Did you have a break from keto?
How many of you had a break from Keto? We certainly did! It seemed like such a blasphemy not to indulge in all the Christmas treats. But there were certainly consequences and now it’s time to get back into the heavenly lucid state of ketosis!
Leading up to Christmas we were sensible by limiting sugary food consumption to the evenings and only post workout. This way, the majority of the sugar you consume will be stored as glycogen in the muscles. Bare in mind that unless you are an athlete this will definitely knock you out of ketosis, but the exercise will reduce blood sugar spikes and fat storage.
However, after Christmas day we lapsed and ate treats more indiscriminately. All of these foods are laden with processed sugar and after being Ketogenic for over year we certainly felt the pain.
I immediately noticed a drop in energy, acute lethargy and needed to sleep for at least 2 hours longer than usual! As a morning person who normally jumps out of bed, I struggled with these lethargic mornings that were reminiscent of teenage lie ins, in which mornings seem completely impossible! I also normally work out on an empty stomach and have loads of energy. Yet I found morning workouts especially tough—as though I just could not access any energy—as if the tank was empty before I had even begun. I couldn’t believe that just a few days off keto would have such an immediate, dramatic and negative impact.
Cycle the Ketogenic Diet
I often incorporate one ‘carby’ meal a week in the form of healthy, low GI carbs such as sweet potato or butternut squash. I believe it is important to cycle the ketogenic diet for healthy metabolic function. ‘Cycling’ implies incorporating periods in which you can eat carbohydrates. It is also anecdotally known that women fair better on a more regularly cycled ketogenic diet—rather than a strict ‘medical’ ketogenic diet.
What is interesting is that when we traveled in India earlier this year we did eat fruit and practiced intermittent fasting too—we only ate once a day—and we didn’t experience any of the aforementioned lethargy or low energy levels. We also had exogenous ketones to hand too for when hunger came up during fasting. And we are now on the exogenous ketones to help us transition back to ketosis.
What we've learned about incorporating carbs
What we’ve learned about how to and how not to incorporate carbs when you are normally on a ketogenic diet:
- Eat carbs in a post workout state
- Save carbs for evenings, just don’t eat them during the day!
- Avoid processed sugar
- Incorporate intermittent fasting when eating carbs –particularly effective while traveling if you want to enjoy the local cuisine
- Use exogenous ketones to smoothly transition back to the ketogenic diet
Here are some useful links to get you back on track—or even get you started on the ketogenic diet:
Happy New Year!
Sara & Francisco