You may have already heard about it — intermittent fasting is a popular weight loss concept that features time-restricted eating to keep you in a caloric deficit. It’s so effective, that right now, it’s all pretty much everyone who wants to lose weight is talking about.

However, it seems daunting to start a new fitness plan to lose weight more so if it requires you to fast for several hours when you are not used to it. Intermittent fasting requires you to adhere to a strict no caloric intake policy for anywhere between 12 to 24 hours.

Depending on how much you are used to fasting, you can follow different intermittent fasting schedules. Find out how your body will respond and adapt to what plan works best for you.

In order to successfully embark on a new fitness plan, it is important that you are mentally prepared for it. Admittedly, it can be difficult to start fasting if you haven’t experienced it yet, but we’re here to make it easier for you.

Here are some steps that may help you prepare to start on this new program. Today, Evolve Daily shares four steps to kickstart your intermittent fasting.

1) Determine what your purpose is for undergoing intermittent fasting

Do you want to lose weight? Do you wish to avoid medication and relieve symptoms of a disease? Or do you aim to prevent diseases and live a longer life? Intermittent fasting may result in any or all of these.

Intermittent fasting has been proven to help people lose copious amounts of weight rather quickly and effectively, prevent heart disease and diabetes as well as provide protection from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Fasting is as much a mental game as it is a physical one, and you will no doubt hit some rough patches where you will probably think why you’re putting yourself through such agony. It is a big help to think about your reasons for choosing to undergo this plan in the first place, especially on days when you might feel deprived.

Know what you want to achieve, and keep your goal in sight. Never take your eyes off the prize.

2) Skip breakfast or skip dinner, it’s your choice

Each meal time is relative. Whether you’re a breakfast person that can’t skip the classic bacon and eggs, or you’re someone who likes to eat in a social setting at dinner. Once you have decided on which meal to skip, make sure to be consistent and follow through on the succeeding days that you are on intermittent fasting. It’s your choice which meal to forego.

Most intermittent fasting schedules simply mean that you either skip breakfast or skip dinner. Experiment with it and see which is easier and more comfortable for you.

Conversely, lunch is the most important meal of the day whilst on intermittent fasting. It’s the first meal that breaks your fast (if you skip breakfast), and one that you should definitely make count.

Try to get your full eight hours of sleep, because while you are dozing off, your fasting window clock is running and the more sleep you get, the easier it is to fast. Time flies when you are sleeping. Brush your teeth and get ready for bed early to help curb your cravings.

3) Don’t snack too much

While it’s great to have a snack here and there during your feeding window, do remember that small calories do add up. The trick to making intermittent fasting work is by counting your calories and setting a strict caloric restriction for yourself on a daily basis.

The average human being consumes around 2,000 calories a day just to maintain current weight. Knock 500 calories off of that total and you’re on pace to lose a pound a week. But make sure you adhere to daily caloric goal strictly. Snacking will cause you to break that count if you don’t account for those calories.

Conversely, if you eat too little, you become much more prone to binge eating. So set a caloric goal for yourself, count those calories and stick to it.

When you’re feeling hungry during your fasting window, drink water. Your body could actually be telling you that you’re thirsty, and you are misinterpreting it for hunger. During your feeding window, on the other hand, try to have healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables. These are good calories to lose count of if you must.

4) Gradually increase your fasting time

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The best thing about intermittent fasting is that you can go at your own pace. You don’t have to storm out of the gates guns blazing, ready to push yourself to the limit. Instead, try to ease yourself into it and make sure you are ready for the next step before you make the jump. Consistency is key.

Most beginners start with an initial fasting window of 14 hours. After two weeks on this schedule, you can upgrade yourself to 15 or 16 hours and so on. Remember to always listen to your body and how it is responding to fasting. Change your strategies, make intermittent fasting work for you.

It is very important that you don’t rush intermittent fasting. Most of the time, this particular program fails to work when a person tries to take on too much.

The privilege with intermittent fasting is that we can eat our favorite foods while still being able to lose weight, as long as we are in a caloric deficit. Make sure you are taking advantage of this.

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