So, you cheated on your keto diet? Maybe you got drunk off whiskeys last night which ended with eating a bag of M&M’s or even extra large pizza?
Fast forwarding to this morning and you feel awful? No worries, all is not lost.
Falling off the keto wagon never feels great, I have been there many times.
This article will go over how to offset a horrible 3-day binge eating contest (or a simple carb-up cheat day) and get back into ketosis as fast as possible.
Why does 3-day binge eating’s and cheat days happen?
Cheating your keto diet usually happens because of two main reasons: emotions and alcohol. Comfort eating is something everyone does, and this is often the easiest and fastest ways to deal with difficult times.
You could be stressed, angry, a social event or hundred other things, and you may seek comfort in alcohol or sugary foods. After all, they will raise your mood and maybe make you forget, although temporarily.
The ability to recover quickly after a horrible binge eating is essential to ketogenic success. Once you accept, that occasional cheat day is not the end of the world (but not suggested also), you can use the extra energy to your advantage.
After you will experience cheat days couple of times, you will start understanding how your body works, how to offset the damage and how to live with that, because at the end of the day, you cannot follow your strict diet always fully for the next 40 years.
How long does it take to get back into ketosis after cheating?
The time, how much it takes to convert your body back into the fat burning state, rather than glycose, is slightly different for each person.
This depends on how much you cheated? Did you ate one tub of ice-cream or went overboard and did a binge eating marathon during the weekend?
But in general, if you follow this guide, you should get back into ketosis around 2-3 days (probably a lot sooner).
Now the time can vary depending on how you act on the day after.
Do you work out, how do you eat, do you take supplements and so on. All of them have their own role to play in the recovery game.
But how to offset a horrible keto cheat day?
Hey, we get it. It's emotionally hard. Now let's see what we can actually do to speed up the recovery process and get you back into ketosis in no time.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Before you do anything, understand this. Life is a messy thing and things don’t go always as planned. Sometimes you just need that pancake and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it.
Sometimes things go bad and you cannot follow your keto diet or even your daily plans. Following a ketogenic lifestyle is a “lifestyle”. You cannot be 100% correct in everything.
The good thing about eating carbs is that you can always stop eating them and start following keto diet again. First times are tough but after a couple of keto cheat days, you start thinking differently.
Understand this: Shame, guilt, and apathy are one of the worst emotions you can experience because they keep you in this miserable state of negativity and self-criticism. With these emotions, it’s almost impossible to achieve anything.
The day afterward
The day afterward is probably the most important time you can act to offset your binge eating damage.
If a cheat day happened, it happened, no need to go overboard or your 1 keto cheat day will go over 1 week of binge eating and feel bad about yourself.
From there it’s way harder to recover.
If you gained weight
So, the day afterward, you want to set aside the cheat meals and focus back on your keto diet. In the following morning, you probably want to avoid the scale.
Why? Because it probably makes you more nervous than its worth.
Also, you will probably get a good muscle pump out of carbs, because all your glycogen stores are full now. If you gained weight then it’s probably water weight, so no worries.
Just ignore your weight and move on.
Although you cannot do cheat days in keto diet in a classical sense, you can start minimizing the damage pretty easily: just skip your breakfast aka do intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is way deeper topic itself than described here. In the simplest terms don’t eat anything 5-6 hours after waking up, just drink water.
The key here is to deplete all your body’s glycogen stores. Your liver needs to be emptied first before it can start converting fat to fuel.
Do a fasted cardio
To assist your body getting back into ketosis, you would also want to exercise. This is not a must, but this will speed up the depletion of energy stores.
Low intense cardio is perfect together with fasted state. Do an hour of walking or jogging at normal speed. This will help a lot with depleting all your glycogen stores (burning off all the carbs from last night).
The only thing to consume before a workout, if you really need something is caffeine. Caffeine will provide you enough energy if you are in a low state.
Stay low carb
This is definitely a critical part of your cheat day recovery. Once you decide to get back into ketosis after a 3-day binge, you obviously need to cut out almost all the carbs.
Your glycogen stores are full, from previous days cheat meals and carbohydrate-rich foods. It is time to start eating ketogenic again. S
o, start focusing again on high-fat foods and keep your protein intake moderate, with very low or zero carbs. These means eat fatty meats, coconut oil, leafy veggies and so on.
Okay, this is probably the biggest secret weapon at your disposal, but don’t forget with great power comes great responsibility. This is not a magic bullet by its own. So let’s go over one more time: What are exogenous ketones?
Exogenous ketones are man-made ketone supplements, which are ingested through a nutritional supplement. There are numerous positive effects of using exogenous ketones like avoiding keto flu, improving athletic performance, cognitive benefits, improved focus, speeding up ketosis.
After a keto diet cheat day, you should definitely consider speeding up getting back into ketosis with exogenous ketones. You will get a big energy boost, you will get ketone bodies from a supplement which result in faster ketosis.
We do not encourage keto cheat days and we do not encourage fixing this with exogenous ketones, although it really works.
Regardless of your goals to increase performance, cognitive abilities or something else, exogenous ketones should be a part of your diet regimen.
These supplements will add some wiggle room into your diet and help to overcome any downfalls you may get.
Look, we understand. There are times when following a strict ketogenic diet may be hard, when you want a cheat meal every day, especially when you are a beginner and the holidays are coming.
Our bodies are complex organisms which are very adaptive to our environments. Lucky us! So, the more you follow the keto diet, the easier it gets.
Just don’t be too hard on yourself. Beating yourself down doesn’t get you anywhere.
If there would be one suggestion to take out of this, then do a fasted cardio, keep your carbs minimum and utilize exogenous ketones.