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Intermittent Fasting: 8 Mistakes To Avoid

By JASHAN VIJ
Last updated on: May 08, 2024 17:23 IST
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Intermittent fasting, when not carried out under professional guidance, comes with its fair share of woes and health issues, warns Jashan Vij, a health coach and fat loss expert.

  • Trying to lose weight? Get expert advice from rediffGURUS HERE.

Intermittent fasting: Are you making these mistakes?

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Bhumi Pednekar/Instagram

Pooja wakes up at 6 am and heads to the gym for her daily workout.

She has been fasting since 8 pm the night before but she does not want to change her exercise routine.

Pooja's mind and body may be craving for food but, post workout, she restlessly waits until noon to have her first proper meal of the day.

It's a thoughtfully prepared, well-balanced dish that includes the right amount of nutrients to replenish her for the next few hours.

Sounds crazy? Or does it remind you about someone you know?

Intermittent fasting -- the diet that has gripped the fancy of both young and ageing Indians as a quick fix to losing weight -- when not carried out under professional guidance, comes with its fair share of woes and health issues.

Before you join this trend, here are a few things you should know:

Mistake #1. Being Extreme

This is one of the most common mistakes people make when they decide to follow a fad diet.

Very fast weight loss plans and diets that have too many limitations may cause a deficiency in nutrients, create a metabolic imbalance and a poor relationship with food.

Instead, try to adopt an approach towards eating that is balanced, sustainable and prioritises nourishment and enjoyment.

Mistake #2. Choosing Less Nutritious Foods

During intermittent fasting, one has flexibility in terms of what she or he can consume during the 'allowed-to-eat' period. It is important that you choose nutrient-dense foods that will promote overall good health.

You should incorporate a wide range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats in your meals to ensure that the required vitamins and minerals are absorbed by your body. For example, a vitamin B12 deficiency leads to low energy levels.

Mistake #3. Skipping Meals

In certain intermittent fasting protocols, people skip entire meals, especially breakfast.

This can eventually lead to disruption of your metabolism, resulting in overeating.

It is important to consistently feed your body through the day to maintain energy levels, support your metabolism rate and thus curb excessive hunger pangs which might lead one into overeating later on.

Severe restrictions cause protein deficiency and decreased metabolism that reduces muscle mass loss while preventing any significant fat loss.

You can achieve your weight loss goals by creating a moderate calorie deficit that supports long-term, gradual but sustainable weight reduction.

Mistake #4. Ignoring Sleep

While fasting or dieting, sleep tends to be overlooked as many individuals prioritise productive work or pleasure activities to keep themselves busy.

Such a lifestyle may have negative implications on physical and mental health, including mood alteration, cognitive decline, immune system deterioration and compromised metabolism.

Aim to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

Avoid neglecting sleep by creating a relaxing bedtime routine and optimising your sleep environment for comfort and tranquillity.

Mistake #5. Imbalanced Nutrition

Ensure that a perfect mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are part of your meals. This will help you maintain energy levels and muscle function and keep your body healthy.

Avoid excessive restrictions on any macronutrient group since each one plays a vital role in supporting different functions of the body.

Mistake #6. Overindulgence In Processed Foods

Most fad diets promote the consumption of processed or pre-packaged foods labelled as 'low-fat' or 'diet-friendly'. However, such products are usually packed with added sugars, artificial additives and unhealthy fats.

Avoid processed foods and prioritise whole and minimally processed options for overall health benefits.

Mistake #7. Excessive Dependence On Supplements

Although supplements can be useful in filling nutrient gaps or achieving specific health goals, they should not replace a balanced diet or healthy lifestyle.

Stop relying entirely on supplements for your nutritional needs; get your nutrients from whole foods wherever possible.

Mistake #8. Dehydration

Proper hydration is important for good health and overall wellness. However, most people do not drink enough water throughout the day.

Physical and cognitive performance may decline due to dehydration. Increased fatigue can negatively impact mood and digestion.

Aim at drinking no less than eight glasses of water every day; even more if you are exercising heavily or it is hot outside.

Pay attention when your body tells you it's thirsty.

Remember, every individual is different and diet plans work differently on different people.

It is important to also consider your physical and mental fitness and discuss your health concerns and fitness goals with your physician at regular intervals.

It is always recommended to seek help and guidance from a weight loss expert or a trained professional before signing up for any weight loss or wellness programme.

  • Trying to lose weight? Get expert advice from rediffGURUS HERE.

Disclaimer: All content and media herein is written and published online for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It should not be relied on as your only source for advice.

Please always seek the guidance of your doctor or a qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Do not ever disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read herein.

If you believe you may have a medical or mental health emergency, please call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital, or call emergency services or emergency helplines immediately. If you choose to rely on any information provided herein, you do so solely at your own risk.

Opinions expressed herein cannot necessarily provide advice to fit the exact specifics of the issues of the person requesting advice.

intermitent fasting: are you making these mistakes?

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