As you progress along your ketogenic journey, you may start to find you are less hungry. Once this happens, it may be time experiment with fasting on keto. Fasting on keto can be a natural progression as you become fat adapted. You certainly don’t need to fast if you are following a keto diet, but it can have some great benefits.
Fasting on Keto
You don’t have to be doing keto to try fasting and you don’t have fast if you are doing keto, but keto and fasting go hand in hand. Many of the fasting experts report that fasting is easier if you have been following a ketogenic lifestyle and have become fat adapted.
Experiment with Intermittent Fasting (IF)
After you have been following a ketogenic lifestyle for 1-2 months you will become fat adapted, meaning you are using ketones and fat for your main fuel source rather than carbohydrates and glucose. In this state, most people experience a dramatic drop in hunger compared to when they were using carbohydrates as their main fuel source. It can become natural to skip meals here and there as you are just not hungry.
Intermittent fasting is defined by having a set period of eating and a set period of fasting each day. For example, out of a 24-hour period we generally have our eating window between 10am and 6pm, and then fast between 6pm and 10am the next day. This is known as 16:8, which refers to 16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour eating window.
There are many variations on this, 18:6, which is 18 hours of fasting and a 6 hour eating window, 20:4, 23:1 or OMAD and so on. Dr Jason Fung is the fasting guru and if you would like a more detailed explanation about fasting and the benefits check it out here.
The great thing about IF is it can be completely tailored to your schedule, social life and lifestyle. If, for example, you are not a morning person, you might feel like you can easily skip breakfast, just have your lunch after 12pm, finish your dinner before 8pm and you can comfortably fast from 8pm until 12pm the next day. Perhaps, like us, you are an early morning person, so eating dinner earlier suits you better as you are in bed early.
It can also vary day to day. Some days you may only fast for say 12 hours (overnight between dinner and breakfast) and other days you may follow 16:8 or 20:4. Switching it up keeps your metabolism guessing too, so try to avoid getting stuck in the same pattern.
We would like to add that this may not work for everyone depending on any specific health conditions you may have. If you are feeling good and seeing progress, great – if not then fasting may not be for you.
Experiment with extended fasting
If you have tried intermittent fasting and feel like you would like to take that to the next level, it is worth trying extended fasting. Extended fasting is not consuming food for a longer than a 24-hour period. Extended fasting of 3-7 days can provide a myriad of health benefits, aside from fat loss, and is not as crazy as it might initially sound.
As we mentioned, Dr Jason Fung is the fasting guru and this article provides a more in depth discussion of the health benefits as well as busting some myths, so you can decide if extended fasting is something you would like to try.
We can also recommend Dr Fung’s practical guide to fasting, The Complete Guide to Fasting, which covers all the specific dos and don’ts. We found this book very helpful as it explained the mechanisms behind fasting which helped reassure us we were not starving ourselves!
For more info on extended fasting check out our experience with a 5 day fast.
One important note to consider is that if you have had any disordered eating patterns previously, then fasting may not be for you due to the restriction required.
We hope you have found our keto beginners guide series beneficial to help prepare you to begin a ketogenic way of life.
We would like to stress again, the key is finding the keto that works best for you around your work schedule, social life and lifestyle. There is no one size fits all here, and if you want this be to sustainable it has to suit you.
We look forward to hearing your stories and what keto looks like for you in the comments on any of the posts in this series. We also love to hear about any strategies that you think we may have missed that may be helpful for people new to LCHF.
Make sure you have checked out the other posts in the keto beginners guide series.
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