Intermittent fasting is a very common term used to describe a timed pattern of eating. But not a lot of people talk about fasting while traveling. Trying too fast while traveling can be quite the juggling act, especially if you’re new to it. There are plenty of upsides as well as downsides to intermittent fasting, but today we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of trying to follow an intermittent fasting routine while traveling.
Let’s talk about the pros first
There are lots of benefits of intermittent fasting and some of them can make your traveling experience more enjoyable. Here are five pros to intermittent fasting while traveling.
● Better gut health and digestion
When we travel, we’re often exposed to new types of foods, environments, weather conditions, and bacteria that we may not have encountered before. Not to mention, many of us tend to eat more than we usually would when we travel for a vacation. This can take a toll on our bodies as it now has to sort through all these new conditions affecting their systems.
Fasting has been shown to improve digestion and help the body purge toxins. If you’re like most of us who indulge in the local cuisine while on vacation, fasting can help to reset your system if you’re feeling bloated or sluggish. It’s important to drink plenty of water though, and even more so when you’re fasting. If you’re new to fasting, you should try taking it slow at first and be sure to do your research so you know what you’re getting into.
● Improved sleep quality
Traveling can be very disruptive to our sleep patterns. It’s not uncommon to see travelers catch a red-eye flight in order to save a little money or because it fits their schedules better. But even if you end up traveling during your waking hours this can still affect your quality of sleep in a negative way.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help to improve the quality of sleep by supporting our circadian rhythm. This is because food plays a large role in what we call “time cues”. Following an eating pattern dictated by specified times, as you would when intermittent fasting, can improve and strengthen your circadian rhythm.
● Stress less
Traveling can be a great way to destress, but it can also cause stress. Delayed flights, car troubles, and long hours on the road, among other things, can start to pile up and make for a less-than-pleasant traveling experience. Whatever the reason for your travels, it’s important to have a plan in place as well as alternatives should things go wrong.
Intermittent fasting has shown to be an effective tool in managing stress levels by making your eating schedule flexible and easy to maintain. By having an organized meal plan and schedule you can better plan for your itinerary during your travels. Additionally, this will help you to maintain cortisol levels which, in turn, will help to lower stress levels and make it easier for you to deal with hectic situations that will inevitably arise.
● Increased energy
Many people assume that fasting means starving yourself, but this is not the case. With intermittent fasting, one can still consume the same number of calories in a day they would if they were not fasting. The key difference is when the meal is consumed. By giving your body a break from digesting you give it the chance to use the calories you consumed during your last meal as opposed to your body storing them as fat. This helps you to feel more energized throughout the day.
On top of that, research suggests that fasting can increase the levels of leptin which is the body’s hormone responsible for the feeling of fullness. Within about two days of following a fasting schedule your body adapts and your appetite will decrease. Your metabolism then increases and energy expenditure speeds up.
● Save money
This one’s probably a given, but it stands to reason that when you follow an intermittent fasting schedule while traveling you wind up saving money. This is because instead of snacking throughout the day on local treats or street food, you only eat during set mealtimes. Thus, you end up spending less money than you would have otherwise.
Now let’s talk about the cons
As with any sort of diet or lifestyle, not everyone will experience the same benefits, if any, so what are the downsides to fasting while traveling? Here are five cons to intermittent fasting while traveling.
● Headaches, nausea, dizziness, oh my!
Even someone who is experienced with intermittent fasting may experience some unpleasant side effects and this is the last thing you want while on vacation. Headaches are among some of the most common side effects of intermittent fasting. Along with that include Nausea, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
● You can still gain weight
Though fasting can be a great tool for weight loss because it helps to decrease the number of calories consumed in a day, it can also cause the opposite. If you wind up binge eating when mealtime finally arrives you could unknowingly consume way more calories than you intended and end up gaining weight if it continues over a long period of time.
● Feeling hangry?
We’ve all seen those Snickers commercials with Betty White on the football field and I think we all have had moments where we can all relate. Irritability due to hunger is not a fun feeling and when you’re traveling it can be made even worse. Unfortunately, this is another common side effect of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting can also lead to a lack of hydration. When you first begin intermittent fasting your body expels large amounts of water and salt when you urinate and if you do not replace the fluids and electrolytes this will lead to dehydration. Don’t make this mistake and be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
● Bad breath
This is a somewhat surprising side effect of intermittent fasting that happens when an increase of acetone is produced in the blood and breath. This is caused by the metabolism of fat and is made worse by a lack of hydration.
The bottom line is that intermittent fasting is going to affect everyone differently. There are a lot of benefits like better digestion, decreased stress, improved sleep and energy, and saving money, but it’s not for everyone. There are quite a few downsides that include headaches, weight gain, irritability due to hunger, dehydration, and even bad breath. Do your research and decide for yourself if it’s worth following an intermittent fasting schedule while traveling.