Have you tried the keto diet or thought of trying it? Keto can provide tons of benefits, but can also be difficult on your body as you adjust.
Sometimes instead of feeling all the amazing ketogenic benefits you’ve heard about – supreme fat burn, increased energy, keto clarity, and a vibrant sense of well-being – you can instead became irritable, dizzy, and unable to sleep.
The culprit of this miserable feeling? The keto flu. It’s not really flu, and it’s not contagious or dangerous, but it can definitely be very unpleasant.
Most people feel one or more of these symptoms during the first week of a keto diet, especially days 3-5. Fortunately, it’s temporary, and you’ll soon feel fine again. In fact, you’ll likely have more energy than before you started the diet.
What does the Keto Flu feel like?
A keto flu is not dangerous, and it’s not actually a virus. It’s a symptom of carb withdrawal – specifically junk carbs with sugar and flour. But most people do experience flu-like symptoms.
They have low energy, inability to concentrate, nausea, headaches, irritability, and trouble sleeping. Some people even have severe symptoms such as diarrhea and low blood pressure.
The severity and duration of the symptoms varies between individuals. Some people hardly notice anything, others feel terrible for a day or so, and sometimes people can feel it for a couple of weeks.
It also depends on your health status, lifestyle, and nutrition habits before starting keto. When you’ve been eating lots of sweets, refined carbohydrates (flour), and low-fat foods, the keto flu might be a bit more severe for you than for people who’ve managed to avoid these a bit more.
How to conquer the Keto Flu
Take heart: if you’re experiencing any discomfort, there are things you can do to minimize your symptoms and conquer the keto flu. Elevated energy and optimal performance are just on the other side of those symptoms. You got this.
1. Choose your moment wisely
Don’t pick a workweek full of important meetings to begin your Keto diet. Holidays can be tough because being away from home can make it difficult to control what you get to eat.
When you’re traveling, you’re usually eating at restaurants instead of cooking. This makes the Keto diet a bit tough. Make sure to check your calendar and choose a week that will be easier on your schedule.
2. Don’t change too many things at once
Many people are over-enthusiastic and want to change everything at the same time––change their diet, exercise more, be more productive at work. This is understandable, and we don’t want to take away the enthusiasm that gives you the much-needed momentum to make big changes.
Joining a gym the same week you’re keto-adapting is unnecessary for most people. Your body has to get used to its new source of energy. Demanding more from your body than usual, if you’re not used to working out, will be hard. So be patient! Once the keto flu is over, you will feel more energetic than ever before, and nobody will be able to stop you from going to the gym!
3. Get enough sleep
You should also make sure to get enough sleep during the transition time. Go to bed early and try to get your 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Interestingly, some people report feeling more rested from the same amount of sleep once keto-adapted.
4. Don’t restrict calories
Even if your goal is to lose a lot of weight, don’t intentionally restrict calories when starting out. Make sure you eat plenty of nutrient-dense, fatty foods so that your body learns to rely on these good sources of energy.
After all, you’ve just restricted your body’s most-used energy source, so introducing a good substitute is crucial. Make sure that you get at least enough of the new one, even if you’re still struggling to use it optimally.
5. Drink to thirst
You’ll lose quite a bit of weight during the first few days. How much weight will depend mostly on your initial weight, percentage of body fat, and how much water you retain. As is typical, you may also be eating more protein in a single sitting on this diet, which can increase your thirst as well.
Some people end up drinking 3 liters a day or more on the Keto diet. But some people make the mistake of forcing themselves to drink a lot throughout the day when there’s really no need for that. Drink a lot of water, but don’t push past your point of comfort.
Have you ever experienced the keto flu? What are the things you did do ease yourself? Let us know in the comments section!