Whether you’re new to a ketogenic way of eating or a veteran low-carber, as long as you’ve been on Facebook and in a keto group, you’ve invariably seen the ‘Oh No I Cheated, What Do I Do?’ posts. There are many of these, and often they are from newbies who are of the opinion that if they cheat once – whether it’s a snack, a full meal, an entire day, etc – that they are going to be gracelessly cast out of the keto kingdom and shunned forever.
Which, of course, is not the case. Here’s the fact of the matter: everyone has “cheated”. It’s not always because of temptation. Sometimes it’s because we’re still learning how to eat keto. You haven’t figured out how to track macros yet, or you’re unintentionally tracking them incorrectly. Or it’s because you gave in to temptation. Which is what happened to me.
Out with friends on a weekend night, strict keto for 14 months. I hadn’t had so much as a sip of alcohol or a bit of sugar beyond what was naturally in the vegetables or 85% or higher dark chocolate I ate once in a while. Bunless burger for dinner, then back to someone’s house for cards and board games. And out came the ice cream. EVERYONE was eating it. I stared at it. Politely refused. Everyone watched me staring at the ice cream for the next hour like a tiger stalking prey. Long story short, I gave in. Ate three bowls. And it took me two weeks then of restarting keto, cheating, and restarting again before I recommitted.
Here’s what I learned during that process: keto would be waiting for me when I was ready again. Here’s what you have to ask yourself: why are you doing keto? Whether you are choosing to follow this way of eating because you are trying to lose weight, improve your fitness, clear brain fog, reverse a disease, manage a physical condition, or as an adjunct therapy along with other treatments, you have to want the results you’re trying to get and be willing to work for them.
Remember your why and start back up when you’re ready. Not everyone is following strict keto, as there are other varieties of the ketogenic and low carb diet. But if strict keto is what you’re doing, I recommend you start again as soon as possible after you have your unplanned cheat. It’ll take anywhere from 12-18 hours to a few days to get back into ketosis. But if you decide you want to wait longer, that’s fine. Keto Quest (and the ketogenic diet) will be waiting for you when you’re ready.
by Chris Wolf