As intermittent fasting (IF) — a dietary schedule that cycles between eating and fasting — continues to grow in popularity, the start of the year signals the kickoff of new and renewed resolutions to commit to IF to get (and stay!) healthy, energized and feeling like a new person.
However, a whopping 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the second week in February, and if you’re not armed with a customized plan and a forgiving mindset, the likelihood of keeping your New Year’s fasting plan decreases significantly.
The best way to set yourself up for success on a healthy intermittent fasting journey is to understand the pitfalls that are the biggest threats to taking you down. This way, you can successfully clear each hurdle and keep your goals within reach.
Take a look at these five ways you can start fasting with realistic expectations, proper planning and proactive support on hand.
Choose an attainable plan
There is more than one way to integrate intermittent fasting into your day-to-day lifestyle in a healthy way, so it’s important to realize that, as with other wellness choices, what works for one person might not be the most productive and efficient plan for the next. Read more in our overviews of five common fasting plans:
You don’t have to dive straight into the deep end when you start fasting. In fact, a surefire way to get in over your head is to start with the most intense plan of action. Not sure which schedule is right for you? If you’re new to IF, we suggest starting with the 16/8 plan, which is closer to a typical eating schedule. Bonus tip: Keep Citravarin fasting mints and a personal coach on-hand to help you stay on track during your fast.
The concept of intermittent fasting is simple, but it’s perfectly normal to have setbacks and struggle. Sticking to an entirely new schedule of eating without making any mistakes isn’t realistic, and by telling yourself you’ve failed after experiencing minor misses will only discourage you further.
Instead of letting yourself be overwhelmed by the big picture goals, start small. For example, start by eliminating snacks after lunch and dinner. Once you’ve accomplished and maintained your first bite-sized goals, move on to more challenging steps that will keep you on track for your healthy intermittent fasting plan.
Starting with a fasting schedule that is most similar to your current eating schedule will help make your intended shifts easy to manage within your newly allotted boundaries. Similarly, having realistic expectations and a mindset that is resilient to short-term failures will set you up for long-term success.
Play the long game
One of, if not the, most important thing(s) to know when starting this journey is that healthy intermittent fasting is a long-term lifestyle change. It has taken years of bad habits and indulgences to reach your current metabolic state, so you can’t expect intermittent fasting to work in a matter of days. In fact, it typically takes two weeks to a month to begin to feel the positive effects of this shift.
Rather than getting discouraged by not meeting external goals like how quickly weight falls off, measure success by your ability to maintain your intermittent fasting plan. Monitor your small accomplishments rather than heavily tracking measurements. Weight, especially, can fluctuate for many reasons that are out of your control and isn’t a reliable measurement for the beneficial changes you are making within your body.
Plan for cravings
Cravings are characteristics of human nature to which even the most experienced fasters aren’t immune.
Willpower won’t trump instinct and hard-wired habits, so it’s smart to anticipate setbacks, derailings and mishaps as part of a healthy intermittent fasting journey. By acknowledging this and working these challenges into your plan, you can equip yourself with a strategy to bounce back when they inevitably happen.
Arm yourself with support
While your intermittent fasting plan should align with you as an individual, you don’t have to do all of the leg work alone. Having an aid for curbing cravings that’s easily within reach when they strike is one way to keep yourself on track to meet your New Year’s health goals.
Citravarin, an endocannabinoid made from citrus peel extracts, reduces the impact of hunger hormones within the body so cravings don’t monopolize your thoughts and actions.
When you pair Temper fasting mints with one-on-one assistance and accountability from a trained coach who understands the psychology of cravings, you’re helping yourself to create the strong foundation you need to sustain a healthy lifestyle change.
A healthy resolution to get your metabolism in check, reduce inflammation, improve brain function and sleep better, among many other benefits, is a promising way to start the new year, but while the idea of sticking to a new strategy for eating sounds simple, it’s easy to get discouraged by small hiccups in the plan. By anticipating these setbacks in your new or newly recommitted intermittent fasting journey, you can plan for failure in order to succeed in reaching the health goals you deserve.