Who Wouldn’t Want That?
Many people are first drawn to Keto as a weight maintenance tool and while most will lose some if not a lot of body fat and improve their power to weight ratio for athletes. There is a lot more to ‘going Keto’ than weight loss alone.
Keto can be used periodically to lose some weight then return to ‘normal’ eating but the downside of moving from a high carb SAD (Standard Australian Diet) to Keto is you will need to go through the fat adaption phase each time you move your energy systems.
Keto is more than just a fad diet; it is a way of teaching your body to use a ‘new’ energy system, fat. It may be a better idea to maintain a low carb (modern Keto) way of eating all year round but allow your carbs to creep up to 100 or 120g per day from time to time. Then drop them down again.
This way you will have all the health and performance benefits of Keto but still enough flexibility to not feel ‘trapped’ by your way of eating.
If you want to drop a significant amount of weight quickly and are prepared to be disciplined you can do so by dropping carbs below 20g per day and increasing your fat intake to 70- 80% of total calories per day. Many people will adopt this method to get in shape for a major event, like a wedding, or if they need to lose weight for medical reasons.
A more sustainable and healthy approach is to reduce your sugar and carb intake to a level that can be maintained as a lifestyle, day in day out, truly getting the benefits of maintaining healthy body weight, sustained energy, and improved mental focus. For most people, this will mean a daily carb intake of 50 -100g with the balance of calories coming from fat and moderate protein.
Having a cheat day once or twice per week might feel like a good idea but ultimately will make your adaptation process longer and push out the timeline to achieve the results you are looking for. When you continually switch between high carb and high fat your body struggles to ‘understand’ what energy system you are wanting to use glucose or ketones?
It is common in ‘diets’ that are low cal or low fat to have a cheat day, this is because they are very restrictive but ultimately still rely on a high carbohydrate fueling system and adjusting total calories per day. The failure in this approach is that you don’t teach your body to burn fat as an energy source, and ultimately never gain control over your weight.
In the first few weeks of going keto, it can take a few days to get back into keto if you switch back to carbs. In this time all fat burning and fat adaption process is halted, so one cheat day per week could mean you are only in Keto 2 or 3 days per week!
It’s not all doom and gloom! As you become more fat adapted and make fat burning your default ‘setting’. You will return to Keto quicker if you push the carbs up on a particular day. You will also become more insulin sensitive so your body becomes more effective at dealing with sugar too, win-win.
An effective way of getting back into Keto is to use Exogenous ketones. This will speed up the process. Get back to eating keto and use 1 – 2 servings of Exogenous ketones between meals for 2 – 3 days.
Give it some time, allow your body to adapt and get the most out of your nutrition, health, training, and racing.