Intermittent fasting is the latest “thing” in weight loss. Fast for 2 hours. Eat every other day. Fast on the third day. Ay carumba!
What mom has time for that?
Luckily, you can reap the benefits of intermittent fasting without much effort. For busy moms, I recommend what’s called the 8-hour eating window. Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, intermittent fasting is a great way to jumpstart weight loss or break or plateau.
All you have to do is restrict your meals to 8 hours. 9 to 5, 10 to 6, 11 to 7. Or whatever fits best into your schedule.
Here are some of the (many) benefits of following an 8-hour eating schedule:
#1 It can help you break through difficult weight loss plateaus. You know, when you are exercising regularly and eating well but can’t seem to lose weight.
#2 Allows your body time to dig into fat stores rather than quick energy from recent meals, boosting weight loss.
#3 Makes you more conscious of your eating habits, naturally reducing intake of unhealthy foods.
And the best part is that intermittent fasting is easy. It doesn’t impact what you eat, just when you’re eating it. So, as long as you’re making healthy choices about what you eat (read: limiting your intake of processed foods), it can help jumpstart weight loss.
This post won’t cover nutrition, but rather the eating schedule you follow. By limiting the time frame, you eliminate extra calories. But we never recommend dropping below 1200-1500 calories.
For tips on how to eat healthier, check out our nutrition guides written by our registered dietitian, full of nutrition tips for every stage of motherhood.
Before you start, a couple words of caution
Intermittent fasting is perfect for busy moms. But moms that are breastfeeding or pregnant should not restrict their eating. You need the extra nutrients and calories to feed your baby!
If you have any hormonal issues or autoimmune disorders, speak with your doctor first.
Also, there isn’t enough research to suggest this eating schedule is safe for kids. Plus, if your kids are anything like mine, they eat all day!
Just how many meals should you be consuming? I recommend 3 meals and 1-2 snacks, that way you are never too hungry or too full during the 8-10 hour time frame.
Intermittent fasting: When you eat, not how you eat
Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean restricting what you eat—though I always encourage you to make healthy decisions—but rather the window in which you eat it.
Here’s how to get started. Look to our nutrition guides for healthy food options, and then restrict your 2-3 meals + 1-2 snacks into an eight-hour window.
Of course, you can (and should!) have water throughout the day. You can also have coffee and other calorie-free beverages outside of your window.
Usually, I recommend putting off your morning meal until at least 9. That gives you time to eat until about 4:30 or 5 when you have dinner. If you’d prefer, you can start eating around 11 and have until 7 for dinner.
A couple of tips on sticking to the schedule
What to do when you’re a breakfast person
It’s a myth that you need breakfast immediately when you wake up, or that it helps with weight loss.In fact, extending your fast a couple hours into your day can help your body dig into your fat stores and boost weight loss.My advice? Drink a cup of water immediately upon waking up. This should curb cravings and give your body the hydration and energy you need to start your day. And simply eat breakfast within a few hours of waking.
What to do when you exercise in the morning
Unless you’re planning on a high-intensity workout at least 50 minutes in length, you should have enough glycogen stored in your body to fuel your workout.If you work out for more than 50 minutes, I recommend eating half an apple to help you get through the workout. Then you can have your first full meal during your 8-hour window.If you find it difficult to get through your workouts, feel free to ease into the schedule. Perhaps you wait until 7 a.m. one morning to eat. Then, after a few days, push it to 8. Within a week, you should feel comfortable starting your eating window at 9 or later.
Okay, so how do I get started?
Everything you need to get is available in our On Demand program. Our Registered Dietitian lays out three Intermittent Fasting (IF) schedules, so you’ll know exactly when to eat. These IF schedules also plan your workouts, whether you workout out early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
You’ll have a library of more than 20 workouts to take care of the exercise portion of your weight loss plan.
So, jumpstart your weight loss through a simple exercise schedule, delicious healthy recipes and invigorating workouts made just for moms!
Intermittent fasting is not a form of starvation but a way for you to time your meals to maximize your body’s ability to burn fat.