I took an interest in intermittent fasting over a year ago but was too chicken to give it a try for myself. I now stand corrected.
Since completing a full month of intermittent fasting (and losing 10lbs in the process), my entire view of fasting has changed.
In this post, I’d like to debunk some of the more common intermittent fasting myths I’ve come across, heard from others and even held myself before starting. Let’s go!
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8 Intermittent Fasting Myths – Busted!
1- Intermittent Fasting Is Not A Diet
Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting is NOT a diet. As a former yo-yo dieter who has tried damn near everything under the sun, I cringe at the suggestion. A diet restricts what you eat. Intermittent fasting restricts when you eat.
It’s true, some people do combine intermittent fasting with actual diets. The ketogenic or low-carb diet is hugely popular because people tend to get amazing results in reducing refined carbohydrates and sugar.
But really to be successful with intermittent fasting you can eat whatever you want. The only requirement is that you don’t eat during your fasting window. So intermittent fasting myth #1 is officially busted!
2- Intermittent Fasting Is Not Punishment
Intermittent fasting is not a punishment or last-ditch effort to make up for binge eating or eating poorly. It’s just not. The whole thing is meant to give your digestive system a break, allow you to understand real hunger cues, eliminate carb and sugar addiction and get you to make better food choices. Intermittent fasting is supposed to be a good thing, not punishment.
3- Intermittent Fasting Should Not Make You Miserable
On more than one occasion during my one-month experiment, if I was tired or lazy at all my husband would suggest that I was starving myself. NOT TRUE!
One of the most important things about intermittent fasting is that it’s extremely flexible. You shouldn’t be miserable, lethargic, unhappy or feel like you’re overly deprived. It’s not a starvation diet. If you are hungry or not feeling well – EAT! You can always pick back up and start over the next day, next week, next month, or never. It’s not that serious!
4- Intermittent Fasting Is Not An Excuse To Binge
Intermittent fasting really isn’t an excuse to still pig out – just in fewer meals. You still need to make healthy food choices (or at least mostly healthy – nobody’s perfect). You are doing yourself, your progress and your body a huge disservice if you don’t eat at all for 16 hours, then gorge on unhealthy foods during your eating window. It is totally possible to over-eat all in one sitting, too. Don’t be that girl.
5- Intermittent Fasting Is Not A Competition
If you see others’ intermittent fasting (or even extended fasting) results and happen to have a competitive personality, you might be tempted to see how fast and how far you can go. There is absolutely no need for this. Intermittent fasting is not a competition. Go at your own pace.
I started with a 24-hour fast on day one. Though I made it, in retrospect I think I should have started slower. It doesn’t matter in the end. Ease into it, see what your body can handle, and work up to longer fasts. You don’t get a medal for lasting longer. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. (Most overused cliché ever, but it applies)!
6- Intermittent Fasting Is Not Complicated
So many people get hung up on exact timing or hours fasted. Again… it’s not that deep! Shoot for a general range and allow yourself to live a little bit!
Flexibility and ease of implementation is a huge reason why it works so well for so many people. If you start to overcomplicate things with technical details, it becomes overwhelming and unpleasant.
Many people feel it’s easier to fast for longer hours during the work week when they’re out of the home and busy focusing on work all day.
They anticipate wanting to have a big breakfast with their family Sunday mornings, for example. Intermittent fasting totally allows for this!
It’s not uncommon for people to adopt a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule Monday through Friday, (fasting 16 hours, eating 8) and loosen it on the weekends.
Do what works for you, and you’ll be more likely to succeed. Life doesn’t have to be so damn hard!
7- Intermittent Fasting Is Not For Everybody
This is a huge reason why I do NOT recommend it to anyone. If you choose to try it, please consult your doctor first, and take your personal history into account.
If you have had an eating disorder in the past, or struggle with any other health concern that would make this a bad idea for you… be smart. Don’t do it.
8- Intermittent Fasting Is Not An Excuse To Skip Exercise
Health Matters. A lot. I’m guilty of not exercising as much or as hard while fasting so I’m not exactly standing on a soapbox here, but it’s so important to maintain a good exercise routine.
While it’s true – intermittent fasting does make the weight fly off effortlessly with minimal effort, it’s still important for total health.
Mental clarity, cardiovascular health, muscular strength and mood elevation are things intermittent fasting can’t and won’t help with.
You can fast the weight off, sure, but intermittent fasting is NOT a reason to be a couch potato! Get off your (rapidly shrinking) butt and get moving!
I really enjoy yoga as a low-key, do-anywhere, easy way to sneak exercise into my days. Even on my busiest days, I’ll get in 10 minutes of yoga.
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Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight Fast
In conclusion, I’m really glad that I gave intermittent fasting a go. My only regret is seriously not trying it sooner. For me, it’s been an eye-opening experience, though I know I still have a lot of work to do to achieve my goals.
If you choose to give it a try, please, PLEASE consult your physician first, especially if you have health issues or anything in your medical history that would make it unwise for you. If you’re ready to get started right away, grab your copy of the 12-week intermittent fasting fitness planner right away!
Related Intermittent Fasting Ideas:
Intermittent Fasting Results 1 Month (With Photos)!