Everything tastes better when you’re genuinely hungry. It’s kind of a nice, secret bonus to intermittent fasting (IF). You wait 16-plus hours, but then the payoff is that all the flavors and textures of whatever you eat next are intensified.
Fully enjoying your food is a great bonus on its own, but if you really want to optimize there are ways to get a little more out of your fast. Here are a few hacks for making the most of the meal you open your eating window with.
Eat Something You Like First
Yep. It’s that simple.
Some people who have been practicing IF for a long time say they’ve gradually started liking really healthy things. If this happens for you, congratulations! If not, no worries. Just keep going.
The goal is for intermittent fasting to become a lifestyle. It can become something you do because it makes you feel good, not because you have to. If you’re forcing yourself to eat things you don’t like, you won’t feel good and you won’t last long. It’s more important to keep practicing IF than to choke down all that swiss chard.
Eat Something You Want to Like More First
Let’s say you feel ambivalent about apples. You think they’re fine, but you don’t love them. They make a handy, portable snack, though, and you wish you liked them better.
You can try opening your eating window with an apple sometimes. The enhanced sensory experience you get when you break a fast can take an apple from Meh, that was ok, to Wow, that was better than I thought it would be.
Don’t overdo this; you don’t want to make yourself sick of whatever you’re trying to enjoy. But you can use the time when you’re most receptive to give yourself a little nudge toward liking things that are good for you.
Eat Something You Want to Benefit From First
After not eating for most of the day, your digestive system is well-rested. It is uncluttered, undistracted. It is primed to do its very best work extracting nutrients from food.
Put all that focused digestive power to work on bone broth, probiotic foods, or anything that has something in it you feel like you need. It will get your system’s undivided attention, and you will get the maximum benefit from it.
Start small with this. Some people find the effects to be pretty powerful, so give yourself a chance to get used to a small serving and work your way up.
Eat Whatever Helps You Make It a Lifestyle
Do what you need to do. Whatever helps you make IF a lifestyle may be different from what helps other people. It may change over time or from day to day, and that’s ok. Just keep paying attention to how you feel and adjusting until it works for you.