After leading on from last weeks article on Intermittent Fasting and now that you’ve chosen your fasting period let’s talk about what you can and can’t have during your fasting window.
There is a lot of debate about what can be consumed during the fast because certain foods still contain “zero calories” like sugar-free drinks, teas, black coffee, chewing gum, etc.
Since your goal is to use Intermittent Fasting to lose fat and to make it work with your lifestyle then the information about what really breaks a fast will not apply and you can have your sugar free gums, drinks, black coffees and teas.
Here’s what I recommend:
From your last bite of food at dinner time, consume nothing but water for a minimum of 12 hours. Why 12 hours? Because you should give your body a rest from having to do any digesting of food at all (including the list below).
After that 12 hours you have the options of consuming:
- Black coffee
- Black tea/Green tea/ Herbal tea
- Water with a squirt of lemon or lime
- Pre-workout that has less than 10 calories
- Essential Amino Acids EAAS
- Natural sweeteners like stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sugar-Free Gum
THESE THINGS ABOVE WILL NOT BREAK YOUR FAST.
Let me make this as clear as mud… Anything you consume that’s not listed above WILL break your fast, but if your goal is to lose fat you just need to be in a calorie deficit.
If you must have a dash of milk in your coffee or a sugar-free red bull, then so be it but you’re technically not fasting, which is fine as long as you’re still eating fewer calories than you burn during the day because that’s what matters most, eating fewer calories than you burn.
If you have to have a dash of milk in your coffee that’s about 30 – 50 calories but that helps you stay away from food and stay on track with your calorie deficit then that’s still helping you towards your goal of losing weight so don’t stress.
However, if you’re having 2 – 3 coffees a day and they’re full of milk, all of those extra calories do add up and can stop you from losing fat.
Let me give you an example of a typical day for me:
Stop eating at 5 pm.
Nothing but water until 5 am
Shot of coffee before work
Maybe another coffee at 8 am
Break my fast at 9 am
Eat until 5 pm
REPEAT EVERY DAY
The reason I like to have dinner early is that I train clients in the evenings and I don’t want to wait until I get home at 8 pm to scoff down a big meal right before bed.
Eating dinner further away from bedtime has also been shown to help improve your sleep quality because your body isn’t focused on trying to digest food and it also will stop you from late night snacking since you’re “not allowed to eat”
The basic premise is that there are extended periods of time when you’re not going to be eating and instead consuming anything from the list above.