Like any program that is created, the 21 Day Fix is generalized to work for most people. However, none of us are exactly alike, and there are unique situations where some people have initial success but then their weight loss stalls. I previously wrote about tweaks you can make if you’re not seeing progress, but today I have another idea to add to that list.
Don’t worry. This isn’t “fasting” in the typical sense. Let me explain.
Intermittent fasting is when you have an eating schedule that involves an eating window, and a “fasting” window. There are several variations, but the most common schedule, and the one I follow, is 8 hours eating and 16 hours fasting.
Basically, I eat all of my calories (containers if you’re following the Fix) during an 8 hour period, and don’t eat anything the other 16. My personal eating window is 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.
Why intermittent fasting?
It takes 6-8 hours to metabolize stored carbohydrates (glycogen). After that, your body starts using stored fat for fuel. The result? Weight loss, but most importantly fat loss.
It’s also really beneficial for your body to have a break from the digestion process. If you eat all day long, your digestive system rarely gets a break.
Now, it’s important to remember that this way of eating does not mean that you have a food fest 8 hours of the day. It’s important that you still choose clean, whole foods, like the ones included in the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan.
You’ll be surprised how quickly your body adapts to this way of eating. I used to wake up starving and ate first thing, but now I don’t wake up hungry at all. I still struggle with wanting to snack after my 7:00 pm cutoff time, but I think that’s more a mental thing than physical. And the bonus for me is that my weight loss has picked back up. I think this is an awesome way to get past a plateau and switch things up for your body while still getting all your calories in so that your metabolism stays revved up.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are many benefits of intermittent fasting and a lot of them are scientific. I’ll just explain a couple benefits I’ve seen personally.
I’m not as hungry — Because I’m eating for a shorter window of time during the day, I eat 3 larger meals instead of the 5 or 6 meals I was eating. I’ll still have an occasional snack, but often don’t need them.
I don’t think about food all the time — My life used to revolve around food. I was either eating, or thinking about eating, or planning when and what I was going to eat next. Knowing that I only eat for 8 hours has eliminated that. I eat enough at a time that I’m not hungry and before I know it, it’s time to eat again.
How to get started
You can start out slowly. Maybe start out eating 11 hours per day and fasting for 13. Slowly reduce your eating time by an hour each week.
Or you can just go all in. This is what I did. The first few days I was hungry in the morning, but my body slowly adjusted.
If you’re doing the 21 Day Fix, make sure you still get all (or most) of your containers in. If you find you can’t quite fit them all, make sure to focus on veggies, protein, and fat.
- As with any new eating or exercise plan, always check with your doctor first, especially if you have diabetes or another medical condition.
- Don’t worry about doing it perfectly. If you have a weekly date night or other activity that would involve eating after your cutoff time, don’t stress. Just eat and then start back on schedule the next day.
- I’m a very strong proponent of listening to your body. So, if you’re in your fasting time frame, but your body is screaming at you with hunger — EAT!!
There’s a ton of great information, with more scientific explanations, available out there online. Here are some resources I found helpful:
The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting Infographic
Other articles you might like:
How to create a 21 Day Fix meal plan
Meal planning templates for each calorie level
Tips for creating your 21 Day Fix Extreme meal plan
How to tweak the 21 Day Fix if you’re not seeing progress