Intermittent fasting is an eating habit in which you don’t follow the conventional breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal times. Instead, you set a period that you don’t eat and open a time for you to chow down. But intermittent fasting isn’t just about eating during specific periods.
At this point, you may wonder if there are diet restrictions in intermittent fasting. The answer is yes. Continue reading to know more about these boundaries and leverage the power of intermittent fasting.
Don’t Exceed Your Daily Recommended Calorie Intake
Perhaps you want to start intermittent fasting to lose weight. Therefore, you shouldn’t binge at a buffet during the time you can eat.
Ensure that you stick to your daily recommended calorie intake. For example, if you’re a 5-foot, 10-inch male weighing about 154 pounds, you should eat about 2,000 calories per day. Losing weight means going lower than that figure by about 10% to 20% (by 200 to 400 calories per day).
Hence, exceeding the 2,000-calorie mark during your eating period will make your intermittent fasting efforts go in vain. Any calorie exceeding your daily recommended calorie intake may be stored as fat. So, you must watch what you eat carefully during your eating periods.
Moreover, you may ponder upon the idea of intermittent fasting vs small meals. Both eating methods can produce positive results for weight loss and maintenance. At the end of the day, the decision lies with the person.
You may prefer intermittent fasting if your body is already familiar with the eating habit. Another person may like to eat small meals throughout the day instead. Remember to watch your calorie intake. Else, neither method can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Stay Away From Sugar
Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, then it may be more challenging for you to start (and maintain) intermittent fasting.
Following a healthy diet means you should reduce or eliminate sugar intake. It’s because sugar activates a “reward response” in the brain once consumed. In other words, if you consume a sweet treat, like a donut or an ice cream, the brain starts to feel “happier” than usual, causing you to search for more sugary sweets.
The more sugar you consume, the higher the chances are that you’ll gain additional fat. It’s because sugar impacts glucose and hormone levels by telling the body to store more fat for energy. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, the stored fat will start appearing in certain areas of the body, including your stomach, arms, and thighs.
Incorporating too much sugar in a diet can also cause other adverse effects such as:
- Impaired memory
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Hindered mental capacity
- Increased feelings of sadness
- Heightened anxiety
Use sugar substitutes if you think you can’t stay away from sugar for extended periods. Some sugar alternatives are:
- Agave nectar
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
Break Your Fast Right
Breakfast is the first meal of the day. The reason why breakfast is called breakfast is that you break your fast. Use this time to break your fasting period with the right meal.
Doing intermittent fasting the correct way means breaking your fast properly. Hence, you can’t fill your plate with carbohydrates and healthy fats. Although these macronutrients should be part of your healthy diet, consider eating more proteins than carbs or fats during breakfast.
Proteins help the body feel fuller. Moreover, if you want to lose extra pounds, this macronutrient helps maintain the metabolic balance for you to achieve a lean body mass.
Some healthy protein sources include:
- Lean meats
- Fish and seafood (e.g., prawns, salmon, and lobster)
- Dairy products
Be careful when eating nuts. Although nuts can be your go-to snack for the additional protein intake, these food options can be dense in calories.
Also, consider combining your protein intake with fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Achieve this mix to slow the digestive system, allowing you to stay full and energized while fasting. As a bonus, choosing protein- and fiber-rich foods during breakfast will help your body absorb the necessary vitamins and minerals to aid in food portion control. Properly-sized food portions can help you lose weight more easily.
If you do intermittent fasting correctly, you can enjoy results like faster weight loss and higher energy levels. Remember to follow your daily recommended calorie intake and stay away from sugary treats. You should consult a nutritionist for professional advice on how to make intermittent fasting a part of your daily lifestyle to lose weight and stay healthy.