Did you mess up and cheat on your keto diet?
Don't worry - it happens.
Here's how to handle the effects of a keto cheat day and how you can reboot your body into ketosis and continue your weight loss.
The low carb keto diet is a diet that consists of eating very few carbs while increasing fat intake.
The keto diet has proven to be beneficial to lose weight as well as several other health reasons for many people.
It encourages the body to go into ketosis, which is a metabolic state where your body burns fat and fat reserves as they are used for the body’s main fuel source as opposed to sugars and carbs which means more weight loss.
Keto is very strict, and therefore most people become tempted to eat high carb foods at some point or another during their journey.
Therefore, it’s only natural to wonder if you can have a ketogenic cheat day on keto just as you would on a typical diet, however you cannot while on the low carb ketogenic diet.
Cheat Days Disrupt The Keto Diet
Some people wonder if they can cheat while on the ketogenic diet, and unfortunately, the short answer is no, as it kicks the body out of ketosis.
This diet works if the body remains in ketosis, and even one cheat meal can quickly kick you out of ketosis.
Staying in ketosis for many requires you to consume less than 50g of carbs daily.
Eating more than that can kick you out of ketosis therefore you are no longer losing weight at the pace that you were.
Carbs are what the body typically prefers for energy.
Your body uses them over ketone bodies, which are the main fuel while on the keto diet.
These are derived from fat.
Due to the fact that 50 g of carbs is not a lot, a single meal can put you over the top and cause your body to get kicked out of ketosis so cheating is not recommended while on the keto diet.
Overeating is something many people experience when they cheat on the keto diet and this can really set you back big time.
Recovering from Cheat Meals
Keto cheating is not the end of the world, you're going to have to go low carb and get back on your meal plan for long-term results.
If you have taken a day or even a meal to cheat, chances are you are kicked out of the state of ketosis.
Once you are kicked out of this state, you have to be extremely strict to get your body back into the state.
This can take a few days to a week, just as it took in the beginning, and this can all depend on the number of carbs you eat, your metabolism as well as your activity levels.
Here are some tips to help you get back into ketosis:
1. Track Your Carbs
Taking note of what you eat daily can help you keep better track of the number of carbs you are eating daily. Again, the goal is to remain under 20-30g of carbs. Learn how many calories and carbs you should be eating with our keto calculator.
2. Try Intermittent Fasting
By combining intermittent fasting and keto, you might have luck getting back into ketosis a lot faster. This shifts your body from using carbs to fats a lot quicker.
3. Try a Short-Term Fast
Fat fasts such as an egg fast can help expedite the state of ketosis. They are high in fat and low in carbs and they are only meant to last for a short time frame.
4. Exercise More Often
Physical activity will deplete the body of sugar or glycogen stores and this is the body’s carbs that are stored. This will promote ketosis so consider getting out and taking a jog.
5. Try MCT Supplements
These are rapidly absorbing fatty acids that are converted to ketones.
You can test your ketone levels at home.
There are at-home kits that you can use to test your urine allowing you to see where you are at.
There are also breath meters that can measure your ketone levels.
There are blood meters as well that are all designed to test the levels of ketones in your body.
How to Avoid Cheat Days
If you do find that you have cheated on the keto diet, there are a few things you can do to help get you in the mind frame of not cheating.
1. Make Your Diet Something You Enjoy
Make sure you are incorporating different keto-friendly foods in your diet so that you are not getting bored with the same old foods. This will allow you to have an enjoyable diet.
2. Practice Mindfulness
This means paying attention to your own body, as it can help resist cravings and emotional eating that so many people are guilty of.
3. Plan Out Your Snacks And Meals
Having a sold keto diet plan in place makes it easier to stick to. It also means you are less likely to become hungry throughout the day if you know what you are eating for the day.
4. Avoid Buying Anything Tempting
You might also want to keep any tempting foods out of the house and out of sight. This can be tricky for some especially if the household isn’t on the diet, just you. Doing this makes cheating a lot more inconvenient.
5. Have An Accountability Person
Having someone that you have to answer to about what you eat can make sticking to the diet a lot easier.
Cheating days and meals can easily kick you out of ketosis, therefore they should be avoided.
It can take several days to get your body back into ketosis, and for some people, this is a hard task.
While you are out of ketosis, you may find that you gain weight rather than continuing to lose it.
To help you resist cheating, make sure you’re keeping anything tempting out of the house and out of sight.
You should consider getting yourself an accountability partner too to help keep you on track.
Practice mindfulness and make sure you are keeping track of carb intake daily.
This allows you to see what you are eating.
If you feel dizzy, fatigued, or have an upset stomach, you may want to consider if the keto diet is for you or not.
Some people can do keto while others simply cannot.
You might want to consult your doctor if any of these symptoms and effects last longer than expected.