- 1 How to do intermittent fasting correctly
- 2 6-Best intermittent fasting schedules to use
- 2.1 1. 16:8 Fasting
- 2.2 2. Alternate day fasting
- 2.3 3. Eat stop eat
- 2.4 4. 5:2 Fasting Diet
- 2.5 5. Warrior diet
- 2.6 6. Meal skipping
- 3 What is the best intermittent fasting schedule to use
- 4 Tips for success with your intermittent fasting schedule
- 5 Intermittent fasting schedule final thoughts
- 6 6-Best intermittent fasting schedules to use
How to do intermittent fasting correctly
For many many people what makes intermittent fasting so popular as a weight-loss strategy is that it’s easy to follow and tweak into your lifestyle.
There are different intermittent fasting you can use. Depending on your lifestyle and other factors. It almost seems like intermittent fasting has something for everyone.
However, this begs the question.
What is the best intermittent fasting schedule you can use to get the most benefits?
In this article, we look at the most popular intermittent fasting schedules. Also, we give you the best fasting tips to use to help you maintain your schedule for maximum benefits;
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
6-Best intermittent fasting schedules to use
1. 16:8 Fasting
The 16:8 fasting diet is one of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting for beginners. This fasting plan involves 16-hours of fasting followed by an 8-hour eating window.
When you’re on the 16:8 fasting diet, you choose to either skip dinner or breakfast to complete your 16-hours of fasting.
What makes this fasting approach best for beginners is that it’s quite flexible and is easy to fit into your lifestyle as you’re only missing one meal a day.
How to get started
As a beginner, it’s much easier to include your sleeping time as part of your fasting hours. So for example, if you opt to skip dinner, let your last meal be at lunch-time.
This means that you’re fasting from 2-pm and your next meal should be from 6-am the next day. Half of your fasting hours will be spent sleeping.
This option is best for someone who enjoys having breakfast. You eating window will be between 6-am to 2-pm
If you don’t like breakfast and want to skip it then your last meal should be at dinner. Let’s say you finish your meal at 9-pm, this means your next meal will be at 1-pm the next day.
Your eating window will be between 1-pm to 9-pm
Those are the only options available when you’re doing the 16:8 fasting diet, you either skip breakfast or skip dinner to complete your 16-hour fasting.
Experiment with both times to find your best schedule.
Pros of the 16:8 fasting diet
For many people weight loss is one of the major benefits of a 16:8 fasting diet. On the plan, you’re eating one less meal every day and this calorie deficit adds up.
You’re able to lose weight naturally as your daily calories are reduced without having to worry about counting calories.
This was proven in a 2017 study published by the International Journal of obesity. The study showed that obese participants were able to lose more weight with 16:8 fasting than with regular calorie counting.
Reduced risk of certain diseases
Due to its positive effects on blood sugar, 16:8 fasting has been shown to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. Besides, a recent study of the effects of limiting food intake to 8-hours shows that it can also help reduce blood pressure in obese adults
Even though human studies have been limited. Animal research shows that regular fasting can improve the life span of animals. So not only are you losing weight, you’re living longer.
A win-win situation.
Cons of the 16:8 fasting diet
You may overeat
Expect that you will want to overeat once you get started with the 16:8 fasting diet. This is especially if you’re new to fasting. This effect may last for the first few weeks or the first month until your body is fully adapted.
Imagine being used to eating several times a day and suddenly not being able to eat for 16-hours daily. You’re going to constantly think about food. You will feel hungry and even weak and fatigued once you get started.
However, this too will clear once your body starts adapting to intermittent fasting.
2. Alternate day fasting
Also known as feast and fast or 4:3 fasting, this schedule is as simple as the name suggests.
You eat normally on one day and then fast for the next day. There fasting schedule is straightforward and you only have to worry about what to eat half the time, so it’s quite the time-saver.
However, for many people who don’t think it’s sustainable, there is a modified version of alternate-day fasting where you’re allowed to eat 500-calories rather than do full fast without food.
Advocates for the modified version say that it’s much easier to stick to for many people.
How to get started
If you decide to fast on your alternate days without food it is important to keep yourself hydrated. This approach also allows you to drink unsweetened tea, coffee for hydration.
Related: Best intermittent fasting drinks
However, if you do decide to get started with the modified version you need to determine how you will meet the 500-calorie restriction.
For most people on this approach, it’s much easier to eat one big meal rather than small unsatisfying meals throughout the day. To get started you defiantly want to go for low-calorie foods;
Choose foods such as;
- Lean cuts of protein-foods
- Grill, steam or bake rather than pan-frying
- Eat lots of green vegetables as they’re lower in calories.
- Snack on dark berries to curb any sugar cravings
- Enjoy soups as they’re also very filling
- Bake or boil your eggs
Try these meal ideas to help you plan your 500-calorie meals wisely.
Pros of the alternate-day fasting schedule
Whether you choose to do full-fasts or do the modified fast, there is no denying that you will drastically reduce your calories. If you’re trying to lose weight you’re bound to see impressive results.
Furthermore, a 2016 study done on alternate day fasting showed that it’s easier to stick to, preserves muscles and also caused more fat loss as compared to calorie counting.
Despite the lack of enough research on humans, animal testing has shown that fasting for long periods improves cell-turnover a process known as autophagy.
This process has been shown to reduce the risk of tumors and also delay aging.
Furthermore, studies have consistently shown increased life spans as a result of short-term and long-term fasting such as is the case with alternate-day fasting.
Reduced risk of lifestyle disease
Did you know that lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of all diabetes cases in the USA alone? We know that losing weight can reverse or improve many of the symptoms associated with this disease.
Studies done have shown that alternate day fasting can also help reduce the risk of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
Besides, alternate day fasting has also been shown to help reduce insulin levels. A risk factor for heart diseases and even cancer.
Cons of the alternate-day fasting schedule
Half your days will be spent in a fasted state
It’s not like the eat stop eat or 5:2 diet where fasting days are limited. Half your week will always be spent in a fasted state.
3. Eat stop eat
This approach to intermittent fasting asks that for two non-consecutive days of the week you completely abstain from food.
This unique approach was developed by one Brad Pilon who came up with the idea as he was doing his graduate research on the effects of short term fasting.
This resulted in him writing the book Eat stop eat that, which talks about all about this approach.
Brad, the creator of this approach says he’s an inspiration when coming up with this approach was to challenge norms around when we should eat and how much we should eat.
How to get started.
So on this fasting approach, you choose non-consecutive days of the week when you’d like to fast. As you get started you can start with one-day then build up to doing 2-days
Because you’re going 24-hours without food, you want to keep yourself well hydrated. Drink as much water as you want, as often as possible.
You also have to determine your best fasting hours, You can do morning to morning, start your fast at 9-am to 9-am the next day. Start after lunch from 2-pm to 2-pm the next day.
You can even start after dinner from 9-pm to 9-pm the next day.
Even though 24-hours might seem like a long-time, you will technically be eating on all days of the week before your fast. You want to make sure you’re eating nutrient-dense filling foods before your fast.
Choose whole foods, protein-rich foods and fiber foods that will keep you full for longer.
Even though you might be tempted to snack on junk foods because you’ll be fasting for 24-hours. You will feel hungry sooner and you’ll struggle to last through your fasting hours.
Pros of the eat stop eat schedule
The eat stop eat schedule allows you to drastically reduce your calories. Going a full-day or two without food every week adds up well when you’re trying to lose weight.
This gradual calorie deficit will help you lose weight fast without a struggle.
Not to forget this will also allow your body to tap into stored fats for energy during those 24-hours.
It’s only 2-days
Even though going for 24-hours without food might sound difficult. You only have to do this for 2-days out of the week. Unlike other schedules like the 16:8 fasting diet where you have to do your fast every day.
This will be easier for many people to commit to.
It’s 24-hours without food. Unlike the 5:2 diet that allows for some food hence the temptation to cheat. This approach completely cuts out the food.
You have to persevere through the 24-hours to reap the benefits
Cons of the eat stop eat schedule
24-hours with no food
4. 5:2 Fasting Diet
Celebrities such as Jimmy Kimmel have attributed their amazing weight loss stories to the 5:2 diet. But what exactly is the 5:2 diet?
Well as the name suggests, this approach involves fasting for two non-consecutive days of the week and eating normally on the remaining 5-days of the week.
On the 2-fasting days, you’re allowed to eat only 25% or 1/4 of your normal calories.
For example, if you normally eat 2000-calories, on the fasting days your total meals should be 500-calories. If you eat 1800-calories your total meals should be 720 calories.
Also, the fasting days have to be non-consecutive meaning you cannot fast continuously.
How to get started
So first decide on your fasting days.
You can have non-consecutive days such as Monday and Thursdays or Saturdays/Wednesday, this is completely up to you.
Also, you will need to know how to count your calories as your meals on this fasting days should not exceed 25% of your normal calories. Having a meal plan to help you budget well.
Decided how you will add up those 500 calories, do you prefer one big meal or small meals throughout the day?
You also want to choose low-calorie filling foods such as;
- Nutrient-dense green vegetables
- Lean cuts of protein foods
- Boiled eggs
- Cauliflower rice
- Coffee or tea
However, on the non-fasting days, you also want to maintain a healthy diet. This means you still need to avoid junk foods, processed foods, and excess fats.
Pros of 5:2 diet
The 5:2 diet is very flexible in that you get to choose your fasting days. You can decide which days of the week are best suited for fasting.
You’re fasting for only 2-days
Out of 7-days of the week, you’re only fasting for 2-days. This makes the schedule more tolerable for many people who can’t imagine going long periods without food.
Just like other forms of intermittent fasting, this dieting approach allows you to reduce your calories. This is a simple approach can help you lose weight and even break through a weight loss plateau.
Cons of 5:2 diet
Involves counting macros
The only way to make this approach work is that you have to eat only 25% of your normal calories on fasting days. This means you will have to learn how to effectively count calories.
You may overeat on non-fasting days
The is always that urge to overcompensate for all the calories you missed as you were fasting. Even though this urge will go away as you adapt to this approach it might derail your weight loss plans.
Fasting can be difficult
For most people, eating every few hours is the norm but on the 5:2 diet, fasting days can be a challenge. Eating only 25% of your daily calories will be a challenge for many people to maintain.
5. Warrior diet
The warrior diet is a unique fasting schedule that calls for 20-hours of fasting followed by a 4-hour eating window where dieters are encouraged to eat all their calories in one big meal.
Sounds warrior like right?
Well, the diet was created by a former member of the Israel special forces known as Ori Hofmekler. It’s important to note that he came up with this approach not based on scientific research but rather on his observations.
He also claims that this approach is largely based on our ancestors who would hunt and gather during the day and eat at night. This is why the diet advocates for overnight fasting as part of the approach.
How to get started
Unlike other intermittent fasting schedules, the warrior diet provides a guideline on what foods to eat and how to get started.
Ori, the creator of the diet advises that beginners should ease into the diet in 3-week phases. The first week is known as the detox phase and while you’re fasting for 20-hours you’re allowed small serving of clear broth, hard-boiled eggs, fruits and vegetables
The second week is known as the high-fat phase and no grains, or starches are allowed during this fasting phase.
The third week is known as concluding fat loss and dieters alternate between the high carb and high-protein foods during eating periods.
This is how the Ori advice that dieters should start. However, you can skip the phases and only use guidelines provided to determine what you can eat.
Exercises are also recommended on the diet to allow for maximum fat-burning.
Pros of the warrior diet
Fasting has been shown as a great way to reduce calories for weight loss. And the warrior diet is not any different. You’re able to reduce your calories drastically by fasting for 20-hours every day.
Besides as the diet also focuses on exercise and physical activity, you’re able to burn more fat faster.
Cons of the warrior diet
Difficult to follow
You’re fasting for 20-hours daily and only eating within 4-hours. This approach can be very challenging for dieters to follow. Also, the schedule is divided into weekly phases.
While these phases offer a good guideline, they make the whole process even more tiresome.
May cause nutritional deficiencies
Let’s face it, it’s hard enough to meet your nutritional requirements eating several meals a day. On the warrior diet, you’re only eating within a 4-hour window.
This means you’re more likely to miss out on some foods and long-term this can result in a nutritional deficiency.
6. Meal skipping
The idea behind intermittent fasting is that the human body doesn’t always need three meals a day to survive and it’s perfectly adapted to going without food for some periods.
As an approach to intermittent fasting, meal skipping involves spontaneously skipping some means when you’re not feeling hungry. or maybe due to lack of time.
This approach allows you to be more in tune with your body.
With meal skipping, there is no method to it and you just do it as you wish. Even though this might come easy for some, it might not be so for everyone.
But the goal here is to break the myth that you constantly need to eat and allow your body to guide you.
What is the best intermittent fasting schedule to use
The best fasting schedule to use is one that is easy for you to follow and adjust to. Experiment with different schedules until you find one that you find easy to follow.
An easy to follow fasting schedule will help you stick to the plan long-term.
Tips for success with your intermittent fasting schedule
1. Eat whole filling foods
What you eat before you start with your fast can make or break you. That is why most intermittent fasting schedules will always advise that you eat whole filling foods before starting any fast.
You may be tempted to eat junk food but you will end up feeling hungry and will most likely break your fast.
Ensure your meals have some protein foods in them.
Add in green-leafy vegetables to help with digestion and also add bulk to your food.
2. Experiment to find what works best for you
The perfect intermittent fasting schedule is what works for you and is easy to follow. The only way you will know what works is by experimenting.
Try different schedules every week and switch up fasting times too.
3. Stay hydrated
Let’s face, fasting is one of the best ways to lose weight and it can improve your health but it’s no joke. Especially once you get started, keep yourself hydrated.
Drink water often and this will help you fight stick to your schedule.
4. Stick to light exercises
Exercises are a great way to reduce stress and burn some fat. However, keep in mind that intense exercising can also make you feel extremely hungry. When you’re getting started with your intermittent fasting schedule, go light with exercise.
Once you’re more comfortable, you can do more.
Intermittent fasting schedule final thoughts
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight and improve your health.
The best way to do intermittent fasting is by either using the 16:8 fasting method, alternate-day fasting. 5:2 diet, eat stop eat, warrior diet, or meal skipping.
These are the best intermittent fasting schedules you can use.
These methods will allow you to lose weight and boost your health too.
6-Best intermittent fasting schedules to use