Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: 6 ways to do IF for effective weight management

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss has been accepted by many health professionals now as an effective method. The simple ideology of effective and planned fasting has been used successfully by lakhs of people around the globe. What’s more, Intermittent Fasting is not a novel concept for Indians.

Ancient India followed rigorous modes of fasting. There were fasting for a day or two in a week, special fasting for full moon, fasting weeks and so on. The Indian diet, in fact, was intricately designed to accommodate a simpler form of Intermittent Fasting.

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Experts now believe that it works. There are tonnes of plans that are designed in a manner that actually follow the 16:8 plan of eating and fasting or something similar. So if you are planning to start on your weight loss journey by using Intermittent Fasting, this is just where you need to start.

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: What is it

Before we tell you the various ways to do it, here is a quick look at what is Intermittent Fasting is. In the simplest words, Intermittent Fasting or IF can be defined as cycles of eating and fasting. There is period when you eat and then there is the fasting period where you simply abstain from eating.

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The basic ideology behind intermittent fasting is giving the body to effectively digest the food that is eaten. Also, longer periods of fasting, in theory, pushes the body into nature ketosis state, where it prompts the breakdown of fat.

Getting started with Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: 6 ways to do IF

16:8 Method – 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating

This is one of the most effective and widely used methods of IF. This involves 16 hours of fasting and a smaller 8 hour of window for meals and eating. While this is the basic, many usually start with simpler version of 12:12 where you fast for 12 and eat for 12. This is then gradually increased to 14 hours of fasting and 10 hours of eating till you are able to extend it to 16:8 ratio.

The ideal way to go about it is to consume about 8 hours of fasting for sleeping. Experts however point out that what people do wrong when they start on IF is to push the breakfast to a later time. Instead, the idea to successful IF should be an early dinner. So, say you start your day or breakfast at 8 am, and usually have your dinner by 8 pm, you can have a window of 12:12 easily. When starting, try to ensure that you fit in your meals between 8 am and 8 pm and gradually progress towards earlier dinners by say 6 pm. This can then be pinched back further.

Fluids like water, unsweetened coffee, tea or herbal tea are allowed during fasting hours.

20:4 Fasting or 20 hours fasting and 4 hours eating window

Also called the Warrior Diet, 20:4 is rather aggressive form of IF. It was made Ori Hofmekler, a fitness expert. The diet, simply puts, involves one large meal during the 4 hour window and a small snack. The 20 hour fasting, in this plan, allows small amounts of raw vegetables and food. Usually a Paleo Diet is recommended for this mode of IF which is high in whole foods and has no processed foods.

36-Hour Fasting

This is not for the faint hearted. 36 hour fasting is going without anything to eat for a day and then some hours. This includes eating alternatively and there is no definite eating window. Experts, however, recommend allowing you to eat before you sleep for that day and then fasting again for 36 hours. 36 hour fasts, however, are seldom done in continuation.

5:2 plan

Instead of counting hours, this plan focusses on days of low calorie intake and then days of normal eating. The method advocates normal eating 5 days a week and then 2 days when you limit your calorie intake to 600 – 800 calories. This could be akin to you fasting for Mondays and Fridays as per the normal beliefs. You can, like the usual age old methods suggested, eat fruits on the day of fasting.

The Eat-Stop-Eat Plan

This is similar to the earlier plan where in the person chooses 24 hours of fasting – that is one fulld ay of fasting. This could be 2 days a week, or even three days a week. This is usually used in detox therapies and helps the body get the much deserved rest. However, its not that easy and often not recommended for all.

Alternate Day Fasting

Like the name suggests, this is also a 24 hour fasting but alternate day. A day of fasting followed by a day of normal eating and then fasting again. This permits the allowed fluids.

What one must remember, however, is that IF must be done with proper supervision. Like any other diet, it is important on how and what you eat, when you do. Intermittent Fasting does not mean that you are allowed to eat anything or everything during the eating window. What it does aim, like any other diet, is managing the calorie intake as well. Hence, before you take up Intermittent fasting for weight loss goals or management. Then ensure that you are doing it under the guidance of a fitness expert or nutritionist.


Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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