Late fall is when shorter days and longer nights naturally lead to changes in our eating and sleeping habits.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s also a time when the lack of carbs and food should lead to more fat burning and weight loss.
One of the cornerstone health practices I recommend, especially during fall and winter, is intermittent fasting.
Use these four beginner-friendly tips to get the most out of fasting, regardless of your experience level (or lack thereof).
Tip #1: Fast Primarily for the Health Benefits
Fasting can definitely result in fat loss, but I don’t think that’s the main reason people should fast.
Instead, you should fast mainly for the health benefits: less risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, neurological disorders, and the list goes on.
Before you incorporate fasting to lose fat, at least get the basics of portion control and exercise down first. Then you can add fasting and get the best of both worlds!
Tip #2: Skip Dinner, Not Breakfast
It’s far from the only way to fast, but if you’re going to skip a meal every day, I recommend you skip dinner, not breakfast.
The biggest issue I see is that skipping breakfast often results in a delayed eating schedule, which can interfere with sleep.
Even if you prefer not to skip a meal, try only eating when it’s light out, which will automatically result in a shorter eating schedule in fall and winter. Win-win.
Tip #3: The Best Way to Lose Fat While Fasting
Cardio in the fasted state allows you to burn more fat than fed cardio, even if you don’t fast for very long.
For example, a 2017 study of young women found that an hour of easy cardio before breakfast increased fat-burning for a full 24 hours.
If your main goal right now is to burn more fat, start with fasted cardio in the morning right when you wake up, then eat breakfast. Later on you can also experiment with advanced techniques, like pairing up the keto diet and fasting or using extended fast periods.
Tip #4: Break Your Fast the Right Way
When you end your fast, do it deliberately and mindfully, especially if you’re hungry. Eating slowly will keep you from overeating or feeling sick.
Food selection is equally important, but depends on your goals. For fat loss or longevity, using keto foods to break the fast is optimal, or you can use healthy carbs to fuel your muscles up for strength training, muscle-building, or athletic performance.
If you’re using extended fasts of 20-24 hours or longer, the same rules apply, but you should go even slower and avoid large amounts of fats or protein at first to avoid an upset stomach.