The Most Common Mistakes People Make While Intermittent Fasting

In case you missed our introduction to intermittent fasting, let’s refresh! The newest diet and lifestyle craze that’s taking over has a lot of science behind it, and is quickly becoming a popular (and easily doable) weight loss plan. As an added bonus, IF has a lot of other benefits for your health too, like increased energy, blood sugar regulation, and increased overall strength. But, as with any diet and lifestyle change, there’s a right way to do it. Some people may be jumping on the IF train without doing their homework. Which can lead them to commit some of the most common mistakes people make while intermittent fasting. Don’t lose your momentum before you’ve got it! Read on to know what to avoid and how to fast for success.

One of the most common mistakes people make while intermittent fasting is jumping into it too quickly.

When you go from one extreme to the next, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. ANYTIME you make a diet or lifestyle change, easing into is the way to go. Some people go from eating regular meals every two to three hours, to fasting for 24 hours straight. That’s … not going to end well. If you’ve decided to try IF, start with a more doable plan, like the 5:2 we mentioned in our introduction to IF. Or, try setting “eating windows” and fast the rest of the day. For example, eat from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., and fast for the other 17 hours. You can eventually work your up to a full 24 hours fast, but start small.

Another mistake people make while intermittent fasting: really living it up and eating way too damn much.

Listen, fasting 2-3 days a week is not an excuse to go hog-ass-wild on your eating days! If you’re daydreaming about all the foods you’ll eat when your window opens, you may need to readjust your fasting times. Yes, you’ll be hungry after not eating for a day; but it’s so important to exercise some restraint in order to see results. It doesn’t matter how few calories you eat while fasting if you eat 3x that amount when you’re not fasting.

Hold up: not only can eating too much derail your IF progress, so can eating too little.

This really applies to ANY diet. Your body needs fuel to burn, which it gets from the calories you eat. When you don’t eat enough calories, your body will resort to conserving its own energy in order to function, thereby slowing your metabolism waaaaaaaaaay down. So even though you’re fasting successfully for 24 hours, your metabolism will slow down too much to allow your body to shed those pounds. Make sure you’re getting enough to eat on days you’re not fasting.

Also, up your water intake … by a lot. This goes for fasting and non-fasting periods. When you’re fasting, your body isn’t getting necessary hydration from foods like fruits and veggies. This can lead to dehydration, and no one wants that.

The quantity of food you eat while you’re not fasting is super important. But so is the¬†quality¬†of food you eat.

Again, not eating for 24 hours does not give you the green light to mainline french fries and ice cream when you finally have the chance to eat! If you’re trying to lose weight and you’re getting all your calories from bad fats, sugars, and carbs, you’re sabotaging yourself. Choose good foods in your eating window. Fruits, veggies, healthy fats, fiber, and protein should be on the menu. Filling and healthy is what you’re looking for in food. Plus, if you’re feeling a little drained from your fasting period, a good balanced diet can replenish that energy so much faster than a slice of pizza and a beer.

Intermittent fasting has proven to be successful for a lot of people … if you’re committed to doing it the right way. Set yourself up for success before you get started, so you can avoid these common mistakes.

(Image: iStock/a_namenko)


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