How Intermittent Fasting can help you stay healthy during the holidays

Diet
Coach Kannan
February 18,2023

5-point Summary

  • The holidays and festivals can be a challenging time to maintain a healthy diet and stick to a regular eating schedule. Between parties, family gatherings, and an abundance of delicious treats, it can be easy to fall off track with your weight loss & weight maintenance goals.  Adding Intermittent Fasting (IF) into your routine during the holiday season & festivals can be an effective way to stay on track. Fasting provides many benefits in these situations.
  • There are various ways to practice IF, but the most common one is restricting food intake for specific periods, usually for 16 hours. This is also called the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting. This involves eating during an 8-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. For example, eating between 12 noon to 8 pm (8 hrs) and fasting from 8 pm to 12 noon the next day (16 hrs). IF has been shown to have numerous health benefits including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation.
  • When trying IF during festivals & holidays plan ahead to eat healthy meals outside the fast. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water and also stay flexible as holidays can also bring unexpected situations.
  • While on a fast, drinking black tea or coffee and chewing gum will help kill any cravings and help you finish the fast without discomfort.
  • While the holiday season is meant for having fun with friends and family, it doesn’t need to include indulgence to the point of damaging your health. If your primary goal is weight loss or improving your health, intermittent fasting can be a great way to rid temptation and stay on track during the holidays.

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In this article, we will show you how to use the benefits of fasting to help you through holidays & festivals. We all know that the holidays and festivals can be a challenging time to maintain a healthy diet and stick to a regular eating schedule. Between office parties, family gatherings, and an abundance of delicious treats, it can be easy to fall off track with your nutrition goals.  There is no shortage of holidays in India throughout the year, whether it is Diwali, Navratri, Ganesh Chaturti, Pongal, Christmas, New Years or something else. There is some holiday or festival almost every month of the year. This can make it very difficult to stick to a healthy diet for a long time as eating all the treats during festivals can undo all your hard work until then.

However, incorporating intermittent fasting (IF) into your routine during the holiday season & festivals can be an effective way to stay on track. In fact, the fasting benefits span much farther than the holiday season! 

What is intermittent fasting, you ask?! Well, if you’ve landed upon this article, you’re likely familiar. However, if not, intermittent fasting, or IF for short, is a pattern of eating where you alternate periods of eating with periods of fasting. There are various ways to practice IF, but the most common one is restricting food intake for specific periods, usually for 16 hours. This is also called the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting. This involves eating during an 8-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. For example, eating between 12 noon to 8 pm (8 hrs) and fasting from 8 pm to 12 noon the next day (16 hrs).

IF has been shown to have numerous health benefits including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation. 

With that said, in what follows, we’ll outline 10 tips for leveraging intermittent fasting, particularly during the temptations of the holidays & festivals, so that you can stay on track with your health and fitness goals.

Let’s get right into it! 

10 Intermittent Fasting Tips During the Holidays 

While not all tips are related directly to the fasting portion of the protocol, all are relevant in the context of the challenges faced when incorporating intermittent fasting into your holiday regimen.

With that said, here are 10 tips for leveraging intermittent fasting during the holidaysand festivals.

1. Plan ahead

One of the keys to successful intermittent fasting is to plan ahead. Before heading to a party or family gathering, make sure to have a plan in place for what you will eat and when. This will help you stay on track and avoid overeating or making impulsive food choices. Fasting has many benefits but it is important to make time & effort to plan ahead for it too.

2. Make strategic food choices

When you are eating, make sure to choose nutrient-dense foods that will keep you full and satisfied. This will help you stick to your fasted state for longer periods of time and avoid feeling deprived or hungry. Some good options include lean protein, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables.

For example, if you know that you will be eating a big dinner with family for a festival, make your lunch mainly vegetables and protein with very little carbs. This will allow you to have a carb-heavy dinner but still stay within limits for the day.

3. Avoid snacking

One of the biggest challenges of intermittent fasting during the holiday season is the temptation to snack on sugary treats and high-calorie foods. To avoid this, try to limit your snacking as much as possible. Instead, focus on eating nutrient-dense meals during your eating windows that will keep you full and satisfied for longer periods of time.

For example, if you cannot resist having sweets for a festival, have a little bit of each and then stop. This way you can enjoy it without overdoing it.

4. Stay hydrated

One of the most common mistakes people make when fasting is not staying hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water, herbal tea, or other non-caloric beverages during your fasting periods to help keep your hunger at bay.

5. Stay active

Regular physical activity is an important part of any weight loss or health plan, and it can also be helpful during the holidays. Try to get in some form of exercise, even if it’s just a brisk walk, during the day to help boost your metabolism and burn off any extra calories you may have consumed.

6. Inform your family or friends ahead of time

One of the best ways to stay on track with your intermittent fasting during the holidays is to let your friends and family know about your plans. This will help them understand your eating schedule and avoid offering you tempting foods during your fasting periods.

7. Drink black coffee or tea to kill cravings

Black coffee and tea can be helpful during your fasting period as they can help to curb your appetite and kill cravings. The caffeine in these beverages can also help to boost your metabolism and increase your energy levels.

Also Read:  The Right Way To Do Intermittent Fasting

8. Chew gum

Chewing gum can be a helpful way to kill cravings during your fasting period. The act of chewing can help to suppress your appetite and keep your mind occupied. Just make sure to choose a sugar-free gum to avoid any added calories.

9. Make it a tradition

One of the best ways to make intermittent fasting a part of your holiday routine is to make it a tradition and do it consistently. By incorporating it into your holiday activities, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and make it a part of your regular routine. This was you can enjoy the benefits of fasting in the long term also.

10. Flexibility is key

Remember that the holidays are a time for enjoyment and celebration, so don’t be too rigid with your fasting schedule. If you know that you have a big holiday meal planned, consider adjusting your fasting schedule to accommodate it. This was you can get the benefits of fasting and also enjoy the holidays.

The bottom line

While the holiday season is meant for having fun with friends and family, it doesn’t need to include indulgence to the point of damaging your health. If your primary goal is weight loss or other metrics of health improvement, intermittent fasting can be a great way to rid temptation during the holidays. Use the benefits of fasting to your advantage in these situations.

Remember, while fasting can be considered an extreme approach to some, it doesn’t have to be. Find a balance, allow yourself some flexibility and freedom, and let the rest run its course.

Give it a try for yourself. And enjoy the holidays!

About the Author

Coach Kannan
Kannan is a Precision Nutrition & ISSA Certified Nutrition Coach and a ACE-Certified Behavior Change Specialist. Kannan focuses on ideas that are scientific and also work in the real world. He is allergic to advice that is unscientific or not practical.

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