Intermittent fasting: what is it and should you give it a try?

Woman relaxing on a sofa

Intermittent fasting has become a popular option in recent years, with many claiming that it helps them manage their weight or boost their concentration. But is it a good option for you?

First, what is intermittent fasting?

Unlike many diets intermittent fasting focuses on when to eat instead of what you eat. It involves setting aside a period of time each week in which you limit your calorie intake.

The exact eating schedule can vary, for example some people choose to only eat during an 8-hour window every day, whereas others might eat regularly for five days a week and then limit calories for 2 (also known as the 5:2 diet).

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

The health benefits of fasting are still not well understood, although there’s several ongoing research projects to understand the true impact. One of the main reasons it’s being investigated is that with most diets, when you reduce your calorie intake it can lead to your metabolic rate falling as your body sees that it’s receiving fewer calories and tries to burn less fat. Some studies indicate that this may be avoided through intermittent fasting, as normal eating in between dieting keeps metabolic rates higher.

Whether or not this is proven, here are some of the reasons why we think intermittent fasting could be worth a try:

  • You can focus on when not what: intermittent fasting is less limiting on what you can eat than other diets. For example, for a low-carb diet you need to cut out pizza, pasta and other tasty goodies. If this sounds like your worst nightmare, then intermittent fasting could be a better option for you.
  • It promotes more mindful eating: It’s easy for many of us to snack throughout the day without really thinking about it, and this can introduce a lot of hidden calories to our diets. Limiting the hours in which you eat can help prevent this, and when you come out of the fasting window that chocolate biscuit will taste even better than normal.
  • Build habits and fight cravings: It only takes a few weeks to train our bodies to a new schedule, having your first meal at lunchtime followed by an earlier dinner can make the rest of your day more flexible and productive, without your stomach rumbling.

How do you do intermittent fasting?

If you’re interested in intermittent fasting, the first step is to pick your fasting schedule. If you’re brand new to fasting or have any health conditions, you will want to check with a doctor that your plans are safe before you begin.

When choosing your schedule there are many different factors to consider. For example, whether you prefer to keep to the same schedule every day, which can help build habits faster and prevent cravings. Or if you might prefer to only fast 2 days a week so that you’re free to forget about the diet on the other days and go to restaurants as normal.

The most important thing is to find a diet that will fit with your lifestyle and that you can maintain long-term.

What fasting schedule should I choose?

There are lots of different options here, but we’re going to compare 3 of the most common ones.


The 16/8 method

The 5:2 diet

Alternate day fasting

What is it?

Fast for 16 hours a day and eat only in an 8-hour window.

Eat normally for 5 days a week and eat ~ ¼ of your normal calorie intake the other 2 days

Eat as normal one day then every other day eat a liquid diet, with limited calories


Every day is the same so its easier to build a habit, this will help you start feeling less hungry once adapted to the schedule.

You only need to monitor your calories properly for 2 days a week and can relax on the other days.

There are many options for healthy diet drinks that are packed with nutrients & easy to prepare.


For many people this means skipping a healthy breakfast, which is often thought to be the most important meal of the day as it kick-starts your metabolism.


You don’t get any days off, and it can be difficult to fit this pattern around others, for example if you want to go out for dinner but normally fast after 7pm.

You may get side effects on fasting days, which can make you feel lethargic and reduce physical activity.


There’s limited focus on healthy nutrients, and it can be easy to binge and eat unhealthily on non-fasting days.

You may get side effects on fasting days, which can make you feel lethargic and reduce physical activity.


A day on liquids only can lead to significant cravings for something to chew.


Looking for help to lose weight?

At Powermeals we believe in building healthy habits that last. Our weight loss meals delivery service focuses on real food with plenty of vegetables and protein that helps you feel full throughout the day. No sugary processed food in sight. Our ready-to-eat meals are pre-portioned and delivered direct to your door in a weekly box, anywhere in Switzerland.

Leave a Comment