After having cheat meals or cheat days, it is obvious that your body gets kicked out of ketosis. If you want to get your body back into that metabolic state, then you no doubt can. However, it is not easy peasy as you have to be really disciplined and strictly follow the keto diet. Getting back into ketosis will take any time between several days to one week, depending on how long you have been on this diet and your blood ketone levels.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO STAY IN A STATE OF KETOSIS AFTER A CHEAT MEAL?
Having cheat meals means eating foods that are not allowed in your diet plan, in this case, high carb foods. This will make your body prioritize burning that available glucose from the meal and hence will slow the process of converting fatty acids to ketones for its fuel source, and eventually kick your body out of ketosis.
HOW DO I RESTART KETO AFTER A CHEAT MEAL?
First of all, resume your usual low carb, high fat, and moderate protein lifestyle. This means eating proper meals based on your daily set macros.
Intermittent fasting: You can combine this type of fasting with the ketogenic diet so as to aid your body in shifting from using carbs to fats for its main energy source. However, if the cheat meal was a meal that contained high sugars or was processed, then you are likely to have some massive cravings and this will make it only worse for you when dealing with them
Monitor your carbohydrate intake: Tracking your daily carb intake ensures that you do not go overboard and exceed your set daily macros count.
Go on a short-term fat fast: This includes egg fasts which help in speeding up ketosis, as they have high fat and low amounts of carbs and last for a short while.
Increase your physical activity levels: Physical activity like exercise and workouts helps your body to use up the glucose, and hence depletes your glycogen reserves. This eventually promotes ketosis.
Use a medium-chain triglyceride supplement (MCT): These are fatty acids that are quickly absorbed and their conversion to ketones is fast. They can be found in coconut oils and palm kernel oils, which are dense in MCT, about 50% to 60%.
Hydration is key: As you are easing your way back into ketosis after a cheat meal, you might feel dehydrated. This is because the ketogenic diet has that diuretic effect hence leading to dehydration. This might cause you to experience some keto flu symptoms such as fatigue, and hence it is best to stay hydrated and mind your electrolytes.
HOW DO I GET BACK INTO KETOSIS QUICKLY AFTER A CHEAT MEAL?
Re-entering ketosis takes quite a while including strict adherence to the keto diet. However, if you want to quicken your re-entry, you can try intermittent fasting, exercising, and fat fasting.
Related Post: WHY AM I NOT IN KETOSIS AFTER FASTING?
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU TAKE A BREAK FROM KETO?
This will depend on your goal of being on keto. If your aim was to shed off some pounds, having occasional cheat meals will not ruin your progress though it will definitely kick your body out of ketosis. This is because calorie control is the reason why you are losing weight and not ketosis, hence if you are well within your calorie count with the cheat meals, then you should not worry about your weight loss progress being stalled.
If your keto goal was to manage your calories, you can have a cheat meal not more than once or twice per week, and if ketosis is vital for your progress, then make it once a month.
In addition, if you are a beginner in keto, cheat meals are not an option as they will sabotage your efforts at being keto-adapted.
However, if your goal of being in ketosis is not to lose weight, then cheating is not a good idea. For example in diabetics who are on keto to manage their blood sugar levels, cheat meals have been known to increase their risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, having cheat meals while on keto is not just for everyone.
HOW DO I AVOID CHEATING WHILE ON KETO?
The ketogenic diet is one of the most strict diet plans, but with far-reaching rewards. As such, you may find yourself occasionally or frequently craving foods that are rich in carbohydrates or sugars. As human beings, we are not perfect and so it is only fair that you get tempted. However, it is very simple to practice self-control to avoid indulging, as this will kick your body out of ketosis, and eventually sabotage your keto efforts and progress.
There are several strategies that you can try that will help you tame the urge to have a cheat meal.
Have a solid meal or snacks plan: Having a meal structure that is clearly laid out will ensure that you do not get hungry easily during the day, hence lowering your chances of giving into that carb craving when you start to feel hungry.
Ensure that your meals are enjoyable: You can do this by including a variety of keto-approved meals in your diet.
Do not have any foods with high carb content or any tempting foods within sight or in your home.
Have someone keep you in check: Having someone that you trust to ensure you are accountable will go a long way in ensuring that you do not stray from the diet plan and are always motivated to keep it keto.
Pay attention to your body by practicing mindfulness. This will come in handy to ensure that you do not emotionally eat and also help you to resist temptations from high-carb foods.
HOW TO CHEAT ON A KETO DIET THE RIGHT WAY
Because it is only natural to have the urge to cheat on a strict diet and which your body was not used to before, there are approved keto ways to do so. As evidenced by some studies, there are benefits to going off your diet but only if done the right way. Some of the benefits of having structured cheat meals include being able to stick to the keto diet in the long run and reducing high carb cravings.
The following are tips for having your cake and eating it too.
If you must, then go for cheat meals that are keto-approved. This should be your first go-to option if you must cheat. There are lots of keto-friendly substitutes and keto cheat foods on the market that will help you satisfy your urges without going off track. There are recipes available for the keto version of any meal. Ideally, it is only sensible that you save true cheat meals as a last resort.
Plan for those cheat meals. This will ensure that your progress is not tampered with. You can do this by choosing the cheat meals in advance and then budgeting on a few carbs or calories. Another way is to prioritize specific foods over random cravings, so as to ensure that the cheat meal is worth it.
For example, you can decide to have smaller cheats around the time that you do your workout so that your body can use up the extra carbohydrates fast, and hence manage to stay in ketosis. Moreover, if your keto goal was to manage your calories, then plan to have not more than one cheat meal in a week. Furthermore, if you are just starting the keto journey, you can wait for a few weeks for your body to be fully keto-adapted before you can even think of having a cheat meal.
Monitor your everyday intake. This will help you not to blow up your daily macro goals and calorie count.
Related Post: DOES CHEATING ON KETO CAUSE DIARRHOEA?
We know it is not easy sticking to the keto path all the time but the fact that you chose to participate in this journey should be motivation enough to not have cheat meals. Think of the reason why you chose the keto diet; weight loss, weight retention, overall good health. But if it gets tough and you must have cheat meals, do so using the keto-approved cheat list. This will help you in staying motivated in your keto journey and also learn moderation as you build upon having healthy habits that are not only long-term but also sustainable.
So, keep your eyes on the prize!