Intermittent fasting is a weight loss protocol that has increased in popularity in recent years. There are many different forms of it which we will explain in this article. The basic premise is that you have periods without food, that may mean missing breakfast, having low calorie days, or stopping eating after a certain time.
Intermittent fasting aside, we believe that you should look at your calorie intake as an average across a week, so let’s say you should have 2,000 calories per day, that should be viewed as 14,000 per week. Some days you may have 1,500 and some days 2,500 or anywhere in-between.
Whichever fasting method you may try the reality is that it will reduce your overall calorie intake across the week and that will reduce your weight. There are also hormonal effects from fasting which can benefit weight loss.
Its particularly important if you are going to try fasting that you adhere to it, there is no point in fasting and then eating such an excess that you go over your weekly target.
For anyone trying to be healthier we always recommend starting at 3 meals per day, getting in good basic habits and then trying alternatives like intermittent fasting if they may help you.
Here are some different fasting protocols:
Fast for 12 hours a day
This is quite simple, you fast for 12 hours every day.
It is a realistic protocol to start with as the majority of your fast can be during sleep, so you could fast from 7pm – 7am as an example.
Fasting for 16 hours
This obviously a step up from the 12 hours fast and involved fasting for 16 hours each day. It is called the 16:8 method, fast for 16 hours, eat for 8 hours.
This fast normally involves skipping breakfast.
Fasting for 2 days a week
This involves consuming your normal daily number of calories 5 days a week and reducing that intake for 2 days per week. The reduced days are in the region of 500 calories.
Clearly following this strategy will lead to a big calorie reduction across a week.
This approach simply allows you to miss some meals, again this will lead to an overall reduction in calorie intake. You can pick and choose when to skip meals based on how you feel.
This may feel more natural for some people than the other fasting methods.
We have outlined some protocols for intermittent fasting in this article. Whilst there are some hormonal benefits to intermittent fasting essentially, they all reduce your weekly calorie intake.
Our advice is to aim for 3 meals to make a start to being healthier, if you always miss breakfast then that’s fine, you don’t have to have it. But we are not recommending that you miss breakfast, simply saying that if you always do its OK.
You should always eat healthy, wholesome, unprocessed, natural foods and ensure you combine protein, fats and carbohydrate and that meals contain fibre.
Be sure to read our other blogs on weight loss here.