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Your 7-Day Plan to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting

This 7-day plan shows you how to get started with Intermittent Fasting painlessly by helping you taper your eating with low-calorie, high protein foods over 7 days until you’re fasting for 16 hours a day. This is a great way for beginners to ease into intermittent fasting and take advantage of all the intermittent fasting benefits such as weight loss and improved health. Download the free printable guide so you can easily see how to start a 16/8 Intermittent Fasting practice for yourself.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

I’ve written before about how I finally lost 20 pounds of menopausal weight with Intermittent Fasting. But, what I haven’t been writing about how well I’ve been doing with Intermittent Fasting during the Pandemic Quarantine.

In a word: badly. I haven’t been following it at all, you guys.

And guess what? I’ve gained weight. Not a whole lot – 6 pounds. But it’s all in my belly and I feel fat and flabby. So it’s time to get back on the plan that’s served me so well. I want to feel fit and healthy again. After all, that’s a great form of self-care.

But I’m here to tell you something that a lot of the Intermittent Fasting resources don’t mention. It can be hard to just wake up one day and say, “OK! No more big breakfast at 7 AM! We eat at noon today!”

So, I’m easing back into my Intermittent Fasting routine with this 7-day plan. If you would like to get started with Intermittent Fasting or if, like me, you want to get back on the program after sliding off for one reason or another, feel free to follow along.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

There are many types of intermittent fasting. Here’s an overview of just a few of the more common forms.

The 5/2 Fast Diet. You eat normally five days a week and restrict calories 2 days a week.

Alternate Day Fasting. You eat normally one day and then restrict calories or drink only water the next day.

One Meal a Day Fasting. Often called OMAD. Pretty self-explanatory, right? You eat just one meal a day, usually at night. 

20/4 Fasting. You fast for 20 hours a day and then eat normally for 4 hours each day.

What is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?

If you follow 16/8 Intermittent Fasting, you fast by drinking only water for 16 hours a day and then eat normally for eight hours a day. In the version of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting I follow, I also restrict sugar and processed foods because I find that causes me to gain weight and be hungrier. I also personally don’t eat fruit because I find it seems to spike my blood sugar.

Your 7-Day Plan to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting 22

Some of the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

I’m a fan of Intermittent Fasting because it’s worked for me. There are also many benefits of Intermittent Fasting that have been proved by scientific studies. (I’m a big fan of science.)

Here’s just a few:

  • Insulin levels drop, promoting fat burning and lowering your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Human Growth hormones level increase, also promoting fat burning and muscle building.
  • Weight loss.
  • Inflammation is reduced in the body.

Time Periods for 16/8 Intermittent Fasting

In the form of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting I follow, I eat my first meal at noon and then finish eating and drinking by 8 PM. I like this schedule because it allows me to have a late-ish dinner if I want or a glass of wine during Jeopardy with my husband. (Wine is totally allowed. In moderation, of course.)

You might wish your schedule to be 11-7 or 1-9. It’s totally up to you.

What About Coffee?

Do you think politics is a touchy subject? Then you should visit a Facebook group devoted to Intermittent Fasting and post that you start every day with coffee with cream and sugar and you refuse to give it up.

Here’s what I think.

Change is hard. A lot of change is really hard.

I personally don’t drink coffee because I start the day with something even more disgusting: Diet Dr. Pepper. An Intermittent Fasting purist would tell me that I absolutely need to give that up and that I’m getting none of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting by drinking the soda.

I roll my eyes at that; my weight loss and cholesterol test results say otherwise.

So here’s my advice to you. If you drink coffee and think you can’t quit it, don’t let that stop you from trying Intermittent Fasting. If you want to try to cut out your cream and sugar later, then be all means you should do so. (I promise I will someday try to quit my morning DDP.)

Or you may feel you’re not able to follow to Intermittent Fasting program because your coffee habit makes you too hungry. (I’ve heard anecdotally that can happen.) If that’s the case, then you can focus on the coffee first and come back to Intermittent Fasting later.

It’s always totally up to you.

Your 7-Day Plan to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting 23
If you feel like you can’t give up your morning cup of coffee with cream and sugar, that’s ok – you can get started anyway. We’re looking for progress, not perfection, here.

The Scarcity Mindset

Something I feel like doesn’t get talked about enough during dieting is the scarcity mindset. That’s our brain doing what it does best: protecting us from danger. 

In this case, we’re trying something new by extending the time between meals. Our brain may respond by freaking out. What if we can’t get food ever again! What if food is always restricted? Where is my toast and bacon? 

This 7-day plan helps to calm your brain’s scarcity mindset. Instead of starting off right away with 16/8 Intermittent Fasting, you’ll be easing into it. 

You’ll start by

  •  focusing on waiting longer before eating, 
  • eating smaller, high protein breakfasts that keep you full, 
  • and learning to listen to what your body is really saying to you
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By easing into intermittent fasting with this 7-Day Plan, you can avoid the scarcity mindset and set yourself up for success.

The Elements of the 7-Day Plan to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting

Lemon Water

I like to start every day with lemon water. It’s a good source of vitamin C, and although most of the health benefits are anecdotal, I feel better when I drink it on a regular basis. I add the juice of half a lemon to warm water from the tap, but lots of people like to heat their water in the microwave.

Your 7-Day Plan to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting 25
Start Every Day with an 8 Ounce Glass of Lemon Water

Bone Broth

I’m a big fan of bone broth and frequently drink it as a snack or a morning beverage. I find it incredibly filling, and the collagen in bone broth has been shown to have skin-firming benefits (among other health benefits.) On average, one cup has only 40 calories and 10 grams of protein so it’s an excellent way to support you and ease your hunger as you ease into Intermittent Fasting.

You can make your own bone broth (I never have) or choose from some of the many options.

Kettle and Fire has a lot of options (here’s a nice variety pack to try out what they’ve got) or you can buy bone broth at most supermarkets these days. Just make sure it’s really bone broth, as opposed to regular broth or stock. Look for at least 10 grams of protein on the label.

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Bone broth is a great way to add filling protein to your diet for very few calories and it has other health benefits as well.

Low Calorie, High Protein Foods

As we’re easing into Intermittent Fasting, we’re focusing on low-calorie, high-protein foods that keep us full and take longer to digest. I’m using hard-boiled eggs and cheese sticks in this plan because they are both under 100 calories with around 5 and 6 grams of protein, so they’re good choices for a quick snack if you’re hungry.

They are also convenient to take on the go, so you’re never without something to eat when you’re hungry.

Hard-boiled eggs are pretty self-explanatory. By cheese sticks, I mean a cheese snack, similar to this.

The 7-Day Plan to Get Started Intermittent Fasting

OK! You’re on board and ready to start. But you’re a little worried because you know from experience that you get hungry and cranky if you miss your regular 7 AM breakfast. How are you going to do this?

I got you, buddy! Here’s a 7-day plan to help you ease into Intermittent Fasting. It involves supporting and listening to your body. 

I’ve included sample times, but adjust as necessary because the key is to listen to your body. If the plan says to eat and you’re not hungry, don’t eat. You can always eat later if you want. If the plan says to not eat and you’re looking at your watch over and over, wishing it was time to eat, go ahead and have an extra cup of bone broth. If you’re still hungry 30 minutes after drinking the bone broth, then go ahead and have a hard-boiled egg.

THERE ARE TWO KEYS TO REMEMBER: ONLY EAT WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY AND YOU CAN ALWAYS EAT WHEN YOU’RE TRULY HUNGRY

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DAY 1

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea (if you drink it – see What About Coffee?)

8 AM: 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, 1 Cheese Stick, 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 8 ounces Water

10 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

11 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 2

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

9 AM: 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, 1 Cheese Stick, 8 ounces Water

10 AM: 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 3

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

10 AM: 1 Hard Boiled Egg, 1 Cheese Stick, 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 4

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

10 AM: 1 Hard Boiled Egg, 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 5

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

10 AM: 1 Hard Boiled Egg, 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 8 ounces Water

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 6

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 8 ounces Water

10 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

11 AM: 8 ounces Water

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 7

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 8 ounces Water

10 AM: 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 8 ounces Water

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

What Next?

You’re ready now for a regular practice of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting. But, remember to always listen to your body! If you’re hungry in the mornings, you can still have a snack of bone broth or a low-calorie, high protein snack like a boiled-egg or cheese stick. Respect what your body is telling you!

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Katy Kozee | Midlife Rambler
Katy Kozee | Midlife Rambler
Hi! I'm Katy and I started Midlife Rambler when my youngest child was a senior in high school. I was staring at the coming empty nest and wondering what was next for me. Does that sound like you? Then you'll love our community of fun, feisty women. We're looking forward to the next phase of our lives and talking about all the exciting (and sometimes a little scary!)Keep the conversation going! Hook up with me at my other hangouts.

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