Feb Fast Protocol
(Taken from – Fast.Feast.Repeat. By Gin Stephens)
Note: You may remember from the eating window chapter that there is no “best” time to have your eating window. Still, based on the informal survey of intermittent fasters, I found that 61 percent of IFers in my online community prefer an evening window while 25 percent prefer a midday eating window. For that reason, the FAST Start plan has been designed with an early evening eating window as the goal. Feel free to adjust the window timing on any of these approaches as it feels right to you.
Now, let’s dig into the three FAST Start approaches and see just how to implement them.
Even though there are many tools in your intermittent fasting toolbox, the FAST Start will focus on the eating-window approach to IF. After the first twenty-eight days are over you will be free to pull out other tools as you see fit and experiment with the other approaches.
In this approach, you’re starting out in week 1 with three meals a day in a twelve-hour eating
window. Notice that this plan includes some low-carb “ease-in” meals that will help your body lower insulin levels (our bodies release less insulin in response to lower-carb meals) while still eating three times a day at first. Have a low-carb breakfast and a low-carb lunch, and then eat the type of dinner that you’re used to (dinner doesn’t have to be low-carb unless you have already been living a low-carb lifestyle; remember other than these low-carb “ease-in” meals, we aren’t what we eat during the fast Start, only when we eat).
Each week you tighten up your eating window by a couple of hours, until you finally end up with a
window of about six hours containing either two meals or a snack and a meal.
In this approach, you start off skipping breakfast on day 1, and BOOM! You’re doing it! Stick to clean-
fast-approved beverages all morning, and eat your typical lunch followed by your typical dinner
within an eight-hour eating window.
Each week you will shorten your eating window by an hour, and you will end up in week 4 with an
eating window of five hours that contains a snack and a meal.
In this approach, you are maximising your fasting time staring on day 1, with a six-hour window and
therefore eighteen hours of daily fasting. The first week you skip breakfast and eat two meals, and
over the course of weeks 2 and 3, you can choose to either eat lunch or transition lunch into more of
a snack. In week 4, you end up with an eating window of four ours that contains a snack and a meal.
You may still have one nagging question after reading these plans:
What’s the difference between a snack and a meal???
Believe it or not, I’ve seen that question a lot. I want to encourage you not to get too hung up on
terminology, but to decide if something qualifies as a meal, I ask myself this: If a friend invited me
over for dinner and served this to me, would I consider this to have been an actual dinner? If not, it’s
probably a snack. Go with your gut here. However, since our goal everyday is to eat until we are
satisfied and not stuffed, it doesn’t matter what you call it, now does it?
T = WEAK
At any point, remember that you can move from one plan to another if you need to. Started off too
aggressively? Drop to a gentler approach. Finding the plan to be almost too easy? Go up a level to a
more aggressive approach. You are in control the whole time.
In each of these plans, I suggested an eating window that emphasises dinner as the main meal of the
day, since that is the way most of the intermittent fasters in my community structure their days.
Never forget, however, that you are in charge here, not me. If you would rather eat breakfast and
lunch and skip dinner, go for it! That might be your perfect plan.
After following the FAST Start for twenty-eight days, it’s time to repeat your measurements and
Put on the same outfit that you wore on day 0 and take photos from the same exact angles that you
did before: front, side, and back. Try to recreate the photos as closely as possible. Compare the
photos from day 0 to the ones you took on day 29.
Here is something that is really important that I’ve already mentioned: You may not have lost a
single pound. Your measurements may not have changed at all. Your photos may look exactly the
same. Or your weight and/or measurements may be up. Your clothes might be tighter.
Deep breath. That is okay. It’s all okay. The 28-Day FAST Start is not the weight-loss phase; it’s the
adjustment phase. Now that your body has had twenty-eight days to adjust to IF, you are ready to
begin weighing daily, as explained in chapter 18. You will begin taking biweekly measurements and
progress photos now. The FAST Start is over, and now is the time to expect slow-yet-steady progress.
See chapter 18 for an in-depth discussion of all the ways you may want to track your progress, and
how to know you’re getting the results you’re hoping for.
Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS to you! Now that you’ve completed the FAST Start, you’re ready to
learn how to “tweak it till it’s easy!”