Intermittent Fasting and Kids
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Intermittent fasting is a useful diet to help restrict intake of calories. Balancing it with family life will take some work.
Intermittent fasting is becoming one of the most popular ways for people to lose weight, and to get their calorie intake under control. There are plenty of articles and data on the benefits of intermittent fasting, and we won’t rehash them here. Restricting your calorie intake is one of the main reasons why someone will be on an intermittent fasting diet.
Intermittent fasting isn’t some revolutionary diet, despite what people may be selling online. As with all diets, the goal is to eat less calories than you burn (or to eat the same number of calories that you need to maintain your weight). Anyone that is claiming that you can eat “as many calories as you want” while on the diet doesn’t understand how the diet actually works. If you eat 5000 calories during your eating window, but only burn 3000 calories in a day, you’re going to gain weight. While you may burn more calories while doing a fasting diet, that doesn’t mean you can eat more than you’ll burn.
As a parent, intermittent fasting can seem like a difficult diet to take on. Your family very likely isn’t going to be on the same diet as you are - they’ll be eating 3 meals a day and often more than that with snacks thrown in there. Depending on the food that your family is eating, you may be struggling to not eat with them. For example, if you’re skipping breakfast then you may find that the smell of bacon is very alluring (isn’t it always?).
To start with, your fasting diet will likely have it’s bumps as you get started. You’re probably not going to be perfect out of the gates, but that’s totally fine. If you’re able to stick with it over the long haul, that’s the real success. Most people try things for a short period of time, but they’re unable to stick with them. Those who are most likely to succeed are those that will get back up after their failures and try again. Be persistent in getting your feeding window to what you want it to be.
If you’re preparing meals for your family, prepare simple and basic meals that may be less tempting to you. If you’re a fan of a certain food, try to avoid making it when you can’t eat it. For example, you may not love pancakes, so make them for breakfast. On the other hand, if you’re a big fan of eggs then make those for a different meal when you can eat them.
When possible, try to have your feeding window open during times when your family is also eating. If you’re generally together for dinner, then make sure you can eat during dinner time. This will allow for the least amount of strain on your family eating habits as your kids will still see you eating, and you’ll be eating with them. If you’re only eating when your kids aren’t, then you’ll be less likely to sit down to a meal together and it will be harder for you to sit there as well.
If your kids ask why you’re not eating at certain meals, explain to them the importance of eating healthy and not overeating. You can explain why you’re following the diet plan that you are, and that you’re working hard to make a positive change in your life. Depending on your child’s age, they may not understand. Being honest and open with your kids about eating is important to help them understand how healthy living works.
Intermittent fasting with kids is similar to the same diet without kids. However, your actions will have some effect on them, so be cognizant of those choices. Do your best to minimize the impact on your family, while also making it as easy as possible for you to make the changes you want to see. Be persistent, and pick yourself back up when you do struggle on your diet. Persistence and consistency are key in success.