16:8 Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular methods for weight management
What is intermittent fasting and how can it help you lose weight?
The idea of intermittent fasting. Have you ever wondered what it is? Perhaps you can piece together some clues about it, but never really ventured into knowing more. Have you also wondered if intermittent fasting could work for you? This article shows you how intermittent fasting, particularly the 16:8 intermittent fasting method, can work for you.
So, wonder no more because you’ve come to the right place and this is the article for you! Ready to dive in?
Whether you have no idea what intermittent fasting is or you’ve picked up certain bits and pieces of this technique along the way, let’s break it down and tap into what’s in it for you because if a method or idea does not work for you, then what’s the point, really?
There are many dieting methods and in recent times, many more have surfaced. The key to using any method is the ability to generate desired outcomes. One of the main reasons people may fail to achieve their dieting goals is simply because the dieting technique did not work for them. So, think about it … if a dieting technique will likely not work for you, why embark on that path in the first place?
Hence, let’s consider the case of the 16:8 intermittent fasting method and let’s also determine why it could be a beneficial path to embark on.
The basics of 16:8 intermittent fasting
This article lays out information about the 16:8 intermittent fasting method as follows:
- What is the 16:8 method?
- How is 16:8 method different?
- How to make the 16:8 method work for you!
- Some frequently asked questions regarding the 16:8 method
All the things you wanted to know, right? Great! Let’s get started!
What is the 16:8 intermittent fasting method?
Yes, immediately you see the 16 and the 8 numbers, you probably think there may be some math involved. Well, not really or thankfully not much math. However, you would need to remember these numbers as you plan your day if you use the 16:8 method. What is fasting? Fasting is the absence of food or calorie intake and intermittent fasting is a technique through which the absence of food or calorie intake occurs intermittently or within specified intervals.
Intermittent fasting is popularly used as a way of losing weight and it’s quite different from a full day fast in which you are not consuming food or calories for the entire day.
So, what are your goals regarding your weight? Do you want to lose some pounds or do you want to watch or manage your calorie intake? Have you been stuck doing diets that have failed? Are you ready for a change? If you are ready for a change, using an eating pattern such as intermittent fasting could help.
Okay, where do the 16 and 8 fit in? The 16:8 intermittent fasting method is intermittent fasting that is defined within specific and consecutive 16-hour and 8-hour timeframes or windows of non-caloric and caloric intake. Again, let’s break this down some more because the goal is to see how this can work for you! The method involves not consuming food or main calories for 16 consecutive hours and then, for the immediate 8 hours afterward, you can consume food or main calories.
Let’s use an example. If you use the 16:8 method, you will consume food for 8 hours of your day. For instance, let’s say you wake up at 6:00 AM, you do not have your first meal of the day or significant intake of calories until 10 AM. You can then eat for the next 8 hours – from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Beyond 6:00 PM, no more eating for 16 hours. Yes, no more eating significant calories.
But wait! You could consume something though, even after your eating window closes. We’ll discuss this shortly.
How is 16:8 fasting different?
Indeed, we can agree that there are so many diets out there, but what makes 16:8 different in a way that it can work for you. Firstly, it’s more of a method which defines cycles between eating and fasting, rather than placing specific emphasis on what you should eat. It’s more like a lifestyle and a model specifying when to eat and when not to.
Does this mean that you can eat an entire grocery store? Well, as you guessed it … the answer to this question is no!
The 16:8 technique is different from other fasting methods such as partial week fasting when a person eats normally for a certain number of days of the week e.g. five days and then eats a very low-calorie diet for the remaining two days of the week. Yes, not eating food for an entire day may seem a drastic change for some people. On the contrary, the 16:8 method allows you to eat food every day!
The 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol specifies a daily fasting routine which can be an easier routine for a person to adapt to, while the other fasting technique is a non-daily fasting routine and thus perhaps a bit more difficult to sustain. This is critical! Diets and eating plans are about finding what works and how to keep it going without much hassle or stress.
How To Make The 16:8 Fasting Method Work For You!
Making the 16:8 diet work for you has a lot to do with knowledge regarding differences in fasting techniques. Indeed, the partial week fasting method could work for some people and numerous people will sing the praises of partial week fasting. Some people may have had success fasting one or two days a week.
However, constraints encountered by people who use the partial week fasting technique include the ability to switch from majorly full days eating during the week to a sudden decline in calorie content for one or two other days during the rest of the week.
Wow! Is it achievable? Well, yeah. Is it sustainable? This is the question you need to consider.
People can find one or two days of full-day low-calorie eating a hard thing to accomplish over and over again! What happens when things get hard? Yes, indeed! People are likely to quit!! Hence, why not make it less likely to quit and more likely that you’ll achieve your dieting goals?
Also, with the one or two full days of no eating, people are more likely to binge or overeat during the full-day eating period to compensate for the approaching no-food days and this could lead to a fast-moving a downward spiral, in terms of accomplishing your desired weight management or weight loss objectives. In essence, by bingeing on food during the full-calorie eating days, a person could potentially gain more weight such that the one or two days of no eating could have little or no impact on the dieting goals. So, less may be accomplished overall! Not a good way to proceed when the person’s eating style may adapt negatively to compensate for full fasting days.
So, how do you make the 16:8 intermittent fasting method work for you? Here are 18 great ways to achieve this!
See it as a daily routine. You do it every day, soon it becomes a no-brainer and just part of your daily routine, as it should be. How do you create a habit? Practice and constantly do that activity! So, the top reason why this can be a great weight management or weight loss method for you is that it presents a daily fasting technique. You do this every day! Hence, each day is the same routine and the body may more easily adjust to the routine because it occurs repeatedly daily.
Think sustainability! Yes, think about the 16:8 method as a sustainable way to consume calories without feeling certain twitches and pangs in your belly during the day. The 16:8 intermittent fasting method has also become well-known and has been used for quite a long time. This does say something about how long-lasting the method could be, even for bodybuilders. While not every person is aiming to become a bodybuilder or trying to adopt bodybuilder techniques, the knowledge provided regarding the 16:8 method and using the method could provide a sustainable or long-term way of consuming calories. The 16:8 method focuses on managing calorie consumption without some of the typically associated constraints other dieting techniques may present. Neat, right?
A manageable technique. Daily intermittent 16:8 diet fasting can work for you by making the process of calorie consumption manageable. There are times during each day that you do not eat or consume calories. It’s as simple as that. No complicated math or jargon involved. This works for you because the simplicity of 16:8 is a more manageable approach.
You are in control. You can determine how to segment your daily 24 hours into 16 hours and 8 hours in such a manner that you ensure you are not consuming food or beyond low (main) calories for 16 continuous hours of the day and then starting up this consumption again for the subsequent 8 hours.
Less likelihood of bingeing. When you eat normal meals or binge during certain days of the week, switching to eating nothing for full days of the week is not easy and can lead to bingeing. It can also be quite unsatisfying and unsustainable.
The potentially easier transition between fasting and non-fasting cycles. It’s like going from feasting situating to bare minimums without the ability to reasonably transition into the sudden change. Again, this can be difficult, so why do this to yourself? With the 16:8 method, your body is not left without acceptable sustenance for too long.
Tap into loss of body fat: The timeframe for your 16 hours of not eating spans from the last meal you had to16 hours post-meal. Adhering to thee hour-based intervals and maintaining the distinct 16-hour and 8-hour segments help the method work best for you. Besides, getting plenty of sleep encourages and promotes an individual’s overall health and also supports the loss of body fat during the intermittent fasting period!
Use low-calorie beverages. So, we hinted at this earlier on when we stated that you can consume something even during your non-eating 16-hour window. Although the emphasis of the 16:8 intermittent fasting method focuses on when you eat, what you eat should also not be ignored. For example, let’s say you stopped eating food or consuming calories at 6:00 PM last night and you get up at 7:00 AM. You can have low-calorie beverages such as a cup of coffee, tea or drink water at this time but don’t eat breakfast yet! You’d need to wait until a total of 16 hours have passed before having breakfast. However, you still have the awesome ability to carry on normally consuming low-calorie beverages during the day! Awesome, right. Yes, this works for you too!!
Minimize less healthy foods. With the use of low-calorie beverages, you can, in turn, put the brakes on less healthy foods and drinks during the day. Many people need to have some sort of calorie intake during the day but the trick is how to do so intelligently without feeling an intense need to eat a meal or binge on a stack of high-calorie food nearby.
Physiology, biology, and metabolism. We have probably tried one diet after another including eating foods that are high in carbs or variants of diets that are low fat, moderate fat, high fat, low protein, high protein, vegan, and loads of other dietary programs out there. Interestingly, the reason these types of diets may not have worked for you may not be due to lack of will-power but could be attributed to biology and a person’s physiology. Sometimes, the body just does not want to lose anybody fat, even if this is a healthy path or you.
Instead, the body typically seeks to maintain the status quo. So, how do you battle against physiology, metabolism and all the related revolutionary traits? What about hormones and triggers that are in place to prevent a person from extreme dieting that could lead to death. Yes, your body may decide it needs to step in and prevents you from losing any more fat if it feels you’ve already lost enough fat or weight. The 16:8 method works with your physiology, as you create a lifestyle you can adhere to, by easing the body into the fasting routine.
Willpower in the morning, anyone? Are you one of those people who feel energized in the morning, like you can take on the world? Well, willpower can be like that too in terms of energy and potentially being at its highest peak early in the morning. Even if you’re not an early riser, this can work in your favor too by helping you move towards your 8-hour eating effortlessly. So, by default, the morning hours of refraining from eating can work in your favor too! Thus, by using the 16:8 method you can tap into the peak of your willpower, which tends to shine in the morning hours before it morphs into a diminishing vibe during the remaining hours of the day.
If you’ve been a person who already skips breakfast or has eaten healthily in the mornings for a while and then seen the rest of the day progress in a downward spiral with bad eating habits and the consumption of unnecessary calories, just know that this has happened to many people. You’re not alone! In reality, it can be quite a frequent occurrence. Instead, switch out your typical breakfast with a low-calorie beverage. Later in the day, when your willpower may have diminished, you’ll be in your eating window, within which you can eat full-size meals.
Use a bridging snack. A bridging snack is simply a small food item used to transition between the 16-hour fasting timeframe and the subsequent 8 hours within which you can eat. A piece of fruit or something similar in size or quantity can be an adequate bridging snack. How does this help? Well, it eases you into your eating phase without pushing a lot of food into your body at once. Your bridging snack could propel you further into your eating window until you decide to eat a moderately sized meal. This could occur at about 2:00 PM, for example.
Use different meal sizes. With the 16:8 method, you could decide to have small meals or moderately sized meals. It’s your choice. Again, think about the control you have with 16:8! Some people alternate between small meals and larger-sized meals. Feel free to flip these meals around as you choose, to suit your lifestyle or any training and physical obligations you need to adhere to.
Monitor your hunger level. As you use the 16:8 method, monitor and manage your hunger level. For example, if you have a meal at 3:00 PM to alleviate any hunger you may be feeling, you may begin to feel hungry or need a snack later in the day – perhaps at 5:00 PM. At this time, you can use your low-calorie or bridging snack options to take the edge off any hunger twitches you may feel. There are lots of options to help combat feelings of hunger such as tea, coffee, a banana, an apple, etc. These items simply help bridge the gap until it’s time for your next main meal, which could be before 6:00 PM. Also, by monitoring your hunger level, you can opt to split your last main meal of the day into two evening meals and then skip the low-calorie beverages or the bridging snack.
Ability to tweak your starting hours. Yes, you can! Still within the realm of control you have, while using the 16:8 method, if the eating window ends by 6:00 PM, for an example, and you notice that you have the potential to continue eating or perhaps even binge on cookies or biscuits at about 8:30 PM, you may need to adjust the start and stop time of your 16:8 hour structure. This would then allow you to plan your meals such as your evening meal at a time that works best for you. You can choose a timeframe within which you ensure that your meal targets a time that would alleviate any urge you may have to binge or snack on large amounts of unhealthy food.
Take advantage of sleep time! You’ve most likely already figured this out by now. Since you’ve determined what hours to eat and not eat, why not optimize usage of your sleeping hours too. This means your seep time is part of your non-eating hours. Another point to note regarding bedtime and figuring out your hours is the benefit of stopping the eating window a couple of hours before you go to bed. This helps in providing your digestive system with some time to wind down for the day, rather than taking a full belly to bed.
A variant hour strategy. If you begin living the 16:8 lifestyle and for some reason, it’s not quite working for you, you could vary the hour segments. What does this mean? Let’s look at an example!
For example, if the 16-hour fasting window seems too long to maintain or adhere to, you could restructure the hours, perhaps for a while, and see if this helps you stick to the specified eating and non-eating windows. This strategy could be easier for first-time users of the 16:8 method, especially if your typical day consists of eating very large high-calorie meals. Remember, if you suddenly shift into a new eating lifestyle, the body may need some time to adjust or understand what’s happening. So, an adjustment to your hours could pay off in the long run.
So, by compressing the time, you can have that piece of bridging snack
fruit a bit earlier. Assume that you adjust the 16:8 method to a 14:10 variant instead. You have a larger window within which you can consume foods – in this case, 10 hours! This could reduce some of the stress you may have felt trying to adapt to a 16:8 window. With the longer eating window, though, you may need to have a meal that is more substantial quite earlier in the day to help you move through the 10 hours without overheating.
If you also use more calories than you take in, you will most likely lose weight. You also want to optimize the hour structure you use and not decrease your lean mass while maintaining the right percentages of calories, especially if you are active and require sufficient energy levels to complete your day.
Do & repeat. You can do this! After you have set up your hours and determined the hours that work suitably for you, all you need to do is maintain the schedule, only eat during your eating window and then repeat! Indeed, it is as simple as that.
Some frequently asked questions regarding the 16:8 method
Can you drink green tea or use milk in your coffee while within the fasting window?
Yes, you can drink green tea and use a bit of milk, within reason. Typically, a theoretical fast occurs without any calories, especially from cultural, spiritual or religious points of view. However, the 16:8 method focuses on the body’s composition and from the perspective of fat loss. Another thing to be aware of is the potential tendency to attach too much analysis to even the most minute detail. Sometimes these details, especially when the detail itself is in moderation, would have little or no impact effect on your overall goals.
Hence, a little milk in your tea could be worth it especially if it improves the taste of the tea. You most likely would not use milk in your green tea, but your black tea could need some milk. Again, moderation is essential! So, do not go ahead and have numerous cups of tea or coffee with milk during your non-eating window. The goal is to focus on the balance in energy levels and how you can primarily use intermittent fasting to maintain this energy balance.
Can I eat larger meals and do I need to change my lifestyle?
By restricting your calorie intake into a smaller window of consumption, you have the opportunity to eat larger meals, feel satisfied when eating these meals, continue to live your lifestyle, fulfill your social obligations or just carry on doing the things you already love doing. You can make the 16:8 method work for you so that you plan to have a regular meal with your family in the evenings or plan a night out on Fridays.
So, yes! You can have a good meal! You could decide to have a salad with a bit of meat. You could also decide to have dessert. Yes! Dessert too!! All these foods are possible with the 16:8 lifestyle and it can fit in with the different activities you already do during the day.
What if I have really important goals related to body composition?
You may be dedicated to certain body composition goals or perhaps you’re preparing for a certain competition or event such as a marathon or race or building some muscle. Well, you can certainly make adjustments that enable you to monitor the calories you consume for a specified length of time and then return to the 16:8 method when adequate to do so.
However, if you are just aiming to watch or reduce your body weight, or you got quite a bit of body weight to lose, trying the 16:8 method can be a way forward where you focus on eating good meals and work towards your goals. The key is to pace yourself through the process and set goals that are feasible and give you enough time to achieve the goals. Remember, Rome was not built in a day! Hence, going from being overweight to getting to losing weight and gaining six-pack abs in a short time frame is most likely not practical. So, focus on and set the right goals for your weight loss or weight management journey.
Why do people fail at dieting?
Sometimes, failure at certain methods fails because we did not set the right goals and expected to achieve certain things within an impractical date. This may make us want to give or think about why we even bother with the endeavor in the first place. Unfortunately, being in a place of despair after unfulfilled goals could create a worse situation including binging on unhealthy foods and potentially gaining more weight. No, binging on a bucket of cookies will not make you feel any better! Nothing good can come from that too.
Instead, you need to find an eating plan that is sustainable and is not extremely restrictive. Think in terms of a plan that can help you lose weight while you remain comfortable with your lifestyle. Hence, no drastic changes! You need a method that allows you to periodically indulge in traits that you want to occasionally enjoy. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed! You need an eating plan that enables you to eat full-sized meals, curbs hunger pangs and also allows you to see how your body changes over time regarding the plan. Achieve this and you are on a great path!
If your body is not responding to the eating plan, it’s time for a review or assessment to identify what the issue is. Watch and see how your body behaves. Sometimes, the body adds a pound or so due to the large meal eaten the previous night which could be causing some fluid retention. So, stepping on the scale and the number you see from that scale may not tell the whole story. Just remember, it’s a process and making the right choices during this process helps provide you with the best results. Sometimes, during the process, we simply need to take a step back and breathe. This gives us time to evaluate and not end up like many of the people who begin a diet and end up gaining more weight than they had started with. A lot of research has been done in the area of dieting and there is some consensus regarding the increased tendency for diets to fail if the diet is quite restrictive, especially diets that are very low in calories. In such cases, even willpower has its limits.
What about eating highly processed foods while on the 16:8 lifestyle?
With the 16:8 method, you can have treats or desserts. Such foods certainly can be rewarding. Just imagine eating a piece of cake. Quite satisfying initially, right? The issue with these types of foods is the tendency to not be able to stop off just one piece of cake or one serving of dessert. These foods are designed to make you want more of them. So, watch out!
If you can eat small quantities without taking your 16:8 lifestyle out of shape, it may be a good strategy to include very little of these types of food. After all, you want to make sure you enjoy your life which can include some of these foods as long as you are fully aware of the compelling pull towards binging that some of these foods have. So, what can you do? Well, know your triggers and watch your tendencies. If you do this diligently, you can plan quite successfully against sudden triggers that you may have placed right at arm’s reach!
So, perhaps it’s best not to eat these foods if it takes you down the wrong path. You have control and can decide to try a bit of these types of processed foods or treats and see if the outcomes are something you feel good about.
It’s all about what works for you and sticking to a sustainable health plan.
Some people prefer to cut that type of food entirely from the diet and this provides a mental state of mind that prepares them to be successful while using the 16:8 method. For some other people, moderation works well for them.
Intermittent Fasting – Summary
Well, are you ready to proceed with the 18:6 intermittent fasting method? First things first, though. See if you can determine what hours work for you. You could also simply try diving right in with the 16-hour and 8-hour split and if it’s too hard, make adjustments and see how your body adapts. Find a plan that you can stick to. If it’s comfortable for you and you don’t stress out all day trying to adhere to it, then you’re more likely to be successful. You can make the 16:8 method work for you!
Also, monitor your progress as you proceed with the method. Start with Day 1 and assess how the day went. Successful? Okay! You can proceed with Day 2 and see how you progress. If Day 1 did not go as you planned, you may need to tweak the plan. Remember you are in control. We’re all human and the 16:8 method is not a magic pill that cures all dietary issues. However, this method has worked effectively for many people. You can make the 16:8 method work for you too!