Did you know that you can use intermittent fasting for weight loss? It seems counterproductive to skip meals and go into starvation mode when trying to lose weight but it works! You can totally use fasting to induce ketosis and there are several other benefits of intermittent fasting that will aid you greatly if your goal on the keto diet is to lose weight.
Intermittent Fasting Versus Starvation
Something that people often do when thinking about intermittent fasting (IF) is comparing it to starvation. Fasting can be confusing because you are going a certain length of time without eating or drinking anything with calories, but that doesn’t mean it is the same thing as starving yourself. Keep reading to learn the difference.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating where you only eat during certain times of the day or week. This is not the same as starving yourself. The point is to get to the state where your body is burning fat for energy, instead of going through the day just burning the food you eat.
This is the difference between maintaining weight and actually losing weight. While you are fasting, you are not going so long that you begin starving yourself or entering the dreaded ‘starvation mode’ where your body holds on to its stores. You are also not trying to deprive yourself of necessary nutrients.
This might sound like starvation so far to you, but they are quite different. One of the biggest differences is your mindset. When you are starving yourself, you are doing it purposely to keep yourself from eating foods that will fuel your body. There is often a deep-rooted mental issue related to starvation, not to mention failing to provide nutrients that help to sustain life.
With intermittent fasting, you know when you will eat next, and you will try to eat nourishing foods for your body. You certainly will not be intermittent fasting only to eat junk foods during your eating window. You also don’t fast for so long that it will have a negative physical effect on your health.
Knowing the Side Effects of Starvation
Another way you can tell the difference between intermittent fasting and starvation is that with IF, you won’t have all those classic malnutrition side effects.
When you are starving yourself or simply not getting enough nutrients, you might have lightheadedness and feel faint, have nausea, abdominal pain, and constipation. If you are experiencing these symptoms while doing intermittent fasting, you are either not eating enough, or the foods you are eating do not contain the nutrition your body needs.
Doing Intermittent Fasting the Right Way
This is why you should make sure when you do eat while doing intermittent fasting, you eat the healthiest foods you can find. They should preferably not be processed, and be whole, fresh foods.
Fasting to Induce Ketosis
When you start researching intermittent fasting, you might notice that it is often mentioned or recommended to people who are on low-carb diets like Keto or Atkins.
While intermittent fasting can definitely be done for anyone, regardless of your way of eating, it is very popular in low-carb communities. Here is more information about the link between intermittent fasting and being on a low-carb diet.
Why Low-Carbers Like Intermittent Fasting
There are many reasons people on a low-carb diet will go for intermittent fasting, but a lot of this depends on the type of diet you are doing. With a low-carb diet, you are consuming much fewer carbohydrates, moderate protein,and high fat.
For someone new to a low-carb diet, you are often adjusting to your lowering sugar levels, attempting to stay full in between meals. With intermittent fasting added in, you learn to stabilize those sugar levels, so you aren’t craving sugar and carbs, which you can’t have on keto.
Intermittent Fasting and Keto
IF is particularly popular for keto followers due to the unique benefits it provides. With keto, you enter a state of ketosis. This is when your body begins burning fat for fuel, instead of carbohydrates. You can really increase the fat burning potential if you are also doing intermittent fasting, burning nearly twice as much fat as you normally would.
Plus, intermittent fasting allows you to more easily control the
Try Low-Carb First
It is really important that you not start intermittent fasting on the same day that you start your low-carb diet. These should be spread apart so that you adjust to one thing before the next. It is ideal that you start your low-carb diet first, then remain on it for at least 2-3 weeks.
Once your body has adjusted and adapted to the lower amount of carbs, (has become fat-adapted) you can then start transitioning into your preferred method of intermittent fasting. This gives you enough time to adjust to one big change before making another big change.
It is good to try it after you have become fat adapted on the keto diet, which takes a few weeks, since once you’re in this state your hunger is much lower than you’re used to.
Fat-adapted keto dieters are now burning fat for fuel which you’ll have plenty to feed the body. This means you won’t be as hungry as someone relying on carbs and can fast easier and for longer periods.
4 Types of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
If you are interested in starting intermittent fasting, the first thing you need to do is decide on the type you will stick to. IF doesn’t just have one method, but multiple ones to choose from. Your preferences, schedule, and other details will go into choosing the one that is right for you. Here are four of the more popular choices.
The 16/8 Diet
The first intermittent fasting type you might want to consider is called the 16/8, or LeanGains. This is one of the easier methods of fasting and eating, due to its simplicity and because you don’t go as long while fasting.
Naturally, at least half of your fasting period will be while you are sleeping, so that makes it a lot easier. Basically, you want to fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours. You just want to be sure you schedule it for the time of day when you tend to get hungriest or when eating is most convenient for you.
This might include eating earlier and going longer at night without eating. Do what works for you as long as each day you go 16 hours in a row without eating.
Popular choices are fasting between
The Eat-Stop-Eat IF Type
Also called the 24-hour fast, the Eat-Stop-Eat IF requires you to go a full 24 hours during the fasting periods. You can either do this once or twice per week, so if you are just starting out, you might want to stick to doing it once a week.
All you have to do is follow your normal diet the other 6 days of the week, then have one fasting day where you don’t eat or drink anything with calories.
Just like all other protocols for intermittent fasting, that 24 hours should only include water, coffee, and tea, preferably with nothing added to it. This can start when you wake up, and end the following day, or you can choose a day in the middle of the day. This is often when people prefer to do it,
The Alternate Day Fast
Another way you can do it is by fasting every other day. This is often referred to as an alternate day fasting protocol. There are many different versions of this, so feel free to experiment with it until you figure out what works best for you.
For example, you may do a 16:8 fast every other day, or do a full 24 hours fasting every other day. Some people have their fasting days be absolutely nothing but water and coffee, while others allow about 500 calories during the fasting days. Just remember to pick something that is sustainable for you and will work with your schedule.
Related: How to Know When You’re in Ketosis
The 5:2 Fast
The 5:2 diet is one where you eat your normal diet for 5 days out of the week, then fast the other 2 days. This is very similar to the 24-hour diet since the 2 fasting days are separating by at least one eating day in between them. However, you do want to eat about 500-600 calories even on the fasting days, which is one of the biggest differences.
How IF Helps with Weight Loss
If you are like most people, you first started researching intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight, whether on the keto diet or not. Intermittent fasting provides a great way to burn more fat and help improve your weight loss efforts, without a lot of rules and guidelines.
It is very simple – you eat during eating windows and fast during the fasted periods. Here are some things to know specifically about intermittent fasting and weight loss.
You Burn More Fat
So why are you able to lose weight with intermittent fasting? The first benefit for weight loss is that it helps you to burn more fat. Your body is a machine, working constantly to burn food and fat for energy.
Your body will first burn the food you eat, which can take a few
With intermittent fasting, you are burning your food and introducing a longer period of time for burning fat when the food is all gone. This is why it is exceptional for losing weight and burning more fat than a diet where you are eating every few hours.
Your Calories Are Reduced Naturally
One thing people don’t often consider is that you tend to eat less when you have less time to eat. You might think you will just want to eat everything in sight once your fasted period is over, but this is often not the case.
Over time, you get used to going
If you’re only eating once or twice per day and they are both junk food meals, you’ll lack important nutrients and get really sick very quickly. IF not only helps with what you eat but also how much you are consuming. Your calories and carbs will likely go down naturally since IF tends to reset your taste buds and help you to go for healthier options.
You Learn About Self-Control
Many of the weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting come completely by accident. If you have trouble with self-control and eating, intermittent fasting is a great way to start.
When you first start doing IF, just stick to the type you chose, not worrying about what you are eating during your eating periods. If you want donuts, have donuts. If you’re craving a pizza, go for it. Over time, you will learn to practice self-control by sticking to your fasted and eating states, then you can eventually use those skills to start changing what you eat, as well as how often.
Besides, you may start to feel unwell and nauseous from eating unhealthy foods. This is not because of the fasting but because of your food choices. That’s why fasting and keto work so well together because fat is so satiating. Eat healthy fats during your eating window and you will lose weight and feel amazing.