As a dietitian, I’ve been helping people lose weight and improve their health for a decade. Intermittent fasting, which involves alternating periods of eating with short periods of fasting, has been on my radar since 2012.
I use a variety of intermittent fasting regimens with my patients, and it has proved to be one of the most effective and easiest tools for successful and sustained weight and health management. I’ve never encountered a more potent or user-friendly way of manipulating weight and short-term health incomes.
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Note: It’s Not A Diet
The thing I love about intermittent fasting most is that it’s not a ‘diet’. I once heard it referred to as a ‘health strategy’, and I think that describes it perfectly. When you’re in fasting mode, it’s only for a short time and it’s over before you know it.
When you’re in eating mode, you’re able to enjoy nourishing food as you normally would – there’s no cutting out food groups (unless you need to for health reasons). As someone who loves food and whose entire career revolves around it, this makes my heart sing!
To many people, fasting sounds a little daunting. Often the first thing I hear when I bring up fasting with a patient is, ‘So I can’t eat anything all day?’ But that’s not the case. In fact, you can eat every day when you’re fasting, no matter which form you choose.
And the benefits beyond weight loss speak for themselves: I’ve observed my patients successfully reduce their total and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, reduce their blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels, report dramatically improved digestion – and even save money (up to $100 a week!).
So What Is The 16:8 Method?
Part-day fasting, otherwise known as time-restricted feeding or 16:8, is generally the most user-friendly and sustainable method of intermittent fasting.
Simply put, you fast for a certain number of hours (i.e. 16) each day, and then follow your normal diet for the balance of the day (eight hours). This approach is very popular because there’s no need to count calories, watch your portion sizes, feel deprived or restricted or miss out on social occasions. Of all the fasting methods, the compliance rate is highest on 16:8. This is the method people are most able to stick to in the long term.
Exactly when you fast and eat on a part-day fasting day is up to you. Choose an eight-hour window that’s best for you to eat in or, perhaps more importantly, choose a 16-hour window of time that works best for you to fast in.
OPTION ONE: Eat breakfast and fast from 3pm
This will be ideal for people who rely on breakfast to kick-start their day, and also for singles who don’t have to eat dinner with a family or partner at set times. This option is also great for people working long hours who typically turn to toast or takeaways for their dinner.
OPTION TWO: Brunch and an early dinner
This option is ideal for those who can skip breakfast but can’t quite get through to lunchtime without eating. It’s also great for people who are able to take a break mid-morning or eat at their desk, as well as parents who like to eat dinner early with their kids.
OPTION THREE: Fast until lunchtime and eat a later dinner
Ideal for chronic breakfast skippers, or those who can easily go to lunchtime without eating. It also suits those who race into work late and grab pastries or other less healthy breakfast options on the way. It’s great for corporate or shift workers who tend to eat dinner late.
Continue reading to find out the benefits of 16:8 and more!