How to Make Intermittent Fasting a Part of Your Lifestyle (Part III)
The rigidity of an intermittent fasting schedule is something that takes a lot of getting used to for many people who decide to give it a try. Being heavily restricted on when you can or can’t eat may seem simple enough in theory, but in practice, many people struggle to stay consistent. And, the moment you lose consistency is the moment intermittent fasting becomes ineffective.
Know what you’re up against
Sticking to an intermittent fasting schedule means knowing what you’re up against and how to effectively integrate fasting into your lifestyle. Take a look at a few of the biggest hurdles and barriers to concern yourself with:
- Lethargy: Depriving your body of food means depriving it of its energy source. This can lead to lethargy at severe levels during the start of a fasting cycle. The good news is that your body will eventually learn to adapt, burning fat stores for energy! But, until you push past the lethargy, it remains one of the biggest drags on morale for starting intermittent fasters.
- Hunger pangs: You’re going to be hungry during your fasting cycle—it’s just a fact. Learning the discipline to get past these hunger pangs without giving in to them means not breaking your fast prematurely. True discipline means not cheating even a little and sticking to your schedule with rigidity.
- Schedule demands: One of the biggest reasons people fail at intermittent fasting is because their schedule throws off their fast and they end up breaking it inadvertently. Fasting is as much about planning ahead as it is about not eating, so be prepared to do things like meal prep or scheduling around your eating periods.
- Peer pressure: If all of your friends are going out for pizza and you’re not scheduled to break your fast for another 2 hours, what are you going to do? Temptation and peer pressure can lead many people to make poor decisions in the moment. Think about your fast and make choices that benefit your lifestyle decision, rather than just offering you in-the-moment gratification.
- Bodily responses: Getting used to a fasting cycle is hard! You might find yourself getting tired, lightheaded, grouchy or irritable during a fast. Recognize these things as they happen and do your best to adjust accordingly. They’ll become less invasive as you get used to your fasting schedule.
Once you understand the hurdles you might face in beginning to intermittently fast, you’ll be better equipped to stay true to your decision over the long-term.
Make the right adjustments
Jumping into a fasting cycle once you’ve done all of the proper research means making a firm decision. It’s best to prime yourself for success by following a few simple tips:
- Start your fast on a Sunday or Monday to give yourself an easy-to-remember benchmark for your fasting cycles.
- Don’t be afraid to tell people you’re fasting! This makes it easier to explain your eating habits and moods, and you might even get some encouragement and accountability from friends.
- Set accountability measures. For example, don’t buy snack foods you may be tempted to dig into during a bad hunger craving.
- Keep a journal or a record of your fasting habits and schedule, to help you maintain consistency.
Above all else, stick to your plan and don’t deviate or improvise! The more you deviate from an intermittent fasting schedule, the harder it’s going to be on your body and the more difficult it’s going to be to develop good habits.
Intermittent fasting is built on discipline, which means getting yourself familiar with the do’s and don’ts of an intermittent fasting schedule quickly. The more consistent you are the more immersed you are in maintaining that schedule, the better it’s going to mesh with your lifestyle and the better the benefits are going to be.