3 Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting: Easy, Medium, & Extreme
Intermittent fasting is a great way for both men and women to accelerate their fat loss. In this video and article, I show you 3 Ways to do Intermittent Fasting.
3 Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
EASY (12:12) 12-hour fast & 12-hour eating window
MEDIUM (16:8) 16-hour fast & 8-hour eating window
EXTREME (Fat Fast + 16:8) 95% of your calories come from fat & all calories are consumed during an 8-hour window
[Video] 3 Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting
Would you rather watch than read? In this short video, I explain all three methods of intermittent fasting, so you can decide which one is right for you.
Why Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting works because it allows your blood sugar and insulin levels to drop to a low level.
Insulin is your fat-storing hormone. When insulin levels are high, fat flows into your fat cells and gets stored; when insulin is low, fat can flow out of your fat cells and burn.
Also, since insulin is not pushing the sugars that remain in your blood into fat storage, those sugars are available to provide energy for the repair of cells.
This healing advantage is why intermittent fasting is getting a lot of attention right now in the research world for the treatment of chronic disease (1).
[Is intermittent fasting safe for women over the age of 50? See my blog post and video by following the link.]
Ready to Try Intermittent fasting? Let me start you off with the easiest method…
The Easy Way to Do Intermittent Fasting (12:12)
The easy way to do intermittent fasting is what I call 12:12 intermittent fasting.
This title simply means that for 12 hours of the day you fast, and 12 hours you consume all of your calories.
In other words, you have a 12-hour window of eating during the day.
This method is very simple to do.
In fact, I do this on a daily basis as do the people that follow my 0, 1, 2, 3 Strategy (Learn my strategy free here).
The “3” of my strategy reminds you to stop eating three hours before bed.
For instance, if you go to bed at 10:30 PM, you want to stop eating at 7:30 PM.
To create your 12-hour fast, you simply delay breakfast until 7:30 AM.
This easy way to do intermittent fasting will help you lose weight because it allows your insulin and blood sugar levels to drop overnight, which moves your body into a fat-burning state.
The Medium Way to Do Intermittent Fasting (16:8)
If you want to increase things a bit, you can move into the medium-difficulty method, called 16:8 Intermittent Fasting.
With this method, you’re fasting for 16 hours of the day and eating for only eight hours.
In other words, you need to consume all of your calories for the day within an 8-hour eating window.
The 16:8 Intermittent Fast is the method that gets the most attention in the diet world as well as the research world.
This is also the method that my husband used along with his ketogenic diet to lose 53 pounds (24kg) in a 22-week period.
You can watch the video if you’d like the details about his ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, but basically he stops eating at 8 o’clock at night and does not resume eating until noon the next day.
His lunchtime meal is typically a high-fat salad with limited carbohydrates. So, he adds healthy fats, like sunflower seeds, feta cheese, and full-fat dressing, but avoids croutons, fruit, and sugary dressing.
We documented his weight loss each week on our YouTube Channel called 2 Fit Docs. If you are looking for some inspiration, you can Watch Keith’s Progress From Start To Finish Here.
The Extreme Way to Do Intermittent Fasting (Fat Fast + 16:8)
Combining a Fat Fast with 16:8 Intermittent Fasting is a useful but more extreme way to do intermittent fasting.
With this type of fasting, you consume all of your calories within an eight-hour eating window, and 95% of those calories must come from fat.
In other words, you need to limit your intake of carbs and protein (combined) to just 5% of your total daily calories.
Fat fasts work for weight loss because dietary fat does not raise your blood insulin levels.
This is not the case for carbohydrates, which are the nutrient with the most impact on insulin, or protein, which has a small, but significant impact on insulin.
Because fat does not change your insulin level, consuming fat gives you the same benefits of a complete fast (i.e. consuming nothing but water) without the extreme loss of energy.
So, let’s think about practicality for a moment…
How to Do a Fat Fast with a 16:8 Intermittent Fast
To work this extreme version of intermittent fasting into your diet, you need to be smart with your food choices.
Common healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, and cheese contain some carbohydrate and protein grams, so you cannot munch on these foods with carefree abandon during your eight-hour eating window.
Instead, you need to stick with your more healthy saturated fats, like butter MCT oil, and coconut oil.
These foods are almost purely fat and can be consumed in a hot drink, such as coffee.
Dave Asprey popularized a high-fat coffee drink that he calls BulletProof Coffee, which is a coffee drink that includes butter and MCT oil.
Today we see many versions of this original recipe, most of them going by the name – Keto Coffee.
My husband has his own version of this buttery coffee. In his version, which he calls Fat-Fortified Coffee, he adds heavy whipping cream for flavor. We share the recipe in our 2 Fit Doc’s 21-Day Challenge.
As Keith was losing weight, he would occasionally do a fat fast by consuming two Fat-Fortified Coffees within an eight-hour window. That was it, nothing else to eat.
While it sounds like hunger would be a big factor, he stated that the fats helped to keep hunger at bay.
Special Notes If You Try the Extreme Intermittent Fast
1) If you’re going to try a fat fast or do extreme intermittent fasting, you want to ease into it.
You do not want to jump into these extreme fasts if you currently eat a poor diet that is filled with fast foods, processed foods, and refined carbs.
If you take this leap, you’ll find yourself in the bathroom for most of the day. Instead, work your way up to doing these extreme forms of intermittent fasting by first doing a 16:8 fast by itself and getting off the junk food.
2) There is some research that talks about doing a fat fast for a few days up to a few weeks at a time.
My husband and I do not have any personal experience with doing a fat fast for this long and don’t promote staying on an extreme fast for more than a day.
When my husband utilizes this fasting technique, he does it one day at a time. This one-day extreme intermittent fast is a good way to change things up, which can stimulate a sluggish metabolism.
(1) Mattson, M. P., Longo, V. D., & Harvie, M. (2017). Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Aging research reviews, 39, 46-58.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.