Which method of intermittent fasting should you choose?

Posted on Posted in Fasting Methods, Fasting Plans

How do you choose the right fasting plan to suit your lifestyle?

Woman DecidingTo choose the best style of fasting for you, give it some time and experiment with the various options before deciding which one you’ll be able to keep up in the long term.

Intermittent fasting is meant to be a permanent lifestyle so you can maintain your weight with the least possible effort. So be sensible when choosing your plan (don’t try and do too much at once) and choose a type that you will enjoy.

There are so many variations of fasting you’re bound to find something that works for you.

Here are some options:

‘Daily Fasts’ (Eating Window Fasts)

eatingwindowThese fasts are usually for 18 hours, every day of the week and might be a better choice if you don’t like the idea of a 24 hour fast. For example, start each fast after the evening meal at say 6pm until the following day at 1pm (or 11am if you choose shorter 16 hour fasts). This leaves an ‘eating window’ each day of 6 hours, so fewer meals and therefore fewer calories are consumed, as well as providing the fat burning benefits of fasting.

24 Hour Fasts

24hoursThis usually involves one or two 24 hour true fasts (no calories at all) per week, anywhere in the day. For example, start each fast at 1pm after lunch through to 1pm the following day, or after the evening meal at say 7pm until 7pm the next evening. These are usually done 2-4 days apart.


Alternate Day Fasting

calendarThis method involves fasting for an entire day (from the evening meal the night before until breakfast the following day) on alternate days, so for example on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and so on.

However a lot of people use a modified ADF technique where instead of ‘true’ fasting they eat a certain percentage of their recommended daily calorie intake. Research has shown that between 15% and 25% of your calorie needs is optimal. This equates to around 500 to 600 calories (or 2000 to 2500 kilojoules) for the average person on the fasting days.

I recommend the modified version rather than true fasting every second day because it’s far easier for a beginner.

If you decide on this method you can work out your daily calorie needs by using a caloric needs calculator and then start with eating say 25% of this amount on fasting days and then drop it down to 15% after 2 weeks or so.

The 5:2 Method

5 2 MethodThis method can be used instead of alternate day fasting. It’s similar to ADF where you can eat 500 to 600 calories on the fasting days, however you only fast for two days of the week 9anywhere in the week) with 5 days of eating normally. So for example, you only eat your set calories on Monday and Thursday every week and then eat normally for the rest of the week until Monday again.

I recommend consuming all your calories at the start of the day and not by eating small meals throughout the whole day, but everyone is different, so just do what works for you.


If you’ve crash dieted, and put strict food restrictions on yourself in the past you might find you’ve developed some anxiety towards food (or being without it) and the thought of ‘fasting’ sounds horrifying. If that’s the case then try easing in to fasting gradually. Have a look at the fasting plans for examples on how to ease in to it.

For a full description of each method read ‘How to begin Intermittent Fasting – The Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting‘ to help you to start off slowly and develop a plan to suit you best.