Last Updated on May 27, 2021 by Lori Geurin
In this post, I’ll give you some real life examples of intermittent fasting schedules.
As you read through the examples, please keep in mind that the beauty of fasting is that you can design the schedule that fits your life. These are only examples. Experiment with different fasting options to find the ones that are right for you.
This may take a little time but you have your whole life ahead of you and there’s no rush to get everything figured out today. Keep your focus on clean fasting from the beginning. Then, after fasting for a few days/weeks/months you can try out different schedules to find the best combination that works best for you!
The sample schedules below show time-restricted eating (TRE) patterns. They’re focused on different IF schedules for eating all of your food for the day.
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22 Intermittent Fasting Schedules For Real Life
Wondering about the best way to do intermittent fasting (IF)? Here are several different ways to do IF. Having a plan for when you’re going to eat (and not eat) can make a huge difference in your fasting results.
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1. 14:10 Plan – fast for 14 hours / eat within a 10-hour window
- Eat all of your meals between 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- You eat all of your meals between 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Eat all of your meals between 3:00 p.m. – 1 a.m.
2. 16:8 Plan – fast for 16 hours / eat within an 8-hour window
- Eat all of your meals between 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- You eat all of your meals between 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Eat all of your meals between 3:00 p.m. – 11 p.m.
3. 18:6 Plan – fast for 18 hours / eat within a 6-hour window
- Eat all of your meals between 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- You eat all of your meals between 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Eat all of your meals between 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
4. OMAD Plan – One Meal A Day
- 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Open your eating window with a healthy coffee drink, and finish eating your main meal by 11:00 a.m.
- 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Open your window with a small snack, followed by your main meal at 5:30 p.m., then finish eating dessert by 8:00 p.m. (my personal favorite schedule for OMAD fasting)
- 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Eat your main meal between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.
- 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Eat your main meal at 1:00 p.m. and finish eating dessert by 4:00 p.m.
5. 5:2 Diet Plan – eat normally 5 days a week and “fast” 2 days a week
(not technically fasting because you’re still eating food on your “fasting” days, but I’m including it here because it does offer health benefits, just tends to be more difficult to follow for many people)
- Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday – eat normally; Monday and Thursday – Women: 500 calories; Men: 600 calories
- Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday – eat normally; Tuesday and Friday – Women: 500 calories; Men: 600 calories
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – eat normally; Sunday and Wednesday – Women: 500 calories; Men: 600 calories
6. Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF) Plan – up-day (feasting), down-day (fasting)
Make sure you always follow a down-day with an up-day.
- Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – up-day (eat normally); Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday – down-day (fasting all day)
- Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday – up-day (eat normally); Wednesday and Friday – down-day (fasting all day)
- Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – up-day (eat normally); Wednesday – down-day (fasting all day)
7. Random Meal Skipping Plan
- Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day except skip breakfast on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- You eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day except skip breakfast and lunch on Tuesday and Thursday.
- Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day except skip dinner on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
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Intermittent Fasting Rules
During your fasting window you can have:
- plain or mineral water, sparkling water, club soda
- black coffee
- unsweetened tea
- electrolytes and salt (sea salt or pink Himalayan salt are good options)
- prescription medications
You may want to learn more about clean fasting foods.
What is the best schedule for intermittent fasting?
Totally up to you! These sample intermittent fasting schedules are only for reference. So try a few and see what works best for your personality and lifestyle. This will make it IF sustainable as a long-term lifestyle.
Is 12 hours between meals considered intermittent fasting?
Yes, doing a 12-hour fast is what a lot of people call circadian rhythm fasting or the body clock diet. If you’ve never tried fasting before, or you’re trying to maintain (not lose) weight you may love this fasting schedule.
You may have even done a 12-hour fast before (many times!) and not realized you were doing it. This is what makes a circadian fast a great place to start.
(Find out how intermittent fasting eliminated my reactive hypoglycemia symptoms for good.)
Should I intermittent fast every day?
Again, it’s totally up to you! As long as you’re eating healthy most of the time (during your eating window) you should be fine to do some form of fasting each day. Or just one or two days a week…whatever fits your lifestyle.
Is it better to fast in the morning or at night?
A lot of people find that fasting in the morning works well because the majority of their fast is spent while sleeping. But you can get all the fasting benefits whenever you decide to carry out your fast.
Again you get to decide when your fasting begins and ends. You’re in the driver’s seat.
(You might like these 50 things to do instead of eating when you’re intermittent fasting.)
Is intermittent fasting healthy?
Yes, most definitely! Here’s a quick rundown of some of the benefits of intermittent fasting.
- lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes (1)
- increased life expectancy (2)
- reduced inflammation (3)
- may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease (4)
- decreased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (5)
- cancer prevention (6)
- boosts growth hormone (7)
- weight loss and belly fat loss (8)
- cellular repair through autophagy (9)
You may want to learn more about the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
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Summary – Intermittent Fasting Schedules
You can simplify your life with intermittent fasting because you spend less time prepping meals and shopping for groceries. In this chapter, we’ve covered 5 of the most popular intermittent fasting methods. Remember…there is no right or wrong way to do IF. You might want to try a couple of different methods before you find the one (or ones) you like the best. The beauty of fasting is that you can design it to fit your life and schedule.
If you’re just starting out you may want to start with something less demanding like the 14:10 or 16:8 before trying an OMAD fast.
If you’d like to know more about how to do intermittent fasting check out the Intermittent Fasting Guide: A Great Way To Lose Weight and 12 Intermittent Fasting Tips Perfect For Beginners.
Do you have a favorite intermittent fasting schedule? Share below!