Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that alternates between periods of fasting & eating.
Unlike a traditional meal plan, intermittent fasting focuses solely on when to eat rather than on what to eat. You can literally eat anything but only during the eating periods.
So, technically, Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where all you need to do is voluntarily fast and eat at a specific time.
There are several ways to do intermittent fasting. You can fast for 24 hours, once/twice a week, you can restrict your calorie intake, or you can fast for certain hours every day.
But the easiest, most popular, beginner-friendly version of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 method.
In this article, You will learn more about the 16:8 intermittent fasting method.
So, What is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Method?
The 16:8 method is one of the most popular versions of intermittent fasting.
In the 16:8 method, you need to fast every day for 16 hours(out of 24 hours) and consume meals only during the 8-hour eating window.
To make the 16-hour fasting period bearable, you can also align it with your sleep routine so that you spend most of the fasting period asleep.
Moreover, You can eat whatever you like during the eating period and are allowed to consume non-calorie beverages, water, tea, coffee, even during the fasting period.
Unlike other intermittent fasting methods like the warrior diet, where you can consume only one big meal/day or Spontaneous meal skipping, where you randomly skip meals, the 16:8 method is much easier to stick to.
Since you can eat anything anytime during the 8-hour eating window, and are spending a large portion of your fasting period asleep.
How to do 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?
Here’s a step by step guide to do 16:8 intermittent fasting the right way:
Step 1. Decide your 16-hour fasting & 8-hour eating period
The first step is to decide your fasting period. Since it’s 16 hours long, you should select your fasting hours such that they are aligned with your nap time.
This way, you will spend most of your fasting period asleep, which will inevitably make your weight loss journey easier.
Tip: In the 16:8 method, women do better with 14-15 hours of fasting. For men, a daily fast of 16 hours produces the best result.
Here are some fasting periods:
- 8:00 pm – 12:00 noon (Eating window: 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm)
- 9:00 pm – 1:00 pm (Eating window: 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm)
- 6:00 pm – 10:00 am (Eating window: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm)
For an average person, the fasting period – 8:00 pm to 12:00 noon is the best option. Since it’s as simple as having your last meal before 8:00 pm and skipping breakfast the next morning.
Step 2. Select meals for the non-fasting period
In the 8-hour eating window, You can literally eat anything you want. Since there is no restriction on what you can eat. Plus, there is no calorie restriction.
However, you should still limit your daily intake of junk food and processed food. As even in small amounts, junk food can affect your health in adverse ways.
For better results, stick to healthy, light meals only during the non-fasting period.
If you are still not sure what to eat on intermittent fasting, You can use the 7-day intermittent fasting meal plan mentioned below.
Best Option for fasting and eating period: For fasting period 8:00 pm to 12:00 noon. For the eating period, 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm.
7-Day (16:8) Intermittent Fasting Plan
- Wake-up: 7:00 am
- 7:30 am: Lemon water/Green tea
- 9:00 am: Skip your breakfast
- 12:00 pm: Meal 1
- 3:00 pm: Meal 2
- 6:00 pm: Meal 3
- 7:30 pm: Snack
- 8:00 pm: Start fasting (up to 16 hours)
7-Day (16:8) Intermittent fasting Meal Plan
There is no specific instruction on what you can eat on intermittent fasting.
You can eat anything you want. However, if you start consuming everything you can get your hands on, chances are you will gain weight even after fasting for 16 hours daily.
To prevent overeating during the 8-hour eating window, here are 3 simple tips you should keep in mind:
- Always consume a well-balanced diet.
- Avoid consuming sugary drinks or junk food with an excessive amount of calories.
- No more than 3 meals + snacks during the eating period.
Here’s a 7-day meal plan you can try:
Intermittent Fasting Breakfast Ideas
- Hemp Granola | Eating Bird Food
- Turkey Tacos | Everyday Food
- Blueberry Baked Oatmeal | MOMables – Laura Fuentes
- Healthy Breakfast Burritos | Foodie Fuel
- Fluffy Keto Cinnamon Rolls | KetoFocus
- Egg Muffins | Downshiftology
- No-Bake Matcha Energy Bites | Clean & Delicious
Intermittent Fasting Lunch Ideas
- Lemon Garlic Salmon | The Mediterranean Dish
- Honey Garlic Shrimp | Food Wishes
- Cobb Salad | Natashas Kitchen
- Mediterranean Chicken Salad | Kravings
- Vegan Lentil Burgers | Off Grid Vegan Chef
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito | Blackstone Griddle
- Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach curry | Lissa Elle (Youtube)
Intermittent Fasting Dinner Ideas
- Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese | Kitchen Sanctuary
- Sheet Pan Steak | The Stay At Home Chef
- Chicken with Mixed Vegetables | Laura in the Kitchen
- Chicken Lettuce wrap | Ashees cookbook
- Salmon and Veggies Sheet Pan | Kevin Lee Jacobs Delicious Living
- One-Pot Meal Lemon Chicken with Vegetables | Jessica Gavin
- Garlic Chili Fried Rice | Yeung Man Cooking
Foods for Fasting Period
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:
- Weight loss
- Improves brain functions
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces inflammation
- Boosts metabolism
- Improves heart health
Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting:
- Increases appetite (Temporary)
- Anecdotal reports suggest that intermittent fasting can result in hormonal imbalances in women
- Decrease in insulin sensitivity (only in women)
- Women are least likely to benefit from intermittent fasting. Moreover, most health experts don’t recommend intermittent fasting for women
Keto vs Intermittent Fasting
1. Intermittent fasting produces slow results, whereas keto produces fast results.
I followed the 16:8 method for a week purely for the sake of this article. And I have utilized keto multiple times. Here are my results after following both the diets for 7 days:
Weight loss after 7 days:
2. Keto is very restrictive compared to intermittent fasting
In intermittent fasting, you can eat anything you want. Plus, There is no restriction on calorie intake. However, keto is a very restrictive diet.
Moreover, to gain any potential benefits from keto, you have to enter ketosis & it’s hard to get into ketosis.
3. Best diet would be the one that suits you
Choose the diet that complements your life perfectly without being a hindrance.
For instance, if you don’t have time every day to prepare meals, then stick to intermittent fasting, as you will only make mistakes while following keto.
But if the results are all you care about, then you should give a shot to the keto diet.
(If you wish to follow the keto diet, I would recommend you to consult a nutritionist or If you are like me, and consider visiting a nutritionist an unnecessary hassle, then you can get a custom keto diet plan from here.
This diet plan will be tailored to your weight loss goals. Moreover, it will help you in avoiding nutrient deficiencies, maintaining ketosis & in preparing healthy meals.)
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