This a random collection of thoughts I have after almost 5 months of Intermittent Fasting. This is not medical advice. You are responsible for your own health.
Before I could go the full 21-22 hours without eating, I first needed to get comfortable being hungry. I started something I called – Practicing Hunger. You could use this trick with any diet. When you first get hungry, look at your watch and then commit to not eating for 60 minutes. This builds discipline. Like any exercise, it isn’t going to be fun at first, but if you stick with it, you will get better at it.
For me it took months of Practicing Hunger before I could attempt my first IF, but I’m a slow learner. I know people who hit the ground running. The best way to do that is to keep delaying the start of your first meal until you are going the full 21-22 hours. Week 1 you might make it to 11 AM. Week 2 you might take it to 2 PM. Slow and steady. Eventually you will get there.
Do just one per week for a while. If you are overweight or have a family history of cancer, proceed to two once you are comfortable. If you are underweight, but want to take advantage of the autophagy, make coconut milk your best friend. It is highly nutritious and calorie dense. Make a curry.
The biggest mistake I made in the early weeks was coming out of the Intermittent Fast, I would overcompensate and eat extra large meals. It is not necessary. In the post What to eat AFTER you fast, Brad Pilon writes:
When you finish your fast you need to pretend that your fast NEVER HAPPENED.
No compensation, no reward, no special way of eating, no special shakes, drinks or pills.
The minute you decide to stop fasting, you need to wipe the fast from your memory, and eat the exact way you would normally eat at that specific time of the day (responsibly of course).
The easiest way to fast is to be ACTIVE. Inactivity will make the minutes drag and hunger greater. Think about it from an evolutionary perspective. Mr. Cave Man is sitting around the cave and he gets hungry. He knows if he doesn’t start his quest toward food, he will die. When you are fasting, don’t sit on your sofa. Move. Do a project. The hunger pings go away if the body senses you are moving toward a food source. If you are forced to sit an office, get totally immersed in your work.
Use caffeine, but don’t abuse caffeine. You are not getting any fuel from food, so a little boost from coffee or tea will help you keep going. Plus caffeine is an appetite suppressant.
If you are using IF for fat loss, focus on inches not weight. Most diets work in the early weeks because they reduce the dieter’s intake of sodium and as a result the dieter loses water. They step on the scale and they are a few pounds down, but their waist is the same size. My experience with IF is I was able to keep my weight, but reduce inches. My skin felt tighter. Tape measure first. Scale second. Your goal is reduce your widest point, not necessarily the digits on the scale.
Leangains published a blog with photos showing the progress of their clients that use IF. Notice the significant change in body composition, even with a small reduction of pounds. Mary lost just 3 pounds in 4 weeks, but the transformation was amazing.
Good luck if you try IF. Let me know how if goes.