Modified alternate day fasting (or alternate day fasting) is a diet protocol where you eat only 500 calories every other day. With alternate day fasting, you’ll be able to lose weight naturally at home.

Use alternate day fasting to lose 8 to 10 pounds a month. All while enjoying your favorite foods without the need for exercise. It’s not a diet, but a way of life that you can stick to forever.

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Although, I must point out that alternate day fasting isn’t a reason to continue eating junk food if you already do. For optimal health results, your diet should mainly consist of lean proteins, veggies, and healthy fats.

You can’t “fall off” of this diet. By using alternate day fasting you can offset any additional calories you happen to eat on your feeding days by fasting the next day.

What’s alternate day fasting?

Fasting is abstaining from all food and drinks that contain calories. There are two types of fasting; water fasting and dry fasting. Some prefer drinking water throughout their fast (water fast), while others prefer nothing whatsoever (dry fast).

You may be asking, “So, what’s with the 500 calorie thing?”.

The most popular version of the alternate day fasting diet is known as “modified alternate day fasting”. With this protocol, you’re allowed to take in some calories during your “fasting” days.

By definition, modified alternate day fasting doesn’t really require fasting. So, you don’t get the full benefits of doing true fasts. On the other hand, you can also do the “true alternate day fasting” protocol where you actually do fast.

A good example of a true alternate day fast diet is Eat, Stop, Eat by Brad Pilon. Brad’s method of fasting is beginner friendly and takes a scientific approach to fast for weight loss.

I’ve been practicing Brad’s Eat, Stop, Eat diet for nearly five years now. I found it to be the least intrusive diet to follow. With this form of alternate day fasting, I don’t have to worry about going over my calories on some days.

How to start alternate day fasting

First, choose which type of alternate day fasting you want to follow. The following is a list of the different alternate day fasting protocols.

To give you the most out of this article, I’ll go all different alternate day fasting protocols. Let’s start with the alternate day fasting protocol.

The modified alternate day fasting protocol

To begin alternate day fasting, first find out your TDEE. What’s a TDEE? TDEE is an acronym for “Total Daily Energy Expenditure”. Or, more simply put, how many calories you need to eat in order to maintain your current bodyweight.

For example, say your TDEE is 2,500 calories; with alternate day fasting you’ll eat 25% of that every other day – 625 calories. Then, you’ll eat your 2,500 calories on non-fasting days. That’s the alternate day fasting protocol in a nutshell.

  • Monday: 2,500 calories
  • Tuesday: 625 calories
  • Wednesday: 2,500 calories
  • Thursday: 625 calories
  • Friday: 2,500 calories
  • Saturday: 625 calories
  • Sunday: 2,500 calories

By limiting caloric intake to 25% 3 to 4 times a week, you’ll cut around 5,000 to 8,000 calories per week. That equals anywhere from 1.5 to 2.25 lb of weight loss per week. For quicker results, take your TDEE and subtract 500 calories for your non-fasting days.

  • Monday: 2,000 calories
  • Tuesday: 625 calories
  • Wednesday: 2,000 calories
  • Thursday: 625 calories
  • Friday: 2,000 calories
  • Saturday: 625 calories
  • Sunday: 2,000 calories

By cutting 500 additional calories per week on your non-fasting days, you’ll lose an additional 0.5 lb per week. That’s a total of 2 to 2.5 lb per week; which means you’ll lose a total of 8 to 10 pounds per month!

Alternate day fasting weight loss results

Donte lost 20+ pounds in his first 21 days of alternate day fasting. By taking out a majority of the calorie counting process, he found he’s able to stick to the diet better.

Much like Donte, he didn’t track calories either. He used a true alternate day fast to lose 50 pounds in 3 months. So, on days of fasting, he ate 0 calories. In addition, over time he was able to increase his fasts to 40-45 hours.

She lost 5.6lb in her first week of alternate day fasting. Although, she claims to be “dirty fasting” on her fasting days. I’m not completely sure what that means, but it’s great progress nonetheless.

Now, let’s take a look at the results of the real alternate day fasting, as outlined in Brad Pilon’s Eat, Stop, Eat protocol.

The true alternate day fasting protocol

In contrast to modified alternate day fasting, true alternate day fasting requires a 0 calorie fast for non-feeding days. This may seem hard to wrap your head around, but it gets easier over time.

When starting out true alternate day fasting, the first fasting days are the hardest. After all, your body has adapted to eating throughout the day. So, the withdrawal effects will be hard to overcome.

How to get through your first 24-hour fast

If you’ve never done prolonged fasts before, it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast and gradually increase to the full 24-hours. Why 16 hours? because normally, you fast 8 to 10 hours when going to sleep. So, another 6 to 8 hours fasting shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish.

So, go for 16 hours fasts two days in your first week and 20 hours the following week. By the third week, you should find it a bit easier to complete two 24-hours fasts.

Once you become accustomed to fasting, you’ll become familiar with what’s known as “fasting headaches” — a non-throbbing tension headache likely caused by low blood sugar and/or caffeine withdrawal.

Can you drink anything during a fast?

During your fasts, you can drink water, black coffee, and other 0 calorie drinks like diet soda. These drinks can also help you overcome the tension headaches you may get while fasting.

True alternate day fasting weight loss

Expect to lose anywhere from 8 to 12 pounds per month. Here’s what your week’s calories would look like following this diet protocol with a TDEE of 2,500.

  • Monday: 2,500 calories
  • Tuesday: 0 calories
  • Wednesday: 2,500 calories
  • Thursday: 0 calories
  • Friday: 2,500 calories
  • Saturday: 0 calories
  • Sunday: 2,500 calories

Following this eating schedule will give you a deficit of 7,500 to 10,000 calories per week. Which in turn equates to 8.5 to 11.5 pounds lost per month.

The 5:2 diet

In contrast to the true alternate day fasting protocol, 5:2 requires only 2 days of “fasting” per week. The 5:2 protocol requires eating your normal diet for 5 days a week. Then, restricting calories to 25% of your TDEE for the following 2 days.

Much like the modified alternate days fasting, you’re restricted to 25% for the two days. However, if you wanted to do a true fast for the 2 fasting days, try doing Eat, Stop, Eat.

Eat, Stop, Eat

The best example of a true fasting 5:2 diet is Eat, Stop, Eat by Brad Pilon. As outlined in Brad Pilon’s Eat, Stop, Eat book, you’ll complete two 24-hour fasts each week. As for the other days, you stick to your normal everyday diet.

In the following video, Brad Pilon breaks down how fasting and exercise are similar.

With Eat, Stop, Eat, you do a 0 calorie fast two days out of the week (preferably non-consecutive days). Then you eat whatever you want the other days.

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Visit the Eat, Stop, Eat website for more information and to get a copy of the official Eat, Stop, Eat book that goes over the diet in-depth. That’s my affiliate link for the Eat, Stop, Eat program so I do make a commission on each sale.

However, if you don’t achieve the results after following the book, you can get a full refund no questions asked. Rest assured, I know you’ll love the Eat, Stop, Eat approach to fasting and how easy it is to follow.

Is fasting healthy?

Fasting has been around since the dawn of time and is the easiest method for rapid weight loss. Instead of exercising to burn calories or eating very low calories every day; you simply stop ingesting calories.

By not eating, you give yourself time to do things that need to be done around the house, take care of bills, or work on your business.

Now, alternate day fasting isn’t for everyone, so take it up with your doctor before starting. For instance, if you’re pregnant or on certain medications, fasting could do you more harm than good.

Benefits of fasting

Although fasting is known to most as being dangerous, fasting has been around since the beginning of time. And it’s not just a religious thing either. Here’s a list of benefits of fasting.

As you could assume, these health benefits are important in a weight loss journey. While other diets use brute force for weight loss, alternate day fasting aids in your weight loss by blocking the hunger hormone ghrelin.

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The power of fasting and autophagy

The one thing you won’t get with any normal diet is autophagy. What is autophagy? Autophagy translates to “to eat thyself”.

When fasting, your body will begin taking defective and damaged cells and will begin recycling them into new cells. This new raw material can then be used to rebuild things in your body.

Don’t just fast for weight loss, fast for health. Autophagy helps with the following:

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Because dormant tumor cells aren’t easy to detect, autophagy is a promising solution for cancer therapy in apoptosis-resistant tumor cells.

In this video, Annette Bosworth, MD goes over what autophagy is and how it works to heal your body.

How long does it take to see results?

You’ll be able to see results after the first month of doing alternate day fasting. Furthermore, expect to lose 8 to 12 pounds of fat within the first month. Keep in mind, with fasting, expect to lose an additional 10 or more pounds of water weight.

It’s common to see 15+ pounds of weight loss after the first month of starting alternate day fasting.

Alternate day fasting with keto

Due to the nature of the true alternate day fasting protocol, it can be paired with other diets. By pairing alternate day fasting with diets like the ketogenic diet, you can achieve even greater results.

By pairing the ketogenic diet with alternate day fasting, your body will be burning stored fat at a constant and rapid rate.

Normally, with the ketogenic diet, you take in healthy fats and moderate fatty proteins for fuel. When fasting for weight loss in keto, you’re allowing the direct access to your stored body fat for energy.

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Alternate day fasting with OMAD

The OMAD (or one meal a day) diet and alternate day fasting are very similar. Similar to the true alternate day fast diet, with OMAD you fast 23 hours and then eat one large meal every day.

By eating one large meal, you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to sustain and keeps you satiated for your next fast.

Although, you will still need to eat at a caloric deficit in your meals. For this reason, OMAD dieters stick to just one plate of food. In any case, it’s best to calculate your TDEE and subtract 500 to get the max amount of calories you should be eating.

So, if you were to do alternate day fasting with OMAD, you’d simply eat one meal on your feeding days and one meal on your fasting days (if you’re doing the modified alternate day fast).

Because the OMAD diet doesn’t enforce timed eating rules, it works with both variations of alternate day fasting.

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By now you should have a pretty good understanding of alternate day fasting. I gave you a brief understanding of the different types of alternate day fasting diets.

In addition, you learned how to start the alternate day fasting diet and the results you can expect. Now that you know the differences between the types of fasting diets, you can choose the diet that best suits your lifestyle.

If you feel this article helped you in any way, please share it with your friends. Have you thought about fasting for weight loss? If so, have you ever used any of the techniques above? I would love to hear some success stories.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Published by Tommy Hare

I'm a web designer, blogger, and artist that's into fitness, health and wealth management. I do receive an affiliate commision from the products I share from Amazon.