Do you feel like you live in a body that would rather make fat than burn it? You can turn that around and train your body to be a better fat burner. The key is to get your body fat adapted, and anyone can do it. This blog post explains how to get fat adapted and stay there.
Fat Adapted Metabolism – At-A-Glance
- Fat adaptation occurs when you have restricted your carbohydrate intake enough to increase fat burning.
- To get fat adapted, follow a low carb/high fat diet and practice intermittent fasting.
- How many carbs you can tolerate is unique to you. To follow a low carb diet, eat between 50 to 125 total carbs/day. For a keto diet, consume fewer than 50 grams.
- The time required to become fat adapted depends on many factors. However, you will notice a difference after 30 days of consistent effort.
- Signs of fat adaptation include easier fat loss, sustained energy, mental clarity, and less hunger and cravings
Put Fat Loss on Autopilot – Get Fat Adapted and Stay There [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- The definition of fat adaptation.
- Strategies for getting fat adapted, including dietary specifics.
- Signs that it’s working!
What is Fat Adaptation?
Fat adaptation occurs when you have restricted your carbohydrate intake enough to induce an increase in fat burning. In other words, when you are fat adapted, your body prefers to get its energy from fat rather than carbs. That fat can come from the foods you eat or from the body fat you carry.
How to Get Fat Adapted
Anyone can get fat adapted by changing their food choices and eating schedule in ways that encourage continual low insulin levels. Insulin is a nutrient-storage hormone. When it’s high, you are storing energy, much of which ends up as fat. When insulin levels are low, the opposite action happens, allowing body fat to be released and burned.
The rise and fall of insulin is mainly dependent on the foods you eat. Carbohydrates raise insulin the most, and fats raise it the least. Therefore, to get fat adapted, you want to lower your carbohydrate intake and boost your fat intake.
You can also introduce periods of fasting into your day. When there is no food coming in, insulin levels stay low. So, the path to getting fat adapted is to eat a low carb, high fat diet and practice intermittent fasting.
It is as simple as that. However, even simple concepts raise questions, such as: how low must you go with your carb intake, how will you feel, how long will it take to get fat adapted, and how will you even know that you’ve reached that state? So, let’s take a look at those questions.
How Low Must You Go with Carbs?
A keto diet is where most people’s minds go when they hear low-carb. However, you do not necessarily need to drop your carb intake to the keto range to get your body fat adapted.
How many carbohydrates you can eat in a day is unique to you, and I have a blog post on figuring out your carb tolerance if you’d like to learn more.
But, if you are new to a reduced carb diet, keep your daily carbohydrate intake below 125 total grams, and then step down your intake until you start to see the signs of fat adaptation that I’ll mention in a moment. To put that amount in perspective, the standard dietary recommendation for carbohydrate intake starts at 225 grams and goes up.
You can see that to move from a traditional diet to a low carb diet; even the healthiest eater will need to cut their carbohydrate intake in half to enter the low carb range and by at least three-fourths to enter the keto range, which requires you to drop your total carb grams below 50 for the day.
Eat More Fat
Keep in mind that the foods you eat provide your body with calories used for energy. That energy is derived mainly from carbohydrates and fat. When you cut carbs, you rob your body of a primary energy source.
Make a concerted effort to get beneficial fats like eggs, avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, full-fat dairy products, and healthy oils like olive and avocado oil into your daily diet. A good target is for dietary fats to make up 50% to 75% of your daily calorie intake.
How You’ll Feel
Even if you eat enough fat, there will likely be a time right after cutting carbs when you feel low on energy and generally worse than better.
This transition period is due to the fact that your body has not yet developed all of the enzymes and pathways it needs to rely on fat as its primary fuel. To work through this transition, one of the things your body needs is simply time. Another thing it needs is electrolytes.
Electrolytes are essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, and salt that your body needs to regulate muscle and nerve activity and stay hydrated. Electrolytes partner with water. When you cut carbs, the low insulin levels allow for the release of water from glycogen stores in your muscles and liver. That water flushes out of your body, and electrolytes travel along with it.
If you don’t replenish them, you will be prone to headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, and cravings. The easiest way to stay on top of this is to use a daily electrolyte supplement, such as Endure or LMNT.
How Long Will It Take to Get Fat Adapted?
Getting fat adapted is something you have to work to achieve because our world is not set up for carb restrictions. Even the checkout line at our local hardware store is lined with packages of candy and snack cakes that are filled with carbohydrates. So, how long it takes for your body to become fat-adapted is hard to predict but will be accelerated by consistent effort. This gives me an opening to discuss a concept known as Opportunity Cost.
Opportunity cost is the understanding that for every new opportunity that we accept, such as getting fat adapted, there is another opportunity that we must let go of, such as eating refined, high-carb snacks. For example, when I walk through the checkout line at our local hardware store, I have the opportunity to grab a bag of candy. I like candy. I used to eat it all the time, and, as I like to say, I have the cavities to prove it. However, if I were to take those opportunities to grab those convenient snacks, I would have to let go of my opportunity to live in the body I want.
Getting your body to the point of fat adaptation will make your body a better fat burner, giving you the effortless weight control you want. But, to get there, you need to train your cells to burn fat efficiently. That takes consistent effort. I challenge you to take the next 30 days to consistently eat a low carb, high fat diet and fast for 12 to 16 hours a day. Do that for 30 days. It will require you to give up the opportunity to cheat on your diet, but it will give you the opportunity to live in a body that burns fat efficiently.
Signs That You’re Fat Adapted
So, how do you know that your body has become fat adapted? There is no objective measure to mark this distinction. However, you will notice changes in your body, such as easier fat loss, sustained energy, mental clarity, and less hunger and cravings. These changes come about because the fuel you need to get through your day is always available, coming from stored body fat.
How to Stay Fat-Adapted
Once your body is fat-adapted, automatic weight loss is all about setting up your day, so you feel good all day and subconsciously avoid overeating.
Our bodies and minds like to follow routines, and you’ll find that it is easy to get your new fat-adapted body into a healthy routine because you are not fighting hunger and cravings.
So, continue to eat a low carb, high fat diet and practice intermittent fasting.
The great news is that once you’ve put in the consistent work to get your body fat adapted, that becomes your default state. Your body will never lose its ability to use carbohydrates; they will always be an energy source.
However, your body will now be metabolically flexible, so you’ll find that you can tolerate occasional high-carb treats, like a piece of birthday cake, and when those carbohydrates are used up, your body returns to burning fat.
Give your body what it needs, and it will give you what you want. It will take time and consistent effort for your body to switch from being a carb burner to a fat burner. So, don’t stop before the magic happens because you’ll gain a lot of freedom when it does. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!