Intermittent fasting has recorded high success rates. In fact, a systematic review of 40 studies found that intermittent fasting was effective for weight loss, with a typical loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks.
Despite its success rates, it is not entirely free of downsides. For instance, it may be not good for people with certain heart conditions. It can also be accompanied by headaches and low energy levels that might drive you into quitting.
If you are quitting because of the above reasons or perhaps you feel you have reached your goals, you must be worried that all the weight you lost will be regained in a few weeks’ time.
The good news is it does not have to be that way. You can prevent weight gain after stopping intermittent fasting by following the simple strategies below.
How to Prevent Weight Gain After Stopping Intermittent Fasting
1. Be Disciplined
Every workout regime, diet or weight loss strategy requires utmost discipline. You need even more discipline now that you are moving from a highly restrictive scheme to a more accommodative scheme.
Do not obliterate the hard work you have put in and mess up the gains by being carefree with your diet and exercise.
2. Analyze Your Previous Diet
Have an in-depth review of the diet you had before you started on intermittent fasting to lose weight. How healthy was it? How good were the food choices?
Now look at your current diet, can you sustain it without fasting? Curate a low-calorie diet that will be your maintenance diet once you go off IF.
Remember, if you go back to your old eating habits after intermittent fasting, you will gain the weight back.
3. Avoid the Mistake of Increasing Your Calorie Intake
At the end of the day, your weight loss depends on the number of calories you take in and the number you burn.
Intermittent fasting works mainly because it makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit.
Changing your eating schedule can lead to higher calorie intake. Therefore, make sure you stick to the same number of calories you were consuming while fasting.
The Dietary Guidelines recommend 2,600 calories for 35-year-old men who are moderately active and 3,000 for those who are active per day.
For women, they recommend 2,000 and 2,200 for moderately active and active women respectively. Align your calorie intake within these limits.
4. Eat Whole Foods to Stay Full
Most people who have stopped intermittent fasting have reported hunger that never seems to go away. When you feel hungry you will, of course, need food. But if you are constantly hungry and constantly eating, you will end up gaining weight.
Therefore, stock and eat whole foods that fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied for longer.
Whole foods are plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined or have undergone minimal processing.
Legumes, fruits, and veggies, whole grains and tubers are some of the whole foods that should make it to your plate.
5. Make Processed Foods Your Enemy
The focus on intermittent fasting is the timing of your meals. This might have allowed you to have your cheat meals every once in a while. With intermittent out of the picture, processed meals get out of the picture too.
Your body will no longer have the benefit of fasting to make up for the usually high-calorie processed foods. Best just stay away from them altogether.
Get 80 percent of your calories from unprocessed plant-based foods – only 20 percent should come from processed foods.
6. Stay Active to Burn Fat
While doing intermittent fasting, you tend to take fewer calories because often you have less time to eat. But a normal diet gives you more time to eat, which can translate to more calories. This sought of creates a calorie surplus.
You have to get rid of the extra calories to maintain your weight. Stay active and on your feet with these simple home workouts.
Surprisingly, you don’t have to exercise for hours to stay fit. 10 to 15 minutes workouts can keep you in shape when done consistently.
7. Avoid Eating Right Before Bed
Multiple studies have found that people who eat late into the night are more prone to making bad food choices. They are also more likely to take more calories than those who eat dinner earlier.
However, sometimes the hunger pangs are too strong to ignore. In such cases, take these approved evening snacks for weight loss.
8. Eat Outside a 12-Hour Window
Intermittent fasting involves fasting and eating within a given window. What if you still ‘fasted’ but did it mostly when you are asleep? The idea is, eat dinner early and give yourself a 12-hour window before breakfast the next day.
You will spend most of this time sleeping anyway. It will be a pseudo fast that will happen as you sleep.
Should you feel hungry during this time, snack on low-calorie foods with high nutritional value such as apple slices and carrots.
9. Do Not Skip Breakfast
No matter what eating routine you settle on after stopping intermittent fasting, try as much as possible not to skip breakfast.
Eating breakfast is very imperative to your weight loss, and there is enough scientific evidence to back that.
You may schedule your breakfast a bit later into the day, but just make sure that it is there.
10. Sleep Early
You have to be awake to eat. By sleeping early, you spend the time that otherwise you would have indulged in eating sleeping.
As an adult, you should get 7-8 hours of sleep. If you are going by the 12-hour night fast:
- Quit eating 2 hours before bedtime.
- Sleep for 8 hours.
- Have your breakfast 2 hours after waking up, which brings it to 12 hours in total.
11. Engage in HIIT Workouts Before Breakfast
Exercising on an empty stomach will help you burn more fat according to research. In this study, 30 men were grouped into three:
- Group 1 exercised after breakfast
- Group 2 exercised before breakfast
- Group 3 made no significant changes
At the end of the study, the men in group 2 that exercised before breakfast burnt more fat. The low insulin levels after overnight fast make the body use up more fat.
Since breakfast is going to be part of your routine, you might want to engage in HIIT workout before taking it.
12. Plan a Recovery Diet Beforehand
When you start intermittent fasting, your body goes through a period of adjusting to the long hours of fasting. You might experience hunger, nausea, and fatigue.
If you wish to stop intermittent fasting, do not do it cold turkey to avoid throwing your body off its course.
This means fewer hours between your fasts before embarking on normal eating routines.
Remember, it can take such a short time to undo all the good work that went into losing weight through intermittent fasting.
Even if you have reached your weight loss goals, you can always gain them back if you fall back to a bad diet and do not work out regularly.
However, with the right mindset and strategies, you can not only maintain your weight, but you can also lose more if you want to.
I highly recommend you add exercise to your routine as it makes it amazingly easy to lose weight and keep it off. Luckily, you can stay in shape no matter how busy you are – even without going to the gym. Simply follow these 28 stunningly simple short home workouts.