There is a good reason why ketone drinks have become popular! As our bodies use ketone bodies for energy, most of us will feel more focused, less hungry, calmer, and more energetic. The good news is: do you know that you don’t have to spend money on ketone drinks or even be on the keto diet to be in ketosis? Intermittent fasting and ketosis go hand in hand. That is one of the ways intermittent fasting has changed my health and my life. That is why I am so passionate about the topic!
Health Benefits of Ketosis
Before I explain how intermittent fasting and ketosis work together to help you lose weight and feel amazing, I want to talk a bit about ketone bodies and how they work.
What Are Ketones?
The words “ketones” and “ketone bodies” are often used interchangeably. However, some ketones are not ketone bodies. The liver produces ketone bodies when breaking down fat cells, or fatty acids. This happens when the body runs out of glucose to use as a source of energy. There are three three ways the body can run out of glucose:
- Very low carb diet (the Keto diet)
- Intense and prolonged exercise
Ketones, on the other hand, are found everywhere in nature. They are used in natural and synthetic pharmaceutical products.
Health Benefits of Ketosis
Being in ketosis means that you have a build-up of ketone bodies in your bloodstream. When this happens, you may notice that you feel different. First off, most people will experience the “keto flu” when getting started on the keto diet. A few days into the diet, you feel sick and tired. It usually lasts a few days before you can experience the benefits of ketosis. Here are some of these benefits:
- Weight loss and improved cardiovascular health
- Blood sugar control for diabetics
- Epilepsy seizure control
- Reduced food cravings and appetite
- Improved cognitive function
- Increased energy and improved mood
Now that you understand how ketosis works and the benefits it may have on your body, let dive into intermittent fasting and ketosis.
Fasting to Induce Ketosis
I already listed the three ways your body may end up in ketosis (as a reminder: keto diet, fasting, and exercise). The point of the article is to explain how intermittent fasting and ketosis work together to help you achieve your health goals, so I am going to explain how to use fasting to induce ketosis. Before we get to that, I need to explain the stages of intermittent fasting because how fast you move through all the stages will impact how you will be able to use intermittent fasting and ketosis.
Stages of Intermittent Fasting
After reading a few articles online that talked about the stages of intermittent fasting, I decided to create my own classification:
- The fed state: When you are eating, your blood sugar level increases and your body is using glucose for energy.
- Early fasting state: About 4 hours after eating, your body is no longer digesting food. Your blood glucose and insulin levels start to decline.
- Transition state: This state typically lasts from about 12 hours to 18 hours after the last meal. Your liver starts producing ketone bodies as it runs out of glycogen.
- Light ketosis: You are officially in ketosis when your ketone level is at least 0.5 mmol/L. Light ketosis is when your ketone readings range from 0.5 mmol/L to 1.0 mmol/L.
- Optimal ketosis: Optimal ketosis is when your ketone level ranges between 1.0 mmol/L to 3.0 mmol/L. I say “optimal”, but what is optimal always depends on your health goals. For the average woman this is the range where you will start feeling different. It is also the most effective range for weight loss.
Would you like to learn more about how intermittent fasting can help you achieve your health and weight loss goals? Don’t forget to check out my free Intermittent Fasting 101 Workshop!
How to Know You Are in Ketosis
At this point, you may be wondering what’s the best way to measure your ketone levels? How do you know that you are in ketosis? For beginners, it can be useful and motivating to use a ketone monitor. As you gain more experience, you will “know” you are in ketosis just by the way you feel. You will start recognizing some signs in hour body, like feeling satisfied even if hungry (not having the same appetite), feeling energetic and focused.
If you would like to purchase a ketone monitor, I recommend you look up the Keto Mojo. My affiliate link will give you a 15 percent discount.
Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis Schedule
After looking at the intermittent fasting stages breakdown, you have a general idea of how long it will take you to achieve ketosis without the keto diet. However, I want to give you a few more pointers that will help you come up with hour own intermittent fasting schedule suited for ketosis.
First of all, if you have never been in ketosis before, it may take longer. You may choose to go on the keto diet for 7 days to speed things up. If so, I have a 7-Day Intermittent Fasting Keto Meal Plan that will help you do just that. If you use the meal plan, you will notice that I don’t recommend you skip lunch when you are on the keto diet. That’s because the keto diet mimics fasting so you don’t need to fast as long. Another thing I want to mention is that if you choose to try the keto diet to become fat-adapted, plan to feel unwell for a few days. I did it myself and even though I was already in ketosis most days through intermittent fasting (confirmed with blood ketone readings), I still had the keto flu.
Fasting in definitely a more gentle way to achieve ketosis, but it will take longer.
Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis Results
Just to give you an idea of how long you may expect it to take for you to achieve ketosis without the keto diet, I am going to tell you briefly about my story. I was frustrated because after turning 40, I kept gaining weight even thought I wasn’t eating more. Losing weight seemed impossible, I felt miserable, continuously hungry and lose only 1 or 2 pounds in a month, which I would regain in an instant if I satisficed my hunger for a few days.
I had heard about the Fasting Mimicking Diet a few years back, and I decided to give it a try. That was a turning point for me. Even though the 5-day modified fast was challenging, it gave me the confidence and the ability to start experimenting with various forms of intermittent fasting. I noticed that even though I regained most of the weight I lost during my first modified fast, I did not regain the carb belly and I stopped gaining weight for just eating normally. Also, when I did the modified fast again the following month, I notice that it felt different. The hunger didn’t bother me the same way. That’s when I figured I could be in ketosis. I purchased my ketone monitor and started using it as I kept experimenting with intermittent fasting.
Things I learned About Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis:
Here’s what I learned throughout the year:
- After fasting overnight, there was ketones in my blood but not enough to be in ketosis.
- After fasting for about 16 hours, I was in ketosis, but usually not at the optimal level for weight loss (at least 1.0 mmol/L).
- Fasting for 18 hours was enough the reach the optimal level. I would then, keep fasting for about 2 hours to enjoy the benefits.
- The 20:4 method was the most effective and sustainable intermittent fasting method for me. Even after reaching my goal weight, I enjoy doing it 2-3 times a week just for health reasons.
Moreover, I learned that weight loss for women over 40 takes time and perseverance. It requires looking for a lifestyle that you enjoy because you will need to keep it up for the rest of your life to not gain the weight back.
I love intermittent fasting because I feel free. I don’t feel hungry all the time, and when I do feel hungry, thanks for the magic of ketosis, I feel amazing!
I am so excited about what I have learned, I created a 30-Day Program to help other women achieve the same results. The program takes you through the whole step-by-step process of doing a modified fast, practicing intermittent fasting, eating healthfully, and exercising efficiently. You can learn more about it here: 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Transformation.
Intermittent fasting and ketosis are perfect companions for women who want to lose weight and feel their best selves. It’s doable and sustainable as it allows food freedom during your eating window and the benefits of ketosis make your fasting window more enjoyable.