Making Lifestyle Changes For Sustainable Intermittent Fasting Success — 5 Types Of Practices

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Making Lifestyle Changes For Sustainable Intermittent Fasting Success

When a diet is as simple as intermittent fasting, it’s common to fall into the trap of believing that fasting alone is sufficient for weight loss or reaping all its benefits. While it’s true that it can be a powerful tool for managing weight and improving your health, it’s also essential to remember that lasting results often come from a well-thought-out strategy, which includes improving your overall lifestyle.

Making lifestyle changes for sustainable intermittent fasting success is a big step toward a healthier and happier you. But it won’t come easy and will require dedication, patience, and perseverance.

If you’re new to fasting or struggling to see results from fasting, you can adapt and fine-tune your approach in numerous ways. Let’s first cover the basics.

How Intermittent Fasting Works

Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that involves switching between periods of eating and fasting. Its effectiveness lies in its simplicity, yet many overlook the details of how it works and the various methods available.

Fundamentally, intermittent fasting works by narrowing the timeframe in which you consume food. This timeframe can vary from a few hours to several days, depending on the fasting regimen you opt for. By doing so, intermittent fasting can foster weight loss, enhance metabolic health, and yield other health benefits.

Popular methods of intermittent fasting include:

  • 16/8 Method: Fasting for 16 hours daily and eating within an 8-hour window.
  • 5:2 Diet: Eating normally for five days and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: Fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.
  • Alternate-Day Fasting: Alternating between days of regular eating and days of fasting or significantly reduced calorie intake.
  • Warrior Diet: Consuming small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and having one substantial meal at night.

The Pros Of Intermittent Fasting

Many people are attracted to an intermittent fasting regimen because of its many benefits that positively impact health and daily living. These include:

  • Simplicity: Compared to many other diets, intermittent fasting is relatively simple to understand and implement, making it accessible for beginners because of its clear guidelines and easy-to-follow structure.
  • Flexibility: There are various intermittent fasting methods to choose from, allowing you to find an approach that suits your lifestyle and preferences.
  • Convenience: Many consider intermittent fasting convenient because it eliminates the need for constant meal planning and frequent eating throughout the day.
  • Adaptation: The body can adapt to intermittent fasting over time, potentially making it easier to sustain in the long term.
  • Weight Loss: Intermittent fasting can be an effective tool to lose weight and shed body fat by reducing your calorie intake during fasting periods and potentially improving your metabolic rate1.
  • Metabolic Health: Intermittent fasting may improve your markers of metabolic health, such as blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol levels2.
  • Preservation of Lean Muscle: Unlike traditional calorie-restricted diets, intermittent fasting may help preserve lean muscle mass while promoting fat loss, making it a popular choice within the health and fitness community3.
  • Autophagy: Intermittent fasting may stimulate autophagy, a cellular repair process that removes damaged cells and promotes cell regeneration, potentially contributing to longevity and disease prevention4.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may improve cardiovascular health by reducing risk factors such as blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and inflammation5.

Making Lifestyle Changes For Sustainable Intermittent Fasting Success

To achieve genuine success with intermittent fasting, it’s crucial to understand that it is more than just a diet—it’s a lifestyle in itself. You will need to consider making the following changes or adjustments:

1. Eating Habits

Healthy Food Choices: Veer away from unhealthy options and opt for whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Intermittent fasting may make you eat fewer calories, but remember, your body still craves the goodness of nutrient-packed foods to thrive.

Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overeating and maintain a balanced intake of nutrients. This practice not only supports weight maintenance but also encourages healthier eating habits.

Limit Sugary and Processed Foods: Reduce consumption of sugary snacks, beverages, and processed foods to support your health and manage weight. This goes without saying, as these items can contribute to weight gain and various health issues when consumed in excess.

Balance Macros: Aim for a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your meals to meet your nutritional needs. This balanced approach ensures that you get a variety of essential nutrients for good health and sustained energy levels throughout the day.

2. Daily Routine

Choose Your Fasting Schedule: Select an intermittent fasting plan that suits your lifestyle and goals. It’s advisable to begin gradually rather than diving in without considering how achievable the fasting hours are.

Stay Hydrated: Drink enough water throughout the day, especially during fasting periods, to stay hydrated and curb hunger. Water can also help with hunger by filling your stomach and giving you a feeling of fullness, which can reduce the urge to snack unnecessarily.

Plan Your Meals: Although intermittent fasting eliminates the need for strict meal planning, it remains crucial to prepare your meals in a manner that complements rather than hinders your fasting goals. Prepare balanced meals ahead of time to ensure they fit your eating window and provide essential nutrients6.

Prioritize Rest: Establish a consistent sleep schedule and wind down before bed for better sleep quality. Inadequate sleep weakens decision-making about food and increases cravings for high-calorie foods, leading to weight gain.

3. Physical Activity

Incorporate Exercise: For overall fitness, include regular physical activity like cardio, strength training, or flexibility exercises. Regular exercise not only helps with weight management but also boosts mood, increases energy levels, and promotes better sleep quality7.

Stay Active Daily: Engaging in activities like leisurely walks, biking, or stretching breaks not only keeps your mind off hunger during fasting periods but also complements the fasting routine for a balanced lifestyle.

4. Mindset and Tracking

Practice Mindful Eating: Pay attention to hunger cues, eat slowly, and avoid distractions during meals. This practice encourages you to have a better relationship with food and promotes a deeper appreciation for the nourishment it provides.

Track Progress: Keep a journal or use an app to monitor fasting schedules, meals, exercise, and overall progress. This method allows you to stay organized, track your achievements, and make proper adjustments to achieve your health goals effectively.

Set Achievable Goals: Establish realistic and specific goals related to health, weight, or fitness. Setting achievable goals will help you avoid feeling discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. It’s better to start out strong with well-thought-out decisions rather than rushing into things and risking setbacks.

Be Flexible: Adjust your fasting schedule or meal plans as needed based on your body’s response and personal preferences. This flexibility ensures that your fasting approach remains sustainable and customized to your unique needs for lasting success.

5. Stress Management

Manage Stress: Incorporate stress-relief techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or engaging in hobbies into your routine, especially during moments of overthinking or frustration from not seeing immediate results or facing challenges with adapting to intermittent fasting. These practices can help you stay centered, reduce anxiety, and approach your health goals with a clearer and more resilient mindset.

Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to lean on friends, family, or online communities for encouragement and guidance during your fasting journey. Having a support system can make all the difference in staying motivated and overcoming challenges effectively.

The Cons Of Intermittent Fasting

The individual components of transitioning to an intermittent fasting lifestyle might seem achievable separately. However, combining them and incorporating the necessary adjustments into your daily routine can be especially demanding. This complexity is magnified for individuals who are not advised to fast, such as:

  • Diabetes: People with diabetes, especially those on medication that can cause hypoglycemia, should consult with a healthcare professional before attempting intermittent fasting.
  • Eating Disorders: Individuals with a history of eating disorders or who are prone to disordered eating patterns should avoid intermittent fasting due to potential risks to mental and physical health.
  • Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women: Pregnant or breastfeeding women require consistent and adequate nutrition for their health and the health of their baby, making intermittent fasting inappropriate during this time.
  • Children and Adolescents: Intermittent fasting is generally not recommended for children and adolescents as they have unique nutritional needs for growth and development.
  • Certain Medications: Some medications may require regular food intake or may interact negatively with fasting, so it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider if you’re taking medications.

Why Intermittent Fasting Isn’t Always Possible

Apart from physical or mental constraints, other factors may pose challenges to your success with intermittent fasting. These are the reasons why success isn’t always possible:

  • Work Schedule: Demanding work schedules, shift work, or irregular hours can make it challenging to adhere to a consistent fasting schedule.
  • Social Obligations: Events, gatherings, or social commitments that involve food may conflict with fasting windows, leading to difficulties in maintaining the fasting routine.
  • Travel: Traveling across time zones, experiencing jet lag, or being in unfamiliar environments can disrupt fasting patterns and meal timings.
  • Financial Constraints: Limited access to nutritious food options, budgetary constraints, or economic factors may impact the feasibility of maintaining a balanced diet during intermittent fasting.

Final Thoughts

Achieving sustainable success with intermittent fasting goes beyond simply changing when you eat. It involves considering lifestyle changes, making smart food choices, staying active, and caring for your mental health.

Your success is directly tied to your actions, and the fact that you’re here reading this is a clear indicator that you’re moving in the right direction. This is a significant step toward achieving your goals.

So, take pride in your progress and keep pushing forward with determination. Remember that every effort you put in now will yield rewards in the future. Stay committed, stay focused, and stay motivated. You’ve got this!


1 Vasim, I., Majeed, C. N., & DeBoer, M. D. (2022). Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health. Nutrients, 14(3), 631. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030631

2 Yuan, X., Wang, J., Yang, S., Gao, M., Cao, L., Li, X., Hong, D., Tian, S., & Sun, C. (2022). Effect of Intermittent Fasting Diet on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism and Insulin Resistance in Patients with Impaired Glucose and Lipid Metabolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of endocrinology, 2022, 6999907. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/6999907

3 Keenan, S., Cooke, M. B., & Belski, R. (2020). The Effects of Intermittent Fasting Combined with Resistance Training on Lean Body Mass: A Systematic Review of Human Studies. Nutrients, 12(8), 2349. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082349

4 Shabkhizan, R., Haiaty, S., Moslehian, M. S., Bazmani, A., Sadeghsoltani, F., Saghaei Bagheri, H., Rahbarghazi, R., & Sakhinia, E. (2023). The Beneficial and Adverse Effects of Autophagic Response to Caloric Restriction and Fasting. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 14(5), 1211–1225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.advnut.2023.07.006

5 Dong, T. A., Sandesara, P. B., Dhindsa, D. S., Mehta, A., Arneson, L. C., Dollar, A. L., Taub, P. R., & Sperling, L. S. (2020). Intermittent Fasting: A Heart Healthy Dietary Pattern?. The American journal of medicine, 133(8), 901–907. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.03.030

6 Greer, S. M., Goldstein, A. N., & Walker, M. P. (2013). The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nature communications, 4, 2259. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms3259

7 Benefits of exercise. (2024, February 15). NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/


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