Starting on something isn’t easy, especially if it is a lifestyle change like Intermittent fasting for your weight loss goals. I, too, experimented a lot to reach my personal goals with the Intermittent fasting.
Many of us believe that Intermittent fasting is a sure shot way to get shredded, but it is not always so.
There are some strict rules that must be followed to achieve maximum benefits in your fitness journey (specifically when the goal is weight loss.)
Make sure you have all the knowledge you need before you set out for this eating pattern. One of my most popular blogs is on Intermittent Fasting, which provides complete knowledge about how it works. It is a great compilation for Intermittent fasting for beginners.
But beware! Because it could turn into your biggest nightmare. To get intermittent fasting results, set a realistic expectation when it comes to this popular fasting diet, and avoid all common rookie mistakes that people usually do.
If you come in the category of ‘intermittent fasting for beginners’, here is a list of 19 massive mistakes that will hamper your weight loss goals:
Selecting the Wrong Plan
There are many kinds of intermittent fasting plans that you can choose from according to your needs and lifestyle. For example,
- 5:2 – This plan requires you to eat 500 calories a day for two days a week.
- 16:8– This is where you fast for 16 hours and eat between the next 8 hours.
- OMAD– This involves eating just one huge meal a day.
These are just three different categories of the IF diet. You must research in order to select what category and kind of IF diet makes it sustainable for you.
Eating a High-Carb Diet
Now, don’t get me wrong when I say a high carb diet is a mistake. By high carb, I mean the diet that is high on simple carbs like bread, pasta, energy bars, etc. These foods instantly spike up your sugar levels, especially after long hours of fasting.
It is quite normal to crave carbs during this time, however, because the metabolism primarily runs on carbs.
Healthy eating habits should not be a problem while you eat consciously. This is why I have previously given 6 Reasons That Are Making Healthy Eating Too Complicated. Make sure you give it a little read too.
Avoid refined carbs and stick to whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, oats, millets, etc.
Eating Too Late at Night
Eating too much during the latter part of the day is not really a smart idea after all. Fasting according to your circadian rhythm has been shown to provide with best results.
This is because, during the night, the body clock produces hormones (melatonin) that prepare you for a night of deep sleep. Eating right before your bedtime can hamper production because of the increased sugar levels in the blood.
This eating pattern would keep the temperature in the digestive track elevated because the blood flow is directed towards it in order to digest the food. It will thus stand in the way of your sleep quality.
Diving Into it Too Much
Transitioning from a particular routine to another must not be too rapid. Give your body some time to adjust and adapt. Allowing it sometimes would make it more sustainable in the long run.
Begin with a 12 hour fast for at least a week. Increase the fasting period gradually starting with 30 minutes until you have reached your ideal fasting goal.
It is very similar to when you first join a gym. While your body will take time to adapt to skipping breakfast, it will affect your workout schedule too. It is important you plan your workout after you have had your first meal. Or try decreasing the intensity. Many also choose to skip it for the first few days.
The most important aspect is to have patience with the big change. There would be days when you would feel absolutely angry. And it’s OK to give yourself a break at such moments.
Starting Too Ambitiously
Going from a beginner to pro would definitely take time if you have long term weight loss plans. It is a long way from 12:12 to OMAD. Going from eating 7 to 8 meals per day to just 1 is overly ambitious. And in fact, such kind of drop is even dangerous.
This should be your sample pace:
- 6 meals per day – Beginning of the IF diet
- 4 meals per day – After 6 months
- 3-4 meals, and 2 to 3 snacks per day – Another 6 months
- 2-3 meals per day – Between next 3-5 months
- 2 meals per day – Between the next 4-6 months
- 2 or sometimes maybe 1 meal a day – Next 3-4 months
- 1 meal a day – Another 5-6 months
Believe it or not, this is how long it took me too and intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change! And lifestyle got to take a couple of months.
Giving Up Too Soon
If you want a permanent fat loss solution, you need a lot of disciple and persistence. Like any other diet, the first few days following intermittent fasting are the hardest.
You will feel hangry, you’ll feel irritated, you’ll get headaches and you’ll definitely feel exhausted all the time. Nonetheless, do not make these symptoms a reason to give up.
Once your body begins to adapt, it will be a breeze. You will not only learn how to control your hunger but also feel more energetic and more focused.
In case it does not happen, know that you are plunging in too much and give yourself a break.
Literally Bingeing During Your Eating Window
One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is to be able to eat large and hence satisfying meals. This is especially rewarding if you are a beginner at intermittent fasting.
You do not have to count your calories anymore. Besides this, you can also expect the freedom to choose what you eat (within reasons if your goal is weight loss.)
One of the reasons that will hamper your intermittent fasting results is also that you overeat once you enter the feeding window. That’s because you enter it starving.
The mistake here is: not choosing a correct IF plan.
If done correctly, you’ll not only see weight loss and getting lean as the only intermittent fasting results. You will not feel hungry enough to binge on the entire kitchen.
Eating Too Little
Another ‘intermittent fasting for beginners’ mistake is that they don’t eat sufficiently. Fasting affects the hunger hormones and you feel full faster. However, if you consume too few calories and do not eat enough, it’ll take a toll back on you.
Such mistakes can result in you skipping the next day of fasting, followed by a binge session.
Eating the Wrong Foods
While intermittent fasting does allow you to have anything to want, your body can not survive on a diet of processed foods. This is one of the worst intermittent fasting mistakes that even a pro can make.
For optimum fasting results, you need to balance your meals with carbs, proteins, and fats that will help keep you full for a longer period of time and make you feel energetic (as opposed to feeling sluggish due to skipping meals!)
You Abuse Stimulants
People who follow this kind of eating pattern, drink coffee in their fasting hours whenever they feel hungry. Nothing bad n drinking coffee, rather it helps to keep hunger at bay and even promotes a healthy metabolism.
The recommendation for intermittent fasting for beginners, however, is not to turn the first half of the day into a caffeinated euphoria. Recommended coffee servings are limited to two anyway.
There is a fine line between coffee being a sweet elixir for weight loss, versus caffeine abuse.
You’re Constantly Scared of Being Hungry
Feeling hungry is pretty normal especially during the course of your fast. But no one ever died of fasting for 16-20 hours. In fact, the body can even survive more extreme conditions.
Some studies have even shown that short term deprivation can benefit the body. It does not result in muscle loss. It does not result in a decreased performance either.
All in all, short term fasts won’t impede your gains and would only help you reap benefits. So, make hunger a part of your weight loss process and do not be afraid of it.
Sometimes More is not Better
Intermittent fasting results would quickly vanish once you try to extend your fasts for 48 to 72 hours on a regular basis. It might seem like a cool and a faster approach to weight loss, but it’s not.
The truth is that most benefits that you expect to gain from longer periods of fast, stop to take place after 20 hours.
If you feel you can eat abnormally huge portions and go on to fast for longer periods, you must stop and reconsider. This could never be a successful weight loss plan.
You’re Not Welcoming the Chaos
Intermittent fasting follows the same technique of no pain no gain in the gym. Pain is chaos incarnate.
This is segment is especially true for some great intermittent fasting results. That means you turn your body clock a little less predictable to make it more powerful.
To put it in simpler terms, effectiveness comes from deprivation (only a short one!) For best intermittent fasting results, embrace this chaos.
And how will you do that?
Well, accept the fact that fasting is a form of stress that the body must learn to cope with; just like the sore muscles after a great gym sesh.
You Constantly Check the Time
Your intermittent fasting results would amp up once you stop obsessing over the clock and start embracing a more relaxed lifestyle. Fasting, especially as a permanent weight loss solution, is a total lifestyle change.
A minute here and there would not ruin your hours’ long progress for sure. ironically, people do jump into intermittent fasting to experience a free lifestyle. It is specifically true for someone who spends their time cooking or buying at least 6 meals per day.
When you gather more experience, you might even jump to OMAD, or one meal per day situation to further the convenience. This OMAD can also contain a waffle treat at 4 in the evening, occasionally. And it is OK.
Obviously, nothing of this sort won’t ruin your progress. So do not stress about it.
Your Focus is on the Parts and Not the Sum
In the dynamic system, the whole is greater than the sum of parts. It means that no matter how much you try and understand each unique piece individually, they work when they are seen together as a whole.
Many people focus on parts. For example, they get distressed when there is a tbsp of creamer in their coffee or when they think 16/8 is worth converting to 16.2/7.8. Quite honestly it does not matter if you did not eat exactly at 12 PM and instead broke your fast at 11.59 AM.
I would highly recommend that these are the last things that you should be worried about because there are many important things that have to be taken care of in order to avoid intermittent fasting mistakes that, instead of weight loss, would make you gain weight.
Think of these things:
- Consider your food selection- what goes on to your plate.
- How will you manage your training or workout sesh?
- Are you eating enough that will help you achieve your targeted goals?
- Is their enough protein in your diet?
- Are you having sufficient carbs and veggies?
- Are you having enough fats in your diet?
Believe it or not, fats are so vital in our daily diet. Many people follow an eating pattern that focuses on having high-fat foods in order to lose weight. It is called the Ketogenic diet. It is one of the most popular articles on my website, and you can read it here. Some even combine the ketogenic diet with the IF to lower the fat percentage for extreme weight loss.
To get the Intermittent fasting results are very easy: spend some of your time fastings. Spend the other part eating. How you want to set this eating pattern depends on your goals which is dependant on the level of your feeding stage. There are two factors that determine your intermittent fasting results.
- More fed = more muscle. Less fed = less fat.
- The frequency in which you decide to fast: Daily. Weekly. Whatever.
Now, this is the sum of your IF diet. You can do anything you want with the parts as long as this is the sum out of it. Always remember that the more non-important things you focus on, the less they will matter for the sum of it all.
Doing an Intense Workout During Your Fast
Fasted cardio is a trend that has caught up but remember that it is for people who are probably going to have a breakfast after that. And while some people can even sustain a workout, it does not mean that it is healthy.
Avoiding a high-intensity workout is the key here. If you still want to do something or anything, do some low-intensity workouts like walking or yoga.
Make sure you are adjusting your workout times in your “feeding window.”
Not Drinking Enough Water
You have been told to restrict from food during your fasting hours but that does not mean that you must refrain from drinking water either. In fact, the attention to water must be more while fasting.
Not only drinking more water will lessen the muscle cramps, headaches (that many people observe during their initial days of fasting), and hunger pangs, it will also help you sustain the fast better.
Other options are drinking herbal teas, sparkling water, or in the extreme conditions, bone broth too.
Feeling Guilty If You Eat Outside Your Window
This rule is applicable no matter you follow a diet or not; and that rule is: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Denying hunger may feel like a victory at first, but it will soon turn out to be developing a negative relationship with food.
Give yourself permission. Allow yourself to dig in. Do not panic when you feel like breaking your fast before your fasting time is up. And this is because starvation is not the whole point of intermittent fasting.
“Intermittent fasting is not necessarily the best solution for weight loss, metabolic health, and longevity for everyone.”
Therefore, if you are feeling miserable after following an IF diet pattern, it is ok to drop it there and then. Diets are body specific and not everyone is suited for an Intermittent fasting plan. It is not right if it does not feel right.
While some studies show that human beings, since time being, are naturally designed to endure starvation, it is not necessarily true that their evolution may persist the same.
For example, one of the oldest studies called Ayurveda, which is a mind-body practice, identifies people with different body types and how each body type reacts differently to fasting.
- The Khapa Type: This body type carries extra fat and has a slower metabolic rate. People with this body type are rarely hungry in the morning which makes it possible for them to sustain IF.
- The Vata Type: This body type has a varying appetite and can handle fast but not at all times. So, they can not fast for a regular period and might suffer a hormonal imbalance.
- The Pitta Type: This body type has a strong appetite and they can digest food easily. So, naturally, fasting is not very ideal for them. Going on extended fasts will only harm their bodies than be of any benefit.
If intermittent fasting is beginning to be a source of constant struggle, ask yourself: Is it worth it?
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