Losing weight is not easy, and both children and adults struggle with that often. All bodies are different, so weight loss is not equally difficult for everyone. Thus, some people have come up with various strategies to do it.
It’s proven that reducing your eating window promotes weight loss, and that’s what people call intermittent fasting.
There are different ways of practicing intermittent fasting, but the main difference between them is how short your eating window is.
14/10 and 16/8 are some of the most common types of intermittent fasting due to the health benefits they bring to the table.
However, 18/6 fasting is a more difficult alternative to go for that brings you some other perks.
Not many people follow this intermittent fasting diet since it’s a more advanced and complex way to do it than the others. Do you want to start an 18/6 intermittent fasting period? This is the page for you!
I want to help you find the best way to lose weight, and this is one of them, so read on to learn everything you need to know about 18/6 fasting!
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting, in a nutshell, consists of only eating for a specific period of time each day.
You can, for example, eat for eight hours and stop eating for 16 hours. In that case, you would have to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner during that time.
Not eating for that much may seem like a lot, but remember you can count sleeping time within that fasting window, which is a moment where you wouldn’t eat either.
However, you need to be careful when trying intermittent fasting for the first time since it could trigger binge eating.
Why Do People Start Fasting?
Now that you know what intermittent fasting is, you may wonder why people do it. Well, intermittent fasting helps people in many ways, but the most important one is that it makes weight loss easier.
This happens because fasting reduces your body’s insulin resistance, which starts up its self-cleaning function.
Apart from that insulin resistance reduction, intermittent fasting improves blood sugar control, decreases body inflammation, enhances cognitive functions, and promotes heart health.
This weight loss method can also keep diseases such as cancer and diabetes from happening.
Regardless of all those benefits, people should check their daily caloric intake when they practice intermittent fasting to check if they have to expand or reduce their eating window.
Understanding 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
As its name suggests, 18/6 intermittent fasting consists of eating for six hours and fasting for 18 hours a day.
Most people trying this type of intermittent fasting only have time to eat two meals, so we only recommend people experienced at fasting do it.
The reason people find 18/6 intermittent fasting better than other types of fasting is that it increases the benefits you would normally get with them since your body has more time to use its self-cleansing systems.
Since you have to take one meal out of your regular eating schedule, I recommend you eat breakfast and lunch if you are a morning person, and lunch and dinner if you get hungry at night.
Regardless of the option you pick, try to eat larger meals to keep yourself from getting hungry a few hours after eating.
Taking the “morning shift” is ideal if you wake up early in the morning and need the energy to go on with your day. The night one, however, is better if you want to have lunch or dinner with your family or friends.
How to Adapt to an Eight-Hour Eating Window – Starting an 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
18/6 intermittent fasting is not easy at all since your body is not used to not having food for that much time.
I know there are other hardcore fasting types, such as alternate-day fasting, but not eating for 18 hours is already challenging.
Hence, I only recommend you follow this intermittent fasting schedule if you’ve tried time-restricted feeding before. In my personal opinion, this is the best way to start an 18-hour fast:
Start with 14/10 Fasting
If you have never tried time-restricted feeding in the past, you should start off with 14/10 fasting.
Why should you try this type of intermittent fasting? Because its 10-hour eating window allows you to take your three meals.
I’m not saying this will be easy since you are still reducing your eating window, but having enough time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner won’t take a toll that big on your body. You’ll get used to it in a few days or weeks, so don’t worry about it.
If this is your first time trying intermittent fasting, feel free to play along with the process and check what works best for you.
I don’t recommend you keep up with the fast if you feel too sick, though. Time-restricted eating is something your body has to get used to, so don’t go all in from day one.
Follow this intermittent fasting diet plan for two weeks, and you’ll be ready to move on to the next step of the process. I recommend you eat your meals from 8 am to 5 pm, but you can go for the schedule you feel more comfortable with.
Switch to a 16/8 Schedule
If you feel good after two weeks of 14/10 intermittent fasting, you are ready to switch to a 16/8 schedule. This is one of the most common approaches people go for because it’s effective but not as challenging as an 18-hour fast.
Nonetheless, people trying a 16/8 intermittent fasting diet plan often need to only eat two meals instead of three. You could eat the three of them if you schedule your day to do it, but I think it’s better if you don’t since that will get you used to it before trying an 18/6 program.
Trying this new schedule is more effective for weight loss than the previous one since it helps you get more healthy fats and shows off more of the health benefits time-restricted eating truly gives you.
Go on with this intermittent fasting schedule for two weeks and switch to the next one.
Start an 18-hour Fast
Once you feel comfortable with a 16/8 intermittent fasting diet plan, you can start an 18/6 fasting. The problem with this schedule is that it will be tough to adapt to it even if you already know how fasting works and some tricks to get through it.
Apart from that, it’s difficult to fit all your daily calories in a six-hour window, so you need to plan your diet to make sure you don’t get sick or don’t get all the energy you need to go on with your daily routine.
Benefits of 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
18/6 fasting offers many benefits you won’t see in intermittent fasting schedules with a wider eating window, and that’s the reason people love to do it. That doesn’t mean a 16 fasting window won’t help you, but an 18/6 diet plan may bring results faster.
Do you want to know the specific benefits of intermittent fasting in an 18/6 schedule? These are some of them:
It Helps with Weight Loss
Needless to say, the main benefit of 18/6 intermittent fasting is that it promotes weight loss. How does fasting help you with that? Well, it controls your blood sugar levels and makes sure your body adapts to not eating that much food.
You need to establish a healthy diet to withstand the toll that starting a fast will take on your body, which will also help you lose weight progressively. Apart from that, you burn fat for energy when there’s not enough glucose available in your body. This happens due to the metabolic switch you get from fasting for that much time.
It Promotes Brain Health
Although many people don’t know it, adapting correctly to fasting helps you promote brain health and brings mental clarity to your life. Managing your calorie intake in a fasting regimen will also make brain fog go away, which is the main reason people say it improves your cognitive functions.
Intermittent fasting enhances your body’s neuron bioenergetics, and that may keep some neurological disorders from happening in the future. Thanks to that, fasting is also helpful to treat other diseases.
People who practice 18/6 intermittent fasting often have increased stress resistance and decreased incidence of diseases. However, you need to keep an eye on your eating patterns since not managing your fasting window correctly could lead to disordered eating.
It Supports Your Body Detox Functions
Expanding your fasting window as you reduce your eating time can trigger the Nrf2 gene pathway, and that’s what activates body detoxification, stem cell, autophagy, and mitochondrial functions. All those things work together to clean your body and remove damaged proteins and cellular parts in it.
Here’s when you notice how helpful 18/6 intermittent fasting can be since autophagy is what triggers your body’s cleansing feature, and it kicks in when you start fasting for 17 hours a day or more, so it’s something you don’t get when with other fasting schedules.
Also Read: Best Foods for a Total Body Detox
It Helps You Get Protein and Healthy Fats
One of the reasons 18/6 intermittent fasting supports weight loss is that it helps you get healthy fats, protein, complex carbs, and fiber through organized meals. These things make your body healthier and boost your immune system by reducing inflammation.
On top of that, following an 18/6 intermittent fasting schedule keeps your immune system from deteriorating over time.
It Can Slow Aging
When you reduce the calories you take daily, you can extend your life span and prevent aging-related diseases from happening. The reason for that is some reactive oxygen species act on your body after starting a new diet.
You can’t restrict your caloric intake all week since that would cause negative effects, so 18/6 intermittent fasting is the best way to do it.
It’s Excellent for Your Cardiovascular Health
If you suffer from any kind of heart disease, 18/6 intermittent fasting will bring many benefits to your life. How can fasting help with cardiovascular health problems? It does it by improving your weight control and reducing oxidative stress on your body. That helps you fight health issues such as hypertension and diabetes.
It Can Help You Prevent Diabetes
Diabetes is a huge problem, and treating it is not as simple as it is with other diseases due to how the disease works. However, 18/6 intermittent fasting has proved to be especially helpful to help people with type two diabetes by improving glucose tolerance.
The improvement of your body’s metabolic health and gut health helps you treat diabetes and prevents it from happening if you are at risk of suffering from it.
Cons of Fasting
As you could see, 18/6 intermittent fasting offers many advantages, but it also has a fair deal of drawbacks you need to be aware of before trying it. In my opinion, there are no setbacks that could keep you from fasting, but it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you.
These are the main disadvantages of 18/6 intermittent fasting:
You Will Feel Hungry More Often
Even if you skip breakfast often or don’t take the first meal of the day, your body is not used to not eating for 18 hours. Most people eat some snacks or cook something as soon as they feel hungry, and changing that can make you feel hungry more often.
It’s not pleasant to feel hungry all day, which is why I recommend you start with less difficult fasting plans before trying an 18/6 schedule. If you feel hungry all the time and don’t know how to deal with it, you could develop eating disorders.
Your Body Can Feel Weak
The problem with suffering from extreme hunger is that your body will feel weaker than usual, and that could cause many other problems in your personal life. Your job or hobbies won’t stop because you are fasting, so you need to make sure you have enough energy for everything in your daily routine while starting a new fasting program.
When you develop insulin resistance, your body gets energy from fat stores, but that will only happen if you eat healthily while fasting. You won’t see the benefits of intermittent fasting if you use your eating window to eat processed foods all the time.
Tips to Start Fasting
Following a decent weight loss strategy can help you with many things and even reduce things such as brain fog or stress. However, this will only happen if you don’t fail to complete your fasting plan.
Some people hire a certified personal trainer or dietitian to help them with that since they know what your body needs. The professional you hire can help you make a decent eating plan for your fasting hours.
Try to check your current daily schedule and know what time of the day is better for your fasting period. You could even go to bed earlier to take advantage of your sleeping hours to avoid extreme hunger.
People fasting can also avoid feeling too hungry throughout the day if they drink plenty of water. Drinking herbal tea or black coffee can also help you with that. Don’t forget to check how you feel constantly. It’s better to go back to a 16/8 fasting schedule if you think your body is not ready for an 18/6 one.
Bottom Line – Should I Try 18/6 Intermittent Fasting?
I know it’s difficult to get to an 18-hour fast if you are not used to fasting, but trying it and mixing it with exercise and a healthy diet can make you lose weight like you never did before. Still, you should ask a doctor if you can do this if you are taking meds.