If it seems overwhelming and scary to go such a long time without eating, start slow. Try a 12 or 14 hour fast to see how it goes, increasing your fasting length as you’re ready. If you’re ready to jump in head first, go for 19 hours and see what it feels like. I found that longer fasting windows (19 – 20 hours) were most effective when it came to weight loss, but too many days in a row of fasting for 19 hours would backfire on me and I would be overly hungry in the days that followed. I eventually found that a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window was effective and felt the most “normal” to me. (I will also say that you will likely find IF more sustainable and easier when you eat a nutrient dense diet with quality carbs – more on this below.)
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Hu, T., Mills, K. T., Yao, L., Demanelis, K., Eloustaz, M., Yancy, Jr., W. S., ... Bazzano, L. A. (2012, October 1). Effects of low-carbohydrate diets versus low-fat diets on metabolic risk factors: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. American Journal of Epidemiology, 176(Suppl. 7), S44–S54. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3530364/
Good for you Joanna! I have been trying to live a healthier lifestyle too, sometimes it’s hard, but it’s always baby steps. Leading a healthy lifestyle is better than losing weight, that will come naturally and easily. I love that you don’t have a weight loss goal, because it’s really not about the weight it’s about feeling good and being healthy. I am so glad you stopped by my blog! Just remember you can do it and be proud of yourself!! You inspired me! Sometimes I need the motivation too and have a junk food Husband can be hard!!
So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume fewer calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect.
While losing weight, I tried and experimented with many different fasting lengths and eating windows. I would do a 19 hour fast (of which 6 – 8 of those are hours are spent sleeping) 2 – 3 days a week, doing a 12 – 16 hour fast the other days. An example 19/5 day would be having an “eating window” of 12:30pm – 5:30pm. Basically, I skipped breakfast (with exception of some coffee with cream) and would officially break my fast with lunch. I’d often eat a snack if/when I felt hungry again and then would try to finish up with dinner before 6. Other days I would do a 12-16 hour fast to give myself a break from the longer fasts or because I needed to accommodate something in my schedule or my family’s schedule. (i.e., Eating dinner together is more important than an eating window of exactly 5 hours.) If I meant I finished dinner a little later than 6 some nights, no biggie. I was very happy that it was possible to shift or extend my eating window as needed without derailing my weight loss efforts.