You could say that I am a health nut, but this was not always the case. Half a year ago, I was overweight, and this put a considerable strain on my health. I’ve tried all the diets out there until finally, I found my true passion: intermittent fasting.
Right now, I am 20 pounds lighter and 20 times happier. Here is how I look today vs. 6 months ago:
I’ve collected a bunch of valuable lessons that I wanted to share with you along the way.
Lesson #1: Fasting has rules!
When I first started intermittent fasting, I was kind of cocky. I thought to myself that I would be the champ of fasting because it’s so easy. After all, it has only one rule:
Don’t. Eat. Food.
Surprisingly, intermittent fasting is way more complicated than this.
At first, you must slowly ease into your routine. You cannot simply stop eating because your body will be shocked by this new development.
You will need to fight food cravings and social pressure. At some point, you will have a cheat day and break the fast too early. You will have to learn how many calories in total you should eat over the day and which foods to eat to stay satiated and still lose weight.
I made all of those mistakes along the way because I didn’t have proper guidance.
Fasting is a long and complex journey, but the results are worth it.
Lesson #2: Fasting doesn’t fix a shitty diet
There is a difference between a healthy diet and a fasting schedule.
- A diet is any particular selection of food that restricts or allows a person to enjoy specific foods. The typical examples of a diet would be the Mediterranean or keto diets.
- An intermittent fasting schedule is a routine that sets a clear limit when you can and when you can’t eat. It doesn’t regulate what’s on your plate, only the meal timing.
If your diet consists entirely of fast food, intermittent fasting might help you lose weight, but you will still feel terrible along the way. Trust me; I went through that.
It took me months until I managed to balance out my meals and ensure they were healthy, tasty, and cover my nutritional needs. How to do it?
For some people, it might be a personalized meal plan created by a nutritionist, but this option is quite expensive. For me, the best and cost-effective option was a personalized intermittent fasting program conveniently available in an app.
Lesson #3: Alternate-day fasting is not for everyone
Intermittent fasting can vary between overnight fasting and alternate-day fasting.
Overnight fasting already has half of your job done for you. If you sleep for 8 hours and don’t eat an early breakfast, you already follow a 10:14 intermittent fasting routine almost by default.
However, most people like to challenge themselves with 12:12, 16:8, or 18:4 routines and have an eating window for 4-12 hours a day.
Then, there is an alternate day fasting routine when you fast every other day. Once I tried it, I felt so terrible and weak that I simply had to quit. It was one of the misconceptions about fasting that I had to combat. Alternate day fasting is not for everyone.
For me, the 16:8 routine is as far as I can comfortably fast, see the results, and feel energized. But it definitely took me some trial and error to figure that out.
Lesson #4: Fasting comes with cravings
Boy, nobody ever tells you about the crazy food cravings and hunger pangs that accompany most fasting routines.
If you begin fasting without fixing your diet first, your body rebels.
When I first tried intermittent fasting, I did a radical alternate day fasting routine, but I was still eating mostly pre-packaged and fast food.
This “food” contains mostly empty calories. You eat it, and one hour later, you feel HUNGRY. You feel like you could eat 3 burgers and a bucket of fries. And you do.
Kind of beats the purpose, right?
To feel satiated, you need whole grains, fruit, quality protein, and healthy fats. You need fibrous vegetables and colorful berries. You must give your digestive system a challenge to stay full for long, and processed food simply doesn’t cut it.
Start cooking and eating real food BEFORE you begin fasting.
Lesson #5: Fasting doesn’t have to be a struggle
Growing up, I believed that a healthy lifestyle must be hard.
Just think about the phrase “Going on a diet.” It carries an emotion that reeks of pain and drama. Going on a diet, see you on the other side.
A healthy lifestyle should bring joy, not make you feel like a martyr.
After learning how to properly combine a balanced diet and finding the right intermittent fasting schedule, I’ve lost 20 pounds and gained back my confidence.
I don’t feel deprived or uncomfortable because this healthy lifestyle is a crucial part of my life. It gives me energy, manages my anxiety, and makes me feel like I run the show.
Of course, it was a long way until I got here.
I had to fight cravings, hunger, and poor habits. I tried tons of different programs and apps until I found the right one for me. I had to explore various recipes and tips before I could feel that I can make educated decisions.
Would I change a thing? Never. It’s a journey worth taking.
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