7 Intermittent Fasting Mistakes That Could Make You Gain Weight

7 Intermittent Fasting Mistakes That Could Make You Gain Weight

Intermittent fasting supporters say that it helps with weight loss and can increase the levels of energy and mood. But if you have decided to try to restrict your diet to a certain time frame and have trouble adjusting to the schedule, it may be because this eating style varies significantly from your past eating habits. You may also make mistakes unintentionally that may make the transition more difficult and may make you gain weight.
Here are seven common mistakes people make while trying to adopt intermittent fasting:

MISTAKE #1: Making drastic changes

When you normally eat every 3–4 hours and then unexpectedly compress to an 8-hour period, you will probably feel hungry all the time and depressed. "Many people leave if they continue fasting for too many hours without an adjustment period from a previous eating style," says Krista Varady, PhD, Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois in Chicago and author of "The Every-Other-Day Diet." It may take 10 days or two weeks before you stop feeling hungry when you are fasting.

MISTAKE #2: You're letting calories slip in during your fasting hours.

Fasting means consuming zero—or as close to zero—calories during your non-eating hours. You might have some not-so-obvious culprits slipping in that are breaking your fast. For some people, even a little bit of sweetener or cream in their coffee can knock them out of their fast and stall their results. Become aware of where these calories might be slipping in.

MISTAKE #3: You're overeating.

Fasting typically helps you moderate your food intake without counting calories. One study looked at how people ate after a 36-hour fast. Researchers found while they ate slightly more calories at their next meal than non-fasters, they consumed almost 2,000 fewer calories over the two-day period. But for some people, breaking a fast can feel like an invitation to consume massive amounts of high-calorie food. Your body has to store those extra calories somewhere, and they usually form as fat—stalling your fasting results.

MISTAKE #4: You're over-relying on coffee.

After doing an overnight fast, a big cup of organic dark roast can be the perfect start to your morning. Among its potential benefits, caffeine can dial down hunger while boosting energy levels. But using coffee as a crutch for poor sleep or managing your mood can mean you're drinking too much, which can contribute to weight gain over time in some people. Some research has shown that too much caffeine can increase blood glucose levels and prolong those increases, making you less insulin sensitive and more likely to store fat.

MISTAKE #5: You're eating the wrong foods.

Fasting for 18 or even 24 hours doesn't give you permission to deep-dive into a deep-dish pizza or tip back a few glasses of wine during the hours you do eat. Those foods and drinks will spike and crash your insulin levels, sending you on a blood sugar roller coaster that leaves you hungry and moody during your fasting hours, potentially even stalling your results. When you eat matters, but so does what you eat. During your eating hours, ensure you're getting plenty of fiber, protein, and good fats from sources like vegetables, fruits, quality meats and fish, nuts and seeds, and olive oil.

MISTAKE #6: You're moving too fast, too quickly.

Diving into a 24-hour fast immediately can become a full-blown disaster. Instead, start slowly with a smaller fasting window. Play with that window and gradually increase it (many people end up settling on an effective yet sustainable 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule). Don't jump off the diving board before you're comfortable in the shallow end.

MISTAKE #7: You're not maintaining stellar lifestyle habits.

What you eat and don't eat ultimately becomes an important piece of your health care puzzle. Just as important: Getting at least eight hours of stellar sleep nightly, managing stress levels, maintaining a healthy social and spiritual life, and consuming the right foods to support your fasting efforts and cultivate amazing health. When you maintain other good habits, you'll find fasting becomes easier and creates more lasting benefits.