Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for You?

There’s a lot of talk about Intermittent Fasting out there right now, as it’s become a popular method for losing weight (and body fat).

Intermittent Fasting benefits are said to include increased energy and mental clarity, as well as positive changes to stamina and motivation.

And that’s all in addition to reducing body fat! Sounds pretty good, huh?

Well, actually it is!

Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting

While intermittent fasting does appear to offer some serious health benefits, it’s certainly not a magic pill and may not be the right choice for everybody.

Today I’ll shed some light on the pros and cons of Intermittent fasting so you can make an informed decision about whether this style of eating is right for you and so you can understand the benefits and risks of Intermittent Fasting.

So What is Intermittent Fasting?

If you’re unsure what Intermittent Fasting is, we’ve got you covered with this post on Intermittent Fasting for Beginners, which explains what it’s all about and some of the most popular methods of Intermittent Fasting.

Intermittent Fasting Risks

Let’s take a look at some of the main risks that are sometimes raised regarding Intermittent Fasting:

I’ll consume too few calories and/or nutrients

Intermittent Fasting is great for losing weight and body fat because by having extended periods of fasting, you’ll probably, by default, be eating less.

It’s therefore essential that the meals you do eat are nutrient dense and not full of wasted calories.

If you’re fasting, you’ll likely eat less, so in theory, you should be taking in fewer calories.

For more information on how to lose weight safely and effectively on an Intermittent Fasting eating plan, take a look at this post on Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

PROs:

Intermittent Fasting encourages you to eat more nutrient rich meals.  If you eat nutritionally balanced meals during non-fasting periods, your calorie intake will almost certainly decrease SO there’s no need to count calories if you eat the right foods during non-fasting periods.

CONs:

If you binge eat or consume a lot of processed foods during non-fasting periods, one of the risks of Intermittent Fasting is that you could end up consuming more calories (and fewer nutrients) than you would if not fasting.

TAKEAWAY:

When not fasting, ensure you plan for and prepare nutritionally dense meals and don’t overeat or binge eat to compensate for the period of fasting.   Break the fast with nutritious, whole foods so your body gets the nutrients it requires. Better still, come up with a post-fasting plan (this is where Metabolic Typing or a Dietician/Naturopath can help) so you have a guide for what to eat when not fasting.

Most people crave whole foods when coming off a fasting period anyway, but be careful not to overload on carbs or processed foods during the time you’re not fasting. If you follow these principles, there’ll be no need to count calories while practicing Intermittent Fasting AND you’ll reap some seriously healthy weight & fat loss rewards

I’ll get out of touch with my body’s eating and hunger cues

Let’s be honest here.  Most of us are absolutely NOT in touch with when our body is telling us we’re truly hungry or full and Intermittent Fasting can actually correct this by allowing the body to reach a true state of hunger and satiety that most of us rarely allow ourselves to feel with our propensity for grazing throughout the day.

However, if you don’t implement regularity around periods of eating and fasting when practicing Intermittent Fasting, it could certainly lead to the resurface or beginning of eating disorders in those who are susceptible.

PROs:

If you ensure your fasting periods are regular and don’t chop and change the times and days you fast, your body will find it much easier to send you accurate hunger and satiety signals. If you combine this with eating nutritious foods during non-fasting periods, your body should soon start to send you very accurate signals regarding hunger and satiety

CONs:

Periods of extended fasting may not be suitable for those who have a history of eating disorders and Intermittent Fasting may pose a risk to those who fall into this category.

TAKEAWAY:

If you have a history of eating disorders or feel susceptible in this area, then Intermittent Fasting may not be suitable for you. You are best to check with your primary health care professional before choosing Intermittent Fasting as an eating plan

Intermittent Fasting Will Mess With My Metabolism

According to Healthline, Intermittent Fasting actually INCREASES several fat burning hormones, which will help you to burn fat and lose weight more readily. In addition, lean muscle mass loss is minimal with this type of eating plan, when compared to traditional dieting.

PROs:

Intermittent Fasting has several important weight loss advantages over diets that are based on continuous calorie restriction. It can be a highly effective method of reducing body fat and increasing weight loss for many people.

CONs:

There’s a risk with Intermittent Fasting that it might chronically elevate cortisol (stress hormone) levels in some people

TAKEAWAY:

We’re all different on the inside, just as we are on the outside. The best way to know if Intermittent Fasting works for you and your metabolism is to give it a go for a week or so and monitor how you feel

Other Considerations

Which Intermittent Fasting method is best for you and your lifestyle?

First, you need to decide which Intermittent Fasting method is right for you. Are you better off on a 5:2 diet, 16/8 or alternate day fasting?   Your first step here is to take a look at your lifestyle.

  • When do you usually get hungry throughout the day?
  • What time do you wake up and go to bed?
  • How often and what time of the day do you work out?
  • Do you sleep better or worse if you go to bed hungry/on a full stomach?

Answers to these questions will help determine when is the best time for you to be in fasting mode.

Work this out so you don’t feel starving, grumpy and depleted of energy and focus.

For example, if you go to bed at midnight, eating from 8am4pm may be too difficult as you’ll have a long period of time before you head off to bed (and some people simply don’t sleep well on an empty stomach).  In this case, you might find an eating window between 12 – 8pm to be better suited to your lifestyle.

Intermittent Fasting with keto is a good combination for maximum fat metabolism, however, depending on your body type, keto may or may not be the best option for you. If you’d like to know now what your body type is, take my free quiz to find out.

You’ll need to be flexible with your Intermittent Fasting schedule if your lifestyle is also quite flexible, for instance if you do shift work.  In this case you could move the hours or days of Intermittent Fasting around dependent on your work schedule.

Try out one of the Intermittent Fasting methods that appeals to you and stick with it for a week or so.  Then ask yourself if you feel great or lousy.  If it’s not working for you, maybe you need to try another Intermittent Fasting timeframe.

In the pre-planning stages, before you even get started on Intermittent Fasting, it will serve you well to figure out how to fit fasting and eating periods into your work and social life, and to be able to fuel and refuel appropriately around your workouts.

Is Intermittent Fasting (in any form) right for you?

Ask yourself the following important question before committing to Intermittent Fasting as your new eating plan:

Can you and should you sustain this way of eating?

If you feel terrible and lack energy, are constantly hungry or gain weight when on this eating plan, then Intermittent Fasting may not be the answer for you.

Perhaps you need to try another form of Intermittent Fasting or maybe another type of eating plan altogether!

Listen to your body’s signals…I mean really listen…so you know if the eating plan you’re on is working for you or not.

Who Should Not Try Intermittent Fasting?

Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes.

People who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting.

Make sure to discuss the benefits and risks of Intermittent Fasting with your primary healthcare professional before embarking on an Intermittent Fasting eating plan.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT INTERMITTENT FASTING?

And Find Out Whether it’s Right for You?

Join me for a FREE webinar, “How to use Intermittent Fasting for Easier Fat and Weight Loss”, during which I’ll be giving you the full lowdown on some of the amazing results you can expect from Intermittent Fasting, plus a step by step guide to getting started.

For more information on wellness coaching to lose weight and to find out if it’s right for you, book in for a free 15 minute chat with me – I’d love to help you achieve the health and body shape you dream about.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Melbourne Wellness Coaching and Downsize Me do not claim responsibility for this information.