So let’s talk about how to feel amazing on a ketogenic diet which is just low carb, essentially.
Now as any of you who follow me, and especially those who follow me obsessively, know I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for a while now and which this is something I do a couple times a year to sort of reset everything. I have a lot of experience with ketosis and caught some attention years back for my blogging about it.
But if you don’t know what I am talking about or anything about ketosis then CLICK HERE and become enlightened. That is a post I wrote on the pros and cons and why you might consider doing something like this to begin with.
So the biggest thing about getting into ketosis (going low carb, low-to-moderate protein, high fat) is many people suffer through what is called the “carb flu” or a period where you feel rather downtrodden and terrible. I have talked about why this happens and how it is linked to being metabolically inflexible.
But this post is not about explaining ketosis or why you should do it (that’s what the other post is for) but rather to give you some ideas on how to feel your best while not eating hardly any carbs. I will make this a sort of bulleted list, since I know people don’t always like long paragraphs.
7 Ways to Feel Amazing on a Low Carb Diet
** When going into ketosis, do NOT cut carbs AND lower calories at the SAME time.
This is very easy to do, even on accident, since high fat/low carb diets can be very satiating and will cause you to also cut out a lot of “junk” food. But cutting calories makes the transition especially even more difficult. So keep calories at maintenance or even give yourself a temporary surplus in order to ease your way into ketosis.
** Consume medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
MCTs are a sort of fast acting fat that can work in place of carbs and help with energy and not having so many headaches, etc.When getting to ketosis, and also while there, I take spoonfuls of both coconut and red palm fruit oil.Some may even wish to consider exogenous ketones.
** Consider adaptogens, which are herbs that help your body better handle the effects of stress.
Because ketosis WILL elicit a stress response, supplementing with adaptogens may help to alleviate some of the original symptoms.My first recommendation is Ashwaghanda, I think is how you spell it. After that, Bacopa. I use these adaptogens for their known effects on relieving restlessness and anxiety, which are (at least for me) two common effects of moving into ketosis.
** Walk briskly for AT LEAST 30 – 60 minutes everyday.
Brisk walking increases beta-oxidation and can help get you into ketosis quicker. Not mention it is a generally healthy and smart thing to do, like gambling.
** Eat two meals a day (three on training days).
Some might say to eat more frequently on low carb but I do not like that approach, actually.What I would say is to have breakfast and dinner and in the afternoon you can do what is essentially a “fat fast”. A fat fast is where have some healthy fats here and there, like coconut oil, or a leafy salad with olives, extra virgin olive oil, etc, but no full meal of any kind. OK, piggy?There seems to be some evidence that eating less frequency and at these time may help normalize leptin levels, which is good. Leptin is your sort of hunger control hormone. But I am not overly a fan of frequent eating in general, at least not as any kind of long term thing.Now the exception to eating twice a day is on those days where you do some kind of intense workout. Then I would add in another meal which you should have I would say anywhere between 30 – 60 minutes of working out. This meal should have some protein in it, as well.
One of my post workout “keto shakes” is a scoop or two of protein and then I mix that with coconut cream. It is very frothy.
** Continue to strength train.
You may not have all that much energy for heavy workouts while moving into ketosis, but once there you want to continue to strength train. Ketosis seems to be very sparing of muscle tissue and may even help you to add a little.I would say to strength train about 2 – 3x/week. I’ve found lower frequency is better while in a low carb state. Actually lower frequency is usually better anyway, that is, if you are really lifting.
** Be aggressive about it.
Dr. Spencer who thinks ketosis is a fine thing and useful in a lot of ways will tell you if you want to get into ketosis, then be quick about. Do not be gradual with the process, by ratcheting down carbs or whatever.The sooner you can get through the “carb flu” the better, and it seems adherence is better when fully committing rather than trying to slowly work your way into it.I guess what we are trying to say is it is better to rip the bandaid rather than peel.
The exception to this is maybe using some type of “cyclical ketogenic” protocol, which is not necessary gradual, but rather is more intermittent.
** BONUS: Don’t eat too much protein.
The problem with having too much protein on a low carb diet is you will not get into ketosis that way, because if protein is too high then your body will turn that protein into carbs and, well then what? Well then you are not in ketosis. So you want to be sure protein is only about 25% of your diet at most and the rest is fat.
OK, so once you are IN ketosis you should start to feel pretty alive. Energy will increase and be consistent and certain cravings will begin to disappear. The hard part and what I hope this post has helped with is in the process of getting there.
But that is the end of this post (at least for now) so if you have a question then leave a comment.
PS – You might also enjoy my Strong ON! because I have a very cool fat loss program in there, which uses cyclical keto. But in the meantime I will give you my very best kettlebell workouts for blasting fat and building muscle.