I am SOOO glad I did this. My goal was to water fast for 7 days but that was ambitious. (as is most of what I do it seems…) I got to the 5-day checkpoint and gracefully took the out. There was no guilt and no shame in ending at 5 days because I had already built in an escape hatch for myself.
If I can tell you one thing, please do not be like me and go from 24 hours MAX fasted time to a 5 day fast at once. It made it harder than it needed to be. It’s ok to do a 24-hour or 48-hour fast and build up.
The best of all the intermittent fasting tips is to be kind to yourself. If you’re really hungry, eat. Even if you’re not really hungry but you feel you really can’t make it that day, still eat. This is not deprivation or punishment. Don’t start a fast on a holiday or special occasion. Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy your life. Dine with friends and family. Have fun. Enjoy your meals! Take it easy. Don’t jump head first into a marathon fast and make yourself miserable. Be kind to yourself. Enjoy the process of listening to your body and getting to know yourself better. Enjoy the increased focus you get when you’re not breaking up what you’re working on to run and go eat. Appreciate the digestive ease and effortless weight loss. Delight in feeling lighter on your feet. Experience the pleasure of reduced cravings and more mindful eating. I know intermittent fasting as a whole sounds weird, but it should be a pleasant experience for you. If it’s not, change something. It’s about self-love, not deprivation.
While it took some time toggling around to figure out what pattern worked best for me, sticking to it as much as possible when I did figure it out was helpful. Finishing eating between 6 and 7 pm and starting again between 10 and 11 am the next day was easy peasy in the end. The one time I ate super late at 10:30 pm and had to wait until 2:30 the next day was VERY challenging. Equally as catastrophic was eating as early as 3:30 pm, not feeling hungry at all later, skipping my 6-7 pm meal and then getting hungry later before bed. For me, I need to make sure I eat my evening meal, but not too late! Bottom line is you need to find what works best for you and try to stick to it as much as possible.
Some people add artificial sweetener to their coffee. Others add even a little creamer. In my experience, plain, black coffee gives a clean energy boost with zero calories. This makes it perfect for fasting. It’s not the most appetizing, but I got used to it over time. On hot days I’d take a sugar-free energy drink and noticed it was a little harder to make it to my feeding window. Some say even the fake sweetener spikes insulin response the same as real sugar does, leading to false sensations of hunger. I don’t know how true that is. But from anecdotal evidence, I did find black coffee to be the best. Sometimes you just gotta deviate though!
Tracking your goals and progress is so much fun! Maybe I’m just a sucker for data, but like with days counters for sobriety, seeing how far I’ve come with anything makes me more likely to stick with it. This intermittent fasting planner is the BEST tracking solution… check it out!
On the Reddit intermittent fasting forum, many suggest when you feel hungry, try salt. Literally just dab a little bit of salt on your tongue and drink some water, they say. I tried this on a few occasions and surprisingly, it works! I don’t know why that is, but I find it pretty cool.
I know you’ve heard this before for every reason imaginable, but seriously. When intermittent fasting, water really is your best friend. Staying hydrated keeps you feeling fuller longer and makes you feel better overall. Many times, we think we’re hungry, but we really are thirsty. I ran through about a gallon of water most days during my intermittent fasting experiment. This’ll remain one of my top intermittent fasting tips, for sure!
If you’re thinking exercising while fasting might be more challenging than when in a fed state, you’d be wrong… kinda. You see, it depends on the kind of exercise you do. In my experience, low-intensity steady state (LISS) activity, such as walking at a moderate pace, actually helps curb hunger pangs. On days I engaged in this type of activity I felt great and experienced little hunger. It’s more vigorous exercise that did me in. Lifting heavy weights, running at high speeds for long periods of time and interval training was too taxing for a fasted state. Eating first was the only way I could get it done.
After reaching 24 hours, ease into eating with some fruit or vegetables, and then once you know your body is ready, you can eat a bigger meal. You don’t want to go too fast into eating a big meal (even if you are super hungry at this point)! Your body was getting used to not having a lot, and it might reject your meal if you eat too fast or too much.