Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity—and it’s easy to see why. New studies suggest that limiting your eating window to six-to-eight hours each day can increase longevity and support weight loss. Recent data also shows that intermittent fasting can provide additional benefits such as increasing stress resistance and decreasing the risks for diseases like cancer and obesity.
For Vault providers, intermittent fasting checks a lot of boxes when it comes to recommended diets for patients: it’s easy to understand, less restrictive than other popular diets, and can be extremely effective in optimizing health.
But not everybody has an easy time incorporating intermittent fasting into their routine. Whether you’re concerned about how to make it work with your social obligations, medications, or lifestyle, here’s how to make intermittent fasting work for you:
If You’re on Medication
If you take medications that require food, that always takes precedent. Thankfully, the schedule of intermittent fasting is flexible, so you can time your eating (or fasting, if you’re supposed to take something on an empty stomach) window to coincide with when you take your medication.
If You Have Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, don’t worry—you can still take advantage of intermittent fasting. In fact, one study shows that intermittent fasting can help improve insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and oxidative stress. Still, it’s important to work with your provider in case your medication requirements change. Specifically, if intermittent fasting improves your insulin sensitivity, you might need less insulin after incorporating the diet into your routine. Either way, it’s a good idea to keep your provider in the loop in case any changes need to be made.
If You Feel Lightheaded or Dizzy
Some beginners fear that they may be hypoglycemic when feelings of lightheadedness arise. In reality, non-diabetic hypoglycemia is very rare, so if you feel lightheaded when trying intermittent fasting for the first time, it’s more likely to be a symptom of dehydration or loss of electrolytes. (Symptoms of hypoglycemia tend to be, by contrast, an elevated heart rate and sweating.) In this case, make sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated throughout the day. Beverages with electrolytes or soluble supplements with magnesium and sodium can also help replenish your fluids. If you stay hydrated and keep your electrolytes up, you should no longer feel lightheaded or dizzy with intermittent fasting. But if any of these symptoms remain, be sure to check-in with your provider.
If You Have Social or Familial Obligations
Compared with popular diets like the Keto or Whole30, intermittent fasting makes it surprisingly easy to keep up with social and familial obligations. You don’t have to be the guy who brings his own food or has to custom order every dish at the restaurant. Instead, intermittent fasting simply requires a small amount of planning. If you have a big event or social dinner on the books, just adjust your eating window that day to work with the event. You don’t have to follow the same eating schedule every day.
If You’re Having Trouble Getting Started
We know how hard it can be to implement a change into your routine. If you’re having trouble diving into an eight-hour eating window, start small by not snacking after dinner (one of the biggest culprits when it comes to weight gain). For most guys, this small step creates at least a 12 hour fast—a beginner’s version of intermittent fasting. Once this begins to feel like second nature, you can work up to a 14 or 16 hour fast.
Intermittent fasting is one of the easiest ways to optimize your health—regardless of your lifestyle. To learn more about how to look, feel, and perform better, schedule an online visit to discover more about our approach to personalized men’s health.
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