Intermittent fasting has skyrocketed in popularity for its weight loss and health benefits. By cycling between periods of fasting and eating, intermittent fasting can stabilize blood sugar, increase energy, and give your metabolism a boost. However, it’s easy to make mistakes that can sabotage your results. Avoid these common intermittent fasting pitfalls:
Starting Too Rigorously
Don’t immediately aim for longer, more restrictive fasting windows. Ease into an intermittent fasting schedule gradually so your body can adjust. Start with 12-14 hour fasts before expanding your fasting window. Gradually increase your fasting window until you can go 24 hours without too much discomfort.
Overeating in the Feeding Window
Don’t go overboard eating whatever you want just because it’s your “feeding” time. Focus on nutritious, satiating foods like vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid sugar crashes by limiting refined carbs. Your eating window should not be a free-for-all. Choosing foods that serve you nutritionally will make your fasting window a breeze.
Under-Eating in the Feeding Window
Don’t severely undereat in an effort to cut more calories. Consuming too few calories can actually slow your metabolic rate. Aim for healthy, moderate calorie intake within your feeding times with nutrient dense foods.
Fasting Too Frequently
Make sure to take 1-2 non-fasting days per week. Your body needs recovery time from fasting’s metabolic demands. Regular breaks prevent fatigue, headaches, and hunger spikes. You can, however, have moderate daily fasts where your fasting window is 12-16 hours. This gives you the benefit of the fast without depleting your energy stores.
Exercising in a Fasting State
Don’t do intense or prolonged exercise when fasting. Low blood sugar can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and poor workout performance. Save high intensity exercise for your feeding window when you have adequate fuel.
Ignoring Hunger Cues
Don’t force yourself to fast if you feel ravenous, fatigued, or unable to concentrate. Listen to your body’s feedback and break your fast if needed. Forcing yourself to power through hunger can backfire. You can avoid those severe hunger pangs if you are getting proper nutrition during your feeding times.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium during fasting periods. Proper hydration prevents headaches, cramps, and other symptoms. You will be less likely to feel severe hunger pangs when fully hydrated. Thirst often masquerades as hunger so make sure you are hydrated.
Avoid these missteps, and intermittent fasting can be a sustainable, effective strategy for better energy, blood sugar control, and a faster metabolism. Pay attention to your body, be patient with yourself, and you’ll reap the benefits.
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