16-8 Intermittent Fasting Starter Guide

April 25, 2024 9 mins to read
Share

16 8 Intermittent fasting involves fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8-hour window, each day. Benefits include: weight-loss (increased metabolism), improved insulin sensitivity (Pre & Type 2 Diabetes) and gut health, as well as reduced inflammation, cellular repair and it promotes longevity. How you break the fast, meal composition and nutrient intake is important.

ATTENTION! Fasting isn’t without it’s risks…for example those with diabetes could be at risk of dangerously low blood sugar levels. It’s highly recommended you start fasting under advisement of a professional. Let a nutrition professional help you get set-up for success, and ensure that you get the right nutrition to fast safely.

Eating Window | 16 8 Intermittent Fasting

Select an 8-hour eating window; after that no eating! I find the easiest method is to fast overnight, skip breakfast and eat a late lunch (1 PM to 9 PM), or if you go to sleep early your eating window might be 10 AM to 6 PM. Find what works best for your lifestyle!

Don’t Sweat it! Start Slow!

If you can easily (cold turkey) fast 16 hours, then go for it! But if you are new to fasting and find it challenging…tryout a smaller 12 hour fasting window first. Then gradually extend the fast over several days or weeks. If you get discouraged or slip up and break your fast, cut yourself some slack, take a break and pick it back up the next day! Remember…no one’s perfect!

Stay Hydrated | 16 8 Intermittent Fasting

During the fasting period you can drink water and tea. Herbal teas are an opportunity to add nutrition and get even more health benefits! Burdock root tea is nutrient dense and a great option for fasting. Carbonated spring water can help when you’re really hungry!

Supercharge Fasting with Herbal Teas

Here is a list of some of the most nutrient dense teas, including some from alternative medicine, Chinese medicine, ayurvedic medicine and some lesser known exotic teas; remember to get organic whenever possible:

  1. Burdock Root Tea: Supports liver health, aids digestion, and improves skin conditions like acne and eczema.
  2. Moringa Tea: Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, moringa tea offers numerous health benefits including improved immune function, reduced inflammation, and enhanced energy levels.
  3. Green Tea (Chinese Medicine): Boosts brain function, aids weight loss, lowers heart disease risk, and has a calming effect.
  4. Matcha Green Tea (Ceremonial Grade – Organic): Provides sustained energy, concentration support, and relaxation due to its unique blend of antioxidants and L-theanine, while also aiding in detoxification, metabolism, and cognitive function.
  5. Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea (Ayurvedic Medicine): Reduces stress, boosts immunity, and supports respiratory health.
  6. Chamomile Tea (Traditional Medicine): Calms nerves, promotes relaxation, aids digestion, relieves stress, and improves sleep quality.
  7. Butterfly Pea Flower Tea: Known for its vibrant blue color, butterfly pea flower tea is high in antioxidants and may support cognitive function, promote healthy hair and skin, and aid digestion.
  8. Guayusa Tea: Native to the Amazon rainforest, guayusa tea is high in antioxidants and contains caffeine. It provides a smooth and sustained energy boost without the jitters and crashes associated with coffee, making it an excellent choice for sustained focus and alertness.

Add Electrolytes

Electrolyte balance can be a bit of an issue on a one meal a day diet…During fasting periods or extended periods between meals, electrolyte levels can become depleted through sweat, urine, and other bodily functions. This can lead to symptoms like fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, and dizziness. Some of the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance (deficiency) include:

  1. Muscle Issues: Weakness, cramps, or spasms.
  2. Fatigue: Feeling overly tired.
  3. Heartbeat Changes: Irregular or fast heartbeat.
  4. Stomach Problems: Nausea or vomiting.
  5. Confusion or Brain Fog: Difficulty thinking clearly.
  6. Headaches: Pain in the head.
  7. Dizziness: Feeling unsteady.
  8. Thirst: Feeling very thirsty.
  9. Tingling or Numbness: Strange sensations in the body.

Supplementing daily (sodium, potassium and magnesium) can be beneficial, because electrolytes help maintain: proper hydration, nerve function, muscle function, and overall body balance. You can get an electrolyte drink mix like Dr. Wallachs ElectroFuel, or you can go more natural by simple adding a pinch of celtic sea salt or baja gold sea salt to a glass of water once per day; probably the more affordable solution long-term.

Plan Your Meal | 16 8 Intermittent Fasting

Fitting your nutrition into 2 meals, instead of 3, isn’t all that difficult…especially if you add more nutrient dense foods to your diet; at least it’s easier than the OMAD diet. Still, it can be challenging if you’re used to eating 3 big meals and snacks, to ensure you’re getting adequate intake, of both macro-nutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) and micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients). Make it easier to meet your nutritional needs, include nutrient dense foods like: grass-fed meats, healthy fats, complex carbs and adequate fiber.

Feel Full Longer

Your meal composition goes a long way towards how full you feel…protein takes longer to digest, which means you feel full longer…so try to make sure your meals include plenty of protein and healthy fats. You have an 8hr eating window – if you want to snack then make it healthy! Snack on things like mixed nuts, or even hard boiled eggs; easy to batch prepare ahead of time. Be aware that extreme hunger pains and “carb cravings” could indicate something else is going on (read below).

Add Nutrient Dense Superfoods

n order to ensure adequate nutrient intake, add in super-foods like (organic) moringa, spirulina, organ meats (beef liver especially), organic eggs, wild caught fish, etc. Supplements are also very useful, and can fit all budgets. As a nutrition professional, one of my go to supplements for clients doing 16 8 intermittent fasting is a Dr. Wallachs plant mineral complex (100% all-natural) which contains roughly 72 of the 91 essential nutrients vital for optimal health.

Make It Tasty

I really like the idea of motivating and rewarding yourself for sticking to the diet! Personally, when I do intermittent fasting, I order bulk healthy nutrient dense foods like bison burgers, frozen chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, grass-fed butter and lot’s of organic eggs. I rinse off and cut up my produce and throw it in some plastic containers or bags in the fridge and boil half a dozen eggs or more at one time. So come meal time, all I have to do is pop a piece of frozen meat into the oven for 30-40 minutes and make a burger or plate of food. If I need a snack I can pull out a boiled egg and have it with a chunk of goats cheese. I always make sure I have a tasty treat for desert (to reward myself), like my homemade gluten free banana bread, some 70-80% dark chocolate, or greek yogurt with berries…just my two cents!

Meal Prep

Prepare meals ahead of time to ensure adequate nutrition and resist the temptation of fast food or takeout, when you get hungry. Trust me…when you are fasting the last thing you want is to wait 45 mins to cook a meal, especially if you’re getting back from work or school. Here are a few quick tips for meal prep success:

  1. Plan Ahead: Take a few minutes to plan your meals and make a grocery list.
  2. Batch Cooking: Cook big batches of basics like grains and proteins for easy mixing and matching.
  3. Storage Solutions: Get good containers for portioning and storing meals.
  4. Prep Ingredients: Wash, chop, and portion out ingredients ahead of time.
  5. Keep it Simple: Stick to easy recipes with fewer ingredients for quicker prep and cooking.

Hunger Pains and Poop

Hunger can say a lot about your current health status…if hunger pains are extreme, things like parasites or fungal overgrowth may be the culprit! This is because candida feeds off sugar, and parasites leeach nutrients from the food you eat; they can figuratively hijack your hormones to make you more hungry! Book a virtual appointment to work with a nutrition expert to test for these & fix if necessary. Your bowel movements & stool can provide insights into your gut health; Check out the Bristol Stool Chart!

Journaling and Tracking

Use a journal to Track: how you feel, your energy levels, hunger levels, bowel movements and any changes in your body composition or overall health. This can provide valuable insights into your health issues, and can be especially helpful for a professional; if you’re working with a nutritionist, dietician, naturopath or health coach! You can purchase my Printable Food Journal in my Shop. It has all the prompts already there, making it easy for you to track all the important stuff, everyday.

16 8 Intermittent Fasting Printable PDF

Conclusion

16-8 Intermittent fasting and eating during an 8 hour window, is a fantastic and easy way for most to get started into fasting, for the numerous health benefits it offers. Health benefits of 1-6 intermittent fasting including: increased metabolism and weight-loss, improved insulin resistance (lower blood sugar), lower inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, and so much more. But like anything fasting may not be safe for everyone, and it’s best to work with someone that can ensure you get the right nutrition to do it safely and get the best results.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *