Intermittent Fasting. What is it? How does it work?

8 Hour Intermittent Fasting Diet

First let me say that I am a huge fan of Intermittent Fasting. Specifically, the 8 Hour Diet. In fact, it’s helped me to lose 20 pounds and counting over the past several months. So, what is Intermittent Fasting and how does it work? Let me explain. Intuitively thinking about human evolution, intermittent fasting is more natural way of eating versus our present day 3 to 4 meals per day. That’s because historically we began as hunter-gatherers. Essentially on an intermittent diet plan, you eat within a limited time period each 24-hour day. Fans (like me) agree that it’s a simple hack for curbing late night snacking and/or glass of wine that packs on calories…think brushing your teeth after dinner so you won’t be tempted to eat…

The most popular Intermittent Fasting Diets are:

The 16/8 Diet: On this diet you eat 8 hours a day and fast for the remaining 16 hours. Note during these 16 hours you can have unsweetened beverages like water, coffee, and tea. Plus, drinking plenty of water will help keep you hydrated and feeling full.

5/2 Diet: On this diet you eat 500–600 calories on two, non-consecutive 24 hour days of the week. Then, eat normally the other 5 days.

Most people like me find the 16/8 method to be the easiest and most sustainable to stick with—both short and long term. And, it’s also the most popular too. In terms of health, 16/8 intermittent fasting has been associated with a long list of benefits, including:

  • Increased weight loss. Not only does restricting your intake to a few hours per day help reduce daily caloric intake, but studies show fasting boosts your metabolism and increases weight loss
  • Improved blood sugar control. Intermittent fasting has been found to reduce fasting insulin levels by up to 31% and lower blood sugar by 3–6%, which decreases your risk of diabetes
  • Enhanced longevity. Although evidence in humans is limited, some animal studies have found that intermittent fasting may extend longevity

If your work schedule prevents you from eating within an eight-hour window, try ten, as it’s still a good entry point for weight loss. For example, you would have your first meal of the day at 8 A.M. and last meal by 6 P.M. (This alone could reduce overall calorie intake, especially since research shows many Americans eat off and on for around 15 hours a day.)

I believe it’s important to stick to nutritious whole foods and beverages during your eating periods for healthy benefits. I’ve chosen to eat 1500 calories per day sticking with a Mediterranean Diet. It’s a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and it includes less dairy and meat than a typical Western diet. To learn more, visit

With any healthy meal plan try to fill up on nutrient-rich foods, balancing each meal with a variety of healthy whole foods including: 

  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, peaches, pears, etc.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, etc.
  • Whole Grains: Quinoa, rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, etc.
  • Healthy Fats: Olive oil, avocados and coconut oil
  • Sources of Protein: Meat, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.

The old adage “Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess, and dinner like a pauper” still holds true. Even if you’re cutting off your eating earlier in the evening, it’s better to eat your bigger meals earlier in the day. That way your body can digest most efficiently.

Good luck with your weight loss journey. Meanwhile, our high waist compression leggings do help to make you feel pulled in just right. 

Linda LaRue, RN MEd, ATC, Founder, American Fitness Couture