Five Benefits of 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
Recently, I wrote about the five reasons intermittent fasting works for me. Now I want to share my five favorite benefits of 18/6 intermittent fasting, which is my preferred way to do IF.
First, I’ll explain exactly what I mean by 18/6 intermittent fasting. Next, I’ll talk about how a day-in-the-life on 18/6 intermittent fasting looks for me. Finally, I’ll tell you the five benefits of 18/6 intermittent fasting that made me decide to incorporate it into my daily life.
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What is 18/6 Intermittent Fasting?
On 18/6 intermittent fasting, a person fasts for eighteen hours a day and has an eating window of six hours a day. The term ‘eating window’ refers to the consecutive hours during which one consumes food each day.
For example, an intermittent faster on an 18/6 schedule might fast until four o’clock in the afternoon and then stop eating around ten o’clock at night.
My preference is to skip breakfast, eat lunch around noon, and have my last meal around five-thirty in the afternoon so that I’m done eating by six o’clock P.M.
Let’s talk about what that particular 18/6 intermittent fasting schedule looks like on a typical day for me.
A Day-in-the-Life on an 18/6 Intermittent Fasting Schedule
I’m a self-employed, homeschooling mom of three teens, so just like every other mom in the world, I’m busy. I need consistent, sustainable energy to move through my day and do all the things required of me.
At first, I worried that intermittent fasting would leave me feeling drained and sap my energy. As it turns out, doing a 14-day keto reset helped me transition into intermittent fasting smoothly.
Now the only time I struggle with intermittent fasting is when I’ve consumed too many carbs for several days in a row. When I go off my low carb, high fat way of eating, intermittent fasting feels harder. That’s because a higher carb diet messes with my blood sugar and makes my body crave energy from glucose instead of ketones.
Fortunately, after one day of fasting I’m back on track and fasting feels easy again.
Why I Chose to Break My Fast Around Noon
I chose to skip breakfast since mornings are busy for me. When I skip breakfast I have one less thing to think about as I start my day.
My appetite is naturally lower in the mornings until around ten, so I take full advantage of my body’s natural preference in this area.
I don’t wait later than noon to eat my first meal because I want to have my last meal before six o’clock in the evening. I’m usually in bed – knitting, reading, etc – by eight P.M. and I can’t relax or sleep well on a full stomach.
What My Day Looks Like on 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
- 5:00 A.M. – I wake up, do a few chores, and grab coffee or tea. Sometimes I add heavy cream to my coffee and a few drops of liquid monk fruit sweetener. (More than fifty calories of heavy cream will break a fast, so be careful.)
- 6:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M (approximately) – I work, do household chores and errands, and take care of parenting and homeschooling obligations.
- 11:30 A.M. – I’m usually at a good stopping place in the flow of my morning by this time. I prepare my first meal of the day. This is usually my largest meal of the day, as well. I try to take time to savor the food and not simply cram it in my face so I can move on to the next thing. Truly enjoying my food and practicing gratitude while eating is vital to my wellness both physically and spiritually.
- 12:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M – I’m back to work, household management, and parenting. If I’m going to work out that day I try to fit it in about two hours after I eat my first meal.
- 5:00 P.M. – If I’m hungry again, I have dinner around this time. Often I eat enough at my first meal that I only need a snack at dinner time. During the summer months I’ve found myself often not hungry at all for a second meal, but in the colder months I’m apt to eat a small dinner.
- 6:00 P.M. – By six o’clock in the evening I’m done eating. In almost nine months of intermittent fasting I’ve never eaten dinner between five and six gotten hungry again before ten o’clock the next morning. This has helped to convince me that 18/6 is a perfect intermittent fasting schedule for me on a long term basis.
My Five Favorite Personal Benefits of 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
18/6 Intermittent Fasting Helps Me Lose Weight
The most comfortable way for me to eat each day includes a large first meal around 10:00 A.M and a small meal around 5:00 – 5:30 P.M. That makes for an approximate eating window of seven hours.
By keeping my eating window to only six hours, I push myself to wait just a little longer than is completely comfortable before breaking my fast. This, in addition to having less time to consume calories, helps me to lose weight.
I’m Naturally Busy During My Fasting Window
Because I’m either asleep or busy with life during the hours in which I fast, it’s easier. I’m usually not in a position to break my fast early because I’m busy with work or daily life. Simply put, 18/6 fasting fits my lifestyle really well.
I Like An Early Dinner
Of course, I mentioned this benefit of 18/6 fasting earlier. It really is important to me, though. I retire for the evening fairly early. I like my dinner to be digested before I transition into relaxing for sleep.
Since I’ve only got a six-hour eating window and I like to eat my biggest meal to break my fast, I never have to worry about going to bed on a full stomach.
I Have Enough Time to Eat Well But No Time for Junk Food
A short eating window of six hours leaves very little time to eat junk food. Honestly, it leaves no time to even be tempted by junk food.
Since my first meal tends to be pretty large, I don’t get hungry between meals. After eating a large, filling meal I simply don’t crave snacks.
Which leads me to my final favorite benefit of 18/6 intermittent fasting.
It Makes OMAD Easier
Occasionally I like to fast for 24 hours, which means I’m eating only one meal a day. One Meal a Day, or OMAD fasting, brings numerous benefits. If I decided to make OMAD my regular way of eating the transition from 18/6 to OMAD would be pretty easy.
In fact, there are times when my first meal of the day keeps me full past the end of my eating window. On those days, I unintentionally do OMAD because I’m not hungry enough (or at all) to warrant a second meal.
I love this because I’m keeping OMAD in my back pocket in case my weight loss stalls for too long. I’m thrilled that OMAD feels just about as easy as my 18/6 intermittent fasting.