Top 5 Intermittent Fasting Mistakes
Intermittent fasting is a general term for various eating patterns that involve fasting for short periods of time. Unlike a typical weight-loss diet that restricts how much or what you eat, it’s all about integrating periods of fasting into your day to reap the many proven benefits. These benefits include burning stored body fat for energy – instead of being dependant on sugar, feeling less hungry and improving overall health.
I truly believe intermittent fasting is the missing link in our overall health and well-being.
Some people come into difficulty with Intermittent Fasting because they approach it in the wrong way, being aware of the right methods when undertaking Intermittent Fasting can be the difference between success and failure.
Here are the top five mistakes that I see people making all the time when they are fasting:
An excuse to eat rubbish
Unfortunately, people think that intermittent fasting is a magic pill that will solve all their problems. Yes, it is an incredibly effective tool to take control of your health but it won’t cancel out eating a diet full of processed foods and sugar. 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 issues that some people face when they start IF 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. Your body will release hormones to make you feel full when it knows it’s had enough food. If you calorie restrict during your eating window you may well end up under eating which causes lots of unwanted changes in the body, and long term is not good for you.
Attempting to do too many things at once – over train, under eat and try fasting.
If you have spent a number of years eating badly and not exercising and you would like to try IF, don’t bite off more than you can chew (pun intended!) at the start. Ease yourself into fasting and training gradually; don’t start training five times per week, fasting every day and restricting calories when you do eat from day one. The combination can lead to adrenal fatigue. Your body thrives with a little bit of physical stress here and there but too much stress can become a problem.
Obsessing over timings and “eating windows”
In my opinion, one of the main benefits of IF 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.
Not drinking enough water
When your body is in the fasted state it starts to break down damaged components and detoxifies the body. It is very important that you flush out those toxins by drinking lots of water. Ideally, you will drink more water than you usually would. I drink roughly 4-5 litres every day, most of that during my fasting period. Not only that, drinking water, particularly sparkling water can help you to feel full, which is important when you are first getting into IF.
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 completely true that IF can be incredibly beneficial for so many people in enhancing their overall health and wellbeing, 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 IF in your life, in a safe and sustainable manner!