How Long Should I Intermittent Fast

How Long Should I Intermittent Fast?

Andrew Brewer - Intermittent Fasting Expert

Written by Andrew Brewer. Updated on January 2023.

Medically reviewed and fact checked by our 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.

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.

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!

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