When you first start fasting, 14–16 hours is the perfect time frame. Most of us can abstain from eating for that amount of time without too many adverse effects.
If you’re looking to lose weight or reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, intermittent fasting may be for you. Many Americans on average eat 15 hours a day.
This gives the body no chance to rest and burn fat for energy.
When you fast you allow this process to happen. You’ll also find yourself eating fewer calories which leads to more weight loss.
Embrace the marathon mentality once you adopt a fasting protocol
Weight loss should be a steady measured event. This way you’ll have a higher chance of keeping lost weight off. When most people start fasting they adapt the 16:8 way of fasting.
The 16:8 protocol was popularized by fitness guru Martin Berkhan. Essentially you fast for 16 hours and have an 8-hour eating window. Most people simply skip breakfast and have their first meal later in the day.
But fasting for 16 hours especially if you’re just starting out isn’t necessary to get results. In fact, women in particular benefit from fasting for shorter periods of time.
When you fast for 14–16 hours a day you’ll still see:
- A steady progression of weight and body fat loss (provided your diet is good)
- Increased focus and mental clarity ( after an adjustment period)
- Better sensitivity to insulin which helps ward off diabetes
You don’t even have to fast every day
Back when I started fasting I fasted for 5 days a week. I had a demanding job on the weekends and found it easier to stick to fasting if I took two days off.
I still saw great improvement.
You can do the same.
Fast for 12–14 hours 5 days a week.
Fasting typically has a low long-term compliance rate. If you don’t go overboard when you first start you’re more likely to obtain long term weight loss.
Most will fast for a few months to a year only to fall off the wagon and perhaps gain even more weight in the process.
To avoid this start slow.
You can gradually build up to fasting for 16 hours or even 24 hours as time goes on. Your body will get used to going for longer periods of time without food.
One recent study (video abstract included) proved the fact that you don’t have to fast for long periods of time.
In the study:
- 19 participants who had metabolic syndrome and were on statins restricted their eating window from 8 am-6 pm. They fasted for 10 hours per day.
- The study lasted for 12 weeks
- They didn’t change their diets but still ate fewer calories due to the restricted eating window.
- Overall the researchers saw a 3% reduction in weight and a 4% reduction of belly fat in the participants.
This goes to show that small tweaks in your eating patterns can manifest big changes in a relatively short period of time.
I encourage you to look at where you can make small tweaks to improve your health. There’s no reason to start fasting aggressively for 20 hours a day.
Your body is a master clock. If you sync your eating patterns you’ll see great changes like the participants in the study did.
Here’s a Guide That’ll Help You with Hunger Once You Start Fasting
Download the Stop Hunger While Fasting Guide. Implement the 5 tips suggested. You’ll be able to fast however long you like without getting burned out.