So you’ve decided to have a cheat day. There’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you don’t fold and make it a cheat week. Not to mention, if you’ve really been putting in the work, you deserve it. The problem, however, is bouncing back without feeling like you’re starting from square one all over again. Keto is a diet where a big cheat day can shatter you if you don’t bounce back quickly. While a night of carbs won’t ruin your body, getting back to ketosis can be hell.
So how do you recover with ease? Well it may take a little work on your part, but I’m sure you’re used to it given you’re on keto to begin with. I’ll give you a rundown on how to get back into ketosis quickly on a general cheat day, an all out carb binge, and drinking alcohol.
Recovering From A Cheat Day
Cheat day. A term that brings fitness nuts and diet purists to their knees. Cheat meals, after all, will absolutely disrupt ketosis. It’s not the end of the world, however, and there is a way to get back into ketosis quickly.
To reenter ketosis, you’re going to need to go strictly by the book with keto. No straying away or picking up the odd carbed drink here and there. Here are some tips.
- Tracking your carbs. Don’t take anything for granted, and don’t assume. Check every label, and should you not have one, calorie/carb tracker apps will be your best friend.
- Fasting. There are numerous fasts that can help you out. Intermittent fasting on the keto diet may actually help shift your body’s fuel source from carbs to fat. Short-term fat fasting is also a good method for kickstarting ketosis. They’re high in fat and low in carbs, but should only last a short time, so make sure it’s over as soon as you’re in the clear.
- Supplements. Sometimes your body needs a bit of outside help. Supplements can help produce ketones and bring you into ketosis quickly. I recommend a medium-chain triglyceride supplement. They’re a fatty acid that can be rapidly turned into ketones once ingested. There is a product recommandation at the end of this article.
- Ramp up the exercise. Exercising will deplete your body’s stored carbs, which promotes ketosis.
From this alone, you can already see why people call keto strict. It’s not just watching what you eat, but the fact that breaking that cycle can be punishing by making you start again. If you keep at it, though, you won’t have to completely start over.
Recovering From A Carb Binge
The main point of keto is not eating carbs, but it’s understandable that you might crave something every now and then. An absolute carb binge may be a problem, however, especially with how strict keto is. You’re going to want to follow some pretty strict guidelines if you plan on getting back into ketosis.
Carbs can be useful in diets such as bulking, but in keto, it can backpedal your work by a hell of a lot, so you need to really be careful with it. You’re not going to die, nor are diet purists going to kick down your door to take away your keto card, but it still won’t be all that easy. So here’s how you can recover the best way possible from a carb binge.
- Keep track of carbs. After a carb binge, you’re going to want to scale way back, further than you were originally doing on keto. That doesn’t mean zero (you shouldn’t be doing zero carbs in the first place for health reasons), but you’re going to have to really hit the ground running until you’re back in ketosis.
- Start with high fats. You’re going to want to buy a few avocados because you should start with quite a bit of fat until you hit ketosis. Fats are already important for keto, but it’s especially important now.
- Slow down on cardio. Once you’re back in ketosis, you’re good to start your aerobic exercises once more, but until then, you should keep it to a minimum.
- Consume a good balance of electrolytes. Electrolytes are vital for keto. When your body is in ketosis, your insulin levels are low, and so your kidneys will start to excrete critical electrolytes. That way you are able to supplement your needed electrolytes. Again, there is a supplement recommandation at the end of the article, if you feel like you need the extra push.
- Intermittent fasting. It’s already enough that you have to restrict your diet so much, but fasting might actually help get you into ketosis faster. Time-restricted intake of foods can help your body produce ketones.
By really hitting the books with this, you can regain your footing when it comes to getting back into ketosis. Falling off of keto means your recovery will take a bit, but in the end, it varies. It depends on how your default metabolism is. Not to mention, your body is complex, and there’s a lot more factors that go into keto than just “fats and meats are good, carbs are bad”.
If we’re being optimistic, you’re looking at a week.
Recovering From A Night of Alcohol
If you know anything about alcohol in general, you’ll know that alcohol is the killer of keto. This is especially true if you’re the type to drink a ton in one sitting. Alcohol is able to slow down keto, but it can also kick it off the tracks. It depends on what you drink and just how much you have.
For example: vodka and whiskey have no carbs, but they can slow down ketosis. They won’t blow your entire diet away, but it’s not quite healthy, though I don’t think you need me to tell you that. Now, if you’re drinking beer, that’s a different story altogether. It depends on the brand and the type of beer, but overall, a few cans of the wrong stuff can throw your diet out the window. And don’t get me started on cocktails, which are arguably worse. The key here is restraint and moderation. You should know your limits in general, but also what you’re consuming and what’s in it. Alcohol needs to be metabolized, and your liver takes the alcohol as a priority over your fats. It won’t get back to producing ketones until all the alcohol has been processed. So even if your alcohol is zero carb, the amount you drink can still mess up your progress.
If you’ve had quite a bit to drink, there’s no saving you.
That’s a joke, by the way.
Getting back into ketosis isn’t too complicated, though if you think you’ve had too many carbs through your night of drinking, you’re going to want to check out the ways to get back into ketosis after a carb binge.
With that in mind, here’s what you can do:
- Halt alcohol consumption immediately. This isn’t me being a health nut. Your body isn’t going to produce ketones until all the alcohol has been processed by your liver.
- Get your electrolytes in. Especially after a night of drinking, making sure your electrolyte intake is balanced is fairly vital. Your body will already be low on insulin due to the lack of carbs, so make sure that you get your electrolytes in.
- Fasting until most of the alcohol has been processed. After twelve hours, your body should be clear of alcohol, but you don’t have to wait that long if you can’t do it. Most of the alcohol will be gone in the last few hours so eating then won’t harm you.
- High fats. Your body has temporarily stopped producing ketones due to alcohol, and that’s no bueno. Kickstarting it will get it back into shape, and I suggest a short-term fat fast diet. Think eggs, avocado, the works. Just to get your body back into ketosis.
If you were only on zero carb alcohol, getting back into ketosis won’t be much of a hassle. If your drinks were loaded with carbs, however, your recovery might be delayed a few days or longer depending on how much you threw off your diet or your default metabolic rate.
A Simple Solution: Try KetoCharge
- This product will give you an ample supply of ketones to kickstart ketosis, avoid the keto flu, recover from cheats in no time, have you feeling more energized and more focused, as well as crushing those cravings for sweets.
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- KetoCharge is packed with slimming salts that turn into electrolytes upon entering your body. This gives you the energy you need without loading up on carbs. The gelatin capsule provides you with amino-acid glycine, which promotes a restful sleep and boosts your mood.
- This product provides instant ketosis, unlocks those stubborn fat stores, has fat transformed into energy, provides long-term success with keto, and is great for weight loss.
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- Wolfson Brands (UK), the company behind KetoCharge, is a trusted name in supplement distribution that was founded in 2008. It’s spent years providing all natural and safer supplements to help men and women thrive and reach their peak.
Managing Editor, With a background in health, holistic nutrition and science, Chloe has written for international publications including the Wall Street Journal and Green King.