Today I wanted to take some time and share with you what I found to be the best foolproof method that you can use to get lean and look great as a busy parent. The method I’m going to talk about works even if you have no time, and we all know as busy parents, none of us have any time. It works, even if you’ve tried other methods and failed, and it works for those who just don’t know where to start to lose weight. This is the method that I use personally. It is safe, it’s proven, and it’s highly effective.
The method is what’s known as the intermittent fasting method. Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, get more energy, and improve your mental focus. If you could find something where you’re losing weight, you’re getting more energy and you’re improving your mental focus and your mental clarity, would you not be excited?! I mean come on now, we could all use that. All it takes is not eating for a little while and there’s a lot of different ways that people go about practicing intermittent fasting. But to keep it really simple I’m just going to talk about one of the easiest ways that you can get started and I’m going to share with you my top 10 Tips to Make it Even More Effective. The type of intermittent fasting that is most often recommended for beginners is what is referred to as the 16 and 8 method.
Basically the principle behind this method is to fast or not eat for 16 hours. That’s it. You have all of your meals for the day in the remaining eight hours. Now I know you might be thinking, “Oh my gosh Mike, how can I not eat for 16 hours?! That would kill me.” It’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. For example, you could have a late breakfast at say 10:00 AM, then you go about your day, you eat your dinner at 6:00 PM, and then you would be done. You just wouldn’t have anything else until 10:00 AM the next day. The specific time that you start eating and the time that you stop doesn’t matter as long as you eat within that eight hour window and follow it up by going 16 hours without eating.
It sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? I will admit it is easier said then done, trust me I know when you start to practice intermittent fasting you’re going to run into some roadblocks. That is okay. I’m speaking from experience. You’re going to find yourself craving that snack. You’re going to find yourself waking up hungry. So what I’ve done is I’ve put together my 10 Best Tips that I have found to be helpful and I am hoping these will help you make it through those fasting hours successfully.
Tip Number 1: Cut the sugar out before you start. All right? This right here is probably the biggest thing that a new and experienced intermittent faster struggles with, the sugar cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Our bodies get really accustomed and almost addicted to that sugar. Sugar is hidden everywhere. It’s hidden, not just in the things that you think about like carbs, cookies and cake, but it’s hidden is artificial “Sugar Substitute” sweeteners. It’s hidden all over and in a lot of the foods that you would never think to have sugar in them. So what happens is your body gets really addicted to it.
When you get these sugar cravings it isn’t so much that you’re really hungry, it’s really more about your body going through a withdrawal because you are consuming less sugar and your body has become accustomed to having high levels of sugar to run on. The best way to deal with this is prior to you going on your fast just start cutting back as much sugar as you can from your diet. You already know sugar is not good for you. So take a week and start weaning yourself off of soda and the sweet coffee drink habit. Empty out the cookie jar. Stop eating the ice cream late at night as a snack. Once you’ve eliminated a good majority of the sugar in your diet now you’re ready to get started with your fast. You’ve started to lay that groundwork and you’ve set yourself up for success.
Tip Number 2: Stay well hydrated. When you’re fasting, water is your best friend. Not only is it going to keep you full but quite frankly, it’s going to give you something to do when you’re not eating. It will also help you keep your energy up and help you to continue to function throughout the day. You see, the main reason that so many people will start to feel bad and get headaches when they’re fasting has nothing to do with not eating, it is because they are starting to get dehydrated. So make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water and not only will that help you maintain your hydration levels and get rid of your headaches, but it’s going to help your body burn through that excess body fat for energy.
Tip Number 3: Make sure to get plenty of sleep. I kind of talked about this last week and I can’t stress enough how important this is. Getting enough good quality sleep is so extremely important in general, but in particular when you’re fasting. When we’re tired and sleep deprived, it is so much harder to make smart decisions. Your willpower goes down, you’re going to find yourself drawn to those cookies or chips in a vain effort to stay awake. So going to bed a little early will help keep you from the temptations of late night snacking, the urge to eat during the day because you are tired, and then of course, the other benefit is you are more alert during the day.
Tip Number 4: Go for a walk. Sometimes the best thing that you can do when you’re struggling with your fasting is just to go out and take a walk. It takes you away from your fridge and pantry and it really gets you thinking about something other than the food. A lot of the time you just got to get your mind off of it. Plus walking or any type of exercise is going to increase your endorphins and make you feel a lot better. I don’t know about you, but most of us could really stand and move around a little bit more. So instead of breaking your fast and fixing a snack try going for a walk around the block.
Tip Number 5: Coffee and tea are your friends. Coffee and herbal teas are going to be your best friends during fasting hours. So when you get up in the morning, drink a big cup or two of black coffee, that’s going to fill you up enough so that you’re really not going to miss breakfast. Now, don’t add any sweetener to it. No cream, no sugar. Don’t go to Starbucks and get yourself that giant mocha latte with all of the whipped cream and everything on it. That just defeats the purpose. Okay. We’re talking about straight black coffee. Now, herbal tea works really well at night, especially if you’re a snacker. Again, we’re talking plain herbal tea. We’re not talking about sweetened tea with all the sugar. What this does for you is help you go to sleep and makes you feel more full, so that you sleep through the night. It gives you something tasty to sip that fills your belly. Now try these things and see if that isn’t enough to keep you from grabbing your favorite snack before you go to bed.
Tip Number 6: Stay Busy. Time flies when you’re staying busy. We all know that’s true. We have all heard the saying, “time flies when you’re having fun.” There’s so much truth to that. The worst thing that you can do when you’re first starting to fast is keep your eye on the clock, counting down the hours until it is time to eat again. This just does not work. That didn’t work well back in the day when you were in high school waiting for the bell to ring and it doesn’t work well now either when it comes to fasting. Instead, find something to keep you busy. Go meet a friend for coffee, read a good book, watch a movie, or just bury yourself in your work. It doesn’t matter what you do, just stay busy and you will find that time will start to fly by.
Tip Number 7: When you eat, savor your food. When it is time to eat, trust me, you’re going to be tempted to eat something and eat it really fast. Stop, you are not starving to death. Instead, take your time, fix something you really like. Take your time preparing it and arranging it on your plate. Sit down at the table and savor your food. Chew it more slowly, eating is as much a visual and tactile experience as it is about the nutrients you’re getting into your body. So by taking your time, savoring your food, you will satisfy that part of you until it is time to eat again. I really recommend you give it a try and see if this will help you stick to your fasting schedule and as a bonus, you will find that you enjoy your food more.
Tip Number 8: Get out of the house and get away from the temptation. Now I know that’s a little bit hard right now with the world we’re living in, especially with Covid-19, but we all are going to have days where fasting is hard. I mean really hard and all we want to do is just raid the fridge, raid the freezer, and clear out the pantry. I tell you what, when you start feeling that, when the cookie jar is calling your name, the best thing to do is get out of the house and get away from that available food. Of course you don’t want to head down to your favorite coffee shop or restaurant, instead you do what you can to stay away from the food. Now, we already talked about going for a walk. That’s a great option, but you could also go for a drive. You just need to distract yourself long enough to allow your willpower to come back.
Tip Number 9: This is one of my favorites. Save yourself a special treat. Here’s a great little trick that works for many fasters. When you see a special treat that you really want to have, go ahead and get it, but then save it. All right? Don’t eat that right away. Instead of telling yourself, no, you can’t have that cupcake, tell yourself that you can have it, but not right now. You’re on that fast. Okay? Don’t take it away completely because that’s a surefire way to increase your desire. You’re going to want that. You’re going to want it even more. It’s like with my kids when I tell them no, they can’t play on their video game. They find all kinds of ways to circumvent that and they want to play even more than if those games were sitting readily available. Now of course this is in moderation too I’m not saying that you can go out and eat a dozen cupcakes when your fast ends. We’re talking about one here and there outside of your fasting time. Just allow yourself that little treat and you will find making yourself wait for your favorite food is much easier than giving it up for good. You can use this same trick when you get a craving for pizza or your favorite takeout. Obviously you wouldn’t go and get it right away. Instead you would just make a deal with yourself that you can order that Chinese food later in the afternoon when your fast is over.
Tip Number 10: Stick to the same schedule. We are all creatures of habit and we will adapt to a particular schedule if we stick to it for awhile. For example, if you get up every morning and eat right away, your body gets used to that, you will find yourself waking up hungry. However, if on the other hand you stick to a schedule where you don’t eat until 11:00 AM and you have your last meal by 7:00 PM your body gets used to that and you won’t wake up hungry. After a while you won’t even crave that late night snack before bed. Your body will learn that food is something to expect between the hours of, for example, of 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM roughly. That’s why it is so important to stick to the same schedule when you fast intermittently. It will keep you from getting hungry during your fasting hours and it makes it so much easier to stick to your plan.
I really hope that these tips have been helpful for you. I’d really like you to give them a try, see what works well for you, and see if you can fast intermittently. I know you are probably not going to follow these tips all the time, but keep this list handy for those days when you’re really struggling. After a while what’ll happen is eating this way will start to become the new normal for you. That’s all for now. Stay healthy, keep moving forward, and I will see you soon.