Intermittent Fasting Pitfalls to avoid  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Intermittent Fasting decreases insulin levels because you are not consuming food to increase blood glucose levels. In turn, your body uses energy from fat stores.
- Starting off drastically is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. So is stocking up your fridge with the wrong foods.
- Your shopping list must include whole foods like fish and chicken, fruits and veggies, and healthy sides like quinoa and legumes.
As much stress as most cultures give on proper diet and nutrition, they also give on spells of fasting. The principle of “body reduces, spirit gains” encourages people to fast.
But complete fasting or so-called “zero-fasting” is very rarely recommended in Ayurveda as it reduces the digestive fire (Agni) and increases Vata.
This is where intermittent fasting plays an important role. For example, some Ayurveda experts advise reducing your food consumption for a certain period of time, skipping just breakfast and having a light vegetable soup in the evening. They ask the fasting person to keep lunch a light, vegetarian affair (no meat, fish, eggs or even dairy produce). Green and leafy vegetables with easily digested moong daal without oil or ghee is advised.
Yet, some people on intermittent fasting complain that they do not feel any better or healthier, leaner.
In that case, one should be mindful of doing the intermittent fasting correctly.
Check these 5 common mistakes people make during Intermittent fasting:
- Eating while standing:
We are constantly racing against the clock. Our obsession for pace or fear of being left behind makes us push ahead and hurt our health without realising that we are doing so. Standing and eating – gulping down food fast, swallowing without peacefully chewing and enjoying – is a habit that goes against Ayurvedic tenets or traditions. Standing and drinking water from a bottle with your neck tilted backwards is another bad habit.
- Sudden changes to your eating habits:
If you normally eat every 3–4 hours and then suddenly shrink your eating period to an 8-hour window, your body and mind will rebel. You will feel hungry all the time and discouraged… and perhaps quit in disillusionment. Tell yourself that it will be 10 days to 2 weeks before your body settles down to these longer windows between meals. Gradually stretch out the number of hours you go between meals until you reach a 12-hour eating window.
- Overeating when ‘breaking’ the fast:
Your body reads this spell of hunger as a crisis when food was in short supply. It sends signals from the brain to your stomach to make up for the lost calories and in fact stock up for a similar period ahead. But if you are fasting not just for spring-cleaning and detox of the body but weight loss as well, this action will give you stomach aches and defeat your cause. So, plan ahead. Prepare a healthy meal ahead of your time of eating. Include healthy carbs, whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of juicy vegetables.
- Eating the wrong foods, drinking the wrong liquids:
When taking up intermittent fasting, we tend to focus on when to eat and not what to eat. We forget that we need a nutritionally balanced meal which has no processed foods. Most people drink water, black coffee or green tea when they are fasting. That is a good idea if you can keep milk, butter, sugar etc out of them. Avoid protein-filled liquids of you cannot expect autophagy (the cellular process that breaks down and recycles damaged molecules) that you want to achieve while fasting. No diet sodas, no zero-calorie sweeteners.
- Lying like a log with no activity:
We need not fear exercising when on intermittent fasting. The body has enough energy stored in the body fat to use in this no-food period. So, if you exercise regularly on other days, no need to skip it during intermittent fasting days. Apart from your regular workout routine, try some low-impact exercises like walking. If you have a protein-rich meal after the fasting, it will help you build muscle.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.