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How Long Should I Be Intermittent Fasting

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Its Normal To Be Really Hungry At First

How Long Should You Fast With Intermittent Fasting?

I decided to do my daily fast from about 8 p.m. until noon the next day. This meant all of my eating for the day occurred between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. At first, I woke up starving.

I discovered that eating a high-protein snack around 8 p.m., like egg whites or cheese, prevented the hunger pangs that came the following morning, making it significantly easier to fast until noon.

Fasting Within A Certain Window

When most people mention intermittent fasting, this is usually what they mean.

An eating window can range anywhere from one to eight hours, with the most common eating window is eight hours. This means a typical day would consist of 16 hours of fasting and eight hours of eating. This is often referred to as intermittent fasting 16/8. For example, you might only eat between:

  • 10am and 6pm
  • 11am and 7pm
  • 12pm and 8pm

Outside of those hours, no calories will be consumed. You can drink water and black coffee, but you wont eat any real food or drink any caloric beverages.

Some people will decrease the eating window even further, such as 20/4 or even as low as 23/1, only eating for one hour a day. Starting with the standard intermittent fasting 16/8 is best for most people.

And Some Of The Donts Of Intermittent Fasting:

  • Do not do your exercises in the evenings on fast days. Exercise has been shown in a lot of people to trigger hunger. Meaning you might be tempted to eat when you shouldnt.
  • 2. Do not add a lot of milk to your coffee. Only use half or teaspoon of milk when having tea or coffee. Milk does contain lactose which is sugar. This could derail the plan. Only use a small amount.

    3. Use your fasting period to do stuff. Dont sit idle. Getting busy will stop you thinking about food.

    4. Dont keep changing your feeding window if you are on the plan that allows food at certain times. If your eating window is between 12 Noon and 8pm, try and maintain that consistency every time. Its all about teaching your body to adapt to a new way of eating and fasting.

    5. Do not go to social events where the place will be awash with food on your fast days. The temptation of having so many food choices and so much food around might be too much for you to resist.

    6. On your feed days or eating window as the case may be, you should exercise caution in how much food you consume. Theres no need to stuff your face with so much food in an attempt to compensate for the fast period.

    It is not a feast or famine ethos and you should refrain from seeing it as such. Eat sensibly!

    Above all, be resilient. Its not as hard as it appears. Start small and build up.

    If you like your coffee, you may be also interested in the answer to the question: does coffee break a fast?

    Suggested further reading:

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    A Note On Calories And Nutrition

    When practicing intermittent fasting, its imperative you get enough nutrients the right nutrients, that is during your eating window.

    Be sure to stick to your low-carb, keto meal plan, eating plenty of healthy fats, plus dark, leafy greens and plenty of protein. Simply because you have skipped a meal or gone a full 24 hours without eating, do not use it as an excuse to pack in the sugars, starch, junk food, or other foods low in nutrients.

    Focus on real whole foods so you get the most nutrients outside your fasting window. This allows you the benefits of fasting while still consuming optimal nutrition.

    The key here is to make the benefits of intermittent fasting work for you over the long-term, for your work patterns and lifestyle.

    Why Does My Blood Sugar Go Up During Fasting

    Popular Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting

    While this does not happen with everyone, it can occur due to hormonal changes that occur during intermittent fasting. Your body is producing sugar in order to provide energy for your system. This is a variation of the dawn phenomenon and in general is not a concern as long as blood sugars are not elevated the rest of the day.45

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    Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

    While researchers are still studying intermittent fasting, some research has shown it offers some health benefits. For starters, its common to lose weight when following intermittent fasting. Thats because your body is using fatnot glucoseas its energy source. Additionally, if you make wise food choices when you do eat, youre likely eating fewer calories than before you started intermittent fasting. If you add exercise to the mix, its a great combination for not only weight loss, but also improved health benefits. Intermittent fasting may help people who have cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and some cancers. Intermittent fasting may also help lower your bad cholesterol and improve symptoms of arthritis.

    Be sure to talk with your doctor before you begin intermittent fasting. They will help you decide if its a good fit for you. They will consider your current health, medicines, and health history when making their recommendation. If you have certain chronic health problems such as diabetes or heart disease, you may need to adjust or monitor your eating patterns.

    The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

    Fat loss is great, but it isn’t the only benefit of fasting.

    1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.

    I’m big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress. Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy. When I wake up, I don’t worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.

    I enjoy eating and I don’t mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me. However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal. It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.

    2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.

    Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When youre starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.

    Theres just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?

    I dont know about you, but Im interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesnt sound that appetizing.

    The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction. In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.

    Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.

    Recommended Reading: How To Properly Do Water Fasting

    What Should I Eat Or Drink While Intermittent Fasting

    Obviously, you don’t eat anything or consume any calories during your fasting hoursâsimply put, don’t eat any food or shakes. Water, of course, is perfectly fine. Other than that, opt for zero-calorie, unsweetened beverages. My personal favorites include black coffeeâwith no milk, cream, sugar, butter , or anything else in itâand plain, unsweetened teas like black tea or green tea.

    When it comes to calorie-free drinks with artificial sweeteners , there’s a bit of uncertainty. There’s some evidence to show that some artificial sweeteners cause an insulin response, which would then blunt your ability to burn fat and contradict the point of being in a fasted state, but that’s up for debate in the scientific community.

    To be on the safe side, I recommend not drinking artificially sweetened beverages during a fast. If you’re absolutely dying for something other than water or plain coffee or tea during the last few hours of a fast, opt for a sparkling water that’s very lightly flavored with something like natural lime.

    How Long Should You Fast

    How Long Should I Fast? | Intermittent Fasting for Today’s Aging Woman

    A common question that I get all the time is, If fasting is so wonderful, how long should I be doing it?

    To start with, the first question you want to ask yourself is, what benefit are you trying to achieve with fasting. I have identified that there are 7 different types of fasts, and they all have slightly different benefits to them.

    If you are not familiar with the 7 different types of fast, please reference youtube video: for background on how to do all 7 of these fasts.

    Also Check: Is 119 High For Fasting Blood Sugar

    How You Feel: Less Hungry And More Energetic

    By stage two, ketosis has begun. Ketosis is a critical phase of the fast where your body starts to burn stored fat as its primary power source. As the processes of ketosis are carried out inside your body, you might stop feeling hungry and tired. The practice of putting your body into ketosis has a growing movement behind it. It is ideal for weight loss, balancing blood sugar, and more. Best of all, you dont even have to fast to put your body into ketosis. Eating the right foods at the right time can be enough to start this fat burning process. There are even vegan ketogenic diet plans available so you can still eat health-promoting foods to stay in ketosis.

    What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

    AEN peeps have reported:

    -significant weight loss

    -reduced “puffiness” in the face

    -more regular bowel movements

    -decreased sugar cravings

    -decreased breakouts

    This is confirmed with studies finding that Intermittent Fasting protocols have been found to significantly aid in weight loss and reducing insulin levels .

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    Intermittent Fasting Increases Several Fat Burning Hormones

    Hormones are chemicals that act as messengers. They travel through your body to coordinate complicated functions, such as growth and metabolism.

    They also play an important role in the regulation of your weight. This is because they have a strong influence on your appetite, the number of calories you eat, and how much fat you store or burn .

    Intermittent fasting has been linked to improvements in the balance of some fat burning hormones. This could make it a helpful tool for weight management.

    What Is Intermittent Fasting And Why Would You Do It

    6 Popular Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting

    Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesnt change what you eat, it changes when you eat.

    Why is it worthwhile to change when youre eating?

    Well, most notably, its a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you’ll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.

    With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. We’ll talk about how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss in a moment.

    Perhaps most importantly, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies we have for taking bad weight off while keeping good weight on because it requires very little behavior change. This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of simple enough that you’ll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.

    Read Also: What Do You Eat During Intermittent Fasting

    Get Results In 30 Days

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    By now, youve probably heard about the many benefits of intermittent fasting. Many people swear by intermittent fasting and its many health benefits, including helping them lose weight, manage their blood sugar control, balance insulin levels, and prevent chronic illnesses.

    The practice of intermittent fasting may sound counterintuitive to you. For the longest time, conventional nutrition told you to eat more frequent small meals. The idea was that snacking and more frequent meals would cause your metabolism to work harder and continuously, thereby burning more calories but new studies say otherwise.

    There are many approaches to intermittent fasting, with fasts ranging from several hours to a couple of days. Below, youll learn about the different types of intermittent fasting, how frequently you should fast, and why one of the most common types of fasting known as the intermittent fasting 16/8 method might be right for you.

    Benefits: Personal Goals And Growth

    If you make it this far, the benefit becomes personal. Fasting, especially beyond the first seven days, takes steadfast dedication. What you get out of the fast in these later stages can be a culmination of all the earlier stages or an accomplishment of a personal health goal. For some, it is weight loss, for others, it is a strategy to heal a particular health complication.

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    Safety And Side Effects

    Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.

    You may also feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as youre used to.

    This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.

    If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.

    This is particularly important if you:

    • Have diabetes.
    • Have a history of eating disorders.
    • Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
    • Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
    • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.

    All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if youre healthy and well-nourished overall.


    The most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting with a doctor first.

    Here are answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.

    How Does Intermittent Fasting Work

    When Should I do Intermittent Fasting?

    To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.

    Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.

    After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the postabsorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isnt processing a meal. The postabsorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.

    When you’re in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.

    Because we don’t enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it’s rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.

    Also Check: What Can You Eat Intermittent Fasting

    Are There Any Potential Downsides To Intermittent Fasting

    IF has been shown to improve the quality of life for many people, but there are some downsides to intermittent fasting. There is a risk of developing hypoglycemia, which can result in dizziness, lightheadedness, and confusion.

    Some people may experience stress, anxiety, or irritability when trying IF. Furthermore, suppose you have a history of eating disorders. In that case, it is not recommended that you try intermittent fasting because there are risks involved with certain types of IF that could trigger these behaviors in an individual who has already been struggling with them.

    Great After A Workout

    After a workout, you need to replenish your energy levels. If youre also working towards increasing lean muscle mass, getting some protein quickly after your exercise is essential. Again, smoothies are the perfect solution. You can make them exactly as youd like to maximize your results.

    Did you do cardio or HIIT and need a quick energy boost along with a little more sugar than usual? Add more fruit. Did you do an intense weight training session and need something to repair your muscles? Add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothies and youre good to go.

    Remember that in case you want to have your smoothie immediately after your workout, youll need to exercise just before youd normally break your fast. Otherwise, you either need to postpone the first meal or break the fast earlier.

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    Ending A Longer Fast: A Quiet Gut Revs Up Again

    Longer-term fasts are different. Resuming eating after a longer fast takes more planning and care.

    As we start to incorporate fasting into our routines, our bodies physiologically take a bit of time to adjust to the new regimen, especially if we used to eat constantly. As chronic eaters, our bodies are constantly spending metabolic energy producing digestive enzymes to process the food were consuming. This changes when we first start fasting. The digestive enzymes are not needed or produced.1

    What Happens When We Stay Fed

    Intermittent Fasting States

    First of all, lets tell you that most of us are in the fed state all the time. And while the body is in the fed state, it is working hard to digest, breakdown, and assimilate the nutrients. However, there are not enough calories being burnt at this point. We are often told to eat in small portions frequently, which is putting our bodies under stress due to the never-ending sugar and grain-based carbohydrate push. As a result, our body keeps working hard with little to no outcome. In other words, the body is working hard and doesnt get any time to repair itself, which may bring the healthy metabolism to a halt sooner rather than later.

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