All beginnings are difficult, especially regarding a change in diet. For many, overcoming one’s inner obstacle and implementing a plan is a significant hurdle.
For this reason, I have developed the 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge. With this study-based monthly plan, you won’t lose motivation immediately and can playfully start intermittent fasting without risking your health.
Thanks to the small daily challenges, you can start intermittent fasting step by step without upsetting your hormonal balance.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting has become famous worldwide due to its scientifically proven benefits. It involves fasting within a specific period and eating only for the rest of the day or week.
There are many forms of intermittent fasting, but the most popular is fasting within 16 hours.
There are good reasons why the 16/8 method is so popular.
Because of its simple rules, which can effortlessly be tailored around your daily work routine, beginners achieve the best results with 16/8 intermittent fasting.
This classic method of intermittent fasting is not a foreign word even in circles of bodybuilders, as it has been used there for decades.
As the name Time-Restricted Eating suggests, this method is the mother of intermittent fasting. It gives daily a strict period in which may be eaten. However, strict fasting takes place during the remaining time of the day.
For example, you eat between noon and 8 PM:
- Fasting window: 16 hours
- Eating window: 8 hours
This way, your body can fast for 16 hours straight, followed by an 8-hour eating period. Since you sleep 8 of the 16 fasting hours, classic intermittent fasting is more comfortable than you might think.
Since it is simply unnecessary due to the high energy level in the morning, it is easiest for most people to forgo breakfast on 16/8.
When we wake up, the body increases adrenaline, glucagon, growth hormone, and cortisol levels, which provide enough energy to start the day.1
Therefore, it is precisely after waking up that it is least necessary to supply energy.
However, for some people, skipping dinner has also proven successful due to their daily routine.
The Crescendo Method is a milder variation of 16/8 intermittent fasting.
Instead of daily fasting, you fast on two to three non-consecutive days per week. For example, you could choose Tuesday and Thursday or Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Accordingly, you can approach your ideal fasting plan individually in two dimensions.
On the one hand, the fasting period of the daily plan can gradually increase from 12 to 14 to 16 hours. On the other hand, the weekly plan now calls for intermittent fasting only every other day.
You may also slowly increase this dimension to the whole week. This results in the following range of fasting windows for crescendo fasting:
- Fasting window: 12-16 hours
- Eating window: 8-12 hours
This way, you don’t risk abruptly inducing excessive caloric restriction when fasting.
The gradual approach allows beginners to test how the body and hormonal balance react to the change.
Finally, according to studies, the extreme calorie restriction of conventional diets can upset the female cycle.2
Since this cannot happen with this fasting method, crescendo fasting is the beginner’s plan for women.
Why a 30-Day Challenge?
Changing diets can feel like a monumental task.
Changes associated with it usually seem intimidating at first.
Plus, it can feel overwhelming as you think about when, how often, and what to eat, or what exercise can help with weight loss and to what extent.
In addition, a new diet always comes with a certain insecurity.
And it is precisely this unpleasant feeling that I want to take away from you with this fasting challenge.
This 30-day challenge allows you to start intermittent fasting confidently without risking your health or fretting about annoying mistakes.
In short, I’ve invested time and experience into this fasting challenge so you can take all the guesswork out of losing weight.
On top of that, it takes the tricky decisions away from you, ensuring you don’t lose motivation as you start your intermittent fasting journey.
After mastering this challenge, you will be convinced that the 16/8 schedule is the easiest way to lose weight effectively without starving yourself.
For this 30-day plan, you don’t have to prepare 90 exotic recipes, portion them, calculate the calories you consume, or follow other complicated rules.
After that, you’ll realize that intermittent fasting is not witchcraft but a lifestyle most people can easily integrate into their daily work routine.
The best part is that the challenge is free and can be done by almost anyone at any time.
30-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge
If you want to improve your health, the following small daily challenges are just how to get you started today.
I’ve made the daily activities as simple as possible so that you can make small changes, step by step, to get you closer to your target weight.
On the one hand, this 30-day plan will get you used to intermittent fasting gradually and effortlessly. And on the other hand, it will help you become aware of habits that may have unconsciously prevented you from losing weight.
Accordingly, the challenge will slowly introduce you to the 16/8 method, starting with crescendo fasting. This approach to intermittent fasting allows beginners to fast safely without immediately upsetting hormonal balance.
Each week of the Challenge has a specific theme that will get you closer to your goals:
- Drink Awareness
- Food Awareness
- Fat Burning
Each small challenge will help you improve your relationship with food, regulate your appetite naturally, and establish activities that relieve stress without overwhelming you.
Get the 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge Plan
Intermittent Fasting Challenge Week #1: Drink Awareness
Although people are constantly racking their brains over food, most serious mistakes happen while drinking. Countless beverages can deprive you of any chance of reaching your target weight. Put an end to that now!
The first day is simple. You are going to stop eating at 8:00 PM. Not snacking is the first significant milestone in introducing you to a successful intermittent fasting routine.
Today, try to avoid snacks in between meals. Therefore, you will start only drinking tap water, mineral water, coffee, or tea from now on.
Ask yourself if you are actually hungry. Maybe you’re just stressed, worried, or bored. It might also help if you grab your shoes and walk instead of grabbing a snack.
Check and record your waist circumference, body weight, and BMI today. This way, you can analyze the results at the end of the challenge.
Today we are going to eliminate the secret killers of all weight loss ambitions:
- Juices of all kinds, no matter how organic
- Regular, diet, and zero sodas
- Smoothies (sugar without fiber)
- Sports drinks (sweeteners and sugars)
- Low-fat and fasting drinks (insulin)
- Energy drinks (absolute garbage)
Your body will thank you!
After getting up, a glass (250 ml) of water will help you start intermittent fasting and is also obligatory for a healthy fluid balance.
It is crucial to drink water before any coffee.
Today is the first day of crescendo fasting to shorten the eating window.
To summarize, today, you are not supposed to eat a meal as soon as you get up, just because most other people do so.
For this reason, only unsweetened tea or coffee and tapped or mineral water is allowed before 10 AM.
Today we take a significant step toward the 16/8 schedule.
Instead of breakfast, you will have a healthy-fat drink that can fill you up without significantly increasing insulin levels.
This fat fasting extends the time in which you can burn fat efficiently.
We use a Bulletproof Coffee or Tea (same recipe with tea instead of coffee).
The keto-friendly butter coffee is also famous for intermittent fasting.
The essential aspect of any Bulletproof Coffee is the addition of healthy fats. Therefore, Bulletproof Coffee differs from ordinary coffee with milk.
The classic recipe for Bulletproof Coffee, which you will find at the end of this challenge, includes black coffee and two essential ingredients:
- MCT oil or virgin coconut oil
- Pastured butter or ghee
While these pure fats do not stop ketosis, they do impair autophagy.
For this reason, Bulletproof Coffee is just a jumpstart to help you get used to longer fasting windows more quickly.
Throughout this fasting challenge, you will unlearn morning hunger anyway. Then starting aids will become obsolete.
The end of the week eliminates more hidden villains that can prevent you from losing weight.
Therefore, from this day of the 30-day intermittent fasting challenge, the following additives in coffee, tea, or other beverages are taboo:
In addition, this day is the first of the challenge in which you should follow the classic 16/8 pattern.
On the weekend, you can eat relaxedly, utilizing a 12/12 schedule.
However, that doesn’t mean you should eat donuts, burgers, and fries for two days.
Take a little mindfulness into the weekend and avoid unnecessary sweetened and low-fat diet drinks.
Intermittent Fasting Challenge Week #2: Food Awareness
No matter what approach you take to improve your health or shed five pounds to fit back into your old pants, you can’t avoid one cornerstone: Natural foods rich in micronutrients.
When you fast clean, you save yourself from bloating, inflammation, cravings, and blemished skin and lose weight sustainably without the yo-yo effect.
That’s why the second week of the challenge aims to raise awareness of the additives the food industry smuggles into our food to make it cheaper to produce and shelf-stable.
After your first fasting experience, take a few minutes to reflect on old eating habits and set goals for the week.
What might have been holding you back from losing weight so far? How can you overcome this hurdle in the future?
Write down your thoughts, try to live more in the present, and appreciate the novelties and insights of each day accordingly.
A work week couldn’t start any better with a focus on eating more consciously.
When you start reading labels, you won’t be able to escape the amazement of what’s hiding in some foods.
The food industry mixes in sugar wherever possible because it is eight times as addictive as cocaine.9
Furthermore, Big Food is creative in inventing names for sugar to prevent it from being the first ingredient on the package.
Anything that ends in -dextrin, -ose, -syrup, or -extract among the ingredients is most likely sugar.
Sucrose, conventional table sugar, is not a simple sugar. In addition to glucose, it contains a much sweeter sugar molecule called fructose.
And we know that fructose inhibits the satiety hormone leptin and stimulates the hunger hormone ghrelin.10
Eating sugary foods during your last meal can make fast the next day harder. Highly processed foods do not make you feel full but make you hungry faster.
Like sugar, refined seed oils have now made it into colorful packaging.
They act as cheap flavor carrier alternatives to natural fats.
Today, soy, sunflower, or canola oil hide in most processed foods.
These seed oils are by no means natural and require multi-million dollar equipment for the chemical procedure. For example, canola oil is heated, refined, bleached, and deodorized, among other processing steps.11
The trend of swapping natural saturated fats for industrial omega-6 fats is fattening and promotes inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in general.12
Using these harmful oils for cooking is also the main argument against eating out.
Add extra virgin olive or coconut oil to your last meal today instead of sugar to get satiated.
This day has a 10-hour eating window as part of the crescendo method.
Natural, whole foods without multiple ingredients should be the cornerstone of any rudimentary healthy diet.
Although this basic rule is self-explanatory, many people today lack the necessary awareness. Trust in the industrialization of food is more significant than ever before. The best example is the boom in vegan substitute products, some of which contain dozens of artificial ingredients.
Day 10 of the challenge allows you to eat for 12 hours from morning to night.
Try to eat only lunch and dinner on this day.
The conventional pairing of fatty acids and polysaccharides like starches on your plate works against weight loss.
While fat brings more energy into the body, glucose ensures that energy is stored efficiently through insulin release.
In contrast to classic side dishes such as potatoes, pasta, or bread, a fundamentally different type of carbohydrate predominates in green vegetables: Dietary fiber.
While simple and complex sugars raise blood sugar and insulin levels, fiber reduces their rise.15
Your first options in today’s side dishes, therefore, are:
- Brussels sprouts
Feel free to add grass-fed butter or extra virgin olive oil to the vegetables to help with satiety.
In moderation, the right snacks can also be healthy. While today is the last time you may eat throughout the day, try limiting snacks to the afternoon.
Allowed are various nuts as healthy sources of fat (peanuts and cashews are neither nuts nor healthy fats!) and those fruits that contain the least sugar: Berries and citrus fruits.
Now that you’re fasting at 16/8 again, it’s time to see how well your body has adapted to burning fat for energy.
Intermittent fasting also aims to achieve a state of ketosis, where the body uses fat instead of glucose for fuel.
Although experienced fasting enthusiasts may feel as if they are in ketosis by paying attention to their body’s reactions, we want to check your progress more closely.
While urine tests are cheaper, blood tests provide the most accurate results.
If no ketones show up in your test results today, don’t despair.
It may well take the full 30 days for you to become fat-adapted. In the case of solid insulin resistance, it can also take considerably longer.
Accordingly, it is already a success if you can detect increased ketone levels during the challenge.
Therefore, we will perform this measurement every Friday before lunch and before breaking the last fast of the challenge to measure the first possible success.
After Friday is the start of the weekend, there are no additional tasks. Enjoy the weekend!
On the weekend, you eat again relaxed utilizing a 12/12 intermittent.
Take your new food awareness into the weekend and avoid unnecessary, highly processed foods.
Intermittent Fasting Challenge Week #3: Mindfulness
Since awareness is the sub-theme of this fasting challenge, the development of mindfulness cannot be missing.
Mindfulness means nothing more than living the present moment judgment-free and consciously. In short, we want to perceive the now in a more focused way and let distractions pass us by so that we don’t mentally digress.
Mindfulness-based practices have one primary purpose, to reduce stress and thus cortisol levels.
Stress inevitably arises at work, during everyday interactions, and leisure time.
It is the biggest silent killer of all weight loss ambitions. You can integrate mindfulness into your daily routine with surprisingly simple habits, increase your well-being, and lose weight more efficiently.
On Sunday, take a few minutes to reflect on your key learnings from the previous week.
Write down three aha moments that could fundamentally change your relationship with food for the better.
In the second half of this fasting challenge, we finally moved to the 16/8 schedule. You have completed the introductory phase, and from now on, you’ll eat every day only from noon until 8:00 PM.
Today’s task is simple but effective. Maybe you have already practiced it a time or two during a COVID lockdown.
Walking after dinner will help you relax and significantly lowers blood glucose levels.
If you have a blood meter, you can compare the readings before and after the walk and witness your effectiveness.
Avoid consuming social media from 9:00 AM until noon.
Charming images of food abound on social media, making it much more challenging to persevere while fasting.
Focus on work and marvel at how productive mornings can be without breakfast and social media.
Meditation and yoga are the main pillars of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Techniques (MBSR).
The main idea behind mindfulness-based stress reduction is to live fully in the present moment through repetitive awareness exercises.
It is a lifestyle change aimed at escaping the millwheels of time.
Mindfulness-based practices can reduce stress symptoms while increasing sleep and quality of life.16
According to research, highly stressed individuals may benefit from meditation to reduce stress.17
Yoga, in turn, can reduce cortisol levels, blood pressure, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and blood sugar.18
Choose one of the two methods as your morning routine, which you will maintain throughout the rest of the challenge.
For the first option, I recommend an app that allows you to get started immediately through guided meditations without prior knowledge.
YouTube gives you almost limitless options for 10-minute yoga sessions in the morning. With most of the videos for beginners, you can get started immediately without any prior knowledge.
Screens are signaling daytime to our bodies due to their blue light.
That’s why the hunger hormone ghrelin and stress hormone cortisol rise again after 10 PM, making it difficult for us to sleep for the next few hours.
This fact even goes so far that researchers have found a correlation between the duration and intensity of light and BMI or body weight.19
Fortunately, mobile devices’ new night light modes can filter blue light and reduce the stimulating effect.
For PCs, I recommend a software application that adjusts the screen’s blue light radiation to match the rhythm of daylight.
But that’s only half the story. You’ll tend to delay sleep if you’re mentally active and in work mode.
The best trick is to use a timer for your Wi-Fi router and set it for 10 PM.
Although it will take some effort to implement this, it will give you a new day with renewed energy and better results in your tasks.
- How did you progress compared to the previous week?
- If so, do you already feel more energized in general?
Starting today, you will eat exclusively in the 8 hours of the classic 16/8 method, even on weekends.
Try to do your 10-minute mindfulness-based routine on weekends until the end of the Challenge.
Intermittent Fasting Challenge Week #4: Fat Burning
The last week of the 30-day intermittent fasting challenge aims at maximizing your body’s natural fat-burning power. Find last week’s details and the monthly schedule on the printable PDF:
The Fasting Challenge is not some hocus-pocus commissioned by a journalist. Instead, an author has developed it thanks to years of experience, whose Intermittent Fasting Books (affiliate link) have become multiple #1 best sellers.
For example, the latest book Intermittent Fasting 16/8 for Women (affiliate link), is at this moment the #1 best seller in the following categories:
- Cholesterol & Fat Metabolism
- Health Policy
Countless readers have tried this method and swear by it. One loyal reader, who has already trained world and European champions in weightlifting competitions, uses this approach to prepare his female protégé for the 2022 European Power Lifting Championships without building up unnecessary body fat.
Finally, intermittent fasting is the most effective way to lose weight quickly without calorie counting. Get the printable 30-Day Challenge Plan and start intermittent fasting today:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the 30-day fasting challenge?
The 30-Day Challenge is a study-based monthly plan designed to help you start intermittent fasting step by step without risking your health or losing motivation.
Can you intermittent fast for 30 days?
You can even practice intermittent fasting for the rest of your life. How long you stick to a healthy lifestyle is entirely up to you.
How much weight can I lose in 30 days with intermittent fasting?
That highly depends on how much excess weight you carry around when starting. Losing up to 10 percent of your body weight is realistic. So a 200-pound individual can lose 20 pounds during the 30-day intermittent fasting challenge.
How long does it take to see the results of intermittent fasting?
You will notice the first significant weight loss results within a week of intermittent fasting. For efficient fat burning, your body may need 3-6 weeks.
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Stephan is a writer and a true man of science, holding multiple diplomas and master's degrees in different research areas. His greatest passion is closing the gap between the conventional perception of health and the latest scientific evidence – always following the data.