Intermittent fasting works best if you tailor it to your lifestyle, but there are a few rules you should follow. Here are my most important tips to accelerate your fasting for maximum fat loss, increased vitality, and longevity!
1. Be Smart During Your Eating Window
When you start fasting, it’s easy to just focus on the not-eating part and trick yourself into thinking you can eat anything during your eating window. But you’re not just fasting to lose weight but to be healthy!
Fasting does not give you an excuse to eat processed food, sugar, bad fats, and refined carbs! Sticking to a healthy diet is also going to help make the fasting experience easier for your body.
2. Stay Active & Do Shorter Bursts of Intense Exercise
Fasting isn’t an excuse to lie around on the couch all day! It’s perfectly safe (and beneficial) to exercise while fasting.
In fact, light cardio in a fasted state has been shown to improve Intermittent Fasting benefits! Just going for a walk or doing some gentle yoga is great!
For intensive exercise, while fasting—especially if you want to kick-start fat loss, you only need 10-15 minutes of high-intensity interval training to stimulate fat burn in your body. Consider incorporating your high-intensity training at the end of your fasting window.
3. Drink Enough Water and Electrolytes
This is not only a common fasting mistake but a mistake most people make no matter what their diet is. Some signs that you aren’t drinking enough water include dizziness and lightheadedness, feeling tired, or constipation.
Make sure to also consume enough essential minerals and electrolytes, especially for longer fasts. It is common to need higher levels of electrolytes while fasting, to avoid feeling tired. A pinch or 2 of good sea salt in a glass of water can be just what the doctor ordered….and it won’t break your fast.
In case you missed it, you need to drink 1/2 of your weight (lbs) tin OUNCES of water everyday, just to stay minimally hydrated. If you exercise, sweat, or drink caffeine, you will need to increase this number to compensate for the loss.
4. Don’t Eat Before Bed
Your body needs time to digest all the food from your last meal before you go to sleep. If you’ve scheduled your eating window to occur right before bedtime, your body will be taking all the time you’ve allotted to rest, to digest instead. That takes energy, and instead of waking up feeling restored and ready to take on the day, you’ll just feel tired.
When you’re following a fasting plan, finish eating at least three or four hours before you hit the sack. This way your body will have completed digestion, and will have plenty of energy to use for cell rejuvenation, cell regeneration, and all the other great benefits of intermittent fasting
Make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep, so that you can really reset and have plenty of time to do this important work.
5. Drink Coffee and Green Tea
Coffee and Green Tea can be a powerful combination to satiate hunger in a fast. Green tea, as an added bonus, has the ability to help regulate ghrelin, which is your hunger hormone. It also is packed with antioxidants that don’t break your fast.
Coffee (or any caffeine) is a diuretic, so you will need to drink every more water to counteract it, but if it helps you to stay away from food for that last hour or 2, it could be worth the trade off!. If you have adrenal issues, try green tea instead of coffee.
Refer to my #3 tip and make sure to stay hydrated!
6. Experiment with your time window
Most Intermittent fasts range from 14 to 18 hours. For the best intermittent fasting benefits, experiment with what works for you. Try alternate day Intermittent Fasting, or even a full 24-hour fast once a week, once your body has successfully shifted into a fat-burning mode.
You’ll know you are in a fat-burning state when your craving for sugar dissipates, and it’s much easier to feel satiated after a longer period of time.
Start with not eating for 3 hours before bed, or with a simple 12-hour fast to get you in the swing of things, then work your way up to the longer time windows.
7. Don’t Push Your Body Too Hard
If you’re just starting out, make sure to take a more moderate approach. Give your body and mind time to adjust and adapt. Start with a 12 hour fasting period if you aren’t doing so already. Once you’re accustomed to that, move on to a 14 hour fasting period and so forth.
Do not engage in your most intense exercises on fasting days. Take this time to journal, reflect, do some gentle yoga, and meditate instead. Once you have the hang of the eating schedule, then add exercise as tolerated, to intensify your results.
Intermittent Fasting is NOT for everyone
ALWAYS pay close attention to your body and your energy levels. Individuals who are hypoglycemic, diabetic, or pregnant (and/or breastfeeding) should avoid fasting and any type of calorie restriction.
Women can be particularly sensitive to caloric restriction or time-restrictive diets. Read my post on fasting benefits. It includes more details on how women should approach fasting.