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When it comes to intermittent fasting for weight loss, what is one of the very first concerns that comes to mind? Before you decide to start your intermittent fasting lifestyle?
If you said, “How am I going to make it that long without something to eat?” You are spot on!
I remember when I started intermittent fasting and I heard an intermittent faster on YouTube talk about the steps that she took to end her 20 hour fast. I was like “20 HOURS! Is she insane?”
Welp, I guess not because here I am, just a few years later, participating in multiple 20-hour fasts a week. I’m now HER!
Before we start.
Before I dive into some very simple steps to help get you through a challenging fast, I want to get a few housekeeping items out of the way.
- I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to be. These are steps that I have personally taken to help get me through a challenging fast.
- If you feel lightheaded or like you absolutely need to eat during a challenging fast, then DO IT! You’re body is telling you that something is off. Eat and reset.
Now, let’s dive into some tips to help you manage the hungry during a challenging fast.
Step One: Consider WHY you fast.
I know this seems cheesy, but when we consider why we do the things that we do, doing them seems a little bit easier.
For example, let me explain why I fast.
I fast for health and wellness. Not only do I participate in intermittent fasting for weight loss, I actually consider my daily fasts as the foundation of my health and wellness routine.
Let me explain a little but further.
“Do you want to die of old age or an old age disease?”
That hit me hard.
Do I want to live my life in a body that will sustain me without being bound to medicine, without fighting a preventable disease, really living my life until the day I die, or do I want to be tethered to a bed, being kept alive for years, with medicine? Living a life in a body that can no longer sustain me without significant medical intervention?
Deep, I know. But I think about that a lot!
This is now one of the main reasons that I intermittent fast. Sure, weight loss if definitely another huge part of why I fast, but this reminds me every day how fasting will help sustain my life as I age.
Why do you intermittent fast? If you just started, write down why you started. If you’ve been at it a long while, rethink why you are still here.
Is it for:
- weight loss
- health benefits
- longevity (like me)
- to prevent injury
- pain prevention (weight issues causing pain in knees, back, sciatica, other areas?)
- prevent known diseases in your family?
This year I will celebrate my 46th birthday and it’s possible that I’m halfway through this life of mine. At this mid-life, 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.
Will intermittent fasting keep me from dying of an old age disease? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s worth a shot!
Now I ask you, What’s your “why”? Write it down and use it as a remind when your fast starts to get get tough.
Step Two: Create Consistency in your Day.
Once you determine your “why” you will want to determine your “how”.
How will you get yourself through a challenging fast? Couple this with your “why” and see how that works for you.
For me, the “how” comes from consistency.
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 “how” 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
- Workout for about 30-45 minutes.
- Check more emails
- Check on kids
Keeping myself busy with the “busy work” helps keep me going until I get to my feast!
Side Note: I explain more about the “how” in my little short course.
For me, by the time I complete my list 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. Keeping me busy with the little things makes a HUGE difference.
Step Three: Consume the “Clean” Stuff.
So, you’ve got the “why” and you’ve got the “how” now let’s take a look at the “what”. The simple tools that can help get you to your fast. And when I say simple, I mean simple.
Water/Sparkling Water/Sparkling Mineral Water
You knew this was coming. Of COURSE water is an answer!
If you feel those hunger pangs taking hold give some good old water a try. Personally, I like the sparkly stuff, but you do you! Some people HATE sparkling water, but I’m quite the fan.
Note: Be sure to stick to the simple stuff. You don’t want to drink anything that will “dirty” your fast and cause you to undo all the hard work you’ve done. Steer clear of flavored seltzer, no-calorie flavored water, you catch my drift.
Black Coffee/Black or Green Tea
That’s right, I said it. Black as black as black coffee. No creamer, no sweetener, just the dark super healthy for you won’t break a fast, black coffee.
As my good friend calls it “Blech Coffee”.
Personally, I have grown to LOVE my black coffee. At this stage, I have a hard time drinking it any other way, but that’s just me. If you can endure your coffee or tea black, then you can use it as a way to help get you to your fast.
Right now, I still have two cups of black coffee over, about, a 3 hour period in an effort to get me to my eating window.
I haven’t personally tried this yet, but I’ve heard that drinking plain hot water is extremely satisfying. Odd, I know, but it may be worth a try to get to the end of a challenging fast!
When it comes to the “what” my process goes like this:
- Start day with first cup of black coffee. (Usually around 8:00ish or so).
- Exercise for about 30-45 minutes. (Usually around 9:30ish)
- Take a shower.
- Make second cup of coffee.
- Switch to sparkling mineral water once second cup of coffee is complete.
When we think of intermittent fasting for weight loss, it’s the little things that we do to get us to our goal. This little process has helped me lose 30 pounds!
Step Four: For Mind & Movement!
Often, toward the end of a challenging fast, I find myself anxious, like I’m walking in circles.
At this point, I’m usually about an hour or so from my eating window and while I know I can end my fast, oftentimes I find there is another solution. A solution that helps to ground my wandering mind during the final stages of a challenging fast.
I started meditating early this year when I was facing a challenging fast. Before the stay-at-home order, I would take 10 minutes and meditate on an app on my phone while at work. I have a Peloton so I would meditate using the Peloton App, however, there are other FREE apps out there! You’ll just need to do a search and find one that’s right for you.
During my meditation I would focus my thoughts on:
- the positive changes that my body is making during the fast.
- how my fast is positively affecting my hormones.
- how my body is pulling my fat for fuel.
- 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.
While meditation may not be on the top of your intermittent fasting for weight loss tool kit, it has its benefits. Meditation can very well help provide the “grounding” that you need to get you through that challenging fast! It has worked wonders for me!
Get Up and Move!
This one is my last resort!
If all else fails, and I’m still having a hard time getting to the end of my fast, I get up, get out and go for a walk.
I did this a LOT when I first started intermittent fasting. While I was at work, and I was just about to gnaw my hand off, I would get up, get out, and go for a walk.
The same holds true for me during this stay-at-home order. When the challenge seems great, I get up, get out and go for a walk around the block.
It works every time.
By the time I return from the walk, I’m usually ready to open my eating window.
What will you do?
At some point, your body will adapt to your fast and the challenge of completing your fasts will become easier as time goes by. However, I hope what I do will give you some ideas on how you can complete your own challenging fast.
Do you have additional tips for completing a challenging fast? Let me know if the comments!
Get the “what” here.
The beauty of intermittent fasting for weight loss is that you don’t need a lot of supplies (food diaries, water jugs, food scales, how-to guides) to get your end results. If you’re interested, I put together a little “toolkit” with my favorites intermittent fasting tools that have gotten me to where I am today.
- Go to the Intermittent Fasting “Toolkit”.
Ok, guys, I gained 10 pounds during the COVID shut down WHILE intermittent fasting and i’m determined to lose that weight (and more) WITH intermittent fasting. Follow my progress below!
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.