How to Tailor Fasting to Your Lifestyle

Rachel Lett

Head of Nutrition & Content

Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool for reducing blood sugars, improving insulin sensitivity and reversing diabetes. Recently it has gained a lot of support, quite simply because it works, and it’s easy.

As I discussed in “7 Types of Intermittent Fasting”, there are many different ways of fasting, so everyone can include in their life in some shape or form. With that said, it is important to find the right fasting regime that fits into your life. There is no wrong or right way to fast, but the correct one for youwill melt into your lifestyle, promotes an efficient day, and feel sustainable.

This article will discuss some points that are worth bearing in mind when choosing a fasting plan to suit your lifestyle. With all things considered, you can then begin to tailor a fasting regime to suit your needs and life.

What is your work schedule like, and when are you busiest?

Plan your fasts around your schedule — fast when you are short on time, and save eating for when you have more time to cook and digest. For most people, the morning is an optimal time to fast when as this is usually the busiest time of day.

Not only will skipping a meal or two earn you some extra time, but it will also improve productivity. Fasting greatly improves clarity and focus, which will turbo boost you through your to-do list. Additionally, a busy work schedule will make the fasting process easier. Your mind will be focused on things other than food, which will help blunt hunger.

When do you eat with friends & family?

Sitting down and eating a meal with friends and family is important for wellbeing. Pick your fasting window when you’re less likely to to eat with people — perhaps this is the A.M, when everyone is rushing out the door, or maybe in the evening when people are busy with activities.

If you habitually eat either breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends and family, keep this as part of your day, and fast around these times. Eating and spending time with people is sacred.

When are you normally hungry, or eat the most?

Do you eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper? Or does the thought of food in the morning makes you feel queazy? Follow what feels right for you and your appetite.

Despite popular belief, breakfast isn’t necessary. If you’re not in the mood for food when you wake up, then it’s perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to eat your first meal later in the day. Likewise, if your appetite naturally tapers off towards the end of the day, then try skipping your evening meal.

Centre your eating window around your appetite when you are most hungry —this will be different for everyone.

When do you exercise?

Fasting and exercising are complimentary of each other, so schedule fasting during exercise. Fasting improves exercise performance and results, whilst exercise enhances fasting benefits (autophagy, glucose clearance etc.)

Exercise can also be used to improve your fasting regime — it keeps your mind off food and acts as an appetite suppressant.

If you normally exercise in the morning, then delay breakfast till later. If you exercise in the evening, begin and stop eating earlier in the day so that you can exercise with an emptier stomach.

What are your aims and goals, and where are you in your health journey?

Determine where you are in your health journey and what you’re looking to achieve. If intermittent fasting is new to you, or you’re not yet fat adapted, then ease into it slowly. You can do this by reducing your normal eating window by half an hour each day until you reach a time frame you’re comfortable with.

Alternatively, if you were looking to reduce blood sugars quickly, or reset your appetite, then a 24–72 hour fast could work well. A long fast is an excellent way to reduce glucose and quickly shift the body into ketosis, however they are challenging.

If you’re a seasoned intermittent faster, looking to kick start a fat loss plateau or propel your fasting regime to the next levels, then exploring longer fasts on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis could be a good option.

Remember, nothing is set in stone

Life is flux, and everyday is different. Equally, your fasting regime should be flexible enough that it can mould around your daily schedule. Nothing is set in stone, and it’s completely fine to break your fast an hour earlier than intended— it won’t impact your results.

Giving yourself the liberty to fast according to lifestyle and how you’re feeling will most likely lead to better adherence. Simply being more mindful of hunger signals and noting when you start and stop eating is a gentle and effective way to introduce fasting into your daily life.

Rather than following intermittent fasting like a rule book, make it a natural extension that improves the everyday workings of your life. There’s something for everyone, so explore and have fun testing what works well for you.

Like what you’re hearing?

Stay tuned for more guides, to help you with your health journey.

If you’re interested in joining Span, download our mobile app on www.span.health or contact us at team@span.health to learn more.

Take care,
Rachel

I’m sure you’re curious about the science behind all this 🔬 Here are some recent medical publications about this topic:

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=01938924-201802000-00016
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413118302535
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31151228
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31002478