Keto Fail

First thing is to acknowledge the failure.

The second thing is to avoid scrapping everything and compounding the failure. “Oh crap, I’m out of ketosis! Well, I might as well eat a whole pizza.” This is an all-to-common reaction. We fall off the wagon and then compound that failure with an even worse failure. Self sabotage at its worst.

Recommit. Get back on track. The sooner the better. Steer the ship back on course.

Assess where you made mistakes and correct for those mistakes.

I woke this morning and knew I was no longer in ketosis. The past 6 weeks I have woken up with renewed energy and a body that felt younger and ready for action. Today I woke up groggy and sore. The past 6 weeks I have used that excess energy to workout almost every day. I skipped Monday and Tuesday and today (Wednesday) my body has no motivation to workout. These feeling were unmistakable signs that I had slipped out of ketosis. I took my blood readings and it confirmed that fact. My ketones were at 0.1 mmol/L (ketosis begins at 0.5) and my blood glucose was remarkably high at 10.8 mmol/L (normal range is 4 – 5.4). I took these readings at 7:30am and my last meal was roughly 12 hours before. I had only drank coffee in the morning so not sure why my blood glucose was so ridiculously high. 10.8 is indicative of metabolic derangement in the form of diabetes or pre-diabetes. Not really worried as long as I get my but back into ketosis.

What could have lead to this?

It probably started Saturday night when I indulged in wine with dinner with my friends. I still felt solid on Sunday and my workout was pretty good. Also Sunday I kept the diet under control so I thought maybe I was back on track. Solution is to go back to avoiding alcohol.

Another possible cause.

I added a little brown rice to my lunch. Even though I was cautious to keep it to 100g (approximately 23g of carbs), it probably pushed my total carbs over the limit.

I also snacked… a lot. Being a dad, I have access to a lot of uneaten snack foods. You give your kids something delicious and they don’t eat it and you decide to not let it go to waste. Once in a while that’s not a big deal but continuous grazing like this is an easy way to push your carb load over the limit.

Over the last week or so I have not been fasting. Usually I like to do an intermittent fast of roughly 14-18 hours. I stop eating roughly around 8pm and have my first meal around noon or later. When I do this regularly I feel great. A great benefit of this is that it shortens my feeding window and therefore I tend to eat much less. When I start eating upon waking (as is easy to do when the kids wake up hungry and I have to cook for them), I tend to eat 4 to 6 times per day. If I shorten the hours that the kitchen is open, then I only eat two or three meals. j

I’ve been eating less vegetables. The keto diet is a high fat diet and vegetables cooked in butter, olive oil, or coconut oil, are a great way to get good quality fats in your system along with phytonutrients and fiber. When I travel, nuts are the preferred fat source as they just travel better. Unfortunately, I got out of the habit of piling greens on my plate for the last couple of weeks. It is time to start piling on the greens again.

I have not been tracking consistently. I use an app called Macros + (My Fitness Pal is another similar app) to track how much I’m eating. It’s easy if you eat the same thing a few days in a row to get out of the habit of tracking. Also sometimes when you eat out, you can fudge the numbers and not completely track everything. Lots of excuses but the end result is less tracking means less compliance. It’s time to get back on track and enter what I eat into the app.

What have I learned?

First, Ketosis is real. I feel when I’m in or out. It’s noticeable and it affects my mood, my body, and my behavior. I feel crappy and I don’t work out.

Second, I have to fight “the creep.” “The creep” is that gradual relaxation of standards. When I started I was gung ho about doing everything right. As I got comfortable, I didn’t try as hard and I tried to get by with less effort. As my standards started to creep in the wrong direction it eventually affected my results.

On the bright side, I caught the error early. I did not compound the failure by eating a whole pizza. I know how to correct the error and am getting back on the horse. Tim Ferriss talks about jump starting ketosis in his book, Tools For Titans. He suggests a longer fast of 24-48 hours and some low-intensity cardio in the form of a long walk of an hour or more. So it’s time to put the headphones on and hit the streets.

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