How long after starting Keto did you "feel" like fasting?

(Laura) #1

I’ve been keto for about 6 weeks. My energy fluctuates. My water retention fluctuates. My resting heart rate is very much elevated. My appetite and hunger signals are confused right now: For a while I could eat 3 meals a day, but now I’m voracious and eat bigger meals more frequently.

I am not overweight, and in fact many would call me very thin (5’7", about 123 lbs now).
But I’d like to continue losing just a few pounds of this small annoying pot belly so my clothes fit better. I’m in no great hurry.

I have problems with fasting. I also have problems with marathon snacking. Before keto, I did both, very poorly. I feel Keto is gradually healing my messed-up hunger cues. Is that a thing?

The trouble with fasting for me is that it invariably makes me miserably obsessed with food, the whole time. And when I do start eating, I literally cannot control myself-- it’s as if I’m sleepwalking, watching myself act. I wolf down food and then-- the worst-- I cannot stop grazing. It’s debilitating. I also develop weird energy problems when I fast, and cannot function. I’m very much okay with going 14-16 hours without food naturally, overnight, but more than that and I always seem to develop long-term annoying food obsession. I also think it causes me to lose muscle-- the opposite of what I want. I’d like to stay my size (my narrow frame looks bad with even a little extra). But in a forced choice between slimming down and building muscle, I’d rather build muscle. I want to feel strong and energetic, and stave off the age-related frailty that runs in my family.

I had about a year of weird, accidental fasting, a few years ago. I had a tragedy-stress-shock, and went three weeks barely eating. I felt like I was constantly in the middle of a car crash. I couldn’t touch food for five days. After that, most days I ate nothing and the other days I ate far less than even one meal’s worth. I continued to probably under-eat for a few months until I became less angry and depressed. Of course I got quite skinny.

I lost muscle. I could feel my body eating my muscle (I thought).

Then the same thing happened a couple more times throughout the year, but for shorter periods (like a week or two). This was all followed by two foot surgeries last year, where I became sedentary. Before Keto, I overwhelmingly ate carbs-- Good breads, fruit, rice and beans, oatmeal, too much candy, et c.

My main fitness goal is to build up the muscle composition of my body-- for health and energy and longevity.

I don’t think I have crazy insulin problems or anything. I think keto is still working on righting whatever I messed up with years of high-carb.

Am I a poor candidate for fasting-- at least right now? Can I get away with not-fasting, and still get great benefits with keto? By great benefits I mean, will my hunger cues start regulating-- even if I don’t fast? I frankly have no idea how much food I should be eating. If we’re just talking lifestyle, I’d like to eat about three meals a day, without feeling like snacking. I’d like it to be easy to skip or delay a meal when something comes up.

Will I eventually “feel” like eating less frequently, once I am more fat adapted, and therefore not have to force a fasting session?

(Bob M) #2

You don’t have to fast. Some people still eat 3 meals a day.

If your heart rate is elevated, have you tried more salt? And/or magnesium? If that doesn’t work, this might be the first thing to resolve.

If you want to mimic fasting, you could take a day and eat lower calories. Still eat so that you don’t get hungry. Try higher protein, too. That might help (it does for me, but be forewarned others have the opposite effect – higher protein causes more hunger).

(Laura) #3

I’ve been salting my food and, sometimes, eating plain flake sea salt-- I don’t measure how much, I should start to. I take a magnesium supplement but maybe I should increase both, see what happens.

When I drink a big glass of water, it seems my heart rate decreases for a bit.


You had some starving, I don’t think you should fast… Especially that your body says not to do it.
I don’t think it’s a must for a ketoer to fast but some people seem to think so.

About me?

I am a natural intermittent faster, I did it practically every day before I had any idea it is a thing with a name.
Extended fasts were rare but happened spontaneously and sometimes I just decided and did it or not, it’s always up to my body. If I get hungry, I eat. Now I have a super soft hunger I never had before fat adaptation, it’s not annoying and it doesn’t urge me to eat. That doesn’t count. I have a soft hunger than annoys me, I eat when I have that. And I still may have a strong hunger but it’s rare and special and still not as bad as before fat adaptation. But I never meet this if I eat right.

The smaller my carb intake, the harder fasting gets. I absolutely can’t do it since I tried carnivore and try to stay close. I could do it on keto, very occasionally. I did it on high-carb, totally automatically, it was super easy then and it makes perfect sense to me as I ate very much back then… My body works like this.
It’s the same with OMAD: it’s ridiculously easy on high-carb if I put my mind on it, hard on keto and near impossible on carnivore except some days when it just happens. But I more often have 4+ meals on carni than 1. 0 is out of question as I wrote. I had 2, maybe 3 meals on keto. 2 meals are plenty on higher-carb, 1 is ideal (for higher-carb. it’s not how I should eat) but due to the mess carbs make, I can eat even 3 meals (massive overeating), it would be quite hard to go over that!

But fat adaptation reduced my keto (40g net carbs) eating window to 5 hours so it did something good to my fasting… It was about 8 hours before. But it was in good, more controlled times, the possibility is there but the size of my eating window is all over the place and my actual food choices matter very much as they control my energy intake and that controls the need for more meals… Too quick satiation is against my IF as I can’t have low-calorie days (usually. I have very rarely them on carnivore now). While others have no problem with those.

I personally plan to do EF eventually but on extreme low-carb (where I get benefits while keto is just like a harder but not better low-carb for me) I am glad if I can do IF especially if I eat less than 4 meals… That’s not fun.

I won’t worry about my muscles with 2-3 day fasts, they should be fine there. And I actually would be okay with OMAD on most days, sometimes TMAD. I want to gain muscles, by the way and lose fat, in any order. Long fasts or too low protein harm muscles, sure, we need amino acids from somewhere and we don’t have much to do after some (not very long) time but eating some of our muscles.

My hunger and satiation changed when I got fat adapted, I didn’t need a single fasting day for it. I actually had IF 18/6 as it was my natural way even before keto. I was hungry so I ate just before and my weight stalled just before.
And when I go lower with my carbs, I get those special benefits without any fasting, almost immediately. So I wouldn’t think you need fasting but newbies before fat adaptation usually get the advice not to fast anyway. I wouldn’t say that, people should fast if that is nice and good for them, I surely did IF before keto because I couldn’t NOT doing it… And did longer fasts too. Whatever suits the one in question.

I had to experiment with that… Our body doesn’t necessarily tell us this (or when to eat, sometimes I wonder about that too but that’s usually more clear or isn’t really important), not after many years on low-carb, not after fat adaptation…

But my body always tells me if I didn’t eat much enough for the day (it’s just not convenient at midnight). And I kind of learned how I should eat. I don’t think you should eat less frequently, you should eat as many times as you need. I eat more frequently now that I lowered my carbs more but it’s still much better for me (but I really try to eat less times. I just accept if I can’t on some days or I need special attention to my food choices).

That’s convenient indeed, hopefully you will get it! :slight_smile: It’s not so hard for me if it’s my first meal but it wasn’t so bad for me way before fat adaptation and being on high-carb either. But it definitely improved, the arriving hunger is softer, nicer and while I still dislike to ignore it, it can be done in a need. It even can go away! But if I know I can’t eat in some period, that’s better as I can just postpone my first meal or eat more when I can. I doubt everyone can just skip a meal without hardships, fat adaptation or not. Or it depends. I have various phases.

But I am no normal ketoer (I go off too often. I still lost my water weight changes so I suppose my fat adaptation is proper but what do I know?), maybe it matters.

3 meals a day sounds perfectly normal to me, on any woe… It’s not for me but for many.

(Old Baconian) #5

You are likely not completely fat-adapted yet, so give yourself more time.

I started keto by eating the same quantity of food I was used to on my high-carb diet, but fairly early on, my appetite re-regulated itself and became more manageable. I continued eating ad libitem, however, and let my appetite be my guide to appropriate quantities of food. Over the following six months or so, I dropped 80 lbs. (36 kg) with no effort or hunger. After about twelve months of ketogenic eating, I found myself wanting only two meals a day. I didn’t decide that, it just happened.

Fasting is not something I’d choose for myself, but the other week I ended up having my first meal of the day around 7:30 p.m., so I can see how it could work, if I were to try it. There have been many posts on these forums by people who found themselves forgetting to eat, because their diet was so satisfying. My belief is that when that happens, someone is ready to try fasting, if they want to.

You have to bear in mind that a ketogenic diet is about normalising the metabolism. Shedding excess fat and adding lean mass will happen, if they do, in their own time. A lot of people, especially women, find that they need to trust their bodies and wait for things to get sorted.

You don’t say whether you are of child-bearing age, but if you are, then a sudden increase in appetite would make a lot of sense. Have you thought of looking into that? Just saying. (If you should happen to be with child, then continue to eat keto through pregnancy and lactation, and forget about trying to fast until after the baby is weaned.)

In any case, my advice would be to trust your body and keto on. If you are hungry, eat. Stop eating when you stop being hungry, and don’t eat again until you are hungry again. Don’t eat to a schedule, eat according to what your body tells you. Remember that our bodies are capable of dealing with a wide variety of conditions. The collective experience of these forums is that, for most people, at least, the body is not concerned so much with the quantity of food we eat (it has ways of putting what we give it to good use), but rather with the quality and nature of that food. Avoid carbohydrate, get a reasonable amount of protein, and satisfy your hunger with saturated and monounsaturated fat. Avoid the supposedly “healthy” seed oils (soybean, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, corn, etc.), because the high amount of polyunsaturated fats, researchers are discovering, are actually damaging to the body.

(Jane) #6

In my opinion - yes, you are a poor candidate to start fasting. With so little fat reserves you will definitely lose muscle, which is the opposite of your goals.

If you want to build muscle eat plenty of protein and do some weight training. You don’t have to join a gym - just buy some weights and do it at home.

(Marianne) #7

I’ve decided I don’t like to fast. I could do a 24-hour fast comfortably, hunger-wise, but I just never cared for it, so I stopped it. Now I eat mainly one large meal a day, sometimes two if I am hungry.

Good luck.

(Pete A) #8


I am 4 years Keto Sept 1 and have always IF 16/8, lost 80 pounds in the first six months. Since then Its always been about body recomposition,along with losing residual lower belly fat. Which is all improving! Very slowly haha

That said, an ambitious gym routine (regular hiking, lifting, yoga, callethenics) has been crucial. I havent increased carbs (under 20 gross), and VERY occasionally overindulge, but the robust calorie balance has served me well.

Why do you want to fast?

Good luck!


(Bob M) #9

I’m the same way as @Pete_A, in that I rarely want to fast, except I haven’t eaten breakfast in years. Went from 5+ meals a day to about 2.

Though I will do some longer fasts or OMADs at times. I regularly get hungry about “lunch” time (11 am or so), though.

(Laura) #10

I was hoping this might be the case. I’m looking forward to the energy and mood I hope fat-adaptation will bring on. I think I experienced it for a few days, a couple weeks in.

That’s fantastic! I like hearing this long-term story. It makes me patient as I feel I have some repair to do.

Really, I was fearing that the scale would continue creeping up up up-- and that’s why I started keto. When I got a taste of clarity and energy for a few days, that’s why I’ve kept at it. Hearing that the body will right itself, is helpful. The problem is that I would not hear that from doctors. If I told my doctor I’m doing keto, I bet she’d tell me to stop it, and would hand me a card with a food pyramid. That’s one reason I like coming here.

I mean, I’m of child-bearing age, but broke up with my boyfriend several months ago and can’t possibly be pregnant. Some of the “hunger” might be bouts of low energy, and some feels like things are regulating themselves. That’s why I’m not counting calories. I saw someone’s calorie count of their OMAD, and I thought, Yikes, that’s what I had just for lunch today! I wondered if I should worry-- even though I’m not overweight (just wanting to avoid an upward trend since I put on weight for basically the first time).

But that was me being brainwashed. I have always heard “calories in, calories out”-- often from health care professionals expressing annoyance at fad miracle cures. In fact, I thought keto was another fad-miracle-cure and that it was unhealthy. I thought that because health experts told me so. The Nova documentary “the truth about fat” has opened my eyes to that, though.

Okay: How bad are these? I ask ONLY because mayonnaise. Also costco bleu cheese dressing. I just stocked up on those . . . If I have to make my own mayo and salad dressing, so be it, but will these ruin ketosis if I finish them first? Or is this more of a long-term issue? I typically think that those oils are gross, industrious-level grease and don’t keep them around anyway, but we do eat a lot of tuna sandwiches and deviled eggs and things.

(Laura) #11

Mainly, I sought fasting for two reasons: First, I want to reset my hunger cues. (Yet I think it was IF that messed them up before.)

Then second-- Even though I don’t need to lose a lot of weight, I do want to make sure the scale does not creep up in an upward trend for years.

Driven by those desires, I read about IF. And then I see how everyone raves about other benefits. I start wanting those benefits (though I might not even need them!) And then I feel like a wimp and an unhealthy self-coddling person for thinking I can’t do it.

But I want: slow, slight weight loss, muscle build, more energy, better posture, and to be less distracted by food. And longevity.

(Jane) #12

Long term. Finish what you bought and then make your own. I used to make my own ranch dressing out of my own mayo but now just do olive oil and fruit vinegars.

(Butter Withaspoon) #13

That voracious hunger, and fasting not feeling good - I have a sudden big clear revelation: Eat meat! Good large servings of it. Offer your body meat every day until it finally fixes the bones, the tendons, the ligaments and the organs and muscles that it has borrowed protein from over years of under eating high quality protein. I remember this voracious hunger when I reintroduced regular meat. It was weird!!! Then after weeks or a few months, suddenly I only needed half as much. I had looked great, but inside I was probably a bit sketchy on bone and tendon strength.

I’m certain now that I’m very strong and robust for my age. A few recent accidents and mishaps resulted in no breaks of anything- and I really should have at least broken some ribs.

Anyway, if you want to, try feeding that voracious hunger with good protein, and yes have vegetables as well because you like them, and see if you can experience that genuine satiety signal. It’s SO worth it!!
But only take this advice because you’re curious, I’m not a doctor blah blah etc

(Laura) #14

Wonderful! I recently joined a beef-delivery from a local farm. I grew up on our own cows-- but because my parents forgot to tell us our pets were for eating, I objected and didn’t partake much. The other, heartless siblings got over it after the first cow. :slight_smile: Possibly I’ve been protein-deprived all my life! I do love grilling thick steaks in butter for a few minutes on each side and then sticking them in a 400 degree oven for 10 or 12 minutes. I bet I could live off of steak and quiche and broccoli for a while. I’ve been having too much heavy whipped cream lately (seems to quench a thirst)-- and need to stop with the nuts, too.

(Jane) #15

My ex-husband was in the same boat. His dad raised cows but the kids named them and made pets out of them.

Their dad would have one butchered but tell the kids he “sold it”.

Finally he brought home a dwarf cow as a pet and the cow would come up on the porch and beg for food with the dogs. Problem solved. They had a dog-sized cow for a pet and dad could keep raising healthy beef for his family.

(Old Baconian) #16

I think the health effects of seed oils fall more into the medium- and long-term category. There is no doubt that the standard American diet gives us far too much ω-6 fatty acids, which are inflammatory. But Ia little mayonnaise and some salad dressing aren’t going to kill you right away.

For your long-term health, however, think about moving in the direction of making your own mayonnaise and salad dressing. There are several really tasty recipes on this site. I tried the bacon grease recipe, and it was dead easy—and very tasty. My only problem with making my own mayonnaise is what to do with the egg whites. My inner Scotsman won’t let me just throw them out, lol!

The fruit oils (avocado, coconut, olive, and palm) are minimally processed and have much better fatty acid profiles, if you want to use an oil. But as I mentioned, bacon-grease mayonnaise sure is yummy! :grin:

(Jane) #17

My mayo recipe uses the entire egg. Which I also appreciate as I can be very frugal also!!!

(Old Baconian) #18

EGGcellent! :rofl:

(Alec) #19

In reading through your story and the responses so far, here’s my opinion:

  1. You are not yet fat adapted
  2. Your body is telling you to eat! So eat, don’t fast.
  3. You are attracted to fasting mentally because of the benefits others have talked about, but this may well not be right for you.
  4. You should trust your body for the first 6 months on keto: if your body wants to eat, then eat. If you find you have no hunger, then don’t eat.
  5. You may well gain weight, don’t worry… your body is self regulating. If you truly want health, then remove the things that disregulate the body’s signalling (carbs), and then let your body get on with it.
  6. After 6 months, almost all people will be fat adapted; most people’s body’s will have largely removed the disregulation; and many just have to listen to their body and it tells them all they need to know.
  7. You may never be able to fast successfully. Be aware that may be a reality for you: don’t worry, there are lots of good things that come with that as well eg you are already slim and are at much less risk of chronic disease.
  8. If you really want to fast after 6 months even though your hunger is still there, then do it very slowly: start with 12 hrs per day, then 16, then try a few 24hr fasts. As you do this, be very aware of the signals your body is sending… hunger, stress, calmness, irritability, feeling high (love that one!), needing less sleep, feeling cold. Note them all, and try to figure out why that signal is there. You have trained your body to send the right signals: it is now down to you to listen to it!

Best wishes and good luck.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #20

I wasn’t going to get into this, but… I’m not big on fasting, but I suggested in another of your topics to try my overnight IF as a way to introduce yourself relatively painlessly into fasting. I still think that’s a better option for you than imposing something more stringent when you’re not really ready for it. And I don’t think you are.

A lot of stuff happens when you start keto and you have to give it time to happen. You’ve been damaged by decades eating SAD. The only questions are how much and how long will it take to fix? Hopefully the answers are not much and not long. Stop being fixated about a little flab around your waist. Stay in ketosis consistently, eat enough that you’re not hungry all the time and be patient. When it’s time to go, the flab will go.

PS: I’ve been on keto 4 1/2 years plus and I never ‘feel’ like fasting. I do overnights 3-4 times per week just because my schedule happens to work out that way. 12/12 IF overnight is not a big deal.