Thursday, February 24, 2011

Intermittent Fasting For Beginners

Intermittent fasting for beginners has two rules for success: (1) Make fasting pleasurable and NOT stressful. (2) Keep fasting simple and NOT rigid.

From an experienced faster’s standpoint, I have a few suggestions for beginners. You may want to do intermittent fasting (IF) for two reasons – weight loss or health or both. In any case, it’s good to observe these two formulas:

More rules = more complicated = low chance of success

Less rules = less complicated = high chance of success

According to Brad Pilon, a nutrition professional, a 24 hour period off of eating is very healthful, it helps you reduce calories without sacrificing what you like to eat on your non-fasting days, and maybe even more importantly it stimulates your body to produce more growth hormone. Yes that’s right growth hormone, the same one you hear about the celebrities talking to ‘stay young’. Growth hormone has many anti aging benefits, and one of the most interesting being fat burning! For more information about IF benefits, visit Brad Pilon's website.

How to do Intermittent Fasting?

In an ideal situation, 2 sessions of 24-hour fasts in a week will be good enough to produce significant health and weight loss benefits. However for beginners, I don't think you should jump start with a 24-hour fast, unless you are absolutely sure that you can do it.

There is no standard rule of doing IF. You are the rainmaker. Try it out and make it work for you. Let simplicity and flexibility be your fasting motto. Don’t make it stressful for yourself.

As a beginner to practice intermittent fasting, I would say ‘clear your mind from any other weight loss methods and focus on IF’. This is your first step towards IF success. Think how many times you’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal in a day or you need to eat 6 to 10 small meals a day in order to lose weight. I’m not saying these rules are wrong. If these rules work for you, stay with them. But if you are setting your feet onto the route of intermittent fasting, better put these concepts aside at least for the period you are trying out IF.

Having your IF mindset ready? Then begin with ‘skip meal’ and see how your body responds. I would say this is the simplest and easiest way to begin your intermittent fasting journey.

Pick a day to try skip breakfast. Have fresh juice, water or tea instead. No coffee please. If that works out fine, try ‘skip lunch’ and move on progressively. A 24-hour fast shouldn't be difficult for any normal healthy adult. One useful tip is not to think of food. Avoid social talk at the pantry over lunch hour. Go out for a walk or do some simple exercises.

You can also explore these IF options.

Condensed eating window, e.g. eat ONLY between 11am and 5pm;
Skip meal on an unplanned basis, as far as it is natural and not interfere your daily work;
Early and late, i.e. skip lunch;
One meal a day, ideally dinner only when you are relaxed and really have time to enjoy food.

For more ideas of how to skip meals and arrange your fasting window, check out 2 Meal Solution. You may even enrol their FREE e-course to learn more about IF.

To repeat, fasting has to be pleasurable and not stressful. Don’t press hard on yourself. Be flexible. This is very important. Don’t upset your boss when you are called upon a business lunch by telling him that you are fasting. Do it as you see fit and your schedule permits

Once you find a way that works for you, I'm sure you'll love it and stay with it. And you don't have to worry about weight loss again in the long term.

Happy fasting!


Intermittent Fasting Success Report - Tips For Beginners


  1. Anna, I love your blogs. Your approach to IF is common sense, fun and practical. Thanks for your hard work. I'm new to IF - just a week so far. It reminds me of the way I ate when I was younger and thinner. I feel great, and I'm not thinking about food all of the time. I look forward to checking in every now and then to see what you write. Thanks again.
    Annie from Upstate New York

  2. I just wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog. I am also new to intermittent fasting. I am starting slowly, this week I have been skipping breakfast. I haven't lost weight yet, but I'm suprised that I am not as hungy as I thought I'd be!

  3. Hi
    It takes a little time for IF to produce weight loss results. Be patient and persistent. You'll see a slimmer you soon.

  4. Hi Anna,
    I would like to make one small suggestion about this post - If you are going to drink juice instead of eating breakfast, remember that you have to be careful about what kind of juice you drink. A big glass of orange juice has as many calories as eating 10 oranges, so it's not really helping you to drink that instead of breakfast. I don't know if you're looking for other sites that really do a good job with nutrition and fitness, or if you will consider this stepping on toes. If I'm stepping on toes, sorry, you can just delete the comment, but if you're open to suggestions- my wife and I are really happy with the program we're using through Their system is really easy to use and it does everything. They have 1000's of different recipes to choose from and they help you build a fitness and nutrition plan that suits your goals. Which means you can personalize it to suit your dietary needs. Their exercises are all made by a certified personal trainer and come with printable workout cards and details of how the exercises are done. And for the nutrition part they even send you printable daily meal plans and menus, as well as printable daily or weekly grocery lists, which are broken down by the area of the grocery store or supermarket. My wife likes that all the recipes contain 12 ingredients or less, so they are easy enough for even me to cook. I like that there's no fad diets, pills, or required supplements. Again, if I'm not stepping on any toes, I suggest you check them out. They offer a free trial anyway, so there's harm in trying.

  5. Adam
    There are countless methods for weight loss and fitness. Different people may find different ways work better for them. If you are happy with what you are doing, congratulations. Just like the raw eaters cannot convince me to eat raw, or vise versa - The important thing is you find a way that works and that you love. Thank you for sharing the website which is very resourcesful.


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