The fasting window

by - April 17, 2019

“The fasting window” is a term in intermittent fasting that refers to the period when one is staying away from food, either absolutely or just adhering to some restrictions.

The fasting window is dependent on the style of intermittent fasting one decides to adopt. There are about 6 more popular types, let’s explore them a bit.

The 16/8 method

The 16/8 method involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours, and restricting your daily "eating window" to 8-10 hours. The fasting window therefore lasts 16 hours. Doing this method of fasting can actually be as simple as not eating anything after dinner, and skipping breakfast. For example, if you finish your last meal at 8 pm and then don't eat until 12 noon the next day, then you are technically fasting for 16 hours between meals.

The 5:2 diet

The 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days of the week, while restricting calories to 500-600(25% the normal intake) on two days of the week. On the fasting days, it is recommended that women eat 500 calories, and men 600 calories. For example, you might eat normally on all days except Mondays and Thursdays, where you eat two small meals (250 calories per meal for women, and 300 for men). The fasting window here is therefore those two days where calorie intake is restricted.

Eat-stop-eat diet

Eat-Stop-Eat involves a 24-hour fast, either once or twice per week. By fasting from dinner one day, to dinner the next, this amounts to a 24-hour fast. For example, if you eat dinner at from 8 to 9pm on Sunday, you don’t eat again till 9pm on Monday. This means you have abstained from food for 24 hours and that is the fasting window. You can also fast from breakfast to breakfast, or lunch to lunch. The end result is the same.

Alternate-day fasting

Alternate-day fasting means fasting every other day, either by not eating anything or only eating a few hundred calories. The fasting window is this is not clear cut and is largely decided by the one doing the fasting. No strict timing or rules.

The warrior Diet

The warrior diet involves fasting during the day and eating a huge meal at night. During the fasting window, which is in the day, you are expected to eat raw vegetables and fruits, and then at night, you then consume the big meal.

Spontaneous meal skipping

This involves skipping meals when convenient. Here, you’re not expected to follow a structured fasting plan but can always just skip a meal when convenient; either you’re not hungry or eating/getting a meal is not just handy at the time. The fasting window here is also determined by the one doing the fasting.

What do you do during the fasting window:

After knowing what the fasting window really means and how to identify it in whatever plan you’re on, the next thing to know is what to do during that period of time.

The first is to conserve your energy at all cost. During the fasting window, your body now has to depend on the already stored up fat to burn for energy as there are no fresh sources. This means that engaging in vigorous physical activities will deplete that storage faster and there’ll be little left to cover the period of the fast. To avoid this, conserve that energy by avoiding those tasks and/or exercises that require much energy.

The next thing to do is to watch your body. Especially if you’re new to the fast, pay attention to how your body reacts . Every negative reaction the body has should be reported to your doctor so as to receive proper medical advice. Some reactions such as tiredness, irritability and lightheadedness are quite common and expected, but should be reported, just to be extra sure.

The final thing is to know what to eat/ drinks during the period, to avoid “breaking” the fast.

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