The 16 x 6 Protocol for Better Health

Intermittent fasting

One of the most common questions I get is: How do you get into and stay in ketosis?

The best way to get into and stay ketosis is to let your body help. Remember that ketosis happens when your body doesn't have sugar to burn, so it turns to fat. How do you make sure that you don't have sugar to burn? One of the feastest ways is to skip a meal.
Yes, this article is about fasting. Intermittent fasting is not easy to start, but once you do, you will be amazed at how easy it can be. Luckily, Able Cells can help, as the products we sell are designed to get you over the hump. Let me explain my protocol.

The 16 x 6 Protocol

I like to fast for 16 hours per day, 6 days per week. A typical day has me fasting from 9 or 10pm until 1 or 2pm the following day. S tarting at night gives you the gravity assist of sleep. You don't eat when you are asleep, and by training your body to not eat before sleep, you get a prolonged fast for free (almost). 
Waking up hungry and passing on breakfast is easy for me, I don't miss it at all.  While fasting I drink water, coffee with a splash of heavy cream or MCT oil, Zevia, and exogenous ketones. By 11 am I start to feel hungry and will typically make a warm keto drink. I always keep a bottle of Kegenix PRIME and KetoCaNa at my desk. I add a half scoop of either water, add a touch of liquid MCT (Brain Octane) and sip on that until noon. Now, I've only got 2-3 more hours to go. Most days I will head over to the gym for a sauna (more on that later) or check my next actions and plug away. Pretty soon, my fasting app Zero, tells me it's time to eat.
I am not strict keto when it comes to my meals but I avoid grains and refined sugar, most of the time. A typical lunch is an arugula salad with turkey or chicken smothered in avocado oil. Another staple are Starkbuck's sous-vide egg bites. They aren't strict keto or paleo, but they are close enough. Dinner I am even less strict and will eat whatever the family is eating. If it's carb heavy I will eat a smaller serving. For a snack I eat mixed nuts or cheese, pretty simple. I am no saint, I still eat sugar, and rationalize the damage I am doing by taking comfort in the fact that soon I will be fasting.
Before I know it, it's time to start putting the kids to bed and after that, my Zero app reminds me to start fasting. The cycle repeats and as I write this post, at 6:04 am, I am not hungry and sipping on a keto beverage, hot water + exogenous ketones.

Why fast at all?

I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to play one on the internet, the truth is that fasting can be dangerous. In fact, some people give me a worried look when they find out, or at least a confused one. There isn't one main reason why I fast but here are the top three reasons.
1) Weight maintenance - I enter ketosis each day, even if only for a few hours. This trains my body to be fat adapted and in theory boosts the number of mitochondria in my cells. The increase in mitochondria and fat burning machinery will help me burn more energy just sitting around. Win-win.
2) Health benefits - There are many benefits to fasting, too many to list here but I recommend reading the links at the end of article if you want to take a deeper dive.
3) Mental toughness - It's hard fasting and I like to see if I have the self-discipline to restrain myself from eating, especially when Reeses are in the vicinity.

Why 16 hours?

I experimented with different protocols over the years and found they never stuck. The reason was that it interfered too much with my daily life. I like eating with my family, I like having dinner with friends and with a 16 hour protocol described above, you can do that. The big sacrifice you make is breakfast and lunch, and if you allow coffee as I do, then who needs anything else :) 16 hours seems to be a "magic" number based on leading research. Less than that and you don't stress your system enough to change, more than that and you could get cramps and pains as your body moves into a deeper fasting mode. If you plan on fasting for more than 16 hours you should consult with your doctor first.

Why 6 days instead of 7?

Sundays are filled with family and food. I married into a big Italian family and learned long ago that I don't want to restrict my food choices with family. I am not a preacher, I know what works for me and will talk about it to anyone that asks, but I don't want to make a big deal of fasting / keto when it comes to family dinners or lunches. I want to set a good example for my kids too, eating together is one of the things that makes us human and learning to be grateful for and enjoying that time is a great thing. 

In fact, sometimes I follow a 16 x 5 or 16x 4 protocol. I do my best to hit 6 days, but life happens and I am easy on myself as long as I strive for the 6 days.

Getting started

If 16 hours sounds too daunting start small. Commit to not eating 30 minutes before you go to sleep tonight. Then tomorrow, commit to not eating for 31 minutes, then 32, then 35, then 45, then an hour. Before you know it, you will stop eating at 9:00 or 10:00pm.

Do the same in the morning. See if you can go 30 minutes without eating when you wake up, then do 35 minutes, then 40, then an hour. Before you know it, you will carve out 16 hours.

I would love to hear from you in the comments if you follow a similar protocol, or if you have tried fasting and it didn't work. Let me know and have a fantastic day!
To your good health,

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