I had outstanding success with intermittent fasting for 16 hours a day in May of 2018, when I lost 10 pounds.
Though I was really excited about the fast, easy weight loss in the beginning, by the end of the month I’d fallen off.
A month later I’d regained ALL that weight.
It was just too restrictive for my lifestyle. It wasn’t sustainable.
Yes, I could lose weight really fast without doing terribly much other than eating reasonable foods at specific times, but that yo-yo effect of losing only to regain was one I’d known all too well.
I wanted to get off that ride!
Though intermittent fasting 16/8 wasn’t forever, I did learn a lot about hunger, appetite suppression, and self-control.
I wondered if fasting for fewer hours daily would give me most benefits of 16-hour fasts, with some additional flexibility in case I needed it?
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Is 12 Hours Of Intermittent Fasting Enough?
Some sources say you can absolutely replicate the benefits of intermittent fasting for 16 hours daily in just 12 hours.
Others say 12 hours just isn’t enough.
One thing I’ve found true in life is what works for one person may not work for the next.
You just have to try and see what works FOR YOU.
So, that’s what I’m doing!
I’m running an experiment to see if I can still lose weight with a more reasonable 12-hour fasting window.
Here are the results of my third week running this experiment.
Week 3 Intermittent Fasting For 12 Hours A Day
My week 2 intermittent fasting 12 hours results were dismal.
I lost just 1 pound and half an inch.
I felt bloated and out-of-whack due to a poor diet and failure to stick to a regular fasting schedule.
Though I did lift weights, it wasn’t enough to fully counteract my terrible behavior.
So, I went into week three on a mission.
I was determined to treat this more seriously and behave like I had some sense!
Here’s what I did.
12 Hours Intermittent Fasting 3 Weeks: Fasting Plan
Consistency is key, and I’m proud to say I nailed it this week!
Once you start fasting, in my experience, it gets easier.
Though it may sound counterintuitive, I’ve found the less I eat the less I need to.
It’s really easy for me to make it to noon, 1 pm or even 2 pm at this point.
But you know what?
Even if I did, I stayed consistent and did not use a later feeding start time to push snacking way into the late night.
I promised myself I would be consistent.
I selected 9 am to 9 pm as my feeding window this time and STUCK to it.
This went great because it was easy to stick to a longer fasting window during the week when I was busy.
Then during the weekend, I took advantage of the relaxed requirements.
Fasting 12 Hours Means Social Dining Is A-Okay!
Saturday morning, I ate breakfast with my darling husby.
Sunday morning, I enjoyed delicious fruits and other healthy snacks with my dear mother.
On both occasions, I’d have been really upset had I not felt free enough to make those choices without it being a direct violation of my plan.
So, at the very least, 12 hours is great for the psyche!
It allows you to enjoy dining with those you love during traditional hours.
Week 3 Intermittent Fasting 12 Hours Diet Plan
If You Want Different, BE Different
You know what? After last week’s epic failure, something inside me “clicked”.
To some degree, I think we all know this already, but sometimes it takes a while for messages to truly resonate.
But if you want different, you have to BE different. I had to change if I wanted to change.
You Can’t Always Eat The Cake
Many years ago, this one super-mean yet tremendously successful boss lady at a job I had said something that stuck with me.
We were celebrating a coworker’s birthday with cake.
This boss was offered cake and she said “while this looks delicious and I really do want a piece, my metabolism is slower now and… I just can’t eat this”.
Back then I thought that was great.
Not for me, (I had NO time for that) but good for her!
Though I ate the cake and I’m sure it was tasty, I never forgot that moment.
You see, over the past several years I’ve been faced with multiple occasions of that same thing, and I ALWAYS take the cake.
I shrug it off and say “oh one piece of cake won’t hurt”.
Or “I can eat this cake now and start fresh on Monday”.
Or “I had a long, hard day. I deserve this cake”.
“Cake” is not always cake, mind you.
Sometimes “cake” is super-sizing a fast-food meal you know you shouldn’t be eating in the first place.
Sometimes “cake” is blowing off the gym, choosing to sleep late instead.
Other times “cake” is drinking too much alcohol.
A second helping of pasta when you’re already full.
Ordering take-out instead of eating the boring apple and salad you packed for lunch.
Today I think about the level of discipline she displayed.
How she wanted the cake but didn’t eat it.
And how sometimes that is what’s truly required to get where you want to go in life.
Not just with weight loss, but with everything your heart desires.
Discipline Is One Of The Keys To Success
That super-mean boss had migrated from overseas, not knowing a lick of English, and worked her way up to leading a major department at one of the top universities in the United States.
I know that, AND her small frame even in her 60’s, wasn’t an accident.
I don’t doubt for a second that the same discipline she used to approach her dietary choices also helped her achieve success in other areas of her life.
Sorry for going off on a tangent, but it ties back into my intermittent fasting 12 hours diet for the third week, I promise!
Stick with me I’m about to tie it all together…
I Cleaned Up My Diet Using My Newfound Self-Discipline
I cleaned my diet right on up and don’t see myself going back.
One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is that it stops you from being impulsive with food.
You take a break from getting a constant stream of food and learn what real hunger is.
You’re learning that every time you feel hungry does not mean you have to devour the first thing you see or think of.
Just because you want it doesn’t mean you have to eat it!
Yes, intermittent fasting gives you a digestive break and means you can enjoy more satisfying meals if you just eat fewer of them, but now I’m realizing that’s not its biggest benefit.
Self-Control And Good Dietary Choices
This week I really put everything I’ve learned into practice and I’ve determined the best thing intermittent fasting taught me was self-control.
But I had to be ready to receive that lesson and actually apply it.
For week 3 I went back to eating mostly home-cooked food.
I ate a LOT of fruit. But I didn’t eat as many vegetables as I’d have liked.
Still not perfect, and never will be.
I drank lots of water and ate lean meat like seared ahi tuna, Instant Pot BBQ Chicken, and tilapia.
I also ate a little steak.
Though I really dislike the ketogenic diet, I have borrowed the principle of reducing my carbohydrate intake.
I ate rice, but teeny-tiny portions.
No fluffy white carbs, no chips, french fries, candy, none of that.
Instead of pasta, I spiralized zucchini and added different seasonings and fixin’s.
Oatmeal is and will always be the love of my life (hubby knows and understands).
So of course, I kept that in heavy rotation.
On the occasions where I was faced with tempting goodies like chicken wings and cookies, I simply refused!
I have a choice. And I want and deserve BETTER.
Week 3 Intermittent Fasting 12 Hours Exercise Plan
What’s funny is I totally nailed the fitness portion of my 2-week plan, but I didn’t do so well in week 3.
I thought since I was on a roll with weight lifting and yoga, it would be easy to continue at that same pace.
That didn’t happen.
I DID lift weights on 2 days, but I doubled up on workouts on one of those days.
So two days, 3 workouts.
About 90 minutes total of weightlifting.
But that’s it.
I didn’t do yoga this week.
No cardio either.
I really wanted to work out more, but things didn’t go that way.
I think this is important though. Keep this in mind as I share my results in the next section!
I sent out a survey asking if there was interest in starting a Facebook group for 30-Day Fitness Challenges, and the response was overwhelmingly positive!
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12 Hours Intermittent Fasting Results: 3 Weeks
Week 2 to Week 3 Intermittent Fasting 12 Hours Results
Starting weight: 172.7 | Ending weight: 168.8 | Weight lost: 3.9 pounds
Starting body fat %: 37.6% | Ending body fat %: 36.5% | Body fat % lost: 1.1%
I lost nearly 4 pounds, 1% body fat and 4 inches during my third week of intermittent fasting for 12 hours each day.
Total Intermittent Fasting 12 Hours Results So Far
Starting weight: 178.9 | Ending weight: 168.8| Total weight lost: 10.1 pounds
Starting body fat %: 39% | Ending body fat %: 36.5% | Total body fat % lost: 2.5%
I’ve lost 10.1 pounds, 2.5% body fat and 2.5 inches in three weeks of fasting for 12 hours each day.
How Does This Compare To Intermittent Fasting 16 Hours?
I lost 0.7 fewer pounds in three weeks of fasting for 16 hours daily than I did for fasting 12 hours daily. I lost just 0.2% more body fat fasting 16 hours than 12 hours.
Unfortunately, I did not keep track of inches lost on a weekly basis with my 16/8 experiment, so I can’t compare inches lost until the very end.
Fasting 12 Hours 3 Weeks Results: Interpretation
These results are really exciting and assuring me that I’m on the right track!
I’ve actually lost more by the 3-week mark fasting just 12 hours than I did the entire month with 16/8!
I do know the mental shift I experienced after last week’s letdown is responsible.
Finally being able to pull my diet together and wrap my mind around the why has caused this leap.
But remember earlier how I said I only worked out two days the whole week too?
That shed some light on something I already knew but tend to forget – you can’t outrun a bad diet.
Back In The Old Days
Back in the old days when I was younger and the weight fell off more easily, I was guilty of eating horribly and making it up in the gym.
I would eat whatever I wanted.
If I got too heavy, I’d hop on the treadmill or elliptical almost every day and burn 600 to 1,000 calories each time. The weight would fly off.
But as I’ve gotten older that same strategy just doesn’t apply.
I’ve tried all sorts of weight loss exercise programs from endlessly high step-counts to rigid weightlifting programs and even got a personal trainer on two separate occasions.
It never works if my diet isn’t right!
This time — this week — my diet was great.
I worked out way less than ever before and got an amazing weight loss result of 4 pounds in a week!
I’ll say it one more time for the people in the back: YOU CAN NOT OUTRUN A BAD DIET.
Week 4 Intermittent Fasting 12 Hours Weight Loss Plan
As I head into the last week or so of this 12-hour intermittent fasting experiment, I feel like I “get it”.
I know what I have to do to get where I want to be, and my bags are packed, honey.
I’m ready to GO!
I’m a little gunshy about screaming from the rooftops that I’ll never slip and fall or have a bad dietary day again.
I’m woke, but still human lol.
Really, I’ve still yet to meet a cupcake I don’t like.
But you know… doing this public experiment gives an extra layer of “do it right”.
I don’t want y’all to see me fail!
It’s one of the reasons I started a public weight loss blog in the first place.
But anyway, I intend to take that self-control and discipline that made week 3 such a success into week four!
Week 4 Intermittent Fasting For 12 Hours
I’m going to stick to a minimum feeding window of 9 am to 9 pm.
And I’d like to lift weights more than on just two days and do a couple yoga sessions.
But what I DO eat WHEN I eat is still going to be most important.
I plan to stick to easy, quick fruits. Cook up a few types of lean meat in advance so it’s just there for the grabbing.
I would like to increase my vegetable intake – that’s important too.
Like I tend to have a problem with just wanting to eat fewer calories, whether or not I’m getting all the nutrients I need.
I’ll fill up on a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit and won’t care that I’m not getting veggies or protein.
I want to balance that out this week, too. But small steps!
I’m so excited to have a 10+ pound weight loss story to share at just 3 weeks and really pumped up to take it to the max!
Before and after photos are coming soon! So, stay tuned!
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Watch the 60-second video above for a look inside the planner, then…