During the month of May 2018, I gave intermittent fasting a try.
I lost 10 pounds, 4 inches and 3% body fat with moderate exercise and no specific diet.
In fact, I went completely off the rails in the end and still had good results.
Though this does not make me an intermittent fasting expert, I can say that I learned a ton during my little experiment.
Today I’d like to share my best intermittent fasting tips & tricks for beginners!
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8 Intermittent Fasting Tips & Tricks For Beginners
1- Exercise Helps… Kinda
If you’re thinking exercising while fasting might be more challenging than when in a fed state, you’d we 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.
I sent out a survey asking if there was interest in starting a Facebook group for 30-Day Fitness Challenges, and the response was overwhelmingly positive!
So, beginning December 2018 we have a really amazing, supportive and fun space to be accountable and motivate each other to do 30-Day Fitness Challenges!
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2- Water is your best friend
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!
Check out this post for 10 ways to sneak more water into your day!
3- Try The Salt Trick
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.
4- Use a Time Tracker
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!
5- Eating Clean Helps
Eating clean has enormous health benefits and can help you achieve your weight loss goals much faster.
One of the best benefits of intermittent fasting is that it is not a diet.
It restricts when you eat, not what you eat.
You could theoretically fast perfectly and survive on donuts and french fries.
But here’s the thing…
Eating whole, home-cooked foods makes it so much easier.
The few times I ate fast food I was insatiable and craved more and more.
I got stuck in a miserable feedback loop that just wouldn’t quit.
I finally pulled it together, ate home-cooked for 1-2 days and my appetite was instantly corrected.
6- Black coffee is your friend, too
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!
7- Stick to a schedule if possible
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.
8- Be kind to yourself
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.
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.
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Will You Try Intermittent Fasting?
I hope this list of intermittent fasting tips and tricks gave you a bit of insight on what to expect and how to achieve the best results.
As with most things, you’ll have to find what works best for you, your preferences and your lifestyle.