The-Top-Intermittent-Fasting-Meal-Plan-PDFs-for-16_8-20_4-4_3-Vegans-Women-Beginners-and-more-with-rules-on-what-to-eat-if-coffee-is-OK-and-schedules-to-follow-1

The Top Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan PDFs for 16/8, 20/4, 4:3, Vegans, Women, Beginners and more with rules on what to eat, if coffee is OK and schedules to follow [Part 1 of 2]

Looking for intermittent fasting meal plan PDFs that you can download now?

Look no further. In this article we’ll cover the top plans out there and how you can start using them today.

The Top Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan PDFs

We’re starting this article with the top meal plans for intermittent fasting. After doing some research we weren’t pleased with what was out there.

So we created a few fasting meal plan PDFs of our own.

Use these quick, easy meal plans to get you fasting fast.

Eternal Oak Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan PDFs

Fillable, printable meal plan

Fillable, Printable Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Blank

Example 16:8 Meal Plan – Early, 3 Meals

Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example 16:8 Three Meals Early

Example 16:8 Meal Plan – Late, 3 Meals

Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example 16:8 Three Meals Late

Example 16:8 Meal Plan – Early, 2 Meals

Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example 16:8 Two Big Meals Early

Example 16:8 Meal Plan – Late, 2 Meals

Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example 16:8 Two Big Meals Late

Check out our other articles for even more intermittent fasting meal plan PDFs:

20/4 Intermittent Fasting Meal Plans

4:3 Intermittent Fasting Meal Plans

Vegan Intermittent Fasting Meal Plans

Should you clump your eating early or late?

It doesn’t matter.

  • Martin Berkhan of Leangains has been eating late and promoting it successfully for years.
  • In this recently published study they tested these same patterns (early or late) on mice that didn’t have internal clocks. These mice could see if it was day or night but their body didn’t respond by making them tired when the light changed.

Even without internal clocks these mice still lost weight and had lower blood sugar when they clumped their meals together and had longer fasts.

21 Day Hero Intermittent Fasting Plan PDF

https://21dayhero.com/intermittent-fasting-daily-plan/

Pros

  • Includes a 21 day calendar
  • Each day comes with a different challenge (e.g. eat only whole foods)
  • The challenges give you something to think about other than fasting

Cons

  • There’s no room in the calendar to write your own meals
  • There’s no meals listed, just daily challenges.
  • Not good for tracking meals and fasts

Summary – Use this to practice daily challenges during fasting to keep it interesting

Nerd Fitness Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan PDF

https://www.nerdfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Intermittent-Fasting.pdf

Pros

  • Tons of background information
  • Includes 16:8 and 24 hr meal plan schedules to give you options
  • Let’s you fill in start and stop times for fasting and really dial in how long each fast is. Great for working up slowly to longer fasts and tracking progress.
  • Plans let you rate each day – on point, meh, or fail; helping you track how many successful fasts you did over the week

Cons

  • Again, no room for meals for you to fill in
  • No suggested meals to give you a quick idea of how it would work

Summary – Use this to practice longer and longer fasts. It’s hard to do a 24 hour or 36 hour fast for your first fast. Use this schedule to slowly build up to it.

5:2 Meal Planner

https://the5-2dietbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Little-ebook-of-5-2-tools-by-Kate-Harrison-2018-edition-1.pdf

Pros

  • Includes story from author and background info to get you motivated
  • Meals plans are blank and printable! Add your own meals
  • Includes a few low calorie meals as suggestions for meal times

Cons

  • Doesn’t include times to fast
  • No way to track fasting times
  • Too much info, no sample meal plans with example meals shown

Types of Intermittent Fasting

For the purposes of this post we’ll discuss three types of fasting.
 

16:8 Intermittent Fasting

16:8 Stands for 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. Martin Berkhan of Leangains.com popularized this method in the late 200s.
 
Of the 3 types discussed here it is the easiest method as it has the shortest fasting time frame. Most of the fasting takes place while you sleep.
 
If you’ve heard of Time Restricted Feeding by Dr. Satchin Panda, it is the same thing. You limit the amount of time you eat to an 8-12 hour window and fast the rest of the time.
 
No snacks or calorie beverages while fasting. This fast allows only water, tea, and black coffee. Diet soda for some (me) and not for others (Martin).

24 or 36 Hour Fasts – 1-2 times a week

Brad Pilon of Eat Stop Eat (bradpilon.com) made this method popular in the last 2000s as well. Once or twice a week you fast for 24 hours.
 
Brad recommends fasting from dinner to dinner. So you would eat dinner at 7 PM then eat nothing till dinner the next day at 7 PM.
 
This method was fun for me but not as easy as 16:8. When I learned of Dr. Fung and his recommended 36 hour fasts I gave that a try and got immediate results. It was hard but I had practice with smaller fasts under my belt.
 
With Brad’s 24 hour fast I always ate too much afterwards and the over all calorie balance stayed high.
 
With Dr. Fung’s 36 hour fasts I reduced my calorie average for the week and started dropping a pound a week.
 
With 36 hour fasts you eat dinner at 7 PM, eat nothing the entire next day, then eat your usual meals the day after. This method was great for reducing average calories eating.
 
I used that often to cheat with binge eating other times. This method becomes an eating disorder of binging and purging for some people.
 
Currently I still use 36 hour fasts to put some “calories in the bank” when there’s a holiday feast or party coming up. I try not to use it weekly otherwise my weakness for Little Ceasar’s pizza gets the best of me later in the week.
 

Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)

A ton of studies back the ADF style of fasting.
 
The main researcher who wrote the book on the subject was Krista Varada. Her book is “Alternate Day Fasting”.
 
When I first heard of ADF I completely ignored it. After trying 24 hours fasts and seeing how difficult they were I didn’t want to fast every other day. I couldn’t be more wrong.
 
With ADF you eat normal one day then you eat ¼ of what you eat on fasting days. If you eat 2000 calories a day you would eat 500 calories on fasting days.

5:2 Diet

There’s also the 5:2 diet which is a blend between Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat and Krista Varaday’s ADF. With 5:2 you eat normal 5 days of the week then you eat 400 – 500 calories 2 days of the week.
 
You can eat it all at once in one meal or spread out through snacks through the day. This method became popular thanks to the BBC series “Eat, Fast, and Live Longer.”

How Many Hours a Day Should I Fast?

As discussed above there are many different fasting methods. All use different hours of the day to fast. To be honest, you won’t know which one is best until you try them.

I recommend you try 16:8 first. Do that for a while to get comfortable with 16 hour fasts. No need to do it every day. Just a few times a week.

Then, try a longer fast for 24 hours going from dinner to dinner.

During this time you should track the foods you eat. Try different fasts on different weeks. See which ones were easy for you and see which ones reduced your average weekly calories the greatest.

Recommended Fasting Type and Why

Right now I mainly use 16:8 most days of the week with 36 hour fasts every now and then to prep for a holiday feast or party. Fasting is a cheap, simple method to balance out overeating at parties. Keep the parties and keep the dieting. Use fasting to make them both work.

We recommend you start with 16:8 for a few days and build up slowly to 24 hour fasts. See which is easiest for you to follow and still reduces your average weekly calorie count.

Does the 16 8 diet really work?

Yes. It works for some. It may work for you but you must try.

If you want to see some before and after pictures and stories for those that tried 16:8 check these out:

  1. Anna Redko toned up and improved her mood and skin even while eating 2000 calories a day on the 16:8.  There were changes beyond weight loss. (<a href="http://What We Recommend and Why Right now I mainly use 16:8 most days of the week with 36 hour fasts every now and then to prep for a holiday feast or party. Fasting is a cheap, simple method to balance out overeating at parties. Keep the parties and keep the dieting. Use fasting to make them both work. We recommend you start with 16:8 for a few days and build up slowly to 24 hour fasts. See which is easiest for you to follow and still reduces your average weekly calorie count. Does the 16 8 diet really work? Yes. It works for some. It may work for you but you must try. If you want to see some before and after pictures and stories for those that tried 16:8 check these out: 1. 2. 3. Remember that fasting is a tool you use in addition to either a meal plan or calorie counting. Fasting isn’t a ticket to pigging out whenever you want. That’s an eating disorder. Keep in mind that the success stories above likely had some kind of eating plan in addition to their fasting to help them succeed. You will need to do the same if you want to succeed with fasting. Fasting should be the icing on a cake made out of a solid meal plan that’s easy for you to follow.” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>link to picture and her article).
  2. Jenny Sugar used it to drop belly fat (link to before and after pictures and interview with his trainer).
  3. Lastly, Hugh Jackson used 16:8 as part of his transformation to become the Wolverine. (link to before and after pictures and interview with his trainer).

Remember that fasting is a tool you use in addition to either a meal plan or calorie counting. Fasting isn’t a ticket to pigging out whenever you want. That’s an eating disorder.

Keep in mind that the success stories above likely had some kind of eating plan in addition to their fasting to help them succeed. You will need to do the same if you want to succeed with fasting.

Fasting should be the icing on a cake made out of a solid meal plan that’s easy for you to follow.

How much weight can you lose in a month with intermittent fasting?

How much will you lose? It depends on how much fasting reduces your average weekly calorie count.

For fun, let’s do some an example and see what’s possible. We’ll call this example Compliant Charlie.

Example 1 – Complaint Charlie

Charlie loves setting goals and hits them every time. Let’s see what he can do with 16:8 and a little meal plan.

Let’s say right now he eats about 2100 calories a day on average. He weighs 180 pounds. Friday and Saturday are higher but he eats a bit less on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday naturally to balance it out.

His goal is to get to 165, ready for summer.

He decides to try 16:8. He finds 4-6 meals he really likes that he can cook fast

Each meal is only 500 calories each. Charlie follows the meal plan below.

  • Wakeup – Black coffee or plain tea
  • 9 Am Breakfast – 500 calories
  • 12 noon Lunch – 500 calories
  • 4 PM Dinner – 500 calories
  • 5 PM to 9 AM – Fasting

That’s 1500 calories for the day.

Charlie, of course, is compliant all week. So his average calories is 1500 calories a day or 10,500 calories for the week.

Math Time, Beware! Charlie is 600 calories under the usual daily intake. 600 over 7 days is 4200 calories. At 3500 calories per pound of fat that’s 4200/3500 or 1.2 pounds of fat lost per week.

He did this for three weeks and felt great. Every Friday morning at exactly 6 AM he weighed himself before drinking any water and after using the bathroom. Over 3 weeks he lost 3.6 pounds. He dropped from 180 lbs to 176.4 pounds.

In just 2 more months he’s going drop to 166.8. Almost 15 pounds gone. He hasn’t seen that on the scale in many years. Plus he’s still dropping.

Example 2 – Jump Around Jill

Now let’s look at another scenario. Let’s call this one Jumps Around Jill.

Jill’s tall and just like Charlie she starts at 180 pounds. She too wants to drop to 165 pounds before summer. There’s a few months to go and she wants to know if she’ll make it.

Like Charlie she eats 2100 calories a day. She knows Charlie and takes on the same meal plan. She finds 4-6 500 calorie meals that she likes and are easy to make. She even makes them at work.

She follows the same plan:

  • Wakeup – Black coffee or plain tea
  • 9 Am Breakfast – 500 calories
  • 12 noon Lunch – 500 calories
  • 4 PM Dinner – 500 calories
  • 5 PM to 9 AM – Fasting

Just like Charlie she’s fast on her way to fat loss.

But then Friday happens… Jill goes out with some friends and has a few drinks. She breaks 16:8 for that night but it’s OK she says, I’ve been good all week.

Saturday she’s a bit hungover. One of her friend’s calls her up and invites her to brunch. She goes. With great intentions she plans to eat light. But it’s chicken and waffles for her. 1500 calories. Just for breakfast. She skips lunch but is ravenous at dinner. Is it hunger or just dehydration from the drinking? Doesn’t matter. She drinks a ton of water and gets right back on the meal plan. 500 calorie dinner and starts 16:8 again. She’s compliant Sunday too.

Let’s see how Jill did. We’ll type this up to make it easier to visualize.

Math Time!!!

Monday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Tuesday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Wednesday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Thursday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Friday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 400 calories (4 rum and diet cokes – she was good or was she?), Drinking late means the fasting window was less than 16 hours. 16:8 not compliant.

Saturday – 1500 calorie brunch, 500 calorie dinner. Lots of water.

Sunday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Jill’s Totals – 11,400 calories for the week. Prior to 16:8 she was eating 14,700 calories a week. That’s a 3,300 calorie difference. Even with 4 drinks on Friday and Big Brunch Saturday she still would lose almost a pound that week.

So 16:8 holds up both for Compliant Charlie and Jumps Around Jill.

Will it work for you? Let’s go over 2 more scenarios and find out. Since this section is getting a bit long I’m going to shorten them.

Both will do 16:8 and both will have a nemesis. Can they defeat their nemesis? Let’s find out.

Example 3 – Christmas Carl

Christmas Carl is on track most of the year. He follows 16:8 and is at his goal weight of 165 pounds.

Christmas is his favorite and also his overeating nemesis.

He never has and never will hold back through the holidays.

He knows this. He makes a plan. You can probably see how this will turn out!

Like Jill and Charlie, Carl has a 1500 calorie a day meal plan and follows 16:8. That’s 10,500 calories a week and it keeps him at 165 lbs.

Christmas rolls around and Carl has a massive 6,000 calorie meal that night. He also ate his normal breakfast and lunch. He’s a man of habit! His total for the day is 7000 calories!

Looks like Carl didn’t make it, or did he? Sounds like its…

Math Time!!!

Carl’s weekly total is 16,000 calories. How much weight did he gain? 16,000 for the week minus 10500 average for the week divided by 3500 calories per pound gives us an extra 5500 calories for the week. That’s a gain of 1.6 pounds gained for the week.

Is all hope lost? No, Carl planned for this. He’s been doing 16:8 for months. He’s practiced fasting and he’s good at it. He’s also done some 24 and 36 hour fasts every now and then. He knows to stay busy and other methods to help him get through a longer fast.

The week prior to Thanksgiving he did a 36 hour fast on Monday (eat Sunday, skip Monday, normal Tuesday – 36 hours from Sunday dinner to Tuesday breakfast). He did another one that last Thursday. That’s 1500 calories over two days he didn’t eat, or 3000 calories total. That’s not enough to make up the 5500.

Again, Carl planned for this. He also plans to do the same on Monday and Thursday the week after Thanksgiving. He knows 36 hour fasts are hard but so is giving up this 165 lb body he loves!

Plus he knows he only has to do those longer fasts 4 times.

So he does them. He’s down 6000 calories. Problem solved. Carl stayed at 165 pounds all season using a combination of 16:8 and targeted 36 hour fasts.

Nothing lost but nothing gained. Carl makes it through the holiday season with no net weight gain with some carefully timed fasts.

Three success stories so far but we have one more contestant to go. Meet Party Pete.

Example 4 – Party Pete

Party Pete loves to Party. For Pete every week is Thanksgiving.

There’s a holiday going on somewhere!

Pete’s best friend is Carl. Pete watches maintain 165 lbs every holiday season no matter how much Carl eats.

Pete wants to do the same. His nemesis, Pete loves to party all the time.

Like Carl, Pete’s started 16:8 and is on a roll. Like Carl, Pete worked his way up to 36 hour fasts. He learned what he had to do to stay compliant and distracted to get through the longer fasts.

Unlike Carl, Pete still has a least 1-2 party nights a week. Either he drinks too much or eats too much.

So does Pete make it? Let’s see. Sounds like it’s…

Math Time!!!

Monday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Tuesday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Wednesday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 600 calories – Happy hour, light beer only, fasting 12 hours

Thursday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Friday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 1500 calorie burger and fries, 1000 calories Friday night out (mixed of different drinks), Fasting only from 1:30 Am to 9 Am on Saturday

Saturday – Massive hangover. 1500 calorie diner breakfast followed by hangry 500 calorie lunch and 500 calorie dinner. 16:8 complaint

Sunday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Pete’s totals – 14,600 calories for the week (16:8 fasting only). Like the others, Pete’s previous daily was 2100 calories a day or 14700. He’s under but not enough. Due to errors in estimating how much he eats Pete’s weight stays at 180 for 2 months.

Pete is hating 16:8. He talks to Carl. Carl talks about the 36 hour fasts. Pete gives it a try.

Let’s see if longer fasts help, even with all that partying…

Monday – 36 hour fast (0), 16:8 compliant

Tuesday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Wednesday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 600 calories – Happy hour, light beer only, fasting 12 hours

Thursday – 36 hour fast (0), 16:8 compliant

Friday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 1500 calorie burger and fries, 1000 calories Friday night out (mixed of different drinks), Fasting only from 1:30 Am to 9 Am on Saturday

Saturday – Massive hangover. 1500 calorie diner breakfast followed by hangry 500 calorie lunch and 500 calorie dinner. 16:8 complaint

Sunday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant

Pete’s totals – 11,600 calories for the week (with 36 hour fasts). Like the others, Pete’s previous daily was 2100 over 7 days or 14,700 calories a week. Pete finally starts losing weight! He’s down 3100 calories or almost a pound.

Pete feels freaking invincible. 1 pound a week. This is Party Pete here! He does nothing halfhearted.

He’s going to set this fat on fire!

Now he starts 36 hour fasts two days after every binge. Let’s see how it panned out over 2 weeks.

Week 1

  • Monday – 36 hour fast (0)
  • Tuesday – 2100 calories – Normal meal plan plus small binge. Just a quick happy hour with friends.
  • Wednesday – 36 hour fast (0) – Thursday’s coming and it’s the new Friday!
  • Thursday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 1500 calorie dinner, 1000 calories drinks. I’m invincible with fasting!
  • Friday – Hangover. 1000 calories – Eats 2 meal plan meals for breakfast. 500 calorie lunch and 500 calorie Dinner. But…1500 calorie happy hour and 750 calories for 3 slices of late night pizza.
  • Saturday – Massive hangover. 1500 calorie diner breakfast followed by hangry 500 calorie lunch and 500 calorie dinner.
  • Sunday – 36 hour fast (0)
  • Totals for Week 1 – 12,850. 14,700 – 12850 / 3500 = Pete lost ½ a pound. Success still!

Week 2

  • Monday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 16:8 compliant
  • Tuesday – 36 hr fast (0)
  • Wednesday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 1500 calorie binge
  • Thursday – 36 hr fast (0)
  • Friday – 1500 calorie meal plan, 1500 calorie binge
  • Saturday – 1500 calorie brunch, 500 calorie lunch, 500 calorie dinner, 1500 calorie binge
  • Sunday – 36 hr fast (0) – extremely difficult. Lots of sickness
  • Totals for Week 2 – 11,500. 14700 – 11500 / 3500 = Pete loses another pound. Success again!

But is this a success? Can you see the pattern here? How long do you think Pete can hold out?

He may be losing weight but he may be heading for an eating disorder.

Binge and purge. Binge and purge. Pete’s heading towards bulimia.

This is a serious condition. Whether you purge from vomiting, laxatives, or fasting it’s all the same.

If you’re bouncing back and forth from big eats to no eats you may have a problem.

This is the dark side of fasting.

Fasting is powerful. Yes, you can lose a ton of weight. Yes, you can eat what you like.

But if you’re not careful it will own you. Just like junk food addiction you can have fasting addiction.

If you or someone you know is going down this path please seek help. It’s serious. People die from eating disorders.

Fasting. Keto. Paleo. Calorie Counting. These are powerful tools. Depending on the person they can work great. They can also be a huge detriment to your life.

Respect your body and the tools you use to change it. You can have the body of your dreams.

You deserve it. 

You don’t need to set that fat on fire to get the results you want. Just go slowly, pay attention, and get feedback from friends you trust that have gone there before you.

Does your body burn fat or muscle first when fasting?

Both, mostly fat. Many, many studies have been done on this. In the first day of a fast there is a small, small amount of muscle burn along with the fat.

Then your body will dump human growth hormone, which stops the burning of muscle. It does that to conserve muscle.

Think about it. We have gone through fasting periods naturally as part of our evolution. There wasn’t always a 7-11 nearby. If the body was designed to burn muscle during a fast we wouldn’t have the energy to go out and find more food.

The end result of that – extinction.

So instead we use fat as our long term energy storage and emergency energy supply.

This is why fasting is so great. It’s the best way to tap into our fat stores and burn them away. Combined with a compliant meal plan and you’re ready to light that fat on fire.

For more on why fasting burns fat, not muscle, see Dr. Fung’s response here.

How Often Should You Do 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?

Refer to the four examples above of Compliant Charlie, Jump Around Jill, Christmas Carl, and Party Pete. They each took a slightly different take on when and how to fast. You can see their calorie results in that section.

Fasting gives you a lot of flexibility. There’s no right way to do it.

Personally I go somewhere between Jump Around Jill and Christmas Carl with a consistent meal plan to pull me back on track.

I use a meal plan as my core diet plan and fasting to smooth out the bumps for fun eating. I suggest you do the same.

Does Water Fasting Burn Fat?

Absolutely. All fasting burns fat. For a complete run down on water fasting results check out my full article here.

That’s all for part of the this intermittent fasting meal plan PDF guide. In part 2 we’ll cover other guidelines like what you can eat, does coffee break a fast, how many calories per meal, and more.

Click or tap here to read part 2.

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