A Day In the Life Of Keto

I get the question all the time: “So, what does a regular day of eating look like for you?”—particularly since I went keto.

I get asked when I typically start eating and how I schedule my workouts around fasting periods? What do my meals themselves look like? Do I ever snack? Today I’m answering all of these—and sharing more about my own personal approach to ketogenic living.

In fact, I’m laying it all out there. Get a (literal) glimpse of some of my favorite meals and find out why I consider my Big-Ass Salad the basis of my keto eating strategy. I’m sharing one of my favorite snacks and how I negotiate my eating window each day.

But I also talk about the little appreciated principles of a sustainable keto diet—how to do it so you’re enhancing your gut health rather than compromising it, how appetite and cravings self-regulate in the first 1-3 weeks, and why after a thorough reset I’m not fully keto all the time anymore.

I have a lot to say about the lasting impact of a Keto Reset experience on metabolic flexibility and protein sparing in the body as well as on the common mistake people make in focusing exclusively on fat intake rather than broad spectrum nutrition.

Finally, I explain why I consider ketones the body’s (too often) untapped superpower—and just how much we naturally produce in a day that we can live and thrive from.

Check it out and share your thoughts. Plus, if you’re interested in more day-in-the-life posts or video, I want to hear it. Let me know what you’d like to see. Have a great week, everyone.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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86 thoughts on “A Day In the Life Of Keto”

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  1. Thanks for sharing, Mark. I’m a big fan of salads. They are versatile enough to eat every day and a major go-to when eating out. Virtually all restaurants have salads as an option these days, to which you can add grilled steak, chicken, or salmon for an extra couple of bucks. (At home you can add sardines, medium-rare liver slices, chicken feet, or whatever appeals to you.) Ask for an oil and vinegar dressing. Other types of dressings can contain ingredients you don’t want to eat, such as sugar. Tell the waiter to leave off the croutons. Easy.

    1. I have a huge mixing bowl full of salad every night for dinner. I refuse to go out to eat and spend $15 on a salad that would cost me $2 to make at home, plus I know my salad is safe (I have celiac disease) and organic.

      I like the day in the life posts. Just remember, Mark, some of us are Paleo, some Primal, some keto. I know you can’t be all things to all people, but it’s nice to also see nutritional posts that aren’t always geared toward a singular audience.

    2. I’m hesitant to eat even salads in a restaurant. 1) They’re EXPENSIVE! 2) The restaurant I worked at when I was younger cut the olive oil with canola to save money.

      1. Good points, Steve and Jen, but unless you eliminate your social life you sometimes end up at a restaurant. Salads are usually a good choice when there’s nothing else on the menu that you can eat. It beats just sitting there looking paranoid while your companions chow down.

      2. As an ex-restaurant cook, I should also warn everyone that many restaurants rinse their lettuce in an anti-oxidizing solution so cut edges won’t brown… I doubt it is good for you! That said, you can find meat and veg in nearly all restaurants. And I will still eat restaurant salads once in a while.

  2. I love it when you share “day in the life” posts. Helps me understand how to take your great insights & analysis, and “make it real”.

    1. I agree, I always look forward to his “day in the life,” posts.

  3. Looks pretty much just like my own eating and timing (two meals a day). Still. I can’t help but wonder about protein requirements. Looks like you are doing fine on about 60 gr. a day. But I keep reading that we need about 1gr. protein per pound of lean muscle mass. So if you are 5-9 and 155lbs like me, at about 8-10 % body fat, that puts you at about 140 lbs of lean mass. I’m not losing any muscle mass myself, with about an average of 60-90 gr. of protein a day avg. Guess I’m trying to say, are we moving our protein requirements down since we are better at burning fat?

    1. Could not agree more. Be aware that you will be hungry during “A Day In the Life.” It is not because of the lack of carbs, to which we paleo or primal folks are accustomed. It is the very sharp squeeze on protein. I don’t want to accuse Mark and Brad of hiding the ball but their version of keto works because you don’t eat much of anything on it (straight out calorie restriction – not so fancy). Keto sounds sexier than Weight Watchers however.

      1. Well yes, except that our hormones will be in check and our appetite levels and cravings will be normalised. On weight watchers or ‘normal’ calorie restricted eating you’d still be battling those issues all the time.

        1. Exactly. Keto helps control the hormones that make people fat.

          Calories in, calories out ultimately is the biggest factor in the equation, but only if you discount that hormones control the calories in, calories out.

          1. Yes, we understand all of that – but Mark’s video does show two small meals. I don’t imply that it doesn’t work, or that it isn’t healthy, or that it’s different from “starvation” diets. But hey, it does restrict calories.

          2. Your body can and will break down extra protein to create glucose (NOT ketones) if you have lots of protein available. Instead, you want to force it to break down fats – which is a harder job for your body to do, so it will avoid it if it can. That is why you need the dietary fat, and if you have the right amount of fat, you will not feel hungry. Once you are fat-adapted, your appetite will be somewhat less, and it will be easier to restrict calories and burn your body fat if you need to lose weight.

          3. While what you say is true, Mark does not need to lose weight.

      2. There is absolutely no data that says you need lots of protein, unless trying to get really big. In fact, lower protein tends to correlate with longevity. (Lower meaning 60g, not actual low protein, as in starvation.)

        For me, fat = satiation. Now this is different for everyone, but for me protein seems to have nothing to do with my appetite. Carbs = more hungry, fat = less hungry, both = always hungry.

        Now, another caveat, I’m pre-diabetic (But so are most fat people), so controlling blood sugar and insulin is of major importance to me and Keto does this far, far better than weight watchers. A fatty steak doesn’t touch my blood sugar, a typical weight watchers meal would should me over 150 or even 200.

        1. I’m also pre-diabetic and use the keto diet primarily to normalize blood sugar. I’m already seeing results. I don’t need to go to the bathroom 2-3 times per night, anymore, so I’m getting better sleep. Yay!

          But, you know, I need to lose about 20 lbs, so I wouldn’t mind the weight loss side effect.

    2. I’ve always read .08 to 1 gram per kilogram (not pound) of lean muscle mass, so that would put your number lower.

      1. Also as Mark has said in the past, there is the need for older folks to eat more protein due to the fact that they don’t assimilate it as effectively as the younger ones, and to help aginst losing muscle mass.

  4. I do the same Mark. I wake in the morning energized and not hungry. I don’t force myself to eat breakfast. And I’ve always wondered whether that was harmful to my body. But like you, I eat early in the afternoon. And maybe a snack to hold me over until dinner. I want to try Keto soon. Thank you for providing these wonderful recipes. And absolutely love your salad dressing.

    1. I’ve never been a breakfast person, even before primal/keto. People look at me like I’m nuts when I say I don’t eat breakfast. At one point I did force myself to eat breakfast every day for about 6 months, because everyone says it’s so important, but I didn’t like how it made me feel. Then I discovered primal, and started reading about fasting, and realised I was right all along!

      The hardest part of being a breakfast skipper is when I visit my girlfriend’s family. They eat 3 meals a day, and because it’s socially awkward to be the only one not eating, I just put a few things on my plate to nibble. The conversation usually goes something like this:

      Them: “Oh, you’re not hungry this morning?”

      Me: “Sorry, everything looks delicious, but I’m not used to eating 3 meals a day. I’m still full from last night.”

      Them: *Gets a very confused look on their face*

      1. Steve, thank you for the response. And my conversations are very similar. At times, I too have responded the same way, “I’m still full from last night.” There are days when I do wake up hungry and enjoy breakfast. But for the most part, I am not breakfast person.

      2. I stopped eating breakfast the day I left my parents’ home and went to college. And when I visit with people, I have 2 responses, (1) I never eat breakfast, thanks, but I’d love to sit down with a coffee and join you and/or (2) I LOVE breakfast foods and what you’ve prepared looks so yummy, please can I make up a plate and eat it later? They get used to it 🙂

  5. Awesome video Mark! People really want to know what works on a day to day basis. People ask me the same question every day which is why I’m always posting my meals in my IG stories. I’m glad you showed how many veggies you eat…so many people have this mistaken idea what those of us doing keto just eat meat and butter, which is certainly not the case. Thanks also for stressing that it’s all about how you feel. The numbers are never the issue, but I see people get so caught up in that. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I love the coconut butter, but here’s my latest quick snack when I need a little something…a spoonful or two of cashew butter with some Vanilla Coconut Collagen Fuel stirred in. Totally satisfies any sweet craving and keeps me going for hours.

  6. I am me to most days. If I indulge with a food that is high in carbs, I get a headache for most of the next day.

  7. It took me about 4 days to get into ketosis, based on the testing strips. The 3rd, 4th and 5th day I had headaches and was TIRED… however, after day 5 I can do a 50min HIIT session at 430pm while fasted… that is 20hrs of fasting, not that I do this all the time, but I am just not hungry in the morning and eat lunch around 11am and dinner 6pm. I think I have become, at least somewhat, a flexible metabolic machine 🙂
    Love your products, btw.

  8. I don’t really buy this keto specially not longterm. Check Chris Masterjohn on how insulin resistance is not all about carbs and insulin and the importance of glucose specially in regard of cell detox. I have been reading this site for 10 years now and have learned a lot, thank you for that. I am just worried that you’ll go to extreme and hurt yourself. You seem to be aging faster since the last time I saw your videos. Also oils are empty calories apart from some vitamin e. Just giving you some feedback wish you all the best.

    1. Large community of long term (>10 years) with continued positive biomarkers all over the world. There is therapeutic Ketogenic diets as well and was what was used before insukin. Healthy fats are omega 3 / omega 6 in proper ratio and satiate. I doubt there is a need to detox a cell with exogenous carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are not an essential maconutrient because your body can manufacture all the glucose it needs via gluconeogenesis. Chris is very well educated but many things I do not agree with. Insulin resistance is all about signalling as well as the excess glucose production / intake.

      1. Healthy fats are better to be eaten with whole foods where they are protected. Most oils that you buy today are oxidized or at least partially oxidized. Oils contain no b vitamins no vitamin c basically no minerals its just an empty food. Apart from high quality fish oil I dont see why anyone would consume that, why not eat the whole food where you got the oil from? Thats why I don’t trust keto its to limiting…its already really hard to get all the essential nutrients and if you have a diet where a lot of calories are empty than its even harder. Just eat real food that agrees with your body. Except if you have a disease like epilepsy where keto can really help you then its fine…but for most people, especially healthy people its a pass.

        1. Greg, eat your big bowl of salad greens without any fat and you won’t get any of the fat soluble vitamins. California olive oil is fantastic and not oxidized..

    2. I also love MDA follow it along with the WAPF site but am a bit concerned with the current focus on keto. It seems like it would be good for some people, but not for all or as an on going lifestyle choice. When I’ve tried it my digestion slows to a crawl and get lots of cramping in my legs and worse, my back. Also, maybe I just like to eat too much to be so limiting in my diet! Sometimes I also wonder if men are better able to adapt to keto than women? Good to have choices and access to a lot of great information.

    3. I don’t think he’s aging faster! He’s aging normally. Early 60’s, the body generally ages faster than previous years in regards to skin and hair — and he’s always been an outdoorsman exposed to plenty of sun. Amazing how healthy he is for his age, and lucky to have a full head of hair along with that quick mind and muscular physique. Kudos, Mark!!

  9. Mark, I am brand new and about two weeks into the program. Looking forward to leveling off at my first weight goal as well as final goals. Excellent video and appreciate the simplicity of discussion. Ain’t gonna lie….the first few weeks have been difficult but rewarding from an initial results perspective. Please keep these videos coming! Well received!


  10. Great post. Only thing I would like to mention is electrolytes and keto. I have dabbled with keto on and off over the past few years. Figuring out the electrolytes this time around has really been a game changer. Even though I’ve been strict keto for 3 months now and I still get heart palpitations and light-headed if I am not maintaining my electrolytes. That being said, I think I could be a bit more sensitive to Na and K balances b/c I experience chronic migraines and trigeminal neuralgia. Keto has helped reduce my migraines immensely. I hope anyone suffering from migraines will give it a try.

      1. I agree with the pink salt, too. You can search for “ketoaid” recipes that help maintain. I have been using LyteShow and I add 3 mL every time I fill up my large swell water bottle (25 oz). The taste is manageable and its helping.

      2. Have a sachet or two or cubes of bouillion each day. Get 3-5g of salt into your diet.

    1. Ellen, how do you keep your electrolytes in balance? This is something I struggle with.

      1. Pink salt! I had the same problem and experienced muscle cramping as a result. HIMALAYAN pink salt was a great solution.

    1. Please provide a closed captioning option on any future videos. Thanks!

      1. Agreed, I only use internet when my babies are asleep so I watch videos on silent if at all (hate headphones), so captions or a script of the video would be much appreciated.

  11. I have heard so so many times, you have to eat three meals a day, or you will mess up your metabolism. I cannot eat so much. I prefer eating twice a day. Is keto dangerous for someone with hypothyroidism? My case is very mild.
    I weigh less than I did in high school and would like to keep it that way.

    1. Three meals a day is a modern invention. It’s absolutely fine to only eat two meals a day.

    2. I was told same as I also have hyptothyroidism and a really slow metabolism

  12. I love it! Do more! How about a couple of days of your workouts on video?

  13. Watching this video, I kept thinking as you crossed off meals, “Huzzah! Fewer dishes to wash!” Breakfast and dinner are over-rated anyway.

  14. God knows I love a Big Ass Salad! I just have to switch to bone broth and veggies/protein in the coldest months where I live.

  15. I think I’ve been a closet keto-guy for a long time … I can just stop eating for days without a problem. Have always joked with colleagues that my body is very good burning fats … joking before I even heard of keto. Love the big ass salads 2-3x/wk. Love to cook when I have time. Love the fat … used to suck on beef fat when I was a kid. But my blood ketones are only at 0.3mM so count me in on getting even more efficient with different energy substrate. Gotta try the MCT oil for sure … just do coconut oil in the coffee. Also love your products … have tried the chipotle lime mayo and a couple different salad dressings and I’m sold!!! Trying to convert my beautiful RD wife who’s trying to get her own health coach biz going to come over to the keto side ssssshh, the results will speak for themselves 😉 Thanks again Mark, I’ll be hanging around for a while.

  16. Great post! Makes it feel a bit more dynamic than reading the written ones for people less involved or beginners in my opinion, will send the link to a few peers which would not take the time to read but will enjoy the information contained here.

    Personally I love salads and my other favorite way of eating loads of veggies with some proteins is stir-frys, sure more difficult to master than salads but when you learn your timings and how every single ingredient cooks you can get that warm crunchy bowl of veggies with meat and combinations are as infinite as salads. As for fats, well they name then stir-FRY not stir-steam so just go ahead and make that pan slippery, deglaze with your sauce elements and enjoy the wonder!

  17. Where can I find the recipe for Cashew Beef Stir Fry? It looks delicious!

  18. Sometimes I will have some greens with my meat! Sorry, meat is more nutrient dense than any veg and you will not lack micronutrients. Sorry Mom, I’m not going to eat my veg today. Reference Georgia Ede.

  19. Gee, I wonder if any of the ‘Blue Zone’ populations are on the ‘Keto’ diet?? Yeah, right!!

  20. I absolutely love these day in the life posts! I still enjoy reading the ones from several years ago. Thank you, Mark ! And please post more of these!!!

  21. After a year of 50 or less carbs a day, I found I had trouble sleeping. Then, I added in an additional 26g of carbs and Bang!, I could sleep, not gain weight, and have energy. Go figure.

  22. I love your video, Mark! Your relentless inspiration is exactly what I need to stay the course! Thank you! Thank you!

  23. Very helpful! My sister and I plan on starting the ketogenic diet next week. Would you suggest mixing in intermittent fasting and if so how long/how often?

    1. Most who IF with this eating plan just skip breakfast, every day. Results can vary for women, however.

    2. I don’t follow a keto diet. Mostly l just do 80/20 to 90/10 Paleo that sometimes drifts into the Keto Zone. I do IF daily, however, from a fairly early dinner until around noon the next day. This means eating twice a day since it would be pretty difficult for me to squeeze 3 meals into a roughly 6-hour window. I rarely think about food between meals and therefore seldom snack. I’ve never found a good reason to fast for longer periods.15 or 16 hours is what comes naturally for me, but your personal “sweet spot” could be different.

  24. Great video Mark, It’d be cool to see you do some more videos here and there like this. I’d like to see your example keto/primal day for you if you’re trying to add muscle mass.

    1. I second that. My problem is having to eat so much for the purposes of maintaining/adding muscle. If I didn’t have to eat so much, I’d be a happy camper.

  25. Hey Mark–thanks for this. I actually prefer articles over videos. Would you consider writing a blog post about a WEEK in the life of eating. I think that it would be an effective and informative way to show how you can eat a different ratio of macronutrients on days when your carbs swing high (you could also provide links to your products 🙂 Thanks in advance for the consideration

  26. Keep the day-in-the-life posts coming. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Eating primally is second nature for me now but your videos would have been helpful when I was getting started. In Health, Beth

  27. I liked the inside look. When I changed my dietary habits in this way two years ago it was not as easy as Mark says and yet I did have a good coach who told me to hang in there. I am glad I did, two meals a day sometimes does feel like a lot when I am not especially active and… I am feeling better and better. All depends where you start from, I guess.

    What was not mentioned and I would like some comments on is the hydration factor. Coffee cannot be the only thing Mark drinks in the day? Wine?

    I have not bought into the 8 cups of water a day philosophy but headaches have taught me to be mindful of what and how and when I do drink. I am exploring some water and mostly green teas daily now. A Bulletproof coffee in the AM that I use with green tea makes my morning and keeps me active till an 11- 1PM meal.

    Any thoughts on hydration and personal experience?

  28. Thank you for your very practical advice about eating the healthiest keto way!

      1. Hey Marc, I just enjoyed the Tumeric Scrambled Eggs from your new keto book. I’ve been doing keto for more than four years or so and tried to reason that I didn’t need another book. Fortunately I didn’t listen to reason and I’m delighted I have it for the scrumptious recipes as well as a text that fleshes (had to do that) out the straight and narrow academic line. For several years I’ve appreciated your take on nutrition and lifestyle despite the fact that you serve it on a thick bed of testosterone, but the introduction to Curley Boys’ Eggy Bites on page 208 in Keto Reset goes way too far. I’m really surprised it got past your editors. Please tone it down. You’re sounding a bit presidential.

  29. You made reference to FIBRE in the salad, and generally for your meal. My breakfast is a smoothie, H20, Protein powder both Vegan and Whey, a couple of strawberries, Kefir, and a tablespoon of Fibre powder. What comes to mind is the “Fibre Menace” and so what is it about fibre. Didn’t Paleo Man have about 30 -40 grams of fibre in their diet?

  30. Hi, Mark. Can you comment on the issue of protein that Nocona and others have raised? You say that your BAS at lunch is 25 – 30g. The protein in your dinner didn’t look like much more than that. Are you really saying that you only get 60g of protein a day or so? What about all the recommendations that we get 0.8 – 1.0 g per lb of lean body mass? Some, like Dr. Ted Naiman, recommend even more — roughly, 1g per desired lb of body weight. I’ve been eating two meals a day (lunch, dinner) now for a while, but it is often a struggle to get 110 – 140g of protein (or 160g, according to Naiman) in those two meals without serious supplementation!

  31. Love to read about your personal approach to the Keto diet or Ketogenic living. People have many questions about this Keto diet. Thanks for dealing with some of the very common questions in this useful article.

  32. If you do one meal a day or even 2, the only issue is am I/how can I get my protein in. I am trying to get 0.8-1.0 g of protein for my LBM, which is 150 lbs. So to get 150 grams of protein in 2 meals is a bit tough, but sometimes I don’t even feel hungry for breakfast, I am just eating it to hit my 150 grams for the day. I tend to mix collagen + coffee in (once at 7 am and then at 11 am) that gets me to 60 grams and then let the two meals do the rest. Are you worried at all about getting enough protein or is that not a big deal?

  33. This was just what I needed today. I love the idea behind having simple meals and it doesn’t always have to be anything extravagant to be healthy and nourishing.

  34. Dear Mark…
    I like your blog and Keto reset book very much.
    All the recepies there sounds lovely… and yet I stumbled on few things.
    How can I replace dairy (yoghurt, cream, etc.)
    Don’t get me wrong, I love those products, but they messes with my skin.
    I would like to find out in which ratio should I replace them?
    And other thing…. to order your Primal dressings and mayonaise and get shipped to the Netherlands is quite expensive and collagen is not allowed by customs…. so is there a way to get a recepy, to make it myself?

    kind regards,

  35. My question is if you could only buy one book what would you buy