In May of this year, I tried intermittent fasting for the first time.
Much to my delight, I lost 10 pounds pretty effortlessly fasting 16 hours per day without terribly strict dieting or exercise.
Unfortunately, I would later fall off my intermittent fasting diet plan, regain that weight plus two more pounds, and have to start from scratch.
In September, I gave intermittent fasting a try yet again, but for just 12 hours this time.
I wanted to see if I could still lose weight and reap the bulk of the benefits of fasting without such a strict requirement.
In the same amount of time, I lost twelve pounds and even more inches.
Since posting the difference, of course, I’ve been asked more times than I can count on all fingers and toes “why do you think you lost more weight fasting 12 hours instead of 16”?
Rather than answer the same question 20 times, I’ve decided to reply in a post.
Here’s my answer!
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Why Fasting 12 Hours Worked Better Than 16 For Weight Loss
1- 12 Hours Intermittent Fasting Is Just Easier
The fact of the matter is that fasting for just 12 hours is an easy moral victory.
It’s just easier.
Intermittent fasting 16 hours was doable, yes, and effective, but it was hard.
I either felt deprived if I couldn’t enjoy specific meals at specific times, such as breakfast with my family on the weekends.
Or if I indulged outside my feeding window, I felt guilty.
Guilt and deprivation are not good feelings to experience when you’re making a sustainable life change.
That’s more fad diet territory, and it’s just not sustainable.
With 12 hours intermittent fasting, I
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felt like it was easy.
It was something I could do without much effort, and I found myself fasting longer hours Monday through Friday and relaxing the requirement on the weekend, so I could comfortably enjoy social dining.
At the end of the 12 hour intermittent fasting experiment, I averaged around 14 hours fasted over all.
More than 12, but less than 16.
I think this is the sweet spot of intermittent fasting for weight loss and is a decent compromise that most people can probably swing if they really want to give it a try!
2- I Tightened Up My Diet & Exercised Self-Control
Beyond an easier execution of 12 hours intermittent fasting, the biggest takeaway that you have to understand with my personal results is that around week 3 I had an epiphany.
It clicked for me that no matter what plan I chose I would absolutely have to exercise some degree of self-restraint with what I put into my mouth.
I actually wound up exercising a bit less with 12 hours intermittent fasting than I did with 16, yet I still lost more weight and inches.
This is because I finally decided that it was time for real change!
It wasn’t always easy, but it was so worth making a real breakthrough.
Really, you can fast 23 hours a day and eat for one hour a day if you feel like it.
But if during that 1 hour you eat too many calories for your activity level and the wrong types of low quality foods, you won’t lose a pound.
All the fasting won’t save you if you use the feasting window to binge eat.
You have to understand that.
3- Public Accountability Really Helped A Lot
Finally, I know for a fact that if I wasn’t losing weight on a public platform with tens of thousands of viewers a month reading my story and seeing me start over again worse than before – I probably would have lost focus like I always have in the past.
And honestly, this is why I chose to start a public weight loss blog in the first place.
Fun? Yes. To help others? Of course. But when you know you have to post before and after pictures and be accountable for what you say you’ll do, oh… it really lights a fire under your ass to get it done!
I didn’t want you to see me fail so I worked really hard to make sure I succeeded!
Intermittent Fasting Might Work For You Too
So, there you have it, the three reasons why intermittent fasting for 12 hours yielded better results for me than intermittent fasting 16 hours.
It may be tempting to suggest that any one of these reasons outweighs the others (no pun intended), but for me, they’re all equally as important.
Any diet plan I embark on must be sustainable.
I can’t feel guilty or like a failure every step of the way.
That’s no way to live!
Even though intermittent fasting makes eating fewer calories easier, it won’t do all the work for you.
Intermittent fasting really only works as much as YOU do.
And without public accountability, for me, it’s just too easy to fall back into old patterns.
You – yes YOU – have really helped me stay on track and pull it all together.
My Best Intermittent Fasting Advice
That said, my best intermittent fasting advice would be to really take what I’ve said here and apply it as best as you can to your own life.
1- Pick A Reasonable Target
Pick an hourly fasting goal that’s attainable so you’re likely to keep up with it, yet still effective.
I think 14 hours is perfect for a newbie.
2- Keep It Clean
Make sure you wrap your mind around the emotional aspect of clean eating too.
Come to terms with the idea that as much as we all want to get rich quick and get skinny quick with no real effort – neither of those are really the way things work.
You’ll have to alter your diet and DO THE WORK, no matter when or how often you eat.
The sooner you accept that and work with it instead of against it, the better off you’ll be.
3- Public Accountability
Finally, I highly recommend some form of public accountability.
I am probably biased because I LOVE blogging, so I think starting a blog is the best way to be accountable for your promises, gain an instant support system AND make a little extra money on the side (for the cute new clothes you’ll need once the weight melts off)!
But I know not everybody wants to go that route.
I recommend at least starting a health and fitness journey Instagram account where you take progress pics and catalogue what you’re eating and other things you’re doing to reach your goals.
Or join a Facebook group.
Or at least keep track of your efforts in a fitness journal.
If you want different, be different!
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