Ketosis 101

What If I Fall Off the Wagon?

The ketogenic diet is different from most diets in that you don’t have to count calories or obsess about exercise. As long as you stick to your macros, you’ll be good to go.

But what happens if you fall off the wagon and eat too many carbs?

Keeping your carbohydrate intake low is the entire key to the ketogenic diet but if you mess up and go overboard one day, you won’t necessarily lose your results. The best thing you can do is accept that it happened and get back on the horse. Keep reading to learn how.

Follow These 6 Steps After You Fall Off the Wagon

When you fall off the keto wagon, it’s easy to beat yourself up. If you’ve already started to see results, you might worry that you’re setting yourself back. The thing you need to do, however, is to be realistic – you’re not going to gain all the weight back in one day and you can always get back on track.

So, when you fall off the keto wagon, follow these steps to get back on:

  1. Remind yourself of your motivation. Everyone has their own reasons for starting the ketogenic diet, so take some time to think about yours. What was it that made you go keto in the first place? Is that still your main motivation? If your motivations have changed, maybe you need to start focusing on them instead – when you have a reason for staying keto, it’ll be easier to do it.
  2. Restart your commitment. One mistake leads to another too easily so, when you fall off the keto wagon, it is important to tell yourself that the downward spiral ends now. Renew your commitment 100% and stop cheating – don’t use a single mistake as an excuse to make more.
  3. Eat a balanced keto meal right away. If you’re ready to restart your commitment to keto, don’t wait! Have a balanced keto meal right away so you can feel good about yourself and the fact that you’re back on the road to making progress. Keep the meal small and make sure that it fits in with your macros – if you eat too much it could make you feel bloated.
  4. Focus on exercise for a few days. When you fall off the wagon and eat a bunch of carbohydrates, your blood sugar is going to rise and your body may start storing glycogen again. In order to get your body back to burning fat for fuel, you’re going to need to get rid of that glucose and glycogen. Start the next few days with a brisk walk and work in some total-body exercises as well to really burn up those carbs. Just make sure you think of this extra exercise as a tool to get back on track with keto, not as a punishment for falling off the wagon.
  5. Drink a lot of water. Depending how many carbs you actually ate, you may find yourself back at square one when it comes to ketosis. Unfortunately, this means that you may go through the keto flu again once you get back on the wagon, so make drinking plenty of water a priority for the next week or so. It will keep you hydrated and help minimize the side effects.
  6. Adjust your expectations. If you’ve fallen off the wagon, know that it will take some time to get back on and to start making progress again. If you hop on the scale, don’t be surprised to see that the number is a little higher – or a lot higher. Just know that a lot of that extra weight is retained water so, the sooner you get back on track, the sooner you’ll lose it.

In following these six steps, you’ll be acknowledging the fact that you made a mistake but instead of indulging in shame and guilt, you’re taking the steps needed to get back on track. That’s all you can do when you fall off the keto wagon – get back on and keep going.

What NOT to Do After You Fall Off the Wagon

We are all human which means that we make mistakes. The best thing you can do is own up to the fact that you made a mistake but don’t beat yourself up for it. Instead of wallowing in shame and guilt, pick yourself up and get back on track.

In addition to knowing what you should do after you fall off the wagon, there are some things you should definitely NOT do – here are a few of them:

  • Don’t take shortcuts. When you fall off the wagon it may be tempting to just take exogenous ketones to kick you right back into ketosis but that may not work. Your body won’t use the ketones until the glucose is gone, so focus on burning that first.
  • Don’t punish yourself. You may feel like guilt will keep you from making the same mistake again, but it won’t. Refocus on your motivation and your goals to get back on the horse.
  • Don’t put it off until tomorrow. When you make a mistake, it’s easy to use it as an excuse to cheat for a while. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to get back on the horse the more difficult it is going to be. Do yourself a favor and renew your commitment immediately.
  • Don’t get down on yourself. If you cheat and eat too many carbs, you should expect some negative side effects like bloating and water retention – be realistic about these things but don’t let them get you down. It may take some time to get back on track, but all you can do is stick to your macros and wait it out.

The key to success with any diet is to stick to it as much as you possibly can. While you may not have as much wiggle room in the carbs department as you do for calories, the ketogenic diet is certainly not one of the most restrictive or difficult diets to follow. Just do your best to hit your macros each and every day and, if you fall off the wagon, get right back on as quickly as you can.

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