Fasting is a popular health tactic that’s been shown in many studies to assist with improving digestion and gut health, helping people to maintain or lose weight, reducing inflammation in the body, boosting cognitive performance, and lowering the risk of type II diabetes, along with other common diseases. You may be overwhelmed with all of the different intermittent fasting methods, but don’t worry! You actually already know how to intermittently fast—you do it every night while you’re sleeping! Extending your fast from a nightly seven to eight hours during sleep to a fourteen to sixteen-hour window may be a helpful way to optimize your health and wellness.
This article will discuss the proper methods of intermittent fasting so you receive all of the coveted health benefits.
This method is arguably the most common way to fast. With this option, your eating window will last for around ten hours. If you eat your first meal at 7:00 AM, you’ll be able to eat until 5:00 PM. In that time frame, you can easily get a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack in. One really easy way to do this method is to stick to black coffee in the morning and skip breakfast. Have a healthy lunch, a large dinner, and then just tea or water for the rest of the evening. If you find that the 14 hour fast/10 hour feeding window is working well for you, you may want to try restricting your time further to a 16/8 schedule.
The five-two method is when you chose five days per week to eat regularly, and two days per week to restrict your calories intake to 500-600. Generally, you’ll want to make sure that your two fasting days are not consecutive and aren’t days that you exercise heavily. On your fasting day, try eating small meals in the 250-calorie range, or a small snack with a larger meal toward the end of the day. You may also hear this called the 5:2 diet or the Fast Diet.
Eat Stop Eat Method
The eat stop eat method is similar to the five-two method, but it takes things a bit further. In this program, the faster does two 24-hour fasts per week, making sure that they’re not done on consecutive days. For example, if you eat your last meal of the day at Monday at 7:00 PM, you will fast until the following day at 7:00 PM. At that time, you’ll have one meal and then resume normal eating the following day. You can also fast breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch if either of those options work better for you.
Alternate Day Method
The alternate day method is somewhat of a combination of the five two method and the eat stop eat method. In this fasting method, participants choose two days per week to either restrict calorie intake to 500-600 calories, or to fast for 24-hours. You may find that one day per week you like to fast for a full 24-hours and one day you like to restrict your calories. If you plan this method in conjunction with your schedule, it’ll make it much easier. For example, if, every Wednesday, you have an easy day at work followed by a coffee date with a friend, this may be a convenient 24-hour fasting day. As long as you stick to black coffee or tea on your coffee date!
The warrior method requires you to restrict your diet to only raw fruits and vegetables during the day. In the evening, you can then eat a large healthy meal or “feast”. Many people who follow paleo diets use this fasting method. In this fast, you eat very little during the day and restrict your dinner to a four-hour window in the evening. If you find yourself on the go all day, this might be a very convenient option for you.
If you’re someone that has difficulty sticking to a schedule or a plan, the spontaneous method may be the option for you. This type of intermittent fasting simply requires you to skip a meal every now and then. If you’re not hungry one morning, that’s a great time to skip breakfast. If, later in the week, you find that you’ve worked through lunch, that’s great! If a friend has to cancel dinner plans, use the opportunity! Find a few days a week to remove a meal and you can reap many of the fasting benefits without much of the planning.
Your Own Method
While all of these fasting options are great types of intermittent fasting, keep in mind that the perfect method for you may be some combination of any of these methods. This is particularly important if you have pre-existing health conditions that dictate your caloric intake, or a busy lifestyle. Try to choose a method that gives you a healthy number of weekly calories and works with your schedule and lifestyle. Experiment with different lengths of fasting per day or with fasting certain days per week, or even a combination of the two. You’ll find that once you discover a routine that works well, it’ll be very easy to stick to.
In conclusion, fasting may have a positive impact on your mental and physical health, such as strengthening and repairing your gut and digestion, boosting your metabolism, and improving cognitive performance. There are a variety of different ways to try intermittent fasting like: the time restricted method, the five-two method, the eat stop eat method, alternate day method and many more. You may even like to make up your own fasting schedule! Take a bit of time experimenting with the above options to see which feels best for your body and your lifestyle. When done properly, fasting is thought to help optimize your health and brain cognition. Always check-in with your personal care physician before making dramatic diet changes, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or if you plan to become pregnant.