Top 5 Intermittent Fasting Mistakes
Intermittent fasting can help you to sustainably lose weight, reduce your hunger and boost your energy levels. The trouble is, most people approach it in the wrong way. I have spent 10 years fasting, and helping others to do the same. I see people seeing the same mistakes time and time again. These mistakes mean that intermittent fasting is just another fad diet, instead of a way of life.
Let’s discuss what the mistakes are.
Here are the Top Intermittent Fasting Mistakes
Thinking it’s a Magic Pill For Fat Loss
Unfortunately, people think that intermittent fasting is a magic pill that will solve all their problems. Fasting makes it easier to be in a deficit, but it is still possible to be in a surplus and put on weight, especially when eating a diet high in junk and processed foods.
When you are intermittent fasting it is even more important to nourish your body with nutrient dense, whole foods.
When you are in the fasted state, your body starts to break down damaged components and then uses them for of energy, this process cleans and heals the body. It also means your body becomes more sensitive to the food you eat, this is great if it’s full of nutrients to nourish the body, but not good if you are eating rubbish! Not only that, if you aren’t nourishing yourself with nutrient dense foods, you will feel hungry all the time – your body will crave nutrients.
Trying to calorie restrict during the “eating window”
One of the main intermittent fasting mistakes is that they continue to calorie restrict when they have broken their fast. The whole point of eating in this way is to listen to your body and start eating until you feel full.
Your body is an amazing machine, if you allow it to do its job properly. If you calorie restrict during your eating window you may well end up being in too large a deficit, which will end up with you feeling hungry all the time, obsessing over food, having low energy levels, and for women, can lead to missed cycles.
Doing Too Many Things at Once
A big intermittent fasting mistake is doing too many things at once. Unfortunately, many people have an “all or nothing” approach when it comes to losing weight. They decide to try intermittent fasting, at the same time as cutting out all carbohydrates and exercising 7 times per week. Not only is this unenjoyable, it’s unsustainable.
In order to get long term results, the methods you incorporate must be EASY and SUSTAINABLE. Put simply, if you can’t see yourself eating or exercising like that for the rest of your life, then it’s a waste of time, money and energy. Want to make the most out of intermittent fasting? Ease into it gradually, start with 1 or two exercise sessions per week and don’t restrict yourself too much.
Obsessing over timings and “eating windows”
In my opinion, one of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is teaching you to become completely in tune with your body and understand what I call “real hunger” – something that occurs every 16-24 hours, not every 4 hours.
Your body should dictate when you should eat, not the clock. If you focus on time periods, you end up counting down the hours until you can eat – you never learn to understand your bodies signals.
With The 2 Meal Day, you choose to skip either breakfast or dinner, by doing that you are extending your overnight fast to about 16 hours. The focus is not on the time period, if you choose to skip breakfast you can break your fast whenever you feel hungry.
Do not let your intermittent fasting practice become antisocial. If you are avoiding meals with friends because of your strict eating hours, you are doing it wrong!
Intermittent fasting should enhance your life, not detract from it.
Failure to Address Mindset, Beliefs and Identity
Fasting can be an incredibly effective tool, but it is only one tool.
In order to get long term sustainable change you need to have a wide variety of tools available, and ideally tools that are specific for you and your unique set of circumstances.
This is even more important if you have spent many years of your life hopping from one diet to the next.
What does that mean?
A lot of what I work on with my coaching clients is related to improving their mindset, beliefs and identity.
Failing to address this will mean that you are able to get short term fat loss results, whilst you are following a program, but will likely mean that you will return back to existing habits once the program has ended.
Most diets focus on making changes to your diet and exercise.
Solely focusing on diet and exercise will mean you only treat the symptoms, but not address the route cause of why you are overweight, why you binge, or why you emotionally eat.
Addressing your mindset, beliefs and identity will mean you can get to the route cause of the issue and then make the appropriate changes.
Additionally, if you have a history of eating disorders, disordered eating and issues with your relationship with food, you must first address these before trying intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting is quickly getting the global exposure that it deserves as a way of life but with that exposure comes the potential for the truth to get lost. It’s true that intermittent fasting can be incredibly beneficial for so many people in enhancing their overall health and well being, but – as with anything – it must be done properly!
Taking away the lessons learnt from these 5 mistakes will empower you to reap the full benefits of intermittent fasting in your life, in a safe and sustainable manner.
Remember, Intermittent Fasting is one tool in your tool box.
In order to get sustainable fat loss and fitness results, you must use every tool available!
To find out more get my FREE intermittent fasting short course here.