Dos and Don’ts of Intermittent Fasting
Proponents of intermittent fasting agree that its benefits far outweigh the side effects (mainly, hunger!) The health impacts of this popular eating plan range from weight loss, longevity and even cancer prevention as some studies suggest.
If you’re a beginner or considering fasting intermittently, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you stay on track and ensure that you get the full benefits of this amazing eating plan.
Do make sure you are fit to fast.
Unfortunately, you just may not be a candidate for intermittent fasting. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, are taking medications, have heart disease or other health conditions, intermittent fasting can be downright dangerous for you.
Even if you don’t fall into any of the above categories, it’s highly recommended nonetheless that you have a quick medical check-up just to be on the safe side.
Don’t ignore side effects if they don’t go away.
The most common side effects of intermittent fasting are fatigue, headache, brain fog and irritability. These symptoms normally diminish or disappear altogether as your body adapts to the new eating plan.
However, if these symptoms persist or increase after a week or so, you need to stop fasting and consult a doctor.
Do fit your lifestyle around your fasting.
The great thing about intermittent fasting is that it’s versatile enough to fit your lifestyle around. Make fasting easier on yourself by planning long fasts for weekends or days when your schedule is not busy.
Likewise, schedule workouts, errands and other strenuous activities on non-fasting days. This will definitely help you stick to your plan more easily.
Intermittent Fasting or Not
Don’t overeat before a fast day.
Your last supper before a fast day should be light and nutritious as well as filling. Don’t overindulge on your favorite foods and gorge yourself to the brim – believe it or not, this will make you even more hungry because your digestion is going to go into overdrive, and your stomach will empty faster.
You should also eat foods that are slowly digested such as potatoes and healthy carbs.
Do be mentally prepared.
Intermittent fasting is not a walk in the park. Anyone who tells you that is lying. It can be easier on some days and harder on others, but never totally comfortable.
Prepare yourself mentally for the hunger and discomfort and tell yourself that you can do it. It’s your brain and not your body that will give you the willpower and determination, so let it know what to expect.
Don’t try to be a hero.
Sometimes, it’s better to be honest with ourselves and just throw in the towel. If you are struggling too hard and really finding it difficult to function, don’t try to be a hero. You are just not made for fasting.
Thankfully, there are many other less difficult alternatives that could be better suited for you.
Do take vitamin supplements.
Even if you are focused on good nutrition and healthy meals, fasting can still cause some vitamin deficiencies. A good quality multivitamin is your best bet to stay healthy and energized.
Don’t stay dehydrated.
We all know we need to drink plenty of water whether we are fasting or not but we tend to forget, don’t we? It’s vital that you don’t forget to keep your body hydrated while fasting by drinking a glass of water every hour or so.
Set a phone alert to remind you if needs be. And remember, water dulls hunger so that’s an added bonus.
Do find fun activities to distract you.
If you are fasting during weekends or on days where you have nothing on your schedule, the minutes will pass like hours unless you find something to distract you.
Engage in a favorite hobby or go for a nice mature walk to pass the time. Just make sure your hobby isn’t weightlifting or running marathons!
Intermittent Fasting Yes or No
These dos and don’ts may seem like common sense tips but it’s amazing how so many people don’t consider them. It makes sense to be as well-armed as possible for an optimal and more comfortable fasting experience.
So, keep them in mind when you’re getting ready for your next fast!