My intermittent fasting journey has been a huge success, but I had to find my own way of fasting along the way. As a bikini competitor, I typically ate six lean meals a day and it felt like a life-consuming plan:
- Endless food prep
- Constant eating
- Cleaning the kitchen
- Bringing a chicken breast in my purse to all the parties
I thought: “What am I doing? This is insane! There has to be a different way to live healthy and happy!”
So, I decided to try intermittent fasting. After trial and error, I dialed it down and now coach my clients on intermittent fasting. Now, let’s make your experience as easy and successful as possible with these top tips.
1. Fix your sugar cravings before you start fasting.
If you are a sugarholic and want to lose weight with intermittent fasting, oh boy, are you in for a treat. Intermittent fasting is a horrible idea for those whose blood sugar is not balanced. How do you know if it is you? Do you experience mood swings, afternoon energy crashes, or “hangry-ness?”
Sugar gives the body a short-lived burst of energy, and then the body crashes. It will be tough to stay on the restricted time eating and have long periods without food for someone dependent on sugar for energy. First, you have to address your cravings and sugar dependency for quick energy. You need to eliminate sweets gradually from your diet and teach your body to run on more sustainable fuel like fat and protein. Then you are ready to expand your fasting time progressively.
2. Start slow and progress gradually.
I know you are excited to start fasting and want to jump right into it. It would be best to allow your body to get used to going without food for that long so you won’t be inclined to make horrible choices for your fast-breaking meal and end up overeating. The best way to start intermittent fasting is to ease into it. Push your first meal one hour weekly, and your system will adjust to your new eating schedule.
3. Intermittent fasting is not a ticket to binge.
If you think by restricting the feeding time, you can eat anything you want and as much as you wish to: pizza and doughnuts for the win. Except, the “free-for-all” plan leaves you feeling terrible: mood swings, cravings, energy crashes, and wanting to pick a fight with a wall. Eating too many calories a day will make you gain weight even if you eat all your calories in one meal. Do not kill the messenger, but you still have to be mindful of what you eat. Fill your plate with plants, high-quality animal protein, and good fat. Stay away from refined sugars!
4. Intermittent fasting is not a calorie deficit diet.
Eating less than 1200 calories in your restricting window is not healthy. The idea behind intermittent fasting is to eat your weekly needed caloric value to support your weight and energy goal, but in shorter feeding windows so your body can run on stored fat (metabolic switching). If you starve your body, you can sabotage your metabolic rate, and instead of burning fat, you can start breaking down your muscle.
5. Sleep is more important than you think.
You never want to skip on quality ZZZs, but it is even more critical when you fast. Not only will you not have enough energy to make healthy choices, but your hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin will also get out of wack. Leptin is responsible for long-term energy and telling your body you are full. Ghrelin tells your body you are hungry. A lack of sleep has been found to increase ghrelin levels and suppress leptin levels, leading to increased hunger and appetite. The bottom line, get quality sleep.
In conclusion, if you want to try intermittent fasting, start slowly, listen to your body, and do not allow this way of eating to consume your whole life. Fasting should make your life easier. Remember, less time will be spent on food prepping and more time on other important things like your family and friends.
About the Author
Sasha Kuznetsova, is the creator of the Ageless Girl Guide and is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ex-pro athlete, and bikini champion with a lifelong passion for holistic living. Sasha has helped hundreds of women for the past 15 years to get in the best shape of their lives. She works with clients locally in the Reno, Tahoe area and offers online coaching to clients worldwide. Sasha specializes in functional training, customized nutrition, and effortless weight loss. Follow her on Instagram: @agelessgirlguide