Cheat on Keto? - How to not to & How to Get Away With It
I was on Facebook and I saw all kinds of comments like "I can't wait for X day because I am planning on cheating."
I was on vacation when I thought of this. So maybe it's the pot-calling-the-kettle-black, because I didn't worry (much) about carbs.
I had a beer - maybe two - maybe two per hour - I don't know - but it was a good vacation and I would do it again.
Don't get me wrong, I think everyone should try to fill their regular days with the ketosis habit.
But there are things that you don't want to miss.
Birthday cake and holiday food, and food that you love enough to be worth the carbs.
Maybe there are times when the family dinner is done, and you just don't have time or energy to make a separate Keto dinner for yourself.
Sometimes you are going to need to get into "cheat-osis" and that's okay.
You can minimize your time out of ketosis with a few easy tricks.
Say Yes to Living, Not Just No to Carbs.
The best thing about a ketogenic diet is how it is great for living a lifestyle...not just surviving.
You can use Keto to maintain control of your weight and health and you can still say a resounding yes to life.
Low carb diets are ultimately quite forgiving, - if you fall off the wagon it's pretty easy to get back on.
If you eat a piece of cake on your birthday nobody is going to take away your next Birthday.
You can & should say yes to living and all of the great experiences, including food.
I enjoy food even more while being Keto. Maybe that is because Keto has forced me to consider everything I eat, and whether or not I really want to eat it.
Most of the time cheating should not an issue because in Ketosis you really don't get hungry.
And if you're like me, you have better things to do all day than prepare food and clean up after making it.
But by the same token, I am not going to go to Paris and skip the French pastries.
And the weekend comes into my world too, and Brenna wants to visit the Burrito Bus. Or, someone asks me if I want a beer.
Ya know what I say to these things? I say "ahhh, hell yeah."
But I only say "ahhh, hell yeah," after I have considered whether the carbs are really worth it.
You know you can still have Taco Tuesday.
Enjoy it, but don't overdo it.
The idea of cheating on your diet doesn't really make sense.
Keto is something that you do for yourself.
If you do it correctly Keto it's a deliciously healthy lifestyle. Even though it does require some real effort and discipline at first, it can be at least as easy any diet.
Your "Diet" is your own.
It's not you vs. food, or you vs. your doctor, or even you vs the scale.
Your diet is just you eating in a manner that makes you happy and healthy.
So maybe you "cheat" on Keto by having ice cream, but that only comes after "cheating" yourself out of ice cream to stay Keto.
Ketosis can make you thin, and make you feel good.
Ice-cream won't make you thin but it sure can make you feel good (if you only say yes once in a while)...
I am in no way advocating eating a bunch of sugar.
But like I said I thought of this on vacation in Mexico where they had real ice cream made onsite daily.
I am not going to puff up and announce my Keto-ness and deprive myself - I'm having some ice cream.
So hear me out....
How to Get Away with "Cheating" on Keto
Ketosis is achieved by keeping insulin as low as possible for as long as possible.
There is a little more to it than that, but for "cheating," it is easier to understand if we just focus on insulin.
Insulin will return to fasting levels within about 2 hours after eating carbs.
So here's some tricks.
Look for the Keto alternatives
This seems like a no-brainer but it really isn't.
If you have a couple of tacos at Taco Tuesday, it won't be the end of the world. There are about 11 net carbs in a corn tortilla.
But make them with low carb tortillas , that gets them down to 6 net carbs per taco.
There are so many delicious alternatives that you would never think of.
For me the craziest example of this is how much boiled radishes taste like potatoes.
I would never have known this except Brenna tricked me with the Faux-tato Salad.
Whiskey also makes a really great substitute for beer if you mix it with club soda.
Don't over-do it.
I know that there are going to be times when Keto friendly is not an option, or what you really want is just not Keto.
If you're at a party and what's offered is margaritas made in the traditional sugar-filled way, have one and enjoy it. Ten would be too many even for a "cheat day."
If you "cheat" too much you will get kicked out of Ketosis, and the more carbs you eat the longer it will take you to get back into Ketosis.
C'est la vie, if you stop eating carbs again right after the party you will be fine.
If you can't stay Keto try to be low carb. If you don't go carb crazy you should be fine - it will take lass time to get back to ketosis.
Fast Before "Cheating"
Let's say you're invited to dinner party on Saturday and you know that they are going to served home-made lasagna and cannoli for dessert.
You know you're going to eat it, but don't worry, if you manage this right you could be back in ketosis by Sunday afternoon.
All you have to do is stop eating (fast) on Friday afternoon so that by the time you get to Saturday dinner, you have no carbs and no insulin in your system.
You eat the lasagna and cannoli. You savor it.
Your insulin spikes, and you add 200 grams of carbs (800 calories) to your system. This probably will kick you out of ketosis.
If you fast on Sunday morning after the party, your insulin will return to fasting levels, and all of the carbs will be burned off and you will be back in Ketosis. Ta-da!
A little warning here: you may experience a very mild version of the keto flu and some bad breath when you transition back to ketosis.
This is an easy trick. If you eat carbs, it will spike your insulin to about 140% of fasting levels, but then once you stop eating carbs, your insulin will return to fasting level in about 2 hours.
If you were in ketosis before you ate these carbs, the carbs will gather in your cells as glycogen.
Once that glycogen is burned off, your cells will need energy, so they will tell your liver to make ketones, and that means you're back to ketosis.
Here's an example.
Let's say you get to the restaurant, at 6:00pm. You have not eaten any carbs that day, and you are in Ketosis.
During the meal you have 200 grams of carbs (800 calories),
Your insulin spikes, and it pushes all of those carbs into your muscle and liver cells where it is converted to glycogen.
If you finish eating at 7:30pm, by 9:30pm your insulin will return to fasting level.
At this point, your body will be running on that glycogen until it runs out.
If your BMR (base metabolic rate) rate is 2000 (example) calories per day you burn about 83 calories per hour.
And that means that those carbs will be burned up in about 10 hours.
So by 7:30 the next morning, you should be back in ketosis.
Still Confused about Keto?
This might be confusing but if you have questions PLEASE ask. (in the comments)
I swear I won't carb shame you because we don't roll like that around here.
More Keto Info
PS and here's some great Keto Recipes from CastleintheMountains.com