Intermittent Fasting – The Best Weight Loss Diet Plan?

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There are many diet plans and philosophies. Some are trendy for a few months/years, some stay for a long time. Some are better, some are worse and many claim that this and that is the best diet plan. But is there such a thing as the best one?

I think there is and it is really simple. The best weight loss diet plan is the one you can stick to. It should allow you to easily create an energy deficit but still allow you to eat foods you enjoy. For me, it could be the intermittent fasting so that is what I will write about in this post.

What Is Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting (I.F. or simply IF) is a diet style where you alternate periods of eating and periods of fasting. The length of the fasting period can be anywhere from 14 to 24 hours and you shouldn’t consume any calories or only very little. The basic idea is to reduce consumed calories and achieve caloric deficit which is needed to achieve weight loss.

Very Important Note

Feeding window shouldn’t be seen as feast where you can eat all you want, thinking you’ve earned it because you have fasted last x hours! This is probably the No. 1 mistake people make with intermittent fasting. You should eat to your hunger meaning stop when you are satisfied, meaning stop eating that cheesecake even if it’s so delicious.


Intermittent Fasting Protocols

There are various ways how to implement intermittent fasting and all of them can work but it depends on the individual and his preferences. The most popular probably are:

Eat – Stop – Eat

Eat – Stop – Eat was founded and popularized by Brad Pilon, MSc. This method demands one or two 24 hours fasts during a week. Let’s say your last meal on Monday was dinner at 8:00 PM, so you will fast whole Tuesday until dinner 8:00 PM. And you could repeat the same for another day in the week, for example from Thursday evening to Friday evening. Or you can do it from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch.

Eating during fasting phase is forbidden, of course, but you can drink water, coffee or other non-caloric beverages. I think that a splash of milk in your coffee would be OK too.

The Alternate Day Diet

The Alternate Day Diet was created by James Johnson, M.D. and is also known as UpDayDownDay Diet™. You would alternate days with normal caloric intake (Up Days) and restricted caloric intake (Down Days).

If your goal is the fat loss you should consume between 20 – 40% of your normal intake on DownDays. To give you an example, my normal caloric intake is around 2000 kcal, it would look something like this: 2000 kcal on Monday, 400 – 800 kcal on Tuesday, 2000 kcal on Wednesday, 400 – 800 kcal on Thursday and so on.

Omega Blueprint

Omega Blueprint, previously known as Fat Loss Forever, is one of the newest approaches to intermittent fasting and combines parts of Eat – Stop – Eat, Leangains and The Warrior Diet. It was created by John Romaniello.

Every week you are allowed to have a one cheat day which is then followed by 36 hours fast. The rest of the week-long cycle is a mix of different fasting protocols. Authors recommend leaving the longest fast on your busiest day of the week.

The 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 Diet, also known as The Fast Diet was popularized by Michael Mosley. As the name suggests you would eat normally five days a week and restrict your intake for two days.

The recommended intake on fast days is 500 kcal for women and 600 kcal for men. You should spread this intake into two smaller meals which means two 250 kcal meals for women and 300 kcal for men.

The Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet was created by Ori Hofmekler. This is the first diet that broke the rules of classic bodybuilding diet (eating every two to three hours and avoiding hunger because you would lose muscle) and it introduced intermittent fasting. It is 20/4 method which means 20 hours of under-eating (including your sleep) and 4 hours of over-eating.

During the under-eating phase, you should go from very light and watery foods (water, tea, coffee, etc.) in the morning, to light snacks (whey protein, fruit, yogurt, etc.) during the day. And at night switch to large cooked paleo-style meals.

Quoting Ori Hofmekler: “Go lower on the food chain, foods that existed 10,000 years ago like fruits, vegetables, legumes, root vegetables, good dairy from pasture-raised animals, eggs from free-range chicken, and wild caught fish. You just can’t go wrong.”

Leangains

Leangains was created and popularized by Martin Berkhan. This method uses 18-hour fast window and 8-hour feeding window (14 and 10 for women). It is recommended to eat two or three meals during the feeding phase. I’ve tried both and prefer the three meals. During the fasting phase, you can drink anything non-caloric (water, coffee etc.)

The basic implementation is really simple, you just skip breakfast or dinner. It is more recommended to skip breakfast because most people are busier in the morning so they have less time to think about food:) Also it is easier to fall asleep when you are fed. But ultimately, it depends on your preference and schedule.

There are also finer details you should adhere to, to keep the Leangains protocol:

  • have your feeding window at the same time of the day
  • caloric intake fluctuates between training and rest days – it’s higher on training days and lower on rest days
  • there’s also a difference in fat and carbohydrate intake – fats are higher on rest days and lower on training days, carbohydrates the other way around.

This is the protocol I’m using although a more relaxed version of it. I will probably write an article about “my” version in the future.


Thank you for reading, hope you’ve found this post informative. If you have any experience with intermittent fasting or any question regarding it, please feel free to leave a comment:)

8 Comments

  1. NemiraB

    Hi, I see here various diets which remind me that sooner or later more and more people turn to habits of their ancestors.
    You mentioned that you consume 2000 calories. I think that is normal and could keep the weight at the check point.
    Anyway, we all different. Our bodies different because you can not find two people with the same DNA.
    It means that diets would be different for big one or for a petite woman.
    Overall, people eat to much. They snack time from time. The liver does not have rest at all. It happens because this organ needs to excrete enzymes constantly.
    I wish that people would think more what do they eat. Your mentioned diets could help them to reach normal weight.
    All the best, Nemira.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Nemira,

      I can only agree with you. As you wrote, nutrition is different for various people. One has to take into account their size/build, how active they are, what is their goal, their preferences etc. If you are interested you are welcome to read my article about calculating calories.

      For example one of my friends eats 6 – 7 meals a day, but they are small. I prefer only 2 – 3 meals but they are much more satisfying for me because they are big.

      Thanks for the comment;)

      Marek

      Reply
  2. NemiraB

    You are welcome. Thanks to my parents or genetics, I can keep the weight in a reasonable way. Anyway to gain the weight is so easy. Just now I got two bowls of soup. It was so good. The strong will is not my best trait. All the best educating people about various diets.
    Nemira.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Ou yeah, gaining weight is also too easy for me, especially when my wife and mother in law are such a good cooks:D
      Thanks again.
      Marek

      Reply
  3. Guy

    That’s the kind of diet I personally practice. I discovered this through Eat Stop Eat like you mentioned and there was also a bodybuilder guide called the Renegade Diet that is pretty much similar to Eat Stop Eat.

    I was convinced of that kind of diet when I saw a video of the actor who interpret Wolverine. That’s the kind of diet he was following. You eat protein and reasonable carb during a certain window of time and then stop eating for 14 hours. That’s what I personally do.

    Reply
    1. Marek (Post author)

      Hello Guy,

      great to hear it works for you:) Yeah I’ve read the article about Hugh Jackman following intermittent fasting.

      Thanks for dropping by;)

      Marek

      Reply
  4. Nick

    The Leangains version of IF sounds perfect for me because I rarely eat breakfast anyway. I think that with a little discipline and some focus, this could really help me out a lot. I am trying to lost about 10 pounds and get back down to 170lb.

    I had no idea that there were so many different variations on intermittent fasting. Which one do you prefer?

    Reply
    1. Marek (Post author)

      Hello Nick!

      Yeah, there are a lot of variations of the IF. I’m on the Leangains for about 3 years now and it is just great. First few days were a bit weird without breakfast but once you get use to that, you won’t look back.

      Be sure to check my diet setup guide, it can really help you with your get fit journey;)

      All the best,
      Marek

      Reply

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