The Best Times to Fast

Intermittent fasting is inherently flexible. Because you only need to fast one or two times a week, you can begin your fast at the time that is most convenient for you as long as you ultimately fast for 24 hours.

As a result, you can start your once or twice weekly fast at any time on any day of the week. That means intermittent fasting has no set schedules. You can easily adjust your fasting days for what's best for you. Say, for instance, you're planning on fasting Wednesday evening through Thursday, but a social engagement — dinner with friends — comes up; you simply can start your fast the following day.

When people sleep, they naturally fast. As a result, fasting from dinner to dinner is easiest for most people, meaning if you finish eating at 7 p.m., you can abstain from eating or drinking anything with calories until 7 p.m. the following evening.

If you've ever tried going to sleep while hungry, you know doing so can be a challenging feat. But by following a dinner-to-dinner fasting period, you can fall asleep without having to contend with an empty stomach.

Another popular time to begin and end your fast is a lunch-to-lunch fast. If you choose this fasting schedule, you eat lunch, ending at around 1 p.m. and don't eat again until 1 p.m. on the following day.

Trying a breakfast-to-breakfast fast should be done with caution. This fasting schedule requires you to fall asleep at night on an entirely empty stomach. Although this schedule may work for some people, more than likely you'll be so hungry by the end of the first day that you may break the fast early and with suboptimal food choices, such as with sugary treats or with a desperate, hunger-driven run to the nearest fast-food restaurant.

Intermittent fasting is also flexible over time. When you first begin intermittent fasting, you may find that the lunch-to-lunch fasting period works best for you, but as time goes on and your work and/or personal schedules change, you may find that you need to switch your fast times, which is completely okay. We want you to fast successfully. Flexibility in when you fast is key to making that happen.

Intermittent fasting should work for you, not against you, so experiment with different fasting schedules. You may find a dinner-to-dinner fast too challenging given your work schedule, or that at first, the lunch-to-lunch fast leaves you too hungry at night to fall asleep. Play around with the different schedules and see what works best for you.

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