After losing 10 pounds by fasting 16 hours a day, I wondered if I could get good results fasting just 12 hours instead. So, I embarked on a 12/12 fasting experiment!
To make a long story short, I lost even more weight fasting for 12 hours than I did for 16, and I wanted to do a writeup of what I believe are the main reasons why.
That way, you can choose for yourself which intermittent fasting schedule might work best for you!
1- 12 Hours Intermittent Fasting Is Easier
The fact of the matter is that fasting for just 12 hours is an easy moral victory.
It’s just easier.
Intermittent fasting for 16 hours was doable, yes, and effective, but it was hard.
I either felt deprived if I couldn’t enjoy specific meals at specific times, such as breakfast with my family on the weekends.
Or if I indulged outside my feeding window, I felt guilty.
Guilt and deprivation are not good feelings to experience when you’re making a sustainable life change.
That’s more fad diet territory, and it’s just not sustainable.
With 12 hours intermittent fasting, I felt like it was easy.
It was something I could do without much effort, and I found myself fasting longer hours Monday through Friday and relaxing the requirement on the weekend, so I could comfortably enjoy social dining.
At the end of the 12-hour intermittent fasting experiment, I averaged around 14 hours fasted overall.
More than 12, but less than 16.
I think this is the sweet spot of intermittent fasting for weight loss and is a decent compromise that most people can probably swing if they really want to give it a try!
2- I Tightened Up My Diet & Exercised Self-Control
Beyond an easier execution of 12 hours of intermittent fasting, the biggest takeaway that you have to understand with my personal results is that around week 3 I had an epiphany.
It clicked for me that no matter what plan I chose I would absolutely have to exercise some degree of self-restraint with what I put into my mouth.
I actually wound up exercising a LOT less with 12 hours of intermittent fasting than I did with 16, yet I still lost more weight and inches.
This is because I finally decided that it was time for real change!
I’d heard so many times before that “you can’t outrun a bad diet” and “bodies are built in the kitchen” and now I know it’s true.
Exercise really isn’t the most important factor in weight management!
That said, working on your dietary habits isn’t always easy, but I believe it’s worth taking tiny, consistent baby steps so you can get to the breakthrough.
Really, you can fast 23 hours a day and eat for one hour a day if you feel like it.
But if during that hour you eat too many calories for your activity level and the wrong types of low-quality foods, you won’t lose a pound!
All the fasting won’t save you if you use the feasting window to binge eat (the way I used to!)
3- Public Accountability Helped A Lot
Finally, I know for a fact that if I wasn’t losing weight on a public platform with tens of thousands of viewers a month reading my story and seeing me start over again worse than before – I probably would have lost focus like I always have in the past.
And honestly, this is why I chose to start a public weight loss blog in the first place.
Fun? Yes. To help others? Of course. But when you know you have to post before and after pictures and be accountable for what you say you’ll do, oh… it really lights a fire under your ass to get it done!
I didn’t want others to see me fail so I worked really hard to make sure I succeeded!
Now, I generally don’t recommend telling a bunch of people in your life who aren’t familiar with what you’re doing what you’re doing.
But public accountability with supportive people can carry you far!
If you find a Facebook group or even go on Reddit and make a public commitment to what you’re doing – it just might help you succeed at fasting for shorter times.
You’ll have support and a safe space to post before and after pictures (should you choose to do so) – and that will help you stay on target like a boss!
3 Tips For Fasting 12 Hours
That said, my best intermittent fasting advice would be to really take what I’ve said here and apply it as best as you can to your own life.
1- Pick A Reasonable Target
Pick an hourly fasting goal that’s attainable so you’re likely to keep up with it, yet still effective. You may discover that you find it easier to fast for longer during the work week when you’re busy.
Use this to your advantage!
If you reach 12 hours on a busy day and you aren’t hungry – push things a little farther out.
Then when you’re home on the weekends and maybe want to enjoy a Saturday or Sunday breakfast – or have a later dinner – go for 12!
I think 14 hours during the week and 12 hours on weekends is perfect for a beginner! You can see excellent results that way!
2- Have Patience
Make sure you wrap your mind around the natural process that you’ll go through.
You’re likely to lose weight rapidly at first – even without changing any habits.
Yep – at first, you can eat as much as you want and not exercise at all and still lose weight with fasting for just 12 hours.
But then your body will get used to that routine and weight loss will slow or stop.
At this point, you’ll either have to fast longer hours, start working out, or begin changing your diet (ideally a combination of the three if you’re serious!)
The good news is that you can make small changes here and still get big results.
But it’s still going to take time!
Weight loss will never be linear.
You will always gain some and lose some and you can’t let this get you down.
You can look at it like… if it takes 6 months to reach your goal weight – yes that’s a long time, but that 6 months will pass whether you lose weight or not, right?
Either keep doing the things that haven’t been working and be the same size six months from now, OR make small changes (that you don’t even feel), keep going, and be LBD ready! (Little Black Dress) 🙂
Your mindset absolutely has to shift…
Come to terms with the idea that as much as we all want to get rich quick and get skinny quick with no real effort – neither of those is really the way things work.
You’ll have to alter your diet and DO THE WORK, no matter when or how often you eat.
The sooner you accept that and work with it instead of against it, the better off you’ll be.
3- Track All Your Metrics
So, we all know that the scale is definitely a love-hate thing, but it’s important. I recommend you grab a biometric scale that tracks more than just body weight. The one I use and recommend is this one.
This scale is so awesome because it’s 1/3rd of the price of the Fitbit Aria scale and has everything you need to track your progress.
I like it a lot because it syncs seamlessly to my smartphone and comes with a free app for tracking all my data.
So that’s how I save my sanity when weighing in, and also am able to calculate so much more than just pounds!
My favorite metrics to track with my super cool biometric scale scale are BMI, pounds, hydration, and body fat… but there’s so much more if you’re a data hound.
And the charts and graphs are a visually pleasing way to see your progress in seconds!
So, there you have it, the three reasons why intermittent fasting for 12 hours yielded better results for me than intermittent fasting for 16 hours.
It may be tempting to suggest that any one of these reasons outweighs the others (no pun intended), but for me, they’re all equally as important.
Any diet plan you embark on must be sustainable.
You can’t feel guilty or like a failure every step of the way…
That’s no way to live!
Even though intermittent fasting makes eating fewer calories easier, it won’t do all the work for you.
Intermittent fasting really only works as much as YOU do.
Good luck, and happy fasting! 🙂