Sticking with a high-fat, low-carb diet can be challenging enough when all the stars align, and circumstances are in our favor.
But following the ketogenic diet when your routine is interrupted is an entirely different story. If you’re having trouble staying motivated on Keto while on vacation, over the holidays, or during crisis, take these tips into consideration.
It is natural to let our diets and health habits slip when our routines are interrupted. And it happens often — over the carb-infested holidays, while traveling for work or pleasure, when company comes to visit, and even the during the current Coronavirus pandemic.
We find ourselves indulging in more alcohol, making more non-keto friendly meals to accommodate non-keto-ers, we kiss portion control goodbye, and sometimes, we have little power over our options.
While staying in ketosis may seem like a huge challenge — even impossible — under these circumstances, it doesn’t have to be.
How can you stay motivated regardless of situations that may interrupt your routine? What are the best strategies to stay on track, even when we are in a challenging or tempting position?
The odds are not always in our favor.
Keto Cheat Day: How easy is it to fall out of ketosis?
Easier than we’d like to admit.
You had a keto cheat day. We get it, it happens. However, the nature of the ketogenic diet asserts that when you fall off too hard, and thus fall out of ketosis, you’re no longer technically “on” the keto diet.
And unfortunately, all it takes is one day of exceeding your net carbohydrates and you’re out. But what does “falling off” entail? Unfortunately, consuming even a small amount of non-keto-friendly foods can take you out of ketosis, even a single cheat day.
Something as small as consuming an ear of corn or a loaded baked potato — one night only! — can put you over the edge.
So, you can imagine what can happen when you feel unmotivated for an extended period, or when your circumstances prohibit you from consuming the right foods.
Staying in a state of ketosis boils down to precision and math. You’ll need to cap your carbohydrates at 20 to 50 grams per day, up your fat to 70 to 80% of your total daily calories and keep protein at no more than 20%.
As soon as you re-introduce carbs to your body, your system will give them preferential treatment and use them for energy. Which you don’t want.
5 Tips for Staying Motivated on Keto
The ketogenic diet can be intimidating as it is. Throw in a 10-day trip to an all-inclusive resort or a month of holiday parties and you may wonder how in the world you will stay on track.
Have no fear: the keto diet can be manageable while traveling, socializing, on quarantine, and even celebrating your favorite holidays. Here’s how:
1. Keep Track of What You Eat
If you are on the ketogenic diet, then you should already be familiar with macros. After all, if you aren’t mindful of your macros, you’ll have difficulty tracking your daily net carbohydrates. And, if you are overeating carbs, you won’t achieve or maintain ketosis.
While you should always have a general understanding of what you are consuming, using free tools like MyFitnessPal and Carb Manager is helpful for getting the exact macro counts of over one million foods, including brand name items.
So, if you’re on vacation or worried about over-indulging at your company’s potluck Christmas party, you can easily look up your options to see if you have room in your daily allowance.
However, tracking what you eat as you eat it doesn’t need to be an arduous chore! A general review should be enough to keep you on track.
2. Educate Yourself
No, we don’t mean to sound sassy! As you track your foods using the tools we mentioned, familiarize yourself with the approximate macros of your commonly eaten foods so you’re always aware of how many carbs to eat to stay in ketosis, and so you don’t have to look it up every time you’re hungry.
This way, when you are thrown off your routine, you will have a general idea of what falls in the safe zone and what should be avoided.
It’s true when they say that knowledge is power!
3. Plan Accordingly & Do Your Research
Whether you are preparing your own meals during the coronavirus crisis or traveling to a resort, it’s crucial that you plan ahead so your routine isn’t drastically interrupted. If you want to succeed, preparation is key.
For example, given the current state that we are in with COVID-19, we are all forced to plan ahead.
Grocery shopping trips are less frequent, and when we do go, we find ourselves doing more of a “shopping haul” that will get us by for a longer period than normal.
While it may be tempting to order takeout or eat anything and everything that is available, plan your keto-friendly meals in advance so you’re always on target to meet your goals.
Many grocery stores offer keto-friendly food options, so it’s always a smart idea to do your research before shopping so you can shop with purpose, and so you aren’t tempted by or forced to buy items that don’t fit into your diet.
When your fridge is full of keto-friendly foods, you will be more inclined and more motivated to meal prep and stick with the program.
If you’re headed out to a restaurant on vacation or going out for date night, call ahead to ensure that you will have options available and to let them know of your keto diet restrictions.
These days, restaurants are used to accommodating dietary requests and are more than happy and able to help.
If you are mapping out your next vacation, do some research before you even book your trip so you don’t end up in a trap. Ask yourself:
- Will I have access to a grocery store?
- Are there many restaurant options available, and what are their cuisines?
- Will I be able to communicate my dietary restrictions?
- Do my accommodations include a refrigerator and a kitchen?
While vacation is the time to be stress-free and enjoy yourself, you don’t want to end up falling off-track and losing the progress you have made so far.
4. Pack Keto-Friendly Snacks
No one really wants to be the person who pulls out their own snacks while on vacation or at a get-together, but if you’re serious about staying in ketosis, you may not have any other options.
What’s more important, how you look or how you feel? Regardless of where you’re going, it’s seriously helpful to pack some keto-friendly snacks.
Non-perishable snacks are the way to go no matter where you’re traveling and by what means, and anything that is temperature controlled can be enjoyed en-route.
Low-carb crackers, keto-friendly nuts, Low Karb granola, string cheese, beef jerky… the list goes on! So, while your travel buddies are gorging on nachos and other unhappy snacks, you’ll be covered.
If you don’t have to use them, no problem! Better safe than sorry.
5. Get Keto-Inspired
We know that even the most determined can feel unmotivated from time to time, and circumstances that throw us off our routine don’t help. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole! Find motivation from those who inspire you!
Sometimes our motivation is lost due to a lack of creativity. Other times we just need a swift kick in the butt to remind ourselves why we started the diet in the first place, and how great it feels to stick with it.
When you feel yourself falling off, regardless of the circumstances behind why, treat yourself to some keto inspiration. Social media is a goldmine for food and health inspo that can help you think outside the box and refocus on the strategy behind the diet.
If you’re running out of meal ideas, create a Pinterest account to find new and exciting Keto recipes that you haven’t tried before. If you’re not seeing the results, or if your cheat day has turned into more of a cheat week, follow Instagram influencers who focus on healthy lifestyles and success stories, as well as hashtags related to the #ketodiet.
Sometimes seeing delicious keto recipes and before and after photos of keto dieters is enough to wake us up! Facebook groups are also a great way to connect with people just like you when you need to talk to someone who can relate with you.
If you’re looking for motivation to stay on keto, look no further than yourself. It’s normal to run into roadblocks while following a diet with strict guidelines, but there are many ways you can control your own narrative.
Whether your stuck in self-isolation, dining with people who don’t follow the same diet, or traveling to an unknown territory, use these tips to stay encouraged and determined during your ketogenic journey!