Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a highly effective method for quickly losing weight because it naturally beats common weight loss obstacles. However, many beginners make mistakes that hinder their progress. In order to achieve optimal results, it’s important to understand and avoid these common errors. Here are the top six mistakes intermittent fasting beginners make when practicing intermittent fasting.
Mistake#1: Choosing a wrong plan
Intermittent fasting can be approached in various ways. It is essential to find an intermittent fasting plan that suits your lifestyle and schedule to ensure long-term adherence. Let’s explore the leading types of intermittent fasting plans and who they are best suited for:
The 16:8 fasting plan involves fasting for 16 hours and restricting your eating window to 8 hours each day. It is suitable for individuals who prefer consistency and have a regular daily routine.
The 15:9 intermittent fasting plan involves fasting for 15 hours and restricting the eating window to 9 hours each day. This plan is suitable for individuals who prefer a slightly shorter fasting period and have a flexible daily schedule that allows for a longer eating window. Simply put, if you find it difficult to stick to 16:8, 15:9 is strongly suggested.
The 5:2 diet involves consuming a normal amount of calories for five days a week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the remaining two days. It is best for those who can handle occasional fasting days and prefer flexibility.
As the name suggests, the alternate-day fasting plan involves alternating between fasting days and normal eating days. It suits individuals who have strong willpower and can handle periods of more prolonged fasting.
Eat Stop Eat
The Eat Stop Eat method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week, with regular eating on non-fasting days. This approach is best suited for individuals who can handle longer fasting periods and prefer the flexibility of alternating fasting and normal eating days.
Mistake#2: Doing too much too soon
Attempting too much in the initial stages of intermittent fasting is a recipe for failure. While intermittent fasting requires less effort and time compared to other weight loss methods like regular gym workouts, it still necessitates some adjustment to your lifestyle. Trying to overhaul your entire routine at once is not sustainable. Instead, start with small steps and gradually increase your fasting period. That’s also why daily tasks are integrated into Soon in its latest version (SoonFasting 3.0). As soon as all the daily tasks are completed, the app can be left aside, and users are allowed to focus on issues that do matter.
Another example, you can begin by pushing your eating window back by 30 minutes for two weeks to establish the habit, and then extend it further when you feel ready. Taking baby steps will yield better long-term results.
Mistake#3: Breaking the fast by mistake
The main objective of intermittent fasting is to consume zero or extremely low calories during the fasting window. Any consumption of calories breaks the fast and initiates the digestion cycle. To ensure you maintain an effective fast, avoid consuming anything with calories during this period. For instance, refrain from adding cream to your coffee, avoid smoothies, and eliminate any other calorie-containing substances.
Mistake#4: Eating the wrong food during your eating window
One common misconception about intermittent fasting is that it gives you free rein to eat anything you want during the eating window. While it’s true that intermittent fasting does not impose specific food restrictions like traditional diets, it’s important to understand that the quality of food you consume still plays a significant role in your overall health and weight loss journey.
Unlike strict dieting, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat rather than what you eat. However, this doesn’t mean you should disregard the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet. To optimize your results and ensure you’re nourishing your body properly, seeking professional guidance on food intake is highly recommended.
A qualified nutritionist or dietitian can provide valuable insights tailored to your specific needs and goals. They can help you create a meal plan that aligns with intermittent fasting while ensuring you’re getting the right balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats), as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
Remember, intermittent fasting is not a license to indulge in unhealthy, processed, or high-calorie foods during your eating window. To truly maximize the benefits of this approach, it’s essential to make wise food choices that support your overall well-being and weight loss efforts.
Consulting with a professional or using a professional intermittent fasting tracker like Soon can help you navigate through the vast amount of information available and provide personalized recommendations. They can also guide you on portion sizes, meal timing, and incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your eating window. Even recipe packs are provided by Soon so that daily meals are designed and provided to you.
Mistake#5: Not getting enough nutrients
Reducing your calorie intake through intermittent fasting does not mean you should neglect the essential nutrients your body needs. Every meal you consume should include a balance of protein, vegetables (complex carbs), and healthy fats. Additionally, incorporating fruits as snacks between meals is beneficial. Remember that weight loss is not solely about avoiding certain foods but also about providing your body with the necessary nutrients.
Mistake#6: Not drinking enough water
While practicing intermittent fasting, your body loses a significant amount of water through food consumption. Therefore, it is crucial to increase your water intake throughout the day. Sufficient hydration not only helps keep you refreshed but also helps curb your appetite. However, it’s important to note that the ideal amount of water you should drink each day depends on your body’s specific needs.
In conclusion, intermittent fasting offers numerous benefits for weight loss. However, it’s vital to avoid these six common mistakes to maximize the effectiveness of IF. By choosing the right plan, gradually adjusting your routine, maintaining a proper fasting window, controlling your eating habits, ensuring nutrient intake, and staying hydrated, you can take full advantage of intermittent fasting and achieve your weight loss goals.