Following the keto diet is all about keeping track of your ketones and getting into (and staying in) ketosis. In this manner, our bodies can focus on using fat as a means of getting energy, and we can enjoy clean energy, lose some weight, and feel great.
But what happens if you cheat? Hey, cheats do happen, and we cannot beat ourselves up for it. But there is a way to get into ketosis again and to do it fast. We even wrote about how you can get back into keto in just 24 hours; check it out!
So, stay with us, and we will talk to you about how you can get back into ketosis immediately. Follow these instructions to get back on track in an efficient way.
Let’s Set the Stage…
It was a family holiday, a birthday, or you just couldn’t resist. You ate it, and lots of it- a pizza, a birthday cake, a bag of chips.
Guess what? Even if you had just a little bit, or you did, in fact, eat a lot, it’s OK. Sticking to keto perfectly for all 365 days out of the year is impossible unless you are EXTREMELY disciplined.
You likely feel pretty icky right now, perhaps you have a headache, or maybe you are bloated. It’s OK- this is normal and the product of eating carbs. Maybe you stepped on the scale and are dismayed to see it had gone up.
It’s all water weight, and it will go away as quickly as it came.
I know this feeling, and I know what you’re going through. As a result, I made this list of methods I use to get back into ketosis fast.
Here’s what I’ve learned when it comes to cheat recovery.
1. Yes, You Cheated. Don’t Dwell on It. Don’t Let It Keep Going
Don’t let the cheat you just did become a slippery slope. You will lose all your progress. If one of your car tires pop, do you slash the other three because you’re screwed anyway? NO!
It was just a bad day, a fun family party, or a holiday. So what?
You didn’t ruin anything. Today is the first day of the rest of your keto life. You’re going to get back on track TODAY, and you’re going to do great at it.
Carbs are a tricky thing. Once our body burns up that glucose, we just want more. Chances are you’re craving some carb-heavy stuff after that cheat.
But once you get into ketosis, it’s easy to resist those pesky cravings. But once you cheat, the carb cravings come back in full force, and you just want to eat carbs like mad.
The solution? Say no. You won’t like how it feels, and you won’t get back into keto. Be strong!
2. Fast It Out
Okay, this one is a bit tricky. I can do a 24 hour fast because I have done them before. I don’t recommend this for everyone because we all need to be alert and ready for work, family, and general life tasks that come with each day.
But if you feel capable and you can do it safely, a 24 hour fast of just water and black coffee can get you back where you need to be.
Meanwhile, if this is not ideal for you, you might try intermittent fasting, where you eat all calories within an 8, 6, or 4-hour window.
Do not fast if you know this is not for you. Fasting is a practice for helping get you back on track, not as a punishment. It’s not for everyone, and it’s OK if this is not a good idea for you.
It’s just a means to help your body work through the glucose it took in and provide a clean break from your cheat food and begin with a clean slate.
3. Cut Out Inflammatory Foods
Foods like nuts or dairy can lead to inflammation and may cause your body to hold onto excess amounts of water. It’s the reason we see a 5lb increase in the number on the scale after the cheat day is over.
After we cut these foods out of our diets for just a few days, the water we are holding will leave, and we will have lost that “weight.”
So, leave them out of the diet for just a few days after the cheat, and you can always bring them back once you’ve reached ketosis.
4. Hit the Gym
Going to the gym for a workout will make you feel great for a number of reasons. For starters, everybody knows exercise is a great way to boost self-confidence, relieve stress, and wake yourself up in the day.
Secondly, you can effectively use up those carbs and sugars you took in.
Ever wonder why marathoners love carbs? It’s what powers them through those last few miles. No joke, top runners are known for their carb consumption on the trails!
But in keto, we want to focus on weight training. However, you are free to do running if that makes you happier!
I love doing a good weight training workout after the cheat day has taken place. You can find your favorite fitness influencer to follow along with; we have a few good ones on our website.
Weight training is a great way to get through that glucose, it burns it all up, and you will feel amazing after. It’s a fantastic way to get back into keto, and it gets your exercise requirement for the day all taken care of!
5. Eat 20g Carbs A Day for A Week
For now, you’ve probably been tracking net carbs, which equals total carbs minus fiber. However, after a cheat, just count the total amount of carbs you eat, but don’t subtract the fiber, and keep it at 20g or less.
By doing this, you get back into ketosis much faster. And you can get back to your personal keto ways much faster. For instance, I am quite flexible with my carbs when it comes to leafy greens, but after a cheat, I always keep it really low so that I can get back to normal.
By eating fewer carbs, your body’s going to burn through glucose quicker, and you will turn back into the fat-burning machine you are.
6. Notate EVERYTHING
I am not saying you have to go nuts here and write down every speck of food, but it does help. Accountability is what we are striving for here. Tracking what you eat makes it real and holds you accountable.
If you’re like me, you don’t like the feeling after a crazy cheat day. You feel like you sort of messed up. And thinking about what you ate might make you feel a bit bad. (Remember guys, you can eat whatever you like, and there’s no food shaming here. I am just relaying how I personally feel).
So, by writing it down and reflecting on it, you can keep yourself on a better track. Plus, a good tracking day feels good, and you feel like repeating it the next day. And the next. And the next. It’s like collecting baseball cards; you just want to see that collection rise and rise.
So, write down what you eat on both your cheats and your regular days. You can learn from your victories and your slip-ups!
7. Track Those Ketones
Measuring the ketones in your body helps you see that what you are eating is helping you be where you want to be.
Yes, there are methods by which you can see if you’re in ketosis without having to measure your blood ketones, but if you’re a newbie, it becomes harder to realize.
So, just break out the old test strips and ketone meter and check once a week until you are back into ketosis. Then just check it every now and again to ensure you’re on track.
8. Hydrate and Take Electrolytes
You can rescue yourself from that dreaded Keto Flu by doing this. It’s not really a method by which to get into ketosis faster, but it will help you stay hydrated during those workouts and generally help you feel good.
Plus, it will make your fast easier if you choose to take that route.
So bust out the water bottle, fill it up, and find your favorite electrolytes to mix in and drink, drink, drink!
9. Be Nice to Yourself
Guess what, mistakes happen. So what? Nobody is perfect. Nobody! Even people you admire all have flaws, and they’ve all made mistakes.
So, relax, and breathe. Beating yourself up is not going to do ANYTHING. Hating yourself won’t get you in ketosis faster, but hard work and tough love will.
So, if necessary, bring your arms out in front. Now wrap them around yourself. Think or say out loud, “I love you. You’re worth it.”
Sounds silly? Well, try saying something mean to yourself out loud. That’s even worse. (Don’t do this, please- be nice!)
Thank you for coming today and reading our post about how to get back into keto after you cheated. It’s OK, and it’s going to happen.
What really matters about cheating is how you handle it.
You can hang your head in shame and sneak off to eat unhealthy foods and feel even worse, or you can say, “I own what I did, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Now, I am getting back on track.”
It feels a lot better to say the latter!
And, with just a little grit and determination, you can get back into ketosis in no time. Just remember to be mindful of what you eat, keep carbs low for the first week, drink plenty of water, and watch your ketone levels.
Before you know it, you will be back on track and burning that fat.
Good luck and stay strong!