Intermittent fasting has so many benefits beyond weight loss. Improved mental clarity, cancer prevention, blood regulation, type 2 diabetes reversal, increased energy and growth hormone, and improved cholesterol levels. And the benefits don’t stop there!
I would say that one of the most important things you can do to get these benefits of intermittent fasting is to stick to your scheduled fast.
It’s pretty obvious, if you cut it short, you won’t give your body enough time to dip into those fat stores and arrive at all those benefits mentioned above.
But there’s one more thing that’s crucial to intermittent fasting success.
Do you know what that is?
It’s what you eat. I’ve written a couple of posts about what to eat and healthy eating. But I can’t stress enough how being consistent with your healthy eating can help you achieve your IF goals.
You don’t have to follow a specific diet, but you have to make a conscious effort to eat real foods and reduce sugar intake significantly.
- How to determine your best intermittent fasting schedule
- What to eat during intermittent fasting to lose weight
- Healthy eating and intermittent fasting: What healthy is and how to make it sustainable
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES TO EATING HEALTHY
Tell me if you can relate to any of these:
- You’re busy and don’t have time to cook healthy food.
- If you had grab-and-go meals, you’d stick to your diet. But the usual grab and go meals aren’t healthy. Besides, pop tarts can stay in your cupboard for months and still be good, but fruits and veggies start going bad after a few days.
- You’ve tried to plan out your weekly meals, but you end up wasting money because you don’t eat it all.
- And, oh my! How much food do you have to cook to eat healthy? You feel like you spend too much time cooking.
- Omg, it takes so long to plan out what you’re gonna eat for the week!
- You go grocery shopping to meal prep and then forget half the stuff you needed but end up getting stuff you didn’t. Next thing you know, you’re only able to put together more than two meals. So, you fall short of meals for the week and end up eating junk.
Time and money are the biggest challenges to eating healthy. It’s tough!
But there’s a way around it…
WHY MEAL PLANNING IS CRUCIAL TO INTERMITTENT FASTING SUCCESS
Look, if you’re great about only having healthy food at your disposal, then meal prepping may not be crucial to your success with intermittent fasting.
But, if eating healthy is new to you, too expensive to do consistently, or you’re constantly surrounded by less healthy options, then meal prepping is going to be a huge savior.
Here are 5 reasons meal planning should be a part of your intermittent fasting routine.
#1 YOU DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT FOOD SO MUCH
It’s so easy to have food on our minds, especially when we’re starting out with intermittent fasting.
It’s like being told, “ignore the pink elephant in the room.” I know, it’s weird. But you’re probably thinking, what elephant? There’s no elephant here! Even if there was, elephants aren’t pink.
And there you are thinking about that darn pink elephant.
The same happens with food. On a crazy busy day, you forget to eat. But the day you decide you’re gonna start fasting, you’re watching the clock every two seconds to see when your fast will end.
Add to that, having to cook for the family when you’re in the middle of a fast. Ouch!
It’s a little cruel when you start out, really. Some people get used to it and reach success, but others have a hard time truly getting the benefits of intermittent fasting because of it.
With meal planning, you can cook ahead of time and simply reheat the food. That gets you out of the kitchen quickly, and you’re exposed to the temptation for less time.
#2 YOU SAVE MONEY
Think about how much food you throw in the trash every week and why. While you’re at it, walk over to your fridge and look at how much food is in there that’s expired or too old to eat at this point.
There’s a hefty price tag attached to all of that.
Intermittent fasting possibly reduces how much you eat, or how many meals. That saves you money. But meal planning can further reduce the cost because you only buy just enough for your meals.
Part of meal planning is gathering the recipes for the week and shopping only for the ingredients required. That drastically reduces your food cost. No more shopping with your stomach!
#3 YOU SAVE TIME
Omg, the amount of time you save!
You can spend time prepping food every day (or not, and just eating junk). Or, you can do it all, or most in one day. This cuts down significantly on the total amount of time spent cooking.
If you make meals that can be cooked in large batches and then eaten throughout the week, you can save a crazy amount of time.
As an example, let’s say you cook a lemon chicken in your Instant Pot. You can eat it with a side of cauliflower rice and roasted vegetables, you can add it to an egg cup with veggies and cheese, and you can slice it and use it as a taco or wrap filling.
In the end, you’ve saved the time it would’ve taken you to cook a different batch of chicken for each of those meals. But you ate three or four completely separate dishes.
And what does this have to do with intermittent fasting? That can free up your time to be active during your fast, rather than focusing on cooking a meal.
#4 YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE EATING
If you’re focusing on eating healthy while you follow an intermittent fasting protocol, you need to know everything you put in your mouth.
There are so many hidden sugars, preservatives, and other chemicals in food! Half the time we don’t even realize it. And this is true for some foods that claim to be healthy.
When you eat out, there’s even less control over what’s in your food. If you’re trying to reduce sugar, you don’t know if the dressing on salad you’re eating has more sugar than a dessert!
So, knowing what you’re eating is a crucial step to achieving success when you fast. And when you plan and make your own meals, you always know what you’re eating and how you’re preparing the food.
It makes the difference between fitting into brand new smaller jeans or continuing to struggle with your weight.
And, btw, I’m not saying you should never eat out. It just means that eating out should be the exception, not the rule.
Believe me, I’ve been there. Recently, my husband even said that he noticed he’s been losing weight because he hasn’t been eating out as much.
#5 FOOD IS READY BY THE TIME YOU BREAK YOUR FAST
It’s torture when you have to cook right before you break a long fast! You want to snap your finger and make a whole meal appear in front of you, rather than handling the food and smelling the aroma.
But you’ve decided to stick to your scheduled fasting period, so no cheating. You have to wait it out drooling over the enticing scent of delicious food.
Cooking ahead of time, maybe a freezable batch of food eliminates that torture. Or, if you’ve already done all the chopping and prepping for your meal, it drastically reduces the torture. ?
Either way, your food is (almost) ready by the time you break your fast. And this makes the practice of intermittent fasting more sustainable.
Truthfully, eventually the hunger subsides, you get used to the new fasting schedule. But this really helps when you’re starting out. And nothing beats you saving time.
#6 YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO LOSE WEIGHT
Over and over again, I hear of people starting diets they like, but not sticking to them. The main reason? They spend too much time cooking. With a busy schedule, it can feel like an impossible task.
One of the advantages of intermittent fasting is that you eat fewer meals (if you go for one or two meals a day to maximize the benefits). So, that cuts out cooking time.
Save more time with meal planning, as explained above. Then, you’re more likely to continue eating healthy during your feeding periods.
Boom! Then you finally start fitting into your skinny jeans again. You have to tell people to stop giving you so many compliments because you look so great. Who are we kidding? Tell them you want to hear it more often.
Don’t be modest. For the first time, you’ll look great inside and out. Let the praises keep on coming! ?
CHALLENGES TO MEAL PLANNING
I’ve told you why healthy meal planning is crucial to intermittent fasting. But there can be some challenges to carrying out your healthy meal plans consistently.
- Deciding what to eat for the entire week can be a hassle. How many hours will you spend on Pinterest trying to find recipes? This is especially true when you’re planning for a bigger family.
- If you don’t plan it out correctly, you might end up spending too much money on ingredients, rather than choosing foods with similar spices and ingredients to maximize your shopping list.
- If you don’t choose correctly, it might take you too long to meal prep on Sunday, so it won’t be sustainable.
- How do you meal prep for special occasions and parties you’re hosting? You don’t want to impose your healthy eating on all your guests.
To make meal planning sustainable, you need these barriers to be removed. Otherwise, there’s no point in trying.
THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION TO HEALTHY MEAL PLAN WHILE INTERMITTENT FASTING
The Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle is, I must say, the “ultimate” solution to meal planning. I purchased the 2018 version of this bundle.
It has hundreds of recipes and meal plans for every type of healthy diet.
Trying to eat gluten-free, paleo, or keto? They had meal plans for it. And these are just some examples of healthy diets.
Trying to make meals in under 30 minutes? They had meal plans for that too!
Looking for a low budget healthy meal plan? You guessed it, also included.
I have good news and bad news for you…
Let’s start with the bad. The last time the 2018 bundle was on sale was for two days in September. That’s it. Since then, it hasn’t been available for purchase.
The company who sells it, Ultimate Bundles, only opened up sales for a total of 8 days during the year. They do it because they’re selling a great quality product for a fraction of the cost. Like 96% off what it would cost if you bought everything separately.
The good news is, they’re coming out with a 2019 version that’s gonna be A-MAZING! Not kidding, it’s gonna be even better than the 2018 version. And that’s saying a lot.
Basically, it’ll make healthy meal planning very simple for you. This’ll make you more likely to see success with intermittent fasting.
Do you want to be the first to know when it comes out on January 2nd? Sign up here to be notified. You can also download their Free Make Over Your Wellness Goals Planning Workbook to get you started before the launch.
Intermittent fasting can be life-changing when it comes to weight loss and health benefits.
Aside from creating an intermittent fasting schedule that’s right for you and that you know you will stick to, eating healthy is crucial to success.
Meal Planning is one of the best ways to ensure that you consistently eat healthy. And the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle simplifies the entire process for you and your family.
If you want to be notified when the sale goes live (which is really soon!), sign up here.
Comment below and let me know what your meal planning looks like right now.
And don’t forget to sign up for the Intermittent Fasting Schedule workbook. It’s the perfect foundation to get you started on a healthier journey.