The advocates, as well as the accolades, for intermittent fasting are piling up fast.
To see many articles of my previous research and analysis, click here.
If you’ve decided you want to give intermittent fasting a go and either aren’t sure how to start, or aren’t sure if you’re able to, never fear.
There is a simple way to ease yourself in so you can discover if you really are able to without driving yourself goofy.
Get Started with Intermittent Fasting Lite
Let’s be honest. If you’ve never intermittent fasted before, or if you’ve never fasted at all before, going a few more days without doing the real thing is not the end of the world.
The most important thing is to get started.
So let’s focus on easing in to intermittent fasting in a way that your body (and mind) won’t even notice.
Because when it comes to fasting, the mental aspect is the most important.
If you do not feel inspired to fast or capable of fasting in your mind, you will lack the motivation to do so and the lifestyle change you are going for will be doomed to fail.
So, instead of trying to summon up all your willpower, possibly including willpower you don’t even have, and throwing it all at this new habit in an effort that will ultimately go nowhere, let’s try a lighter version that will work.
Twelve-hour Intermittent Fasting
As you may know at this point, intermittent fasting requires you to eat all your day’s food in an eight-hour window.
But we’re trying to ease into this new habit and retrain our body to do so, so we are going to start with twelve for two reasons.
The first reason is it gets you started with something you know you can do.
Let’s say you eat breakfast around 8 am. That means you have to finish your last meal/snack the night before at 8 pm.
That sounds pretty doable, right?
You might get a little hungry at night if you’re not used to that, but it won’t be some out-of-this-world type of hunger.
You can do it. And that will get you started.
You’re now at a twelve-hour fast and you may have not even noticed it at all. Smile and add that easy win to the board!
It’s all about stacking up wins. There’s no such thing as too small.
Now, if you decide to go no further than this, you’ve already achieved the second benefit of the twelve-hour fast, which is already a boon for your health.
That benefit is you’ve now eliminated late-night snacking in a way that did not take a ton of willpower. Or maybe any willpower at all.
So if you decide to go no further on your intermittent fasting journey, you have at least contributed to greater sleep, which carries a whole host of benefits for your overall health, possibly your weight, and possibly even your longevity.
Basically all reward is a a pretty good risk-reward ratio.
And yet another win.
Now Continue the Ease into Intermittent Fasting
You’re now at a twelve-hour fast. You’re doing great, you feel great, and you’ve chalked up a victory.
Now how to get to 16 hours of fasting?
Let’s say you stopped eating at 8 pm the night before. 8 am has now rolled around and you can eat some breakfast if you want.
But you’ve gone twelve hours already. Could you go a little more? Maybe just another 15 minutes or so?
If you need to break the fast, no worries. Enjoy your breakfast!
But you know your body. You know if you can go another 15 minutes or so. Frankly, you will likely find that extra 15 minutes to be not at all that difficult.
15 minutes is right around the corner. You can see it, taste it, and smell it. You can look forward to it and it will be there in (virtually) no time.
As long as you’re not about to pass out, suffering from some kind of blood sugar drop, doing manual labor that could be dangerous, operating heavy machinery, yada yada yada you get the picture, 15 minutes is virtually nothing.
So if you’re able to push it just that little bit further, you’re now an additional 15 minutes closer, again without having to use much in the way of additional willpower.
Manage Your Willpower So You Don’t Have to Use Any
Remember, the more you have to rely on willpower rather than your system, the less likely you are to be motivated going forward.
So the idea is to build a system and take the little victories everywhere you can find them until they add up to big victories. As with most challenges in life, you need to build up to them and not try to get them all at once before you’re ready.
Step one always comes before step two.
Trying to get to step two before you completed step one will always result in stress, anxiety, and demotivation.
But if you build a system and take all the little wins it offers along the way, your enjoyment increases, the benefits increase, and the amount of willpower you need to drum up decreases.
You’re winning the game.
So perhaps every week or so (again, listen to your body) you can push things forward another 15 minutes, maybe 30, maybe even an hour if your body and mind tell you you can. You’ll know what you can do.
As you get used to the length of your fast, these little increments start to become no big deal.
Before you know it, you’re at a 16-hour fast without having had to use much in the way of willpower along the way.
The Key to Easing into Intermittent Fasting: Listen to Your Body!
You have to listen to your body. If some days you wake up and you just need to eat something, don’t torture yourself! It’s okay. Go ahead and eat. Maybe you’re body really needs it. Once you’ve developed the fasting habit, you’ll be able to go back to it much easier the next day, or whenever you start back up again.
Frankly, breaking the habit on one day might give you the extra motivation to start back up again with even more vigor the next day.
Do remember, though, that if you go so far as to develop a habit of not fasting again, you may have to start this whole process over.
But that’s okay. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself! You’re trying to build a positive new health habit and that’s something to feel great about. That’s a win.
Keep practicing and building. That’s where all the credit is.
And you deserve it.
Also (this goes without saying even though I always say it), always check with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. Especially if you are diabetic or need to monitor your blood sugar for any reason. Never mess with that kind of stuff. Be safe. Do things the right way and get yourself better.
If you intermittent fast, have tried it, or have just thought of trying it, let me know your thoughts or how you got started in the comments below.
Here’s to your being great!
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If you enjoyed this article, you might love this totally unrelated gratitude journal!
I wrote the introduction to help guide you and provide you with motivation to start your mindset shift and contribute to your growth, then watch your growth compound over time and your life change for the better.
Having something – anything – to serve as a motivational reminder to be grateful can help a great deal. Whether it’s a gratitude journal or something else.
I like a gratitude journal.
Stay consistent and watch your life change positively.
You have the power to decide what you believe and who you will be.
So believe in the best and believe in you!