I want to preface all of this by saying I have zero medical knowledge and all of this is purely anecdotal. I also don’t know if the ketogenic diet is a healthy option. But I do know that eating keto was a boon for me.
When I went keto for six months straight earlier this year, I finally lost the stubborn post-baby chub and I felt amazing. I’m talking no more midday fatigue, no trouble falling asleep, an actual human amount of energy, great skin… It was awesome.
That being said, there is one part of keto that blows (besides the lack of candy, pasta, and bread) and it’s called ‘keto flu.’ It’s the initial ‘rebooting’ of your body, when it switches from running off of carbs to running off of fats, and the transition can get super unpleasant. Here are the symptoms I experienced during my seven days of keto flu, and the ones I’m currently grappling with as I transition back into it.
1. Trouble sleeping
I already have pretty bad insomnia, so when it was compounded with keto-flu insomnia, I thought I might be dying. It’s the sort of tired where you’re exhausted, body and mind, but you just can’t quite fall asleep. I toss and I turn, I stare at the ceiling, I count to one hundred, I think of white space, I meditate… Nothing. My body is just not gonna fall asleep until it’s good and depleted, and for me, that’s usually around two a.m. It makes waking up at six to take Lucy to school all the more fun.
2. Weird-smelling pee
Yeah, I know, pee is gross and I’m gross for peeing, but I wanna be straight with you here. When you’re switching to ketosis, your pee gets cloudy and has a weird odor, sort of like asparagus pee. Don’t let it freak you out; this is normal for the first week or so. If it continues beyond two weeks or you feel discomfort, go see your doctor. Cuz that might not be ketosis, and bladder infections are no fun. Handle that.
This is honestly the mildest symptom but it’s still irritating. While you’re training your body to want things other than carbs and sugar, it’s fighting back and saying give me sugar. This means you feel hungry a lot of the time – like, all the time – and specifically for junk. Fight it; don’t give in. Just one bowl of ice cream could undo all of your progress, and if you’re already in the thick of keto flu, you’re close to the other end! You can do this.
I’m not someone prone to getting headaches and, knock on wood, I’ve never had a migraine, but keto flu tests my limits. Instead I have a dull achiness huffing around up there all day, just enough to make everything a liiiittle bit worse. It’s really emphasized at night, when I lay down to go to sleep only to find that… I can’t. Thanks, keto flu insomnia.
5. Brain fog
Alright, so this is the symptom that I hate the most because I was so unprepared for it. I read before starting keto that some people experienced ‘brain fog,’ but having never experienced it – not truly, not like this – I had no idea what to prepare for. So I sort of… dismissed it outright. I was a fool.
The last time I started keto, I was in the middle of a huge work project writing a long training eBook for a very nitpicky client. Usually this would’ve been a difficult but simple undertaking. Thanks to keto flu, it became grueling and tear-inducing. No matter how hard I tried to retain the information I’d just researched, my mind was like a sieve; I was basically mentally impotent, and I had to push my deadline back a full two days.
All of this to say, I’m currently suffering from keto flu, but I ain’t mad. Keto worked for me last time, and I miss the energy and perks of a carb-less existence. I do think we should all be wary of diets that push bacon and butter as ‘snack’ options, but I try to keep my keto balanced by making most of my plate veggies and filling the rest in around it.
Do you have keto tips or observations? Keto flu horror stories? Dieting stories in general? I wanna hear ’em, all of them. Comment here or find us on social media, I love you all.
image courtesy of katerina