With weight loss becoming trendy, so is intermittent fasting. Its enthusiasts highly believe that with intermittent fasting, losing weight is possible, improved metabolic health, and extended lifespan as well.

Intermittent fasting is a unique eating pattern that involves abstaining partially or wholly from eating for a stipulated time frame, before resuming regular eating. There are different methods of doing intermittent fasting. Factors like calories to be taken and the number of fasting days, are considered when choosing the right way of doing it. Devotees of intermittent fasting claim that following and maintaining this program is easier than other methods like a calorie-controlled diet.This article will explain some of the common and popular ways of fasting intermittently and how you too can succeed with each.

1.      The 16:8 Method

Some people also refer to this method as Leangains diet or Leangains protocol. It was developed by a fitness professional Martin Berkhan. With this method, one has to fast every day exclusively for 16 hours. The remaining 8 hours is an eating window of time for eating. During the eating window, one can fix the desired number of meals such as two, three, or more.

According to Bekhan, in the 16:8 method men should fast for 16 hours whereas women should fast for 14 hours. Proponents of this method say that it is easy and involves abstaining from meals after dinner, then skipping breakfast.You can do this successfully by completing your last meal by 8 p.m. which is followed by fasting until the next day at noon. This will amount to 16 hours of fasting.

The 16:8 hours method may be a challenge to some people who are so used to taking breakfast or those who get hungry in the morning. Those who usually skip breakfast are following the 16:8 intermittent fasting method silently. Within the 16 hours of fasting, a person can drink coffee, water, or any zero-calorie beverage to help curb the feeling of hunger.

2.      The 5:2 Diet

Following the 5:2 diet typically means that one has to focus on and eat healthful foods for 5 days in a raw for a week which is then followed by fasting for 2 days which allows calorie intake of 500-600units. During these two days, men are expected to restrict their calorie consumption to 600 while women should take 500 calories per day.

The 5:2 diet is also known as the Fast Diet and was created by Michael Mosley, a British journalist. If you want to do a 5:2 diet as your method of intermittent fasting, you can eat as usual every day of the week apart from Wednesdays and Saturdays. For these two fasting days, you should divide your meals into two, consisting of 250 calories and 300 calories for women and men respectively.

3.      Eat Stop Eat

This method involves complete abstinence from food for 24 hours which can be done for 1 or 2 days a week. This method was popularized by Brad Pilon, a fitness expert. It is done by fasting dinner to dinner, lunch to lunch, or from breakfast to breakfast all of which amount to a complete 24-hour fast. If you like this method, you can do it by finishing your dinner at 7 p.m. Tuesday, for example. This is followed by intermittent fasting until the next dinner on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

In between, you can drink water, calorie-free drinks, and coffee. You may find doing this method challenging as it can cause headaches, irritability, or fatigue during the 24-hour fasting time. But as your body adjusts to it, the challenges may wear off.To avoid such challenges, you may consider doing the 16:8 or 12-hour fasting method.

4.      12-hours Fasting a Day

This method is as simple as fasting every day for 12 hours and leaving the next 12 hours for an eating window and it is one of the easy and best ways to lose weight.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, fasting intermittently for 10-16 hours forces your body to break down fats for energy, releasing ketones in the bloodstream. If you are a beginner at fasting, this method may work well for you. This is because the 12-hour fasting window is small and fasting takes place when you are asleep.You can do it by including sleep for most hours of fasting. For example, you can fast between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. You should finish your dinner every day before 8 p.m. and fast until 8 a.m. the following day when you can have your breakfast.

5.      Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet is one of the hardest methods of intermittent fasting. It was developed by Ori Hofmekler, a fitness expert. The method involves fasting straight for 20 hours and leaving only 4 hours as an eating window. One will abstain from eating the whole day and eat one large meal during the 4-hour eating window.

In between the 20-hour fasting, a person may eat raw fruits, and vegetables during the day but only in small amounts. Warrior Diet can be done best by those who have successfully tried other methods of fasting like 16:8 and 12-hour methods.Nutrient-dense foods, carbs, lots of proteins, healthful fats, and lots of vegetables should be taken during the 4-hour eating window.Devotees of Warrior Diet highly support it claiming that humans are naturally night eaters. For this reason, many nutrients are gained if one eats at night.

How to Stick To Intermittent Fasting

  • Avoid food obsessions: Stop thinking too much about food as this may increase hunger pangs which may break the fasting program.
  • Keep yourself hydrated: Throughout the day, whether fasting or in the eating window, drink plenty of water.
  • Rest and relax: If you fast intermittently, you should avoid strenuous activities.
  • Increase the taste and flavor of your food. You can spice up your meal with herbs, garlic, and vinegar. They are low in calories.


Intermittent fasting involves abstaining from food for a certain amount of time before the next regular meal. Ways of doing it include the Warrior Diet, the 16:8 method, the 5:2 and 12-hour fasting methods. You can stick to your fasting plan by avoiding obsession with food and keeping yourself hydrated.

Latest posts by Charlotte Cremers (see all)

MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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