FASTING & KETOSIS: THE POWER COUPLE
When we’re in nutritional ketosis, we have unlimited access to the energy stored in our body fat. Yes, our body uses dietary fat for fuel too, but even when we don’t eat we’re constantly being supplied with fuel that’s stored on the body, about 40,000 calories worth of it! This means… Fasting as a fat-burner is easy and natural; because you don’t need to constantly replenish glucose like you would when you were a sugar-burner, you don’t get hungry. You also don’t experience traditional hunger symptoms like anger, dizziness, lightheadedness or fatigue.
INTERMITTENT FASTING BENEFITS:
✅ Weight loss without slowed metabolism (which happens with calorie reduction dieting)
✅ Stable blood sugar
✅ Improved insulin sensitivity and lowered insulin levels
✅ Loss of body fat
✅ Lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglycerides
✅ Reduced inflammation
✅ Increased levels of ketones
✅ Higher levels of human growth hormone, which aids muscle growth and fat-burning
✅ Reduced free-radical damage, which means slower ageing
✅ Lowered risk of cancer when fasting is paired with a reduction in glucose, which fuels cancer cells
THE FASTING PROTOCOL
Fasting means to withhold food voluntarily for a specific time period; this could range from fourteen hours to three months or more. You can do this as often or as little as you like; once a week, month or year.
Intermittent fasting means to fast regularly for shorter time periods. Some people prefer a daily 16- or 18-hour fast, which means that they eat all of their meals within an 8-hour window, which could look like;
Lunch at 12pm or 2pm
Dinner at 8pm
Fasting from 8pm until 12pm or 2pm the following day.
Longer fasts typically range between 24 to 36 hours, done maybe 2 or 3 times a week. The longer the fast the more the body benefits.
24-Hour Fast: From breakfast until breakfast at the same time the following day, lunch until lunch at the same time the following day, and the same with dinner. Essentially you skip 2 meals.
36-Hour Fast: You would fast from dinner on the first day until breakfast two days later; this means missing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for one entire day.
It helps to break a fasting period gently; with a small salad, some nuts or a small smoothie and then eat your full meal about 30 to 60 minutes later. A lot of people get this psychological need to eat food and lots of it, especially after a longer fast, however overeating right after fasting can be a shock to the system and cause stomach pains or discomfort. Nothing serious just best to avoid!
WHAT YOU CAN HAVE WHILST FASTING
Any foods and beverages that contain calories can’t be consumed during the fasting period. Otherwise it’s NOT a fast it’s just a low calorie period. However, it’s super important to stay hydrated throughout and during long-fasting periods it’s possible to become salt-depleted so it’s necessary to replenish your sodium.
Water: keep hunger at bay and stay hydrated by aiming to drink at least 2 litres of water each day, adding freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice flavours water and has alkalising benefits. Alternatively, adding sliced cucumber or orange to a jug of filtered water infuses lovely fresh flavours, and adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to water will help regulate blood sugars. Sparkling water is great for those noisy rumbling stomachs or even cramps.
Homemade bone broth: is a perfect way to get a good dose of electrolytes whilst fasting and extra gut-loving for an added bonus! Using beef, pork, chicken or fish bones is a great choice for fasting days. Adding a good pinch of pink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to the broth will help you stay hydrated.
All variations of tea are fab: black, white, oolong, green and herbal teas. You can use spices such as turmeric, nutmeg, ginger or cinnamon to add flavour with many health and healing benefits. Tea can be enjoyed hot or cold but do not add any sugars, artificial sweeteners or artificial flavours.
Green tea: loaded with polyphenols and powerful antioxidants which may help to stimulate your metabolism and encourage weight loss.
Cinnamon: a great little gem that’s been shown to lower blood sugar, stave off hunger and slow down gastric emptying. It also makes a fab flavour enhancers to teas and coffee for delicious change.
Coffee: whilst many people think that it’s the caffeine that keeps hunger at bay; interestingly both regular and decaf coffee show a greater suppression of hunger than caffeine in water. Studies show that this hunger suppression is actually due to the antioxidants. Coffee provides many health benefits and there’s no reason to limit your intake during a fast and the caffeine may also help to raise your metabolism which boosts fat-burning further. Do not add sugar, sweeteners or artificial flavours but you may add just a small amount of milk or cream (though they do have some calories).
NOTE (1): Fasting is personal preference, if it doesn’t feel right for you, don’t do it. If you’ve got thyroid or adrenal imbalances fasting isn’t advised as it spikes cortisol levels…
NOTE (2): as you may already know, I’m not a big fan of calorie-restricted dieting, but please PLEASE don’t pair a calorie-restricted diet with intermittent fasting. It’s one or the other, combining both may cause health imbalances as well as affecting your body’s ability to become fat-adapted… & will just make you downright miserable!
WHEN FASTING GETS TOO TOUGH… STOP! ❌
We’re all different, and not just from each other – we’re different from the person we were yesterday and the person we’ll be tomorrow.
There are days when fasting feels fabulous and natural for me (sometimes it even happens by accident!). Then there are days I just can’t get through the morning without a full keto breakfast, and can end up having an all-out keto food fest morning to evening 🥓🧀🍗🥑🥥🍳☕, and that’s ok!
If your body just ain’t feeling it, don’t put it through that stress and end up with symptoms like; crappy sleep, endless hunger, reduced ketones (from stressing the body), less energy, imbalanced hormones etc.
Continuing to drive ourselves into a fasted state, especially when our bodies are trying to heal from hormonal imbalances (thyroid, adrenals, sex hormones, you name it) can make the situation worse.
👂👩🎤 LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. There are some great benefits to fasting – but it’s important to pay attention to your mental and emotional health before, during and after. Go with the flow, you don’t have to do it every day.
Listening to your body to create your fasting protocol allows you to cash in on the benefits and use it as a tool to simplify your life, while also avoiding its potentials pitfalls.