Since a ketogenic diet eliminates carbs — aka the foundation of the Standard American Diet — it can be difficult to stick to it 100% of the time. Whether you had a chocolate chip cookie, enjoyed a few drinks at happy hour, or ate some carb-heavy snacks while watching the Sunday night football game, you may be in need of a keto reboot.
What exactly is a keto reboot? Simply put, the goal of a keto reboot is to get you back into ketosis as safely and easily as possible.
Below, you’ll learn what kicks you out of ketosis initially, how to get back into ketosis quickly, and several tips to get you “rebooted” when nutritional ketosis falls short.
To stay in ketosis, many people need to limit their net carbs to 25g per day. Since most Americans eat over ten times that amount (an average of 275g of carbs per day), it can be all-too-easy to go over your daily carb allotment[*]. This is especially true when some of your favorite comfort foods — like those listed below — come dangerously close to your daily macro goals:
- Slice of pizza: 34 grams of carbs
- Banana: 27 grams of carbs
- Doughnut: 22 grams of carbs
- Burger bun: 21 grams of carbs
- 1 oz. potato chips: 15 grams of carbs
- 8 oz. beer: 13 grams of carbs
The purpose of a keto reboot is to get you back into ketosis. However, a better scenario is never getting kicked out in the first place. Below, you’ll learn a few tips and tricks to avoid going over your daily carb intake.
Test Your Ketone Levels
If you’re chronically craving carbs, you may not be fat adapted (translation: you were never in ketosis to begin with). To ensure you’re burning body fat for energy — which should, in theory, cut down on carb cravings — test your ketone levels. If you find out that you were never in ketosis, adjust your macros accordingly.
Stick to Your Low-Carb Diet in Social Situations
Do you feel weird eating or drinking keto around your work colleagues, new dates, or more traditional family members? If you find that social pressure impedes your keto diet, there are a few solutions. For example, try enjoying one of these keto-friendly alcoholic drinks at happy hour, or offer to bring a keto-friendly dish to a party. If you’re going out to eat with a group, look at the menu ahead of time and select a low-carb option.
Learn the Art of Meal Prep
The best way to ensure you don’t eat high-carb food is to always have keto-friendly foods on hand. The healthiest plan of attack is to set aside one day a week to meal prep, batch cooking several meals in advance.
Don’t Call It a “Cheat”
Do you still have major FOMO when it comes to carbs and sugar? Calling something a “cheat” automatically makes it more desirable. Rather than associating foods as “rewards” or labeling foods as good or bad, don’t demonize any particular food. If you enjoy a high-carb food, then do just that — enjoy it, and move on.
7 Signs That You Need a Keto Reboot
When you enter ketosis, your body is going through a metabolic shift — burning ketone bodies, rather than glucose, for energy. Therefore, it’s not a switch you can turn on and off.
Entering ketosis initially can take anywhere from 24 hours to one week. Becoming fully fat adapted (aka keto-adapted) can take 3-6 weeks. However, with the right plan, you can get back into ketosis in as little as two or three days, or a 24- to 60-hour reboot.
So now it’s time for the bad news: When you have a cheat meal on keto, you may experience the following.
#1: High Blood Sugar Levels
As your body works to process the carbs and sugar from a meal, more glucose is released into your bloodstream. When your body senses this surge of glucose, it sends out insulin to push that glucose out of your blood and into your cells to be used for energy[*].
If your bloodstream is constantly pumping glucose, you can become insulin resistant, where your blood sugar has a tough time returning to healthy levels. This can stall fat loss, prevent weight loss, or even cause type 2 diabetes[*].
#2: Intense Sugar Cravings
Studies show your brain becomes more addicted to sugar (and faster) than cocaine. Your brain rewards you for choosing sugar, then overrides your ability to practice self-control so you keep going back for more[*].
Whether you’re on the hunt for cupcakes or bread, the longer you’ve been without sugar, the harder it can be to resist when you return to it. In one study, scientists deprived rats of sugar for two weeks and then gave them 12 hours of unrestricted access to it. The rats gorged on 23% more sugar than they ever had before[*].
#3: A Terrible Sugar Crash
Even if you don’t touch a single dessert, carbs from sandwich bread or a pint of beer can still raise your blood sugar levels. And since your sensitively to sugar is elevated during the keto diet, you may experience these negative side effects[*]:
- Trouble concentrating
- Crankiness and irritability
You can manage these dreaded symptoms by taking Perfect Keto Blood Sugar Support, which aids healthy carbohydrate metabolism and stabilizes blood sugar levels when you eat more carbs than you should.
#4: That Awful, Familiar Inflammation
Many scientists and health experts now agree inflammation begins in your gut with the foods you eat.
Foods and beverages that raise inflammation include:
- Processed, pre-packaged foods filled with refined ingredients like sugar, grains (even whole grains) and artificial preservatives, flavorings, and colors
- High-glycemic foods like bread, pasta, fruits, and starchy vegetables
- Refined veggie oils like canola, corn, safflower, and soybean
- Coffee, beer, and alcohol
When you indulge in these foods, it can cause small rips in your gut[*]. Then, undigested food particles escape through holes in your stomach lining, potentially ending up elsewhere in your body.
As a defense mechanism, your body attacks these particles as foreign invaders, thereby causing inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of autoimmune diseases (where your immune system attacks itself), including Crohn’s, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and ulcerative colitis[*].
Don’t be surprised if you feel bloated after a carb-heavy meal. Symptoms of eating carbohydrates include heartburn, constipation, cramping, gas and bloating, and excessive burping.
How does this happen? Eating a carb-laden meal can cause “water weight,” when it stores carbs as glycogen. Your body holds onto three or four grams of water for every gram of glycogen in the body, thereby causing bloating[*].
#6: Low Energy and Brain Fog
No matter how fat adapted you may be, a week of carb-heavy foods will certainly kick you out of ketosis. When you switch from carbs to fat to carbs again, you cause a massive chain reaction in your body including:
- Burning glycogen, then ketones, then glycogen again
- Altering and balancing specific hormones
- Increasing or decreasing enzyme production
These, in turn, can cause lethargic symptoms, including brain fog, low energy, and a lack of mental clarity[*].
#7: Keto Flu Symptoms
When you enter ketosis initially, you may experience negative side effects commonly referred to as “keto flu.” Warning signs include stomach pains, brain fog, dizziness, nausea, irritability, constipation, muscle soreness, lack of concentration, sugar cravings, and heart palpitations[*]. The longer you stay out of ketosis, the greater chance these negative symptoms will return when you attempt to get back into it.
Keto Reboot: How to Get Back Into Ketosis
You got into ketosis once, you can certainly do it again, right? Consider this section your personal keto reboot kit (or keto reboot coach, if you will). Below, you’ll learn seven strategies to get back into a fat-burning state quickly.
Intermittent fasting is a healthy, effective way to use up your glycogen stores, helping you enter ketosis. When you fast, your body doesn’t have any energy (calories) coming in. Therefore, it needs to find energy in other ways, namely through stored glucose, or glycogen[*].An intermittent fast is an effective way to get back into ketosis.
You already do a short fast each night when you’re asleep, from dinnertime to breakfast. To start intermittent fasting, you will simply extend that fasting window. For example, you could choose lunch as your first meal of the day (instead of breakfast), or try skipping dinner. Most fasts last for 13-18 hours, but some people experienced with fasting try a full 24- or 48-hour fast.
Drink Tons of Water
As part of your keto reboot schedule, you should increase your water intake. This helps you for two reasons:
- Drinking water helps you feel more full, which can thereby reduce hunger cravings.
- Since you’re using up your glycogen stores, your body will be flushing water out, rather than holding onto it[*]. Rather than risk dehydration and headaches, drink plenty of water to replace it.
As you increase your water intake, be sure to be conscious of your electrolytes. Drinking too much water can flush out minerals from the body, only adding to potential negative side effects.
To prevent this from happening, snack on keto-friendly salty foods like roasted almonds, pepperoni, and olives. You can also sip on bone broth, which contains electrolytes including sodium and potassium.
You can also take an electrolyte supplement to make things easier. Perfect Keto Electrolytes will help you replenish sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium so you can diminish side effects during your keto reboot.
Whenever You’re Hungry, Aim For Fat
To prevent sugar and carb cravings, you’ll want to stick to high fat meals and snacks on your keto reboot. Remember, on the keto diet roughly 70-80% of your daily calorie intake should come from fat.
Eating plenty of fats has an added benefit: Science shows that high-fat meals increase satiety and cause appetite suppression[*]. Therefore, eating foods that are high in fat can decrease sugar and carb cravings when you’re trying to enter ketosis. Some fantastic sources of fat include avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, MCT Oil Powder, and nuts and seeds.
Keep Your Taste Buds Guessing
Remember, keto is meant to be a lifestyle — a lifestyle that’s enjoyable, makes you feel good, and frankly, makes you feel good about yourself. Rather than deprive yourself of your favorite foods, try new keto recipes and prepare them in low-carb ways.
Looking for new recipes to try? Follow this tasty keto meal plan for new recipe ideas (and to make meal planning a lot easier).
Don’t consider exercise your punishment for cheating on keto; it’s actually a really good thing for your body. When you exercise, your body sends glycogen, or stored glucose to your muscles[*]. To use up glucose quickly, thereby helping your body transition to burning ketones for fuel, you might want to increase your exercise routine.
You don’t have to run a marathon or lift the heaviest kettlebells. Just turn your exercise up a notch. Whether that’s an extra 10 minutes added to your yoga flow, a few more reps to your workout, or another three blocks on your run, your body will use your carb reserves to supply your muscles with the fuel you need. Just don’t overdo it, as overtraining will force your body to release stress hormones. These can raise your blood sugar, cause you to lose muscle mass, and make ketosis much harder to achieve[*].
Reset Your Body With Quality REM Sleep
Your body’s best chance of resetting and repairing itself happens while you’re sleeping. In the quiet hours of the night, it can work on all the processes it’s too busy to take care of during the day.
So if you want to lose weight and reach ketosis, you better pay more attention to your sleep. When adults sleep less than eight hours a night[*]:
- Hunger and appetite both increase the following day
- Cravings for food high in carbs rise while willpower to resist them decreases
- Cells become 30% less efficient at using insulin
- Metabolism slows
Take Exogenous Ketones
Your body is a ketone-producing machine when you’re in ketosis. However, when you’re out of ketosis it may take some time for your body to start producing ketones on its own again. You can use exogenous ketones to supply your body with energy as it works its way back into a ketogenic state.
Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketone Base is a ketone supplement made with BHB salts (Beta-hydroxybutyrate). BHB is one of three ketone bodies that your body burns for energy. Consuming it in your morning smoothies or keto fat bombs may help shorten your keto adaptation period, entering ketosis quickly.
Plus, it comes in delicious flavors including chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and caramel apple. Unlike other ketone supplements, such as Pruvit Keto OS products, Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketone Base contains zero carbs.
A Keto Reboot Helps You Get Back Into Ketosis
A keto reboot helps you get back into ketosis after a carb-laden meal kicks you out. While it can take up to three weeks to become fat adapted initially, with the right strategy, you can get back into ketosis in as little as two or three days.
Your 24- or 60-hour keto reboot should include drinking plenty of water, increasing your exercise regimen, drastically increasing your fat intake, and trying an intermittent fast. During this time, be sure to get enough electrolytes, get enough sleep, and don’t exercise too much.
To make your next reboot easier, you can also try supplementing with BHB salts in the form of Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketone Base. This will supply your body with ketones while it’s working on switching back to fat-burning mode on its own. Otherwise, you can use the Perfect Keto Starter Bundle as your personal keto reboot kit.