A style of eating that divides each day into two simple windows: one where you may be eating and one where you don’t.
This eating pattern is popular for its effectiveness as a weight-loss strategy, its potential to reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases, and its ability to lower blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity.
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Behavior change is hard, because we become comfortable with our patterns. It up takes a great deal of mental energy until it becomes habit.
Intermittent fasting challenges the “three meals a day plus snacks” style of eating we are so accustomed to, in which it’s easy to feel like you should take in a meal, even when you’re not hungry, simply because it’s lunchtime.
To avoid the morning munchies, look at the last meal you ate before starting your fast: Did it have enough fiber? Protein? Whole grains? Are you hydrated? Filling up with balanced and satiating foods before your fast will keep you fuller longer.
Of course, if you’re nearing the end of your fast and no amount of black coffee will fill the void, breaking your fast early is not the end of the world.
Repeating positive affirmations to yourself — “This is going to be great!” — might help get into a productive flow.
Convincing yourself that you want to do it or that you’ll feel so much better if you stick to it is easier than trying to force yourself into it.
Throughout history, people have fasted for religious purposes, to make a political statement, to cure illnesses, and before certain medical procedures, among other things.
If you know people who fast for reasons outside of weight loss, someone who maybe does it for spiritual reasons, having a conversation about motivations from another point of view may be helpful.
As long as intermittent fasting doesn’t negatively affect your relationship with food and make you feel too guilty or too restricted, feel free to play around.
Ultimately, there are no set rules when it comes to intermittent fasting, so what works for one person may not feel comfortable for you.
Human studies of intermittent fasting revealed that it improved disease indicators such as insulin resistance, blood fat abnormalities, high blood pressure, and inflammation.
In patients with multiple sclerosis, intermittent fasting reduced symptoms within two months.