- weight loss
- improved metabolic health
- protection from disease
- a longer lifespan
Read on to discover some practical tips and tricks that anyone can use to start eating on an IF schedule:
Getting StartedYou know you want to try IF, but maybe you aren’t sure where to start. First things first: IF can be dangerous for people with low blood sugar. Talk with your doctor before you make any changes to your diet. Next, decide which type of IF schedule you want to try. There are six popular fasting patterns to choose from, but this list is by no means exhaustive. The most popular option is the 16/8 method. In this pattern, you fast for 16 hours, then eat within an 8-hour period. Once you’ve done your research and decided on the schedule that works best for you, you’re ready to go.
Keeping It ManageableIF can be tough, especially in the beginning. In addition to the telltale grumbling of your stomach, you may also experience fatigue, irritability, and stress while you try to manage your new eating schedule. Here are some tips to make your life a little easier:
- Start with a modified schedule. Start with a schedule that’s realistic for you and then add onto the intensity and duration. Build your tolerance to eating in a smaller time window each day, and do the full schedule when you’re ready.
- Stay well hydrated. Keep hydrated with water, herbal teas, and calorie-free flavoured drinks.
- During the eating period, eat slowly and frequently. Aim to eat every 3 hours within the 8-hour window so that you can “get your calories in.” Remember that IF can become dangerous if you don’t get your recommended daily calorie intake.
- Plan healthy, nutritious meals ahead of time. While you may be tempted to treat yourself to your favourite snacks and comfort foods as soon as your fasting period is finished, try to stick to a healthy diet with proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
- Prep your meals in advance. If your schedule is incredibly busy, set aside time on the weekend or a few nights a week to prepare some meals in advance. This will save you time and help you keep your diet balanced.
- Add 2 to 3 tbsp. of healthy fat to your evening meal. Olive oil, coconut butter, or avocado in the last meal of the day to keep blood sugar levels steady overnight.
- If you have trouble sleeping IF might not be for you. If you can’t sleep through the night, do not attempt to use this strategy. Work on sleep first.
Scientific BenefitsWhile most people try IF as a weight loss tool, it’s been shown to have other potential benefits. What does the research say? In terms of weight loss, there have been several studies showing the benefits of IF. Studies showed that people who ate only between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. had lower appetites and increased fat burning after practising IF for 4 days. IF may have the potential to manage blood sugar and insulin levels, according to a 2018 study. Studies have also indicated that IF may offer protection from:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease