Have you started intermittent fasting because you want to lose weight and experience the health benefits, but see no change? Do you feel like you’re missing a piece of the intermittent fasting puzzle?
It could be due to this one important reason… Keep reading to find out what it is and how to adjust it to see the results you seek with intermittent fasting.
Let me start by saying that many of us have seen incredible benefits from following an intermittent fasting protocol. Weight loss is one of the most sought out benefits of intermittent fasting and this regimen has been life-changing for many of us.
That being said, there are myths that have developed regarding intermittent fasting. One is that everybody loses weight with intermittent fasting. While that is true for most people, there are some who experience other benefits, but not weight loss.
Before you go and give up on this amazing protocol that’s easy to follow and budget-friendly, hear me out.
INTERMITTENT FASTING MYTHS THAT INFLUENCE YOUR RESULTS
It may be that you’re believing a second myth related to intermittent fasting and this is keeping you from losing weight. This is the belief that you can eat anything you want and still lose weight as long as you eat within a restricted period of time.
If you believe this, I’m sorry to tell you it’s not true. Intermittent fasting should be followed along with healthy eating. But, what is healthy eating when it comes to intermittent fasting?
Eating ice cream, cake, burgers, and pizza when you’re feasting will not help you lose weight. In fact, you will likely gain weight.
Why? Because these foods are traditionally cooked with refined carbs and sugar. They’re high in carb content and ultra-processed.
But don’t worry, because you can have healthier versions of all those foods. You don’t have to feel deprived! In fact, your weight loss will be more sustainable in the long run if you add indulgent healthy foods to your eating regimen.
HEALTHY EATING AND INTERMITTENT FASTING: WHAT IS IT?
Have you read my post on what to eat during intermittent fasting? If you have, you’ll know that I’m only specific about cutting out sugar and processed foods from your diet. I suggest eating clean, whole, natural foods.
While I eat a low carb high fat diet (LCHF), I don’t think it’s a must to benefit from intermittent fasting.
Does it help you lose weight faster? Sure! But it’s not necessary.
Advocates of intermittent fasting follow many different diets, including vegan, keto, paleo/primal, real food, and gluten-free to name a few. And one of each of these diets has helped their advocate lose weight.
My point is that there’s not a one size fits all solution to what you eat during intermittent fasting, other than eating healthy.
But you know the cool thing about the diets I mentioned? They all have A-MAZING recipes for cake, bread, and ice cream. Yes, you can still enjoy those, and more foods that traditional “diets” have suggested we can never have again if we don’t want to gain weight.
So, let’s get into what each one of these eating habits entails…
WHAT THE HECK ARE ALL THESE HEALTHY DIETS?
There are so many healthy diets that it’s hard to keep track of what each one entails. One thing I can say they tend to have in common is the elimination of sugar and ultra-processed foods. They tend to focus more on eating the way food is available in nature, chemical-free and minimally processed.
Whether you agree with these eating habits or not, you can’t deny that less processed is better.
While I’m going over four widely used diets here, there are many other healthy diets that can be followed with intermittent fasting. Your diet does not need to be prescriptive, simply make healthier choices regarding what you eat during your feasting periods.
The ketogenic diet is all the rave now because people are seeing great results when it comes to weight loss. This diet primes the body to use fat, instead of carbs, for energy by reducing carb intake and increasing fat consumption.
The focus of keto is on high fat and low carb food consumption. In general, the macros breakdown is supposed to be 5-10% carbs, 20% protein, and 70-75% healthy fats.
Healthy fats in the ketogenic diet are not necessarily your traditional “healthy fats.” They include grass-fed butter and animal fat. With the keto diet, bacon is good!
BENEFITS: Regulates blood sugar, improves cholesterol levels, improves blood pressure, weight loss, and protects brain function amongst other benefits.
The focus of the paleo diet is to eat the way our ancestors ate, the way food is available in nature. That means cutting out sugar and refined or processed foods.
Legumes, dairy, grains, starches, and alcohol are avoided with this diet. Fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, seafood, and lean meats are all acceptable. Like with the ketogenic diet, fatty meats are okay to eat if they come from grass-fed animals.
BENEFITS: Anti-inflammatory effects, regulated blood sugar, weight loss, improved heart health, and improved autoimmune disease symptoms among other benefits.
The gluten-free diet simply excludes foods that contain gluten, such as wheat, barley, rye, and other related species.
It’s beneficial for people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergies, and gluten ataxia (an immune disorder).
BENEFITS: Improved cholesterol levels, increased energy, improved digestive health, reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and weight loss amongst other benefits.
Real food diets don’t exclude entire food groups but focus on real foods that are minimally processed. So, sugar is out, but bread could be in if made with whole ingredients only.
You can eat fruits and veggies, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish and meats. Fermented foods are great for this diet and awesome for gut health.
BENEFITS: It can have mood-stabilizing, energizing, and anti-inflammatory effects. It can also lead to weight loss and to better regulate blood sugar levels.
DO YOU NEED TO STICK TO ONE SPECIFIC DIET?
Heck no! You just need to stick to foods that you like and that are still healthy. But you do need have balance.
On my site, you may find roundups of keto recipes, but you will also find a paleo-friendly zucchini bread with coconut flour recipe. While my focus is on low car high fat, I eat them all.
I don’t have zucchini bread available every single day because I’ll eat the entire loaf all by myself within two or three days. Then I’ll hear it from my husband who could eat the entire loaf in one day, lol.
But all kidding aside. While the zucchini bread is healthy, eating the entire loaf in one sitting would be excessive.
I don’t count calories. I haven’t counted calories since April 2017 and I’ve lost 25 lbs. since then. But I am aware of what I can eat a crazy amount of and what I need to moderate. You can do the same.
For example, I can eat an entire batch of apple cinnamon chips. And it’s okay because it’s equal to one apple.
On the other hand, as mentioned above, with an entire batch (loaf) of zucchini bread I would probably gain weight.
Both options I mentioned in the example are healthy. I wouldn’t call them keto or low carb. But, for me at least, it works to not feel deprived. And that is sustainable beyond my weight loss goals.
If you do better with very structured dietary guidelines, then sticking to one diet alone might be the best option for you.
I’m not here to tell you that you “must eat this or that way.” One of the things I love the most about intermittent fasting is that you have options. You get to choose what works best for you.
HEALTHY MEALS FOR YOURSELF AND/OR THE FAMILY
Do you happen to be one of those people who is “dieting” while the rest of the family enjoys all the foods you wish you could eat?
It’s painful and depriving… I know, I’ve been there.
It’s also frustrating because you feel like you will never get to the point where you’ll enjoy a wonderful meal with your family without the ensuing guilt or weight gain. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
What if I told you that you can sit there and enjoy the entire meal with your spouse (like in my case) or your entire family? Yep, the same meal they’re eating.
You might think, “sure, but then they won’t like it!”
I’m here to tell you that they will.
I just experimented a little bit with this. You see, as I write this post, I’m in Florida staying with my sister and her family. My mom and dad are also here.
I’ve been following my intermittent fasting regimen of 16 hours fasting and 8 hours feeding. I’m also eating low carb high fat.
I’ve cooked for the whole family a couple of times. Not only have they eaten it, but they’ve told me how delicious the food was! One example is my zucchini lasagna, which my dad requested before he even flew in from the Dominican Republic.
And the little ones? One of them loves kombucha and asks me to drink some just so I can share with her. The other one, a pickier eater, ate riced cauliflower and said it was delicious. When we told her what it was, she stopped eating it. Next time we’ll keep the secret to ourselves, lol.
My point is that healthy can be so delicious that the family may not even realize or care that it’s healthy.
HEALTHY EATING AND INTERMITTENT FASTING: HOW TO MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE?
You have a lot on your plate with work life and home life. The constant effort to eat healthily and cook yourself something different than everybody else is exhausting. Add the fact that healthy foods can be more expensive.
All this makes healthy eating less sustainable. And with intermittent fasting, you definitely want to maintain a sustainable healthy diet.
The idea of cooking delicious healthy meals for the whole family can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some tips to make healthy eating for the family (and that includes you too) easier to manage.
You can take a day to cook a bunch of meals and cook food in batches that can be turned into several dishes. Then, throughout the week, you’re just reheating food, saving you a lot of time and even money!
To do batch cooking effectively, plan ahead to have all the ingredients available before you begin. This is where the next tip comes in.
Planning meals ahead of time saves time and becomes affordable because you know the exact amount of food you need.
Meal planning eliminates food waste, reduces the stress of wondering what you’re going to cook every day when you get home, and sets you up for batch cooking if you’re up for it.
MEAL PLANNING MADE FOR YOU
Have you ever tried a meal box delivery service? This is for you if you don’t have the time to go grocery shopping or you don’t want to do it (this would be me 😉).
These services send you delicious pre-portioned foods and recipes every week. The extent of your meal planning is choosing which meals you want delivered to you.
Not even up for choosing them? No worries, they can choose them for you if you’d like.
While I love this option for dinner, I’m aware that there are many other meals you need for the week. So, you still may need to consider some meal planning and batch cooking if you would like to eat healthy. This is true whether you’re intermittent fasting or not.
THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION
There’s a ridiculously affordable solution to make healthy meal planning and or batch cooking streamlined and easier. Unfortunately, it’s only available twice a year for a very brief period of time.
I’m talking about healthy meal plans already made for you, complete with shopping lists and fresh recipes. Whether you’re eating keto, paleo, gluten-free, real food, or vegan there’s a meal plan for you.
If you’re looking for quick meals that you can complete within 15 – 30 minutes, or that you can batch cook and freeze, they have them. They also have affordable healthy meal plans for as low as $5 per person per day, and instant pot and slow cooker meal plans.
The solution I’m referring to is The Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
I have this digital library of meal plans and I cannot even begin to explain the wealth of information in it. I’m not kidding, you have enough recipes (over 3000) and meal plans to last you almost two years (100 weeks). All for less than $50.
While the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle is not currently available, you can sign up to be notified when it goes on sale again. You can sign up directly at The Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle, or sign up below to receive the Free Intermittent Fasting Schedule Workbook plus information on healthy eating, intermittent fasting, and many other health and fitness resources directly from me.
CONCLUSION: HEALTHY EATING AND INTERMITTENT FASTING
If you’re following an intermittent fasting protocol, what you eat can determine whether you see and feel the benefits.
That being said, ditch the traditional “diet” mentality that deprives you of delicious foods. You should always enjoy what you eat and should never feel deprived. Otherwise, your weight loss will be temporary, and weight will come back with a vengeance.
You have options of healthy diets that offer flavorful choices for your feasting periods, including keto, paleo, gluten-free, and real food.
Best of all, with these healthy diets, you can cook for the entire family and join them at every meal once and for all.
Meal planning and batch cooking can make the feeding periods of your intermittent fasting protocol much easier to manage. Don’t underestimate your ability to make a healthy lifestyle sustainable.
Comment below and let me know what healthy diet you are pairing with intermittent fasting. Are you following a prescriptive diet, or are you simply cutting out sugar and ultra-processed foods as a guideline for healthy eating?