Do you sometimes feel like human food disposal, munching on meals throughout the day? If yes, you should definitely enter the world of intermittent fasting. This is where eating is scheduled like a boss, and weight loss is just a side effect. Intermittent fasting involves partially or completely abstaining from food for certain hours before you start following the regular eating pattern. Studies have discovered that intermittent fasting might carry perks like weight loss, improved overall health, and increased longevity (1). A few experts also claim that these diet patterns are easier to follow than the conventional, calorie-deficit schedules. Intermittent fasting is gaining recognition as an effective and sustainable weight loss strategy. This article explores the science behind different intermittent fasting types to see which could work for you. Plus, there are helpful tips for sustaining your chosen approach. Dig in!
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a popular way to regulate your eating habits while supporting healthy weight loss or maintenance. The standard intermittent fast lasts anywhere from 12-36 hours and involves abstaining from solid foods and calorie-containing beverages during that time frame.
Some people may find breakfast-to-breakfast fasting more achievable than lunch-to-lunch. Ultimately, it all comes down to the individual’s lifestyle and diet preferences.
We now know that there are different ways of doing intermittent fasting. Each method involves splitting the day or week into eating and fasting slots. And, you have to eat very little during the designated fasting period.
What Is The Most Effective Intermittent Fasting Schedule?
Intermittent fasting offers various possibilities. From different frequencies, meal timing windows, and content, find out which style works for you by exploring the following intermittent fasting methods.
This schedule involves fasting for at least 12 hours a day and eating only during the remaining hours. The 16/8 method is one famous example of an intermittent fasting schedule, which allows people to eat within an 8-hour window while they fast for 16 hours straight.
Generally, it allows people to fit 2-3 meals in the 8-hour eating window. This intermittent fasting plan offers numerous health benefits, such as improved metabolism, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and mental clarity (2).
Eat. Stop. Eat
Eat Stop Eat is also considered one of the best intermittent fasting schedules. This plan involves a 24-hour fast once or twice per week, during which no food is consumed.
The idea behind this strategy is that it combines elements of both fasting and calorie restriction to give you the best of both worlds. It isn’t a long-term lifestyle change but instead sticks with short bursts of fasting that have several health benefits and provide great results in terms of weight loss.
If you find that more extreme forms of fasting are too hard to handle, this plan has proven to be an easier alternative with few adverse consequences.
Read More: 16:8 Intermittent Fasting 7-Day Meal Plan
The 5:2 Diet
On this diet, you eat as you typically would for five days out of the week while restricting your calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the remaining two days.
Some studies have indicated that this dietary strategy could reduce the risk for certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes and stroke (3). If done safely and correctly, the 5:2 diet can be an effective weight-loss tool.
Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate-day fasting (ADF) is an intermittent fasting approach that restricts food intake for one day and then eating normally the next. This strategy can be easier to maintain in comparison with other types of diets, as you only need to watch your food intake every alternate day.
On days when you aren’t fasting, you are allowed to eat whatever you desire. Fasting days allow for calorie-free beverages such as water, unsweetened coffee, or tea. ADF is a great way to reset eating habits and potentially jumpstart weight loss goals.
The Warrior Diet
Developed by Ori Hofmekler, the Warrior Diet provides a plan for implementing intermittent fasting. This fasting schedule aims to enhance physical and mental performance and improve overall body composition (4).
Those adhering to this diet consumed just like ancient warriors would, who fasted during the day and then feasted in the evening. This is done by undereating for 20 hours every 24 hours before ending the eating restrictions and overconsuming food for the remaining four overlap hours.
Besides encouraging proper eating habits, this diet also taps into the energetic aspects of reduced calorie intake to stimulate survival mechanisms that enhance physical strength and focus. This diet may give a person better control over their health journey while boosting stamina and resilience.
Looking for a way to break the vicious cycle of weight loss and tone up all the jiggly parts? Watch the extra pounds fly off and your muscles firm up with the BetterMe app!
What Is A 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Schedule?
16:8 intermittent fasting is the most common variant of time-restricted eating. It involves abstaining from calories for 16 hours and eating within the 8-hour window.
This type of diet involves only having an 8-hour eating window each day for men and 10 hours for women. The eating period is followed by 16 or 14-hour fasting to reset hormones, burn fat and improve overall metabolic health (5).
By cutting their food window to 8 hours, mice in a study could enjoy the same number of calories with significantly better health outcomes. These included protection from obesity, inflammation, diabetes, and liver disease (6). These were indeed remarkable results for such a small lifestyle change.
Know that some protocols may differ due to age and gender. For instance, the intermittent fasting schedule for women should ideally start with 14-hour fasts and eventually increase to 16 hours a day.
Generally, a 16:8 fasting means you would have your last meal around 8 pm and skip breakfast the following day until your first meal at noon. Many of us are familiar with the idea that water and certain beverages can be consumed while fasting. But how to handle other items like gum or supplements?
To ensure you keep up your fast without compromising it, remember this simple rule – if something contains more than 5-10 kcal, it is best enjoyed after breaking your fast.
Read More: Alternate Day Fasting: Schedule, Benefits, Risks, And More
What Is A 12:12 Fasting Schedule?
If you struggle to stick to a traditional intermittent fasting plan, the 12:12 method of restricted eating may be the perfect solution!
This fasting schedule involves limiting all calorie intake within a window that’s only twelve hours long (e.g., from 8 am-8 pm). Much of this fast occurs while you sleep, so it doesn’t require any extra effort.
Sticking with each day’s goal is the same because you have to eat in the same time slot every day. Give the 12:12 dieting regimen a try and see if it helps to meet your fitness goals over time.
Research published in Cell Metabolism indicates that sticking to regular fasting windows of 12 hours or more may be the key to weight loss, disease prevention, and longer life. This was revealed by researchers who fed different diets to groups of mice and varied their feeding schedules. Those kept on strict time frames saw a more significant reduction in body fat than others with unrestricted access to food throughout the day (7).
Researchers also discovered that adhering to a strict feeding schedule had more benefits than simply aiding weight loss. Mice that ate at designated times experienced improved blood sugar and insulin levels and enhanced insulin sensitivity. Their hunger hormones also improved compared to those allowed food access all day.
If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip – BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past!
How To Start An Intermittent Fasting Schedule?
Intermittent fasting isn’t meant to be a strenuous and daunting task. Instead, it should fit into your lifestyle in a comfortable way that is easy for you to stick with.
To start out, pick an eating window that you know is one you can handle. For instance, 12 hours between the time you have your last meal at night and when you have your first meal the next day is doable for many people.
If this trial period goes well and fasting has become manageable, then you can work on cutting down the duration of the eating window. Shift your dinner time to roughly 6pm, 5pm the following day, and continue to adjust until you are in a routine that works best for you.
When you are not fasting, following proper nutritional intake is vital. Eat slowly and mindfully, and choose whole foods to stay healthy. Including a variety of colorful vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals should help ensure an adequate nutrient intake.
Further, cultivating your own intermittent fasting workout schedule is a great way to practice radical self-care. Taking the time to relax and replenish your body with quality rest and hydration is just as important as breaking your fast and eating meals that make you feel good.
Whenever you feel hungry and need nourishment, get cozy with a blanket or wrap up in something comforting. Next, take a few deep breaths to clear your head and plan how you will break your fast. Have foods that make you feel well, and prepare them ahead of time so you can enjoy them fully.
Don’t forget to sit down and actively be present while eating, savoring each bite of nourishment.
The Bottom Line
Intermittent fasting isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, some people should avoid doing it altogether. These include pregnant women, children, and people with a history of eating disorders.
The best way to determine if an intermittent fasting schedule is right for you is to experiment with the different methods and see what works best for your lifestyle and preferences. Just be sure to listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional before drastically changing your diet or eating habits.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- INTERMITTENT FASTING AND HUMAN METABOLIC HEALTH (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting? A Beginner’s Guide (2021, healthline.com)
- Review links 2 types of intermittent fasting to significant weight loss (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
- The Warrior Diet: Review and Beginner’s Guide (2018, healthline.com)
- A guide to 16:8 intermittent fasting (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Time restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high fat diet (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Longer daily fasting times improve health and longevity in mice (2018, nia.nih.gov)