People are using the intermittent fasting (IF diet) to lose weight, but they later find other benefits of fasting, both physical and mental.
Intermittent fasting (or IF) is the practice of cycling between regular periods of eating and fasting. It focuses more on the timing of your eating, rather than what you eat.
Also, it requires a unique kind of discipline, but those who are able to stick to an IF diet plan often see incredible results.
If you’re ready to add intermittent fasting to your diet plan, here are a few tips for success.
How To Start An IF Diet
Here are the most valuable tips on how to get the most out of an IF diet plan:
1. Assess Your Current Situation
First, ask yourself:
- Why do you want to pursue intermittent fasting?
- Have other dieting plans failed?
- Do you eat well, but in excess?
- Are you a chronic snacker?
Reminding yourself of your goals can help make the fasting process easier.
Intermittent fasting is best for those who find eating is a behavioral problem for themselves. For example, someone who can’t stop snacking throughout the day and finds that overeating has become a habit.
You should also take note of any health issues you may be currently facing.
IF diet has proven beneficial for those struggling with insulin resistance. But those with diabetes should talk to their doctor before beginning any sort of fast.
Your doctor can help you determine if you’re a healthy candidate for intermittent fasting.
2. Make A Plan
There are tons of different ways to fast. The customizability of the IF diet is part of what makes it such a success for so many different people.
You can design your fasting schedule around your daily schedule or base it on your current eating habits.
The most common IF diet plan is to fast for 16 hours a day and then allow yourself to eat within an 8-hour time period of your choosing. It’s also known as The 8-Hour Diet Plan.
That might mean eating between noon and 8 p.m., or between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., or whatever time frame works best for you.
You can structure your meal times however you’d like. Maybe you’re constantly snacking throughout your feeding window or you decide to get in all your calories through one big meal.
Some of the most common IF diet plans are:
- 16:8 plan – fast for 16 hours, feed for 8.
- 19:5 plan – fast for 19 hours, feed for 5.
- 23:1 plan – also called the One Meal a Day plan, where one large meal is consumed once a day.
- ADF – alternate day fasting, where a 24 hour fast is followed by a 24 hour feed day.
- 5:2 plan – eating normally for 5 days, then fasting for 2 consecutive days.
3. Stick To It
The most common reason people fail at diets is that they don’t keep at it. For some, it’s a matter of willpower. For others, they see success in the first stages of their plan, decide they’re done, and then immediately revert back old habits.
If you find success with IF and eventually decide to stop, it’s important to remain aware of your eating habits even after the plan ends.
Intermittent fasting can help get you to where you want to be, but it’s up to you to stay there.
Whether it’s making a calendar, having a friend hold you accountable, or keeping a timer constantly running, it’s up to you to stay disciplined.
4. Don’t Go Overboard
IF diet is all about striking a balance between fasting and eating, so you have to be careful not to overdo it on either end.
Don’t fast for so long that it becomes dangerous! Usually, the strictest IF diet plans will have you fast for 24 hours at most, with a full 48 hour fast recommended only for experienced fasters.
If you’re not sure what restriction time frame works best for you, test the waters with small windows of fasting and work your way up. And when it’s time to eat, be careful not to gorge yourself.
Some IF diet plans place no calorie restrictions during feeding windows. But that doesn’t mean you should eat a week’s worth of calories in one sitting.
It’s okay to indulge, but make sure the majority of what you eat is healthy.
For more information and helpful resources about intermittent fasting, check out ASCVS.
Remember, you should always check with a doctor or nutritionist before you begin any diet plan, especially one such restrictive as the IF diet.
Do you fast? Share your story, tips, or program with us in the comment section below.
Get more like this
in your inbox
Sign up for our daily email with fitness and nutrition tips, diets and weight loss programs, health news, and more.