16/8 or 18/6? What are the pitfalls and advantages?

This wasn’t always the case, though. When I first started fasting, I went in blindly, not doing enough of my research. I was following the crowd and doing what’s popular.
As with any experience, especially when it comes to nutrition and dieting, educated experience is the catalyst of it all. Failing has allowed me to fast track my IF results and stick to my routine.
One of the worst things anyone can do is not listen to their own body. Our instinct is here to help guide us towards what works and caution us to what won’t. I often wonder why most of us do not listen and believe that there is always an element of distrust in something we don’t fully understand.
Fasting may be a fat loss strategy, but it’s also a spiritual pathway. It explains why fasting is so popular amongst many religions. Even if you are not a believer, having peace and trusting yourself is something that fasting slowly develops within you. I know it may seem a bit “woo woo”, but it’s not something people talk about, as it kind of sneaks up behind you. I found it to be a wonderful byproduct of the fasting journey.
Let’s look at some popular fasting times and how they can be of benefit to different goals.

Most popular fasting time frame 16/8

Many books and resource material contain lots of information about 16/8, and it’s encouraged by many fitness professionals. Many bodybuilders adapt to this time frame because it allows them a window of nutritional opportunity and makes it easier to maintain a very low body fat percentage.
Going without any food for 16 hours is relatively easy when you are experienced with fasting. Most people like this window, allowing them to worry less about nutrition during peak working hours and have a nice meal with friends and family at home. I always say that eating in a relaxed state is the best way to enjoy a meal.
I’m not a fan of 16-hour fasts regularly. When I am having a group lunch with friends, it’s beneficial. Because this is not my usual time, I do not get many benefits out of it, as my appetite diminishes during particular times of the day. This is not to say 16/8 isn’t a good alternative. As you travel down the road of fasting, you will develop your favourite peak times and notice different benefits from each one.

Middle ground 18/6

This time doesn’t leave a lot of opportunity for nutritional uptake – but this doesn’t bother me at all. I pivot between 17–17.5 hours, depending on what I’m doing at a particular time.
Like an 18 hour fast because I’m only actively hungry at a particular time in the day. I prefer to get all of my nutritional needs met during the time I need them the most. This fasting timeframe is very close to the famous “warrior diet”, which is the big 20 hours fast. Eighteen hours feels like it’s almost in that pivotal fat-burning peak.
I would eat a lot more than I needed for a while and wondered why I was putting on body fat. Fasting does provide weight loss, but you can get stuck into that fat accumulation rabbit hole when you overeat and not monitor your food habits closely. It takes a lot of self-awareness to become brutally honest with yourself about portion sizes.
I mention this because longer fasting times can leave us a lot more susceptible to binge eating. Some people will disagree with this statement, but I must bring it to your attention – as this has happened to me.
Suppose you find that you are binge eating or trying hard to shovel a considerable amount of food in a limited time. In that case, it may be a better option to stick with the shorter fasting hours regularly and perhaps integrate a couple of longer fasting days in between. That could work very well for you.

What fasting timeframe works best for you

While I have tried all the different fasting times, there is no right or wrong. Allowing yourself the time to try out various alternatives can help you decide what would be best.
Perhaps my favourite part of fasting is that it’s very flexible, and no matter what time you choose, it still works quite well. The key is to monitor what you are eating and keep on exercising. As you get into the fasting groove, you will be more inclined to determine what to stick with.

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