Falling off the ketogenic wagon never feels great – I’ve been there, done that many times.

Especially in the early days.

I know that feeling of being disappointed with yourself and frustration at seemingly being back at square one.

In those first few months, what would happen to me is I’d have a couple of splendid weeks, where I wasn’t feeling hungry, I could feel my clothes getting looser, and everything was going well.

And then, totally unexpectedly, the carb cravings would hit. I’d go through a day or two of feeling this kind of tension and ridiculously insane desire for carbs. I ‘d resist and resist until a part of my brain that didn’t seem to be me would take over, and I’d find myself stood in front of the cupboard with a piece of bread in one hand and a packet of crisps in the other.

What then would follow was a 3-day binge on pretty much any carb I could get my hands on. Followed by feeling pissed at myself and fed up at having to start back at the beginning.

After the fourth or fifth time of this happening, I decided I had to really figure out what was going on here. Why was I falling off the wagon and how could I make it so that this didn’t happen.

Here’s what I realised:

First of all, if I was living in a way which meant there was a possibility of ‘cheating’ or ‘falling off the wagon’ – that meant I was essentially on a diet.

And I didn’t want to be on a diet.

I wanted just to be eating in a way that felt good and satisfying and which also led to weight loss and better health.

I didn’t want to be eating in order to get to a destination, I wanted to be living my life now, eating each day in a way that just brought me more and more benefits – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Secondly, I wanted to be in a position where if I did eat fall off the wagon, that was ok, and I could just hop back onto the ketosis train immediately afterward.

Because I need to keep things real.

The truth is, sometimes at the cinema I will eat popcorn. Or on one of my kid’s birthdays, I will have a piece of cake. I didn’t want this normal living and enjoying life to be the end of the world. I wanted a way to get back into my lovely ketosis state quickly, easily and without any negative feeling towards myself.

So what’s the answer?

Don’t spend today trying to make up for yesterday.

Each day is a new day. A day in which you can fill up on all the good foods that you know will bring you closer to your goals. Yesterday was yesterday. Last week was last week.

Forget about them and just focus on today, tomorrow and getting your habits right now.

With that being said, I do have some tips that will help make life easier when you are climbing back onto the wagon:

My tips for getting back into ketosis after ‘cheating’ (aka being human).

  • Don’t extend your ‘cheat’ for any length of time just because you might as well now that you’ve fallen off the wagon. The longer you extend this period, the longer it will take to get back into ketosis. For example, the first time I fell off the wagon ended up in a 3 day carb binge, and it took a full week to get back into ketosis after that. The next time I just had some spaghetti at dinner time, and that was it – and I was back into ketosis by the end of the next day.
  • When you have ‘cheated,’ make sure you do not eat again until you are genuinely hungry. No snacking or picking at food (even keto approved food). Wait until you have genuine hunger.
  • When you do eat, make sure your next couple of meals are very high in fats and low in both carbs and protein. Ideally, your carbs should simply come from greens such as rocket or spinach.
  • Don’t try to restrict your calories in the following days, fill up on as much good nutrition as you like. This will help you to get back in balance a lot quicker than fasting. Remember, don’t spend today making up for yesterday. Keep building towards a healthier you.
  • Do some exercise. If you are healthy and strong, a HIIT workout or heavy lifting is ideal. But even going for a long stroll will do the trick. Just get your body moving and using up those glycogen reserves.
  • Be kind to yourself, take this opportunity to shower yourself in love. No punishments, just love.
  • Don’t obsessively measure your blood sugars/ketones, or anything for that matter. Just pick up where you left off and know that your body will get back into ketosis as and when it is ready.
  • Write down in your journal how you felt after eating whatever ‘cheat’ foods you did. Remembering this will help you to keep on track if or when the carb cravings hit again. Also write down how good you feel in ketosis and keep this to hand so you can read it again in emergencies!
  • Plan ahead. Learn from your mistakes and find a way to deal with the possibility of it happening again, before it actually happens. Following weekly meal plans like these that are laid out for you with recipes and grocery lists can help you to stay on track.

I no longer ‘cheat’ – ever.

And how do I manage this?

I’ve simply wiped the phrase ‘cheat’ out of my vocabulary. Yes I might eat something that isn’t on my list of perfect foods for the perfect human being who does everything perfectly all. of. the. time. And that’s fine; it doesn’t bother me.

Eating keto is a way of life, not a jail sentence.

And my aim was and still is to be free from addictive eating, obsessive mindsets and that state of not loving my body.

So, shoo away any feelings of disappointment with yourself, or feelings of negativity towards yourself, pick up your skirts and keto on!

Weekly Keto Weight Loss Meal Plans

45 thoughts on “Getting Back Into Ketosis After Cheating”

  1. Fantastic!
    This was very inspirational for me because it was not only positive but realistic. Which for me, is key!

    I myself have been doing keto for three and a half months now. I started at a size 20, and now am at 14. I never weighed myself when I began and still haven’t to this day for the mere fact of not wanting to reach a destination or ideal goal for fear that once hit, slowly make my way back to the unhealthy sedentary lifestyle I was in.

    I want this to be a lifestyle, not a diet and I practically made myself take an oath that I was beginning a new and lifelong journey. I am human and of course as I have been shrinking (which is fantastic to say as a woman, fo sho!) I have noticed my sizes change dramatic , which explains why I know a start size and where I currently am at.

    With that being said…
    Yesterday I wanted carbs so bad, the sugary, unnatural, horrible “bad guy” carbs! I ate almost a whole container of sugar cookies and three Reeses Eggs! Curse you Easter candy!!! I was so disappointed in myself the second I swallowed my last bite. And since then have been engulfed with this overwhelming swarm of guilt over me.

    This article really gave me a light at the end of a tunnel, a detour in a huge obstacle, an understanding that I AM HUMAN. It happened. I caved.

    But that was yesterday, it is today! And I made solid choices and have eaten super high in fat and about 6g of carbs total in those items.
    It helped reading this knowing to just pick back up and continue the lifestyle I have chosen. It also is a fantastic idea to journal how it made me feel caving yesterday by binge eating the processed, sugary garbage. To document the emotional and physical side effects from that slight “weakness”.

    I’ll tell you something, being in ketosis for months has felt amazing, extremely high energy levels, the positive changes in my body: physically AND mentally. Those cards have literally left me feeling ill ALL day. My body is literally crying from within in pain and agony. I feel like one of the human characters from Pixar’s Wally after intaking all of those carbs. The journal will be a very great tool to resort back to when and if those urges come back. Which we all know …THEY WILL.

    I just wanted to say I really appreciate this article and your insight, information and positive reinforcement to other women who are living the same lifestyle whom are just needing that little extra glimmer of hope and support.
    Thank you very much!

    With love,

    1. Hi Hiliary, wow! Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your experience. I have to say, I love your attitude and also that you are finding so much success on keto. Yes, we are all human and it is so important to keep things in perspective and to be gentle and loving with ourselves. The journey to health and wellbeing often teaches us so much along the way. I remember talking to a friend of mine a couple of years ago when I had, against all my good intentions, eaten a boat load of crap! She said to me – Joan, for goodness sake, it’s not like you’ve gone out and killed someone. You just ate some cake, get over it. Ha! Wise words indeed! All the very best to you, Joan. 🙂

  2. Thank you!!! I fell off the wagon last night and have been questioning if this ‘diet’ is really for me, but I know the food satisfies me more than any other ‘diet food’ and I feel better doing this. I felt kinda angry though because now and then I like to indulge in some carbs or a takeaway with my fiancé that’s not keto restricted. I need to change my viewpoint and just live life! If I eat some refined carbs once in a while it’s NOT the end of the world, I just need to get back on plan asap 🙂
    I feel better for reading your post, thank you xx

    1. Hi Elle, I’m so glad it helped you to feel better! Yes, life is absolutely for living and while I believe keto is one of the best way to live life to the full, I think it’s so, so important to keep things in perspective and to remember we’ve always got a choice. Like you said, the world isn’t going to end if you indulge in carbs on a night out, or if you have a takeaway meal. It took me a while to move away from seeing what I’m eating as either good or bad. It’s really more like a bank balance… and when you’ve been depositing plenty of healthy, keto cheques, the odd withdrawal of a ‘carb meal’ isn’t going to make much of a difference overall!

    2. So true Elle, the same as I feel! My 3 week plateau really had me discouraged but the thought of going back to feeling bad is enough to keep me onboard and to just perservere! I am 71 years old and it is late in the game to finally figure out that it is carbs that have been my downfall all these years. The good carbs in fruits and vegetables that I used to try and be “healthy” still were the source of weight gain! Who knew? I am happy for your success too!

  3. Great article, with a very important and valid point. I want keto to be a lifestyle, not a diet. If a high carb meal slips into the mix once in a great awhile, I just need to remind myself that I’m doing this to be healthy long term, and bounce back into keto eating the next day. Thanks for publishing this!

  4. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog. I was feeling really downtrodden because I ate two atkins bars today and kept telling myself how stupid that was. Those things have 22g carbs total (I usually count total and not net) and was wondering how long it would take to get back into ketosis. Just one of those super frustrating days…but it is not the end of the world as you said. I loved your tips. Thank you so much for the encouraging article. I have 30lbs to lose and seem to be at a stall, so I was in one my ‘moody’ phases. This really helped.

  5. This is very helpful. I’ve been on Keto since April and I move to different office sites every now and then and sometimes it is too hard to find Keto approved foods and I would have no choice but to eat a carb filled food for 1 meal during a day coz I don’t wanna starve and then get back to Keto again. Sometimes I would travel back to my Mom’s house and she would cook something really nice (with carbs) and I of course would have to eat. Yeah that’s cheating but now I just realized that there are just no use thinking of it. Maybe you could eat non keto food maybe once a week and it would not make any difference at all.

  6. This is a big encouragement! I have bee 6 months on this journey an the last 3 weeks on a weight loss olateau! I have lost 50 pounds with 70 more to go to weight loss goal, but my primary goal is now to stay healthy, continue feeling good and live a new life style, not a diet! I was in a mental panic because I desperately drank 4 oz of tonic water for the quinine due to severe leg cramps! The leg cramps were resolved within 10 minutesvthanks to the quinine but looking at the carbs in the nuitrition nearly made me gag! 28 g per bottle and I drank nearly a 3rd! I am not tempted to cheat with junk but sometimes like this I realize I really blew the ketosis! Finally this week I list 1/2 pound after 3 weeks of nothing so I am taking it as a big win, especially since the fat percentage really dropped with some water % elevation. This lifestyle has given me a new outlook and at 71 years of age, that is not an easy thing…lol. Thanks for the positive refocus, I will use it as a tool to getting to my goa!!

  7. This is so right on the money for me. I’m at a he end of a binge and struggling to get back… this is a welcome relief…..

  8. Very helpful article. I agree keto not a diet but a change of lifestyle and perseption of food. Thanks for the reminder it’s not cheating it’s a curve in the road.

  9. This is encouraging! I had desserts yesterday, felt terrible, moving forward today, concentrating on what good comes from KETO! THANK YOU!

  10. Thank you it really helps me a lot especially that I found my self gaining 2 kilos !!!! After one day eating pizza 💔 I went back to Keto and I totally understand that it’s life routine not day or two diet. Thank you 🙏

  11. I know this site is geared toward women but I wanted to thank you for your words, especially at the end. I’ve always been over weight and dealt with guilt, shame, etc. for years. In May I started keto at 236 lbs and dropped to 197. Ive added in apples and cashews the last two weeks (these became daily binges) and my numbers are going up and I’ve dealt with alot of “angry at myself feelings”. This article was a genuine 180 for my brain. THANK YOU!

  12. So very helpful—thank you. Attending a wedding where I know the spread will be amazing. If I don’t “feast” a bit at the event, all hell will likely break loose immediately afterward. Plus, I want to party with friends and that means a bit of alcohol and pastry. I’ve been agonizing about this but will do as you suggest starting the very next morning! XO

  13. Thank you so much for being so realistic about the ‘cheating’ on Ketosis. I have been on Ketosis for almost a year now. But only recently I fell off the wagon and have been binging on chocolates. I feel guilty and bloated and miserable. It feels as though I have to start all over again. Your article gives me hope. I would like to know that whether Intermittent fasting help me get back to keto faster? And is yes, then how should I go about it? Please suggest. TIA

  14. I’ve just had a crab binge for 2 days and I’m hating myself for it but after reading this it has actually made me feel so positive, thank you!

  15. I really needed to read this! I have been beating myself up the past few days for taking some time from Keto to enjoy the holidays. I didnt go overboard by any means, but I definitely do not like the way my body feels right now and want to get back into ketosis as soon as possible. I just need to learn from this experience and now move on. Thank you, your article has helped

  16. Thank you for this article. I was doing great. September I truly started Keto and lost about 35 lbs in about a months time. But then in October I seriously stalled, November stalled plus a couple pounds, ditto for December. It’s been hard to get back into Ketosis. I find myself automatically eating sweets, craving carbs and forget about fasting. It’s been a hard road back. But I so want to see that scale move downwards. January 2018 will be great, speaking it by faith!!

  17. Thank you for this beautiful take on accepting oneself even when one isn’t perfect ( maybe even especially because one is never perfect!) I love keto but just went off for a week for the holidays- I didn’t go crazy, but I ate what I wanted even when that meant having a cookie or a piece of fudge ! I’m feeling lousy today even though I decided to accept myself – accept that I’m not perfect– I needed this! Thank you!

  18. After a weekend of carbs, this was an awesome read! Keto is a life style..not a diet…love that! Don’t feel like a total failure…just get pick up and go!

  19. Hi Joan… I have ‘ketoing’ for almost 3 weeks – not exactly a veteran, but ya gotta start somewhere.. Today – I had 2 small pcs of pizza, at a party we had for our girl’s ministry @ church. I gotta say – it felt so good to be eating pizza again! But – I did what you said & didn’t beat myself up. Tonite I went back to my keto leftovers from last nite. My clothes are fitting a bit looser, and although I am still feeling a bit weaker, I think I am getting used to it.. I also think I am sleeping better, and if I want to sleep in an extra half hour, I do, as my working days are over. Wanted to ask – what do you think of those raspberry ketones I see advertised? Would they help, as the ads say? I also take a lot of vitamins.

    1. Hi Lovey! It’s sounds like you are doing great, and a huge well done for being able to enjoy pizza and just get straight back on the keto train! I haven’t tried those raspberry ketones I’m afraid so I can’t offer any advice there…. sorry! Well done again. 🙂

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