Starting a new diet is always a challenge, and intermittent fasting (IF) is no different, although some (including myself) would consider IF a lifestyle rather than a diet or trend. The most common form of IF is the 16:8 formula, where you fast for 16 hours a day and eat all your meals within an eight-hour window. It may sound difficult to someone who has never tried it before, but it's totally doable!
If you speak to your doctor or a dietitian and decide that IF is right for you, you'll probably have a lot of questions about how to embark on your fasting journey. One very common question is what you can and cannot drink during your fasting window.
I've been doing IF for about seven months now, and I struggled with this in the beginning. When you first start fasting, your body looks for just about any way to cheat because being hungry is initially uncomfortable (don't worry, though, your hunger will eventually decrease over time). That means you'll probably try to drink anything and everything in sight, from soda to juice to smoothies.
But there are pretty much only three things you can drink when you're fasting:
- Coffee: Unfortunately, you can't add anything into your coffee when you're in your fasting window, like cream, milk, or sugar, because this will throw off your fasting window.
- Tea: Same thing here — tea is only appropriate if it's free of sweeteners or additives.
- Water: Whatever you do, don't skip out on drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This will prevent dehydration and help curb your hunger.
That's your magical trio of IF beverages! If you find other zero-calorie beverages you like, like sparkling water or Hint water, feel free to add those to the list as well. I recommend stocking up on tasty teas that bring a little excitement into your fasting window, like rooibos, green tea, etc. Stay away from things like juice, sweetened tea and other beverages, and alcohol. If it feels impossible in the beginning to only drink the above, give it time. Your body will adjust before you know it.