Wondering if intermittent fasting is right for you? Have you tried it before + didn’t get the results you were looking for?
Overall, the problem with the health + fitness/diet industry is that there is an overload of information out there. There are so many opinions on what the “rules” should be for every avenue of getting healthy — including with intermittent fasting.
So, what happens is people over-complicate what they “should” be doing when it comes to intermittent fasting, causing it to feel restrictive + regimented like a diet.
But, it absolutely doesn’t need to feel that way + there isn’t a bible out there on specifically how it needs to be done.
That’s why I wanted to write this post — to unravel the misconceptions out there with intermittent fasting so you can use it as a tool [if you’d like] without feeling the pressure to do it a certain way.
I wrote a post on my own experiences with intermittent fasting over 6 months + the results I saw — read the post HERE. It’s definitely not the conventional way to do it. But, it works for me + I am STILL IF almost every day because I actually ENJOY it!
That’s what I want for you — to enjoy whatever way you choose to structure your day of eating.
So, let’s jump into 6 common mistakes people make when intermittent fasting that can make it unenjoyable + restrictive [when it doesn’t have to be!].
1 | USING IT AS A QUICK-FIX DIET
If you’re trying to use intermittent fasting as a diet… you’re doing it wrong. It’s a great way for you to lose weight because it gives you a smaller window to consume calories throughout the day. But, it’s meant to be a lifestyle.
It’s meant to give your body a break from digesting, too, which will benefit many aspects when it comes to how your body runs every day. Therefore, if you’re going to do it, aim to make it a lifestyle. Especially since you don’t want to keep changing how you eat + completely throw off your metabolism/bodily functions constantly.
- Related: 6 REASONS YOU NEED TO QUIT DIETING
2 | CHOOSING VERY RESTRICTIVE EATING WINDOWS
You do not [I repeat]… you DO NOT need to eat in a 4-8 hour window of the day for IF to be effective! Absolutely not. I don’t recommend that to anyone. Why? It creates a restrictive “diet-like” feel where all you think about is your next meal + what you can/can’t have.
Really, everyone intermittent fasts — it just means you give your body a break from eating during the day. But, if you’re looking to give yourself a specific window to control your caloric intake, try windows between 10-14 hours of eating. That’s enough! That’s fine! Experiment + find what works for you.
3 | NOT TRANSITIONING TO IF GRADUALLY
Like any lifestyle change, you need to take it slow if you want it to stick + truly become a habit. Any drastic changes to how/when you eat will feel diet-like + will not be good for your body. So, slowly move your eating window.
If you normally eat in a 16-hour window, start with 15 1/2 hours for a few days. Then move to 15 a few days later… then 14 1/2, etc. When it feels restrictive, either add more time or maintain for a few weeks. It should not feel like hard work + you shouldn’t be starving when you do it! It just requires time, patience, + a little mental discipline to push off when you start to eat.
- Related: MEAL PLANNING 101
4 | FOLLOWING EXACTLY HOW SOMEONE ELSE DOES IT
I have a whole post on my experience when I started intermittent fasting HERE where I explain my own specific rules [or lack of rules?] for intermittent fasting. If you haven’t read that post already, you’re definitely going to want to check it out.
Again, I must be clear — they’re MY rules. They’re what works for me when it comes to intermittent fasting. You don’t ever [+ shouldn’t] aim to copy the way someone eats exactly because a personal diet is so individualized. Many factors come into play. So, you need to slowly change the way you eat, how you eat, + when you eat in order to find what works best for your personal body, mental health, + lifestyle. Make your OWN rules!
5 | GIVING YOURSELF TOO MANY RULES TO FOLLOW
Ok, so now you know that you need to create a method of intermittent fasting [if you choose to do it] that works best for you. Great. Just remember to be kind with yourself + to not create a diet-mentality way of eating. Don’t assign yourself a ridiculous amount of rules to follow.
Really, you just need to know a few things: when you want to start eating, how many calories you want to eat throughout the day, + when you want to stop eating. Anything more than that is extra + possibly not needed. Heck… don’t even call them rules! They’re guidelines. You will break them maybe even a few times a week. Who cares?! You’ll get back on track.
6 | EXPECTING TO SEE/FEEL IMMEDIATE RESULTS
Ahhhhhh, yes. The instant gratification aspect of all of this. Remember that anything worthwhile takes time, patience, + repetition so it can actually become a habit. The same goes for intermittent fasting [or whatever your personal diet looks like].
Seriously, give yourself a break. SLOWLY make changes. SLOWLY shift your eating window. SLOWLY edit your calorie intake based on how much you’re moving [+ if you want to lose, maintain, or gain]. Results will come with time… physically + mentally. If you want to lose 20lb in a week/month — you’re on the wrong path + are stuck in that diet mentality. Slow + steady wins in the game of changing your lifestyle.