This beginner’s guide for how to do intermittent fasting may just get you started on a new journey to food freedom!
How to Do Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide
If you’ve been living a Keto lifestyle, and are looking to break a stall in weight loss, you may want to take a look at intermittent fasting. After all, we’ve all heard of people who had impressive results when combining Keto and IF. But there’s much more to it than weight loss!
Studies are showing improvement in brain function through intermittent fasting, as well as cell repair and muscle gain. It’s super popular right now in fitness circles, and the results are pretty convincing.
But first – “What IS intermittent fasting?”
For a long time, we’ve been taught to graze throughout the day, eat every two hours, or have healthy snacks in between each meal. When we eat like this, we’re continually spiking our insulin levels. But if we wait long enough between meals to let our insulin levels go down, our bodies can burn off our existing fat. I would suggest waiting until you are fat adapted to begin intermittent fasting; otherwise, you might feel too hungry and become discouraged and quit. Once you are fat adapted, you’ll stay full much longer, and intermittent fasting becomes a natural extension.
Simply put: Eating often is bad for fat burning; eating less frequently is good for fat burning.
Intermittent Fasting: Diet or Pattern?
First of all – intermittent fasting isn’t a diet exactly. It doesn’t tell you what you should eat, like Keto. Instead, it tells you WHEN you should eat. It’s a schedule that helps your body go for longer stretches of not eating, to burn through the stores of fat and calories already on hand.
What Can You Eat and Drink While Intermittent Fasting?
There are different opinions in regards to precisely what you can eat or drink while intermittent fasting when following the keto diet. Generally, most agree that drinks such as water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea are acceptable. To put it simply, if it contains calories, it’s best to skip during your fasting window.
Can I Use Artifical Sweeteners While Intermittent Fasting?
Some say that you can add no-carb sweeteners without breaking a fast, but most experts disagree because it can cause spike insulin. You’ll have to decide for yourself on that one! Make sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more information from experts in Intermittent Fasting. While I can share with you my opinion, research is essential so that you can be your best health advocate.
Intermittent Fasting Schedules
Just like I don’t track keto macros, I also don’t have time for strict schedules. But I do find it freeing when I wake up and am not hungry for hours. At those times, I just don’t eat – and that fits in perfectly with intermittent fasting. It’s best to choose a window either before or after you go to bed since you already naturally fast while you sleep.
The schedules below are typical intermittent fasting schedules, but it is best to choose what is right for you. Intermittent fasting even 8-10 hours is beneficial too. In the beginning, start slowly by adding an extra hour of fasting either before bed or when you first wake up in the morning then gradually adding more time as your body adapts.
Beginner 12/12 Fast:
After you have adjusted to a 9 or 10 hour fast. A 12-hour fast can be the next step. Simply note the time you stop eating before bed and hold off eating for 12 hours from that time.
- Example: Stop eating at 7 pm, then eat your first meal at 7 am the next day.
Keep in mind that you can drink calories too! So if you’re one of those people that needs coffee the moment you wake up, have it black.
Moderate 16/8 Fast:
One of the most common patterns of intermittent fasting is a 16/8 fast. Some people do this daily, and others do it just a few times a week.
- Example: Stop eating at 6 pm then eat your first meal at 10 am the next day
One Meal a Day Fast:
Some people can hold out all day and just have one meal. If you’re not often hungry throughout the day, this could be an excellent option to try for you! You’ll want to make sure this meal is loaded with healthy fats so that you’re able to stay fuller longer.
- Example: Eat a filling meal at 3 pm each day
Intermittent Fasting Benefits:
I mentioned at the beginning of this guide that there are some surprising benefits of intermittent fasting. If you are just in it for the weight loss, you’re going to be excited to hear about the other good things that will happen to your body while fasting!
Since your body needs to turn to its own fat stores for energy, it adjusts your hormone levels to make the stored fat easier to access. This can get rid of fat that’s much harder to burn through traditional diets.
Lower Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Many people with type 2 diabetes can get off their insulin with the help of keto and intermittent fasting combined!
One great benefit of intermittent fasting is a process called autophagy – a cell renewal process wherein the body recycles and renews damaged molecules and cells. This helps the brain as well as other organs in the body to perform at a higher level! There are also indications that this can lead to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (WOW!)
And there’s more!
- Reduced Inflammation
- Increased Energy
- Blood Cholesterol Health
- Lowered Risk of Heart Disease
Intermittent Fasting Results
Without being intentional, after I became fat adapted, which was after 2 or so months of following a keto lifestyle, I realized I just wasn’t hungry in the morning. Intermittent fasting was a natural fit for me. I also found that it helped to keep my carbs and calories down for the day since I only eat two meals a day instead of 3.
Food freedom was also a goal for me. I didn’t want to eat just because it was breakfast or lunch. When I naturally listened to my normal hunger signals, I quickly realized that my body was not calling for fuel in the mornings. Waiting to eat until my body signaled that it needed fuel has helped transform my mindset in regards to food.
In conclusion, intermittent fasting can be a great way to take your Keto lifestyle to the next level. It has benefits of weight loss, fat burning, mental clarity, anti-aging, and much more. It’s up to you if you want to add fasting to your lifestyle just once a week or make it a daily pattern. Listen to your body!
Above all, make sure to talk with your doctor before making any significant changes, especially if you’re diabetic, pregnant, underweight, under 18 or have an eating disorder.
Intermittent Fasting Resources:
This post is a simple beginners guide. If you’d like to explore and research IF further, there are many experts in this field who are brilliant.
- The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent Fasting: How to Get Started with Dr. Berry
- 7 most Common Intermittent Fasting Mistakes with Dr. Berry
- What Can You Drink While Intermittent Fasting with Dr. Berry
- Intermittent Fasting Basics for Beginners with Dr. Berg
- 5 Tips to Make Intermittent Fasting Work Faster Dr. Berg