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
- Digital Kitchen Scales – These are my faves over on Amazon
- Notebook or tracking app
- Spreadsheet for recording progress, I like Google Sheets the best
- ACCURATE bathroom scales for occasional use. These are the ones I like and use, they are on Amazon too.
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 and 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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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
As 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?