Probably one of the most common questions people have when they begin an intermittent fasting lifestyle is:
What should I eat?
As I mentioned in top ten tips to start intermittent fasting, you can combine intermittent fasting with any style of eating that you choose.
The freedom of this lifestyle is that it allows you to eat whatever you want, just not whenever you want to.
Of course that doesn’t mean you should live on donuts.
It just means that you can make the food choices that are healthy for your body and that make you feel good, rather than trying to follow a specific eating plan that someone else came up with and may not be right for you.
If having a donut every day makes you feel great and you enjoy it, then go for it! Just remember, balance is a good thing.
Find the eating plan that works for you.
Perhaps you already have an eating plan that you enjoy and that makes you feel your best. Maybe that’s low carb or keto, maybe it’s vegetarian or vegan, or maybe it’s everything in moderation.
If you’re not sure, I recommend experimenting a bit. The great thing about intermittent fasting is that the fasting period gives your body a break, so that when you do eat it’s easier to tell whether what you’re eating is good for your body.
Just keep in mind that with many new eating plans it does take some time for your body to adjust, just like it does for intermittent fasting.
Feeling off for the first week or so doesn’t mean the way of eating isn’t good for you.
For example, if you decide to try clean eating and give up processed foods, your body is probably going to protest if it’s used to you feeding it a lot of processed food. While you can absolutely choose to continue eating some processed food, I don’t think anyone would argue that your body actually needs it.
Likewise, if you reduce your carbohydrate intake or stop eating meat, there will most likely be an adjustment period. Give yourself a few weeks on your new eating plan, and then assess how you feel.
No matter what anyone tells you is the best way to eat, only you know your body and you shouldn’t force yourself to eat in a way that doesn’t feel good.
What do I eat while intermittent fasting?
Right now I fall into the everything in moderation way of eating. I spent so many years researching and trying the latest diets, that for now I’m content to experiment and find the foods that make me feel my best.
I love food.
I admit it, one of the really appealing things that led me to intermittent fasting was the idea that I didn’t have to restrict what I eat.
I have dessert almost every day!
But through intermittent fasting, I’ve been able to stop myself at one slice of pie or a couple of cookies whereas before I would have felt guilty and had the attitude of “Well, I’ve blown my diet I may as well finish the whole pie/cake/box of cookies and start over tomorrow (or Monday)!”
I actually find myself being naturally drawn to lower carb foods now that I’ve been intermittent fasting for a while. Like I said, I have dessert every day but fairly often dessert will be berries and dark chocolate, because that’s what I’m craving, not because that’s what I feel I “should” eat.
And all of a sudden, I find myself searching for new veggies to try, and new ways to make the ones I already love!
I still eat bread and rolls, but a serving will satisfy me unlike in the past where I would binge eat a whole loaf or bag. Potatoes rarely taste good to me anymore, and I was never a really big rice or pasta person anyway.
I don’t know if I will ever want to give up sugar for good, but I do know that intermittent fasting has helped a lot with being able to actually control how much I have.
Not everyone does well with lower carb, you may find you need to increase your carbohydrate intake to feel good. Listen to your body!
I’m going to be posting about food a lot, because it’s a passion of mine. I love to cook and experiment with new recipes. While I hope you enjoy those posts, don’t ever feel like you have to eat the same things that I eat.
I also don’t count calories. Intermittent fasting has enabled me to really be able to feel when I’ve had enough to eat. Some days that’s not a lot, other days I eat more than my 6’4” husband.
It’s really important to practice learning your satiation signals. Let yourself eat what you want, especially at first, and then assess how you feel afterwards.
If you feel stuffed and sick, then you obviously ate too much. If you’re starving within a few hours and find it impossible to finish your fast, then you didn’t eat enough. Experiment with how you feel after you’ve eaten, until you find that balance where you feel good and you can pretty easily make it through your desired fasting time.
Too often, people are so focused on the fasting part of intermittent fasting, that they forget about the best part. The feasting!
Food is meant to nourish your body and provide it with all of the things it needs, so you have to make sure that you get the food you need. More fasting isn’t necessarily better, and neither is eating too little.
Some people will often find that when they relax their self-imposed restrictions, their bodies will naturally start to let go of the extra weight!
Do you follow a specific diet plan, or do you prefer everything in moderation? Let me know in the comments!
* Please note that I am not a health or medical professional. All of the information contained within this blog are based on my own experience and research and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your own health or medical professional before starting any new weight loss, health or fitness program.