Have you been interested in trying out intermittent fasting, but aren’t sure which plan to follow? With intermittent fasting, there are multiple options as far as how long you fast and how long your eating window is. These are referred to as the protocols. While there are many different protocols, we are going to discuss 3 of the most popular ones.
The 16/8 method
One of the most popular fasting routines is known as the 16/8 method. This is the fasting protocol that is going to give you the largest eating window, which is why so many people start with it. You can decide later if you want to fast for longer than 16 hours, but 8 hours is a really good eating window that allows you to get multiple healthy meals.
Generally, you will fast for 16 hours each day, and keep a schedule that only allows you to eat during an 8 hour window. The only thing here is that studies have shown that women begin to lose some performance after 14 hours and it can have some noticeable effects during fasting periods.
Part of the reason why it’s easier for some people, is because they will usually adjust their schedule so they can simply skip breakfast, and avoid late night snacks before bed. Drinks like tea and black coffee are favorites for this protocol. Or you could go in the opposite direction and eat breakfast and lunch, but skip dinner.
The 20:4 AKA The Warrior Diet
You might notice that when you do the 16 hour fast for a while, you start getting used to it, and may even push the fasting time further and further. Suddenly, you find you are doing 18 or 19 hour fasts without any trouble. This is often when people consider doing The Warrior Diet, also known as 20:4.
With this protocol, you will fast for 20 hours and eat within a 4-hour window. This allows for 2 meals a couple hours apart, or one big meal, with an optional snack to get more nutrients and energy in.
The OMAD Diet
OMAD is an acronym that stands for the One Meal a Day. You will eat just one meal a day, within about an hour, so that you are fasting for 23 hours a day. This is ideal for people who want to burn as much fat as possible by increasing their fasting window. It is also good if you like to eat one large meal a day, and aren’t really interested in worrying about your meals for the rest of the day. For some, this might be too long of a fast, so it is best to talk to your doctor before attempting this.
Remember that you know your body and your daily schedule better than anyone. When choosing an intermittent fasting plan, try to picture how it will fit into your life and schedule, and how it may affect those within your life. Success can be achieved with intermittent fasting if the plan fits into your life without causing a lot of disruption. If a plan is too disruptive to you and those involved in your life, then it will be difficult to follow through.
When you’re getting started, pick an intermittent fasting plan that seems do-able and give it a try for a few days to see how it feels. Once you’ve found a plan that works for you, intermittent fasting can be repeated as frequently as you like — from just once or twice per week to every day, depending on your personal preference.