I’ve written about the low carb flu before, and if you just landed on my site looking for information I suggest you read that post. It describes the symptoms of the low carb flu and offers some solutions if you’re suffering.
Going into ketosis isn’t easy for everyone
I’ve been on a low carb diet now for just over 3 years and in that time I’ve gone in and out of ketosis a few times. Sometimes because I had a few too many cheat days and kicked myself out of ketosis (if you do that, stay calm and keto on) and 2-3 times for medical reasons. I have a nasty autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis and take even nastier medication for it, and sometimes I’ve had to take a short break from my low carb diet due to sever stomach problems. I like to stay on it though, because it helps with pain and inflammation.
Anyway, that was a bit off topic. What I wanted to tell you is that I’ve been through the low carb flu every single time I’ve gone back into ketosis. I’ve learned what helps me the most and I really understand how mentally challenging it is to be in that place.
How does it really feel?
For me, it’s rough. The first day starts out ok but as the day progresses I start to feel light headed, a little shaky and usually I get a headache and nausea. Usually I manage the first day just fine and stay on top of it with lots of water, fatty and salty foods, and painkillers for my head. I go to bed early since I’m pretty exhausted.
The next day is harder. The symptoms from day 1 intensify and I feel genuinely sick. That’s where the tough mental part kicks in. Not only is my body craving carbs, but my brain is working against me, telling me this is not right, that I can’t go on like this and bringing back all the justifications I’ve sold myself over the years of eating unhealthy. I’m not being overly dramatic when I tell you that right then I feel like there’s a hole in my soul that I need to fill, everything feels wrong and the easiest thing in the world would be to eat a piece of bread or a candy bar. DO. NOT. GIVE.IN.
If you’ve read the post I linked on top you´ll see that I have plenty advice for people in this situation, but I can also tell you that sometimes the low carb flu is so bad the tricks don’t work. So after I’ve followed my own advice, eaten this and that, had broth, tons of water and everything else on the list and still feel like death. I do one little trick that has worked for me the last 5 times I’ve gone into ketosis.
My one final trick to kick the low carb flu
- Eat 1 quarter or up to half (absolute maximum) an apple.
- You have to follow this exactly, and if you don’t think you can handle it or it´ll make you go on a carb binge, don’t do it.
- Only do this if you feel absolutely, really, really horrible.
- Only do it ONE TIME. Not again later in the day and not the following days. It´ll probably just make the low carb flu last longer.
- Only do it if you’ve tried everything I suggest in my earlier post about the low carb flu.
- When I say apple, I mean a medium size apple, not a huge Jonagold apple or similar.
- Keep in mind that you’re not “cheating” or breaking your diet. It’s a quarter of an apple, not a bag of fries. It’s a one time only deal, not the end of the world.
- It might not work for you like it works for me. Ketosis seems to do different things to different people.
What do you do next?
I do this apple thing because it works for my low carb flu in regards of nausea, headaches and shaking. When I’ve recovered a bit I take the opportunity and eat a nice, big low carb meal with lots of fat and salt (lite salt preferably for the potassium) and drink plenty of water. Somehow, for me, the keto flu subsides after this but if I feel it starting to rear its ugly head again I eat a meal with lots of low carb veggies or have a small bowl of raspberries with whipped cream, it seems to do the trick. If you do that, just make sure it fits into your carb allowance for the day. When I started out I usually kept carbs under 20 a day but now since I’ve learned what my body can handle I stay under 50 carbs a day and it doesn’t affect my weight loss or kick me out of ketosis.
I really hope my posts about the low carb flu help you out. It’s amazing how hard it can be, physically and mentally, but remember that it does go away and you´ll feel more energetic than before and let’s not forget: lose weight!
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