I constantly tell you how you should eat real food and how it would be good for you if you eat less carbs and more healthy fats. A couple weeks ago I tried to debunk some of the myths about low carb diets and I hope that now you are aware, that if you eat enough fats, limiting carbs won’t hurt you!
But so far, I have never told you what to expect, when you transition to a low carb, high fat diet. And from my own experience and observations, I found out that beginning is always the hardest, and the first two weeks after the change of your diet are determinative, for the outcome- i.e. if you are gonna keep on eating good or the withdrawal at the beginning is gonna make you quit!
In other words, today I will try to sum up, what to expect during the first one to two weeks after going on a ketone diet( low carb, high fat diet).
A lot of people limit their carb intake and increase fat intake. At the beginning they are really enthusiastic, but after the first couple days, they feel weariness. That is the moment, when their mind starts playing them a trick- confusing questions start popping up, like “ How could be this diet considered healthier than the standard diet, if it makes you feel so tired?”
Truth is that in order for your body to switch from using carbs as main fuel, to burning fat as fuel, you need to give it some time. Just like for every change in your life, you need some time to get used to it, your body also needs time to adapt to using fat!
Solution to the problem: My advice would be, the first one to two weeks focus on the quality of your food, i.e. forget about calorie calculations and goals for negative calorie balance- this will just make it harder, because it will contribute to the feeling of fatigue. Instead, increase your fat intake, even if at first you are exceeding your usual, daily, calorie intake.
If you usually eat around 1800 calories, now try eating 2000-2200, and the increase of the calories should be coming from fats!
Thus you will feel more sated and you will fight the signs of fatigue, you will have more strength.
When you adapt to burning fat as fuel, you could go back to your normal calorie intake, so it can be compatible with your body composition goals!
In case you have a bad breath, when you start eating high fat, do not be scared, because this is normal at the beginning! The bad breath, is a consequence of the production of ketones and it is a sign that you are in ketosis.
Solution: Make sure you drink enough water, and eat more green, leafy vegetables. This should help. If you increase your carb intake, the bad breath will disappear, but if you overdo the carbs, you will be kicked out of ketosis. So try to add some berries to your meals, it should decrease the “bad breath effect”.
During the first 2-3 days you could have headache. This is still normal, because before that your diet, consisted of a lot of carbs and when you limit carb intake you will go in a withdrawal. Even if it sounds funny, that is the real reason, because carbs are really addictive! But your headache should be gone in 2-3 days.
4.Unbearable desire to eat carbs and sweets
This is probably the hardest thing to overcome. The reason is that till this moment your body relied on carbs as a main fuel source, and when you limit them, the glycogen supplies in your liver and your muscles will deplete. Then, you will feel the urge to eat carbs. If you don’t give in to the urge, and keep eating high fat, in a couple days your body should adapt to burning fat as fuel and you won’t have such moments!
Solution: In case you have a strong desire to eat carbs, my advice is to eat a little more fat. In my case bacon helped a lot. I ate a little more bacon, and I became immortal! 😉
Cramps… Why do you have them? You know that carbs retain water. When you limit them and you begin a ketone diet, you could become a little dehydrated the first week, because your body will dump the retained water. Thus the levels of electrolytes(potassium, calcium,magnesium, sodium) in your body will be low. Electrolytes conduct electronic impulses( seems logical, right?), that make your muscle cells to contract. That means, when you don’t have enough electrolytes you will have cramps.
Solution: Drink more water, don’t limit your salt intake too much, eat foods that have potassium,calcium and magnesium and in addition use the corresponding supplements, that will help you balance your electrolytes.
Well, this is what I can think of. If somebody can think of something more, just share it in the comments below! Don’t forget that these “side effects” are typical for the first one to two weeks and if you keep on feeling like this, something ain’t right and you should check yourself at the doctor, because this is for sure not part of the diet.
After the first two weeks you should start feeling energetic and strong. The fatigue and headache should be long gone!
If you are already fat adapted, can you think of some other “side effects” during the first week? Share them in the comments!
And for the rest of you, are you gonna try a high fat, low carb diet?
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