Intermittent fasting: which pattern suits you best?
With intermittent fasting, you don’t have to give up your favourite foods. It’s the time at which you eat which is important. From a historical perspective, this is not unusual for humans. Hunters returning empty-handed had to go hungry. Although involuntary, this meant that people in the past were fasting intermittently on a practically permanent basis. For this reason, fasting from time to time does not pose a problem to our bodies.
The 5:2 pattern
Eat normally for five days a week and ‘partly fast’ for two.
On five days a week you eat normally, on two days you ‘partly fast’. This is the best form of fasting for those who can't imagine not eating for a whole day. During the two days of fasting, you only consume 25% of the normal number of calories. For women this is 500 kcal, and for men 600 kcal. But no carbohydrates or fast food are permitted on these days. Perfect on these days are green smoothies, soups, any amount of vegetables and steamed fish.
The best solution is to always fast on the same days each week, as this enables the body to get used to these days. And even at the weekend, if possible, in order that you have enough energy for your work. You can still do sport, but it’s better to do more gentle activities such as yoga, Pilates or easy cycling – not strenuous workouts.
The 5:2 pattern has one small downside: due to the calorie intake, the fasting effect (autophagy) is not achieved and fat reduction is delayed. In addition, the body gets used to whole fasting days more quickly than it does to smaller meals.
The 16:8 pattern
Fast for 16 hours of the day, and eat normally for the remaining 8 hours.
The 16:8 pattern is ideal for beginners, since you fast for 16 hours of the day, and eat normally for the remaining 8 hours. This means, for example, that you eat dinner at 6.00 pm and eat breakfast the next day at 10.00 am. Or you eat later in the evening and miss out breakfast altogether. In any case, it’s advisable to schedule the 16 hours overnight, as 8 hours ideally are spent sleeping. During the remaining time, you can drink water, unsweetened tea or black coffee. Coffee suppresses hunger pangs and is therefore particularly popular with people who fast.
The good thing is that in the 8 hours when you’re allowed to eat, you don’t have to miss out on certain foods or count calories. Of course it’s advisable to follow your normal eating habits and not to overeat or fill up on sugary products.
Why 16 hours?
After 16 hours of fasting, the autophagy process takes place, i.e. the cells are taken away with the garbage. The 16 hours thereby serve as a time out for the body and relieve the gut at the same time. This makes fasting easy and socially feasible.
Intermittent fasting as a kick start
Which people are best suited to which pattern depends on the individual. The only way is to give it a try. Basically, intermittent fasting is an alternative way of kick-starting healthy weight loss and makes it easier to achieve results. However, it mustn’t be forgotten that a healthy lifestyle is essential. This includes a healthy diet, daily exercise and relaxation.
Green smoothie recipe
Ingredients for 2 portions
- 1 banana
- ½ avocado
- 4 handfuls of spinach, kale or lamb’s lettuce
- 2 oranges, juiced
- 1 cup water
- 4 dates, without stones
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
It couldn't be easier! Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix for 30-60 seconds. Done. Add a little water if required and a dash of agave syrup for added sweetness. Perfect for a healthy start to the day or as a pick-up when you need it. Easy to transport in the practical “To-Go” bottle.