How Long Should I Intermittent Fast?

Written by Andrew Brewer. ⚕️Reviewed and fact checked by our medical team.

How Long Should I Intermittent Fast

One of the most unique aspects of intermittent fasting is how customizable it is to the individual. If you’re testing out a popular form of intermittent fasting and you find that it doesn’t work for you, you can simply switch to a new plan. There is no one-size-fits-all method for intermittent fasting.

This applies to the length of time one should intermittent fast. There is no perfect answer to this question and much of it will depend on you and what your body needs. Knowing how long you should intermittent fast comes from trial and error – chances are the first intermittent fasting method you try out won’t be the perfect fit. You’ll likely be testing out many different plans before you find the perfect one for you.

So how long should you intermittent fast for? We’re going to be taking a look at some of the factors that go into deciding the length of time you should strive to achieve with intermittent fasting. We’ll take a look at how your body before fasting plays a major part in deciding your intermittent fasting plan. Your goals and definition of success will also be a contributing factor.

Key Takeaways

  • Intermittent fasting is highly customizable and there is no one-size-fits-all method. The length of time one should intermittent fasting depends on various factors such as body weight, health conditions, weight loss goals, and personal preferences.
  • Before starting any intermittent fasting plan, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have diabetes or a history of eating disorders. The article also provides a list of popular intermittent fasting plans, arranged by difficulty level, to help readers choose a plan that suits their needs.
  • Intermittent fasting can be an effective way to lose weight and improve overall health, but it may not be suitable for everyone. It’s important to listen to your body and adjust the plan accordingly. It’s also recommended to stay hydrated and consume nutrient-dense foods during the eating window to ensure adequate nutrition.
  • Intermittent fasting can be challenging, especially in the beginning, but there are various tools and apps available that can help make the process easier.
  • Experimentation and trial-and-error are key to finding the right intermittent fasting plan that works for you. It’s important to be patient and persistent, and not to give up if the first plan doesn’t work.

Know Your Body

You are one of the biggest contributing factors as to how long you should intermittent fast for. Everything, from your current weight, any health issues, and weight loss goals, will play a part in determining how long your intermittent fasting windows should be. For example, if you’re underweight before you start intermittent fasting, experts recommend a much lighter plan, if any.

The amount of weight you’re looking to lose will be a factor as well. If you’re looking to lose a lot of weight fast, then you’ll have to work your way into a more strenuous fasting plan. More drastic weight loss hopes will require more drastic fasting plans. If you have a set goal in mind but plenty of time to achieve that goal, then you won’t need to push yourself as hard or as fast.

Another factor that will ultimately decide how long you should intermittent fast for is previous health conditions. Anyone with diabetes should seriously restrict the amount of time they’re intermittent fasting. Do not intermittent fast without checking with your primary care physician. The same applies to anyone with a history of eating disorders or rapid weight loss – intermittent fasting can be addicting, so be very careful when partaking in the practice.

For some, intermittent fasting is just a keen way to lose weight while staying healthy. If you’re not under any time constraint or weight loss goal, then you won’t need to push yourself. Lower intermittent fasting methods are always preferable as they won’t strain the body as much as more difficult plans.

Different Intermittent Fasting Plans

Here are some of the most popular intermittent fasting plans around. They’re organized by difficulty with a recommendation attached to each so you can know which one is within your ballpark.

  • 16:8 – One of the most popular plans, perfect for anyone just starting out. Breaks the day into two segments – 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating.
  • 18:6 – A great stepping stone from the 16:8 to the more difficult plans.
  • 20:4 – We’re just starting to test the body and push your intermittent fasting tendencies.
  • 22:2 – One of the most demanding intermittent fasting plans, will lose weight fast.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat – Instead of breaking each day into segments of fasting and eating, this plan offers two days of the week where you fast for 24 hours. It can be quite difficult at first.
  • 5:2 – As with the Eat-Stop-Eat, this plan breaks the weeks down into 5 days of eating and 2 days of controlled fasting. However, you can eat on those 2 days, but no more than 500 calories.

Choose the perfect plan for you based on you. Don’t be afraid to try out intermittent fasting methods and find the perfect one for you.

Don’t forget to check our 10 recommended intermittent fasting apps to make your intermittent fasting journey easier.


  • How long should I intermittent fast?

The duration of your intermittent fast will depend on your individual goals and lifestyle. For example, some people fast for 16 hours a day and eat during an eight-hour window, while others fast for 24 hours once or twice a week.

  • Can intermittent fasting help me lose weight?

Yes, intermittent fasting has been shown to be an effective weight loss tool, as it can help reduce calorie intake and increase fat burning.

  • Is intermittent fasting safe?

Intermittent fasting is generally considered safe for most healthy adults. However, it may not be appropriate for certain groups, such as those with eating disorders or certain medical conditions.

  • What should I eat during my eating window?

Focusing on nutrient-dense, whole foods during your eating window, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats is important.

  • Can I drink water during my fasting period?

Yes, staying hydrated with water is important during your fasting period. You can also drink other non-caloric beverages such as tea and coffee.

  • How can I make intermittent fasting easier?

Some tips for making intermittent fasting easier include gradually increasing the length of your fasting periods, staying busy during your fasting period, and being mindful of your hunger cues.

  • Can I exercise during my fasting period?

Yes, you can exercise during your fasting period, but it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your workout intensity accordingly.

  • How long does it take to see results from intermittent fasting?

Results will vary depending on your individual goals and lifestyle, but some people may see results within a few weeks of starting intermittent fasting.

  • Should I consult with my doctor before starting intermittent fasting?

If you have any underlying medical conditions or concerns, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise regimen, including intermittent fasting.

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer started to give people the guidance that he never received when he was first starting. His goal is to make your goals achievable and to offer you only the best fasting apps that the internet has to offer. You're not on your own - Andrew and the entire family of reviewers at are here with you every step of the way!