The keto diet is something to look upon as a lifestyle. It’s a way of changing how you eat. There’s not just one specific “diet” that encompasses “keto” or “ketogenic”, however you wish to call it. Instead, the diet is more of a guideline. A guide that tells you how to stop relying on carbs as your source of energy.
The expansiveness of the keto diet is a good and bad thing. It helps to give you more opportunities to explore. You can experiment with a wide range of dishes and even dieting programs or styles. On the other hand, it can be hard to narrow down on a strategy that really works for you. It often takes some trial and error.
There’s a few ways to maximize the efficiency of the keto diet. I’d recommend starting with your goals. Know what you are aiming toward.
One of my favorite “duos” would be an intermittent fasting keto plan. I often see people mention things like intermittent fasting vs keto. This is actually not a comparison you should make, as the two can really complement each other.
Intermittent Fasting Vs Keto
Okay, so I just told you not to do an intermittent fasting vs keto comparison. Yet, here we are… Truth is, I’ve seen this comparison just one too many times. Thus, I’ve decided to kick off my article by showing you what the differences are. This will help you see that intermittent fasting and keto are not competitors. Instead, it’s rather a complementary duo. They can work together to help you achieve your goals.
The Ketogenic Diet
If you’re on my site, you most likely already know what the keto diet is. If not, then I highly suggest you check out my free cheat sheet. It gives you a quick overview, along with a few tips to help you get started.
The keto diet is a lifestyle “choice”. It’s a way of eating, not just a diet. You lower your carb intake. At the same time, your fat intake increases.
When talking about fat intake – I’m not telling you to overeat on burgers and bacon. Instead, thing healthy fats – like salmon, mackerel, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil.
Your body usually breaks down carbs into sugars. The sugars are pushed into your blood. Insulin then carries the sugar, also called glucose in many cases, to cells. The cells in your body contain insulin receptors. These receptors respond to the presence of insulin in your blood. This is essentially how your body generated energy with a high carb diet.
The low carb take on the keto diet means you won’t be giving your body enough carbs to go through this process. Less insulin is released, and your insulin sensitivity improves over time. This is why some studies suggest the keto diet may be a good option for people with diabetes.
The fat you start to eat instead of carbs – these become your body’s energy source. Your body uses the fats to create ketones. These ketones flow through your body – and helps cells generate energy.
You should have a basic understanding of the keto diet. Now, since I’m giving some details on intermittent fasting vs keto, let’s look at the other part of the equation too.
Intermittent fasting is also more of a lifestyle than a diet. In fact, there isn’t actually a diet associated with intermittent fasting. It’s rather a scheduled eating plan. You can eat whatever your diet allows, as long as you follow the specific schedule. The schedule for your eating windows depend on the intermittent fasting technique you use.
Intermittent fasting is also a highly researched topic. Researchers have linked several benefits to this scheduled eating plan.
If you’re looking to lose weight, then this is an especially useful option. Instead of considering an intermittent fasting vs keto comparison, rather see how the two together may help you shed excess pounds.
In one paper, researchers show that intermittent fasting is a highly efficient way of improving weight loss. The scheduled eating plan can be combined with any diet – including one that utilizes the guidelines set out by the ketogenic diet.
Intermittent fasting can also help improve the strength and functioning of your immune system. In fact, there are even some studies that show certain types of fasting techniques may reset the immune system. Intermittent fasting is also associated with improved insulin sensitivity. The eating plan may be helpful for limiting inflammation in your body too, along with other benefits.
Enough about the benefits. What is intermittent fasting?
It’s an eating style that includes a schedule. There are two elements in your schedule. This includes:
- Eating Windows: This is the times during which you are allowed to eat. The classic 16:8 intermittent fasting technique allows you to eat during an eight-hour window each day. You should ensure all your required daily calories are consumed during these eight hours. Some intermittent fasting techniques give you larger or smaller eating windows.
- Fasting Windows: A fasting window is the time during which you are going to fast. This means you will refrain from eating or drinking anything that contains calories. With the 16:8 plan, you’ll fast for 16 hours each day. You can still enjoy a glass of water when you feel thirsty or hungry. There’s many techniques that can be used to help you cope with cravings too.
Intermittent Fasting With Keto
Now that you’ve seen a basic overview of intermittent fasting vs keto, you should have a better idea of why a comparison is really not appropriate. Instead of making a comparison, rather ask how you can follow intermittent fasting with keto. Both of these “plans” or “lifestyles” have several health benefits associated with them. Just imaging combining the two – that’s a serious increase in the number of benefits you could expect!
Now, for the fun part – let’s look at how intermittent fasting with keto works. We should really go through a step-by-step process to ensure you know where to start, what to do, and what you should expect.
Note: If you have pre-existing conditions or you’re taking prescription meds, check with your doctor first. Your doctor will help you determine if an intermittent fasting keto plan is good for you.
Step 1: Choose Your Intermittent Fasting Plan
I’ve already covered the fact that there are a few different types of intermittent fasting plans. You need to ensure you choose the intermittent fasting plan that is just right for you.
If you’re just getting started for the first time, then I’d highly suggest you look at the 16:8 plan. This is a very basic intermittent fasting plan. Just because it’s basic, does not mean it does not have potential. In fact, many people follow this plan and end up sticking to it. Some would never even explore the other options, but still be able to achieve their results.
The intermittent fasting plan gives you eight hours to eat, and a 16-hour fasting window each day. It may sound a bit restrictive, but it’s not.
Remember that you sleep for about seven to nine hours each night. This leaves about seven to nine hours of fasting for the day. It equals out in the end, if you really think about it.
Step 2: Set Up Your Schedule
Some people think that schedules are overrated, but I’d like to disagree.
Scheduling is very helpful. Even if you have a very good memory, it’s still a good way to keep track of everything. Plus, it will really make your life just so much more convenient.
Set up a daily schedule. Try to have your eating and fasting windows during the same timeframes. If you decide to have your first meal of the day by 2PM, you should ensure you do not eat after 10PM the same day. Thus, you could schedule your last meal for a time between 8PM and 10PM.
Make a note on your schedule. I usually open up my calendar on my smartphone and set up daily reminders. I set a reminder about half an hour before my eating window starts. This gives me some time to prepare my first meal for the day. Although, I often find myself only a bit peckish by 2PM. I would usually have a handful of nuts, or perhaps a healthy keto bar. Then I’d schedule my first meal for an hour or so later.
You can take things a step further if you want to add more convenience to your life. Set up a schedule for your meal times too. In fact, some people find it incredibly useful to plan out their meals ahead. This allows you to add your meals to the reminders you configure. Make the reminder go off about half an hour before meal time – this gives you plenty of time to prepare your keto-friendly meal.
Step 3: Rinse And Repeat
As a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend making intermittent fasting a permanent entry into your daily life. Instead, give yourself a break now and then. Keeping a journal helps you keep track of your performance. It also helps you set up schedules for fasting and non-fasting periods.
At the beginning, you should aim to follow your intermittent fasting plan for about a week. Then, give yourself some time off. Some people take a week off, while others only allow themselves a day or two.
Once your “resting period” is up, it’s time to rinse and repeat.
Before you enter your next phase of intermittent fasting, take a closer look at the previous period. Consider any mistakes you might have made, and then learn from them. See if there is anything you can do to further improve your results. Also take this time to carefully plan out your next phase.
As time goes by, try to increase the duration of your intermittent fasting sessions. You started with one week, but soon you’ll be able to follow the plan for a full two weeks.