You’ve made the big decision to heal your body, fix your insulin resistance, gain control of your health and finally LOSE WEIGHT!! You have gone to the store and purchased your necessities, pinned your favorite meal and snack ideas from Pinterest, researched what you need to do to be successful and you are committed! So, now what? What can you expect to happen over the coming weeks and months? The following is a general idea of what customarily happens along this journey. There are variables as to how quickly and closely to the pattern your journey will be. For example, if you are insulin resistant, things might move a little slower for you. If your hormones are way outta wack, your keto “flu” might feel a little worse than someone else’s. If you “cheat”, you will definitely not follow the pattern and will probably quit since you won’t reach the point of not feeling those carb cravings.
During the first several hours that you restrict carbs, we’ll say the first 8 to 10 hours, your body will use up all of the carbs that you had eaten in your last carb-containing meal. It will take about 10 hours for those to have been used up. So, if you ate dinner at 7pm, went to bed and woke up at 6am, those carbs will be gone when you wake up. Congrats!! If you don’t mess it up by eating carbs so early, you are off to a great start! What always worked for me, was to save the majority of my carb allotment for later in the day. It gave me something to look forward to. I start the day with Bullet Proof Coffee so I can start my day using a lot of fat, a little protein and little to zero carbs. This makes me feel full and gives me energy.
1 to 2 days into this process your body begins to realize that its not getting enough glucose (sugar/carbs) to run 100% of it’s operations so it begins to look for other sources of fuel. Carbs and glucose have been stockpiled into your liver and muscles as glycogen. When all the glucose is gone, your body uses this stored glycogen. It usually takes about 12 to 16 hours for this to be used up. CONGRATS! You are now another step closer to using your fat for energy! Be patient, though, this glycogen has to be used up first.
Days 3 and 4 are when things are really starting to change. Your ketostix will likely start to show ketosis if you have been vigilant. Your body is still searching for another fuel source since it was so accustomed to being lazy and using that constant supply of glucose via the carbs you ate. As your body searches for fuel, tissues begin using ketones and fatty acids for energy because they cannot find enough glucose. You will know that your body is beginning to use these ketones because some will enter your urine and be detected on the ketostix. CONGRATS!! The hardest part is almost over! Don’t you dare give up, you are getting to the good part!
From day 4 until about day 7, you should be in ketosis if you weren’t already. Your liver has caught on and it begins producing the fuel that your body needs and loves….ketone bodies! Your brain begins to use these ketone bodies and the fog lifts! You will experience clarity of thinking and mental sharpness. I have to warn you, though. If you were heavily addicted to carbs and have become insulin resistant, you may experience some nausea, sleepiness, and achiness (keto flu) for a few days around this time. Not everyone experiences this, but most do. The quickest cure is to increase your salt and potassium intake. I am a simpleton, so I kept my keto flu at bay with Powerade Zero. Purists won’t use this, but as I stated in an earlier post, I am a dirty keto girl, and proud of it! Hahaha! I needed potassium and salt and I don’t have time to make veggie smoothies and bone broth every time I’m feeling sluggish ( I do love bone broth when I have the time to make it, though). A quick side note here. From this time forward, it will be helpful to keep some supplements of Magnesium, Potassium and sea salt around (in whichever form you prefer) because whenever you feel sluggish or slow on keto, one or all of these nutrients are probably low.
From here on out, you are in the ongoing weight loss stage as long as you continue to keep carbs low. Your body now prefers to use these ketones and it can only get to them by breaking down your body fat or using dietary fat.
After several months, your body becomes officially fat adapted, meaning that it has grown to love this dependable, stable fuel source over the fluctuating, unpredictable glucose as fuel. There are many benefits to being fat adapted but I won’t go into that again as I covered it in another post. Just remember that this is your ultimate goal. I hope this helps you understand what is going on in your body as it gets healthier! Don’t forget, I am not a Doctor, I am only passing on what I personally have learned and experienced! Keto on, friends!