A keto diet has been the best way of eating to help me lose body fat. I wanted to speed up the process and decided to incorporate intermittent fasting along with my regular keto diet.
My results were really good. It helped me lose fat at a faster rate. I’ve also read about how many other people are succeeding with weight loss by incorporating intermittent fasting into their lifestyle.
So today I wanted to talk about my experience with it and how you can incorporate it into your life as well.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a period of time when you are not eating. You are technically not eating between breakfast and lunch lets say, but that doesn’t count as intermittent fasting. I’m not sure if there is an actual definition that defines the exact period of time, but the idea behind intermittent fasting is to be in a state of “no food” in your belly so your insulin levels will be low, which will allow your body to tap into your stored energy for fuel (fat and stored glycogen).
Fasting can be done daily, once or twice a week, alternating days, once a month or a few times a year. You’ll benefit differently in each scenario. What I want to share with you today is how to do an intermittent fast daily – with the intention of speeding up fat loss.
Is Fasting The Same “Diet” As A Reduced Calorie Diet?
A reduced calorie diet doesn’t really take into consideration your hormones – which is the main driving factor of lasting weight loss. A person on a calorie restrictive diet can eat any time during the day and eat as many meals as he/she wants – so long as a calorie restriction is met.
To perform a proper intermittent fast, you need to correctly decide how many meals you want to eat and when you want to eat. I’ll get into how to do this later.
The difference between the two is enormous.
Every time you eat (like when you eat 6 small meals a day), you spike insulin levels. When insulin levels are spiked, you are in FAT STORING mode. It’s as simple as that. When you eat all day, even if you are in a calorie restrictive diet, you are NOT giving your body a chance to switch to FAT BURNING mode. Your body is always in one of two states: Fat burning or Fat storing. You cannot be in both. You obviously want to be in a fat burning state – which happens when insulin is low (which is what fasting does).
People do succeed at achieving their fat loss goals on a calorie restrictive diet though. I don’t want to give you the impression that it can’t work. A lot of people simply eat less and move around more – and eventually get the body they want. But also…. A LOT of people try this and have some initial success… then stall out hard. In my opinion, I think this is mostly because hormones have not been taken into consideration here. Yes, calories in and calories out do matter…. but from my personal experience, the BIGGEST driver of weight loss is your hormones.
Insulin is a hormone. If you’re insulin resistant or have other hormonal issues like high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) or high levels of estrogen (fat loss blocker), you’re likely going to have a REALLY hard time losing weight on a calories in calories out diet. In fact, you could even fail on a diet that’s so great for weight loss like a keto diet.
In a case like this, intermittent fasting can help fix or reduce your insulin resistance (which happens from eating too many carbs btw). As far as blockers of fat loss, stress is a huge blocker. ANY stress can raise cortisol levels up. Cortisol is a phenomenally strong hormone which can block you from burning fat.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Help With Fat Loss
In really simple terms, intermittent fasting puts your body in a state of low insulin levels for a period of time. During this time, your body still needs energy so you can do whatever it is you do in life on a day to day basis. It needs to get it from somewhere. Your body wants to save what’s stored in your body for emergency use, but when you’re not eating, your body is forced to use the fuel in your body.
Ultimately, this helps with fat loss. When your body has accessed and used up all its temporary energy, it will go to your stored energy (fat). Your body can also attack muscle and break that down for energy – which is incredibly bad btw – but your body does not prefer to muscle waste.
Why Keto + Intermittent Fasting Is A Great Fat Loss Combo
As I mentioned earlier, intermittent fasting puts you in a state of low insulin levels for an extended period of time. This gives your body a chance go into “fat burning” mode.
A keto diet is a diet very low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are especially insulin spiking – especially simple/refined carbs that are easy to digest. Excess carbs that aren’t used quickly will be stored for energy in your body. It’s a survival mechanism. So, on a keto diet, when you’re constantly eating VERY LOW carbs, you’re generally not putting your body in a state of energy storage like a traditional high carb diet.
And that’s why a keto diet is excellent for fat loss. Studies show that a ketogenic diet is very effective at helping people lose weight. I totally concur. I’ve done paleo and other low carb / calories in calories out diet. A ketogenic diet has given me the best results.
The next section is probably where you’re most interested in. I’ll talk about how to do a keto fast and show you how I did it.
How To Perform A Keto Fast
First, let me explain the different ways someone can do an intermittent fast.
- Every day
- Once a week or a few times a week
- Once a month or every few months
I don’t really consider “skipping a meal” as intermittent fasting – though some people do.
So fasting is simply spending a longer period of time where you are not consuming food. It’s really as simple as that. Along with giving your body a chance to burn the existing fat on your body as fuel, you are also giving your body a time to detox itself.
For a daily intermittent fast, I recommend beginning with an eating window of 8 hours. Which would leave you a fasting period of 16 hours. This is commonly written as 16/8 in the IF world.
And 16/8 is a great way to begin intermittent fasting. It’s very manageable and you will likely be able to transition into this way of eating easier. As you become more adapted to fasting, you can increase decrease your eating window to 6 hours, 4 hours, or just 1 hour (where you eat 1 meal a day).
The longer your fasting period is, the more time your body has to burn existing fat on your body and clean itself. Some people do fasts that last 1 day or a few days. This can help you lose even more weight. You’ll also benefit greatly from autophagy.
Daily Keto Fasting
What I do is a 18/6 every day. I’m a super hungry person by nature. I have done one meal a day and 20/4…. but I didn’t find I needed to push it like that so 18/6 is my nice comfort zone.
My eating window is between 12pm-6pm. I skip breakfast. I eat my first meal at noon and eat my second meal around 5:30-6. I sometimes will eat something in between my two meals if I am hungry. But generally, I try and keep it at 2 meals a day. I’m also flexible with this. If I get really hungry when I wake up I will eat food. If I don’t feel hungry then I won’t force myself to eat just because my eating window has opened. Sometimes what ends up happening is I have my first meal at 4 or 5.
You want to get all your calories in during your eating window.
For me, what has worked the best is this:
I eat paleo foods in a ketogenic style, and combine it with intermittent fasting, and I also eat a small calorie deficit. This multi combo way of eating is super super super deadly for weight loss. And it’s fantastically healthy too. I feel like nothing can touch me when I eat this way. Though that’s obviously not true, I’m not scared of getting sick anymore. I also eat as organic as I can btw.
I also (from time to time) eat a MAJOR calorie deficit. Around 1000 calories for the day. This REALLY supercharges fat loss. The scale can move 1 or 2 pounds the next day. I am super careful with this though. I only do this one day per week maybe. And I only do it when I don’t feel overly hungry for the day. Otherwise I’m definitely eating. The scale moving so dramatically will be a mixture of water weight and body fat. Since I’m already keto, I’m not sure how much of water/fat I’ve actually lost. But overall, the scale keeps moving down so I don’t fuss about that.
You can really mess up your thyroid and metabolism if you eat a calorie deficit for too long. Basically, your basal metabolic set point changes, which means you need to work out more or eat even less food to burn the same amount of calories. I don’t recommend eating a calorie restrictive diet for too long and I don’t recommend eating a huge calorie deficit regularly. I do it perhaps once a week to “shock” my body a little. Like in the gym, every now and then I’ll go crazy with an exercise my body is not used to to force it to grow.
Anyhow, that’s how I do a daily intermittent fast. To summarize, it’s a 16/8. I eat a keto style and I eat really healthy foods only (paleo foods). Plus, I also eat a small calorie reduction to help promote fat loss.
Keto Diet Resources You May Find Useful
The keto diet has been popular for a few years already but is finally now truly exploding in popularity because the truth is coming out about how you actually lose fat and what you actually need to eat for overall optimal health.
If you’re new to keto and need guidance, or you want to start this diet and need resources like cookbooks and keto health info to get you started, I’ll share with you some of my favorite ones below:
Keto Camp is a keto diet guide for beginners that’s well rounded with keto information on general health, using a keto diet specifically to lose weight, and it comes with cookbook and workout resources to burn more fat. If you’re looking for something to get you started, this is a great one.
Keto Diet Cookbook is a really good keto cookbook especially for beginners and people who aren’t great at cooking. The recipes are simple and easy to make, and are specific for weight loss and overall general health. The bonus material will give you a strong foundation of keto knowledge as well. If you’re looking for a great cookbook and want to deepen your understanding of keto, this is a great choice.