Cheating on Keto – Get Back into Ketosis Fast
(Updated 12/20/2018) Well, you did it. You fell off the keto wagon. You had a keto cheat day. You carb-loaded…a lot. You had a beer and one piece of pizza…and then the rest of the six pack and the large pizza. Or maybe that Holiday Spirit got a little out of hand in a carb-heavy way. Regardless of how you got here, you carb binged, and now you are no longer in ketosis. How are you going to deal with your carb-adventure of cheating on your keto diet? How are you going to get back into ketosis fast?
After cheating on your keto diet, you probably feel like crap. Physically for sure. Maybe mentally and emotionally. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
You are not a keto failure. Life happens and now we just need to move forward.
So, Cheer Up. It’s only going to take you about two days to get back into ketosis and you are going to learn some amazing things about your keto way of eating along the way.
Is your Keto Diet ruined after cheating?
No, your Keto Diet isn’t ruined after you cheated. It’s really not even that big of a deal.
Honestly, your Keto Diet might be kicked up to the next level if you get back into ketosis fast and don’t make these not so little carb events a habit. This might be the best thing that ever happened to your Keto Diet!
Get Back into Ketosis Fast after Cheating
The good news is that getting back into ketosis after a cheat meal [or day…or week!] is much easier and faster than it was to get into ketosis the first time. And while you might experience some mild symptoms of Keto Flu, they are going to be significantly less than the first time you made the transition into ketosis.
Whether you have been keto for three weeks, three months, or three years, your body already knows how to use fat for fuel. You are fat adapted, and your body isn’t going to lose that new discovered ability after one cheat meal, day, or even a week long vacation touring the great breweries of Germany. You are still fat adapted, which is why it’s going to be easier to start burning fat again.
There are four Keto Facts to remember when trying to get back into ketosis fast.
- Carbs are turned into glucose in your body.
- Your body burns glucose first, trying to keep your blood sugar under control.
- Your body can only store about two days of ‘extra’ glucose.
- When all the extra glucose is gone, your body starts burning fat and making ketones.
3 Steps to Get Back into Ketosis Fast
Step #1 to Get Back into Ketosis – Quit Adding Glucose
Whether you ate a whole pizza or just a few slices, once you have burned all you can for immediate fuel, your body can only store roughly two days worth of glucose. So quit adding any more carbs. The fastest way to get back into ketosis is to add zero carbs until you are back to making ketones.
- Fast as long as you can. Ketosis is an adaptation our bodies use to continue to thrive during periods of fasting. A ketogenic diet mimics that fasted state. To return quickly to your ketogenic state, use fasting as a tool. If no calories are going in, no carbs are going in and your body will be forced to burn through its glucose stores quickly. Whether it’s fasting for 12 hours or two days, every hour of not eating will speed up your return to ketosis.
- When you do eat, make it very low carb until you are creating ketones again. You want your body to be burning the stored glucose, not the little bit of carbs that you are eating on your regular keto diet.
- Don’t overeat fat. We know fat is important for a ketogenic diet, and you should eat enough to feel satiated. But an all-out blitz on fat intake will mean your body is burning only the fat you eat, instead of getting back to burning the stored fat from your body.
Step #2 to Get Back into Ketosis – Don’t Stress about Damage Done
You didn’t harm your ketogenic diet. You didn’t undo weeks or months of hard work. All you did was quit burning fat for a few days. That’s all. This whole carb-episode might even do you good in the long run.
First, I suspect that this event reminded you just how crappy you feel after carb loading and how much better you feel when you eat keto. What a great side benefit to this carb adventure!
Second, remember that practice makes perfect, or at least better. Like every skill, practice making the transition between burning glucose or ketones makes your body better at the transition. The better your body is at the transition, the easier it is for you to thrive no matter what life throws at you.
How often should you practice that transition? That’s up to you. If you have a long way to go before you reach your goals, I’d encourage you avoid such carb adventures very often. If you’re at your goal, then maybe experiment with the frequency of transitions and see how your body responds. There is no one right way to keto.
Step #3 to Get Back into Ketosis – Eat Great Keto Food
As soon as you are back into ketosis, which will take somewhere around 48 hours, enjoy a keto feast. Remind yourself of all the great foods that you enjoy in your keto way of eating.
Take a moment to celebrate that falling off of the keto wagon doesn’t mean that your diet is ruined. Unlike most people out there you can burn carbs or fat for energy. Celebrate your new superpower!
Founder Advantage Meals
Angela earned her Master's Degree in Holistic Nutrition 14 years ago and began her lifelong journey of nutrition and wellness learning. She began keto meal planning and cooking over a decade ago when she began working with local clients who were under the direct supervision of a medical doctor. Angela is the author of No Cook Keto, the easiest keto meal plan available.
Disclaimer: I am neither a licensed nutritionist nor medical professional. I never prescribe diets. I only share my personal experiences and those of my clients for informational purposes only. Nutrition details are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical nutritional data. You should consult your medical professional before making any major changes in the way you eat.