Hey hey hey, Ishes!
When I started my intermittent fasting journey, I started it as a part of a regimen that my functional doctor started me on. I will be honest, I didn’t research the why until much later. She told me to not eat for 16 hours and eat in a window of 8. That’s what I did. No questions asked. She said, “eat your first meal at 11am and don’t eat after 7pm.” That was it. That is what I did. Simple.
Now, nearly 2 years into my intermittent fasting journey, I thought what we some things that I wish I knew, that may help someone else as they begin.
1: Overthinking is Not Your Friend.
So, you have read a little about IF. Or maybe even my previous blog about it and you still haven’t started. If you’re like me, it is because you have overthought the heck out of this.
WTF is a window?
What do I do during my fast? (Newsflash: you fast LOL)
What do I eat in my window.
I mean. Look.
If you have asked these questions and have stalled starting because you don’t know all of the ish….YOU.ARE.ME.
I am basically the queen of thinking I need to know and understand all of the things before I even take a baby step towards starting anything. I don’t know if you know this or not…but NOT starting is basically guaranteed way to fail. Instead, walk into it knowing that if you drop the ball, it is cool. Learn and move on.
So, let me break this down for you, that way you can’t make those excuses 😉
WTF is a window?
Just the period of time you fast: period of time you eat. So, beginners do best with 16:8. I want you to start there so we aren’t overthinking. So, for 16 hours you won’t eat. And for 8 hours you will.
Pick your window. So, for MOST, it is easiest to eat between the hours of 11am and 7pm or even 12pm to 8pm. Adjust that based on your schedule. You think that you will want to die if you skip breakfast.
But, listen. You won’t. I could give you the science. But, I will just say you won’t. If you don’t believe me, seriously, stop reading right now and get Delay Don’t Deny by Gen Stephens or snag it on Audible.
You may feel like crap for a day or 2 but your body DOES adjust. A growling tummy won’t kill you. May make you hangry. But, you’ll adjust 🙂
What do I do during my fast?
Stay busy and fast.
There are 2 types of fasting and they are HIGHLY debated. I am actually not going to debate this. I don’t really care if you are a clean or dirty faster. You will figure out what works best for you. I am a dirty faster sometimes, and clean for the majority but that is because I am not super hungry anymore in my fasting window and because unsweetened tea makes my window so easy.
You can clean fast or dirty fast.
If you notice that you are dirty fasting and after several weeks, you don’t feel better and the scale isn’t working, then switch to clean. It is YOUR body and what works for some may not work for you and that is ok!
Clean fasting means simply: water, black coffee or unsweetened tea. No artificial sweetener, no cream, no sugar, no food, no bone broth.
Dirty fasting means: Calorie free or under 50 calories. Still avoid FOOD even if under 50 calories. Stick with drinks only. Example: I drink a bulletproof coffee with stevia sometimes when I am dirty fasting. Diet soda, flavored waters, etc are all fine. I do NOT condone diet soda drinking for a million reasons but you can technically drink them if you are dirty fasting. I personally drink these.
They are a personal favorite and natural option. Or I will have a cup of bone broth. Want to know about bone broth? Check out my blog post about the how, the why and the which type I love!
What do I eat in my window?
Best part? Whatever you normally eat. YES, many lost weight by eating normally. The whole point go IF is to get you in fat burning mode when you are fasting. You will be in fat burning mode as you continue IF in your fasting window.
Paleo? Cool eat paleo in your window.
Keto? Cool, eat keto in your window.
Clean eater? Cool, eat clean in your window.
You get the point, right. Eat food in your window. Less overthinking 🙂
2: Breakfast Can’t Tell Time.
I know we have heard for basically our entire lives that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?
You are literally going to hear this ish CONSTANTLY when you tell people you are fasting. Everyone becomes a doctor without an actual degree! In fact, they likely didn’t tell you that you were killing yourself with the fast food and sodas, but now they show concern. They swear you are starving yourself.
Just smile and thank them and move on. Or, tell them that breakfast can’t tell time. I mean. I am here for a little sass 🙂
And listen, I am not going to argue that breakfast isn’t important. I am not a doctor or nutritionist as it turns out. I don’t even play one on TV. But, if I did, I would be on The Resident. Just sayin’.
But, here is what I do know. My eggs and bacon don’t know what time it is. Breakfast literally means breaking the fast. It doesn’t mean breaking that fast before 10am or whatever else we thought it has to mean. You can break the fast whenever is convenient.
That said, I still believe WHAT you break your fast with is important. I can’t speak for you but for me, if I open my widow with junk, I tend to eat junk throughout the 8 hours. If instead, I open it with a Kite Hill yogurt and grain free granola, I tend to make better decisions in my window. But, you eat what you want and listen to your body.
Hey, maybe that’s all in my head. But, eating well and listening to your body *IS* a head game.
#3: YOU Have the Control.
I don’t know about you, but food has literally controlled my life.
Bored? DEFINITELY eat.
Heck, even when I was dieting, food ran my life. What could I eat, track it, obsess over a scale and how every food effected the end result.
The longer I intermittent fasted, and even expanded my fasting window, pushing it 24 hours and beyond, I began to realize that for once *I* was in control.
When I vacationed with my family basically all of our plans revolve around fun and the next meal. I was terrified to go on a 7 day vacation, knowing that they would be eating out 2 meals a day. How would I tell them? What would vacation look like with IF?
Simple. I made a plan. I shared the plan.
I told them, I would happily go to breakfast with everyone, but I would only be drinking unsweetened tea and that I would bring my book. Only because, frankly, reading kept me from wanting the damn pancakes! But, I also let them know that for one day, I would eat all normal things and all day. I don’t eat gluten. That triggers some pretty awful migraines, but other than that for a 24 hour period on vacation, I ate without a second thought. Then, guess what? The next day, I went back to my 19:5 window. For me, 19 hours win a fasted state works best. I eat within a 5 hour window. Usually a light lunch or snack then a dinner.
I am not restricting calories, in fact I eat as many or more than some but it all happens in a shorter window, allowing longer periods where my body is feasting on its own fat 🙂
Intermittent fasting is literally something that anyone can do and anyone can fit into their lifestyle. You can do it while traveling, while working a traditional job or while working from home. It requires no special equipment or supplements.
It is simple and you can do it! You just have to start!
I would LOVE to hear a little about your intermittent fasting journey in the comments!
Keep embracing the ish, friends!