2020 has been an unforgettable year, and the new challenges we've faced may have impacted our keto journey in one way or another.
Still, we want to assure you that it's entirely possible to pivot, no matter how far you've strayed, and rediscover the many benefits of eating a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.
Plus, we know resuming any eating program can require some creative maneuvering, and we're here to provide some essential tips to help you get back on track with ease. So if you're tired of feeling less vibrant and energetic and you're ready to return to ketosis with minimal hassle, keep reading.
What is Ketosis, and How Does it Benefit Health?
Ketosis, not to be confused with the dangerous condition of ketoacidosis that's often experienced by type 1 diabetics, is a metabolic state where the body begins to run on fat and ketones for fuel instead of glucose (sugar)—once you drastically eliminate sugar and carbs from your diet.
Rapid weight loss is a coveted benefit of ketosis and has made the ketogenic diet the darling of the weight-loss community lately. Still, metabolic ketosis is a powerful state that can improve every area of our health; its benefits are much more than vanity or skin deep.
Here are some of the benefits of nutritional ketosis:
Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Eating loads of sugar and starchy foods causes glucose spikes and dips, leading to insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders.
However, metabolic ketosis causes the body to use premium fat and ketones as its primary energy source—creating stable blood sugar levels and preventing the irregularities caused by wild glucose or insulin fluctuations.
- Appetite Regulation: Healthy fat is more than delicious; eating it can curb the appetite naturally and aid in creating the caloric deficit needed to achieve continued weight loss with little effort or will power required.
Reversal of diabetes and prediabetes: Consuming large amounts of sugar and carb-rich foods can affect metabolism. Excess sugar (or glucose) in the body creates an unstable hormonal environment. And the violent oscillations in glucose levels throughout a given day can impact everything from energy to mood stability.
Fortunately, creating consistent glucose levels that are in an ideal range for someone on keto is easy. Swap in healthy fats for sweet and starchy foods, and you'll soon find yourself in a wholesome state of balance.
- Potentially enhanced athletic performance: Many report feelings of improved energy when in ketosis along with improved mental acuity. Plus, ketosis offers us sustained and often elevated energy levels to support peak physical performance.
- Seizure management: Although the ketogenic diet has garnered a lot of praise and attention because of its efficacy with weight loss, the diet was established in the 1920s as a highly-effective protocol to treat children who suffer epileptic seizures, and its potency in that respect holds today.
Ketosis: Leptin and Ghrelin (Appetite-regulating Hormones): Our hormones regulate each system in the body, and imbalances in those systems can result in many health issues, including unintentional weight gain.
Fortunately, living in a ketotic state helps suppress the appetite thanks to its effect on our appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin!
Leptin: This hormone is secreted primarily from adipocytes, fat tissue (as well as from muscles, placenta, and the stomach). Leptin functions on a feedback loop from receptors in the brain and naturally limits food intake to regulate body weight and support optimal energy input-to-output balance.
Research suggests that overweight and obesity in humans result, at least in part, from leptin resistance, which often leads to periods of overeating. And overeating results in an increase in leptin levels, which may damage the hypothalamus—leading to sustained elevated leptin levels and continued intense cravings to binge eat. It can become a vicious cycle.
Ghrelin: This hunger hormone exists in the pancreas and adrenal cortex and secretes in the stomach. Ghrelin makes its way from the gut into the bloodstream and interfaces with the brain to produce neurons found in the pituitary and hypothalamus.
Ghrelin controls your hunger signals and stimulates growth hormone secretion, elevates food intake, and produces weight gain if unregulated. The resulting caloric surplus resulting from increased hunger and energy (caloric) intake can derail your earnest efforts to lose weight.
Ketosis and Cortisol
Although the ketogenic diet provides many health benefits, switching energy sources from glucose to fat and ketones is stressful to the body at first.
Eliminating carbs triggers a response in the body known as gluconeogenesis, which elevates glucose levels to compensate for the significant and sudden removal of sugar and starch from the diet when we start a ketogenic diet.
However, once your body is fat-adapted and acclimated to using healthy fat and ketones as a primary fuel source, your body adjusts, and insulin and glucose are well regulated in the body with ease, preventing pesky large spikes and dips along with various unwanted side effects.
And maintaining healthy cortisol levels is imperative if you want to lose body fat as its presence in excess can stall fat loss or cause weight gain, especially around the abdomen.
Top Tips to Return the Body to Fat-burning Mode:
Aside from being honest with yourself about a carb-rich splurge, there are a few other ways that can indicate that you're no longer in ketosis. Here are some tell-tale signs:
- Elevated blood sugar levels: If you dip and dabble, eating a potato chip here or some spoonfuls of sugary sauce there, you will cause irregularities in your blood sugar levels, which can lead to consistently elevated levels and may result in metabolic disorders like insulin resistance.
- Increased and intense sugar or carb cravings: The cookie monster in you may have tamed on keto, but if you start playing loose and fast with your carb macros, you may notice the cravings returning and intensifying—beware.
- A Significant Sugar Crash: Like caffeine, consuming large amounts of sugar creates a rush and a jolt, but in both cases, that seemingly glorious peak is followed by a devastating crash that can deplete energy and cause mood swings, as well.
- Increased Inflammation: Limiting glucose in the system is an excellent way to regulate hormones, and consuming sugar and starch in excess can conversely lead to increased inflammation in the body, which can cause increased soreness, aches, and joint pain, among other issues.
- Bloating: While ketosis will increase the amount of fluid released by the body, loading up on carbs and sugar can have the opposite effect and lead to unwanted weight gain and abdominal discomfort.
- Decreased Energy: You may feel like you're on top of the world with boundless energy when in ketosis, but if kicked out due to too many carbs, you may find yourself feeling sluggish or tired—even after resting.
- Brain Fog: Some report improved mental acuity and sharpness in metabolic ketosis, but brain fog and mental sluggishness are both clues that you've exited ketosis and are likely primarily leaning on glucose for energy.
Symptoms reminiscent of the keto flu: Headaches, body soreness, fatigue, and mental cloudiness may resurface, as they did during your initiation into ketosis after a splurge.
Unfortunately, the collective symptoms experienced by some when eliminating carbs to achieve ketosis known as the keto flu is not a one-time deal; you can experience the symptoms of this transitory phase each time you journey to achieve ketosis.
But no need to panic if you veer off the sugar-free path. You can quickly pivot and hunker back down immediately with the use of a few essential tips to ease the journey back to low-carb living.
Here are a few reliable ways to return to metabolic ketosis safely and quickly:
- Drink lots of water: Your body will begin to release more water once it has converted to using fat and ketones as a primary fuel source. So, drinking loads of water is especially essential when eliminating carbs—to maintain adequate hydration.
- Intermittent Fasting: Turning down your plate for designated periods of each day is an excellent way to elevate ketone levels in the body, which can expedite re-entry to ketosis.
Increase physical activity: Like fasting, engaging in additional physical activity can increase ketones levels, as well, to quickly usher in nutritional ketosis and its thermogenic properties to help you torch body fat rapidly, with ease.
Also, a word to the wise: limit your carb macros to less than 20 net grams per day to help your body convert from burning glucose to functioning optimally on fat and ketones more quickly.
- Fasting for short periods or fat fasting: Avoiding food for windows during the day or shifting to a purely fat-based diet for a day or two can kickstart the fat-burning process or help you bust through a weight-loss stall or plateau—it can act as a secret weapon when you're in a weight-loss rut.
- Supplement with exogenous ketones: Try our premium BHB blend of exogenous ketones, Keto Activate, for a boost of ketone bodies that can help facilitate metabolic ketosis and enhance energy levels.
- Increasing healthy fat intake: Eating healthy fat is always encouraged on a ketogenic diet for so many reasons. From enhancing flavor to aiding in satiety, premium fat sources help you manage your appetite and eliminate pesky sugar or starch food cravings.
Test Ketone Levels: The only way to honestly know the impact of various foods and beverages on the body is to test your ketone or blood sugar levels following each meal.
Having an acute awareness of how foods impact your body is vital to feed yourself the selections that best support fat loss for you and best boost metabolic function.
Protein Intake: Moderate protein intake is advisable for those following a ketogenic diet with fat acting as the primary food source.
Keep meat, chicken, fish, and other seafood handly to ensure you eat a sufficient amount of muscle building and reparative protein to ensure optimal function.
- Consume more coconut oil: Medium-chain fatty acids are an excellent energy source that's highly bioavailable and fantastic to provide immediate energy or aid in appetite suppression to curb caloric intake and promote fat loss.
Plus, the aid of delicious and meal-prep worthy dishes are a vital resource to help you stay on track. Here are a few of our favorite keto meal picks that are super yummy and perfect for weekly meal prep or long-term freezer storage:
- Keto BBQ Chicken: Bake a bubbling platter of slathered chicken coated to perfection with a sugar-free sauce.
- Keto Taco Casserole: There are many ways to celebrate with food on taco Tuesday; your options aren't as binary as selecting between either soft or hard taco shells. Try our tasty keto taco casserole for a fun, reimagined, spin on a coveted classic.
- Keto Chili: A warm bowl of chili is as nutritious as it's soothing to the soul. Make a batch of this hearty stew and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for a quick keto meal on-the-go that tastes like you spent hours that day in the kitchen when you didn't!
Keto Corned Beef and Cabbage: Pairing some salted corned beef with slices of slightly sweet cabbage are a fantastic and easy low-carb, high-fat meal option sure to please the entire family—keto or not!
Plus, corned beef and cabbage are easily preserved in vacuum-sealed food bags for weeks or months with maintained freshness and peak quality.
- Creamy Keto Pumpkin Soup: Making soup ahead during meal prep and parceling it into single-serving portions is a perfect method to monitor macros and hit your weekly weight-loss goals—drink up!
- So Keto Kimchi Salad: Sometimes all you want is something light yet satisfying, and this fermented favorite certainly fits the bill.
- Can't Believe It's Keto Bread: Sandwiches and french toast are fully in-play on a ketogenic diet with the aid of a hearty keto-friendly bread recipe that you can quickly whip up at any time at home. Try our fool-proof recipe here!
Creamy & Keto Broccoli Cheese Soup: This soup is like sipping on a gift in a bowl; it's so delicious that you may want to enjoy it daily!
No worries, this soup offers terrific flavor, is nutrient-dense, and the added cheese often coaxes the littles into at least giving it a try, as well!
Keto Ridiculously Loaded Radishes: This useful go-to keto side will give you an entirely new outlook on the possibilities of what you can create with a raw root vegetable.
Plus, a loaded radish casserole is essentially a gussied up nutritional offering that's another great dish to make to get the kids to eat a bit more veggies, too, win-win!
- Golden Keto Cauliflower Bake: You can't lose with any dish that provides all the cheesy-potato feels, and this cauliflower bake is a dynamite stand-in for carb-rich classics like potatoes au gratin or creamy and cheesy mac & cheese!
Mouthwatering Keto Pizza: Who doesn't love pizza? We congregate around a large, savory pie loaded up with toppings with family on game and movie nights and depend on it for a fast food option on busy nights when cooking is out of the question.
But made our way it's so healthy that you could happily and guiltlessly eat pizza every night if you'd like—we promise!
- Ham & Gruyere Casserole: These adorable mini casseroles are beginner-friendly but look fancy and sophisticated—like you worked hard on them when they're deceptively simple. No worries, your secret's safe with us.
- Keto Mousse 4 Ways: Having a sweet keto treat ready is a great way to cap off any evening. Try our four low-carb, high-fat mousse recipes to find your favorites and add some new dessert-worthy creations to your meal plan.
- Keto Pumpkin Pie: The holidays are coming, and pumpkin pie is par for the course, even on a ketogenic diet. Check out our simple and delicious pie recipe for a downhome and noteworthy option to spice up this year’s festivities while keeping it keto.
There are many recipes easily converted to keto compliant with the swapping out of a few macro-prohibitive ingredients. With some thought and consideration, you can likely enjoy revised versions of all your pre-keto favorites without compromising ketosis.
Enjoy trying new recipes and keto-friendly ingredients and see how their inclusion adds to the colorful culinary tapestry of your keto plan. Your options are about as vast as your imagination, so enjoy the learning process.
This year is nearly complete, and whatever choices you've made, for better or worse, is now in the past. You can make other, higher-quality choices today—right now!
You can commit to eliminating carbs and sugar from your very next meal to start and go from there; keep putting one foot in front of the other until you achieve your established health and wellness goals.
We are a thriving and growing community of like-minded people who understand the keto journey and all it brings, and we love to share our experiences with others. Join us online to remain encouraged to keep on track with the aid of loads of communal Konscious Keto support.
A ketogenic diet is an excellent general approach to health and wellness. In addition to bolstering rapid fat loss, keto is an ideal dietary model to adopt for anyone seeking to shed excess pounds and regain increased vitality in every area of life.
2020 has been a year filled with new challenges. And the unpredictability caused by the uncertainty of many aspects of our world could have led to stress-related emotional eating and subsequent dietary derailment—and no one is immune to the possibility of this experience.
Plus, the holidays can provide loads of temptation and opportunity to cheat on your diet, but some conscious planning can help mitigate the damage caused by continuous unplanned splurges.
Know yourself and plan to achieve success in the real world. If you know you can't resist mama's mac & cheese, see if you can have low-carb noodles swapped in to reduce the macro footprint or eliminate carbs for a couple of days before the festivities to bank some “points” and accommodate your indulgence with less guilt.
Also, everyone experiences periods of weakness; we're human. Don't beat yourself up over eating a bit too much of foods that don't serve your goal. Acknowledge your transgression, review the circumstances around the event to note ways to prevent the same future behavior, and regroup with a solid plan and meal prepping to return to your protocol as soon as possible.
A ketogenic diet and lifestyle are about a marathon instead of a sprint. The ability to maintain a low-carb, high-fat diet long-term can depend on finding creative ways within the dietary framework that realistically works for your preferences and lifestyle in real time.
Use the tips shared above as a guideline to begin or reset your keto program and continue toward achieving your health and wellness goals.
Identify the meals you love most and make them ahead to ensure you're always prepared to keep it keto at mealtime, no matter how busy things get on a given day.
Success rarely exists along a straight path; there are twists and turns along the road of life, and it's essential to know how to pivot and stay adaptable to hang with its ebbs and flow.
You've got this, and we're here to champion your success every step of the way. Plus, if you need an added helping hand, you can take the brief quiz we've created to determine your personalized ideal keto meal plan for weight loss.
To fail to plan is said to plan to fail, and we couldn't agree more. Take advantage of a customized meal plan tailored to your specific tastes, goals, and lifestyle to stock your wellness arsenal with another powerful tool to tip the weight-loss scale in your favor.
Use all the tools at your disposal. Tap into a community of like-minded people, like the lovely folks within the Konscious Keto community, and be patient as well as committed to the process of transformation. The rewards are well worth the effort.
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- Slomski, A. (2019). Low-Carb Diets Help Maintain Weight Loss. Jama, 321(4), 335. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.22031
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