If you know me, you know that I am a big proponent of intermittent fasting (IF). I could write a dozen blogs about the benefits, what I like about it, and the right and wrong ways to do IF. Maybe eventually, all those blogs will show up here.
But this week, I want to focus on one of my favorite aspects of IF – how it keeps me from overindulging.
This is a question that I get all the time, and it is one of the biggest misconceptions about IF. People think that if they are fasting for “x” amount of hours a day, they’ll be so hungry during their eating hours that they’ll overindulge.
If you do IF the right way, that shouldn’t happen at all. Here are a few reasons IF keeps me from overindulging.
In a typical 16/8 IF cycle, you fast for 16 hours, and all meals are consumed within 8 hours. If you time it correctly, this time restriction can keep you from overeating or snacking.
For example, if you tend to snack at night, you can set your IF window from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Sticking to that window will prohibit your regular snacking hours. Eventually, those urges will disappear as your body adjusts to the new eating schedule.
The chances are that your snack foods may not be healthy ones. Late-night snacking tends to result from stress, and when we are stressed, we need comfort food. For most people, comfort foods do not tend to be veggies. So, step away from the pretzels and cheese.
Additionally, if those snacks are high in carbs, your body has difficulty metabolizing them. Eating high-carb foods closer to bedtime means they are usually stored as fat. See where I’m going with all of this?
Effective intermittent fasting relies on your food choices during your eating window, and this is the number one way it keeps me from overindulging.
Follow the logic: you only have eight hours to eat, so you want to get in as many vitamins and nutrients as possible. You know that certain foods are “empty” with zero nutritional value. So, why waste your time on them?
Eating healthy meals in the eight-hour window will give you plenty of energy and satiate you. With no more empty foods in your diet (or at least fewer ones), you won’t be craving more to eat because you will feel full.
One of my mantras is that intermittent fasting is not a diet; it is a lifestyle. It’s changing the way you eat instead of what you eat. Although I advocate for eating healthy, there are essentially zero diet restrictions in IF.
Several diets restrict food choices, and that may work for some people. But in my experience, the more you deprive your body of something it wants, the harder it is to ignore the cravings. Eventually, willpower breaks down, and that plate of pasta is your target.
Then you’ve broken your diet; you may get discouraged and struggle to get back on track. It’s a vicious cycle.
But with intermittent fasting, there is no deprivation. So, if I do get an urge for a favorite food, I can eat a small portion of it and then move on with my day. Urges to overindulge go away because I’m not depriving my body of something it wants.
I’m giving it what it wants in a small portion.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges that people face when starting IF is getting into the proper mindset.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, you have to remind yourself that you are not starving yourself – you are simply changing your eating times. You’re not limiting your foods choices; you’re limiting when you can eat them.
As soon as you can convince your mind of this, the rest should come easier. Our thoughts usually derail us because the brain starts to put its two cents in, causing doubts about what we thought we knew.
If you have done your research and are ready to try intermittent fasting, you have learned the details and know the benefits you may gain.
Usually, overindulging occurs because your brain thinks it needs or wants something. But if you take control of your brain (I know that sounds funny, but it’s true), you can tell it that everything is correct and it’s all going to be okay.
In other words, you may need to babysit your brain until it gets on board with the program.
Once that happens, you will find that IF will keep you from overindulging.
If you'd like even more help from me when it comes to maintaining and stepping up your health and energy levels, CLICK HERE to learn more about Intermittent Fasting and The M.A.D.E. Diet.
For more information about what I do, or if you are interested in coaching, or joining my team, CLICK HERE.