Having successfully hit your weight loss goals right on point (or maybe a few pounds extra), you are all set to get back to your normal diet.
Though you cannot wait to eat all your favorite carb-rich food, the thought of gaining weight is dreadful. That leaves you begging the question, how to properly come off a keto diet?
The best way is to transition out of ketosis at a gradual pace, as consuming carb-rich foods can suddenly be harmful. Start with increasing your carb intake slowly; the recommended increase is around 10g a week. If you find yourself gaining weight faster and feeling worse, then know that it's time to stop increasing your carb intake.
Your carb intake isn't the only deciding factor of your journey off of keto. While you're increasing your carb intake week-by-week, you'll need to start introducing proteins and decreasing the fats you've been consuming.
Walk along this piece to explore the best ways of going off a keto diet without gaining weight!
Best ways to come off a keto diet
Getting on a keto diet took planning; there's no reasoning why getting off keto shouldn't require a detailed plan as well! A detailed plan that you either create yourself or, with the help of a dietician, will help you keep the weight off and ease yourself back into a regular diet.
When you plan out your entry into a regular diet, we have a few tips that you'll have to keep in mind. While the plan depends from person to person, it is downright irresponsible to switch from a ket diet to regular food with no planning.
We'll get to the nitty-gritty of it in a bit, but here's what you'll need to watch for when you're planning your path off keto.
Start With Healthy Carbs
Getting back into the habit of eating carbs isn't going to be easy. Your body won't immediately take to a whole meal of carbs after months of being off them.
However, starting to eat carbs once more should be the first step you take when coming off a keto diet.
The carbs you choose to eat need to be high in protein in fiber. In other words, the carbs need to be healthy. You can't go straight for the doughnuts and pasta when you come off keto—start with whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, and such to help your body adjust to the addition of carbs to your diet.
Even when adding healthy carbs back to your diet, start slow and work yourself up to a comfortable point. Start by adding carbs to a single meal a day for a few weeks, not more than an extra 10g a week, and see what you feel like. If all goes well, you can slowly increase the amount of carbohydrates you eat.
If you start to find that you're feeling more lethargic, sick, and unwell, you're probably going too fast with the carbs. Returning to the pre-keto diet that wasn't working for you won't help, and such symptoms indicate that you're slipping back.
Once you're comfortable with a certain amount of unprocessed carbs, you can slowly bring back the processed sugars that you've been craving.
However, understand that too much pasta, doughnuts, and pizza will take you back to your pre-keto days.
Don't Swap Fat For Sugar
A normal keto diet keeps you off sugars almost completely. Not only do your sugar cravings go way down, but you'll also find yourself feeling a lot better without the processed sugar messing with your health.
Sugar has also proven to be extremely addictive. The last thing you want is to relapse into sugar addiction. It's hard to shake and can spike your blood sugars to dangerous levels.
We're not just talking about candy and chocolate but natural sugars as well! Too much honey and certain fruits like dates will spike your blood sugar.
When coming off keto, it is best to limit your intake to about 4g of added sugar. Any more than this can have you addicted to sugar and bring back the cravings in full force.
Whether it's the cheese you ate on a keto diet or the doughnuts you're hoping to eat when coming off, moderation is key. After all, you are still on a diet.
Transitioning from a diet as strict as keto to regular eating habits is challenging for several reasons, mostly because of the portion sizes.
Once off keto, many go haywire with the portions of carbs and sugar they're taking in. Not only is this bad for your weight gain but also your health. You'll definitely face stomach problems and other painful consequences.
When transitioning back, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the size of a single serving of carbs. Stick to a single serving size until you're sure your body is comfortable and ready to move to larger portion sizes and more processed carbs.
Typically this takes around 14 days, but depending on your body, the time could differ.
Keep the Habits
Shifting your body from a significantly low-carb, calorie-deficit diet to a high-carb, calorie-rich one, out of the blue can have ad. You have to make the change with ease while still maintaining healthy eating and workout practices.
When starting keto, you may not have been in the best shape of your life, but you formed some incredibly good habits that you might be tempted to quit. Whether it is hydration, exercising, or balanced meals, you need to keep the habits you maintained during keto.
What happens when you get off keto?
The changes when you're coming off keto go beyond the mental satisfaction of being able to eat carbs again. Your body goes through several changes when you're coming off keto.
When you're coming off a keto diet and start to introduce carbs, you'll find that your body is using glucose rather than the stored fat during workouts and through the day. The process of ketosis is going to stop when you end the keto diet. So be prepared for the energy during your workouts again!
A keto diet comprises heavily of high-fat proteins. That means that you're probably not getting enough proteins to put on muscle mass. So, when you get off keto, you're bound to build muscle which is great news if you're over 30.
A big reason the keto diet is so controversial is the lack of antioxidant-rich foods in the diet. When you're off keto, you can eat the rainbow and reduce the inflammation in the body.
What to expect after getting off keto?
Quitting a keto diet isn't as easy as you'd expect. You can't just quit eating a high-fat diet and introduce the regular amount of carbs you require without some backlash. However, not all the effects are bad. So, if you're coming off keto soon, then here's what you can look out for.
Fluctuations in blood sugar are normal when coming off keto. However normal, it differs in intensity from person to person. While some may not experience much fluctuation, others might experience major spikes and crashes with the slightest increase in carbs.
The fluctuations in blood sugar don't come alone; they're usually accompanied by mood changes, hyperactivity, jitteriness, and fatigue. If you're experiencing any symptoms, don't ignore them; please visit the doctor.
Before you pledge your undying loyalty to a keto diet, let us explain. Keto is massively successful at cutting down the numbers on the scale. The thought of all your hard work and restraint going down the drain is scary and disheartening.
However, you have to remember that a lot of the weight you initially lost on keto was water weight. When you reintroduce carbs, you're introducing foods with higher water content. One gram of carb is accompanied by four grams of water, so you'll feel like you've gained weight after quitting keto.
Once again, stop hiding from the carbs you need. Bloating and intestinal issues are common among those coming off keto, but it is always temporary. While the carbs you start with are healthy, it isn't always easy for your body to digest again. But, in a few weeks, you'll be bloating-free.
Surprisingly, there is a positive that you might not have considered - energy. Carbs contain glucose (the healthy kind) that fuels your body's muscles and your brain.
So, you'll be more energetic and clear-headed.
Many people have reported doing better during HIIT workouts and endurance training. You won't be as 'foggy' during the day, and your exercising gets better!
One thing you'll probably miss from your keto diet is the lack of hunger pangs. A keto diet satisfies every sort of craving that your body has, and when you're back on carbs, you'll be feeling a lot more hunger pangs and cravings than you're used to.
When Should You Get Off Keto?
The ketogenic diet isn't the most widely propagated. Researchers have been looking for years as to whether the diet has long-term effects and whether the diet is safe. A big reason to quit keto after the six-month mark is the health benefits.
A keto diet is highly restrictive, so there's no telling what it'll do to your body if you cut out important food groups and carbs for extended periods. Nutrition deficiencies are the least of your worries if you're already facing issues such as heart disease or diabetes.
However, even if you don't have pre-existing conditions, there are certain warning signs to stop your keto diet.
- You're nauseous and throwing up constantly
- You have absolutely no energy
- The headaches are getting unbearable
- The diarrhea isn't letting up
- You're feeling socially isolated since you can't eat the same foods
- You're heavily constipated
- There's no weight loss
A ketogenic diet is an incredible tool that tricks the body into using its own mechanisms to lose weight. While incredibly restrictive, the diet has proven to be extremely effective for those looking to lose weight. With all its success come some warnings from doctors, nutritionists, and dieticians alike.
It is especially true when you're coming off keto. Your body is a delicate thing, and changing up its diet so drastically by introducing doughnuts and pizza can hurt your body and its progress. Take it slow, make a plan, and enjoy the doughnuts in time!
When you reintroduce carbs into your diet, you're automatically introducing more fiber and water content. A lot of the weight gain that is said to happen when you stop keto is because of the water retention from the carbs you've started to consume.
So, while you gain a little weight, if you take the right steps, you won't lose the progress you made on keto!
If you want to stop keto due to whatever reason, you'll see effects such as:
Technically you can get off keto for a few days, but you'll be wasting all the progress you've made. Even if you're off the diet for a day, your body will fall out of the fat-burning mode it was on during ketosis.
The minute carbs enter your system, your body automatically prefers them to burn and create fuel. So, you can get off keto for a few days, but when you're back, you'll be starting the process of ketosis from scratch. So, it'll take you anywhere between 1-4 days to regain the state of ketosis.