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Keto Guide to Intermittent Fasting

mealplanguideintermittentfasting

I figured we’d start the New Year’s off right with a little guide to intermittent fasting. You’ll find a meal plan, some twists and turns to make it your own, and of course – the shopping list!

So, why intermittent fasting? Well there’s a number of reasons why. The first (and biggest for most) is that it can help you get over weight loss plateau’s. Down to those last couple of pounds, or been stuck at the same number for weeks? Give this a try.

The other reasons are for the sheer health benefits of fasting. Higher metabolic adaptions from your nutrients, improved muscle growth and synthesis, and improved responses to post workout meals when you work out. Even longer life spans have been shown in worms – yeah, I know it’s only worms, but still!

It’s also shown to boost mental clarity and give more focus during the day. Doesn’t sound like there’s anything wrong with that, does there?

plus-sign-r-hi

For a more in depth look at intermittent fasting, you can head over to the more scientific post I did on it over here.

Finding Your Macros

First thing’s first. We need to find our macros and see how many calories, fats, protein, and carbs we should eat per day. I have put together a “keto calculator” that makes it easy. Below is a picture tutorial to walk you through everything and explain what is going on.

Step 1

First we need to put in your total weight. If you put in your weight in pounds, it will automatically calculate your weight in kilograms. If you put your weight in kilograms, it will automatically convert it to pounds. You only need to fill in 1 of the boxes here.

Once you put your weight in, you also need to put your body fat in. If you don’t know your body fat, you can visually estimate it. Do yourself a favor and don’t lie to yourself here.

I’ve seen a lot of people lie to themselves and they end up not eating enough calories. While some of us may think that’s a good thing, you can actually do more harm than good over time. Remember those diets that end up making us gain all the weight back afterwards? That’s what we don’t want!

putweightandbf1

Step 2

The next set of boxes will show you your BMR and TEF. This is how many calories you burn, per day, at an absolute minimum. Just for sitting, breating, and eating. You don’t really have to pay attention to this, but some people like to know everything behind the calculations – so I included it.

tefandbmr2

Step 3

Now, I will assume that most of us here are sedentary. If that’s the case, then leave the check mark on sedentary.

If that’s not the case, change your activity level to the one that sounds most like you. Again, don’t lie to yourself here. If you do, it will have negative consequences.

activitylevel3

Step 4

Exercise…the big E. I will continue to assume that most of us here are sedentary. So, you can just leave it to “No” and move on.

Now, if you do exercise, change the drop down box to a “Yes”. Another table will show up where you can input your daily activity. Try to be as accurate as possible here! If you don’t measure your caloric burning through a heart rate monitor, then you can estimate. When you estimate, though, try to make it as good a guess as possible – don’t just put numbers of what you think you did. You can normally find the “average” calories burned for a certain exercise on Google.

doyouexercise4

Step 5

This is the part where we find out how many calories total, per day, we should be eating. The box at the top where you can put in a percent is the amount of calories over or under your daily caloric needs. If you want to lose weight, try 15-20%. The more overweight you are, the higher you can go with the percentages. Though, I do not advise to go over 30%. Keep the check box for “Lose Weight” checked and now you have your total calories.

If you want to gain weight, try 10%. Change the checked box from “Lose Weight” to “Gain Mass”. If you’re working out and want to gain mass, you will need to have a surplus of calories for your muscles to properly grow and repair.

surplusdeficit5

Step 6

Now for the fun part. Protein. If you’re sedentary like most of us, you can drop your protein intake ratio from the default 0.8 to 0.6. The box will go red, but don’t worry about it. This calculator was initially made to aid people in gaining mass.

If you’re looking to gain mass, or even if you just work out, you want to consider the ranges of 0.8 – 1.1. If you’re just doing the average amount of exercise, and no strength training, keep it at default. However, if you are doing intense workouts of weight lifting, go toward the range of 0.9 – 1.

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Step 7

Everything has been filled out and we’re on our way to find out exactly how much of everything we need! You should see your results displayed for you. Write these down! If you use MyFitnessPal, then write your new macros into your settings so that they get saved.

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Now, keep in mind that you might need to eat a decent amount of calories here. You might need to eat 2,000 calories or even 1,800. When you start intermittent fasting, eating 1800 calories in 1 meal is pretty difficult. That’s why we start off by only skipping 1 meal a day, then progress into skipping 2 meals a day.

Food List for Grocery Store

This is 2 weeks worth of food. The ingredients listed is enough to make the full 2 weeks and some leftovers. The meal plan is listed below, but you need to be aware that depending on your needed calories, you will need to make more, or less. I give a round estimate of how much I personally make.

Most of the recipes I list are pretty savable. You can freeze leftovers and use them in the following week when we turn the fasting into a more intense approach.

Meat

  • 3 lb. Ground Beef
  • 5 Chorizo Sausages
  • 2 Italian Sausages
  • 2 Cans Pre-cooked Chicken Breast
  • 4 Full Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (4 halves)
  • 7 Slices Ham
  • 16 Slices Bacon
  • 22 Large Eggs
Fresh Meat

Fats

  • 15 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 15 Tbsp. Organic Coconut Oil
  • 14 Tbsp. Grass Fed Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil

If you have preference to another fat, you can choose it over the ones I use.

olive-oil_

Cheese

  • 4 1/2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4 Cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. Cream Cheese
  • 10 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Oz. Bleu cheese
  • 18 Tbsp. Creamed Spinach Dip
Cheddar_lg

Vegetables

  • 1 Medium Green Pepper
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 7 Cups Spinach
  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Small Scallions

If you’re not a fan of spinach, choose something that you’re more likely to eat. Broccoli, cauliflower, or kale are good choices.

Young spinach leaves in isolated white background

Extras

  • 2 Cups Almond Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Erythritol
  • 1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 14 Cups Coffee
  • 1 Bag of Pork Rinds
  • 4 Tbsp. Sugar Free Ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 12-15 toothpicks

Go for the pork rinds that are light and airy. We’ll be grinding these up and you want nice light consistency, not hard and dense.

Grinding your own coffee beans usually yields a better cup of coffee, so try to get some nice organic coffee in your diet.

coffeeinglass

Spices

  • 2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 5 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Ginger

You’re welcome to add more spices to your food, cayenne pepper, more salt and pepper, or paprika.

cumin-seeds

I do realize that you can’t go to the store and buy only 3 tsp. of kosher salt, or only 7 cups of spinach. You have to decide what will be right for you, and maybe you’ll end up buying a bit more than you need – but don’t worry. We can use the leftovers later on!

Now, keep in mind that this is soley for the single dishes we will be having. You’ll need to make sides, such as steamed broccoli with a cheese sauce. Keep that in mind when you’re buying – but I don’t know your preferences for vegetables. Choose as you wish, and choose sauces or ingredients for sauces that you could put with the vegetables.

Ideas: creamed spinach, butter roasted asparagus, butter fried green beans, broccoli with cheese sauce, cauliflower with cheese sauce, or a light salad with heavy dressing.

shoppinglowcarb

Cuisinart CSB-75 Smart Stick 2-Speed 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender
Spectrum Expeller Pressed Organic Coconut Oil
Sunbeam 76893.05 Kitchen Bake 5-Piece Bakeware Set

Daily Overview

Breakfast – Bulletproof Coffee

A mixture of oil, fat, and coffee to keep your fueled for the day. Here’s the recipe for Bulletproof Coffee.

So, why bulletproof coffee? It gets your metabolism to a great start, feeding it caffeine and fats that will start your day off right.

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It’s packed with great nutrition and great benefits. The medium chain triglycerides in the coffee will help with your fat burning, the caffeine and fats will give you a ton of energy, and it has some omega 3′s in there for the butter. You can’t go wrong!

Now, keep in mind that we are loading up with fats here. We’re not taking in any protein for the day. We need to keep that in mind when we go to eat dinner, making it protein rich, as we we’ll still need to hit our macros.

Lunch – Water, Tea, & Black Coffee

It doesn’t really matter what you drink as long as it doesn’t have fats/protein/carbs in it. Caffeinated is fine, but keep in mind that too much caffeine is not a good thing for the heart (but, in small doses it’s actually beneficial).

Just drink your favorite thing, as long as you are drinking plenty. I aim for just over a gallon of water a day, or 4 litres to be more precise.

As your kidneys get used to processing the water, and your bladder gets used to the increase in the amount of water you’re intaking – you won’t have to go to the bathroom as much. I know it can be troublesome for the first 2 weeks to drink that much water, but it’s extremely good for you to do so.

Glass-of-water

Dinner – Follow Meal Plan Below

Add cheese/butter/dressings/oils to bulk calories. This is the tricky part. We need to get that protein that our bodies need and we haven’t had for the entire day. Think meat here. Chicken is great because it’s high in protein and not high in fat.

baconmozzarellameatballs
Wait, wait, wait. But I thought this diet was high fat? Well, it is – but we can get the fat from other sources. Don’t you worry! Fats are very easy to intake, but protein is not as easy.

We can get fats from plenty of side items, sauces, dressings, and even straight from the spoon. If you need to extra fats, just add more cheese, add a knob of butter, or make a side salad and dress it with a high fat dressing and some olive oil.

Snacks? No snacks!

No snacking! Well, not really, but try to stay away from it as much as you can. You want your body to go into a fasting state, but if you’re snacking then you interrupt the process.

Snacking shows that it leads to hunger, so it’s best to not do it if possible. That being said, you can snack on some nuts if you feel like you absolutely have to. If you do end up taking a handful of nuts, make sure that it’s only once and not throughout the entire day.

Meal Plan

So, we’re looking for a meal plan here. I’ve put together the meal plan for weeks 1 and 2. I think most people would enjoy this type of food, so that’s why I picked it. Not to mention, there’s some of my favorites here.

If you’re strapped for time, you can always make all of this food on the weekend, shove it into tuppawares, and put them in the freezer. The MOST IMPORTANT part of this is to eat your food and have variety. When you don’t have variety, you start to get bored, and your mind wonders to other…sweet sweet places. That’s what we don’t want!

This is a general meal plan, not intended for exact use. You need to do some work here (sorry!) by calculating the amount of calories you need per day, and breaking it apart into what you should be eating. Remember that every day, you should be drinking Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast, so that takes away about 500-600 calories from your daily calorie intake.

Day 1 and Day 6: Low Carb Pizza with extra spinach for the micronutrients.

Kitchen Sink Low Carb Pizza

Day 2 and Day 5: Chorizo Cheddar Meatballs with Side Broccoli and Cheese

Chorizo and Cheddar Meatballs

chickencordonbleu

Day 3: Bacon Wrapped Chicken Cordon Bleu with Salad of Spinach

eggfritatta

Day 7: Eggceptional Sausage Keto Frittata with Side of Broccoli

Week 2 we will repeat the exact same thing as we had on week 1. If you have more leftovers of 1 thing than another, feel free to sub out the food for something you actually have. We don’t want to waste food here, but I also cook for more than 1 person.

Week 3 & 4

We’re going to start being more aggressive with our fasting here. We’ll turn it into a 21/3 fasting window, or an 18/6 fasting window. What do these numbers mean? Well 21/3 means 21 hours of fasting and 3 hours of eating, and 18/6 means 18 hours of fasting and 6 hours of eating.

Obviously not 3 or 6 hours of eating nonstop, but that is your “window” of opportunity to get all of your daily calories in. If you’re not the best at eating a lot of food in 1 sitting, choose the 6 hour window.

We’re going to stop drinking Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast, and only be eating 1 meal a day. Instead of having your normal bulletproof coffee, just settle with a black coffee (or tea) with nothing else.

blacktea

Lunch is going to be the same way as before. Tea, coffee, water, or whatever zero carb/fat/protein drink you want. Stay hydrated as you have been, and continue to try to aim for 1 gallon of water a day.

Remember, no snacking! We need to get more strict here and your metabolism should have started to get used to your fasting schedule. Try to avoid your snacking at all costs, creating a more strict environment for your body.

spicecakecupcakes
When dinner time rolls around, you have a few choices. You can start breaking your meals into dinner and dessert. That’s what I normally do. Sometimes when I eat too much protein and fats, I really just can’t force myself to eat more. But as you know, hitting our caloric needs is important. That’s when I start making dessert items, and I just find them easier to eat. Even if I am full, I still “have room” for dessert. Wow, I miss saying that!

You can also keep your meals exactly the same, but just up the portions. That way you’re getting the needed calories but not having to do extra work.

If you choose to do dinner and a dessert, keep your macros in mind. Pick sweets that are high in fats, if your dinner is high in protein. Conversely, pick sweets that are high in protein if your dinner is high in fats. Be smart about it, and always keep your macros in mind.

So, the meal plan? Well, it’s the same as last week. Just this time you’ll have to be eating more. You can keep your meals exactly the same, and then add some things for your dessert to make up for not drinking the bulletproof coffee.

If you need more fats, just like before you can add oils, dressings, cheese, butter, or whatever you need to in order to get to your macros.

butter

Desserts are finicky things, and I don’t like making choices for people because usually with sweets everyone has their own special tastes they like.

My Favorite Desserts

Low Carb Cake in a Mug

Chocolate Cake in a Mug - This one is super simple, fast, and absolutely delicious. Holds a lot of calories, fats, and a decent amount of protein.

Low Carb Macadamia Nut Brownies

Macadamia Nut Brownies - Absolute treat that is stocked full of great fats and omega 3′s. A treat in itself, and makes for a fantastic dessert.

Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Cinnamon Roll Waffle - Honestly, I can’t eat the whole thing when I try to eat it for dessert, but you’re welcome to try your luck! It’s delicious, and gets rid of those cinnamon roll cravings I get every once in a while.

lemonrosemary

Lemon & Rosemary Shortbread - While not learning too far on the sweet side, I absolute adore these cookies. I can shove them into my mouth so fast, and eat the entire batch, even if I’m not hungry. They’re easy to eat, but you need to watch the carb counts.

I wish you the best of luck in 2014 and hope you make your goals happen! Remember to keep in touch. As always, I’d love to hear your progress, your thoughts, or your remarks about how you’re doing, how to make things better, or just to say hi!


There are 41 comments

Add yours
    • Craig

      You’re very welcome! If you ever want to know more, feel free to send me an e-mail requesting an article to write. I try to keep on top of everything. Best of luck in 2014 and Happy New Year!

  1. Christina

    I am starting on this today. My only issue is that the shopping list is not comprehensive with regards to the selected recipes. For example- the sweet and sour chicken calls for “reduced sugar ketchup, erythritol, rice vinegar, soy sauce” etc.

    • Craig

      Christina,

      You’re totally right about that and I am really sorry. When I put together the list I didn’t include the sweet and sour chicken or the cauliflower fried rice. I’ve updated the list to be comprehensive now – again, sorry! If you need to sub out the Erythritol for another sweetener – it’s totally doable.

  2. Teri

    I don’t eat meat or poultry but do eat dairy, cheese, fish, and shellfish. For the diet you are describing, are there weekly meal plans like your 7 day plan,written up for people who don’t? I do so much better with something written re. what I can eat every meal/day.

    Thanks for all the good info.

  3. giuseppe

    Nice infos and great detailed plan.

    I’m just wondering wheteher eating all you protein in such a small window (like 115 protein in 4 hours in my case) won’t kick you out of ketosis.

    Thanks

  4. Tinder

    Do you see any problem with skipping lunch longterm instead of just one week? I’d like to do bpc and your egg frittatas for breakfast (7am) and then nothing but water until dinner (6pm). Is 11 hours enough? Do I have to give up breakfast? I can handle no lunch but not eating all day just sounds dreadful…lol I do like my food!

    • Craig

      No, I don’t. You normally go into a fasted state after 12 hours, so if you want to reap the benefits of IF, then you’ll have to keep that in mind. I used to do the same thing (eat breakfast, skip lunch) :)

  5. Keshia

    I’m not sure if I can fast so many hours during the day. How does this sound: Dinner at 6pm……sleep…….BPC at 7 am……workout…then lunch and dinner between 10 am and 6 pm. Are the benefits the same if fasting during sleep hours? And will the BPC interrupt the fasting state? Thanks.

  6. Gena

    Good morning! I am starting IF tomorrow. I work out in the morning 8AM run then about 11.30AM I lift light weights. QUESTION…should I drink my BPC at 6AM when I wake up? Then fast after that? Then eat dinner around 7? I feel a little lost – sorry for the corny question

  7. Rebecca

    Hi This site just looks wonderful. Thankyou for spending so much time helping everyone out. My question is. …. Do you use a food log at all and if so which one? I am lookng at a few but finding it hard to add my macros in.
    I did the keto diet about 2 years back and lost my weight but sadly the sugar industry has gained power over me again and i need to get back to Keto and stay there. I cook everything from scratch ad find it hard working out the calories etc.

      • Rebecca

        Hi Craig, Thought i should just drop in and say thanks for the advice. I joined myfitnesspal and have already lost 11lbs following the keto diet and all your advice. Thanks so much, i have more to go but your macro calculator has been great for me . Keep up the good work please.x

  8. tracey

    Hi,
    Why do we have to give up the bullet proof coffee? The bullet proof website says we still get the benefits of fasting with it. I have grown to love it and it helps with crazy cravings and I am satifisfied later with my meal.
    thank you

    • Craig

      Tracey, you aren’t really fasting if you have it. The fasting state normally happens 12-13 hours after meals, so if you break a fast with bulletproof coffee, then you aren’t technically fasting.

  9. Lisa

    Hi Craig,

    After doing weeks 3 & 4 do you start over again with week 1?
    I noticed you said that the way you eat is to have 2 cups of BP coffee and then not eat again until dinner at 9 pm. Do you do weeks 3 & 4 yourself? What is the added benefit of not doing the BP coffee?
    Thank you so much for all of your articles. I also really appreciate that when I purchased your book and emailed you with a question you responded yourself and really quickly.

    Thank you,
    Lisa

    • Craig

      Hey Lisa,

      Thanks for the kind words! Nowadays I just fast – no BPC in the morning or anything, I just wait until night to eat. It’s just because it plays better into my schedule and it makes me feel better overall. It’s not necessary to do if it’s not convenient for you or if your body just can’t adjust to it. In the meal plan I say as much – if you can’t do it, you can return to the same type of plan as week 1 and 2. The same applies here. If you want to, it’s convenient for you, and it’s working for you – then you can fast. If it’s not, then eat :P

  10. Deja

    Hi Craig,

    I was wondering if I have been fasting properly. What I’ve been doing is eating every two hours to get in all my calories from 10am-4pm (fix first meal at 9:45am to eat at 10am, fix last meal at 3:45pm to eat before 4pm). I eat about 4 meals that are split into about 400 calories so I can reach about 1,500 calories before 4:00pm. Am I doing this right? It feels so wrong, haha. I feel really full.

    I’ve been eating good foods like greek yogurt, vegetables, and chicken, but I’m apprehensive because it’s so frequent.

    • Craig

      Deja,

      Just make sure you’re getting your fats into your diet. But yes, you are fasting – the fasting state will happen normally about 12 hours of having no food and you’re going 18 hours which is just fine :)

  11. lisa root

    How long will it take me to loose 20 pounds? Can I do this in 6 weeks if I am very careful and exercise with the diet? I want to surprise my husband and am going to order both your cookbooks. I also want to understand the flour that you are using, is it carb free?

    • Craig

      Lisa,

      I don’t know how much weight you have to lose, 20 pounds for someone that’s 500 pounds is a lot different than 20 pounds for someone that’s 160 pounds. So for the average person (180-220) range, 20 pounds is going to be a lot to lose in 6 weeks, even with exercise included. I’d think some 12-15 pounds is more likely, but 20 pounds might be pushing it. It’s all about healthy weight loss.

      The flour I use does have carbs, but it’s only a pretty small amount, so it’s pretty good to use for this diet as it has plenty of fats in also.

  12. Coumba

    Hi Craig… First, a big THANK YOU for dedicating so much time and effort into helping others with the keto journey. This website is the best resource around. It is incredibly organized & simple to follow. I love it! :)
    Now, here is my question. I have hit a plateau & considering I.F to break out of it. How long do you suggest I do it? Is there a minimum amount of time that it needs to be observed in order to be effective & permanent?
    Also, is there a risk of regaining the weight when going back to a non-fasted keto diet?
    Sorry, that was more than 1 question actually? Any insights you can offer is greatly appreciated.

    • Craig

      Hey and thanks Coumba. What I suggest you do is if you’re stalling – take a look into all of your other macros and make sure they’re on point before you start doing IF. IF -CAN- help a plateau, but it doesn’t always do it if something else is going wrong in your diet.

      If you do do IF, you could do it for as long as you’d like – a week, 2 weeks, forever, it doesn’t matter too much. I do it almost daily, but there is not “minimum” amount of time you have to do it for. There shouldn’t be a risk of gaining weight after doing IF because you should still be feeding your body ample amounts of food and energy during this period.

      Hope that helps!

      • Coumba

        Wow… That was fast. Thank you so much!! And yes, it helps a lot. I had a feeling I wasn’t doing something right with my macros because I am not eating much on most days (1,300 cal) but if I eat anymore than that, I gain weight. This actually leads me to one more question. What’s more important in consuming the calories: the percentages by macros or the actual grams? Not sure if that question makes sense but with all this stuff, I get confused on what to actually track. Thanks again!!! :)

        • Craig

          Sure thing. The grams make the biggest difference because if you think about it – the grams add up to the calories. For example if you look at 1g of fat – this is 9 calories. If you look at 1g of protein or 1g of carbohydrate – this is 4 calories. Each gram of “nutrient” has a caloric value assigned to it based off of lab studies and breakdowns of energy.

  13. Sisi

    Hi Craig
    first of all i love what you do iam Amsterdam Netherlands and my friends and i we all love your site.
    We al ordrd you ketofide e-book and the rule book.
    Nou i have done de keto dieet and lost 16 kg in 4 months. But now i have gain 2 kg again because of vacation and not able too cook so i have eaten lots of carbs. Now i have start to keto for few weeks but i dont lose wait anymore.
    So i want to do the fasting method. But i dont know wich one to do the fat fasting of intermiient fasting.
    I lookt a little bit the same but whats the difference between tose two fasting methods?

    i now weight 66 kg and i am 1.71 m tall my goal is 60kg.

    Hope you can advise me

    thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Craig

      Fat fast is when you restrict your calories and have most of your calories from fat – used as a “speed boost” to get into or back into keto.

      Intermittent Fasting shouldn’t be used to lose weight. It does have some health benefits and some energy benefits (for most – some people don’t like it), but it won’t really help you lose extra weight. Also, during IF, you don’t restrict calories like on a fat fast.

      I would suggest you just go back to regular keto eating and stick with it :)


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