What is Intermittent Fasting?

By Diana Sanchez, Staff Writer

Photo by Chad Montano on Unsplash

Intermittent Fasting has been a game-changer for countless dieters. I’ve found much success with it myself because I found it easy to incorporate it as a lifestyle change, without having to give up the foods I love. In fact, if you’re one of those people (like me) who struggles to give up certain foods, this may be the diet for you. Intrigued? Read on.

What is intermittent fasting anyway?

Intermittent fasting is based on the concept that our ancestors didn’t have constant, or even consistent, access to food. Therefore, our bodies function quite well, and in some cases even better, when we let our digestive systems rest, and give our bodies an opportunity to burn our fat reserves from time to time. After all, those reserves are there for a rainy day when we might need to draw on them, right? But if we’re constantly eating, those fat reserves never have their moment. The premise is that being able to eat frequently is a rather new development our bodies are only just recently experiencing - so that whole concept of grazing we grew up hearing about? It actually may not be the key to weight loss or weight management. Makes sense, right?

Intermittent fasting is perfect for me because I’m never hungry in the mornings. When I force myself to eat and I’m not hungry, I find myself eating all day long, which is definitely not conducive to my being able to regulate my weight. For years, I felt badly about not eating breakfast because “it’s the most important meal of the day.” I grew up being pummeled with that information and I couldn’t figure out why eating breakfast was so challenging for me if that’s what was truly best for my body. It took me years to accept that that just wasn't true for me. 

The truth is, while intermittent fasting is a great diet for me, this may not necessarily be true for you, because everyone is different and that’s okay. That’s why I am writing blogs featuring different diets because I know that we are not all the same. We all have different bodies, different environments, different lives, and therefore there is not a one size fits all solution.  But if you’re curious about intermittent fasting and want to find out if it might be right for you, please read on. 

Different Types of Intermittent Fasting 

There are many different intermittent fasting schedules:

1. 16/18 method

The 16/8 method is perhaps the most commonly used intermittent fasting method. It’s surprisingly easy to incorporate. A friend of mine who has been looking very fit and lean recently let me know that she’d been using the 16/8 method for the last year or so. She’d been hesitant to try out fasting because she thought it sounded so extreme and expressed surprise at how easy it was to do. She remarked that it wasn’t all that different from her normal eating schedule. The fact is, we all fast every single day. The period of time between your last meal on one day and your first meal the following day is fasting. The 16/8 method simply requires you to wait a little longer before your first meal every day. 

As you might have imagined, with this method, you fast for 16 hours, and have an eating window that is 8 hours long. For example, if you finish eating your dinner at 7 pm on a Tuesday night, you wouldn’t eat again until 11 am Wednesday morning, repeating the same cycle every day.

2. 5:2 method

The 5:2 diet is favored by some dieters because with this diet, they only have to restrict themselves 2 days out of the week, while eating normally the other 5 days. On the two fasting days, you eat no more than 500 calories for the entire day if you are a woman (600 for men). I’ve never tried this form of intermittent fasting, but I can certainly see the appeal of only feeling like you’re dieting a couple of days a week!

3. OMAD method

The OMAD method is my go-to. It’s so easy to work just one meal time into my day, especially because I am so busy with work that I often forget to eat throughout the day. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. OMAD stands for One Meal A Day, meaning that typically you would fast for 23 hours a day, and then eat, well, anything you want for one. When I used OMAD for weight loss, I found it especially helpful because you can only eat so many calories in one hour, and the weight just fell off for me, seemingly with very little effort, and without my having to sacrifice any of my favorite foods. Of course, I’ve always combined all diets with exercise when trying to lose weight, which really makes a huge difference. The OMAD method has also been very effective for me because I like the feeling of feeling full after I eat. Many other dieters who use the OMAD method agree to this, too. 

4. Alternate Day Fasting

Alternate day fasting requires you to eat normally every other day, and on fasting days you can choose to either do a 24-hour water fast, or you can eat 500 calories or less for the entire day. It’s pretty clear why people lose weight with this method, although some might find it too restrictive to fast that often throughout the week. 

Final Thoughts

If you choose to do intermittent fasting, combining it with other diets can also prove to be greatly effective. In fact, Ruby Malmen, Chief Ambassador of Lifestyle Curves, used a modified keto diet with intermittent fasting, along with her waist training regimen, and exercise to lose over 50 pounds! How incredible is that?

What do you think about intermittent fasting? Have you tried it? If you do give it a try, please share your thoughts! Don’t forget to share and tag @lifestylecurves on Instagram, too! 

If you’d like to work on your mindset to help you stick to this diet, check out our blog!

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