Intermittent fasting is one of the hottest diets around right now. What happens to your body when fast on an intermittent basis is a science unto itself, and the question of whether intermittent fasting is actually good for you is a difficult one to answer definitively, particularly for those who struggle to stick to other, more traditional eating plans.
Still, outside of how your body may or may not react to this dieting trend, there’s the question of what happens if you decide to stop. Intermittent fasting isn’t necessarily sustainable forever for everyone, so the effects of calling it quits are worth considering even if you’re only just beginning your journey.
When should you quit intermittent fasting?
First off, if you’re currently practicing intermittent fasting, there are a few big reasons why you should consider giving it up, as laid out by PopSugar. If you’re feeling exhausted or rundown, it may be time to admit defeat. If you’re experiencing persistent headaches, for example, it could be a sign you’re not getting enough nutrition. On the flip-side, if you’re fasting and then overeating, intermittent fasting might not be for you. “Don’t use fasting as an excuse — the goal is ultimately to develop healthy and sustainable eating patterns to reach your goals,” dietitian Sarah Kasman warned.
You’re supposed to be teaching yourself sustainable healthy eating habits, not starving and binge-eating, which is increasingly dangerous in the long run. Put simply, “Intermittent fasting might not always work with your lifestyle, so you need to take that into consideration,” Kasman advised. Likewise, if you’re pregnant, have a weak immune system, are diabetic, or suffer from any other medical condition, intermittent fasting could negatively affect your health.
What are the side effects of quitting intermittent fasting?
Writer Jenny Sugar also revealed her experience after giving up intermittent fasting (via PopSugar). After a year of great results, Sugar took time off to see if her diet plan really was the reason. She started experiencing negative side effects within a day, including uncomfortable bloating and difficulties with digestion. Likewise, she got increasingly more hungry and began overeating to combat it.
However, a piece in The Incremental Mama suggests the opposite, arguing that after two years, intermittent fasting stopped working and the author found herself binge-eating and feeling terrible.
Regardless, certain experts reckon the future is fasting. Monique Tello, M.D., told Inverse, “I think it’s really fair to say that any kind of modified fasting regimen promotes weight loss and improves metabolic health. I think we’re really safe to say that.” The bottom line either way is, be careful when intermittent fasting, listen to your body, and make sure you’re feeling better rather than worse. Otherwise, this may not be the proper eating plan for you.
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