A question I get all the time is, “won’t intermittent fasting slow down my metabolism?” One of the most common mistakes I see fasters make is repeating the same fast over and over. Here’s what usually happens—when you first adopt a fasting lifestyle, you’ll likely see immediate positive results, you may start dropping weight, find an increase in your energy, focus and mental clarity. All great things. You get so excited about these results that you decide to continue intermittent fasting day after day. Then suddenly you realize you’re not seeing the same results. Maybe you’re even starting to gain weight.
Repetitive Intermittent Fasting and Metabolism
Here’s what happened: repetitive intermittent fasting slowed down your metabolism.
Think of it like this. Imagine your body is a wood burning fireplace in a cold winter cabin. When you know you have a large stockpile of firewood supply, you keep the fire going at full blaze. But what if you look over and suddenly realize you’re down to your last few logs? You’ll likely want to slow down the fire to a slow burn to conserve firewood. Your metabolism works the same way.
How to maintain optimal metabolism:
- Vary your fasting. Repeating the same fast style day after day is sure fire way to slow your metabolism. Variety is key. I cannot stress this enough! This can look like incorporating a weekly 24 hour or 36 hour fast. Or I recommend adopting one of my weekly fasting variation styles, such as the 5-1-1.
The 5-1-1 Fasting Variation entails 5 days a week of intermittent fasting (13-15 hours), 1 day a week of 24 hour fasting and 1 day a week of healthy feasting.
Also remember that fasting does not equate to calorie restriction. Fasting simply means you have a dedicated time frame for eating and a dedicated time for not eating. It does not mean that you are eating fewer calories in total than you would if you were eating throughout the day.
- Include enough feast days. The second thing that will cause your metabolism to slow is failing to incorporate enough healthy feast days into your week. Remember, we are teaching our body to be in a healing state in the absence of food, and in the presence of food. On feasting days, we use food as medicine, leaning into nourishing foods that will help fuel our microbiome, organs and hormones.
Feast days are also important in creating metabolic flexibility, which is believed to be an indicator of optimal health and best defense against viruses. Metabolic flexibility where your body is able to switch effortlessly between a fat burning state (aka ketosis) and a sugar burning state. The switching between these two states is actually what creates fasting results, NOT the state of being in constant fat burning mode! You will often know you are metabolically flexible when you can skip or forget meals without feeling your blood sugar drop. This indicates that your body is able to shift into fat burning mode to supply energy, without sending you into a blood sugar spiral.
Want to try a Metabolic Reset for FREE? Check out my YouTube series on all things related to boosting, detoxing and resetting your metabolism!