Your Intermittent Fasting Cheat Sheet

alarm clock

8 tips to help you succeed at IF

  1. Dirty Fast. If your primary goal in doing IF is to lose weight, then a dirty fast is a great way to make it a bit of an easier lifestyle shift. Dirty fast refers to having a small number of calories, under 50 or 100 depending on where you look, and minimal sugar content. For most, this means something small like putting cream in your coffee. Just remember, a dirty fast likely negates the other health benefits that go along with IF. To stay clean, you should only have water, black coffee, or herbal tea. 
  2. Aim for a 7pm cutoff. For some, eating in the morning is really important and they’re fine to cut off after lunch for the day. But for me, I go the 7pm route for two main reasons. First, it’s important to me that my kids see me eat normally with them, and dinner is our main meal together. Second, I really love consuming my calories at night, so if I tried cutting myself off after lunch, I would really struggle. So pick an eating window that works best for you habits.
  3. Flavored drinks at night. Ok, this is another example of dirty fasting probably, but I have found recently that filling a 32oz. water bottle with a packet of Crystal Light helps me get in a ton of water in the evening, but it’s also sweet and helps curb any evening craving or temptation I may have. It also means I usually have to wake up and pee in the middle of the night! 
  4. Set your calories and track your macros. I know the dream state of IF is that you don’t have to do this, but I find it incredibly beneficial when you’re early in your journey or really aiming for weight loss. It’s important to understand what you’re consuming and make sure that you’re getting enough protein—because you probably aren’t. I’m supposed to have nearly 130 grams per day and I almost never hit that! But, when I was tracking regularly last year, I could drop weight so much faster than I do now. Here’s a very simple calculator to get you started. 
  5. Cheating today makes it harder tomorrow. I hate to break it to you, but the days that I eat late are followed by the toughest mornings! I’m always hungry when I wake up and have a harder time making it to noon, my preferred start time. To try and combat that…
  6. Switch it up. 16:8 is the most popular method, meaning you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8. But on days when I’m feeling good and not hungry, I try and hold out as long as I can. Can I make it to a 20:4? What about a full 24 hour fast? There are a lot of people who do two 24 hour fasts each week but then eat normally the rest of the week (5:2 method). The variety is great for keeping your body on its toes and not getting too comfortable. Then, when you do have a “day off” you don’t wake up the next day having gained 4 pounds.
  7. Protein bars are your friend. Well, the under 200 calorie and over 15g of protein ones are your friends. My go-to is from Costco. It’s the Kirkland’s Signature Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, which is sold in a mixed pack with Brownie flavor. Personally, I hated the Brownie, but my husband likes it so that works well for us. Once you’ve tried a few flavors and know which ones you like, you can order packs of one flavor only from Costco.com, but it’s a $40 40 pack, so it’s risky to try a new flavor that way.
  8. Exercise while fasting. Yes, it feels like the opposite of what you’ve always been told. Eat a banana. Have some peanut butter or yogurt. Nope. Are you training for the Olympics or a marathon? Then you’re probably good to go. In fact, there’s loads of evidence that suggests you get a double benefit of exercising before you eat! It aids in weight loss and in insulin sensitivity. Bonus! This article does a great job breaking it down.

So there you have it! Leave me a comment or let me know over on Instagram how it’s going. Good luck! You’ve got this!

Published by Ashley Adams

Author, former single mom, lover of Cherry Coke Zero and Taylor Swift. Here to coach and support and love on women in challenging relationships.

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