Updated: Aug 16, 2020
Two weeks ago I discussed a few things to keep in mind when considering trying an intermittent fasting diet. I want to talk more about planning for a time restricted eating diet would go.
You are not eating less carbs or restricting your food intake. You are not starving yourself. You are simply eating what food you woud consume in a day in a smaller window of time. What is happening is rather than eating right when you wake up and then maybe even eating a snack or desert after dinner making your 'eating window' possibly last 13-14 hours long, you eat the same food within a 8-10 hour window. This means a later breakfast and an earlier dinner.
Time restricted eating like this may not be a great option for athletes in season. Athletes need to eat before and after training, so limited what time you can and cannot eat will not be benefitial. However, during your offseason or during a time where you may be training but not competing, time restricted eating can be fun to experiment with.
Here are a few things you can do during the no calorie 'fasting window':
1. Water. Staying hydrated is always important.
2. Tea. Sometimes having a little flavor can help take the edge off hunger.
3. Go for a walk. Getting your body moving can help either pass the time or distract yourself.
4. Stretching. For anyone who likes yoga or just some regular old stretching this is a great time for it.
5. If you are transitioning to a IF diet and find it difficult to reduce your 'eating window', eating cucumber or carrots is fine. Don't make yourself miserable, if you are hungry you can eat.
Do not fast for long periods of time. Do not follow a water fast. These are not safe and not recommended. Intermittent fasting can be a healthful strategy in the sense of scheduling meals during the day and reducing late night snacking. Please consult with your primary care provided or registered dietitian if this is something you are interested in and before trying any risky behaviors on your own.