In life, it takes time to build on skills. Classical pianists once poked at the black and white keys—much like you and I would—until they improved and perfected their craft. Although intermittent fasting isn’t going to send you straight to Carnegie Hall, it will make you feel better and improve your overall health. However, just like anything, you have to start somewhere, and although 20/4 intermittent fasting isn’t quite for beginners, it is a worthy goal for the road ahead.
Other Plans Besides Intermittent Fasting 20:4 for Beginners
If you’re new to intermittent fasting, it involves eating during a window of time and fasting the other part of the day. Quite often—because it makes the most sense—participants schedule their fasting window while sleeping. After all, it’s hard to be tempted by food while you are snoozing for six to eight hours.
If you’re curious about the numbers, 20 4 intermittent fasting means fasting for 20 hours while eating for four hours. Please note that doesn’t mean that you eat the entire four-hour time period. It simply involves being able to eat within that time frame.
That being said, there are recommended plans for those who are just starting with intermittent fasting. We suggest starting from the top and working your endurance down to the bottom for time-centric intermittent fasting.
- 14/10 - This plan involves 10 hours of eating with a 14-hour fasting window.
- 16/8 - This is one of the most popular methods for beginners, where participants fast for 16 hours and consume for eight.
- 18/6 - Another popular plan, this schedule has a six-hour window for eating.
When you are building endurance, you can do intermediate steps. For example, when considering intermittent fasting 16/8 vs 20/4 fasting, you can build up your tolerance over time. Start with 16/8, move to 17/7, then to 18/6, and go hour by hour until you build up to an intermittent fasting 20/4 schedule.
Other Terms for Intermittent Fasting 20:4
Although the term intermittent fasting 20 4 may be new, this way of eating has gone under the guise of other names. The process of dining when you can or gathering for a large meal after grazing here and there all day has ancient roots. See if either of these plans are familiar to you.
The Warrior Diet
This moniker makes sense. Because, like a warrior, you have to be somewhat tough to go without food for 20 hours. However, that isn’t how The Warrior Diet got its name. Essentially, the title goes back to the days where soldiers would condition and fight most of the day and then come home to a feast. In those days, meals were a way to gather and socialize, so they would last longer than what we now know as mealtime. This way of eating was a very early predecessor to what we consider 20:4 intermittent fasting today.
Although OMAD—an acronym for one meal a day—doesn’t technically include a four-hour consumption window, the term is often interchangeable with 20/4 fasting. Unlike warriors, our daily lives don’t allow for meals that last hours (wouldn’t it be nice if it did?). So, if you are sticking to a proper OMAD intermittent fasting plan, your eating window should be a shorter time frame to consume a single meal. Some sources consider true OMAD as 23/1 intermittent fasting, which only allows for a 60-minute consumption window.
Popular Questions about Intermittent Fasting 20/4
Should I do 20/4 intermittent fasting everyday?
Essentially, your intermittent fasting schedule is up to you. That being said, consistency is critical. It would be difficult not to fast at all during the week and then do a 20 4 intermittent fasting one day a week. However, it can be done, as committing to one 20/4 day a week is very similar to fasting a day per week.
If you don’t feel as though you can stick to 20/4 intermittent fasting everyday, incorporate it a few days a week in addition to a shorter fasting plan. For example, if your sweet spot is 16/8 fasting, maybe do intermittent fasting 20/4 on your busiest workday so that you can skip breakfast and lunch and eat during a four-hour time frame once you are home.
What are the intermittent fasting 20/4 results?
Of course, the outcome will vary from person to person. We all metabolize at different rates and have our natural body types. Results will also depend on how many calories you consume, the foods you eat, and how active you are. You will have a more positive outcome if you eat healthy meals and move throughout the day.
Fasting in any capacity helps participants lose weight, but that isn’t the only benefit. One of the most positive 20/4 intermittent fasting results is that it allows your cells to go through autophagy. Essentially, instead of concentrating on breaking down and assimilating food, your body can focus on cleansing itself on a cellular level. The process of autophagy rids your body of toxins and can stave off certain types of cancers.
Although most folks participate in intermittent fasting 20/4 due to the weight loss benefits, the overall positive effect on the body should definitely be given credence. Weight loss and feeling better are tremendous short-term advantages, but the real benefits are long-term.
How do I make a 20/4 intermittent fasting meal plan?
When you’re only eating in a four-hour window, it’s best to make your calories count. If you need hydration other than water, you can drink coffee and tea as long as you don’t add too many calories, such as the ones in many flavored creamers. Technically, having less than 50 calories doesn’t break a fast.
When it comes to your consumption time on a 20/4 fasting schedule, be sure to have a balanced meal. Eat something quick, easy, and readily available, such as a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit, while you prepare your meal.
Don’t grab the junk food as empty calories from chips and sweets won’t offer your body the nutrients it craves. It’s best to fill up on the nutrient-dense foods so that you’re not tempted just to grab what’s closest when your consumption window opens.
What are things to include in intermittent fasting 20/4 meals?
Eat a well-rounded meal of protein, vegetables, and starch. If you’re still hungry afterward, feel free to add in a few treats. Use the suggested choices below as a springboard for meals. Even if you are a vegetarian or vegan, there are ways to fill your body with nutrients, such as fat and protein, from non-animal sources.
Although your palate may not enjoy each of the suggestions below, you can pick and choose from the list to curate a range of healthy meals and snacks for your 20/4 intermittent fasting meal plan. Of course, we’d always recommend incorporating Fastful into your plan as well.
- Include animal proteins, such as seafood, chicken, beef, and turkey.
- Nuts like walnuts, almonds, and cashews are also protein-dense.
- Many seeds—pumpkin, sunflower, and chia—are good sources of protein.
- Beans are an excellent source of protein, especially for vegetarians.
- Eggs are a great way to get protein, which is perfect for those whose four-hour window is during the morning hours.
- Root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, offer healthy starches.
- Other vegetables like corn and peas contain starch.
- Good sources of whole grain starches are also found in cereal, bread, and pasta.
Natural Vitamins and Minerals
- Vegetables like spinach, brussels sprouts, and broccoli have high nutritional value. (but watch out for oxalates with the spinach)
- Citrus fruits, apples, and berries contain lots of great nutrients for your body.
- Avocados are one of the healthiest sources of good fat.
- Nuts, eggs (both white and yolk), and fatty fish contain healthy fat.
- Although human-made, cheese and dark chocolate are tasty fat sources.
Are there any real-life 20/4 fasting stories?
One woman who documented her experience on PopSugar stated that although she was fasting for the majority of the day, she still felt satiated because she could eat enough during her consumption time. One perk was that intermittent fasting heightened her sense of taste, so what she ate was even more flavorful. In her two-week trial, she lost two pounds and was able to see more definition in her muscles, especially in her abdomen. She also experienced an increased positive mental state, less bloating, and didn’t obsess about food as she had done in the past.
No matter your familiarity with intermittent fasting, building up to a 20/4 plan is very doable. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can set yourself up for success. Just remember that intermittent fasting 20/4 isn’t a starting point, so if you’re a beginner, build up to it. However, if you’re already intermittent fasting, try the 20/4 schedule to see if it’s right for you. Not only will you have a healthier lifestyle, but you will experience other benefits, such as weight loss and a less toxic system overall.