Intermittent fasting is an exceptional dietary plan that arranges and schedules your meals into equal intervals for fasting and eating.
Losing weight can be a daunting task for the best of us, especially when you can witness instantly noticeable results.
It can become quite demotivating to spend back-bending hours working out in the gym and not being able to reach your goal weight.
Believe it or not but if you are unable to lose these couple extra pounds even with rigorous physical training and ditching calories, the problem might be in your meal plan.
Intermittent fasting has become among the best ways to lose a couple of extra pounds after being widely accepted by A-List celebrities like Haley Berry and Jennifer Anniston.
But don’t confuse intermittent fasting to be just any scheduled meal plan, there is a specific method to the madness when it comes to Intermittent fasting.
If you are interested in hopping on the Intermittent Fasting trend but don’t know where to begin, we’ve got you covered.
Here is all you need to know about intermittent fasting to determine the Best Schedule for Intermittent Fasting that caters to your health needs and requirements.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
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Ideally, intermittent fasting is a meal plan that schedules your eating and fasting patterns into different intervals.
Simply put, intermittent fasting divides your eating plan into regular intervals and an alternative pattern of fasting and eating on a consistent schedule.
According to some nutritionists, it is an efficient way of reducing access to body fat as the individual is promoted to consume only one meal per day in the span of a few weeks.
While intermittent fasting is basically eating and fasting at regular intervals, there are different schedules you can try that allow you to consume foods based on your life routine.
The most common of these practices is 16:08 which includes fasting for 16 hours and eating on schedule for 8 hours, 20:04 including 20 hours of fasting and 4 hours of regular eating, and lastly 14:06 which includes fasting for 14 hours and eating for 6 hours.
How does intermittent fasting work?
As you know there are several different patterns or schedules you can try when intermittent fasting that incorporate different eating and fasting schedules.
For instance, the most common method of intermittent fasting is 16/8 intermittent fasting where you can try eating for a total of 8 hours a day and remain fasting for the remainder of the day.
Or you can also plan your fast by eating either one meal a day or two to three meals a week.
Ideally, Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period of time when the body has burnt excess calories consumed during the last meal.
Based on research conducted by the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, Intermittent Fasting helps minimize the insulin levels in the body.
Intermittent fasting repairs important cells reduces the fat mass in the body and prevents several age-related health risks and diseases.
Intermittent fasting is a practice that involves regular periods or intervals with limited or almost no calorie intake.
Hence intermittent fasting process directly impacts your lipid profile and is directly associated with weight loss as it helps with the distribution of body fat.
Intermittent Fasting also helps with the improvement and control of glycemic levels in the body which helps with obesity as well as type-2 diabetes.
Intermittent fasting with a pattern of restricted calories at regular intervals helps alleviate circadian rhythm disruptions that directly improve the metabolic balance in the body.
A list of the best Schedules for Intermittent Fasting:
Are there different schedules for intermittent fasting? To simply answer this question, yes, there are many different schedules of Intermittent Fasting that involve distributing your daily eating and fasting process into equal intervals.
It is important to remember that during your fasting intervals you either eat extremely small portions or nothing at all.
However, during intervals when you are allowed to consume foods or eat, it is important to indulge in a nutritionally balanced diet with the exception of excess calorie intake.
Here is a list of some popular methods you can choose from to start your own Intermittent fasting diet plan:
16/8 Intermittent Fasting Method:
The 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Method is among the most common eating schedules adopted by most beginners.
This intermittent fasting schedule or meal plan includes fasting for 16 hours a day and consuming food for the remaining eight hours.
This type of fasting involves skipping breakfast and avoiding eating anything after dinner.
Ideally, one can say the 16/8 Intermittent Diet plan to eat between the 1 pm to 9 pm time period.
5/2 Intermittent Diet Plan:
The 5/2 Intermittent eating schedule involves about 24 hours of fasting for one or two days of the week and consuming a nutritionally balanced diet to cover your daily intake of calories to compensate for the two days of fasting.
During the two days of fasting, you cut back on excess calorie consumption and cut back on 20 percent of your daily calorie intake.
During the 5/2 Intermittent Fasting Eating Schedule, it is recommended that women consume 500 calories a day, while men should have 600 calories intake a day.
The 14/10 Intermittent Diet Plan:
The 14/10 intermittent eating schedule, just like the 16/8 diet plan, is a type of intermittent fasting plan where you fast for 14 hours and consume an appropriate amount of calories for the remaining 10 hours.
This version of Intermittent fasting is easier when compared to the 16/8 intermittent diet plan, however, it is less effective when it comes to the weight loss process.
Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting Method:
The Alternate-Day eating schedule of intermittent fasting is quite self-explanatory and often involves regular intervals of fasting every other day of the week.
But unlike other Intermittent Diet Plans, the alternate-day intermittent fasting method encourages you to consume no or only a couple hundred calories during the days you are allowed to consume food.
Eat-Stop-Eat Intermittent Diet:
The Eat-Stop-Eat Schedule of intermittent fasting involves scheduled intervals of full 24-hour fasting for one or a maximum of two days a week.
For instance, you are allowed to have your dinner one day and fast till the next day’s dinner completing the 24-hour goal.
Although it is important to remember that fasting for a full 24 hours can be dangerous for one’s overall health.
While it seems feasible to fast for 24 hours to reduce weight rapidly, it is important to note that fasting for the full 24 hours can cause long-term harm to health.
The Warrior Intermittent Diet Method:
Do not let the name of this Intermittent Diet Plan intimidate you! The Warrior Method of intermittent diet plan is based on the eating pattern of ancient warriors.
Developed in the year 2001, the term was coined by Ori Hofmekler a fitness author, and is more restrictive than 16/8 as well as Eat-Stop-Eat methods.
This diet plan involves eating small portions and fewer calories for 20 hours during the day and consuming as much food as you would like during the 4-hour window at night.
How many days of Intermittent Fasting are recommended?
While losing weight when practicing Intermittent Fasting can help you achieve instant results, it can become quite difficult for people who have a heavy workload, hectic shifts, and frequent travel schedules.
If you are someone who is just starting their weight loss journey by practicing intermittent fasting, immediately fasting for the whole day may put your health at risk.
Here is how you can achieve optimum results while intermittent fasting even during hectic work hours:
Two times a week Intermittent Fasting Schedule:
- Make you consume about 500 calories two days a week you will be fasting
- During the days you are allowed to eat you should consume about 1500 to 2000 calories
- It is recommended to consume foods that are rich in proteins and fiber and avoid high-calorie foods
- To ensure you do not exert yourself make sure to have at least one day of the gap between the days you fast
- Since there are no fixed eating hours for this intermittent fasting schedule, you can plan out the days you like to fast based on your needs and requirements.
Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting Schedule:
- It is recommended to restrict about 25% of your calorie intake during the days you fast, regardless of your fasting hours
- On the days you are not fasting, you can resume your daily diet, with minimum calorie intake.