As the name implies, IF involves restricting the time period in which you eat food. Essentially, you’ll go through alternating cycles of fasting and eating. Rather than other diets that focus on limiting what you can eat, this diet involves limiting when you eat. Studies have shown that those who adopt IF experience benefits like improved metabolic health, protection from disease, a longer life span and weight loss.
It sounds easy enough, but when it comes to actually applying IF to your daily life, things get a bit trickier. Factor in social events, busy work schedules, and your physical fitness goals too, and it can be pretty overwhelming. To make things easier, we’ve compiled some practical tips to not only get you started with IF, but to make it work with your schedule too.
Know your body
This should be a rule of thumb when embarking on any new diet plan or exercise regime. IF is great for a number of people, but can also be dangerous for those with low blood sugar. Make sure you talk with your doctor before you make any changes to your diet.
Pick a fasting pattern
There isn’t one rule of thumb when it comes to IF. Instead, there are six popular fasting patterns to choose from, but knowing just which one to opt for is where the challenge lies. The most popular is the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours, then eat within an 8-hour period, generally from 12pm and 8pm.
Modify when necessary
Starting out is always the hardest part, and you may experience fatigue, irritability, and stress while adapting to the new eating schedule. Make sure you’re being realistic, and adjust when necessary. Build your tolerance first by eating in a smaller window each day, and then move onto the full schedule when you’re ready.
Experts suggest that in the eating period, you should aim to eat slowly and frequently, such as every 3-hours within the 8-hour period. This means that you’re getting your calories in and also have some consistency in terms of blood sugar. Some nutritionists even suggest adding a healthy fat like olive oil, coconut butter or avocado in the last meal of the day to keep blood sugar levels steady overnight.