Fasting To Lose Weight With The 16:8 Diet

As intermittent fasting seems to be becoming a central focus for visitors to my site, with a nice selection of men and women emailing me to ask how intermittent fasting could work for them, I’ve decided to write a short (ish) article on fasting to lose weight with the 16:8 diet (aka the 16 hour diet, lean gains, 16 8 fasting diet, 8 hour diet, and probably a wealth of other names).

If you’re happy just to make good food choices and do some daily fasting, you’ll likely get 90% to your goals.

If however, you are keen to really make a dent on your fat loss efforts, then some simple recording is often required. Here are the simple things I use every day:

Equipment Required For Effective Recording And Evaluation Of Fat Loss

The ‘system’ which I tweaked and tested, became the basis of my Lean Fast Rapid Fat Loss 2.0 program, which has helped loads of people to get lean and strong without starvation dieting. I must emphasize right off the bat that my programs do involve a mix of diet and strength training. If you don’t have access to a gym, or just want to train at home, then I really, REALLY recommend picking up a kettlebell or two. Here’s a great selection on Amazon. An 8kg for a female just starting out, and a 16kg for a male is in the right ballpark.

Watch this video first. It’s been watched thousands of times on Youtube and has got some great reactions.

16 8 Fasting: An Overview

I’m going to keep it short, give you an overview of the 16-8 diet, why I favor it over longer fasting periods, and how you can quickly and easily implement it into your lifestyle. In fact, 16:8 intermittent fasting is at the center of my 1:1 online nutrition coaching programs. If you’d like to know more, submit a consultation form HERE.

I’ll briefly discuss a quick and dirty (but highly effective) way to set your calorie intake to meet your goals, and then onto the best ways to implement 16:8 dieting to suit your lifestyle and training demands.

Just as a precursor to the article, I really want to make it clear that there are many many ways to lose weight. Intermittent fasting is in vogue at the moment, and there will always be people who really embrace intermittent fasting and make it their long-term eating habit. There has been a glut of books emerging in the last couple of years, such as The 16 Hour Diet, The Fast Diet book, The 5:2 Diet to name just a few. All can work, but for those wanting to fast to lose weight, and be sure of good results, we need to implement a bit of a stricter recording and monitoring system if we want to KNOW that it’s going to work for us. Once the weight is off, we can relax a bit and settle into a more intuitive way of eating.

I’ve spent a lot of time practicing and learning the most effective ways of how to do a 16 hour fast for the best results, and how to implement a 16:8 diet plan, and I now teach, as the basis of my health andΒ fat loss programs, putting all the best, most effective strategies together to create a simple and enjoyable daily fasting based fat loss program that works incredibly well for most people. This is generally combined with some kind of Olympic barbell set or other strength training program (kettlebells work well), but it’s not an essential part. You certainly CAN lose weight without exercise, whatever the local gym manager tells you πŸ™‚

Read My Very LONG Definitive Guide To Intermittent Fasting HERE

How Do You Lose Weight Intermittent Fasting With The 16 8 Diet?

Energy Balance = Calories In vs Calories Out

Whatever the low carb/high fat, paleo, vegan, ketogenic, (add diet of your choice) say, losing weight is primarily a function of energy balance, calories in versus calories out. It is definitely true to say that for many, particularly the insulin resistant, overweight and inactive, the carbohydrate may not be the best way for them to make up the majority of their daily calories, due to spill-over to fat storage under certain circumstances. All macronutrients (protein,fat,carbs) can make you fat, there is no ‘devil’ amongst them, but it is important to eat according to your activity levels and energy requirements. That said, different foods have profoundly different effects on the hormonal environment, so fasting with zero consideration of food choices is likely to lead you to a place of less than desirable results.

The problem many people have, and the media, government authorities, nutrition and health bodies, do little to help or address correctly, is knowing what to eat, how much, and in some cases, when? We are fed a bullshit story of ‘eat less, move more’ and expect that to be the panacea that solves the world’s obesity and health crisis.

Because energy balance is central to body composition, weight loss, weight maintenance, or weight gain is what this article is discussing, if people are unable to eat the required amount of calories in a day, to aid healthy weight loss, then reducing their ‘eating window’, compressing the timeframe in which they can eat, can go a long way towards reducing calorie intake on a day-to-day basis.

It’s so simple it’s almost embarrassing to discuss, but we all struggle to see what is often right in front of our noses don’t we? Of course, overcoming the ‘my mouth is a hoover’ issue is not easy for some folks, but asking them to eat all their meals in an 8 hour eating window will certainly help all but the most diligent of greedy-guts to reduce their daily energy intake. This is why fasting to lose weight with the 16:8 diet can be so effective. Combine it with macro counting to estimate food intake, and it becomes an extraordinarily simple lifestyle that gets results.

What I will say on the energy balance topic is that, even though the body does its best to maintain energy balance, homeostasis etc, if your metabolism is slowed, damaged, deranged, as is the case with many people, then energy balance becomes very difficult. The hormonal signaling that your body requires to maintain a healthy weight becomes impaired. So, the simplistic approach of using a smartphone app to calculate what you burn, and how much you should eat is fraught with errors and false hope.

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE: “Why Fasting Works – 18 Powerful Reasons To Include Intermittent Fasting In Your Lifestyle”

16 hour fast

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE: “Why Fasting Works – 18 Powerful Reasons To Include Intermittent Fasting In Your Lifestyle”

Before You Start Fasting For Weight Loss – A Little Arithmetic!

Sorry, arithmetic alert, but don’t worry, it’s not that hard. Any sort of fasting can help to reduce food intake, and if you are not worried about adding in a timeframe to meet your goals, then just implementing the 16:8 fasting to lose weight may well be enough.

I’m a fat loss coach and trainer, so I have to make some calculations and put a plan together for my clients, here’s what I do, you can use it for free. There is often a little more involvement than this, but if you implement these ideas and monitor yourself along the way, you should see results.

Step 1. Calculate Your Calorie Needs For Your Goal

Here is a small table to show you the calorie requirements for a variety of goals. If you are very overweight, either use your goal weight to do the calculations, use an intermediate weight and adjust as you lose fat.

Simplicity Itself
Simplicity Itself

As you can see, it can be done in your head or on a phone calculator. Let’s assume I want to lose fat, and I weigh 200lbs. I could start by setting calories at 10×200 = 2000 calories per day and see how that goes for a couple of weeks. OR, if my target healthy weight is 170lbs, I could set them at 1700 calories per day (170×10) and monitor. If I lose too much, I can up the calories. Not enough, decrease calories and/or increase activity.

Once that’s done, you can, and I’d recommend it, set your target protein, fat, and carbohydrate numbers for each day. I’ve written about that here, so go take a look at some time. Again, simple arithmetic.

You’ve now set up your diet plan, we are ready to start 16:8 fasting to lose weight, or gain it if that is your goal?

Setting Up Fasting For Weight Loss With A 16 8 Fasting Protocol

This couldn’t be simpler. Super quick explanation. 16 8 fasting involves not eating for 16 hours out of each day and compressing your meals into an 8-hour window. This usually works by eating an evening meal, then, the next morning, skipping breakfast and drinking coffee, tea, water, etc until you have a lunch at 12-1pm. Here is how it could look, I’ll provide a couple of days to help make sense of it.

Day 1

Wake – Coffee with a splash of milk

A.M – Coffee, water, tea etc

Lunchtime – Chicken breast in black bean sauce with an ‘obscenity’ of green vegetables, piece of fruit for dessert

Dinner Period 6-8pm – Salmon and oven baked vegetables with a jacket potato. (Note: You can split the evening meal into two, just try to leave a couple of hours between eating and bed)

Night time – sleep (or whatever else you do at night)

Day 2 – As Day 1

Another Note! If you are training hard, then adding some extra carbs in the form of starchy carbs might be necessary. I tend to recommend eating them in the evening time unless you know what you are doing, and need to play around with nutrient timings.

This useful infographic might help you…

What To Eat When Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

This is a common question which I will try to answer, based on experience and logical thinking. I’d love to hear your views.

It is possible to lose weight eating any food, providing the energy balance equation is appropriate. But modern, highly processed foods can definitely be a problem for a lot of people. They tend to be very high in calories, but low in nutritional value per unit weight (let’s call it 100g). On the other hand, if you choose meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, a little fruit, basically non-processed foods, you can eat a lot more volume of food whilst still keeping calories relatively low.

On that basis, I would recommend eating whole, unprocessed food for the most part, and keep a treat or two to the evening or on a weekend. If you eat quality food choices at least 90% of the time, your weight loss should be steady and sustainable. Check out my recipes section to get some great ideas.

Any questions? Leave a comment and I will do my best to provide you with a fab answer.

16 8 Diet Results – What To Expect

Body-Fat-Challenge- End January 2014As I mentioned, there is no ‘magic’ with intermittent fasting per se, but if it allows you to stick with the diet and not feel deprived, half-starved and generally pissed off, then your chances of success are much higher than with some awful low-calorie diet of shakes and meal replacements. Bringing you back to the 3500 calories = 1 lb fat equation, if you can build a 3500 calorie deficit into your weekly calorie consumption, then you should shed a pound. Don’t try to exercise the fat off, it’s pretty poor for that as I wrote in this post about why cardio is poor for fat loss, but see exercise as a great way to improve your strength, health, and ability to do all sorts of wonderful activities in your life.

Well, that just about sums it up, a quick look at fasting to lose weight with the 16:8 diet. Nothing magical, but it is definitely an eating plan you should investigate. So many people are finding it fits with their lives and their appetites, which is half the battle to losing weight in the first place.

I really hope you enjoyed this, and that the article was brief enough, but provided the detail you need to jump into intermittent fasting. I love it, it loves me, and my waistline has never looked better.

Good luck! Please share this on your favorite social media sites and with your friends. I love to connect with people!

Still Confused Or Not Sure?

Read My Very LONG Definitive Guide To Intermittent Fasting HERE


Related Posts That Might Interest You

How To Do A 16 Hour Fast – A Beginner’s Guide

How The 16 Hour Diet Works

Choosing The Right Intermittent Fasting Protocol

Simplified Macro Counting Guide

3 Steps To Counting Macros For Beginners

Calculating Your Lean Gains Calories The Easy Way

70 thoughts on “Fasting To Lose Weight With The 16:8 Diet

  1. Hi there, I just wanted to ask a question – I have a 16mth old baby that I am still breastfeeding – now only a morning and evening feed with the plan to ween completely by the time she is two (aug 2015). I’d like to know your thoughts on 16/8 diet being ok and safe for me to start now? I understand I’d need to make sure my calorie intake was high enough. I’m keen to do the 11am til 7pm and introduce some regular walking times. I am roughly 35-40 kilos overweight for my height etc. my age is 40 and I really want to find a way to lose my weight and keep it off so the rest of my life can be healthier than the last 15yrs of child bearing. I have 3 children and my body has paid the price for that and of course my unhealthy choices!
    I look forward to hearing your thoughts and advice

    • I would think that 16/8 would be ok, as your 16 mth old is not relying in you for all it’s food sources. All I would do is eat whole, unprocessed food ALL the time, don’t worry about calories etc, just keep the processed stuff out, and monitor for a month, take some measurements and see how it goes. Good luck

    • Hi

      I’m just eating larger meals. Whether you eat 2 meals or 6, it matters not. For people who don’t enjoy eating massive meals, that’s cool, I tend to prefer to eat 2 big meals a day that smaller ones. Horses for courses.

  2. Hi Stephen, great info. I have a doubt on lean gains method.

    Let’s say I eat my first meal at 1 pm and my last meal at 9pm. So between 1pm and 9pm I can also drink some coffee, tea, or even have cookies etc.? Or should I eat nothing between 1pm and 9pm except for the two big meals?

    Also in the morning, it is impossible not to wake up and drink a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. But since the previous night meal is at 9pm, the next meal should only be around 1pm, right? So will taking this cup of coffee in the morning break the fast…. or is it okay to make such minor adjustments?

    I hope I haven’t bothered you too much, lol.

    • Hey

      At the end of the day, as long as the food you are eating within the eating window is the right amount to support your goals, it’s not a problem. Personally, I prefer whole, unprocessed foods, but you can still get lean on pizza and cookies πŸ™‚ I’d skip the sugar in the morning coffee, but although you may be breaking the fast, you can still lose body fat that way. You just need to work it for a while, take measurements, see results, and adjust.

  3. Hi. I would like to know does it matter if I cannot make up the calories required each day. I don’t eat alot anyway due to having stomach band but still can’t lose weight. Since having cancer I have been told not to exercise either. Do you think this diet will work for me?

    • Hi Leesa

      Well, it probably does, eating really low calories does nothing positive for long term weight loss, and will likely slow it due to stresses on the body. If you have a band, break the meals up into smaller meals, I wouldn’t worry about fasting per se. Exercise…just walk a lot, but the type of exercise I prescribe is strength related, not running etc. Exercise is good post illness, but you need to work with your healthcare practitioner to make sure what you do is safe for you.

  4. Hi Stephen,

    I think I could be successful at this. My diet already consists of 80% unprocessed foods. My problem lies in my calorie intake and exercise. With your formula, I should have no problem staying in my calorie count, do strength exercises as I feel better, and the fasting I can do. My only thing will be like Andy, I have a hard time without my morning coffee without sugar and milk BUT if I slowly train myself little by little to wean off the sugar, milk and maybe even flavored coffee, would that be good? Thank you for all the info you provided!

    • Hi there Angel

      Try these macros, use an app to track – – 1.2 g protein per lb body weight – – 1 g carb per lb bodyweight, and .2 g fat per lb bodyweight – – eat 16:8 if you like, but if you want sugar and milk in your coffee, do it, just make sure you stick to those macros, strength train 3 x a week, have some treats to keep you compliant, and for most folks, these macros will work for fat loss. Track and test for 2 weeks, you can sign up to my email list and get a tracking spreadsheet to help you. Get back to me and let me know how it is going πŸ™‚ S

  5. Hi Steve, I’m going to give this 16-8 diet a shot. I weigh 173lbs and I am 5’9″. I have hit a wall. My calories have been around 1250-1400 and exercise 3 days a week. I’m still pudgy and would like to lose about 13 lbs. If I am using your equation correctly then I should take in about 1750 per day. Seems like a lot but have I figured this correctly? Thanks for the help!!

    • Hey Lance

      The 16:8 diet is not magic, although it potentially has a few health benefits, but with my clients (and for myself) it is much more useful as a diet compliance tool. Most folks find skipping breakfast pretty easy, and by compressing your food intake into a smaller window, you can eat bigger meals. Not everyone likes that, but for those who do, it’s a game changer.

      1250-1400 cals a day for a male at 173 lbs is woefully low, how has that been working for you? What sort of training are you doing, lifting heavy (for you) weights 3 x week is perfect, one can always throw a little HIIT or cardio in on a couple of non lifting days if that floats your boat.

      For you, I would just try this to keep it easy.

      1.2 g protein per lb body weight – – 1 g carb per lb bodyweight, and .2 g fat per lb bodyweight, get most of it from whole foods, eat some starchy carbs after intense training, eat 16:8 if you want to, and report back in a couple of weeks πŸ™‚

      All the best – S

  6. I have 2 questions:
    What about wine! How can I fit that in to the numbers or equation.
    Also I teach 2 ,9am spin classes per week, I find it hard time teach on an empty stomach what do I do.
    Thank you

    • Hi

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Wine, if you can fit it in, and feel the need to drink it regularly, then fine. It really is a numbers game on the calories. I choose to drink alcohol rarely, because I like to eat food. It’s your choice on that one.

      Spin classes – don’t fast on those days.

      Hope that helps.


  7. Hi! How do I incorporate working out in the evening with IF? I normally cannot workout till 9:00 pm due to kids and my job. Everywhere I have read, workouts should be done in the fasted state. How critical is it to the protocol if I train in the fed state? Or better yet, would you be able to give me an example 16:8 schedule with working out in the evenings?

    Thank you so much…i have looked everywhere and cannot come up with an answer.

    • Hey April

      Training in a fasted state is ok if you train in the morning, but you’ll never train fasted if you workout in the pm, and I wouldn’t even try.

      People get really wound up about everything having to be some sort of perfect arrangement, and anything less just won’t work.

      NOT TRUE, ultimately, IF works really well to reduce calorie intake during the day, has some potentially nice health benefits (perhaps), but ultimately, calories, macronutrient targets, and to some extent, meal timings around workouts is where the benefits come. Anything else is icing on the cake, and probably not relevant for most people.

      So, you could fast until noon, have a small protein/carb meal then, a small pre-workout meal at 6pm, then something after training, with some protein and starchy carbs.

      It really is pretty simple, no need to panic on the minutiae.


  8. Hi Steve, this is very interesting as I’ve been playing with LCHF. What set this apart from just skipping breakfast, which we’re not supposed to do as it sets us up for the day? Is it that the calories are limited and compressed into that window? I find I can easily skip breakfast as long as I have an early lunch at 12pm. Also…the ratios of “1.2 g protein per lb body weight – – 1 g carb per lb bodyweight, and .2 g fat per lb bodyweight” you mention above: is this based on the goal weight or the current weight? I’m guessing the former, as then the ratios wouldn’t change, am I right? For me this would make my macros 168P:140C:28F, which is the opposite of LCHF; I can’t see how I’d lose having that much carb. Is one able to modify the concept for LCHF?

  9. HI VIRGINIA – Breakfast has NEVER been proven to the the most important meal of the day, and to be honest, fat loss or fat gain is really down to calories, however much people just don’t want to believe that.

    Sure, for the very overweight( I don’t know if that is you?) eating lower carb for a time can be beneficial, but the idea of being able to eat huge amounts of fat and still lose weight if you are eating an excess of calories just doesn’t stack up, and the evidence proves it. In every study where people ate in an appropriate calorie deficit, they lost weight.

    For us, setting macros and training programs to minimise muscle loss is key.

    Why, out of interest do you not think you could lose weight eating 140g of carbs per day?

    Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.


  10. Hi Stephen,

    I am a 52 year old, 250 lb postmenopausal female. I have managed to lose about 25 lbs in the last 12 weeks doing low carb and would like to know if you believe following LC along with fasting would be advantageous for me. I have been doing water aerobics, lifting free weights, using my elliptical cross-trainer and doing sit-ups. I feel like my exercise may be hindering my weight loss. Please tell me your thoughts. Thank you so much

    • absolutely, or coffee. Even a splash of milk is not going to make a noticeable difference, I have a couple of coffees in the a.m with milk, makes no appreciable difference.

  11. Hi Stephen,

    I have done quite a bit of research into IF and very interested in applying it to my lifestyle. However, I have one or two questions regarding the process.

    I just want to find out from you whether the following routine is both ‘safe’ and will work.

    If my last meal is at 8pm and my next meal is at 12pm the next day; I normally train late afternoons after work, around 5/6pm. So typically, my routine would look as follows:
    12PM – eat
    5/6pm – train (alternate between kettlebells and boxing – MON; TUES; WED; THURS & SAT MORNING AT 8/9AM)
    6/7/8pm – eat

    Is this alright? I keep reading about training while fasting but haven’t come across anything about training while eating, as it would be in my case.

    Additionally, weekends or if you go away for a week – where you are almost expected to have breakfast. Do you ‘take a break’ for a day or two and continue again when you back home and in routine or is the 16:8 supposed to be a strict routine that doesn’t really get changed as and when it suits you.

    Sorry if my questions are slightly unclear. Hope I’m making sense.

    Thank you!


    • hi Caitlin

      I’d just have a small snack an hour or 2 before training, then have your main meal, protein and carbs afterwards, no big deal at all.

      Sounds like a lot of training, be sure you are getting sufficient rest.

      Sure you can have breakfast. There is no magic to IF. It’s a useful tool, but ultimately, if you eat more than you expend, you’ll gain weight, and vice versa. So, if breakfast IS expected, and you want to go with that, do it, and get back on track when you can.

      Hope this helps

  12. Hi Stephen I’m a female and I weigh 336 lbs, I would like to get down to 140lbs. I did the diet 1 day and I ate 1047 calories, is that to low.? I ate at 12pm and 8 pm. Plz advise me on how many calories should I have altogether.many thanks

    • Hi Reeti

      I’ve written about calorie numbers many times on this blog. Not sure where you got the 1047 calories number from, certainly not me. I wouldn’t even recommend a 120 lb female to eat that low. When you have a lot of weight to lose, it is best to take some intermediate weight targets, and eat to those. So, at your weight, you could start by aiming for 250lbs, and eat 10 cals per pound of target weight, or 2500 cals.

      You could probably go lower, but I’d aim for that for 2 weeks, record measurements, weight, then re-evaluate. Only then can you know what impact your daily intake is having.

      Hope this helps

  13. Hey Stephen,

    If your maintenance calories are 2000 and you were previously eating breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner to hit 1500 (to be in a deficit), would you recommend still trying to hit 1500 in the 8 hour window or by eliminating say breakfast with a 12-8pm window those calories would again be reduced from 1500 to 1500 minus breakfast??

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Hi Mick

      No, fasting is a great way to stop you from overeating calories, buy skipping breakfast, but a 500 calorie a day deficit is plenty for most people. IF is not really designed to allow you to eat even less, more to manage your intake in a sustainable and not too misery inducing way. Just squeeze all your calories into the 8 hour window. If that is uncomfortable, carry on eating breakfast. There is no real magic in IF, eat less than you expend, and weight loss is the general outcome, whether 1,2 or 10 meals per day.

  14. Hello Stephen… “talk” about calories in relation to pounds….what about kilos? As I am no good at converting pounds to kilos (have never been good at maths) could you please tell me how many calories I should be eating? I weigh 60kilos and am 1.58cm tall. Additionally, My target is to get to 52kgs ….after how many weeks or months should I expect to reach my goal? I should also add that Exercise-wise I don’t do much…I take dance lessons twice a week. Will appreciate your advice!

    • multiply kilos by 2.2 and that will give you your weight in pounds.

      I find a good fat loss goal is 1-2 lbs a week max, closer to 2 if you have a lot of weight to lose, as you get leaner ,increase food intake to reduce weight loss

  15. Hi Stephen

    I’ve been following the 16:8 diet for a week now and I feel good but the issue is that I train twice a day (06.30 hours & 20.00 hours) and eat between 11.00 hours & 19.00 hours and as a pre and post-workout meal, I have a protein shake with water before and a protein shake mixed with oats after. I need to drop 11-12 kilos. Will the oats after my workouts affect the diet/break the fast? I can’t change my workout timings cause of work.

    Also, is working out on a fasted state good for your body in the long term cause a lot of dietitians and doctors recommend I include some kind of carb in my pre-workout meal (like a banana, etc.)

    Also, the goal is to be lean as I am a Special Forces Army Officer and gained the weight cause of an injury.

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Hello. Is it OK to drink my morning coffee with no sugar flavored creamer? Also, I typically hit the gym around 7 or 8 every morning, I do resistance training and cardio, but I’m used to having a large protein meal following my workout. Since I’ve started IF my first meal is at around 1pm, but I really feel I should have some sort of protein after I workout. Any pointers would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

    • Hey Steven

      Some protein, like 30gms or so within an hour of strength training is a sensible measure, could be a protein shake or real food πŸ™‚ No sugar creamer, sure, why not

  17. Hi,

    I am doing intermittent fasting for last 1 year.
    But I think I have weight loss plateau. Please advice how can I do Intermittent fasting in order to get maximum weight loss.

    Warm regards ,

    Sunila Joshi

  18. Hi!

    I have been following your posts via email and you have been so helpful with my IF. I have been doin it for half a yr now and have seen some significant results. Lately though I have been drinking coffee in the morning and I put a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in it and I’m wondering if it os OK. I read that coconut oil can help you lose weight and gives you more energy and I can actually see that. But is it ok to consume it in the morning while I’m on a fast? Hope to hear from you. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Vanessa

      Technically you are breaking the fast BUT, if you like it, it gives you energy, and you are still progressing towards your fat loss goals, keep at it.

    • Hey Elaine

      So food after 9 am? Sure, as long and daily calories in are less than out, you’ll lose weight. So whether you have 2 meals or 10 small ones between 9 am and 5pm, it matters not πŸ™‚

  19. Just eat less, its easy, well its not, but you could try eating 3 child size meals per day with lots of veg, eat plenty of fruit and water, nothing else. Choc fudge cake comes to mind.

    • Hey Mike.

      If it was as simple as that, then everyone would be thin πŸ™‚ Long term reduction in calorie intake reduces metabolic rate and functions, like temperature regulation etc, the body has some cunning ways to deal with major, chronic reduction in calories. A couple of well known studies showed a very rapid 30-40% drop in metabolic rate when calories were drastically cut.

      Sure, calories matter, but they are only a part of the issue. Insulin resistance is another, snacking on, and in general, eating highly processed carbohydrates all day lead to hyper-insulemia and insulin resistance. Stress and lack of sleep lead to chronically elevated levels of cortisol. The body’s ability to adapt to activity by compensatory measures.

      If just eating less was the answer to long term weight management, it would be easy. But it isn’t, and it’s not.

      Thanks for the response though πŸ™‚


  20. Hi Stephen,

    Instead of milk in the morning with my coffee,can I use Half and half and stevia? Please advise. Thanks!!

  21. Hey Linda

    If things are going in the right direction and you are happy, keep at it. It kinda depends how many coffees you have πŸ™‚

    There is no doubt that milk…and Stevia actually, can initiate an insulin response, not a huge deal necessarily, but I tend to favour thick cream in my coffee in the morning, I guess you feel a need for some sweetness?

    I don’t like half/half, we call it semi-skimmed over here. I’d always go with whole milk to be honest. Not a huge fan of things being messed with. I am very lucky here, we get raw milk at our local farm shop. Failing that, I’d go whole, full fat organic πŸ™‚


  22. Thank you!! I also notice my appeittie has decreased, I use to binge eat before trying this. It’s Week 3 and I feel great!!

    • That’s wonderful Linda, well done for taking action and getting going. Coffee works quite well as an appetite suppressant, as does fasting, but eating good quality food, with a decent amount of nutrients, real food, not processed crap, will make a huge difference.

      Good luck, and keep us informed.


  23. Hi Stephen,

    Just wanted to make sure I understand the diet correctly before I start it. I do night shifts, so if I take my 1st meal at 3PM then the next meal should directly be at 11 PM and then Directly at 3 PM the next day. Is this correct? OR is it that I can eat 2-3 small meals between 3 PM – 11PM and then fast for 16 hours. Please advise.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Pooja

      Sorry it took a while to get back to you, totally missed this comment, and then a site redesign…phew.

      I’d be tempted to switch things up a little on the non shift day, try to eat earlier for both meals, giving it a couple of hours between eating and sleeping.

      And yes, if you want to split the meals in two, and eat 3 smaller meals a day, that’s fine too.

      Ultimately, you can do great on breakfast, lunch and dinner, or lunch and dinner, or even just dinner for some folks.

      Try things, see what works and be honest about what doesn’t.


  24. Hi there. I would love to do the 16/8. I have one question. I love my morning coffee at 7am This is 1/2 cup milk with tsp coffee and tsp xylitol. Is that half cup milk OK or would it count as a meal? My

    • Hi Tracey

      If you are taking 16:8 intermittent fasting to the letter, then the milk would definitely constitute ‘breaking the fast’. However, it’s more about how you want to run your life, and how your body responds to the decisions you make. If having a milky coffee stops you from binging out at 11 am, then it’s probably a good thing. Have you actually tried just having the coffee and xylitol with a splash of heavy cream rather than half a cup of milk? Tastes great, less sugar (from the milk) and you might find it works for you.

      It’s all about trying things and monitoring progress.

      Good luck


  25. Hi Stephen
    As a nurse I do a lot of night shift work. Night shift is from 8pm in the evening to 8am the next morning for 3 nights out of a week. Can you suggest an IF routine around these hours?

    • Hi Max

      I think it will depend on what you do when you come home after shift. If you go straight to bed for the day, then you’re going to have to work out where you can build your 8 hour eating window into that. Alternatively, just fast on non shift days.

      Do you do any exercise/strength training? If so, when? That could affect when you need to eat.

      An eating window on work days of 4pm – midnight could work ok, or from 2pm – 10pm, but it’s not necessary to be too obsessive about this. a 7 hour eating window some days is fine, or a 9… it does not matter that much.

      I will say, as a former shift worker myself, the desire to eat during the shift (often junk) can be strong, so bear that in mind.

      Just play with it.


  26. Hello
    I like to exercise in the morning, and I take vitamin supplements whilst exercising, would it be OK, or should I have them during the non-fasting period?

  27. How many days of the week do you need to fast? Can I eat some walnuts/nuts 15 mins before doing exercise? It is hard to eat 1,600 calories between 1pm and 8pm, how do you plan it. thanks.

    • Hi there

      You don’t actually NEED to fast at all. If 3 meals a day works better, do that. And yes, if you want to eat some nuts, eat some. I think the message here is that fasting can be useful for managing intake, can help with keeping blood sugar levels in check, etc etc, but you can be super healthy, fit and lean, without EVER fasting in your life.

      Just find what works for you, what suits your lifestyle and do that πŸ™‚


  28. I started 16:8 today .I am148 lbs female and I want to get down to 135. how many calories should I be consuming in my 8 hour window? thank you

  29. Hey Stephen
    I noticed that you’re using meal timing of 12pm to 8pm for meals only? Is that a hard and fast rule? Can I do the 16 hour fast on a different schedule? Thank you for your time.

    • Sure you can, those times work well for most people as the nighttime fast is easy, what do you have in mind?

  30. Hi Stephen love your interest in replying to each of the questions!! Would like to know what kind of foods to be consumed during the 8 hour window by a vegetarian like myself with just 10 pounds of weight to be lost?

  31. Hi,
    I’ve started the 16:8 diet. I’m a 53 y.o. Female with 30 lbs to lose. I’ve yo yo dieted in the past – have lost 20 lbs over and over, just to gain it back. Because I’m short and post menopausal, I honestly think that 1200 cals is maintenance for me. This is rough, hence the yo yo’ing. I’m thinking that by skipping breakfast with the 16:8 plan, I can eat more comfortably and stay within my targeted maintenance allowance. My question is: since I’ve begun, I’m finding that my calories tend to run low. If I have say a salad with protein and a homemade oil/vinegar dressing for lunch and then a protein, veggie/salad and maybe a sweet potato for dinner, I’m closer to 1000 cals. I’m thinking that I should just keep going like this to try to tackle some of the weight and then add back a third meal to get me to 1200 cals after I knock off a good 20 lbs +. Will I slow my metabolism if I do this for 2 months while I work on the first 20?

    • Hi there

      Personally, I would up the calories until you get to a level where you can lose around a pound a week for the first 15 pounds, then increase intake a little and aim to lose 3/4 pound for a while. Then increase again to go for just a 1/2 pound or so for the last 5 lbs.

      It’s much better to eat as much as you can get away with and still slowly lose weight, rather than trying to really go for it to lose it quickly. This is probably what you have done in the past and why you have yo-yo dieted for so long.

      Give yourself a break and take it SLOW, much more likely to keep it off that way

  32. Hi there. I want to start this but I want to make sure I’m doing it correctly so it will be effective for weight loss. I’m a female in my 50’s, weigh 151 and my ideal weight used to be 100 but I’d settle for 110. Can you please calculate the numbers and let me know how many calories I would need for weight loss? Thanks so much for your help.

    • Hey Robin.

      There are plenty of articles on the site to help you calculate. Aim for 10-11 calories per pound of current bodyweight, do that for a couple of weeks and see where you are, adjust accordingly

    • Hi Tony

      In theory you are breaking the fast, but I don’t think that is something you should be worrying about. Getting in 30g or so of protein within an hour or so after an intense workout is sensible. Regarding pre-workout, if you ate a carby meal the night before, then glycogen stores should be at least partially replenished, but if it makes you feel more confident about your workout, keep doing it.

      Just fast on non-training days if it works for you

  33. Hi, what happens to your body if you go over the 16hrs of fasting?. I basical train every day and my 8 hrs of eating are normally between 1pm to 9pm. Sometimes i dont get to eat until 1.30 to 1.45pm. Will my body start to store fat if i dont eat within that 16hrs?

    • hi Claire

      No, you won’t start to store fat. Ideally, you want to take on some protein within an hour or so of training to prevent muscle loss, but if you fast for 16,17,18 hours, or even 20, it’s no big deal.

      Find what works for you best and stick with that

  34. GM!
    I weight train on M,W, F @5AM and run 4 miles on T,THURS, SAT. On my 16/8 fasting my times will be 12-8. Can I still have my Bulletproof coffee in the AM or do I need to leave out the MCT oils and butter? I’ve been restricting my carbs to 25 but from what I’m reading I need to increase that. Thanks for any input.
    Also, since I train so early, will I need to hold off on my protein shake until noon?

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