16/8 intermittent fasting

You may not have heard of 16/8 intermittent fasting but you’ve probably heard a lot about the 5/2 diet. Popularised by Michael Mosley who followed the diet for a Horizon documentary. Intermittent fasting is a compelling idea, fast for only two days a week, then eat what you like on the other days and still lose or maintain a healthy weight.

As a Mum of three who is around a stone heavier than I’d like to be the idea appealed to me. So I tried it, around a year ago, and wrote this post, and this post. 

In the end I realised that 5/2 wasn’t going to be a manageable lifestyle change. Since I tend to struggle with digestive issues and can be grumpy and emotional if I’m hungry. So I gave it up and wrote this post.

I decided that the reported benefits of intermittent fasting were undoubtably exciting, so I wanted to find a way for IF to work for me. However I didn’t want to endure two days a week of feeling hungry and miserable.

After googling intermittent fasting I discovered that there are a few different patterns of IF. One of which is the 16/8 pattern. This sounded less drastic, missing breakfast, and stopping the evening snacking.

I’ve been doing 16/8 for well over a year now. It fits my lifestyle well and doesn’t feel too challenging. However I’ve also not made the best choices nutritionally during my eating periods, leaning towards sweet foods to help me cope with the demands of parenting.

Additionally I haven’t been particularly disciplined and have eaten during my fast periods if it suited. Despite this on 16/8 I’ve not gained any weight in over a year, which leads me to believe that if I made better choices I would return to a more healthy weight for me.

I’ve decided to try and approach 16/8 in a more committed way. I’m planning on having my eating window start at 12.30pm and finish at 7.30pm. I’ll make better food choices, and reduce the sugar and junk food . So if you would like to try this pattern of intermittent fasting here is my guide to the 16/8 fasting diet:

How to follow the 16/8 intermittent fasting pattern:

  • Plan an eating window of eight hours which best fits your lifestyle. Perhaps you can’t contemplate missing breakfast, or need to be able to eat late to fit your work schedule? Pick a window which suits and stick to it. Then eat nothing during the other 16 hours.
  • During the fast period you can drink calorie free drinks. I recommend drinking plenty of water, and herbal teas. If you are struggling with energy levels you could have black coffee or diet caffeinated drinks.
  • Distract yourself. Your body will adjust to this new eating pattern but in the meantime try not to focus on food.

So that’s it. Don’t eat for 16 hours a day. Which when you consider you’ll probably be asleep for eight of them isn’t all that hard. Good luck and do let me know how you get on, we can compare notes.

Edited on 7/6/18 to add:

I’ve updated this post to let you know that I’ve been successfully following the 16/8 intermittent fasting pattern for five years. It’s a really simple way of maintaining a healthy weight for me, and it’s very flexible.

If I want to change the pattern because I have plans to eat outside of my usual eating window, it’s easy to do. Also there a myriad of  reported health benefits.