If you’re looking for the easiest way to get started with intermittent fasting, the 12-hour intermittent fasting method might be for you!
Whether you’re looking to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle or you’re working if a 12-hour fast is long enough to reap the benefits, this post will explain it all.
First, you should consult a licensed medical physician before jumping into intermittent fasting. IF isn’t for everyone, and therefore, it’s something to discuss with a licensed professional.
The purpose of this post is to give you a simplified and practical version of the 12-hour fasting method; it is not to provide any professional/medical advice.
What is Intermittent Fasting 12:12
Fasting is when you omit to eat; so intermittent fasting is a pattern in which fasting and eating are cycled. The 12:12 fasting method refers to 12 hours of fasting (not eating) and a 12-hour window where you can eat your meals.
12:12 is an easy way to incorporate intermittent fasting into a busy lifestyle and one that is easy to stick with; since much of the “fasting” time is spent sleeping and naturally away from food.
For women, this is also a flexible enough eating/fasting pattern to keep up with the demands of a family, life, a job, and an active lifestyle.
What is the Minimum Time for Intermittent Fasting
I’ve often asked myself; how many hours should a woman intermittent fast? And the answer seems to be anywhere between 12 and 18 hours.
While the minimum time for intermittent fasting to be most efficient hasn’t been proven via a study (as of 2020) most of the research on the subject points that somewhere between 12 and 18 hours are beneficial.
Benefits of 12 Hour Fasting
The main benefits of a 12-hour fast are to help your body focus on cellular repair during the fasting period, gain mental health and clarity, reduce insulin resistance, and for many women, aid in weight loss.
The digestion of food, while it might seem simple, is quite an involved process for our bodies so when we provide our body with 12 hours without being involved in this activity, it can do other essential functions like repair cells and tissue, focus, increase energy, and more.
1. CELLULAR REPAIR
Much of the 12-hour fasting window will be spent sleeping, hopefully 7-8 hours of it, and during this time, your body can begin to repair its cells and enter essential hormonal cycles.
Providing our bodies with enough time to recover (focus on cellular repair) also helps our cells shed waste (a process called autophagy). Studies have shown this is an essential process for anti-aging.
2. MENTAL CLARITY & FOCUS
Want a productive morning? Fast. No, not the speed at which you try to get things done; I’m referring to omitting from eating and allowing your brain to focus on the task at hand.
A delicious and effective way to prolong fasting and increase your mental clarity and focus is to enjoy a cup of bulletproof coffee after a 12 hour fast.
3. WEIGHT LOSS
The #1 reason many women incorporate intermittent fasting into their daily schedule is weight loss.
Many have found that instead of depriving themselves of food; simply restricting the window in which food is consumed helps them achieve their weight loss goals.
It’s important to note that intermittent fasting is not a diet; it’s simply a period of time in which healthy foods can be enjoyed.
Choosing the 12:12 Intermittent Fasting Schedule
The main reason for choosing the 12:12 intermittent fasting schedule is the ease with which it can be incorporated into an active and busy lifestyle.
Not eating between 8 pm and 8 am doesn’t as difficult, in the beginning, if you work late, have a family, work out early in the morning, or simply get hungry and need to eat (this is common with athletes).
In the end, choosing a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle and day-to-day commitments and you can stick with consistently, is the one that will work best for you and yield better results.
How to Start 12 Hour Intermittent Fasting
If getting started with intermittent fasting is something that’s overwhelming because of the sheer amount of information out on the internet; having a practical guide to getting started as well as a food plan will be a great help.
Intermittent Fasting 101
Recipes, a meal plan, plus everything you need to jumpstart your intermittent fasting journey!
Best Way to Break a 12 Hour Fast
The best way to break a 12 hour fast is with a satiating and nutritious meal like a breakfast salad.
On the other hand, some of us break our 12-hour fast with a cup of bulletproof coffee.
This creamy and delicious drink helps me break my fast since unlike the black cup of coffee I drink in the morning while fasting, this one has calories and it helps me extend my fasting period by a couple of hours before I digest solid foods.
Read more about the benefits of MCT oil, which is used in this coffee.
12:12 Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan
Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods that give our bodies the nutrition it needs is the single most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to reaping the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Some people eat 3 meals a day while other 5 smaller meals. What you eat, as long as it’s nutritious and varied, isn’t as important as when you eat food during intermittent fasting.
Take a look at the intermittent fasting meal plan included inside the Intermittent Fasting for Women eBook.
The meals include a variety of fresh foods and most can be prepped ahead of time so you can have delicious and nutrient-dense food options ready after your 12 hour fast.
Watch this video to learn more about how to meal plan when you are doing 12:12 intermittent fasting.
Does 12 Hour Fasting Work?
While the benefits of fasting don’t have a “set time” where they show up for everyone, research shows and the experts agree that a 12-hour fast is a common threshold where individuals begin to see the benefits of fasting; from weight loss, improved mental focus, reduced inflammation, and more.
Perhaps the most important factor of when these benefits will kick in is an individual’s health and lifestyle habits. From health conditions, activity levels, gut health, and quality of diet.
For this reason, it’s recommended to eat a variety of healthy foods while intermittent fasting so the body is receiving the proper nutrition it needs to function at its best.
As a little reminder, intermittent fasting is not a diet plan, and you should not reduce the calories your body needs while intermittent fasting.