Intermittent Fasting Starter Guide
The most important thing to remember with intermittent fasting (IF) is that you need to find ways to do it that avoid setting off the metronome.
Anything where you are using shame, guilt or self criticism is off the table.
Instead we use curiosity, experimentation and baby steps. IF has the potential to change your life if you can accept the inconvenience and discomfort.
I firmly believe that both the inconvenience and discomfort have shelf lives AS LONG AS you do IF right.
Imagine three months from now, feeling much better in yourself AND having got used to IF so that it is becoming easy and no big deal. Imagine fitting it into your life as easily as other activities you just get on with now, such as shopping, housework, paperwork etc.
Do not dive into this experiment tomorrow.
Research about it. Watch the documentary ‘Fasting ‘ on Prime. Get yourself psyched up, just as you would a change like a new job or house move.
Choose the easiest day to start an isolated, 1 day experiment.
Check in on when you will be ready. A week? A fortnight?
Decide what is the hardest thing about this experiment. I found doing thus enormously helpful. For me it was not being able to eat dinner with my kids. Just the act of saying to myself “I accept that I cannot do that one thing on just this one day” was very powerful. I planned the day around that. It was almost a case of making my peace with it.
Are you willing to accept the most difficult thing about this day?
What food prep do you need to do? When will you do it? What will you eat? The guidelines about macronutrient balance are VITAL to make this as comfortable as possible.
Decide an eating window for one day only.
You can choose anything from 8-12 hours.
My eating window (EW) is 7am until 4pm , but you can try say 11am til 7pm, or 7am til 7pm.
Check in on how nervous you are. Are you scared to create an EW?
I was scared of being hungry, but I told myself this was my choice and just an experiment. If I was desperate, I could eat.
NOTE: I am absolutely sure that my early window of 7am - 4pm has made IF far easier than if I had tried to wait until 11am for breakfast. Bizarrely, I am also less hungry finishing at 4 than if I extend my EW to 5 or 6pm. I still have not quite got my head round this, but this strange difference is backed up by Harvard university! Check out this short article:
Previous clients prefer the late EW but all said that it took a long time to get used to.
Reflect on how the experiment went.
If you felt great doing it, why not repeat the experiment another day?
Mixed feelings? Try a different length EW and/or a different start and end time.
Observe yourself the following day. If the metronome is stirring (ie you are thinking about overeatingor have cravings), then it is vital to let me know.
Keep experimenting and refining what you do.
Your experience is the greatest salesperson in the world here, which is why the low commitment, experimental approach is ESSENTIAL.
Nobody else can sell you into IF. It is a disruption in your life, but the potential benefits - at a cost of £0 - are off the charts and I believe more than make up for the disruption. If you asked a child to do all the things you find a bit inconvenient like paying bills, brushing your teeth, grocery shopping, getting fuel for your car - they would see them as major inconveniences and disruptions too. The reason you are Ok doing them is you have got used to them.
I believe the same is true for IF.