The average adult eats three meals per day, with numerous snacks being taken in-between breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is not the most effective way to go about losing weight, regardless of what healthy foods compose your meals. The Ketogenic diet will essentially turn everything you thought you knew about nourishing your body completely upside-down. Many Keto dieters are able to lose weight and improve their overall health by reducing their meals to one or two meals per day.
Of course, you’re not going to jump right down to one meal a day as soon as you start your Ketogenic diet. A period of adaptation is necessary to get your body accustomed to fueling itself differently than it did when you ate more often and ate more carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting, known simply as “IF” on many Keto forums, assists dieters in getting (and staying) on the right track toward weight loss and healthfulness.
Starvation isn’t the goal, here, but it’s probably a little jarring to hear that you won’t be eating nearly as often as you’re used to. Grazing all day long is such a common dietary practice that we often don’t think about what it is doing to our bodies. In truth, frequent snacking and mealtimes increase the presence of insulin and glucose inside of the human body. Both of these naturally-occurring compounds add difficulty to the weight loss journey.
Whenever we eat anything, particularly foods that are high in carbohydrates, insulin is produced. By eating less often, we encourage less insulin to be created. That’s why, on the Ketogenic diet, the aim is not only to eat less frequently, but also to eat healthier, more satiating meals that will stave off the effects of hunger for longer periods. This approach to eating is what we call intermittent fasting.
The Stages of the Ketogenic Diet
There are three stages of Keto:
- Entering ketosis
- Metabolic flexibility
Over the course of these three stages, intermittent fasting is often considered a necessary approach to achieving your goal of healthily living in ketosis. “IF” refers to the periods of time between meals, which can be longer or shorter depending on the stage of Keto you’re in as well as any other medical concerns that might effect how long you can safely fast.
During the first stage of the Ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting shouldn’t be treated very strictly. This is due to the fact that the body is not yet accustomed to long periods of abstinence from food. As you work toward entering a state of ketosis, you should eat only three meals per day with no snacks in-between. This means improving the quality of your meals in a way that includes dietary choices that make you feel satiated for longer.
As you head toward stage two, keto-adaptation, you might experience feelings of hunger, headaches and fatigue. This is common and to be expected. The addition of sea salt, potassium and lemon juice can combat all of these unpleasant side-effects, which only exist on a temporary basis as your body adjusts to its new Ketogenic state.
By the time you reach the final stage of the Ketogenic diet, where the body has become accustomed to existing in a state of ketosis, you will be down to one to two meals a day. This means that your fasting periods are longer, but it doesn’t mean that you are eating less calories. The goal is to keep your calorie intake high enough to keep your body well-fed between meals without frequently triggering insulin throughout the day.
Intermittent fasting can be key to thriving on the Ketogenic diet, especially where weight loss is concerned. What’s important is to gradually separate your meals with longer periods of fasting, and eating meals that are well-rounded and satiating when you do eat.