5 Tips to Make Intermittent Fasting Easy, Fun, and Effective

As we mentioned in our last blog, Intermittent Fasting (IMF) is a great way to decrease inflammation, reduce insulin and its toxic load on the body, all while losing weight and feeling more energy.  But how does one even begin to fast?

I believe that one's ability to fast is like a muscle that can be built... the more you fast, the easier it becomes.  If doing a daily 16-hour fast seems impossible to you, experiment with delaying breakfast by an hour or two, or simply skip dinner or your bedtime snack. Tip number one is to just dial in your daily rhythms of hunger, and start by skipping the meal or snack when you're least hungry.  From there, you can try to slowly increase the length of your fast.

Secondly, I highly recommend adding caffeine for those who become morning fasters.  That boost of caffeine from tea or coffee may give you the energy you need to make it until lunchtime (hopefully without the jitters!).  However, to make it a true fast, refrain from adding cream or sugar to your beverage.  Some who do Bulletproof coffee with oil, butter, or collagen consider themselves to be fasting when actually these added items do change blood sugar and may keep your body from getting deeper in its glycogen stores, which turns you into a fat burner instead of a sugar burner.

Our next is a tip to break your fast with a healthy, sustainable form of energy.  Bone broth, a bone broth protein shake, some healthy fat such as avocado, nuts, eggs made in coconut oil, etc. are a great way to start the day.  Of course rounding out the meal with vegetables, which are also low glycemic and highly nutritious, helps your energy stay strong.  Being prepared with the right food can help you make choices the rest of your day.

Fourth, fast on a day when you are busy!  If you are like me, those times at home, feeding your children multiple meals and snacks make it much more tempting to finish their sandwich or take a swipe of peanut butter that's on your finger after making school lunches. I love fasting on days where I'm busy working and talking to people takes all of my energy and focus rather than dreaming about food.

Lastly, changing up your fasting routine into a rotating one is highly recommended.  For women, there is some evidence that fasting every single day is not beneficial, but adding back a day or two of normal eating is helpful. Restricting down to a 4 or 6 -hour window may also mix things up and add more benefits, and some prefer to add in a 24-hour fast once in a while. This should all make fasting more easy and sustainable.  However, as we mentioned in our last blog, this should only be done if fasting is right and safe for you.
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    Dr. Sheena grew up in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota and completed her undergraduate studies in Architecture, Chemistry, and Sustainability at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.