If you’re new to the keto diet or are considering trying it out, you may have heard the term “ketosis” thrown around. Ketosis is the state that your body enters when you limit your carbohydrate intake and switch to burning fat for fuel. It’s the cornerstone of the ketogenic weight loss approach and is essential to seeing the results you want. But how do you stay in ketosis? In this article, we’ll explore the basics of ketosis, what foods to eat, how to track macros, the benefits of staying in ketosis, and how to get back into ketosis when you fall out. We’ll also cover intermittent fasting, exercise, and tips for maintaining this lifestyle long-term.
Understanding the Basics of Ketosis: A Beginner’s Guide
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that occurs when the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. When you drastically reduce your carb intake (usually to less than 20-50 grams per day) and increase your intake of healthy fats and moderate protein, your body begins to produce ketones in the liver. These ketones are an alternative fuel source for your brain and body, and they provide a more stable energy source as compared to glucose which is found in carbohydrates.
The benefits of being in ketosis are many. For starters, ketosis helps you lose weight as your body burns fat for fuel. It also reduces inflammation, improves mental clarity, and increases your energy levels. But how do you know if you’re in ketosis? Signs of being in ketosis include increased thirst, frequent urination, decreased appetite, and the smell of acetone on your breath. Additionally, you can use ketone strips or a blood meter to test the levels in your urine or blood. Note that while these tools can be useful to confirm ketosis, they are not essential to tracking progress.
7 Foods You Need to Include in Your Ketogenic Diet to Stay in Ketosis
The key to staying in ketosis is to maintain a specific ratio of macronutrient intake: high fat, moderate protein, and low carb. This ratio typically looks like 70-80% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbs. The following 7 foods are some of the most essential to include in your keto diet:
- Coconut oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Leafy greens
- Low-carb vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini
- Healthy proteins like grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and organic chicken
When it comes to meal planning, you’ll want to focus on incorporating these foods into your diet in creative ways. For instance, you can make egg muffins for breakfast, eat avocado with a salad for lunch, and make a stir fry with veggies and grass-fed beef for dinner. With a bit of practice and effort, you’ll be able to stay in ketosis while also enjoying delicious, satisfying meals.
How to Track Your Macros: Keeping a Food Diary for Ketosis
A key part of staying in ketosis is tracking your macronutrient intake. You’ll want to record the number of grams of fat, protein, and carbs you consume each day. One way to do this is by keeping a food diary. This habit can be helpful as it forces you to be mindful of what you’re eating, makes you aware of portion sizes, and helps you identify where you may be straying from your keto goals. There are many apps and digital tools available to track your food intake, such as MyFitnessPal, Cronometer, and Carb Manager. You can also keep a handwritten food diary using a notebook or planner.
It’s important to note that tracking macros is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The exact macros you need will depend on your personal goals, activity level, age, weight, and height. Use online keto calculators to determine your ideal macros or work with a nutritionist or coach to create customized macros for your needs.
The Benefits of Staying in Ketosis: Why It’s Worth the Effort
The benefits of staying in ketosis are vast. For one, you’ll likely see a reduction in body fat and weight. This is especially true if you’re overweight or obese because ketosis helps the body burn fat more efficiently. Additionally, ketosis can lead to improved insulin sensitivity, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Beyond that, ketosis has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and increase energy levels. Finally, reducing carb intake has benefits on digestive symptoms like heartburn and bloating.
Don’t just take our word for it – countless people all over the world have experienced amazing results from the keto lifestyle. From weight loss to improved energy levels and mental clarity, many have found that staying in ketosis has been a positive and life-changing experience.
Getting Over the Hurdles: What to Do When You Fall Out of Ketosis
Unfortunately, it’s common to fall out of ketosis from time to time. Perhaps you indulged in a piece of cake or ate more carbs than you planned. The good news is that getting back into ketosis is achievable. Here are some tips to help you do so:
- Focus on Healthy Fats: When you go off course, focus on healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, and coconut oil. This will help train your body to start burning fat for fuel again.
- Avoid Carbs for Several Days: When you’re trying to re-enter ketosis, you’ll need to avoid carbs for several days. This will help your body shift back into fat-burning mode.
- Increase Your Physical Activity: Exercise helps to burn fat, and it can help your body enter ketosis more quickly. A 20-30 minute walk or jog can do wonders for boosting ketone levels.
Preventing falling out of ketosis in the first place is ideal. Be mindful of your eating habits, seek support in the form of an accountability partner or health coach, and remember why you started – to achieve better health, energy, and wellbeing.
Intermittent Fasting: A Tool for Achieving and Maintaining Ketosis
If you’re struggling to stay in ketosis or are looking for a way to ramp up your progress, consider incorporating intermittent fasting into your routine. This approach involves cycling through periods of fasting and eating. During the fasting period, you don’t consume calories, only water is taken. During the eating window, however, you can consume a normal keto meal that helps you meet your macros.
There are a few different types of intermittent fasting, including: 16/8, 24-hour fasts, and one-meal-a-day (OMAD). Each offers unique benefits, and you can choose the approach that works best for your lifestyle. Intermittent fasting can activate the same metabolic switch that ketosis does. Combined, the two can result in even bigger weight loss and health benefits.
Incorporating Exercise: How Physical Activity Can Help You Stay in Ketosis
Exercise is also helpful in achieving and maintaining ketosis. Exercise, when done in moderation, can ramp up fat burning, promote insulin sensitivity, and encourage healthy weight management. This doesn’t mean you have to do an intense workout every day. A simple walk, taking the stairs, or engaging in more daily activities can help.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is especially useful on the keto diet as it helps you gain muscle, burn fat, and improve cardiovascular health. Resistance training such as weights and Pilates can also improve strength and improve muscle tone.
In conclusion, staying in ketosis requires a bit of effort, but the rewards are significant. The keto diet is well-respected for its impact on metabolic health, reducing weight and improving blood sugar levels. It’s essential to incorporate the right foods in your diet, to track your macros, and adopt other lifestyle changes like exercise to achieve the best results. If you fall out of ketosis, it’s possible to get back in quickly by sticking to the plan, exercising, and focusing on healthy fats. If you’re interested in starting or maintaining a keto lifestyle, don’t hesitate to seek out support from a health coach or keto community online.