10 Essential Intermittent Fasting Do's And Don'ts

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How to get started with fasting? What to pay attention to and what to avoid when doing intermittent fasting?

If you’re looking for the most important intermittent fasting do’s and don’ts, you’re in the right place.

While the concept of intermittent fasting might sound easy, anything that involves changes in diet shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, food fuels our body and we want to fuel it the right way and time.

Therefore, after developing intermittent fasting meal plans, 21-day fasting challenges and interviewing fasting experts we’ve narrowed down 10 concise fasting tips for everyone doing intermittent fasting.

Let’s do fasting the right way and get to the essential intermittent fasting do’s and don’ts.

10 Intermittent Fasting Do's And Don'ts

#1 DO

Do ease into fasting

Let your body adapt to the new eating pattern and start slowly. A drastic change in a diet or lifestyle can cause various side effects that can put you off this healthy change.

This is especially true for more advanced intermittent fasting schedules like One Meal A Day or prolonged fasting. Even a sudden change to intermittent fasting 16/8 with 16-hour fasting and 8-hour eating window for some people can cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness and make it hard to control hunger.

Therefore, for our 21-day intermittent fasting challenge, we suggest easing into intermittent fasting. You would start with a 12/12 schedule and add another fasting hour each day until eventually, you reach a 16/8 schedule. This approach minimizes the side effects and helps you understand how your body reacts to intermittent fasting. 

#2 DON'T

Don’t change your intermittent fasting schedule (or at least try)

Consistency is key in intermittent fasting. Sticking to the same fasting window each day will help to better incorporate intermittent fasting in your life. It will develop a habit that will be a part of your routine, making you more likely to stick to it and succeed.

Of course, sometimes, our everyday lives are unpredictable and plans can change. Don’t be discouraged and get back on track the next day. In these cases, it becomes especially important to have a routine that is already developed and that works for you.

For more on various intermittent fasting types and schedules, check out this Intermittent Fasting Guide.

Intermittent Fasting Do's And Don'ts
#3 DO

Do stay hydrated while fasting

When up to 60% of the human body is water, staying hydrated is always a must.

There are numerous benefits of drinking water and especially during fasting hours, water can become your best friend. It will not only improve the skin, flush out toxins and help to feel more energized, but also reduce the hunger. Yes, water is a natural appetite suppressant and a glass of water can be a great way to curb hunger.

#4 DON'T

Don’t drink zero calorie drinks and artificial sweeteners during a fast

Fasting means no caloric food and beverages. Does that mean you can drink a diet soda with zero calories? This is a common question among intermittent fasting beginners. Overall it is suggested to stay away from artificial sweeteners and diet sodas during a fast.

Studies have suggested that consuming artificial sweeteners can make you feel hungrier and actually eat more. Overall, there is a lot of conflicting information and different studies done around artificial sweeteners and their effects on the health, insulin response, blood sugar levels and impact on gut bacteria.

Therefore, it is suggested to stick to proven intermittent fasting safe drinks like water, plain tea and black coffee. For the ultimate intermittent fasting drink list click here.

intermittent fasting diet tips
#5 DO

Do review your diet when doing intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is technically not about restricting what you eat but when you eat. However, if you’re looking to lose weight, you should also take a look at your diet.

A general rule of thumb for a healthy diet is eating more whole foods, cutting down on sugar and saturated fat and making sure to include vegetables and fruits to the meals.

To ensure a balanced and nutritious diet, you can also try one of these 21-day intermittent fasting meal plans. There are various caloric options to choose from and 6 diet types – regular, keto, vegan keto, vegetarian, vegan and paleo.

#6 DON'T

Don’t forget: “you can’t eat anything and still lose weight while intermittent fasting”

Still unsure why you should review your diet when doing intermittent fasting?

While it is technically harder to consume the same amount of calories in a limited time period, it is still possible. Particularly, if your diet is high in saturated fat from oils, red meat, fast food or empty calories like sugary drinks, sweets and alcohol, you might be consuming a lot of calories, which won’t aid weight loss. Additionally, these won’t be foods providing a lot of nutritious value like vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Therefore, to reach a long term weight loss that’s also good for the body, a healthy diet is a must.

how to avoid hunger when intermittent fasting
#7 DO

Do accept that you will feel hungry while fasting

Hunger is a part of intermittent fasting. The good news is that with time you will understand how to control and minimize the fasting window hunger.

From drinking plenty of water or a cup of black coffee, from learning how to avoid food temptations to planning busy meetings or workouts during the fasting window. There are multiple ways to get through some tough fasting hours. You just have to discover what works for you the best.

#8 DON'T

Don’t push yourself too hard

Intermittent fasting can be challenging at times. However, learn to listen to your body and know when to take a break. Be particularly careful with exercise while fasting. During the fasting window stick to lower intensity workouts and plan cardio or strength workouts during the eating window. 

For women doing intermittent fasting, it can be more challenging to fast during certain parts of their cycle. Additionally, some women are more sensitive to changes in their diet and lifestyle, which can disrupt their hormones and cycle.

In these cases or if you feel fatigued, dizzy, have a headache and taking rest or staying hydrated doesn’t help, consider reducing your fasting window or reviewing your diet to make sure you have enough protein and health fats in your meals.  

Intermittent Fasting Do's And Don'ts
#9 DO

Do enjoy your intermittent fasting journey

While weight loss is a great intermittent fasting benefit, it is also an empowering feeling to take control of your cravings. Many people also report feeling more focused, energized, having better sleep and of course just feeling and looking better. These changes can be observed even only after a few weeks of practicing intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting can become an important part of daily life and it shouldn’t be something that gives a headache to think about. Therefore, it’s important to find the kind of intermittent fasting schedule that works the best for you and find a way to minimize the side effects, reduce hunger and still have a healthy, balanced diet to nourish your body.

#10 DON'T

Don’t forget to ask questions and improve your intermittent fasting lifestyle

If you’re already here reading intermittent fasting do’s and don’ts, you’re on the right track. It’s important to stay curious and improve day by day. There are so many intermittent fasting resources out there, from intermittent fasting books to blogs and fasting experts sharing their knowledge and experience. 

If you’re looking to take intermittent fasting to another level, we can suggest a 21-day Intermittent Fasting Challenge that will guide you through even more intermittent fasting do’s and don’ts. Proven by science and improved based on the experiences of over 1000 people who have successfully finished the challenge. We start every Monday, it’s time to join us here

RESEARCH and TEXT BY:

TAURAS SINKUS

TAURAS SINKUS

Tauras is the founder and face of the 21 Day Hero. While being obsessed with mind and productivity hacks, he is hooked up with HIIT type group training and cooking gourmet meals almost every day. Tauras is widely known in the startup community for his kick-ass social media and marketing skills too!

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