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Before you get started with intermittent fasting, it helps to have a better understanding of how it works, and what you should or should not to. The following list includes some common do’s and don’ts that are bound to come up, allowing you to avoid some of the more common mistakes people make.
Do: Transition Slowly
Make sure you are not going into intermittent fasting without planning ahead of time, and without really researching different protocols. You might want to transition into it slowly, such as doing the 16/8 protocol a couple days a week instead of every day, or trying to fast just 12 hours at first, then gradually working your way up to 16 hours.
Don’t: Make Yourself Uncomfortable
Intermittent fasting can be hard on your body at first, especially if you are used to eating 6-8 small meals throughout the day. This is another reason why you might do better transitioning to eating less meals during the day, then switching up the hours so you are following an intermittent fasting regimen. If you feel like you are faint from going too long without eating, then it is time to re-think the protocol you are following for IF.
Do: Listen to Your Body
You also want to listen to your body when you start intermittent fasting. You may try a protocol that simply isn’t working for you, so it shouldn’t be forced. While you do want to give each protocol a good amount of time to find out if it is a good fit, don’t go months being uncomfortable and miserable on a particular IF protocol. You may just need to accept the fact that it isn’t a good one for you.
Don’t: Start Binge Eating
This is one of the bigger mistakes people make when they first start intermittent fasting. You might find that during the short window when you can eat, all you want to do is binge eat and go for anything you can get your hands on. This is the absolute wrong way to fast. Intermittent fasting is not meant to encourage unhealthy eating habits. You should eat the same healthy foods you normally would, just during a shorter window.
Do: Stay Hydrated While Fasting
Make sure you are staying hydrated while you are fasting. People often forget to drink water just because they are fasting and can’t consume food or drinks with calories in them. You should also avoid any drinks that might cause you to become dehydrated, like diet sodas. While technically they are allowed, they are not recommended.
Don’t: Watch the Clock
While you do want to be sure you are waiting the appropriate amount of time while fasting, don’t let it take over your life. You want to develop a different mindset with food and how often you should eat, so try to just set a timer on your phone when it’s time to eat again.