Here is a starting guide to incorporating the principles of fasting into your own life, but please seek support from a health professional if you have or are concerned about a health issue:
- Maintain at least 5 hours between meals – and don’t snack in between! And drink only water between meals if possible. For many people, especially those with slower metabolic rates who are more prone to weight gain, eating twice a day, rather than the more commonly accepted three times a day, can be the best way forward
- Maintain an overnight fast of at least 12 hours, 6 days per week. Eating within a certain window of time achieves this almost effortlessly. While it’s particularly easy to achieve for those who choose to skip breakfast and have their first meal at (say) midday, it’s also readily achievable for the breakfasters who are prepared to have their evening meal (say) between 7 pm and 8 pm and their breakfast at 8 am the next morning, drinking only water in between
- Consider an 18-hour-plus fast twice per week – something that’s easily achieved simply by skipping a meal entirely. Different people have different preferences, and introducing exercise at the end of the fasting period can bring additional advantages. For many, say on a non-working day, having an early evening meal between 5 pm and 6 pm and exercising for an hour before eating at midday the next day works well. Alternatively, often better for working days, eating lunch between 12 pm and 1 pm, skipping the evening meal and breakfasting at 7 am the next day, is also easy to work into busy lifestyles
- Another option that works for many is ‘alternate day’ or ‘every other day’ fasting, where you eat a balanced and varied diet comprised of around 500 kcal/day for women and 600 kcal/day for men every second day, while eating normally on the other days
- Also popular is Dr Michael Mosley’s ‘fast diet’, AKA the 5:2 diet: eat normally for 5 days, and eat only one-quarter of your normal calorific intake on the other 2 days of the week.
These changes are in themselves not difficult to achieve, but require you to be committed and adapt your eating around social situations. It’s often a lot easier if all the adults in a given household work together on the same eating (and even exercise) schedules.
When you’re eating less often, it’s critical to be thinking carefully about the quality of the food you’re eating, and considering if any supplementary nutrients or botanicals are required. Find out more atFood4Health.