While intermittent fasting is a trendy way of eating that can help you lose weight, feel great, and more, unfortunately, there are still some misconceptions and myths out there that can keep you from reaching your fullest potential.
Today I’ll go over six of the top myths about intermittent fasting and give you some clear-cut information that can help you succeed on your very own weight loss journey, too!
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Just as a quick overview, intermittent fasting is a way of eating that is unlike a diet, in that it restricts when you eat, rather than what you eat.
There are many different intermittent fasting schedules, but one of the most popular is 16/8 fasting, where you eat all your day’s food within 8 hours and fast for 16.
A typical example is skipping breakfast, eating lunch around 12 or 1, and cutting off eating for the day after dinner around 7 or 8 pm.
For more information on the different intermittent fasting schedules, check out my complete guide to intermittent fasting for beginners!
Common Myths About Intermittent Fasting
Now that you have a general idea of what fasting is all about, it’s time to discuss the top myths or misconceptions people have about intermittent fasting for weight loss.
1- There Is No Way to Be Social
One of the main things you might worry about if you’re considering abstaining from eating for a period of time is that it can be challenging to maintain your social life while intermittent fasting.
A lot of people complain that it can be difficult to do anything when they are the only ones trying to do a specific thing, but people seem to find ways around it anyway.
How does that happen?
In my experience, the way to accomplish anything is to make sure that you’re prepared and that you’ve already considered many, or at least a few of the common things that you could encounter if you’re planning to fast.
How you deal with others during this time can be sensitive, especially because it’s human nature for people to share the foods and drinks that come from where they were born.
With a small adjustment to your schedule, you can make it work!
The best thing about intermittent fasting is that it really is flexible.
In the beginning, one of my big problems was that I wanted to eat breakfast with my family on the weekends, for example.
So I’d fast for longer than 16 hours during the week (18-20), and then shorten my fasting window to just 12 hours on the weekend.
It worked swimmingly! I still lost the weight I wanted to lose and found it pretty easy to maintain.
Your mileage may vary, but I just wanted to show you that you can fast and still enjoy some level of “normalcy” in your daily social life.
It just takes planning and preparation.
2- Fasting Is A Starvation Diet
One of the most common myths about fasting is that you’ll throw your body into starvation mode.
If I had a dollar for every time my husband told me this in the very beginning… I’d be rich!
The idea that fasting is nothing but a “starvation diet” is a very common statement you will hear from people that don’t actually understand what intermittent fasting is and how it works.
You hear the word “fasting” and automatically associate it with not eating.
While this is true – by definition “fasting” is abstinence from any food, remember intermittent fasting is not a diet or a way to starve yourself of nutrients.
In fact, you might even eat healthier while intermittent fasting than on other diets because you have time to be more mindful about your meals when you’re not feeding your body a steady stream of food at all hours of the day or night.
Another thing is that when you try intermittent fasting, it’s generally not for long enough of a time to actually starve yourself.
Fasting for 16 hours when 8 of those hours are you sleeping, isn’t actually very long when you really think about it.
Most of us who have gained excess weight could stand to skip a few meals.
You won’t die from intermittent fasting.
3- You Can Eat Whatever You Want
To a certain extent, intermittent fasting is unlike a diet because you technically can eat whatever you want.
But believing one of the popular fasting myths that you can eat as much of whatever you want during your feeding hours will have you gaining weight.
You can over-eat in just a few hours a day, believe it or not!
While you don’t have to count calories while intermittent fasting (though I do recommend it just for personal knowledge), you do have to practice moderation with what you consume.
Before I switched to a plant-based diet, I started out intermittent fasting with eating all the same foods I ate before.
Just in smaller amounts.
While I don’t recommend this because it’s not exactly “ideal”, an example of what I’d do when I still wanted to eat fast food was fast all day and eat one big, salty, fatty, junky meal.
I’d stay within a reasonable calorie limit, enjoy the meal, and I lost weight!
If you do eat all crazy you have to seriously limit your feeding window.
If you want to eat more food and still lose weight, though, you’ll have to watch what you eat.
Yes, still on intermittent fasting you’ll have to watch what you eat!
4- Fasting Is Easy Or A Magic Pill
The next myth about intermittent fasting may be that it’s an easy, magic pill for fast weight loss without any effort.
Sure, restricting your feeding window is much easier if you’ve struggled with maintaining your weight in the past, but it’s not always the easiest thing.
And as I said before, you still have to watch what you eat at least to some degree.
Furthermore, other challenges abound.
The fact of the matter is that weight loss is generally hard and takes time and effort.
Intermittent fasting can help make that easier, but at the end of the day, it’s still changing your entire body and life.
You didn’t pack on those pounds in a week, and you won’t lose them all in a week either.
Intermittent fasting isn’t always the easiest thing. Sometimes you fall off and it’s hard to pick back up.
Sometimes you’ll be faced with tough choices.
Knowing that going into it will help you avoid the pitfall or trap of thinking it’s just magical 50 pounds of weight loss in a month while eating whatever you want.
5- You Will Lose Weight The Same As Everybody Else
Next, I know it’s so exciting to see before and after weight loss pictures of people who have had overwhelming success losing weight with intermittent fasting.
You think “wow if she lost 50 pounds in two months, I can too!”
So you pull yourself together, start fasting on a Monday and expect this insane, dramatic shift by Friday.
But if it doesn’t come, you feel bummed out.
Why isn’t it working for me?
I wrote up a post about all the reasons why you’re not losing weight on intermittent fasting, and I do suggest you check it out.
But really you have to understand that we are all different.
You might lose weight faster or slower than somebody else and you have to be okay with that.
The surest way to never lose weight whether through intermittent fasting or not is to quit, though.
So go into it with an open mind.
See where the journey takes you.
Make tweaks if something isn’t working and aim for better the following week.
And avoid comparing yourself to others.
It won’t help the weight come off any faster.
6- It Will Always Be Easy Or Hard
Finally, whether you start off feeling incredible, highly motivated, losing tons of weight in your first weeks, or if you start off feeling excruciatingly hungry, tired, and not convinced it’s for you – nothing lasts forever.
The nature of any major lifestyle change, again, is that it’s a journey.
Some weeks will be easier or harder than others.
Sometimes you’ll feel hungry and want to break that fast.
Other days you’ll be so busy and moving through your day that you’ll actually forget to eat!
The best thing you can do is avoid staying attached to any particular feeling.
Commit to the process.
Do that, and you’ll go so far!
Wherever you are on your weight loss journey, I hope you find your path to success.
I also hope the tips in this blog post have helped shed a little light on what you should (and should not) expect if you choose to try intermittent fasting to lose weight.
Good luck, and happy fasting!
Read These Intermittent Fasting Articles Next:
- 15 Top Intermittent Fasting Questions – Answered!
- 5 Most Filling Foods For Intermittent Fasting
- 3 Reasons Why Fasting 12 Hours Is Better Than 16