This morning I ate a smoothie that was left over from yesterday — it was so thick it required a spoon — and had some leftover meat. This set me up to the point where I merely got fluid at the local shop for morning tea. But we have had a fair amount of stress this week. NZ is moving out of lockdown, and the rules keep on changing. Two gyms have closed. We have found ourselves working longer hours and going to bed stressed and exhausted.
Which is not good, as pushing the stress envelope increases insulin, encourages fat storage, and (at one point) drove my blood glucose out of the normal range. On the low end, which is the scary end. This week was not in any way perfect, and Kea did better than me.
Mark Sisson has a fair amount on what happens when you carb binge when you are used to low carb. It is worth reading the whole thing.
A little planning and motivation will help you start a low-carb, keto, or Primal lifestyle, and under normal circumstances, keeping your carbs on the low side is easy. But let’s not create the illusion that it is easy all the time. From time to time, you may get stressed and eat mindlessly. Or, your aunt drops off her blue-ribbon cake that you’ve loved since you were in preschool, and you give in, just this once. Or, you had a jam-packed day and all you can muster to make for dinner is that package of gluten-free noodles in the back of your pantry. The next thing you know, you’ve eaten enough carbs for a week, and you wonder how you’ll get back into ketosis after a carb binge.
The short answer is, yes you will recover from a carb binge. Yes, you will get back into ketosis. As far as how long it will take to get back into ketosis – that depends on numerous factors, that we’ll dive into here. The important thing to remember is, you did not obliterate your goals with one misstep. Especially after you’ve spent some amount of time in ketosis, your body will allow for fluctuations in carb consumption here and there. That’s called metabolic flexibility, which we’ll go into shortly.
So, you want to get back into fighting shape as soon as possible. Here’s what to do:
- Scale back your carbs to where you were before you found yourself off-track.
- Make sure you are getting the correct balance of electrolytes
- Consume sufficient high-quality fats, especially at first.
- Don’t overdo the cardio. You can ease back into more intense aerobic exercise once you’re fully transitioned.
- Consider intermittent fasting. You may have an easier time getting into ketosis for the long haul if you time-restrict food intake, which gets your body used to producing ketones.
You may wonder how long it will take to get back into ketosis after falling off. The answer is, it varies. It depends on how metabolically flexible you were before you started, how insulin-sensitive you are currently, how many carbs you were accustomed to consuming before you increased your carb intake… there are a lot of factors. The vague answer is, it won’t take long to get back. Start now, and you’ll get to where you want to be before you know it.
The fact is that you are going to eat Carbs when you are stressed. In the current climate, you have to watch what you say, and be calm, resolved, wise, gracious and thoughtful. This at times will require every bit of willpower you have. You will have situations where people turn up and give you the cake and it is mandatory that you eat it.
Do not belt yourself up when that happens. Next day, get back to the grindstone.
Since we are going into winter, we are adjusting a few things anyway. We tend to walk at mid morning or lunch, not at dawn: dawn is in commute time. I’m eating breakfast (and having coffee) because I have to be calm, resolved, wise, gracious and thoughtful at 0800: at that time I am naturally none of those things. We are not walking to excess. We are trying to move our bodies in various ways.
I’m noticing that hard lifting takes longer to recover from because I’ve not been lifting for a while, and really should not until I’m back in ketosis… and then going back to the gym gentle. I will scale like hell. My max weights will start at old warmup weights.