(In Part 1 I have discussed the benefits of TRE-IF. In Part 2 I will discuss the practical part of TRE-IF)
TRE/IF Practical Aspects
It would be extremely difficult to give a TRE/IF plan for you to follow because individuals have different needs and schedules. However, here are a few tips that you should adhere to when planning out your program.
Know your goals
If you are adopting the intermittent fasting plan to lose weight, you should know your best food choices and be mindful of your carbohydrate intake. You can assess and set your carbohydrate goals depending on your personal needs.
If you’re trying to build your body, you will have to ensure your energy and repair needs are met. Remember, you will need to consume all your nutrients within your eating window. This may actually be difficult if you need to be consuming a lot of food. However, you will be less likely to gain fat. If you are happy with your weight and/or looking to improve your health, it would be a good idea to check if your diet is healthy. All you need to do is fit all your meals within your eating window.
Know your schedule
Intermittent fasting is generally not focused on the foods you eat. It is focused on the timing. Your eating times and cut-off times are the cornerstones of intermittent fasting. You must comply with them for TRE/IF to be beneficial.
Many people who embark on IF usually find that their lives are controlled by their eating windows and fasting windows. They need to constantly check the timing and plan things out. All these inconveniences can be avoided with proper planning.
Look at your schedule and preferences. What time do you wake up? What time is your lunch break at work? Do you prefer eating upon waking or would you rather go to sleep on a full stomach?
It is vital that you know your schedule and preferences. If you like going to bed with a full stomach, you’ll probably have to schedule your eating window to start 6 hours after waking.
What if you’re at work and get hungry? Will you be able to take a break to eat your first meal when your eating window opens? All these are considerations you must bear in mind when planning your fasting.
How many meals will you eat?
Some of you may prefer to eat throughout the eating window with several small meals. Others may opt for 1 or 2 big meals. Either way is fine but you need to know which you prefer and plan it out. However, you will see better results if you do not eat several times a day. In fact, most people on the MDS Program usually find that they cannot eat as much as they used to!
When are you working out?
It is ideal that you embark on a regular exercise program. However, you need to know what time you will be training. Will you train on an empty stomach?
For some, it is important to eat after a workout so that the body gets the fuel it needs. This can also boost your metabolic rate. For others, working out on an empty stomach or fasting after a workout is more effective. So, plan your eating window in a manner where you’re able to eat after you train.
Common TRE-IF Mistakes to Avoid
There are several mistakes that many people make when it comes to TRE/IF. All of these mistakes can be avoided.
Mistake 1 – Giving up too fast
You must understand that intermittent fasting is the total opposite of what most people are accustomed to. All your life, you have not given much thought to eating times and ate whenever you’ve felt like it.
Adopting the TRE-IF method will be difficult initially. You should mentally prepare yourself to stay the course for 2 weeks. Do not throw in the towel just because you slip up every now and then.
It is almost inevitable that you will slip up. You might get hungry and eat something. After this, you will feel guilty and curse yourself for being weak. You might then decide that the entire plan has failed… and you quit.
This is the usual process that many newbies go through. Never quit. If you do slip up and eat something, keep your meal small. The quest is not a failure if you keep at it.
Over time, your appetite will decrease and you will be more disciplined. It will become easier to stick with the plan. In fact, usually after 2 or 3 weeks, most people on IF find it more difficult to consume all their calories within the eating window.
From craving for food, they now feel like they have too much to eat and too little time. You will be amazed to see how fast your body adapts. Stick with the plan.
Mistake 2 – Poor planning
As mentioned earlier, timing is crucial to the program. If you plan poorly, you will be stressing yourself out unnecessarily and constantly watching the clock. TRE/IF can be stressful in the beginning. You shouldn’t add on to the stress with poor planning.
There are several different types of intermittent fasting. Many beginners want fast weight loss results. So, they adopt the fasting diet that involves 24-hour fasting or they cut their calories drastically and adopt IF.
Slow and steady wins the race. If you try to do too much too soon, the entire process will become torturous and stressful. It will just be a matter of time when your will-power will fail you and you will quit.
Start small and have a shorter fasting window. As the days progress, you can gradually increase the duration of your fasting window.
Mistake 3 – Not watching the diet
All calories are not made equal. Getting 400 calories from a piece of meat is different from getting 400 calories from 2 bars of chocolate.
Intermittent fasting does allow some leeway with your diet but if you want faster results with your fat loss, you should also eat a healthy, whole-foods based minimally processed food diet.
Your diet and IF are not mutually exclusive. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by adopting a clean diet. Combine it with TRE/IF and you will burn the fat much faster.
Mistake 4 – Not exercising
Yes… it’s hard work. Yes… you can lose weight with TRE/IF and a healthy diet. However, if you want to be stronger and fitter, you MUST exercise.
Ideally, you should include both moving your body regularly at a slow and steady pace with a few sessions of heavy, strenuous exercise. You can keep things interesting by trying varied workouts or even different types of exercises. Pilates on one day, kickboxing the next day or maybe swim some laps on the weekend.
The key is to move more and challenge yourself. Exercise is a habit. It is a difficult habit to inculcate but it’s an extremely easy one to lose. TRE/IF will help you lose weight. Though exercise will not speed up the process significantly but in the long run, it will support your health and wellness and help you in keeping off the fat. It is a fact that most people are able to lose weight but are often unable to keep the weight off for long.
The key to training is to build up your strength and stamina.
If you don’t want to lose momentum, don’t stop for too long. Short 1-3 day rest days are sufficient. If you’re not overtraining, 1 day of rest every 3 days is enough to give your body a break.
Now that you know what the common mistakes are, you can avoid them and attain success with intermittent fasting.
Should I Exercise While Fasting?
As mentioned earlier, yes… you definitely should.
There are many benefits of exercise such as:
- A higher metabolic rate which aids in fat loss.
- Releases endorphins (which are your “don’t worry, be happy “chemicals) which will make you feel happier.
- Prevents muscle loss. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
- Improves blood circulation.
- Prevents diseases that cause cognitive decline
- Exercise improves mood.
- Encourages better sleep
And much, much more! It may require a Herculean effort to go from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. The key here is small improvements daily. If you’ve not been exercising for years, you can start with a 20-minute walk daily.
Do not jump into a high-intensity workout overnight. Give your body time to adapt and recover. Start with low impact exercises such as walking, cycling and swimming. Then move on to resistance training with light weights. There is no need to train to the point of exhaustion when you’re starting out. What matters is that you move more and get into the habit of exercising regularly. Over time, you can increase the intensity of your workouts and challenge yourself.
Do note that it is ok to train on an empty stomach.So, you could either train during your eating window or start your eating window after your workout.
That pretty much sums it up. A clean diet, TRE/IF and regular exercise are three components of the weight loss battle. When you have all three components in place, you will lose weight, get healthier and fitter and keep the excess pounds off.
The TRE/IF program is extremely effective, safe and sustainable. One of the biggest benefits of this program is that you could adapt it for life.
Unlike a fad diet which only works for a short while, TRE/IF is a way of life. You will be eating real food and getting all the nutrients you need. There are no restrictions.
The fasting window will take care of the fat-burning process. Your body will also have more energy because it is not constantly digesting food. Your insulin levels will be more stable and your insulin sensitivity will improve.
This will make you less likely to gain weight.
If you’re planning to adopt intermittent fasting, you absolutely should give it a try. Stay focused and committed. It will be difficult initially but nothing worth having ever came easy. As long as you stay the course, you will get accustomed to it and there will be no looking back.
Monitor your progress and how you feel. Write it all down in a journal. In a few weeks, you will see that you made an excellent decision by adopting intermittent fasting. Once you see the benefits, you can tell your friends and family about it and encourage them to join you.
“Instead of using medicine, rather, fast a day.” – Plutarch.