When it comes to enjoying delicious foods while staying lean and healthy, setting up an intermittent fasting schedule has been the biggest secret to my success.
In my opinion, having a schedule to follow is one of the easiest ways to support a health journey that incorporates intermittent fasting.
I want to first note that you should first consult a licensed medical physician if you decide to follow an intermittent fasting schedule. IF isn’t for everyone and therefore, it’s something to discuss with a professional.
The purpose of this post is to give you an overview of IF schedules, not to provide any professional/medical advice.
That said, I’m going to assume you’re here because you’ve either been tinkering with the idea of IF or are trying to come up with a more consistent way of sticking with it and incorporate it into your everyday routine.
If you’re totally new to intermittent fasting, read this post first, it’s everything you need to know about IF, and then come back to learn about creating a schedule.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting doesn’t mean skipping meals. It just limits the amount of time in the day in which food is consumed. Then, during the hours spent not eating, the body enters a “fasted state” where it burns fat for energy.
How to Do Intermittent Fasting
The first step to begin intermittent fasting is to set a schedule. For me, someone that is constantly on-the-go and in the kitchen (even for my job!), I find that following extremely long fasting periods can be difficult -for me and many for women.
I personally follow a 12-16 hour period, but you should pick a schedule that works best for your routine. Then, all you have to do is refrain from eating during that set intermittent fasting scheduled window.
When to Fast
When setting an intermittent fasting schedule, the exact times you stop and start eating aren’t crucial – it’s what works for your lifestyle.
For women, I recommend beginning a fast around 7 pm and ending the fast around 12 pm the next day.
Fasting during this time means we can get through our busy mornings without stopping to cook, eat, and clean. It’s epic for increasing productivity!
That said, as long as you are not eating for at least twelve hours, you can eat and fast whenever you choose!
Finding a Fasting Schedule
When it comes to setting a schedule for intermittent fasting, there are several common options, including:
- 12 to 16-hour fasts, daily
- 24-hour fasts, once or twice a week
- 5:2 fasts, 5 days eating, 2 full-day fasts, meaning you fully reduce calories twice per week
To find an intermittent fasting schedule, start by evaluating when it will be easy and beneficial not to eat.
Some things to consider:
- Wake-up time
- Kid/spouse morning schedule
- When do you start feeling hunger?
- Exercising routine, timing, and duration
I’ve found that it’s easiest for women to fast in the morning as we hurry to make breakfast, pack lunches, and take care of the household.
Most of us can have a cup of bulletproof coffee to hold us over until lunchtime where we open up our eating window. This of course varies by person.
If you’re interested in Intermittent Fasting but need help getting started – or sticking with it – I’ve written a book about Intermittent Fasting for Women. It covers what you need to know to successfully fast, finding the schedule that will work with you, and includes a 1-week meal plan so you can be confident you’re getting the nutrition and fuel your body needs during your eating windows.
Sample Intermittent Fasting Schedule
12-hour daily fast:
- 8 pm to 8 am fasting period
- 8 am to 8 pm eating window
16-hour daily fast:
- 8 pm to 12-noon fasting period
- 12-noon to 8 pm eating window
- pick 1 day per week and fast for a 24 hour period
- 8 am to 8 am, fasting for a full day
- pick 2 days per week and fast for a 24 hour period
- can be consecutive (back-to-back) or non-consecutive (skipping days) based on what works for your schedule.
- 8 am to 8 am, fasting for a full day
Alternate Day Fasting
This fasting schedule alternates days and weeks. The easiest way to follow is to think of this as eat, fast, eat, fast, eat, fast… etc.
- Week 1:
Fast: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
Eat: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
- Week 2:
Fast: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Eat: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
Related: How to Start Intermittent Fasting
How Many Days a Week to Fast
Depending on your chosen schedule, you can practice intermittent fasting anywhere from every day to once a week.
The popular thought is to implement daily fasting. In my opinion, a daily fasting schedule allows for consistency in our day, which is one of the most important reasons for success with any health routine.
Following a consistent schedule, regardless of which one you pick, can help avoid feeling depleted of energy or feeling like you’re riding a rollercoaster. It will also train your body to burn fat while also having enough energy to tackle everyday tasks.
Intermittent Fasting Rules & Benefits
I’ve written an entire article on intermittent fasting for women that explains the many benefits. The unique advantage of the diet is that it does not require harmful calorie restriction to see results.
I’ve also written about what you can eat or drink while intermittent fasting with a suggested list of the best food and drinks to include in your diet for optimum health.
The main point here is that intermittent fasting can be extremely beneficial for women. The practice can easily be fit into any schedule and allows us to stay fit and healthy without sacrificing calories.