You Want to Avoid These Mistakes, Which Can Lead to Weight Gain
In the first few weeks and months of your IF journey, here are some mistakes to avoid:
- Choosing the wrong plan: Be realistic about what plan will work with your lifestyle, personality, and body. 5:2 may sound good on paper because fasting longer each day can help you lose weight faster compared to a plan like 16:8, but if you have a stressful job where you work long hours, this will be hard to maintain.
- Doing too much, too soon: Maybe you want to work up to 16:8, but you'll find the most success sticking with IF if you start off with 12:12 to allow your body time to adjust.
- Giving up too soon: Intermittent fasting takes a certain amount of discipline and a period of time where you may not feel good or see results. Unless you're experiencing unbearable issues where intermittent fasting is affecting your ability to sleep or do your normal day-to-day tasks, or you find that it doesn't work with your lifestyle, then stick with it for at least a month before throwing in the towel.
- Eating too much during your eating window: Don't make up for lost time by eating way more than you would if you weren't fasting. Intermittent fasting doesn't give you a green light to overeat, because you will gain weight.
- Eating too little: If you don't eat enough, you'll feel especially hungry the next day, which can cause you to overeat. Make sure to never dip below 1,200 calories (unless you're doing 5:2), especially if you're working out. For reference, the USDA dietary guidelines recommend adult women consume 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day, but that number will vary based on your age, height, weight, and activity level. Eating too little will not only slow down your metabolism, but it will also make you so ravenous that you won't be able to fast, or you'll overeat when you do eat.
- Eating the wrong foods: Skip the fast food and refined carbs and get your fill of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and complex carbs. This will satiate you longer, continue to help you build muscle, maintain a healthy brain, and just make you feel more energetic and happier overall.