The Top 9 Intermittent Fasting Questions I Hear, Answered

woman holding cup of black coffee

Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Lori Geurin

Do you feel like your weight loss efforts are going nowhere? Do you find yourself eating more than ever, or do you just want to try something different that could be easier? If these questions sound familiar, then intermittent fasting may be your answer.

Intermittent fasting is not about starving yourself.

It’s about adjusting our eating times to take advantage of natural cycles.

In this blog post, I’ll answer nine common questions people ask me about intermittent fasting and provide resources on how to start an IF program. So let’s jump right in!

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intermittent fasting questions / woman exercising

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

There are many benefits to fasting, backed up by scientific research.

Intermittent fasting can:

  • Boost your overall metabolism while also increasing your lean muscle mass
  • Improve heart health
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Boost fat loss
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Improve insulin levels and glucose tolerance
  • Promote autophagy

Here are some of the benefits I’ve experienced while living the fasting lifestyle.

Get our FREE Intermittent Fasting eBook

free intermittent fasting ebook

And now on to the IF Q & A…

Common Questions About Intermittent Fasting

1. What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

Fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and non-fasting.

What’s really different about an intermittent fasting program is that it doesn’t ask you to eat less, but rather when.

You’ll be eating one or two meals a day while still getting all of your required nutrition each day.

This sounds crazy at first: how can someone not go hungry? Well, there are plenty of people who have tried it and found out they felt better than ever before!

Many people love fasting because they feel fabulous during their fasting periods. Others also report feeling focused and full of energy when fasting too.

What’s not to love?

RELATED: Intermittent Fasting Plateau: 9 Tips To Boost Your Weight Loss

As usual, there is a lot of hype and confusion about intermittent fasting. So I made this video to explain it in more detail. This one is perfect for beginners.


2. If I’m Fasting in the Morning, Can I Still Have My Coffee or Tea?

This is one of the most common questions about intermittent fasting. Yes! If you want to optimize your weight loss and enjoy all the benefits of intermittent fasting, you need to practice clean fasting.

Clean fasting is the practice of only consuming water, black coffee, or tea during your fasting periods. It can help you with weight loss.

Gin Stephens says (in one of her fasting books) that if you’re not clean fasting, you’re not fasting at all.

So, if you want all the fat-burning health benefits in your fasting window, try to avoid any food or drink with calories. It’s not too hard once you get the hang of it.

RELATED: Healthy Coffee Drink Recipe (With Coconut Oil)

3. How Hard Is Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss?

I love this question! I hope that didn’t sound insensitive because I had the same question when I started. This one is just soo relatable.

So, depending on how often you’re fasting, it may take a few days (or weeks) to get used to the new schedule.

But it’s been my experience that once I had adjusted, I wish I’d known about much IF sooner. The benefits outweigh any negatives you may feel in the first few days.

That said, it’s normal to feel some hunger pangs and cravings as your body adjusts. Your energy might be a little low, and you might get a dull headache for the first few days. Or maybe not.

And truth be told, any symptoms I had were nothing compared to how I felt before I discovered IF.

For me, these symptoms were minimal because I took things to allow my body time to adjust to the new timing schedule.


4. Can Fasting Help Me Lose Weight?

Yes, but weight loss depends on several factors, such as:

  • How long and often you fast
  • What you eat between fasts
  • Genetics
  • Starting body weight
  • Whether you exercise
  • Your age
  • Muscle mass
  • Metabolism

For the best results, especially at first, try to make IF a daily (or weekly) part of your healthy way of life.

intermittent fasting questions / woman stretching

5. Is It Okay To Exercise While I’m Fasting?

Yes, you can work out while fasting. Many athletes (and non-athletes) plan their exercise an hour or so before they break their fast so they can eat as soon as they’re finished training.

For example, they might plan to work out from 12 pm to 1 pm, then eat breakfast or lunch at 1 pm.

If you want to boost your weight loss, you might want to eat after exercise.

But you’ll want to stick with a low-impact workout, at least in the beginning, until you figure out how your body will respond.

6. Do I Have To Do IF Every Day?

You can do it as much or as little as you choose.

It’s totally up to you!

This freedom is a huge bonus. Remember that the more consistently you do intermittent fasting, your results improve. At least initially, I encourage people to consider making IF a part of their daily lifestyle.

So, whether you’re doing alternate-day fasting, eating within a 12-hour window, or have worked up to a 36-hour fast, this way of eating and not eating is entirely your choice.

7. What’s the Difference Between a Diet and Intermittent Fasting?

One difference between a diet and intermittent fasting is that a diet is short-term, and fasting is a long-term way of life.

A diet typically lasts for a few weeks or months. A person can choose to reintroduce food into their diet after they have completed a diet.

Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, is more of a lifestyle than a dietary change.

Michael Eades says:

Diets are easy in the contemplation, difficult in the execution. Intermittent fasting is just the opposite — it’s difficult in the contemplation but easy in the execution.Most of us have contemplated going on a diet. When we find a diet that appeals to us, it seems as if it will be a breeze to do. But when we get into the nitty-gritty of it, it becomes tough. For example, I stay on a low–carb diet almost all the time. But if I think about going on a low–fat diet, it looks easy. I think about bagels, whole wheat bread and jelly, mashed potatoes, corn, bananas by the dozen, etc. — all of which sound appealing.

But were I to embark on such a low–fat diet I would soon tire of it and wish I could have meat and eggs. So a diet is easy in contemplation, but not so easy in the long-term execution. Intermittent fasting is hard in the contemplation, of that there is no doubt. “You go without food for 24 hours?” people would ask, incredulously when we explained what we were doing. “I could never do that.” But once started, it’s a snap. No worries about what and where to eat for one or two out of the three meals per day. It’s a great liberation. Your food expenditures plummet. And you’re not particularly hungry. … Although it’s tough to overcome the idea of going without food, once you begin the regimen, nothing could be easier.

– Dr. Michael Eades

Another difference between fasting and dieting can be calorie intake. When you diet, you’re trying to restrict your calorie intake.

When you fast, your focus is more on eating all your calories within a specific time period.

From a health perspective, fasting may be beneficial because the focus is on when you eat and not on restricting calories.

8. Won’t I Have Trouble Concentrating and Feel Tired While I’m Fasting?

You’d think so, but most people report having more energy and better concentration.

Count me in!

But if you feel tired, listen to your body and take a power nap, or reduce the frequency or intensity of your exercise. This will help you maintain your energy levels.

It’s essential to pay close attention when you’re in a fasted state. You may need extra care during these fasting periods until your body adjusts.

9. Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Anyone?

Based on Dr. Eric Berg’s recommendations, IF is not recommended for the following groups of people:

Watch Dr. Berg’s video below, 5 Types Of People Who Should Not Do Intermittent Fasting, for more details.


Do I Have To Practice Intermittent Fasting at Specific Times or Days?

Intermittent fasting doesn’t need to feel like a prison sentence. You can flex your fasting schedule around your life and any social outings.

Maybe you’d like to check out that new burger joint with your friends. No problem! With fasting, YOU are in the driver’s seat.

You can decide when and how long you want to fast because fasting is a personal decision. The beauty of fasting is that regardless of your circumstance, it’s completely doable!

Will Intermittent Fasting Help Me Lose Weight?

That depends… Here’s why. Fasting refers to when you eat, not to what you eat. Eating the right kinds of meals can increase your weight loss.

Focus on eating raw, unprocessed foods because they are healthier and may help you lose weight more easily.

Having a short feeding window and eating plenty of whole foods will likely increase your weight loss.

RELATED: Would You Rather Fitness Questions

What Should I Eat When I’m Not Fasting?

Some people practice intermittent fasting by alternating ketogenic eating or a low-carb diet. But many other healthy eating plans will help you be successful.

Paleo and Mediterranean diets are great options too. But whether you follow a specific meal plan or diet doesn’t matter if you’re focused on eating high-quality, nutritious foods.

Try to avoid pre-packaged snacks and focus on eating real, wholesome food.

Related: 10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas To Kick Off Your Morning

How Many Hours Should I Fast per Day?

There’s no universal fasting schedule.

No set schedule says you have to fast so many hours per day or days per week.

When I started fasting, I choose to fast for about 16 hours per day with an 8-hour eating window.

This is called a 16:8 and is based on a 24-hour day.

It’s essential to be flexible and not rigid about your schedule. This will help you make fasting a lifestyle instead of something you dread.

So if you feel hungry (truly hungry), eat a healthy snack or meal. Some days your body may need more nutrition, so know that this is perfectly normal.

Learn more about the different fasting styles.

Printable Intermittent Fasting Tracker

Many people are concerned about weight reduction, especially women who are moms or balancing a career. Intermittent fasting may reduce weight without making you feel hungry or restricted, which benefits many. Not every plan works for everyone, however. The most crucial detail is to use the correct method! That’s where an intermittent fasting tracker comes in handy.

Here are six benefits of using an IF tracker:

  1. Provides motivation and support when you’re having difficulties sticking to a plan
  2. Keeps track of your progress so that you can evaluate what works best for YOU
  3. Keeps you organized
  4. It motivates you to continue when you want to give up.

We created an easy-to-use printable intermittent fasting tracker to help you get the most out of your fasting lifestyle. Click the photo below to go directly to our Thrive Berry Etsy shop and see it.

intermittent fasting tracker

How Do I Break My Fast?

It’s usually best to break your fast with a light, healthy meal with protein and fiber for balance.

And make sure you drink plenty of water so your digestive tract can settle and your stomach won’t be upset.

Some people find that breaking a fast with lean protein helps. Here are some examples of a few of my favorite meals to break the fast:

  • Omelette with green peppers, onions, broccoli, and cheese – an easy way to get in some veggies!
  • Black bean soup is full of protein and fiber and so delicious!
  • Greek yogurt -Top it with berries, cherries, honey, granola, or any other topping you like!
  • Protein shake – add fruit or yogurt to take it over the top! Try this low-carb protein shake recipe.
  • Veggies with hummus – Try adding cucumber, peppers, or broccoli.

Can I Drink Water on My Fast?

Yes, this is super important! You need to drink lots of water to stay healthy.

Drink plenty of water when you are fasting and when you are not. Dehydration may lead to fatigue, irritability, and confusion.

questions about intermittent fasting / woman drinking coffee

What Side Effects Can I Expect on an Intermittent Fasting Diet?

Most people feel better when fasting, but IF can result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, and insomnia. A lack of hunger is a fantastic side effect (unless you’re underweight).

Many people feel that transitioning from eating this way to eating this way might be difficult, but it’s not as bad as you think.

The only adverse side effects I experienced were when I first started fasting, and my body was still adjusting.

What Is the Most Important Part of Intermittent Fasting?

The most crucial part of intermittent fasting is ensuring you eat a meal or two before your fast.

This means that if you’re going for a 16-hour fast, then make sure to eat something at breakfast and lunch so that your body has enough energy.

Related: 10 Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipes For Breakfast

What Is Not Allowed During Intermittent Fasting?

All food and most drinks are off-limits during a fast. I’m not saying this to be hurtful, but so you can enjoy all the benefits of fasting.

Some people practice dirty fasting by adding cream, sweeteners, and collagen powders to their coffee.

Though this tastes pretty darn good, it’s technically not fasting.

So stick with pure water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea, and you’ll feel better, have fewer cravings, and have more weight loss.

intermittent fasting questions / woman eating salad

Summary – Your Intermittent Fasting Questions, Answered

I hope this blog post has answered some of your questions about intermittent fasting and motivated you to try it yourself.

Intermittent fasting is not about starving yourself. It’s about adjusting your eating times to take advantage of natural cycles and be healthy.

The benefits include simplicity in life, increased mental clarity, better sleep quality, weight loss (if desired), and lower risk for diseases like diabetes or heart disease.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide on intermittent fasting, check out the resources below and start your journey today. You deserve it!

What are your questions about intermittent fasting? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

May the intermittent fasting force be with you, always!!! 😀

12 thoughts on “The Top 9 Intermittent Fasting Questions I Hear, Answered”

    1. Yes, the first 20-25 pounds came off gradually and I maintained the weight loss for nearly a year before switching to a (mainly) keto eating plan. This combination of IF and keto boosted my weight loss to 30 pounds. What was so impressive to me was that I really didn’t have to think about it at all. It just happened as a result of the fasting. And because of the all the benefits from the IF it’s definitely a win-win in my book. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Rachel!

  1. I’ve always wondered about intermittent fasting! It’s been something I’ve wanted to try but hadn’t heard much of so thanks for sharing

    1. I really want to start intermittent fasting my BMI is almost 40 but I have really long week days like I wake up at 530am leave for work at 610am and get home like 8pm and go to bed Like 11pm. So I don’t really know how to start and make it work for my schedule

      1. Hi Andrea! I completely understand. One of the many great things I love about fasting is that I can do it whenever it fits my schedule. I’m actually at my best mentally and physically when I’m fasting. I can think more clearly, have more energy, and am more focused on projects and work. I didn’t feel this way when I first started fasting but the shift happened gradually.

        For you, I would recommend starting gently with circadian rhythm fasting. You can read all about it here: Circadian Rhythm Fasting

        It sounds like this would fit nicely with your busy schedule and is a great way to slowly ease your body into longer fasts.

        Just an example, but you could have your last meal of the day at 9 pm and fast until 9 am (a 12-hour window).

        In the morning, you could drink black coffee, unsweetened tea, and water until about 9 (or whenever works best for you) when you could have a healthy smoothie, fruit, or overnight oats (which are all perfect grab-and-go breakfasts).

        Please let me know if you have more questions. I’m happy to help! X, Lori

    1. This is awesome, Heather! It always excites me to hear about people having success and feeling better with IF. Thank you so much for sharing this! Feel free to check back later and update us on your progress. Thanks!

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