning and a very structured ending to your day. “Bookend” your day!
I created daily “bookends” to help ease my anxiety during these very unpredictable times, but it works for intermittent fasting, too!
Good Read: Reduce anxiety with two two simple tips.
Next, plan the placeholders in-between. What do you do consistently in your schedule to help get you through your day? Write it down. Use that schedule to get you through those difficult moments of your fast.
For me, right now during our stay home order, my daily “placeholders” looks like this:
- Make black coffee
- Check work emails
- Answer work emails
- Review school check-in and homework schedule for the day
- Wake kids
- Review schedule and check-in schedule with the kids for the day
- Daily virtual relaxation medication w/ Amber
- Check more emails
- Check on kids
Do you see what I did here? As explained in my short course, I list every little thing that I do in the morning up until my fast.
For me, by the time I complete my list, execute my morning bookend, and take my morning shower (which has been significantly delayed due to our current situation) I’m already an hour or so from the end of my fast!
Step two: Journal.
Journal! I talk about this in my short course, too, but I journal.
I used journaling, especially when I started intermittent fasting, to document how I felt during the fast. This helped me as my body was getting better adapted to the fast.
Keep the journal entries short and sweet. Like my daily routine list, I document the mundane in my journal.
I document when I wake up, how I slept, if I worked out, and how that workout felt. And, since I’m a lady, I like to document the days until I get my period. This gives me a good picture of whether or not any issues might be due to my menstrual cycle or the fast.
It’s these little things that help keep me going to see weight loss on that scale!
Step three: RESET!
Here’s the deal, those steps listed above are my tried and true “stay on track” steps to weight loss and maintenance. Every time I fall off the wagon, I regroup, grab my journal, write my daily plan, and forge on. But, times aren’t quite what they were, are they? Even with my tried and true steps in hand, missteps can still happen.
Quick disclaimer: If you are lightheaded, nauseous, and just absolutely need to eat, then EAT! This is a lifestyle and as a lifestyle, it offers flexibility. It can take the body a while to adapt to intermittent fasting, so take it easy.
The times we live.
Anxiety has led to stress eating for many of us. Like the good IFer I am, I’ve done a pretty good job at maintaining my 16/8 fasting schedule during this stay at home order, but I haven’t been doing a great job of eating all the right things. With my body getting a little puffier than I’d like, I decided, reluctantly, that it was time to step on the scale.
7-pound weight gain.
It’s not enormous, but the last time I said “that’s not a big deal” I gained 50 pounds.
Read More: My Weight Story.
Staring down at a 7-pound weight gain, I quickly became aware that shifts needed to be made. With my intermittent fasting protocols in hand, I decided a RESET was in order.
Part I: RESET to see results.
As part of my RESET, I shifted my fasting schedule to an 18/6 fasting schedule (again), I started tracking my fast on the LIFE app (again), started journaling to keep myself on track with my fasting and my feasting (again), and started to make mindful changes to allow my body to appreciate the time I spend without food.
I can’t lie, it was tough. Going from 16/8 back to 18/6 was not easy. Those two additional fasting hours can feel like years, especially if you’re coming off a period of overeating during your window.
During those two hours I was walking in circles trying to justify all the reasons I should end my 18 hour fast early, so I knew I had to figure something out. I was staring at all the food like it was the last bits of morsels on earth.
With my normal bags of tricks not working, and a Cinnamon Chip Muffin giving me the great vibes, I knew something had to give.
Part II: Epiphanies!
One day out of nowhere, when I was walking circles in my kitchen, my mind not shutting off, thinking about when I can eat, I thought, “I think I need to meditate?”. But, I don’t mean, like, “meditate”, I mean like, “meditate while fasting” meditate. Like, dive into the healing state of meditation while fasting “meditate”.
I mean, “why not?” I’m already fasting, so I might as add the practice of meditation while doing so. So, with Peloton App in hand, I went to my basement, found a 10 minute meditation, and I meditated.
Part III: So, I Meditate.
Piggybacking my nightly guided relaxation with Amber I thought that maybe, just maybe, including another mindful meditation during the day, especially during that difficult time when my brain is trying to give me ALL the reasons to justify ending my fast, would be a good idea.
So, instead of walking that anxiety tightrope that we often walk before we open our window, focusing on how we’re going to open our window, when we can open our window and how much time we have left to open our window, I decided to use that time, that meditation, to focus on the BENEFITS of my fast.
- To focus on the positive changes that my body is making during the fast.
- During my meditation I thought about how my fast is positively affecting my insulin levels and how that, in turn, positively affects my hormones.
- I thought about how my body is pulling my fat for fuel, about autophagy.
- I thought about how the fast affects my mental awareness and how that mental awareness has helped me deal with this crazy time in our lives.
- I focus internally, thinking about nothing at all, to give myself a few moments of simple calm. I take that time to focus on me and all the health benefits I’m experiencing due to the fast and due to the meditation.
How has it been? Amazing!
On day 2 of my RESET and going back to my 18/6 fasting schedule, I was able to embrace that meditation and pushed my fast to 21 hours!
On this particular day (day 2), I was feeling groggy when I woke up and decided that I was not going to work out. Instead, at my breaking point, I decided to meditate.
Crazy enough, after that first meditation I was able to regroup, take stock of how I was feeling, and decided to participate in a 45-minute workout.
If you add all of my tasks, the meditation, the class, the shower, and a few errands, I was at a 21 hour fast!
This doesn’t happen every day, but it’s happened more than once. I’m just as surprised as you may be!
Don’t have the Peloton App? No problem? Check out this list of free meditation apps!
Step four: Look ahead.
I’ve talked about this a little in some of my posts, but I turned 45 last year. I don’t know if it’s a midlife crisis, or a midlife reality, but by my count, I may have about 45 years left to live (if I’m lucky).
Recently, I’ve been sitting on the idea that, if I’m halfway through this life of mine, I have to look ahead and make very good decisions today that will affect how my body will treat me in my 50s, 60s, 70s and up until the day I die.
It’s been weighing heavy on my mind.
I look around at people as they age, and take stock of where they are and what changes they could have made around my age to make their lives easier in their current state.
If they delayed when they ate, if they took better stock and allowed their bodies to do what it needed to do when they were my age, would they have diabetes, high blood pressure, or be overweight? This doesn’t even have to be about intermittent fasting, but health in general. Think about that.
If they took a few minutes to meditate, do some yoga, or just moved their bodies consistently by walking or doing a few morning stretches, would their joints be so tight they can barely get out of bed in the morning? Bend down to pick up a newspaper?
My grandparents died of old age. While they didn’t intermittent fast, they were very consistent with what they ate, when they ate and how they moved their bodies. They died because their bodies said it was time to die, not because they were battling an illness that finally took their lives.
I think about them a lot. And, I think about all the people out there who are not like them. Who will never have the ability to live like them because of their choices.
So, when you think about managing your hungry, think beyond the weight loss, think beyond that last fifteen minutes, think beyond what you’re going to eat when you open your window and turn those feelings inward and think about all the amazing things that are happening within to help get you through.
Think about what you want your life to be like in 10, 20 and even 30 years.
Think about how you want to die. It really is a mind shift. I never thought about death until I listened to Ori on that podcast. I never thought about how I wanted to live so I could die. Trippy, right?
On that happy note.
As we move forward with our intermittent fasting journey’s we may discover that fasting can be about so much more than weight loss. It can be about healing the body and, as I’m starting to discover, the mind. Keep this thought in mind as you struggle with those last moments of your fast. Keep it as part of your daily fasting protocol.
Remember, intermittent fasting is a lifestyle. You will have your ups and your downs (like I’m having right now), but with the right tools in your toolkit, getting back on track (when you’re ready) is right at your fingertips.
Disclaimer: The information in this email is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the stuckassdown blog.