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Intermittent fasting is the only zero investment plan for your weight loss rather fat loss. People all over the world are fascinated by getting their much awaited result adopting intermittent fasting. If
you are also getting interested, you are probably having many thoughts/queries/ hesitations before starting intermittent fasting. Don’t worry. Let’s clear all doubts and avail the benefits of intermittent fasting for a healthy life.

How do I start intermittent fasting?

Let’s face it. These days mostly we eat nutritionally inferior (processed junk food) but way too much food than our actual requirement. The principle of intermittent fasting is simple – eat less but eat good. That means don’t eat anything during your fast but eat good wholesome food during your eating window. Be careful not to ruin your fasting benefits by eating junk during your eating window. The most simple way to break your fast is by drinking lemon water (without honey) and followed by a fruit. Then wait for 20-30 minutes and eat a balanced nutritious meal preferably home-made food containing variety of cereals (rice/ wheat/ oats/millets etc), pulses, seasonal vegetables and fruits, fresh fish, chicken, egg, nuts and seeds, good quality dairy etc.

You can try doing intermittent fasting everyday for a particular period or you can also do it one or two days every week.There are mostly 6 types of intermittent fasting. among which you can pick the one suits your daily routine.


Daily fasting for a specific period

1. Spontaneously skipping meals

2. 16/8 plan – Fast for 16 hours everyday

3. Warrior diet – Fasting at the daytime and huge meal at night

Weekly fasting1. 5:2 Plan – Fast for 2 days per week

2. Eat – Stop – Eat – Fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week

3. Fasting in every alternative day

Thinking which one to pick? Few looks really difficult right?

1. Skipping meals:

You can simply start by skipping one meal a day which ever suits your routine. You can either choose your breakfast or lunch or dinner. Skipping one meal will automatically give you a window of fasting. Easy right? But make sure that you don’t end up eating junk like a packet of potato chips or 5-6 biscuits while fasting. If you are hungry, that’s fine. Eat a complete wholesome meal.

But isn’t skipping meal will lower my metabolism?

You may think, small frequent meal helps to boost your metabolism. You are right to some extent. Our body burn some calorie (thermic effect of food) for digesting and assimilating the nutrients in a meal. So if you eat often, body will burn more calorie. Right? Well, it is not exactly that simple. It has been estimated that this thermic effect of food (TEF) is around 10% of the total calorie intake, no matter whether you eat 6 times or 3 times a day. That means if you eat total of 2000 calorie diet a day, you will burn approx 200 calorie as TEF no matter whether you distribute it into 3 or 6 meals.

2. 16/8 Plan – Fast for 16 hours everyday

It is the most popular plan for intermittent fasting. All you need is to fast for 16 hours and take food during the 8 hours of eating window. Ladies , the good news is – keeping the fast for 14-15 hr is fine for you. And it is 16 hours for the men. This plan sounds simple but not very easy. So you can plan to take baby steps to reach to this plan. Start with 12 hours and then slowly extend the time as per your comfort. At least try this plan for consecutive 3 days to see the impact. If you are fine and comfortable then keep doing it. Generally this plan suggests to skip breakfast so that the most time goes while sleeping. If you have finished your dinner at 7 pm tonight that means try to keep the fast till tomorrow 11 am (for men) or till 9-10 am (for women).

Can’t keep it more than 13 hours…..What to do?

Break your fast if you start getting hunger pangs after 12 or 13 hours. Drink some lemon water, eat a fruit and eat a wholesome meal, some healthy drink. It is okay. Try next day. Keep trying.

Isn’t skipping breakfast will make me fat?

Not really. There are studies which found a relation between skipping breakfast and obesity, But however, there are randomized control trial where absolutely no relation has been found between the two. Breakfast may be beneficial for some, where others can simply go ahead without having it. But replacing a healthy breakfast with a lunch full of processed junk is going to pinch you hard any day. The intermittent fasting 16/8 plan suggests to skip breakfast but to have a wholesome lunch avoiding all possible junk. Try this out.


3. Worrier Diet – Fasting at day and feasting at night

Sounds exciting ? Yes, this plan refers to continue fast at the daytime keeping the eating window of 3-4 hours at night. Small part of raw fruits and vegetables are advisable during the day fast. Night feast should contain a huge meal with wholesome unprocessed foods.

Wow, this is perfect for all our night party!!

Hang on. This diet plan is actually follow a specific diet (paleo diet) pattern which suggests even to not to eat sugar, processed food, artificial sweetener, trans fat, most of the dairy products, lentils and few grains. So can you do a party without all these? If yes, then go ahead.

4. 5:2 Plan –  Fast for 2 days a week

This plan suggests to eat normally for the 5 days a week and to keep fast non-consecutive 2 days. Now, what is normal eating? You will be disheartened to know that “normal eating” does not any include processed and packaged food and your favorite junk.

Okay, but fasting for 2 days sounds quite difficult right? Don’t worry. You can to eat 500 calorie (approx a quarter of regular calorie need) diet during each fasting day. You may distribute the calorie into two meals 250 calorie each. Please note, 500 calorie is a very low-calorie diet so do not even try without any proper guidance.



5. Eat – Stop – Eat – Fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week

This is an advanced level intermittent fasting plan where you need to keep your fast for complete 24 hours. Suppose you are starting your fast today at 8 pm, that means you need to keep your fast till tomorrow 8 pm. You can take only water, tea/coffee (without sugar or milk) but no solid food, . As a beginner do not ever jump into practicing this. It will take time to reach this phase.

6. Fasting in every alternative day

This is another advanced level fasting plan. As the name suggests, in this plan you need to keep fast every alternative day. Few take a 500 calorie diet during the fast .But it is very difficult for most of us. Since this is another advance level of intermittent fasting, it need time and proper guidance .

Why should I do intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting helps us to do the overall hormonal balance,increase release of growth hormone, stabilize insulin secretion, give more stable blood sugar along with multiple other health benefits. Intermittent fasting ensure side effects like anti-inflammatory response, control over auto-immune diseases, anti-aging benefits along with the most desired fat loss.



I am not interested in weight loss…. can I still do intermittent fasting?

Of course, as mentioned above fat loss is just one of the side effect for those who has extra body fat. Intermittent fasting do much more, helps to recreate the much-needed hormonal balance for your better health. So any adult (except pregnant or lactating women) can start keeping fast without any doubt. If you have any medical condition (diabetes, low blood pressure or others) please consult your doctor and then adopt it.

Bottom Line

There are various type of intermittent fasting and all you need to do is to pick up the plan as per your convenience. Take baby steps one at a time. Lets begin by saying no to all processed and packaged junk. No matter whichever plan you take for intermittent fasting, the drill is same and simple. Eat for a shorter span of time and give your body rest for a longer period. Intermittent fasting is all about eating less in quantity than usual and focusing more on the food quality. Choose your plan and just start. Yes, it is that simple.


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Dr. Soma Chakrabarty is based in Hyderabad. She has 15 yrs of working experience in nutrition. She guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve goals for wellness. She believes in a practical diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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