Various Popular Methods of Intermittent Fasting Photo: iStock

Various Popular Methods of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a popular way to lose weight, but it also offers many other benefits. It can help you decrease inflammation, increase cellular repair, decrease insulin levels, and can even change gene expression for the better. There are various ways to do intermittent fasting, but the method you choose depends on your body and your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at a few.

Overnight Fasting

Overnight fasting is probably the easiest form, because you’re sleeping for most of it. This type of intermittent fasting gives you 12 hours to eat. For instance, you can eat between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM, but you’ll have to retire that midnight snacking. Of course, you’ll also have to make healthy choices when you do eat. While it requires minimal change, for most people, it’s enough to lose a few pounds.

Time-Restricted Fasting

Time-restricted fasting builds off of overnight fasting, but decreases the time you have to eat. So instead of a 12-hour period, you only allow yourself to eat for 8 or 6 hours a day. To figure out which time period works for you, start with overnight fasting and slowly decrease your eating period by an hour each day. This will also help you adjust to the fasting period more gradually, so you don’t feel suddenly starved for half the day.

24-hour Fasting

As the title suggests, 24-hour fasting means that you fast for one 24-hour period per week. You can still drink herbal tea and water during this time, but you must refrain from normal eating. Of course, you can’t just dive in to this type of fasting. Instead, work your way up by practicing other forms of first. And if you can’t wing it, don’t worry. That’s why there are other options available to you.

5:2 Fasting

5:2 fasting is a good alternative if you can’t go a full day without eating. For 5 days out of the week, you’ll eat normally. But the other 2 days a week, you’ll reduce your caloric intake to 500-600 calories per day.

Drinking green juice or smoothies is a good way to do 5:2 fasting because the leafy vegetables give you a high dose of nutrients. There’s also just enough sugar in green juice to keep your body going. If you’re looking to try 5:2 fasting, your best bet is to fast over the weekend. That way, you have time to experiment with recipes, and you can lie down for a nap if you feel tired. There’s also less stress during the weekend, and you won’t have to worry about tempting workplace donuts. 

Alternate Day Fasting

Alternate day fasting means you eat one day and fast the next day, only drinking calorie-free beverages (like tea, water, and black coffee). There’s a modified version where you consume 500-600 calories on your fasting days. If you want to try alternate day fasting, it’s a good idea to start with the modified version so you don’t feel too deprived.

Consistency is Key!

Remember, the “trick” to any diet isn’t to do it for a few weeks, lose weight, and then go back to how you normally eat. This will only cause you to gain the weight back. Find an intermittent fasting method that works for you and make it a lifestyle change.