As we mentioned in the last article, 16:8 isn’t for everyone. That’s why we’ll now explore the other options. Remember, fasting isn’t something our bodies developed around a particular daily clock, so it can come in many forms.
The numbers now refer to days, not hours. 5 days a week you eat as per usual with 2 days in your week (not back to back) only eating 500-800 calories.
It’s an interesting variant, but focuses much more on achieving a calorie restriction for weight loss than many of the other more appealing benefits we discussed in our previous article Intermittent Fasting II – Healthy Reasons To Do It. You can eat a few very small meals throughout your two fasted days, so the benefits stemming from your digestive system completely shutting down are thrown out of the window.
If you keep your low calorie day foods to being fat & fibre based, you can also use it to reap the health benefits of improved insulin sensitivity.
The main issue people have is they don’t plan out their calories and end up either eating miserable foods or over-consuming. If you plan the meals though, it can be an very useful rule to follow and one that celebrities have touted.
Once every 7 days, 24hrs. Its common to do this on Mondays and usually it works an absolute charm. First day of the week, no need to waste 3hrs of the day on making and eating food (you’ll be surprised how many hours it takes if you tally it up). Also a great way to reset the gut after the weekend – especially if it’s included a fair bit of booze.
You feel the brain effects of the fast about 20hrs in, usually this comes on Monday afternoon; which is primetime. The only thing some would say about doing 24hrs this way is that, having tested it, they often don’t see the point in eating dinner on Monday.
If you smash a load of water, go to bed, and eat when you wake up on Tuesday morning, you've killed a 30-36hr fast (depending on what time you stopped eating on Sunday). Sleeping is the best way to get through the tough hours of a fast and this is a prime example.
To ease into it from a 16-18hr fast, start eating dinner the night before earlier and earlier and… hey presto! You’ve taught yourself to go 24hrs without eating. From here on the process of extending any further than that is up to what works for you and your life / tummy.
Instead, every 2 weeks you could be keen on attempting to hit the same calorie deficit by doing 48hrs… or you could build even further to.
Popular amongst those that aren’t obsessively active (or you'll run out of steam) and have a fair bit of extra body fat to burn through. Or, those who are generally bad at sticking to 16:8 fasting.
Presenting, the 72hr fast. Again, we wouldn’t recommend starting with this. Nor should one do it weekly, but it can be an equally effective "reset" every month or two. If you’ve already got a decent diet and have managed 24 and 48 hour fasts well, but are shifting a history of being overweight then you can consider this. Some lifestyles doesn't allow them to try more than 48hrs, but we know a couple of people who have to good effect.
Anecdotally, this is also used for bodybuilders who have fried their systems with long periods of food and drug over-usage. We're not doctors and we are in no position to prescribe such things, but if you’re in that box then do your research and give it a go.
Head over to the next part of Intermittent Fasting to see us over Intermittent Fasting V - Tips & FAQs