Are you planning to do intermittent fasting for weight loss? Here is what you should know

By Sunaina Sindhwani

Intermittent fasting is not just a weight-loss strategy or a hack that bodybuilders use to lose fat quickly while maintaining lean muscle mass. Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of fasting and eating-and it’s recently become popular and most trendy in terms of weight loss in 2019. Intermittent fasting can provide significant results if it is done right, including weight loss, reversal of type 2 diabetes, and many other things. Plus, it can save your time and money.

Here we need to understand that we are not starving; we are fasting which means food is available to eat but we choose not to eat. At its very core, intermittent fasting simply allows the body to use its stored energy, by burning of excess body fat. Body fat is merely food energy that has been stored away. If you don’t eat your body will simply eat” its own fat for energy.

How to fast

Shorter fasts (<24 hours)


This involves fasting daily for 16 hours. It is also referred to as an 8-hour window. You eat all meals within an 8-hour period. This is generally done daily or almost daily.


This involves a 4-hour eating window and 20 hours fast. For example, you might eat between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm and fast for the other 20 hours. It would involve eating one large or meal or two smaller meals within this period.

Longer fasts (>24 hours)

24 hours fast

It involves fasting from dinner to dinner or (lunch to lunch). It is also known as “one meal a day” or OMAD. It is generally done 2-3 times a week.

5:2 fast

This is with most scientific support. This 5:2 fast involves five regular eating days and 2 fasting days. However, on these two days, you are allowed to eat 500 calories each day. These calories can be consumed at any time during the day-either spread throughout the day or as a single meal.

Alternate-day fasting

Another related approach to 5:2 is to have “fasting days with 500 calories not just twice a week, but every other day.

36-hours fast

It involves fasting for the entire day. For example, if you eat dinner on day 1, you would fast for all of the day to and not eat again until breakfast on day 3. This is generally 36 hours of fasting. This might provide a more powerful weight loss benefit and may help avoid the temptation to overeat dinner on day 2

However, there are some risks involved with fasting for more than 24 hour.

Who should not fast? 

  • Underweight (BMI>18.5) or have an eating disorder like anorexia
  • Pregnant women
  • Breast Feeding women
  • A child under 18

Important Note: In all fasting conditions, always consult your physician first, before you start.


Author Bio: Sunaina Sindhwani is a clinical skin specialist and nutritionist and wellness expert. She is serving the society for almost two decades. She is an author of a very well-known book, “I Breathe Last for You.”