What is your eating pattern: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, snack? Three squares a day plus a couple pick-me-ups?

The idea of fasting has gained support as a way of reducing calorie intake.

Here are three of the most popular methods:

  • 16/8 – Skip breakfast and then restrict eating to eight hours only, fasting for 16 hours in between. It’s flexible. You eat modestly during an eight-hour period, but what you eat is not entirely relevant.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: Fast 24 hours twice a week. Think of it as not eating breakfast one day and then waiting until breakfast the next day.
  • 5:2: Eat a very low calorie diet (from 500 to 600 calories) two days a week, but not two days in a row. Then eat normally the other five days.

The idea is that you eat fewer calories. It’s important that you not load up on calories during eating periods. So, one way is to guide your eating is to know your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE.

Several online calculators will give you an idea of how many calories you can eat to just maintain your weight and how many you need to lose weight.

For example, take a 45-year-old male who is five feet, eight inches tall and weights 260 pounds. His ideal weight is about 153 pounds. Suppose he gets light exercise two days per week. If he never changes eating or exercise, he can eat 2,803 calories per day and not gain weight. If he wants to lose weight, he will have to eat less calories, about 1,962, to lose weight quickly using a 16/8 method. Search for online fasting calculators and TDEE calculators to assess your calorie needs and goals.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.