What are some things to keep in mind while I practice intermittent fasting?

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Here are a few things to keep in mind while you practice intermittent fasting (IF):

  • Make sure your "normal" diet is on track. Limited eating periods and non-fast days are not an excuse to eat whatever, whenever. IF only works as a method for calorie restriction if healthy, moderate eating habits are maintained during non-fasting periods.
  • Plan ahead. For example, try not to plan a long run or intense exercise class on a fast day—you might pay for it in decreased performance and increased fatigue.
  • Listen to your body. Don’t stick to IF because it’s supposed to have numerous benefits if it doesn’t feel right or if it isn’t working. If you’re tired all the time, losing sleep and not seeing results, it’s time to try a new strategy.

There are a number of things to keep in mind while you practice intermittent fasting, which is defined as cycles of eating alternating with cycles of not eating. Intermittent fasting can be done in a variety of different ways, with every other day fasting, whole day fasting or time specific fasting. Some things to keep in mind during intermittent fasting include the following:

  • It is important to stay well hydrated, even while fasting.
  • Smaller, more frequent meals are recommended over large infrequent meals (as may be the temptation in intermittent fasting).
  • If you are diabetic, it may not be safe to fast for extended periods of time and you may want to discuss duration of fast or need to check blood glucose levels with your doctor.
  • If you are pregnant and otherwise healthy, it may be safe to fast for 12 hours, but a discussion with your doctor would be highly recommended. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.