Eating eggs benedict for breakfast and cheeseburgers for dinner sounds like a dream come true. But that’s reality when you’re following a typical keto meal plan. You’re telling your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. That said, the keto diet only works if you’re consistently in ketosis.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by an increase in ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are produced in response to inadequate glucose. Normally, your body converts carbohydrates into glucose to fuel its energy needs. But if you have an inadequate supply of carbohydrates, there’s no glucose. As a result, the liver starts breaking down fat cells to produce ketone bodies and fatty acids, which are then used for energy.
What are the benefits of ketosis?
While keto diet advocates tout numerous health benefits of ketosis, most are anecdotal. There is, however, one obvious reason for wanting to achieve ketosis: the coveted weight-loss effect.
Since ketosis burns fat for energy, body composition is sure to evolve. Pair the high-fat ketogenic diet with regular strength training, and you have a good recipe for leaning out and developing muscle definition.
Plus, with a few keto diet essentials on hand, this low-carb approach can be completely satisfying – and actually quite filling.
8 Signs of Ketosis
So how do you know if you’re in ketosis like the fat-burning machine you hope to be? These are the tell-tale ketosis symptoms:
1. Quick weight loss – The first clue you’re in a ketosis state is if you notice the number on the scale drop drastically. This happens, because your body is shedding excess water and stored carbs, resulting in rapid weight loss. If you stay in ketosis, you’ll continue to lean out. However, you may not notice a big change in pounds, because you’re now burning body fat instead of water weight.
2. Dry mouth and increased thirst – If you can’t quench your thirst, don’t panic. This is a positive sign of ketosis. Switching to a ketogenic diet means losing water and electrolytes quickly, because you’ve eliminated processed foods (aka high amounts of sodium). Be sure to replenish electrolytes by sipping on organic coconut water, adding an electrolyte drink mix to plain water and even sprinkling a little salt on your food.
3. Bad breath – Bad breath is not a pleasant ketosis symptom, but it does disappear over time. Your body just needs to adjust and find a use for all those ketone bodies. Excess ketones, called acetone, come out through your breath. Luckily, you can easily combat stinky breath by brushing your teeth more often, adding an essential oil to water or chewing on sugar-free mints.
4. The keto flu – Common side effects at the beginning of the keto diet can make you feel so run down you think you have the flu. You may experience fatigue, headaches, irritability, dizziness and/or nausea. The good news is these ketosis symptoms won’t last long – probably just a week or so. You can help ease the suffering by eating more healthy fats, adding a few more grams of carbs, drinking more water or getting in a good sweat session. Try to remember this is temporary, and it’s a good sign that your body is now burning fat.
5. Decreased energy – Even if you don’t feel all the symptoms of the keto flu, you may just feel tired. A drop in energy can severely affect your workouts. While this is another good sign of ketosis, it can be discouraging. During this time, do what you can in the gym. Use less weight, take longer breaks between sets, shorten cardio sessions and add an extra rest day if you need it. After a few weeks, you’ll be back to your normal workouts and burning even more fat.
6. Increased energy – On the other hand, you may quickly feel more energy once you’ve reached ketosis. For some, it happens sooner than others. Nevertheless, one of the best signs of ketosis is increased energy. It may take some time, but you’ll eventually feel more focused and have less brain fog. Why? It could be because you no longer have extreme spikes in blood sugar, followed by those hard crashes.
7. Restless sleep – Ever noticed how sleepy you get after a carb-heavy meal? Now that you aren’t consuming very many carbs, your body doesn’t have that trigger to snooze. After a few weeks, your body will likely adapt and have no trouble falling asleep. In the meantime, these relaxing bedtime tips can help: sip on warm Yogi Bedtime® herbal tea, take a hot bath and create a soothing environment with an aromatherapy diffuser. The scent of lavender essential oil will surely calm you down.
8. Digestive problems – It’s common to experience stomach distress at the onset of ketosis. Diarrhea and constipation are most likely the result of consuming higher amounts of fat than your digestive system is used to handling. The effects should only be temporary. However, if you find these issues are not going away, add more low-carb vegetables to your diet. You may also need to cut back on the fat and add it back in gradually.