Okay, so I've been reading up a lot about intermittent fasting and I think I'm ready to try it.. But one question: after fasting for a certain number of hours of the day, are you supposed to then eat as many calories as you would've during the day, or only eat one meal, or what? I hope this makes sense.. like, let's say these are the options:
Wake up at 7am Fast for 16 hours First meal at 11pm: ~400 calories Go to sleep; eat normally next day
Wake up at 7am Fast for 16 hours First meal at 11pm: ~400 calories Next meal at 2am: ~500 calories Next meal at 4am: ~300 calories Go to sleep
Or... something? The reason I ask is because I read a blog post that a guy did about IF and he basically did it the latter way, which to me seems totally counter-intuitive because I thought the point was about restricting calories. HMMMM?
Any help appreciated :p
To actually answer your questions: yes, you're supposed to eat a regular amount of calories during the eating window. IF is not only for cutting and fat loss, but since most people are fat that's what it's mostly used for. So if you want to cut, you should cut calories as well.
You can eat more than one meal, it's up to you. Most seem to like a big first meal, and one or two other meals - that's what I do.
A typical fast is 16 hours per day, say, from 8pm to noon the next day. Then your eating window is from noon to 8pm.
Good FAQ here; it's for Leangains but answers most questions about IF.
16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating is the usual thing I see. It sounds like you're making it more complicated than it has to be:
0700: Wake up
1200: Workout if it's a workout day
1300: Eat first meal. Eat until you're full.
1300-2100: Eat if you feel hungry until you feel full.
2100: Stop eating.
If you're trying to hit specific macronutrient ratios or calorie targets, then you of course would track that sort of thing. But the basics of IF are just "fast then eat to hunger then fast again."
If you're not hungry after your first meal again, well, then don't eat until your next eating period. Your body will train itself to be hungry appropriately eventually and you'll be set.
I like LARGE meals. 300-500 calories is a snack to me and leaves me more frustrated than anything else. So, I have one nice meal (think large) of fat, protein and carbs (usually non-starchy plants and fruit). I don't count calories but I dish out a nice portion of each food type and I won't hesitate to stop eating if I don't want any more. If I still feel a little hungry, I wait an hour to see if I really need more.
One meal's it for me. If you like smaller meals, you can have them as close/far apart as your personal eating window allows.
And yes, sleep is an important part of the fasting--I'm convinced that's when I burn my body fat because I don't wake up hungry since I'm in fat-burning mode.