Flexibility is a key component to any effective AND sustainable weight loss program.
In order for any diet to be sustainable long term, it must offer a certain amount of flexibility. By now, you’ve probably heard about intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can greatly improve discipline. Learning how to practice mindful eating and training your body to get used to delaying gratification will help you to live an overall healthier lifestyle. While this diet is an effective way to lose weight, some people find it difficult to adhere to the program. For this reason, a more flexible version of intermittent fasting has been designed. If you need a more adaptable weight loss method, read on to learn how to make flexible intermittent fasting work for you and begin losing weight today!
Traditional Intermittent Fasting vs. Flexible Intermittent Fasting
All methods of weight loss have one thing in common: a daily caloric deficit. The goal of intermittent fasting is to force your body to tap into its fat stores for energy instead of using food. This helps you to shed fat more quickly than other diet and weight loss methods.
A fasting diet not only requires you to eat all your calories within a specific window every day, but it also reduces the total daily number of calories that you will consume. Traditional intermittent fasting demands that you eat those calories in the same specified window each day. For many people, this is an 8 hour window, like 11 am to 7 pm.
Flexible intermittent fasting is great for two main reasons. First, it doesn’t require you to adhere to the same eating window every day. This is great for people whose work or school schedules fluctuate from day to day. Second, the flexible approach allows you to consume some calories even during your fasting window, like a beverage or a light snack. That allows you to maintain your blood sugar levels, avoiding dizziness and weakness.
Keep in mind that if you choose to consume calories during your fasting period, they must still fit into your daily caloric requirement for weight loss.
How to Make Flexible Intermittent Fasting Work for You
Making flexible intermittent fasting work for you is not much different than making the traditional method work. As stated above, both require a daily caloric deficit which will be accomplished through a pre-designated eating window. It’s even easier to make flexible intermittent fasting work because you can adapt it to fit your busy schedule!
For instance, if you work early in the morning, it can be difficult to wait until 11 am or noon to eat your first meal. Having a light snack can hold you over until your real eating window begins. Furthermore, if your schedule changes day to day, being able to rearrange your feeding-window will be extremely helpful. Also, if you’re a “coffee with cream” drinker like me, you’ll still be able to enjoy a cup in the morning without breaking the rules!
Being able to adjust your window to fit each day’s schedule will make it easier than ever to adhere to the diet. As long as you’re eating fewer calories than you’re exerting, you will lose weight. There’s no magic window because it always comes back to calories in, calories out. Eating all of your food in the morning is not superior to eating it at night.
Regardless of when you’ve scheduled your window for the day, there are a few things that you can do to make flexible intermittent fasting work for you.
Make a Weekly Plan
Taking the time to make a plan can go a long way towards keeping you on track. If you know that your work or school schedule is going to be all over the place for the upcoming week, spend a little time planning when your eating windows will take place. Going into the week prepared will allow you to stick to the program.
Prep Your Food Ahead of Time
The benefits and importance of having access to already prepared food cannot be overstated. When it comes time to break your fast, you want to have a healthy meal ready to go so you can dig in! If you don’t have anything ready, your chances of slipping up and making unhealthy choices skyrocket. Do yourself a favor and meal-prep for at least three days out.
Check out these helpful articles:
- How to Meal Prep for your Weight Loss Plan
- 7 Easy Meal Prep Ideas to Prep Once and Eat Clean All Week
- 21 Meal Prep Ideas to Lose Weight
Drink Plenty of Water
Fasting, especially when you’re first starting out, is going to make you feel hungry. If you’ve gotten used to eating breakfast every day at 7 am, and now you have to wait until 11 am, you’re going to be tempted to eat.
While flexible fasting allows you to have a snack here and there, it’s a bad habit to get into. You don’t want to break your fast early every single day. Otherwise, you’re not really fasting. With that being said, drinking water will usually help satiate you long enough to make it to your first meal!
Drinking plenty of water will not only speed up your metabolism, but it will also fill up your stomach so you don’t feel like you’re starving. Make it a goal to drink a minimum of 64 ounces each day, although you can feel free to drink even more!
Stick to It
Last, but certainly not least, you need to give it time. You’re not going to drop weight overnight, but after a few weeks of being in a caloric deficit, the pounds will begin to come off! It’s going to take time for your body to adapt to the new schedule, but once it does, you’ll become a fat-burning machine!
The fact that flexible intermittent fasting is not as restrictive as the other approach makes it a viable choice for beginners. You must remember, however, that no diet is right for everyone. The effectiveness of a weight loss program greatly depends on your personal preferences and schedule. This approach to weight loss can be an extremely effective tool if done right. It can save you time, energy, and even money!
If you are a diabetic, or someone who struggles with maintaining blood sugar, intermittent fasting may not be for you. Before changing up your diet, it is highly recommended that you speak with your doctor.