Intermittent Fasting – Rethinking Traditional Meal Times

Intermittent fasting is a way for more conscious eating. There are different fasting windows from 12 hours to even a day or two. The goal of intermittent fasting can be weight loss but also just following a more conscious diet and eating habits. Let’s look at the facts and the different systems.
Intermittent Fasting – Rethinking Traditional Meal Times

Eating and dieting are topics many people are extremely interested in. How much, when, how? There are many different types of advice by nutrition experts. Intermittent fasting is a seemingly new one among them and it is becoming more common.


What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Our body is shaped mainly in the kitchen and by the way we eat, sports play only a marginal role and serve mainly to maintain fitness and muscles. To live a healthy lifestyle, these two of course go together. But how 

Intermittent fasting means within the 24 hours of the day, there is only a certain time window when you can eat. During the remaining hours you fast. This eating window can vary widely and is influenced by many things – our body, our habits, our capacity and limits of introducing this new way of life and many more. 

There are several versions of intermittent fasting, but perhaps one of the most common is 16: 8. This means that you consume only water, tea or coffee (milk- and sugar-free) for 16 hours and eat your meals during the remaining 8 hours window. There are no rules on what you can eat in the specified window for your meals. 

This way of eating, known in English as intermittent fasting, is derived from ancient times, when people ate when they had food and fasted for the rest of the time. Based on this, intermittent fasting seems to be a more natural method of eating than having a meal every 3-4 hours during the day. It gives your body more time to digest and metabolize the food you have ingested.


Intermittent Fasting – How to Get Started?

Once you’ve decided to try intermittent fasting, it is worth it to gather all the information you can find and to decide for an eating window that fits your lifestyle. There are not many rules besides eating only during the designated eating window.

Along to road you might bump into problems like temptation and lack of motivation to stick to the eating window you’ve set for yourself. Building new habits can take time, but if you follow a few steps described in our article, you will surely be successful. Also a supportive friend or finding a group of people with the same goals and with whom we can share our difficulties can e a great help.


Different Types of Intermittent Fasting

There are several different ways of intermittent fasting. According to some researchers, 10 to 16 hours fast can already start a process where the body’s fat stores are converted into energy, releasing ketones into the bloodstream. This can promote weightloss.


tea intermittent fasting


12 Hour Fasts

Here you just have to decide where to put the 12 hour eating window and when the 12 hour fasting window will be. If you like late breakfasts or early dinners, you might already be eating like this.

For example, if you eat for the first time at 7 am, you should have your dinner latest by 7 pm. Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? Once you are comfortable with this rhythm, you can even extend the fasting window to 16 hours and see how that works for you. 


Meal Skipping

If you follow this method of intermittent fasting, you randomly skip breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

Skipping meals is probably most successful if you monitor and respond to signs of hunger in your  body. When you don’t feel hungry during mealtime, you just skip the meal. When you do feel hungry, you don’t skip the meal. Like always, we recommend the consumption of wholesome, healthy foods. 

This may seem more natural to some people than other methods of fasting. Depending on oyur personal preferences, this might be the easiest way to start intermittent fasting. 


Fasting 2 Days a Week

People following a 5: 2 diet consume a normal amount of healthy food for 5 days and reduce their caloric intake for the other 2 days.

During the two days of fasting, men typically consume 600 calories and women 500 calories.

These two days must not be consecutive. For example, you can fast on Mondays and Thursdays and eat normally on the other days. There should be at least 1 non-fast day between fast days.

Research is also underway on a 5: 2 diet to examine its effectiveness in terms of health and weight loss. In one study involving 107 overweight or obese women, it was found that both twice-weekly calorie restriction and permanent calorie restriction led to similar levels of weight loss.

Fluid intake during the fasting period is especially important. Zero-calorie fluids include water, any (unsweetened) tea, and black coffee.


We Should Reconsider Our Eating Habits

Already our grandmothers have told us that we MUST eat at least three meals a day. With snack out of three meals became five and sometimes we even eat another snack after dinner. But is this really the best strategy? Does your body really need so much food?

Many traditions disagree.

Some yogis and monks eat just one meal a day. Digestion and metabolism draw an amazing amount of energy from the body, and thus some of our functions slow down and become dull. By eating just one meal a day we limit the time our body is busy with digestion, so you can use the energy for other things.


spinach lemon intermittent fasting


In Japan some people follow an ancient teaching of Confucius, the Hara hachi bun me. Freely translated this means to only eat till you are 80% full. There is no time limit here, just listen to your stomach and stop eating when you are 80% full.

The best way to develop a conscious diet is to inform yourself about the topic. What eating habits do you want to develop, what do you want to be more aware of? This is another important aspect to connect with your own body.

That may sound difficult, though it isn’t. Just sit down in the morning and evening to meditate a bit and ask yourself what you need.

Eating out of boredom is also quite a common habit. Often people also “eat” their emotions. For example, chocolate is known to be associated with endorphins, the happiness hormone. Become aware of these cravings and try to not give into them.


My Personal Experience

I tried 16:8 intermittent fasting for a week. I was curious which effects eating only during a certain time window would have on me. I often eat out of boredom and wanted to find out in which other ways I can channel this craving. Many times movement, stretching, yoga and meditation helped. So did becoming aware of this condition and listening to my body, learning how it feels when I am really hungry. 

It is an interesting experience and it gives us a kind of freedom to become aware of our own limitation and habitual reactions. Therefore, intermittent fasting can give us a kind of new perspective by rethinking our eating habits.

After a week, I left this kind of tight system and I was trying to make a connection with my body, my body, to hear, to feel when I was hungry, what kind of nutrients I would need.

Inventing something with our consciousness is not necessarily consistent with our bodily needs.

It is important to find the middle ground, instead of self-pity and hedonism. It is worth gaining experience, and eating and following the rules can also give you a sense of self. Harmony and balance can be found in the middle way. Perhaps this would be ideal for the meal issue as well.



Adapted from “Időszakos böjtölés – az étkezés újragondolva”/ Viktoria Gazda on


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