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What Does “Fat Adapted” Mean and How Long Does It Take?

You’ve learned best practices for cooking, what to look for in testing, how to optimize your macros for exercise, and more. Now it’s time to discuss the ultimate goal: becoming fat adapted.

Plainly put, “fat adapted” is the metabolic state your body is in once you’ve been in ketosis long enough that your body has efficiently transitioned from burning carbs/sugar for energy to burning fats from your food, body-generated fats, and your stored body-fat reserves for energy.

When you first started the keto diet and vastly reduced your carb intake, your body kicked into high gear to burn off all your remaining carbs and glycogen stores. Then, when carbs were no longer an option, it began tapping into your excess fat stores for energy. After four weeks or more, your body is getting used to living off of fat, or becoming “fat adapted.”

In this state, you’ve pretty much lost your cravings for carbs, feel full faster at mealtimes, and stay feeling full longer, which inspires you to eat less and still feel great. You’ll also find that, once fat adapted, if you happen to have a little higher carb intake one day, it won’t affect you or your numbers as much as it did while you were in transition.

How Long Does It Take to Reach Fat Adaptation?
It generally takes from 30 days to 12 weeks of sticking to a keto diet to become fat adapted. During this time you want to focus on clean whole foods and sticking to eating a ketogenic diet without cheats or deviations.

First, you’ll experience the initial phase: carb withdrawal, which lasts anywhere from 3 to 14 days and is characterized by cravings, hunger, and perhaps the keto flu (remember we discussed that on Week 2, Day 1). Then you’ll roll right into the second phase, where your body is adjusting from relying on glucose for energy to relying on fat, which can last 6 to 8 weeks. After several weeks, your body is on fat-burning autopilot, and that’s where you’ll stay as long as you maintain a keto lifestyle!

Signs That You’re Fat Adapted
How will you know when you’ve made the final transformation from traditional sugar burner to fat burner? When you:

  • Can go 4 to 6 hours between meals without getting hungry
  • Feel consistently energetic throughout the day, without energy slumps or a rumbling tummy
  • Can easily work out while remaining on a keto diet

Mojo On!
Now that you know what it takes to get where you want to be, relax and enjoy the process. And remember: you are a uniquely individual being, so know that everybody transitions differently and in its own time. Trust the process and you’ll be fat adapted in no time.



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