You’ve probably heard of the keto flu. This is something that can happen when you start keto (or go back on to it), but doesn't always. I’ve known people who completely walked away from the diet because they had fallen off the wagon and didn’t want to start again, knowing that they might experience the keto flu again. Headaches, body aches, and general lethargy are some of the common keto flu symptoms that scared them away.
Use the Secret to Prevention
I believe that a big part of the keto flu is wheat and sugar withdrawl. If you can wean yourself off of wheat and sugar prior to starting keto (say for 2 weeks), that goes a LONG way in preventing the keto flu.
The good news is that the keto flu doesn’t last too long if you get it. However, it’s important that you're able to function during that time. You can’t just take off work or give up your family obligations while your body adjusts to the new diet. I’ve put together some tools to help you beat the keto flu.
Electrolyte depletion plays a huge role in the keto flu. When you start the ketogenic diet, you scrub your diet of all processed foods and products like breads and soda. All of those items have pretty decent levels of sodium. So right away, the amount of sodium in your body drops, causing your electrolytes to fall out of balance. Before you start keto, or in the early days, take the time to stock up on Powerade Zero and pickles. Make some salty bone broth to sip in the mornings, too!
Get Some Sleep
Fact: None of us get enough sleep.
Fact: Keto can mess with your sleep in the beginning, but then it reverses!
Make a plan to go to bed at least an hour earlier each night during the first two to four weeks of your new way of eating. This will help to minimize the effects of the keto flu.
Drink More Water
Again, it’s a fact that none of us get enough water. Since you’re starting a new way of eating, this is a great time to start a new way of drinking, too. The Mayo Clinic has some great guidelines on how much water to drink. The symptoms of dehydration are going to make you feel much worse while you’re struggling with the keto flu. You should also abstain from alcohol during your first few weeks of keto since alcohol increases dehydration.
Take Your Vitamins and Supplements
Invest in a high-quality vitamin supplement. By that, I mean choose one that isn’t going to flush right out of your body when you pee. You’ll also want to increase the amount of potassium citrate and magnesium.
Increase Your Fat Intake
Fat intake is one of those areas where people tend to either go overboard, or not eat enough – especially in the early days. It’s hard to believe that cooking eggs in butter can be good for you, when everything we’ve been taught tells us differently. Those who suffer from obesity might not need to increase fat intake as much. However, when you’re battling the keto flu, and increased fat intake can help jump start the process of you becoming fat adapted. Once your body is used to burning fat instead of glucose, you’ll be over the worst of the keto flu symptoms.
Get Some Exercise
One of the things that sold you on the ketogenic diet was that you might be able to lose weight without exercising, I get it. While that’s true for many people, exercise can be beneficial, and not just for weight loss. But lower intensity exercise can help you to become fat-adapted faster, which means you’ll get over the keto flu sooner!
During the first two weeks, take it a little easier if you can. Set aside some time to go hang out with the girlfriends, take a long bath, or develop a serious relationship with that book that’s been sitting untouched on your nightstand for months. Taking the “me" time will force you to slow down a bit; you’ll experience a bit of an endorphin release that will ease your symptoms.
It’s important to remember that for some people, the scale doesn’t move during those first few weeks, and that’s okay! When you’re battling with the keto flu, you may feel cravings that have you eating more than you should. Increasing your fat intake can keep the scale locked in place, too. It’s okay that you feel frustrated if you’re not seeing a weight loss those first few weeks. Just remember that keto has many benefits besides weight loss. Also remember that it can take a while for any weight loss program to start working properly for you. You’re changing a lifestyle here, not trying to cut a few pounds. It’s going to take time to get to where you want! Those changes will come in time!
While these may help you minimize the effects of the keto flu, you're probably still going to feel some of them! If you're looking for support, be sure to stop by my Intentionally Bare Facebook group, where you can join 15,000 other members who understand exactly what you're going through!
You got this!
Leta ~ Intentionally Bare
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. The content in here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or heard here.