How To Start Intermittent Fasting (IF) As A Beginner

When you start Intermittent Fasting as a beginner it can be difficult. You will undergo changes in your body that make you feel like you got superpowers.

It will affect your mind and body in a beneficial way for the long run. You are not starving yourself as many misconceptions may make you believe because of the word “fasting”.

You will not be putting your body under starvation mode or negatively affecting your metabolism, because when you start intermittent fasting as a beginner, you will not be planning to fast for more than 24 hours.

We will be looking at the following to help you start:

  1. What is Intermittent Fasting?
  2. What You Can Eat or Drink While Intermittent Fasting
  3. Reasons to Try Intermittent Fasting For Your Mind
  4. Reasons to Try Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
  5. Does Intermittent Fasting Burn More Fat?
  6. How to Break Intermittent Fasting
  7. How to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier When You Start

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a type of eating schedule in which you will have a time period in which you will fast and then a time period in which you will eat. There are two main methods that people use and these are the two that I’d recommend to start with too:

16/8 Method

This is a method that has you fasting for 16 hours and eating for a period of 8 hours.

What makes this one easier is that you can have the first 8 hours of the fast covered by your sleep, granted that you don’t wake up and decide to get a midnight snack in.

Let’s say that you have your last meal (dinner) at 7 pm, you will then eat your next meal or first meal of the following day after 16 hours, which would be around 11 am. Depending on what time you sleep and wake up, this could be an easily achieved time.

24-Hour Method

This is the method in which you will fast for 24 hours and is also one of the most popular ones with the above.

Someone I know actually recovered from a kind of celiac disease and histamine intolerance as a result of doing a 24-Hour Intermittent Fasting, also excluding gluten products from their diet too.

It may be a bit more difficult to follow because it is a pretty long fast. Using the 7 pm example as before, you will only eat again at 7 pm the following day after 24 hours have passed of the fast.

What You Can Eat or Drink While Intermittent Fasting

When you are undergoing your fast, it is important that you put things in your body that do not break your fast but can help control hunger pangs and stomach growls when starting.

You must look to consume anything that has zero calories and/or can help you suppress your appetite. The following options are great to keep with you when you feel hunger coming on:

  • Water (add cucumber or lemon or apple cider vinegar)
  • Black coffee with no sugar
  • Tea

This way it can ensure that you do not add calories to your fast.

Reasons To Try Intermittent Fasting For Your Mind

1. It Improves Mental Toughness

The ability to be mentally strong and hold your ground when things get difficult is something that can be tested when you start Intermittent Fasting as a beginner.

When you fast, you will have hunger pangs and stomach growls. You must overcome this as your mind adapts to the change in your eating schedule and diet.

It is important that you focus on the goal, while consuming no-calorie products that can help suppress your appetite.

The discipline to not snack on something, because you feel it won’t affect your calorie intake will affect the benefits of the fast and make it more difficult to keep at it as you go on anyway.

2. It Can Be Good For Brain Health

Your brain like all cell-developed tissue requires the cleansing of bacteria, viruses, damaged cells and proteins. This is a process that ensures your mind and body remains healthy and fresh as it can be.

Intermittent fasting can help with this process of internal cleaning and recycling called Autophagy, which will leave you more energetic and clear-headed.

Reasons To Try Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

1. Eat Fewer Calories

When you want to lose weight, you must eat less calories than you burn on a daily basis. By having a shorter time period of eating than you are awake will means that you will have less time to consume calories.

This will only work if you don’t eat like an idiot. You must still ensure that you eat a nutritious meal when you break your fast.

2. Improved Metabolism

Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns what you consume for energy.

Studies have shown that a short period of early starvation increases your metabolism.

You may burn more calories, but it is important to note that your diet must be correlating in terms of how many calories you’re consuming and the nutrients in what you’re eating.

3. Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin is one of the primary hormones that is secreted when we eat, because it helps regulate the blood sugar levels in the body and helps store excess blood sugar in the body.

When insulin levels are high, more blood sugar ends up stored which can lead to fat and weight gain. By improving your insulin sensitivity with intermittent fasting, it will ensure that you lower your resting insulin levels. This in turn ensures that more fat can be burned.

4. Boosts Human Growth Hormones (HGH)

Growth hormones are secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate the growth of cells in our body. This means the growth of our muscles too and having bigger muscles means that our bodies will burn more calories to fuel the muscles.

Studies have shown that Intermittent Fasting increases HGH levels, which will aid in fat burning and muscle growth.

Does Intermittent Fasting Burn More Fat As A Beginner?

The only way for you to burn more fat, whether you’re a beginner or athlete, is to maintain a calorie deficit, eating less calories than you burn. The reasons above should give you a clear indication that you can burn more fat through intermittent fasting, but it is not the only way.

It is important to note that you don’t use Intermittent Fasting as an excuse to eat whatever junk that you want daily, because you can cancel out the mental and physical benefits of the eating schedule that way.

For example, junk or highly processed and sugary food can cause an insulin spike that will lead to a great increase and quick drop in your blood sugar levels. You will feel down and also getting more hungry after the come down, this cancels the benefits completely. You will store more sugar and have a build up of more fat, if you continue that way.

How to Break Intermittent Fasting

When you break your Intermittent Fasting, the first few days or weeks, you will probably desire a big and highly processed meal, but you must ensure that you don’t succumb to this desire, this is where your mental toughness comes in.

Have highly nutritious meal or smoothie or something soft that your body will digest slowly, like oats. In doing this, your body will not be in shock and leave you uncomfortable afterwards.

Make sure that it fills you up enough before your next meal, you can do this by doing meal preparation for the week as you start your new diet.

How to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier When You Start

It is important to start Intermittent Fasting as a beginner slowly and adapt as your body gets used to it.

Start by skipping breakfast and eating around lunch time (11–12 pm). Drink sugarless black coffee in the morning and hydrate with water throughout the morning.

When you break your fast, start with a big meal that is rich in nutrients and drinking water in between.

After your first meal, it will be dependent on how you feel and how you planned out your day. You can snack on yoghurt, fruits, nuts and seeds every 2–3 hours while still hydrating or have your meals within the next 8 hours of the day.

You must ensure that you track your progress every week. Take note of how you’re feeling to see if you should continue and it works for you.

Founder of Fitness As Tradition, a health and fitness blog dedicated to helping busy people lose fat and build muscle — fitnessastradition.com