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.
This is an interesting one! Not sure i could do it when I have breakfast at 6:30 or 7:00 once we are all back at work and school – I’d need to eat after 3 p.m. Or have I got it all muddled?! Good luck 🙂
Basically I skip breakfast and don’t start eating until lunchtime, then I have early dinner with the kids and stop eating at 7.
Now I’m back at school (work), I start eating at 11am and start fasting at 9pm. I didn’t think I would be able to go without breakfast but I just drink water when I start to feel hunger pangs. It works well.
That’s really interesting. I’d not heard of it before. I really struggle with all-day fasts. I used to do 24-hour fasts once a week to help focus my prayer life but found that they triggered my mood swings. I don’t know if they would now but just can’t wrap my head around fasting for that length of time while caring for two young children. It would probably be silly while breastfeeding a five-month-old anyway! I’ll follow your progress on a more committed 16/8 with interest.
Yes fasting is definitely harder when you have kids to deal with. I wouldn’t recommend doing it while feeding a little one.
From what I understand, growing children and teenagers should not fast. Pregnant women and those breastfeeding should not fast either!
Hi yes I have just started the 16/8 fasting days, definitely works best for me if my eating window is between 4-7 in the evening. If I start eating in the morning I find I’m hungry at lunchtime but if I just have my bulletproof coffee and plenty of water I’m good till 4.00.
I work out at 6 or 7 pm. I’ve read it’s better to excercise during the 16 hour fasting?
Hi, Carol here. I am 74 and 8/16 fasting to help with inflammation caused by a chronic disease similar to rheumatoid arthritis. Weight loss has been slow, 4kg (about 9lbs) and 8cm (3inches) of belly fat in 10weeks. So if you want rapid weight loss, this is maybe not for you. I have found an improvement in my memory and I think some reduction in pain level. Definitely has not got any worse as it was doing before I started. I drink medication in the morning, so my fasting period is from 4pm to 8am though mostly I do not eat after lunch, about 1pm so my fasting is mostly about 18 hrs per day. I have cut down on sugars and starches but not eliminated as I want to lose weight, especially belly fat.
How many times a week should you do the IF
I do it every day, but I think three days a week minimum is advised.
Hi i started with 16/8 as well and just skip breakfast. If possible I even combine it with keto-diet. Meaning trying to eat no carbohydrates at least at lunch or dinner! Weekends I eat normal but I feel more energized doing the 16/8 inkl low carb. We often have guests on weekends orebare out, so I don’t have to worry!
I’m fasting and trying the 16/8 . I have been making the wrong choices when I do eat but being consistent is key . On a Sunday I try a 24 hr fast but I the first attempt I made it to 22hrs . It gets easier . But I really like this approach . I still log all my food and I still exercise. I just don’t do heavy cardio anymore. More strength training. Good luck 🙂
I just want to share mine, I’m a Mum of 4 who Wakes up 4 am during weekdays to get ready for the day, what I do is starts eating at 10 am then stop at 4 or 5 (to be able able to be in bed at 8) then fast until 10am the next day. It’s quite not pleasant for the ones who wanted to eat with the whole family during dinner tho but this is the timetable that works for me, and hey I can be in the table also just not eating.
Hi wanna start fasting but I don’t wanna miss breakfast I would I go about this please help
If breakfast is important to you then plan your eight hours around that. For example if you had breakfast at 9am then you would need to stop eating at 5pm.
I’ve been doing the 8/16 for 6 weeks and I’ve lost 15 lbs! I’m really happy with my progress and I’m feeling great. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I still have it but it’s a brunch. I go for a good walk first thing in the morning with my pups to get my 8 min of exercise done and I drink plenty of water. Right before I shower I weigh in and I love it because I’m usually down .2 – .5 lb. it’s exciting. So my 8 hr window is from 11:30 am- 7 pm. Done eating by 7:30 pm. Good luck!
I’ve been doing 16/8 for close to a year now and plan to do it for the rest of my life. It has many health benefits. My eating window is 10am to 6pm, so I have three meals a day. Additionally, for several years now I have limited my sugar intake to never more than 6 teaspoons in a day, which completely eliminates sugar cravings.
my work schedule is atypical. from 6 to 11 pm. I come home and at midnight I have low carb, low sugar foods like salmon an avocado wraps in low carb tortillas you can from super market. I do not eat pasta, rice, potatoes, or bread. sugar is for me what converts to fat on my body.
other dinners are cobb salad with anything thrown in, blue cheese, bacon crumbs , hard boiled eggs, shrimp, huge portions of protein, chicken tacos, burritos, saturated fat is monitored. virtually no salt, or coffee, I just do not like either. I do not like breakfast, nor lunch, after dinner I have 1/4 cup of nuts and Hersheys’s semi sweet mini chocolate bars, and I am good. watch tv and eat until 1 or 2 am, and off to bed for 8 hours again .
with my trainer I weighed 204 lbs. now I weight 184 lbs. I have lost 20 lbs and kept if off for I I/2 years, because I eat what I love, olive oil, butter, avocados, some fruits with low sugar, like berries. mostly all veggies except real sweet or starchy ones. I am 53 years old and look 10 years younger, so I have been told many times. Fasting with only healthy liquids puts the metabolism into a ketosis state where fat is being dissolved. those hunger pangs are good for us. I feel amazing, alert, have fun, I drink 2-3 vodka and water on weekends and have a blast.
Joe, My first time looking for a fasting diet and I think the way you do it got my attention. I am going to do it the way you are. I am so excited to get started. I need to get off of this rollercoaster ride and get on the ride to losing weight.
So I usually wake up between 5 am and 6 am to work out and have a protein and fruit smoothie right after. I do weight training so it’s not feasible to skip eating after the workout bc I would feel sick and dizzy. That would put my 8 hrs staring between 630 and 730 and my fasting starting at 3…. we typically eat dinner at 430 because my husband works nights and is put the door by 5. Do you think if I fasted from 5 PM to 7 am (only 14 hours) it would still be effective?
Hi Karissa, I’m not sure tbh, I’d say try it for a period of time and monitor the effects.
I’ve read that 14 hours is a perfectly good number for women. Men don’t produce much of the fat burning hormones unless they hit 16, but women reach the full fasted state at 12 hours and produce the fat burning hormone for two hours if they go 14.
You should try it and see if it works for you. I bounce back and forth between 14 to 18, depending on the day. It seems like as long as I go to 14, the weight keeps dropping.
DAY TWO FOR ME . IT IS EARLY DAYS BUT ITS VERY EASY SO FAR JUST SKIP BREAKFAST START EATING AROUND 12 TILL 8PM . I WILL MAKE HEALTHIER CHOICES RATHER THAN BINGING ON RUBBISH THOUGH. HERES HOPING IT WORKS COS NOTHING EWLSE HAS LOL
i have been doing 16/8 fasting for last 3 weeks. I have my lunch about 11:30am and my dinner 7:00pm. I have plenty of fresh mint tea and water through de day. I haven’t lost anything, I don’t know what am I do wrong. please comment and help thanks Darsh.
Maybe you are not eating enough. Maybe you should be eating at least 3 meals a day. I think you need to eat more smaller meals during your eating time. I see that you are only eating 2 meals a day. You are only eating lunch and dinner.
I am doing the 16/8 fast but I am not loosing weight, any advice?