Intermittent fasting is the latest diet protocols that many people are starting to get excited about. They're tired of meticulously counting calories and eating small, unsatisfying meals throughout the day.

For them, they'd rather just forget about food as much as they can and then come home to meals that actually fill them up.

If this sounds like you, then intermittent fasting may be the perfect solution. But, how often should you be doing intermittent fasting? Is this something that you can use forever? And is this diet safe?

Let's have a look at what you should consider.

Intermittent Fasting And Weight Control

The very first point to think about is what your primary aim of using intermittent fasting is for. If you're someone who is seeking fat loss and that's why you've chosen this diet over others, then you'll likely use it for however long it takes you to reach your goal weight.

It is always a good idea to break from a low calorie diet plan regardless of the set-up every 6-8 weeks, so use the intermittent fasting design for that long of a time period. After that, take one week off before starting again if you have more weight to lose.

Intermittent Fasting And Health

Next, you also want to think about your overall health as well. How is intermittent fasting related to health?

Here, the primary thing to note is that as long as you are eating sufficient calories and are taking in a good balanced mix of nutrients, you shouldn't see any negative health repercussions because of intermittent fasting.

The bigger problems come in those who don't eat enough total calories or who aren't getting in enough carbs or fats. Then they won't sustain health so using the approach for a short time is your best move.

Intermittent Fasting And Social Factors

Finally, the last thing that you may want to think about when considering how long you should stick with an intermittent fasting protocol is the social factors involved.

One thing that you may find slightly more trying about this approach is trying to live in the 'real world' while following it.

If a friend invites you for a meal and it's not within your eating window, what will you do? That's one question to ask yourself.

Many people do tend to find that this approach doesn't work all that well specifically for this reason, so you may want to consider either moving off the approach altogether or using a slightly modified variety where you can eat in the fasting period on certain occasions to make it more 'liveable'.

So keep these points in mind as you move about the diet. Intermittent fasting can be used indefinitely if you really want to as it's a sound approach that is healthy when designed properly. Just be sure that you are taking in enough nutrients overall and you should have no problem with this approach.

About the author: Shannon is a fitness trainer and freelance writer who has written for Bodybuilding.com.

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