sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

How to Create Your Own Intermittent Fasting Routine

By Thea Banjac August 03, 2023 Health and Fitness

Intermittent fasting is certainly a hot health topic these days, and for good reason! There are plenty of articles, books, and research papers you can read to learn of the impressive and often even miraculous benefits of fasting. I truly believe that fasting regularly is one of the most beneficial practices available for improving health, promoting healing, and optimizing longevity.

However, what most articles fail to explain is the importance of establishing an individualized fasting practice that works for YOU and YOUR body. Just because a certain fasting practice worked for your friend (or your mom, or your coworker…) does not necessarily mean it is the fasting practice that is best for you!

When it comes to fasting, the “Goldilocks Principle” certainly applies… meaning that more is not always better! Rather, it’s important to find a frequency and duration of fasting that is “just right” for YOU. Let’s talk about how to do that…

First, Consider the Following Factors Before Adding Fasting into Your Routine

Your Level of Life Stress

Remember that fasting is a STRESS on the body. While fasting can be a very beneficial stress that activates healing mechanism in the body, it can also be quite destructive if the body is not resilient enough to handle it!

Fasting is most beneficial when the body and nervous system are in a calm and relaxed state. If you’re under a lot of mental/emotional stress or physical stress (which includes intense exercise, by the way) you may want to consider sticking with shorter, less intense fasts to limit the added stress on your body and nervous system.

Your Health Status

Anyone who has health issues such as low thyroid, adrenal/chronic fatigue syndrome or other imbalances associated with high stress should be more careful with fasting!

These people should consider starting with shorter fasts and and should be sure to eat a balanced breakfast within 1-2 hours of waking to support hormone production.

Only as the body gets stronger should they attempt to slowly increase the duration and frequency of their fasts while carefully monitoring their symptoms and bloodwork.

Your Weight and Body Type

People who are of the ectomorph body type, which is described as being long and lean with little muscle or fat, are generally more prone to stress and weight loss, which means fasting is harder on their body and nervous system. They should ease into a fasting program slowly and allow time to see how their body responds.

On the other hand, endomorph body types, or people who have curvier bodies and tend to gain weight more easily, are typically able to tolerate longer fasts because their bodies and nervous systems are less prone to stress. They also have more fat to burn. Most endomorphs do well with intermittent fasting.

The mesomorph body type falls somewhere in between!

Your Fasting Experience

If you don’t have any experience with fasting, I highly recommend that you start slowly and build up your fasting length and frequency. Starting with short, consistent fasts will set you up for success. Diving in head first by starting with longer fasts is more likely to result in symptoms and may decrease the chance that you will adhere to a consistent fasting regimen.

Your Medication Use

Fasting is a very powerful tool for regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, and many other biomarkers of health. Saying that, be sure to consult with your doctor before starting a fasting regimen if you have any health conditions or are taking any medications. Your doctor may want to monitor certain biomarkers more closely than usual in order to adjust medications accordingly.

Second, Start with Short, Consistent Fasts and Progress from There.

Remember, you can and should drink lots of water while fasting. Unsweetened, herbal teas are also a terrific beverage to sip on during your fasts.

If you’d like, you can follow my 5-step fasting progression below:

Step 1: Avoid snacking between meals.

Step 2: Fast for 12 hours overnight. Finish dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime, and don’t eat anything after dinner. Resume eating within 2 hours of waking.

Step 3: Fast for 14-16 hours overnight; you can build up to doing this daily. The best way to accomplish this is to eat an earlier dinner and to resume eating within 1-2 hours of waking.

Step 4: Complete a 24-hour fast (ex. eat breakfast Monday and don’t eat again until breakfast Tuesday). Start by doing this once every other week and build up to doing this once per week. Outside of the 24-hour fast, maintain your normal fasting regimen of 12-16 hours nightly that you established in step 3.

Step 5: Complete a multi-day fast using a proven system that provides the necessary nutritional support and is supervised by a medical professional or health practitioner such as the “Dr. Cabral Detox” or “ProLon FMD.” These can be completed seasonally (~3-4 times per year).

Third, Monitor How Your Body Is Responding to Fasting

You need to monitor your progress and listen to your body in order to know if your fasting regimen is working for you or against you. Short term side effects may occur when you first begin or progress your fasting regimen such as headaches and fatigue. However, if symptoms such as anxiety, dehydration, dizziness, brain fog, low energy, headaches, mood imbalances, or abnormal menstrual cycles occur and don’t normalize, that may be a sign that your fasting regimen is too intense.

Monitoring basic biomarkers with your doctor or an integrative health practitioner is also a great way to see if your fasting regimen is working well for your body. Making sure markers such as cortisol, DHEA, thyroid (TSH, free T3 & Free T4), HbA1c, and insulin are staying in or moving toward the optimal range can help guide your routine.

Remember, fasting can be extremely beneficial, but only if you establish a regimen that works for YOUR BODY using the steps above. If you aren’t sure whether fasting is right for you or if you need help establishing a new routine, sign up for a free consultation with me to see if my 12 Weeks to Well program would be right for you!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you incorporate fasting into your normal routine? What health benefits have you noticed from fasting? What is the longest fast you’ve completed? Did you experience any symptoms during or after fasting?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I follow the 18/6 pattern for fasting and I have done so for several years. My eating window is 1pm to 7pm or 2pm to 8pm, whichever I feel like that day. I have two meals during that time with my main meal being the early one and then a much lighter meal later (so I am finished eating for the day by either 7 or 8 pm. I emphasize proteins and de emphasize carbs. It has allowed me to lose weight without counting calories and now my weight has stabilized. I allow myself to eat differently if I am on vacation or if family is visiting, because I believe that flexibility is important. Dr Jason Fung, a nephrologist from Canada is an important author to read up on if you want to try intermittent fasting.

Thea Banjac

Thanks so much for sharing your experience Lin! I am glad to hear you have found a routine that works well for you and has helped you stabilize your weight. I hope you found the article helpful. I agree that Dr. Jason Fung is a terrific resource!

The Author

Thea Banjac helps women with chronic conditions lose weight, rebalance their bodies, and regain control of their health. She combines functional medicine lab testing with personalized wellness protocols to target root cause contributors of each client’s unique condition. Schedule a free consultation at or join her 12 Weeks to Well program to begin taking back control of your health today.

You Might Also Like