What Happens If You Stop Intermittent Fasting
Carmen Van Rensburg - Accredited Exercise Physiologist
Carmen Van Rensburg is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with a wealth of experience, spanning over 12 years in the field. She has demonstrated expertise in devising exercise-based rehabilitation services that promote wellness and recovery. Her instructive techniques in conducting safe and effective exercise sessions have significantly aided individuals in various areas. These include weight loss, improving muscle strength, optimizing cardiovascular function, enhancing body composition, increasing flexibility, and facilitating recovery from chronic diseases, disabilities, and injuries.
02.02.2024

What Happens If You Stop Intermittent Fasting: Busting the Myths

Intermittent fasting
Table Of Contents

Introduction: Why You Should Consider Intermittent Fasting

Are you want to make progress with your diet? Are you finding for a quick way to make a change in your wellness routine without taking on something too complicated? If so, intermittent fasting might be the perfect solution for you. 

Intermittent fasting is swiftly becoming one of the most popular diets forms of nutrition – and there are many reasons why! It’s all about eating within specific windows throughout the day or week, and studies show that it can offer numerous health benefits. 

In this article, we’ll go over everything from the fundamentals of intermittent fasting to some helpful hints for getting started and breaking up with intermittent fasting. So let’s get started – keep reading if you’re eager to learn more!

Is It Possible to Take a Break From Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not just a diet; it’s a lifestyle that can yield incredible results. Sticking to it after you’ve chosen a plan is critical to lose weight. We won’t sugarcoat it – fasting can be challenging initially, and you might eagerly count the minutes until your next meal. What if unexpected plans pop up? Can you take a break from it?

Here’s the good news: you’re in control of your intermittent fasting schedule, so if you need to take a break, you can certainly do so. 

But it’s crucial to recall to stay within your fasting schedule to slow your results. In addition, your eating windows are just as important as your fasting windows, so if you decide to take the weekend off, you must make conscious choices and continue eating relatively healthy.

While the temptation to eat a whole deep-dish pizza or share a bottle of wine with a friend may be strong, you’ll likely find that it no longer provides the same level of satisfaction. 

Remember that losing weight is a process that requires commitment. However, it is also important to be open to adjusting as you go.

What Happens If You Stop Intermittent Fasting

Key Takeaways of Fasting

  • It’s okay to take a break from intermittent fasting on the weekends, but plan for it in advance and strive to eat relatively healthy.
  • If you’re feeling fatigued or run down during intermittent fasting, listen to your body and take a step back if needed.
  • When taking a break, don’t abandon healthy eating altogether. Instead, aim to balance indulging in treats and making nutrient-dense food choices.
  • Taking a break from intermittent fasting may help reset your metabolism and restore normalcy to your body.
  • Intermittent fasting is all about finding what works best for your lifestyle, so be flexible and allow yourself room to adjust your routine as needed.

7 Reasons I Quit Intermittent Fasting

  • Feeling Hangry

During the fasting periods, intermittent fasting can leave you feeling quite hungry. Some people find it difficult to deal with hunger pangs and become irritable and frustrated. It’s natural not to want to be hungry all the time.

  • Energy Levels Taking a Hit

While intermittent fasting can improve energy levels in some people, it does not work for everyone. During fasting periods, some people’s energy levels drop, making it difficult to stay focused and get through the day.

  • Social Sacrifices

Let’s be honest. Life is full of social events, gatherings, and outings, many of which revolve around food. Because you must adhere to your fasting schedule, intermittent fasting can put a damper on these occasions. Some people find the social sacrifices required too much to bear, and they prefer to enjoy these moments without the constraints of fasting.

  • Hormonal Imbalances

Our bodies are intricate systems; intermittent fasting can sometimes mess with our hormones. While it can positively affect hormones for some people, others may experience imbalances that can affect mood, menstrual cycles, or even sleep patterns. Therefore, listening to your body and prioritizing your well-being is essential.

  • Weight Plateaus

Although intermittent fasting can aid in weight loss, every individual’s body is different! Some individuals find that their weight loss plateaus after a while, and despite their best efforts, they struggle to shed those extra pounds. It can be disheartening and lead them to explore other dietary approaches.

  • Digestive Discomfort 

Intermittent fasting involves changing when and how much you eat, which can sometimes wreak havoc on your digestive system. As a result, sometimes people may experience bloating, stomach discomfort, or irregular bowel movements, making them reconsider their fasting routine.

  • Mental Health Concerns

While intermittent fasting primarily focuses on physical health, it’s crucial to consider mental health. For those who have disordered eating or struggle with their relationship with food, the strict rules of intermittent fasting can trigger unhealthy behaviors or negative thought patterns—usually, prioritizing mental health’s more important than sticking to a particular fasting plan.

Is It Possible to Take a Day Off from Intermittent Fasting?

Ah, cheat days! They’re like little breaks from your diet when you can indulge in whatever tasty treats your heart desires. But when it comes to intermittent fasting, cheat days can be a bit more complex yet wonderfully flexible. 

You see, during a cheat day within your fasting schedule, you have the freedom to either deviate from your diet plan regarding what you eat or when you eat. 

It’s all about finding that sweet spot of flexibility within your fasting routine.

What Happens If You Skip a Day of Intermittent Fasting?

When you break your intermittent fasting schedule for a day, a few things can happen in your body. Let’s take a closer look:

Digestion & Energy Boost

Your digestive system kicks into gear when you consume food after breaking your fast. Your body starts breaking down the food you eat, absorbing nutrients, and converting them into energy. This can give you a little energy boost, especially if you’ve been fasting for a while.

Insulin Spike

Breaking a fast with a meal or snack can result in a temporary increase in insulin levels. Insulin is a general hormone that aids in blood sugar regulation by facilitating glucose uptake into cells. This spike is usually part of the body’s reaction to food consumption.

Metabolic Effects

Breaking your intermittent fasting for a day may temporarily interrupt the metabolic benefits you typically experience during the fasting period. Fasting helps enhance autophagy (cellular cleanup) and can promote fat burning. However, a one-day break will only partially undo these benefits. Once you resume your fasting routine, your body can get back on track.

Digestive Adjustments

You may experience temporary digestive adjustments depending on the foods you eat during your break. Your body may need to adjust to new foods and processing methods, which may cause bloating or changes in bowel movements. These effects are usually transient and will fade as your body adjusts.

Psychological Impact

Breaking your intermittent fasting for a day can have psychological effects as well. You can feel a sense of guilt or worry about derailing your progress. Maintaining a positive mindset is essential, and remembering that one day of breaking the fast doesn’t define your overall journey.

So, the necessary thing – listen to your body, be mindful of what you eat while breaking, and get back on track with your fasting routine afterward.

Is it acceptable to break intermittent fasting once a week?

The answer is: Yes, it’s generally okay to break your intermittent fasting once a week. Taking a break from fasting on a specific day is advantageous for many individuals. 

Taking a break now and then can provide a mental and emotional boost, making the fasting routine more sustainable in the long run. It allows you to enjoy special occasions and social events or indulge in your favorite treats without feeling restricted.

Will I Put On Weight If I Stop Intermittent Fasting?

It’s understandable to have concerns about weight gain when stopping intermittent fasting. 

Weight gain is possible when you stop intermittent fasting, but it’s not a guaranteed outcome. Many factors can influence your weight, including your overall diet, calorie intake, physical activity levels, and individual metabolism.

Several studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of intermittent fasting on weight maintenance after discontinuing the fasting routine. One study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, for example, discovered that after an initial period of weight loss with intermittent fasting, participants were able to maintain their weight loss even after discontinuing the fasting regimen. This suggests that the advantages of intermittent fasting may have long-term effects on weight management.

If you resume eating too many calories or eating unhealthy foods, you are more likely to gain weight.

To maintain a healthy weight after stopping intermittent fasting, consider the following tips:

  • To maintain a healthy diet, eat a diverse range of whole foods. It’ll give your body the necessary nutrients while managing your calorie intake.
  • Keep an eye on portion sizes and be aware of your hunger and fullness cues. To avoid overeating and promote better overall food choices, practice mindful eating.
  • Make sure to engage in physical activities that you enjoy regularly, whether it’s brisk walking, dancing, cycling, or strength training. Exercise helps to maintain muscle mass, boost metabolism, and support weight management.
  • Prioritize quality sleep, manage stress levels, and stay hydrated. These lifestyle factors play a significant role in maintaining a healthy weight.
What Happens If You Stop Intermittent Fasting

How to Break a Fast without Gaining Weight 

If you fast for 12, 14, or 16 hours, the weight you gain is unlikely to be significant. These shorter intermittent fasts generally do not result in substantial water loss. However, if you consistently fast for 16-18 hours, the water loss may accumulate over time.

When it comes to longer fasts of 24 hours or more, there is typically a more significant water loss and, therefore, a higher chance of weight rebound. 

When you break your fast, your body replenishes glycogen stores in your liver and muscles. Because glycogen is mostly water, the restocking process can quickly add a few pounds of water weight.

Don’t worry, though. This weight rebound is entirely normal and healthy! In addition to water weight, you’ll also regain non-water weight after a fast. After all, the food you consume needs to be processed and stored.

Let’s talk about minimizing fat gain after a fast in a friendly tone. We’ve got three “i” words for you: Insulin, Inflammation, and Intake.

  • First up insulin

Fasting causes insulin levels to drop significantly, allowing your body to access stored body fat for energy via lipolysis. The key to maintaining low insulin levels after fasting is to limit your carbohydrate intake. While it may sound cliche, eating low carbs can help your body maintain its status as a “fat-burning machine.”

  • Next, let’s discuss limiting inflammation

It’s normal to experience some inflammation after refeeding. Excessive inflammation, particularly in the gut, can, however, be harmful. Inflammation in the gut can create an environment that encourages weight gain by increasing appetite and causing us to overeat (again, intake). To reduce inflammation, it is important to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

  • Lastly, we come to intake

While the preceding points mention it, controlling your overall calorie intake is critical for avoiding excessive fat gain after a fast. Remember that the balance between calories consumed and calories burned is still important in terms of weight management!

When Intermittent Fasting Stopped Working, Here Are 3 Super-Tips to Retain the Advantages

Reassess Your Fasting Routine 

Over time, your body can adapt to your fasting schedule, leading to diminished results. Consider tweaking your fasting window or trying different fasting methods, such as alternate-day fasting or the 5:2 approach. By introducing some variety, you can challenge your body and potentially reignite the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Prioritize Quality Sleep & Manage Stress

Adequate sleep and stress management are often overlooked but essential aspects of maintaining the benefits of intermittent fasting. Aim for consistent, quality sleep to support proper hormone regulation and overall health. Additionally, find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing mindfulness, meditation, or engaging in activities that help you unwind. Stress and poor sleep can impact your body’s response to fasting, so taking care of these aspects is influential.

Monitor Caloric Intake

While intermittent fasting can naturally lead to a reduced calorie intake, it’s still critical to be mindful of the calories you consume during your eating periods. Keep an eye on portion scopes and ensure you’re not compensating for fasting by overindulging or consuming excessive calories.

Finally, make sure that you do not suffer any adverse effects.

Our investigation into what happens when you stop intermittent fasting has revealed a number of quandaries to consider. While some people experience rebound weight gain and decreased energy levels, others have discovered that sustained intermittent fasting can provide a variety of medical benefits and aid in long-term weight loss. 

It all comes down to personal preference and body type in the end. If you’re thinking about trying it, seek advice from a healthcare professional and use common sense. 

If you decide that discontinuing intermittent fasting is better for your health or lifestyle, consult with a qualified professional about the best course of action. In any case, making an informed decision should ensure that the outcome of discontinuing intermittent fasting does not surprise you.

Carmen Van Rensburg is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with a wealth of experience, spanning over 12 years in the field. She has demonstrated expertise in devising exercise-based rehabilitation services that promote wellness and recovery. Her instructive techniques in conducting safe and effective exercise sessions have significantly aided individuals in various areas. These include weight loss, improving muscle strength, optimizing cardiovascular function, enhancing body composition, increasing flexibility, and facilitating recovery from chronic diseases, disabilities, and injuries.

Intermittent fasting 101Intermittent fasting mistakes