The Keto Cheat

This keto experiment has been an interesting one!  As someone who has thrived for years on a high protein and low fat diet, this has really turned my meal preps into something else entirely… Something cheesy, something greasy… and oh so good!

Here’s my experience on keto so far, having done it for 13 straight days.

It took me about a day of consuming my keto macros for me to get into ketosis.  I was really surprised at how quickly it happened,and even without the ketone test strips, I knew I had gotten into ketosis on the second day because I had a strong metallic taste in my mouth, along with some mild tension headaches.  I confirmed with my test strips that I had succeeded.

My experience through the first week was a little rough.  I was tired, a little grumpy, and I had some odd symptoms that were eerily similar to anxiety; shortness of breath and some startling chest pressure.  As soon as I started feeling physical symptoms my initial reaction was to jump ship and get off this wild ride.  It didn’t feel good, but mostly, it didn’t feel right.  But, knowing to expect the ‘keto flu’ helped me persevere.

By the 3rd or 4th day, I had no energy to work out and for most of the week I barely made it to the gym.  On the days that I did go to the gym, my performance was severely lacking.  Weight lifting had become something that my body just couldn’t do and power lifting was completely out of the question.

I will say that as the days wore on, things became easier.  My mood returned to a little more pleasant of a tone, and I started getting the hang of the meals and food.  Interestingly, even though you eat less by volume on the keto diet, I found that I was able to space out my food for longer periods of time; leaning on the high fat content in my meals to stay satisfied for longer periods of time.  With fat containing more calories per gram than carbs and protein, this actually makes sense.

Most of my mornings consist of an early bulletproof coffee.  If you haven’t heard of BPC, it’s essentially a method of adding fats to your morning cup of joe.  The first morning I tried it with butter and coconut oil and it was a real struggle to get it down.  I quickly found that 16 oz of french press coffee combined with 1/2 TBSP of MCT oil, 1 TBSP of heavy cream, and a little calorie free syrup was the magic potion for my own BPC.  Drinking this coffee in the morning around the 6:30 am hour left me feeling content until close to 10 am, where I would then have some breakfast.  You really do feel fuller for longer.

Some of the perks of keto in the first couple of weeks was, of course, rapid weight loss.  In the first 9 days I lost 7 lbs, going from 160 lbs to 153 lbs in a week.  Since carbs hang on to water, we know that some of this can quickly be attributed to flushing out excess water weight as you drastically limit carbs from your diet.  But some is definitely due to the calorie deficit as well.  Even though I switched to the keto plan, I have my calories reduced down to where I’d expect to lose 1-2 lbs a week.  In comes the old method of CICO (calories in-calories out).  And it got me thinking then…. Does it matter how you structure your calorie deficit?  Sure we can eat a bunch of fat instead of carbs, but at the end of the day isn’t it just really a result of eating less than you burn?

The downside to the first two weeks is that my workouts and weight lifting abilities suffered more and more each day and I found myself feeling defeated and frankly, frustrated.  This is when I came up with the idea of the Keto Cheat.

Having read all the info I could find on keto; both scientific and simply those accounts from people who’d been doing keto for long periods of time, I found varying opinions on whether you should or should not have a carb-loaded cheat meal once in a while on keto.  Of course, increasing carbs above the keto macros will kick you out of ketosis – we all agree there.  But then what?  Can you get back into ketosis?  How long does it take?  Can I cheat on a Saturday and use the carbs to bag myself a heavy leg day on a Sunday morning, then get myself back into ketosis on Monday?

Let’s find out!

Here’s the plan:
On Saturday morning I’ll weigh myself and check my ketone levels.  I will stick to my macros all day up until dinner when I will have bread and wine (my two favorite things!).
On Sunday morning we’ll re-weigh, re-check ketones, and hit the gym.

My hypothesis is this:  I think I can kick myself out of ketosis temporarily and get right back in.  Judging by how fast I got into ketosis the first day or two, I have no fear of getting back in.  But what I want to find out is how much I need to eat to get kicked out, and can having a weekly carb load help my workouts for the subsequent week?  Additionally, will I immediately pack these pounds back on as soon as the buttery bread touches my lips?

So many questions – Time to cheat for our answers!

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