3 Ways to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting

Dieting and health trends seem to come and go very quickly. Most recently, intermittent fasting is in style. People have a lot of good to say about intermittent fasting, including the possibility it may help with weight loss, 1, boost your metabolism2, and perhaps extend your life3.

Since it's become so popular, there have also been a number of methods and approaches to intermittent fasting. Any method has the potential to be effective, but you need to choose the one that is right for you. The following 3 methods can help to get you started:

1. The 16/8 Method: Fasting 16 Hours Per Day:

  • If you are interested in fasting for up to 16 hours per day, then the 16/8 method may work. Basically, you would fast for 14-16 hours and then have an eating window of up to 10 hours. Within the 8-10 hours of possible eating, you may be able to fit in multiple meals.
  • Some people refer to this method as the Leangains protocol.
  • You might find this to be an easy way of intermittent fasting because you just finish your last meal in the evening and then you don't eat until noon the following day. In other words, you are going about 16 hours without eating.
  • The general recommendation is that women should only fast 14-15 hours as they tend to do better with shorter fasts.
  • If you are hungry in the morning and enjoy breakfast, it may take some time to get used to the protocol.
  • Water, coffee and non-caloric beverages are permitted during the time you are fasting.
  • When you do have an eating window, aim for healthier foods. If you stuff yourself with junk food and eat a lot of calories, it won't be effective.
  • Most people consider this to be the most natural method of intermittent fasting. You might even find that you can do it without working hard on it.
  • This type of Intermittent fasting also works well with a low-carb diet.

2. 5:2 Dieting – Fasting Two Days Per Week

  • If you are interested in eating normally 5 days of the week and restricting your calories to around 600 per day on two days of the week, this diet is for you.
  • Also referred to as the Fast diet, a British journalist and Doctor, Michael Mosley is the one who made it popular.
  • When you fast, shoot for around 500 cal if you are a woman and 600 cal if you are a man.
  • You might find it easy to eat normally every day except Monday and Thursday. Just the two small meals on those days to add up to your caloric intake.
  • Although no studies have shown the effectiveness of the 5:2 diet, plenty of studies do exist on the benefits of intermittent fasting.

3. Eat Stop Eat: 24 Hour Fast Once or Twice Weekly

  • The Eat Stop to Eat fast works for many people. You simply go without eating 24 hours once or twice per week. As an example, you can finish dinner at 6 PM on one day and then don't eat until 6 PM the following day. It's that easy!
  • On the fast days, you can drink water, coffee or non-colored beverages. You just can't eat solid food on those days.
  • For those who are trying to lose weight, you should eat normally when you are eating. Just eat the same food as you would if you weren't fasting.
  • Some people find a full 24-hour fasting to be difficult. You don't need to go all or nothing immediately. Start with a 16 hour fast and move your way up.

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1.  Diet Review: Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: Harvard Health
2.  Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications, 2014 Jan 16 
3.  Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings, October 2014