Can someone answer a keto question for me?

Can you have cheat meals on keto or by doing so does it take a really long time to get back into ketosis?

I have well over a hundred pounds to lose and have been plugging away with adhering to my calories and moderate carb diet. It’s working but progress is slow. I’ve been fighting keto for a while because I want this to be a lifestyle change and know I can’t do keto for life. I do have some medical conditions that would greatly benefit from weight loss. My body responds well to low carb and thought I may give keto a try however I have work functions frequently where I sometimes have to eat what is served and don’t want to make a big deal about food at work. I just didn’t know if one carb laden meal would ruin the progress made or it works like any other diet and you just get back on plan the next day.

Replies

  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,881 Member
    edited January 2019
    Once in a while, it shouldn't be a big deal, especially once you've been doing it for a while and are in ketosis and adjusted to it (i.e, energy is normal, workouts normal, no keto flu). Going off weekly with a big carb meal, probably not.

    Ketosis isn't actually that important, though, even on keto you are losing due to calories. The concern is that bouncing in and out early on will probably make it hard to feel adjusted and to the extent it helps with hunger and cravings (which it doesn't for everyone) it would probably interfere with that, and you might be more likely to way overeat on days you perceive as cheat days or non diet days. You don't have to eat "big carby meals" at work functions, usually it's possible to be subtle but pick the lower carb items, IME (the key thing being to try to log and not have the whole day be a blow out).

    If you feel like this will be an issue, why not just do lower carb, if you find decreasing carbs somewhat helpful? (I find it easier to cut calories lowering carbs some, but don't do anything close to keto.) Generally, I think that figuring our what could be sustainable for you would be a good idea.
  • Running_and_Coffee
    Running_and_Coffee Posts: 811 Member
    Honestly, I'd wait to cheat until you've been at this a lot longer. And by "cheat" I mean eat non-keto foods. If you want to go over your desired calorie limit with high fat foods, I think that's fine. This isn't about weight loss in the short term--it's about getting used to the program.
  • concordancia
    concordancia Posts: 5,320 Member
    Another vote for low carb over keto. As a matter of fact, if I eat <50g of carbs consistently, I get jittery and can't sleep properly. I guess that is what other people refer to as "so much energy"? Instead, I have personalized my eating program. I eat proteins and veg with healthy fats most of the time, and go easy on the fruits and carbs when I do have them. I make sure that I drink electrolyte replacements (Ultima, for me) on my lowest carb days to avoid headaches. Some "eating what is provided" tips that I have developed:

    Skip or minimize the breads, pastas and white potatoes. For example, when eating lasagna, I just eat around the pasta. It slows me down, I get all the flavor and I don't stress over the sugars added to the sauce because I avoided the bigger carb load. Eat the filling out of a sandwich and leave most of the bread behind. If I don't have a plate and fork, I achieve this by pulling off pieces of bread and just keeping what I need to hold onto. Then I savor that last bite with the small piece of bread.

    Practice these techniques at home when not distracted by the work meeting. Have bread with dinner, but leave half of it on the plate. Have pizza with the family, but only eat the toppings,

    When there is a whole grain dinner roll or bread provided, I will prioritize that over other carbs.

    Don't drink your calories. Black coffee, or maybe with cream if provided, water is best though. If there are cocktails, just have some seltzer water.

    Log what you did eat. I don't obsess over getting it just so, but use the deck of cards, size of your thumb tip kind of guestimates.

    Get some activity.

  • LiLee2018
    LiLee2018 Posts: 1,374 Member
    Just keep doing what you're doing. Maybe every once in a while you could have a low low carb week or something, but if what you're doing is working, stick with it.
    And as others have said, one meal won't hurt, but different bodies respond differently. I cheated one day from my keto diet and it took my body about 2 weeks to get back to where I was.
  • psychod787
    psychod787 Posts: 4,088 Member
    What's a cheat meal precious? <=== doing best Gollum impression.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,161 Member
    Sounds like low carb is better for you than keto, so just stick with that :)
  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,907 Member
    If you can't maintain your keto lifestyle I would suggest just going to a regular low calorie balanced diet to lose weight. I did the low carb thing many times and lost fast then regained it. After doing low carb till I couldn't stand it I had not learned a thing because I didn't want to restrict carbs for life. The most I ever lost was around 45 lbs.

    Apparently research shows over the long haul that Keto isn't any faster than a regular low calorie diet. It just tends to start faster due to the water loss. I know others have posted links but I don't have them so you might have to search for the studies if you are interested.

    Unless your doc has told you to do a low carb high fat diet I would suggest you forget it and eat what you can live with. I lost 100 lbs on low calorie eating and have maintained for a year. It took me a year to drop about 65 and the last 35 took another year. BUT at the end I was able to live with the new lifestyle because I had learned how. Now if I try to overeat I feel sick. I just can't handle the high fat foods or large quantities.

    I know folks who have lost lots on keto and are happy with the lifestyle and I don't knock it if it works for them. We are all individuals and everyone has their own way but if you are already struggling it just might not be for you. Good luck and don't give up on losing weight just find the path that fits you.
  • Low carb for me is between 100-140 carbs, is that considered low carb? It allows me to lose weight and still eat what I like within reason which is sustainable for me. I guess I just thought really low carb would help me lose quicker which would likely help alleviate some of my issues (mostly arthritis, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis) but sustainability is probably more important. I appreciate everyone’s feedback.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,454 Member
    Sounds like lower carb is the better approach.

    Are you losing at the rate you entered in MFP when you did your set up?
    If you aren’t-

    If you have lost more than 10 lbs recalculate your calories.

    If you are not using a digital scale, start using one for everything.

    (Eating out like you have to for work can be a problem. paying attention to the size of you portions after weighing will help with that. You can just set aside what is over your eatimated portion size- no need to clear your plate)

    Double check the entries you are using against packaging, mfg websites, or the USDA.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of bad entries in the database so you have to be selective.

    Cheers, h.
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,881 Member
    Low carb for me is between 100-140 carbs, is that considered low carb?

    Sure, low or lowish carb. That's the level I ate at when I was losing (and when I had a lot to lose I was losing as fast or faster than recommended, can't imagine that keto would have made a difference). I also found it a comfortable level.
  • RAFLowCarb
    RAFLowCarb Posts: 30 Member
    One meal won't ruin your progress regardless of what diet you're on.

    What you will see particularly with Keto is a water weight spike if you have a more carb heavy meal.

    When you say your progress has been slow with calorie counting what rate of loss are you seeing?

    Why do you think Keto will be better? The studies generally show that although Keto shows a bigger drop at the beginning the rate of loss tends to even out and is no more beneficial than any other method. Sure you'll see the big water weight drop but if you already know that you're not going to stick it long term then that water weight is going to go back on at some point.

    Not quite true - a ‘cheat’ day/meal will knock you out of ketosis and it can take a few days to get back into that state. While eating Low Carb/High fat your body will most likely still be losing weight but not at the rate that it may do when in ketosis. Ketosis is really not the be-all-and-end-all though.
    Also the studies do show that low-carb is better at keeping weight off and tends to have better results over the long run that low-fat diets. Mainly because it is such a satiating way of eating.

    The original OP mentioned that he doesn’t want to be in ketosis forever. That’s good. But I do believe slot of people could and should try to think of LCHF as a lifestyle that they are going to embrace for the rest of their lives. Once a ‘goal’ weight has been reached the carbs can come back in slightly. BUT not refined carbs and NOT too much sugars! Think sweet potatoes and the occasional fruits!
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,044 Member
    edited January 2019
    RAFLowCarb wrote: »
    One meal won't ruin your progress regardless of what diet you're on.

    What you will see particularly with Keto is a water weight spike if you have a more carb heavy meal.

    When you say your progress has been slow with calorie counting what rate of loss are you seeing?

    Why do you think Keto will be better? The studies generally show that although Keto shows a bigger drop at the beginning the rate of loss tends to even out and is no more beneficial than any other method. Sure you'll see the big water weight drop but if you already know that you're not going to stick it long term then that water weight is going to go back on at some point.

    Not quite true - a ‘cheat’ day/meal will knock you out of ketosis and it can take a few days to get back into that state. While eating Low Carb/High fat your body will most likely still be losing weight but not at the rate that it may do when in ketosis. Ketosis is really not the be-all-and-end-all though.
    Also the studies do show that low-carb is better at keeping weight off and tends to have better results over the long run that low-fat diets. Mainly because it is such a satiating way of eating.

    The original OP mentioned that he doesn’t want to be in ketosis forever. That’s good. But I do believe slot of people could and should try to think of LCHF as a lifestyle that they are going to embrace for the rest of their lives. Once a ‘goal’ weight has been reached the carbs can come back in slightly. BUT not refined carbs and NOT too much sugars! Think sweet potatoes and the occasional fruits!

    Even if what you post is true, taking a couple of days to get back into ketosis isn't going to have any long term impact if it helps with sustainability over years!

    I haven't seen any peer reviewed studies that show LCHF to be better long term, can you share some?

    There are many people here who have lost weight and maintained for years without having to go low carb/keto. It's just one method of many and like any other way of eating it won't be satiating for everyone.

    PS I can't think of anything worse than eating sweet potato 😂