5 Methods of
There are many different methods of intermittent fasting, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The best method for you will depend on your goals and lifestyle. So, there’s no need to be strict about it – you can always switch things up if one method isn’t working out.
Start building your own intermittent fasting plan with this short quiz to determine your somatotype and the type of fast that works best for your body:
Shorter fasting methods are dietary approaches that involve shorter periods of fasting within a 24-hour timeframe. These methods are relatively easier to implement for many people and may offer benefits such as improved metabolism, better blood sugar control, and potential weight management. However, they still require careful consideration of food choices and portion sizes during the eating window to ensure a balanced and nutritious diet. Shorter fasting methods can be a practical way to incorporate intermittent fasting into one's lifestyle and may suit those looking for flexibility in their eating patterns.
One of the most popular methods of fasting is to eat every day but instead of eating any time you want, you’re restricted to certain hours. Hence the name, time-restricted eating. This style of fasting comes in 3 different versions:
Only eating between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. This method involves fasting for 16 hours each day and eating all your meals within an 8-hour window. This is often done by skipping breakfast and only eating lunch and dinner, or by skipping dinner and only eating breakfast and lunch. Proponents of the 16/8 method argue that it aligns with our natural circadian rhythms and may lead to improved metabolic health, weight loss, and better blood sugar control.
Only eating between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Same as the above, but with a slightly shorter fasting period (14 hours) and longer eating window (10 hours). Unlike some of the more extended fasting windows, the 14/10 approach provides a slightly shorter fasting period, making it more manageable for some individuals. This approach can be less stringent than some of the other fasting styles while still offering the benefits of longer fasting.
With this method, you fast for 12 hours, then have a 12-hour eating window. One example could be eating dinner before 7 p.m., then fasting until you have breakfast at or after 7 a.m. the following morning. This approach is relatively straightforward and often referred to as the "time-restricted eating" method. It can be a gentle introduction to intermittent fasting for those new to the concept, as it doesn't involve lengthy periods of fasting.
The OMAD diet is a more extreme type of intermittent fasting that involves eating just once a day. This means that you fast for 23 hours each day and eat one large meal, within a one-hour time frame. During this hour, you can eat whatever you’d like, with the goal of not eating more calories than can be burnt during fasting periods.
OMAD provides an extremely simple and structured approach to fasting, with individuals consuming all their daily calories within a single meal window. This 1 meal strategy can help make your calorie restriction + nutrient intake more focused, aiding in weight loss and improved metabolic health.
OMAD offers a sense of discipline and structure in their dietary habits, helping them gain better control over their food intake. Moreover, OMAD can foster a deeper appreciation for food and a heightened sense of mindfulness around eating, as individuals focus on enjoying a single substantial meal each day.
Longer fasting methods involve extended periods of abstaining from food, usually for more than 24 hours at a time. These longer fasting methods often require more discipline and careful planning as they can be more challenging to maintain. However, they may provide potential benefits such as improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced autophagy (cellular repair), and greater weight loss when compared to shorter fasting approaches. It's crucial to approach longer fasting methods with caution, ensuring proper hydration and balanced nutrition during eating periods, and consulting with a healthcare professional for guidance on their suitability for individual health goals.
As the name suggests, with this method you alternate between days of fasting and days of eating normally. On fasting days, individuals typically consume very few calories or none at all, while on non-fasting days, they eat normally. This approach has gained attention for its potential benefits, such as weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced risk factors for chronic diseases. There are a couple different ways to approach this method, although alternate day fasting can be challenging to sustain due to its strict requirements.
An example of this alternate-day fasting variant might include starting your fast at 8pm, with a plan to not eat again until 8pm the following night, and repeat. Some people find it easier to adhere to this pattern because they know they have a non-fasting day to look forward to, which can make it psychologically sustainable.
When we put too much pressure on ourselves to make big changes too fast, we're more likely to binge-eat and fall off the wagon. It's not realistic for many people to cut back on what they eat all seven days. For this reason, the 5:2 approach may work better than cutting calories the entire week.
Essentially, this method involves reducing your calorie intake for two days each week, while eating normally the other five days. For example, you might restrict calorie intake to 500-600 calories on Monday and Wednesday, and then eat normally on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And because you're only fasting two days a week, many find it easier to stick to than traditional diets. Additionally, some people find that the structure of the 5:2 method helps them develop a better relationship with food and gain greater awareness of their eating habits.
But long-term adherence to this method can still be a hurdle, as some individuals may struggle to maintain this pattern over an extended period. This is especially true for people with higher social interactions with others during weekends.
The Eat-Stop-Eat form of intermittent fasting involves a fasting period of 24 hours, then eating normally for the next 24 hours. This cycle is repeated 1-2 times per week. Ideally, the days should be spaced out and not consecutive. This cycle can be repeated as often as you like, and it's a great way to give your body a break from digesting food.
The Eat-Stope-Eat approach provides extended periods of time for the digestive system to rest and reset. This can lead to improved insulin sensitivity, better metabolic health, and potential weight loss as the body switches to burning stored fat for energy.
Some individuals use Eat-Stop-Eat as a way to reset their eating habits and gain better control over food cravings and emotional eating. This brief fasting method is less about long-term fasting and more about resetting your current routine.
Learn more about the vitamins, minerals, and specialty nutrients your body needs help getting more of when following an intermittent fasting lifestyle: