As a Nutritionist with my masters in Nutrition and Human Performance, I've found Intermittent Fasting to be an excellent tool to help tap into fat burning mechanisms and achieve a weight loss goal.
Just checkout Jeannette's story of how she lost 47 pounds in her 50's while using Intermittent Fasting with my blog post HERE.
But I also see a lot of people making the same Intermittent Fasting mistakes that hinders their progress.
Today, I'm sharing 15 Intermittent Fasting mistakes to avoid if one of your primary intentions with Intermittent Fasting is to burn fat as fuel and achieve a weight loss goal.
Scroll down for the details!
#1. Fasting too long
If a 14 hour fast is great, then a 22 hour fast must be even better, right?!
Turns out, a longer fast isn't always better for weight loss goals. This is because longer fasts make it harder to eat all of our daily nutrient needs which can then result in muscle loss and a slower metabolism.
#2. Using the fast to justify a poor diet
Unfortunately it has been quite popular in the Intermittent Fasting world to suggest that you can "eat whatever you want" as long as you just fast the rest of the day.
This is the biggest mistake that I've seen thousands of men and women make that holds them back from achieving their weight loss goals.
Intermittent Fasting helps the body to tap into fat burning by reducing the amount of time throughout the day that our storing hormone insulin is spiked. However, if you break your fast with extremely insulin spiking foods (such as processed flours and sugar), then this will just reverse your progress.
#3. Drinking green juices and powders during the fast
Probably the most popular greens juice/powder right now is AG1. You can't listen to a Joe Rogan podcast or watch a nutrition related YouTube video without being served one of their ads. But just because it's a liquid, it doesn't mean it won't break your fast.
Knowing what breaks a fast and what doesn't break a fast is key for long term success.
#4. Not drinking enough water
When we fast, we lose both water and electrolytes. This is typically the result of a dip in insulin (the storing hormone) during the fast, which causes our kidney's to release excess water and sodium. Unfortunately, this can also lead to dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance.
I personally like to aim for having 1/3-1/2 of my daily water needs during my morning fast to help prevent dehydration.
#5. Not using electrolytes
As I mentioned in the last tip, we lose both water and electrolytes. If we just drink water, then we can make our electrolyte imbalance even worse. I personally like to use a zero sugar electrolyte, called LMNT, each day to help replace my lost electrolytes.
You can find LMNT electrolytes HERE.
#6. Not walking during the fast
Walking inherently uses fat as its main fuel source. This makes it a uniquely great exercise to perform during the fast when we're trying to help our body burn fat as fuel. I like to aim for about 20-60 minutes of walking during the fast.
#7. Too much coffee
Coffee is a great tool during the fast to help blunt the appetite. However, too much coffee can disturb sleep and increase hunger the next day - ultimately making the next day fast harder to maintain.
I like to stick to 1-2 cups of coffee per day and cut all caffeine intake by 12pm.
#8. Taking the wrong supplements during the fast
Some supplements can be used during the fast, while others will break your fast. It's important to know which is which. You can check out my blog posts on "does it break a fast" for the details on specific supplements.
#9. Breaking your fast the wrong way
Your fast is important, but how you break your fast will make or break your results. If you break your fast the wrong way, you can completely reverse your progress. This is why I created the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle to help you succeed with both your fast and your eating window. The Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle contains over 100 recipes and 8 weeks of meal planning to help you achieve your weight loss and wellness goals.
You can find the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle HERE.
#10. Not using resistance training
If you find that you've hit a plateau with Intermittent Fasting, the first place you should be looking next is your meals (see tip #9). After you've addressed your meals, the next area that can provide some major results is your exercise routine - specifically resistance training. In fact, resistance training is what helped Kristen (pictured above) break through her plateau and lose an additional 15 pounds. She used the workouts included in the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle to help achieve her results, but you can use any form of resistance training that you enjoy.
#11. Not getting enough sleep
Poor sleep can increase insulin resistance and hunger hormones the very next day. This combination makes us crave sugary/carby foods and makes it harder to tap into fat burning. Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. It seriously makes that much of a difference.
#12. Using OMAD (One Meal A Day)
OMAD has become a popular method of Intermittent Fasting because people tend to see fairly quick initial results. However, these results are often from simply not eating enough, which can result in both fat and muscle loss. This loss in muscle lowers the metabolic rate and can lead to a plateau.
#13. Too many desserts
Low sugar desserts or treats can be implemented into a weight loss journey, as long as it suits your specific goals. Usually a good frequency is about 2x/week. However, if you find that you've plateaued, this would be a good time to assess your dessert frequency and try kicking it down a level. Perhaps instead of 2x/week, you can decrease it to 1x/week. Some people might find it beneficial to have a 1-4 week "clean slate" where they don't incorporate any desserts.
Of course, it's important to make sure that the desserts you choose are eaten within your eating window and are higher quality. You can check out my preferred desserts with the video below.
#14. Snacking during the eating window
Just because you can technically eat during the eating window, it doesn't mean that snacking or grazing is a good idea. To help optimize for best weight loss results, I usually recommend that my clients stick to 2-3 full and satiating meals without any snacks.
You can get a complete breakdown of this strategy in the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle HERE.
#15. Eating high glycemic food
High glycemic load foods are those that spike the blood sugar level after eating them. This spike in blood sugar can result in a spike in the storing hormone insulin that shuts off fat burning. High glycemic load foods also tend to result in blood sugar crashes that make us hungry and more likely to snack. Instead, focusing on low glycemic load foods can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent those crashes.
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Keto Coffee Cheers,
Autumn Elle Nutrition