Fasting is simple. It means not eating, right? But the thing is there are so many little variables that come into play that might trigger a metabolic response or might trigger an insulin response to the point that it can really throw us a loop.
And we need to take a look at what exactly the common mistakes that people make when fasting are in order to understand how we can get the biggest benefit out of fasting in the first place. I’m going to give you the five biggest mistakes that people make when fasting. I’m not going to waste any time and I’m going to get right to it.
#1 Intermittent fasting mistake
The first common intermittent fasting mistake is simply not getting enough of your healthy foods. That sounds so vague, so simple right? and if you’re not used to my posts, you’re probably tuning out now because you’re saying this guy’s way is too basic.
But that’s fine! You see what it comes down to is the fact that your stomach has something called dispensability – What that is is it operates like a muscle. It shrinks and it expands. And if you eat more and you eat more frequently, then your stomach expands and it gets used to eating more. But the thing is when we’re fasting, we’re going obviously extended periods of time without eating which means the stomach shrinks.
Well that’s all fine and dandy and kind of a good thing in terms of calorie restriction. But when it comes down to the end of the day, it’s time to break your fast, well then you usually go for the foods that taste good first. So you’re going to go for something that’s a little bit more dense or maybe has a little bit more volume to it. The problem is it’s going to fill you up super fast because your stomach trick then you have no desire to have the veggies because your flat-out don’t have room and you’re not hungry.
This is a BIG BIG issue and although it sounds so simple, it’s one of the biggest ones that plagues people that intermittently fast. Now I could tell you a bunch of ways to not have junk food when you first break your fast but in reality I’m preaching to the choir because everyone sets out with that common mission but not everyone can live through with it.
So what I recommend is at some point during your feeding window is to get more high fat dense foods into your diet simply because that’s going to allow you to meet your caloric needs and it’s going to allow you to more than likely get enough of the nutrients that you need. You see calorically dense foods like fats are significantly smaller in volume but allow you to reach your caloric goals. So therefore you’re not going into a calorie deficit and you’re also not filling up your stomach. You’re able to get enough calories and you have enough room to ultimately get your veggies in.
#2 Intermittent fasting mistake
Going to number two intermittent fasting mistake and this is flat-out ‘coffee in tea creamers’. It seems pretty logical that if you were going to be adding is something that has calories like a creamer, like a half-and-half or an all in milk to your coffee. That kind of makes it a food but most people don’t really want to look at it like that and I think they just turn that off in their brain they think ‘coffees if I add some creamer to it I’m not breaking a fast – it’s a liquid’.
No that’s not the case, you’re still taking in something that is eliciting a metabolic response. If you put creamer and I mean even a half a tablespoon of low calorie almond milk that accounts to about 12 calories you are breaking your fast. Fasting is not eating and not fasting is eating. Okay we need to make sure that we are not consuming any calories during our fasting window, period! Anytime you consume food or anything that triggers a caloric response or metabolic response, you are stopping the process of burning stored energy and converting over to the process of using food energy. We don’t want that which leads me in to number three.
#3 Intermittent fasting mistake
This number three intermittent fasting mistake is consuming branched chain amino acids. I’m going to kick this one off with a research bomb so that it makes sense and I have some credibility.
There was a 2011 study that took a large group of young men and they looked at a few things. They were looking at amino acid levels, they were looking at energy substrate levels and they were looking at insulin levels during a fast. So what they did is on day one they brought them all in and they said okay we’re going to take your baseline blood work and we’re going to have you fast and then we’re going to read out your fast blood work for the next seven hours. They’re going to read it every hour and they’re going to determine where they stand.
Then five days later they had these same men come back and do the exact same thing, a baseline test followed by seven subsequent tests except this time they gave them five grams of branched chain amino acids at the beginning of their fast. Well guess what, the studies ended up showing that when they had the branched chain amino acids, they had transient levels of insulin, they had these spikes throughout the day. They had a little spikes and insulin.
What that means is although it’s a small insulin spike, branch chain amino acids do break a fast. Now a lot of people are going to argue that it’s such a small insulin spike, it’s barely going to make a difference that’s not going to kick you out of ketosis or anything like that. This isn’t a ketogenic lifestyle diet we’re talking about, fasting it’s black and white and if you have insulin spiking you’re starting your fast over. You may as well count as soon as you have that branched chain amino acid as you restarting your fast because as far as your body’s metabolism is concerned and as far as the detoxing process goes, you’ve restarted. Let’s go ahead and roll into number four
#4 Intermittent fasting mistake
The number four biggest mistake that people make when intermittent fasting is simply not drinking enough water. Again it sounds like a pretty simple one right? You always should be hydrated but when it comes to fasting there are some unique things that are going on.
You see fasting promotes this thing called cell apoptosis. What cell apoptosis is is the promoted cellular death and recycling and it sounds like a bad thing like we wouldn’t want to have that cell death but we do. When we’re fasting we’re not having to work on metabolizing food, so our body works on metabolizing itself which means it recycles the cells, it burns up and kills off the cells that don’t need to be there, promotes them to die and it recycles them and you excrete them.
The thing is if you’re not adequately hydrated you can’t flush out those toxins. So you literally are doing yourself more harm than good. Your body’s killing off the bad cells, the ones that it doesn’t need, it’s recycling them but it has no way to recycle them, so you’re just having them sit there, it can’t flush them out now. Additionally, when you’re fasting, you’re burning a lot of fat, you’re utilizing fat as a source of fuel and we have to remember that fat is where many of our toxins build up. So if we’re burning fat we’re releasing those toxins and if we’re not drinking water we can’t process those toxins through the liver and excrete them. They’re just going to float around in the body making us toxic.
So yeah! you’re hearing me right, fasting can actually set you back if you’re not hydrated properly. So let this be a rule that you drink more water when you’re fasting than you would when you’re not which leads me in to the final mistake and this is a big one.
#5 Intermittent fasting mistake
Minerals, salt, magnesium, potassium, these are so critical when you’re fasting. Minerals don’t really affect your metabolism in terms of caloric-in caloric-out. We have to make sure that we’re still getting our minerals in especially if you’re consuming extra water during a fasting period. Minerals are so critical for cellular function and for the electrical signals that our brain is sending throughout our body if we don’t have them we can’t function. But there’s an added benefit to making sure you get enough sodium and I highly recommend you add just like a quarter teaspoon or maybe a half a teaspoon to your gallon jug of water. That you’re going to sip on throughout the day what this is going to do is going to allow the cell to become more permeable – that isotonic state – the state where the cell has enough sodium to draw in additional water, causes the membrane to expand a little bit and become permeable. A permeable cell membrane means that nutrients and toxins can flow in and out. You’ve opened a revolving door so the cell can breathe, can eat, waste and detoxify. It’s the way that it needs to be. So if you have those minerals while you’re fasting it allows that process to occur and allows you to maintain hydration. Always make sure make sure that you’re taking these five things into account on a fasting day specifically.