What Is Intermittent Fasting? & How To Do It Right

Credit: Unsplash, Hermes Rivera

So, intermittent fasting (IF) is a term used for diets that cycle between periods of eating and fasting.  There are lots of different intermittent fasting methods (some of which are more complicated than others), but the general idea here is that you’re cycling between a period of eating and not eating (fasting).

The IF diet can be used in many ways – to lose weight, to treat specific conditions or just as a way of improving health.  You can do it at any time, although it is most commonly done on a short-term basis – typically 2-3 days per week.  You should discuss this with your doctor before doing any type of fasting diet, especially if you have any medical conditions or are taking prescribed medications.

How Effective Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting has been shown to be effective for weight loss in several studies.  It can be particularly useful for people who find it difficult to stick to a regular diet routine because it doesn’t require calorie counting or portion control. This makes IF very popular with bodybuilders and athletes who need to burn fat but maintain lean muscle mass without cutting calories too low.

Trying IF? Here are two ways to get started:

1. Alternate-day fasting Alternate-day fasting is the most common form of intermittent fasting. It requires you to eat 100% of your usual calorie intake every other day or so, but fast the other days. For example, on a Monday-to-Friday schedule, you’d eat all your meals Monday through Thursday and fast on the other days. During your nonfasting days, you’d still need to consume around 500 to 600 calories a day.

2. The 5:2 diet The 5:2 diet — named after its method of limiting calories only two days out of the week — is similar to alternate-day fasting. On the 5:2 plan, you would eat normally five days a week and limit yourself to 500 to 600 calories two nonconsecutive days per week. Like alternate-day fasting, it requires you to cut out high-calorie foods — junk food and sweets — during your fasting days.

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.