Adapting to the ketogenic diet can feel like the flu. Tiredness, fatigue, stomach pains, and dizziness are common symptoms that the ketogenic diet beginner can experience, but these symptoms don’t come from a ketogenic virus or an infected mosketo (like “mosquito” — sorry, I couldn’t resist).
In fact, the symptoms for keto flu are not even caused by ketosis, ketogenesis, or the flu at all. Keto flu is caused by the body’s response to carbohydrate restriction.
The above is a quote from an article about “Keto Flu” on ruled.me (An excellent site if you’re not reading it. Add it to your list. It’s also a great source for recipes.). A week ago today, I started my #ketoreboot. The first time around, I eased into keto pretty slowly and while I “maintained” for nine months, I did let my carb intake increase (from about 25g a day to probably closer to 60-70g a day). They were “good” carbs for the most part – not pasta, rice, sugar, bread, etc, but carbs nonetheless (especially popcorn – I LOVE popcorn). So a week ago, I decided to redouble my efforts and get back on track.
I’ve been religiously tracking on FatSecret. I’m liking this app a lot better than MyFitnessPal. It really seems to be geared toward low-carb eaters as the macro tracking is much more precise. I love that it gives you a running breakdown of the percentage of your macros you have consumed. It also makes adding commonly eaten things easy – and by mealtime. For example, when I add to breakfast – which is the same every day – black coffee with Vanilla MCT Oil Powder, it comes up and automatically suggests it. I LOVE that feature! I’m not so worried about going over my calorie count (I’ve set it to 1500 calories a day) but am trying really hard to make sure my macro percentages stay consistent:
My macro percentages were nearly spot on yesterday.
Changes I’ve Made in the #ketoreboot
Before I get into my experience with Keto Flu, I wanted to highlight some of the major changes I’ve made and am making in this #ketoreboot. In a nutshell, those changes are:
- Cut dairy as much as possible. Apparently, dairy and women don’t go together when it comes to weight loss. I no longer have cream in my coffee. I’ve also reduced the amount of cheese I’m eating. I’m trying to keep the amount of cheese I eat a day to under 2 oz.
- Coffee changes. I have lived on bulletproof coffee for nearly a year now, but I read it might be one of the things that might affect blood glucose levels. I’m slowly easing into decaf coffee (going half-and-half right now with full caffeine and decaf).
- Weighing my food when possible. I’ve been eyeballing 4 oz of meat and am pretty certain I have not done a very good job of that. If I am home, I weigh meat (both before and after being cooked – depends on how easy it is). I am doing this so I can get better at eyeballing the correct amount.
- Cutting snacks. Even “good” snacks affect how your body processes its intake. Eating constantly is the worst possible thing you can do. Dr. Fung does a better job explaining it.
- No alcohol. It’s an experiment. I don’t want to cut all the fun stuff out of my life, but I plan to cut alcohol for the first 30 days of this #ketoreboot. I figure at that time, my body will be coasting along in ketosis and I can then easily judge what and how alcohol affects my journey. If you are interested in more, read Alcohol and Ketosis by Maria at KetoAdapted.
Note “add exercise” isn’t on the list. I’m getting there. Too many changes at once equal absolute failure for me.
My Keto Flu
My Keto Flu became noticeable yesterday. I have been sleeping like crap, have had a persistent headache (even BEFORE I cut caffeine intake in half) and have been irritable with bouts of dizziness. While it was noticeable yesterday, I thought it might be the cut in caffeine, but when I assessed the situation, I realized I was having a lot of these symptoms over the past few days. The first time around, I had read a lot about Keto Flu, but I didn’t really think it affected me. I was one of the “lucky” ones. There are all kinds of places to read about Keto Flu. Some of which I consider reputable sources are Dietdoctor.com and ruled.me.
The reason I’m choosing to write about Keto Flu is I almost threw in the towel yesterday. I was pouring over my food diary and my frustration level was high. While I wasn’t tempted by the cakes and cookies offered during intermission of the play we attended last night, I was tempted by the prospect of a really good martini after the show. During intermission, I told my husband I didn’t want to go out after the show as that temptation was too strong. So we went home.
This coming week, I hope to see even more progress. I will “treat” my Keto Flu as prescribed by DietDoctor and others (basically adding salt to my water) and hope these symptoms subside and I fall into a Keto groove. Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE 5/28: Holy cow! A little Himalayan pink salt in my water (1/4 tsp) and all symptoms were gone within half an hour. I have to keep doing it though. Symptoms were back a few hours later, but I just had more water. That’s one way to ensure water intake!
My Keto Success for the Week
Before I sign off, I just have to share! I got my Precision Xtra blood monitoring system and ketone strips and tested my ketones today. Woohoo! I’m in ketosis! Worth all the short-term side effects to get here!