If you have fallen off the Keto wagon and need help to get back on, these tips and suggestions can help you take that first step!
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So, you've been on The Ketogenic Diet for a while and things are going great. Then, along comes that one temptation and it gets the best of you. You indulge with that one piece of birthday cake, or that one bowl of spaghetti.
We have all been there. The best way to recover from the occasional treat is just forget it and move on. Keto is a lifestyle not a quick fad diet, so things like this will happen.
Sometimes, however, that one cheat meal leads to a cheat day, then the cheat day leads to a cheat week. Before you know it all the wheels on the bus have fallen off and you find yourself right back into the world of carbs, bloated, joint pain, gaining weight and without energy. It's a terrible feeling.
Does this sound familiar to you? Are you struggling to get back on track but just can't figure out how? You're not alone. Let's dive in and talk about how to get headed in the right direction again!
What Do I Need to Do To Get Back in Ketosis Quickly?
The way to get into a state of ketosis is to deplete your body of stored glucose. Your body needs an energy source in order to function. On the Standard American Diet, glucose is typically used for energy. On Keto, when your body has the absence of glucose, it looks for its back up plan, FAT!
That sounds simple, right? Well, knowing what it is and actually achieving it are two different things. Here are some recommended strategies that can give you a jump start.
Track Your Macros
You don't know how you're doing, if you don't know what you're doing. That's where macros, or macronutrients come into play. And before you say it, I know tracking can be a pain, but that's truly the first step on getting back on track.
If you need help setting your macros, this article and calculator will help. Tracking what you eat really helps to zero in on all those sneaky little carbs that add up quickly.
Intermittent Fasting on Keto
Keto and intermittent fasting are proven to have many health benefits. Fasting deprives the body of glucose causing it to tap into your stored fat.
You can start slow by using your sleeping hours at night as the majority of your fasting hours. For instance, you can start with a 18:6 protocol. Simply put, that means you go without food for an 18 hour period, followed by a feeding window of 6 hours.
What does that look like? Let's say you eat your last bite of dinner at 6:00 pm. You go to bed at 10:00pm and sleep until 6:00am. You have slept through 8 hours of your fast. You can drink black coffee, unflavored/unsweetened tea and of course water until noon. At 12:00pm, you will begin eating to your specified macros.
If this window is too hard to maintain, you can always start with the 16:8 instead. To read more about the benefits of intermittent fasting, check out this article.
Drink Your Water
This is essential regardless of you being on Keto or not. However, when you're trying to get back into fat burning mode, water intake is key. Sometimes when we're dehydrated, our body mistakes that for hunger. Water helps your body break down and use fatty acids more efficiently.
So, how much water should you drink? Well, there's a theory that you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day. But, that's not necessarily true.
On any given day, you may need more or less than that. The amount of water you NEED depends on your daily activities and the rate in which you burn energy.
The more active you are, the more water you need. Your body will tell you how much you need. Watch for physical signs that tell you to drink more water. Headaches, hunger, lethargy are all signs you are dehydrated.
Electrolytes, Electrolytes, Electrolytes!
As you work towards getting back into ketosis, it is important to stay mindful of your electrolyte intake. When you have successfully lowered insulin levels, your kidneys excrete more sodium.
Replenishing sodium, magnesium, and potassium helps to lessen the effects of the dreaded Keto Flu that some people may experience.
Eating dark leafy greens will help with electrolyte imbalances but a electrolyte supplement is often helpful to maintain those levels.
Sipping on bone broth, eating green olives and taking the occasional shot of pickle juice are also additional ways to help balance your electrolytes.
Add in Some Exercise
Amongst other things, exercise helps get your mind off of eating! You don't have to jump into extreme gym routines to get the benefits of regular exercise. It can be as simple as going out for a walk or jog and even bring your dog along if you have one, because it's great exercise for them too!
The main thing you want to remember is when you exercise, your body sends stored glucose, that built up during your "cheat period," straight to your muscles, which in return allows you to get into fat burning mode faster.
Because muscles need energy to work, they first seek out sugar as that energy source to burn through, hence, lowering the glucose levels in your blood. Before you know it, that storage has been used up and your muscles look for fat to use as energy.
To sum it up, the more consistent you are with exercise the greater your chances are of getting into ketosis faster.
Choose Fatty Snacks
If at all possible avoid in-between meal snacking because every time you eat, it spikes insulin, But, if you're struggling between meals and must have a snack to get you by, choose something high in fat.
You can always indulge in a fat bomb to get you through those times, without ruining your macros of the day. Most fat bombs can also help satisfy your sweet tooth.
The reasoning behind this is simple, carbs have the largest insulin response, followed by protein then fat. Fat creates the least amount of insulin.This article gives you great examples of ways to incorporate healthy fats on a daily basis.
If you're finding yourself truly hungry between meals, then increase your fat intake to help keep you satiated.
Be Kind to Yourself
A lot of times we forget how important sleep and rest are during our Keto journey. When we lack proper sleep, or become stressed, the body releases a hormone called cortisol.
The release of elevated cortisol, over a period of time, may increase your risk of developing insulin resistance, raising your blood sugar, increasing your appetite and can also hinder your ability to burn fat.
Perfect Keto has an excellent article that further explains cortisol and the effects it has on weight loss. Eliminating stress and getting adequate sleep is an essential building block to Keto.
How Long Does it Take to Get Into Ketosis?
So, are we there yet? A question that is often asked is how long does it take to get back into ketosis. Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple.
The actual time it takes for a person to start registering ketones varies depending on numerous factors. One of them being what your diet consisted of prior to getting back on track.
Typically, after you have lowered your insulin levels, by reducing your carb intake to 20 grams or less a day, you should be able to see levels of blood ketones within 4-5 days.
Again, other factors play into that, like the amount of sleep and exercise you get daily. Watch for hidden sugars in seasonings and other processed foods, because these things can sabotage your carb intake, which only prolongs getting you back into ketosis.
What is the Difference in Fat Adaption and Ketosis
You have followed Keto before so you've heard the phrase fat-adapted (or Keto-adapted). A lot of times people think Ketosis and fat-adapted mean the same thing. They are correlated, but there is a difference in the two.
Ketosis means you are producing between 0.5 mmol/dl and 5 mmol/dl of blood ketones. To put it simply, it means you've depleted your body of carbs to the point that your liver is now producing ketones.
Fat-adapted means your body can metabolically switch energy sources and operate off stored fat. Where you can get into ketosis by reducing carbs over a period of time, to become fat-adapted, you must also eat larger amounts of healthy fat and monitor your protein to a moderate amount.
You can be in Ketosis and not be fat-adapted. Just remember, Ketosis is based on lowering your carbs to the point of registering Ketones in the blood.
Fat-adapted means you have reached a point of Ketosis where your body prefers fat as its source for energy. And that's where the mind clarity, extra energy and the lack of hunger and cravings begin. In this article from Perfect Keto, it's further explained this way:
'By reducing your carb intake, your body will burn off all your remaining carbs and glycogen stores right away. Then it will tap into your excess fat stores to give your metabolism and energy a boost.
Combining protein and high fat will keep you feeling full and energized so you won’t experience energy crashes, midday hunger pangs, or unwanted sugar cravings. When you’re fat adapted, most people find themselves able to go 4-6 hours between meals without feeling hungry."
How Do I Know if I am in Ketosis?
There're some physical signs that you're in Ketosis as mentioned in this article. But there are also 3 different methods in which you can actually measure ketone levels.
Ketone Strips- These Ketone Test Strips are an inexpensive way to get a snapshot of where you are as far as ketosis. However, because ketones are primarily carried in the blood, and not urine, it is not as accurate as blood tests.
Blood Meter- These meters are most accurate method of measuring ketone levels in your body. Though the strips for the meter can be pricey, they deliver the best and more accurate results.
Breath Ketone Tests- Though not as accurate as the blood meter, this device is reusable, does not require a finger stick, and gives fairly accurate reading.
What is a Weight Loss Stall?
A true weight loss stall is defined by there being no change on the scale or in your measurements over a course of 3 to 4 weeks time.
Even though it's extremely frustrating, there're ways to try and break it as explained in this article.The main thing to remember during a stall is just don't give up. You will get past it if you stick with it.
There are No Failures, Just Experiences and How You React to Them!
Just because you may have faltered somewhat doesn't mean you've completely lost the battle! It was just a set back, that's all it was! Pick yourself up, do what you know has to be done, and go after it.
If you're still feeling overwhelmed and just want all the guesswork taken out of it for you, there's a solution. This 7-Day Meal Plan is complete with daily menus, macro calculations, weight loss tracker, shopping lists and recipes with color photos all in one place!
I encourage you to check it out. Most of the time, meal planning and prepping can cause you to feel overwhelmed. This menu plan's recipes provide portions that are perfect for leftovers, which we all know saves time on busy weeknights.
The good news is you have made a decision to take back control of your eating. The better news is, you have a community of people that are just like you that are here to help.
I encourage you to join my Keto/Low Carb Recipes and Support Facebook Group, where we share recipes, ideas, experiences and lift each other up. This journey is always easier when you surround yourself with like-minded people who have the same challenges and goals.
If you haven't already, be sure and subscribe to The Keto Cooking Christian website to get the latest recipes and tips to help you along your journey.
I hope you have found these tips helpful and if you have, please be sure and share your experience in the comments! Remember to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and know that you'll be back on track in no time!