The Science of Motivation

Tips for Beginning Your Intermittent Fasting Protocol

avocado and spinach on toast

Intermittent fasting can benefit you in many ways, particularly with burning more fat and losing weight, but you shouldn’t just jump in with both feet. Many people struggle to start right away, and do better with a slower transition. Take a look at these tips for getting into intermittent fasting at a slower pace for long-term success.

Don’t Start While Beginning a New Diet

This is really important, because it can make or break your intermittent fasting transition. If you are doing IF along with a new way of eating, like Keto or a low-calorie diet, you need to try the diet first. Your body needs time to adjust to new foods and meals, whether you are cutting out meat on a vegetarian diet or you are reducing your carbs dramatically. Try to stick to your new diet for 1-2 weeks, then add in intermittent fasting. This will make the transition go much more smoothly.

Take Your Time

Another tip that can help you transition into intermittent fasting is by not doing it every day. This mostly applies to fasting protocols like the 16:8 split, where you eat for 8 hours, fast for 16 hours, then repeat the following day. You can still gain benefits from this type of fasting protocol if you start with just a couple days a week, take a break from it, then start it again. Every week, try to add on another day until you are able to stick with it mostly every day. Other fasting protocols, like 5:2 or Warrior require you to go a full 24 hours while fasting, but you can try just 18 hours or 20 hours, then start increasing it as you become more comfortable with the fasting window.

Stop and Think About Your Schedule

This is helpful when you are still in the planning stage and trying to figure out which intermittent fasting protocol is right for you. You shouldn’t choose an IF protocol just because your friends are doing it, or you want to try the most extreme. You really need to think long and hard about it, looking at your current schedule. If there is no way you can have all your meals in just 8 hours because of an erratic schedule, then the 16:8 protocol is not for you. On the other hand, if you know you can’t do 24 hours with no eating, then it might be right for you. Think about your preferences, schedule, and whether or not it will affect others you live with when deciding which one is going to be the best fit. This makes that transition much easier to handle.


If you are new to intermittent fasting, you probably have a lot of questions. But that’s okay – because we have a lot of answers for you! Here is a list of some of the more commonly asked questions about intermittent fasting and the answers, which should help you decide if and when you want to try IF.

Can my child do IF?

This is not recommended for children or youths, including teenagers. Unless your doctor has a reason to suggest intermittent fasting for a child, it is not usually a good idea. Children should not have any strict diets, but instead follow a healthy lifestyle of plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. If you want your entire family to be on the same schedule, talk to your doctor first.

What are the side effects, if any?

While most adults can handle intermittent fasting without any bad side effects, there are some effects for certain individuals. For example, if you are used to eating every 2-3 hours, it can be hard to switching to a 24-hour fasting protocol like Warrior or the Eat-Stop-Eat plan. You may notice some side effects for the first few days like shaking or lightheaded-ness. Women who do intermittent fasting also have a risk for hormonal changes, so it is important to know the signs of them and stop IF if it persists.

Is starvation mode a possibility?

This is a very common question people ask when they look into intermittent fasting. There is this thought that if you don’t eat enough, your body can go into starvation mode. This is not necessarily a myth, it just doesn’t work how people think it does. If you consistently don’t eat enough, eating below 1,000 calories a day every day of the week, then yes, your body can eventually go into starvation mode. However, that is not what intermittent fasting is. The eating periods you still eat enough calories for your body, and get lots of nutrients. Your fasting windows are just a little bit longer.

Can I follow another diet while fasting?

You can still follow another diet on your eating days when you are doing intermittent fasting, but it is not advised to start both at the same time. That is a lot of stress to put on your body all at once. It is best to switch to the new diet for a few weeks, then when you get adapted to it, add in intermittent fasting.