Intermittent fasting has become a popular diet choice for many people looking to trim down and tone up. It isn’t really a diet so much as a routine that highlights a pattern of eating windows and fasting windows, rather than defining which foods to eat and which to avoid. A common intermittent fasting schedule involves an eight-hour window during the day, followed by 16 hours of fasting daily.
This routine can be a powerful weight loss tool because it typically causes you to take in less calories each day and causes your metabolism to speed up. Plus, some studies have shown that intermittent fasting can provide other benefits to your health, like fighting inflammation, improving digestion, increasing mental clarity, improving sleep and curbing cravings.
But these benefits only occur when you follow intermittent fasting properly, and there is actually a common but scary mistake that many people make when trying this diet.
While the 16-hour fast allows you to eat more freely during your eating window, you shouldn’t take advantage of this freedom. Many people over-fill themselves during the eating window, which actually gives you the opposite effect you would expect. This can make you feel hungrier during the fasting period, which then makes you more likely to overeat during the next eating window.
If you overeat too often during the eating window, you might find that the intermittent fasting routine doesn’t provide the benefits you are expecting to experience, making all of your efforts redundant.
The best way to go about intermittent fasting is to eat plenty of healthy foods during the eight-hour window, with proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats. This will help you feel energized throughout your fasting period, without unnecessary cravings, and then you’ll have an easier time eating well during the next window.