Practical tips for intermittent fasting

 August 25, 2021

By  BC Editorial Team

Slowly adapt your new eating formula to your daily routine and to the seasons. Do not discuss intermittent fasting with people that could tempt you or make you feel ashamed of what you have decided to do (“You are on a diet?”, “Is it another slimming cure?” etc.).

Give your body time to adapt: if you start fasting tomorrow it will give you headaches, fatigue and perhaps nausea. You could also faint during the day as a consequence of this fast.  You have to be prepared for these reactions -that are natural- and take steps so that they do not cause you any harm (e.g., stop work immediately if you feel unwell, avoid driving in traffic or taking up activities that require your full concentration).

Fasting has a beneficial effect on your health but, as with any other change in routine, you need to get used to it. During the first days you will feel tired and there could also be digestive problems. This is all normal and quite frequent. Try not to worry; that way your body will have time to adapt and with these intermittent fasting tips you will soon accomplish your goals.

Know when you need and want to eat. You must physically be hungry and not think of fasting as a way of controlling your weight. Your first feeling should be that of physical hunger, not a desire to lose weight or because you are being watched by others (families, friends…).

This practice is more suitable for adults: it is not advisable for children before their early teens at least. As with any other change in routine, there could be health problems while adapting to intermittent fasting. If your child shows signs of fatigue, nausea or digestive problems after breaking the fasts try to give them food immediately instead of continuing with this type of diet. It is good to advise parents about the need for healthy eating but do not use fasting as an excuse so they can control what their children eat.

As well as physical hunger, you should also feel a mental desire to eat something. If you just think that it would be good to eat something, try to find what type of food and when. Hunger in the absence of appetite is not an indication for fasting: make up for this by eating three meals per day instead of two.

Are there certain times during which my body needs more food?

Yes; various factors can increase the energy requirement (i.e., calorie demand) at certain times within the 24-hour cycle (daylight hours, etc.) There are few people who need to eat less than 1,200 calories on certain days as opposed to others in order to maintain their weight [1]. Besides, each person’s needs are different.

Practical tips for the first week:

A t first, it is a good idea to follow an intermittent fast on weekends or every two weeks in order to get used to this type of diet. The best days are Wednesdays and Saturdays because you will not have breakfast until lunchtime when you break your fast; just make sure that you do not go over four hours without food at any time during these days. If you decide to skip breakfast once per week, avoid going the whole day without eating anything as this could lead to problems with your digestive system.  Do not forget that there should be no physical hunger when fasting: if you feel like eating for other reasons, try finding out what foods suit you best.

On fasting days, eat as many vegetables as you like; these are low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. Before breaking the fast (at lunchtime), you can have a bowl of soup or any other dish made with vegetables: beans for example (it is important to add salt while cooking: this ingredient helps digest the food). You could also drink vegetable juices during the day: they provide all of the necessary nutrients without adding too many calories. In order to speed up your digestion it is a good idea to take a light meal before bedtime (perhaps some fruit). During the first weeks do not be concerned about what time you break your fast: just eat when you feel like it…

Drink lots of fluids during the day: water, coffee or tea with no sugar and broth. A glass of milk could also be a good idea since it can help you digest food more easily. For those with heart conditions avoid drinks with caffeine like coffee or tea since too much of them can raise your heartbeat and affect your energy levels .It is a good idea to avoid soft drinks since they contain a lot of sugar; however, fruit juices are right.

You do not have to force yourself to eat something if you do not feel like it but, if possible, it is always better to break your fast at lunchtime because this way you should not go beyond 10pm without having eaten anything during the night (at least in theory).

Easily and slowly break your fast at lunchtime by consuming an easily digested meal (preferably soup or vegetables), Gradually, you can increase the amount of solid food. Try to keep your meals light during this type of diet: start with liquid foods and build up gradually until you are eating solids for most of your lunch. You should not have dinner before 8pm if you want to be able to sleep well at night. If you drink anything with alcohol in it, do so in moderation: one beer (200 ml.) is enough for a fasting session; white wine and champagne are also OK but red wine should be limited to a glass per day maximum.

Fasting days should only last 16 hours: while sunlight affects the body’s rhythm, there is no need to continue the fast after sundown. Besides, it is not uncommon for people to get headaches and feel irritable when they eat late at night.

If your doctor gives you a go ahead, remember to adapt slowly, know when to eat, do not overeat and break your fast slowly. You will have excellent results as the days go by.

BC Editorial Team


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