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getting into ketosis

Getting into ketosis is the whole point of the ketogenic diet and I understand the desire to get there as quickly as possible.

If you’re just starting out on your keto weight loss journey or you’ve fallen off the wagon and want to reset your body, you’re probably wondering how to get into ketosis fast.

After stumbling in only my first week of my 90-day keto challenge and knocking myself out of ketosis, I was quite motivated to get back into a state of ketosis as quickly as possible.

Here’s how I got back into ketosis less than 24 hours after realizing I was no longer producing ketones for fuel.

Not sure what the keto diet is? Check out my beginner’s guide to the keto diet here. Want to try a guided keto journey for 30 days? Check this out!

What is Ketosis

Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body is burning fat to be used as energy. On the standard western diet, we typically get our energy from carbohydrates.

Our body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) to be used as energy which is fine, however most of us are eating way too many carbs (and sugar) and so our bodies store the excess as glycogen and eventually fat.

When you eat fewer carbs, you force your body to metabolise the glycogen stores and use them up for energy. This is the beginning of the ketosis process.

After around 24 hours, your glycogen stores should be all used up and your body will start looking for alternative fuel sources. This is where fat comes in.

The liver will begin to break down fat into ketones to be used as a source of energy. The ketones are dispersed into your blood for your brain, cells and other organs to use as energy. This is a perfectly normal process and some doctors would even say that fat is a better energy source than glucose. This is because of the additional benefits of being in ketosis listed below.

As you continue to eat fewer and fewer carbs, eventually staying below less than 20 grams of carbs per day, your body stays in this constant state of ketosis, using the fat on your body and the fat you eat as a source of energy instead of carbs like it used to.

Being in a state of ketosis means turning your body literally into a fat-burning machine. Isn’t this what we all dreamed of?

Is It Good For Your Body to Be in Ketosis?

Being in ketosis is a perfectly healthy metabolic state for your body. Studies have shown that it is a viable option for obese people to lose weight long-term. (Another study here)

The quality of your fat is important when on the keto diet. It’s easy to want to eat piles of cheese, butter and bacon daily but healthier sources of fat such as avocados, nuts, fish and olive/coconut oil will do your body much better and should be relied on more to meet your daily fat intake.

Once you’ve reached your goal weight, you may want to cut back on the high amount of fat and increase your carb intake to 50-100g a day ensuring you continue to get these carbs from healthy sources such as fruit and other veggies in order to maintain your weight.

I think this is a good plan for keto maintenance as there are no studies on the effects of all that animal fat on our bodies in the long term and to me, balance is key.

No need to completely omit otherwise healthy fruits, legumes and root vegetables for your entire life now that you’ve learned to not rely on them as your main source of calories.

The Benefits of Ketosis

Some other benefits of ketosis outside of the obvious weight loss were discussed in the linked article. I’ve listed a few of them below.

  • Increased energy
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Mental clarity
  • Regulated blood sugar levels
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better hormone balance (awesome for women and PCOS!)

Is it Safe to Enter Ketosis in 24 hours?

I speak from personal experience when I say you should be fine. I will simply suggest that you follow the tips below to help you to avoid carb withdrawal symptoms aka the keto flu.

As your body switches over from carb to fat for energy, you’re likely to have these side effects but it can be totally avoided if you’re strict on your regimen.

Remember ketosis is simply a metabolic state and so trying to get there quickly will not harm the body.

How to Get Into Ketosis Fast

The first thing you’ll want to do is to stop eating carbs. If you really want to get into ketosis in 24 hours, you want to cut all carbs if possible but you absolutely must stay under 20g in a 24 hour time slot.

These are the steps I use whenever I want to get back into ketosis after a carb up or if I’ve simply been off keto for a while since I like to cycle on and off the keto diet.

Steps for Getting into Ketosis

1) A Low Carb Plan

Your daily diet should be below 20g of carbs and ideally you should aim to consume even less than this for quicker transition.

Eating less than 20g of carbs in one day looks something like this:

Breakfast – 2 eggs cooked in butter, topped with cheese, a slice of avocado, 2 strips bacon.

Lunch – A salad with a protein of your choice. Use ranch or caesar dressing and keep the salad simple.

Dinner: A protein of your choice again with spinach sauteed in butter and garlic.

This day with simple meals will should get you into ketosis in 24 hours if paired with the rest of the steps below.

I have a 7-day meal plan that will help you to lose up to 10lbs your first week on keto if you’d like some help. Just enter your details below and I’ll send it to you.

2) Drink Lots of Water

Water is essential no matter what but it’s even more important on the keto diet. The keto diet is seen as a natural diuretic diet, flushing out lots of water from your body.

Water supports the liver in metabolizing fat. If you’re dehydrated, this function will stop as the liver turns its focus to supporting the kidneys to carry out their function.

Water also helps the body to flush out toxins and other waste material.

It’s important to replenish your body as much as possible throughout the day. If you’re not a water fan, add lime to give it some flavour.

3) Replenish Your Electrolytes

So as the keto diet is a natural diuretic and you’re losing water each day, your electrolytes are flowing right out with it. These are vital to your health and you will FEEL the effects once they begin to get too low.

It’s often the lack of these electrolytes in our body that triggers carb withdrawal symptoms aka the keto flu.

You’ll want to track your magnesium, potassium and sodium intake and increase these as soon as you’ve begun a keto diet. Add salt to your food, take a magnesium supplement (I take this one) and increase the number of avocados and dark green vegetables you’re consuming.

4) Get Some Exercise

Exercise is not absolutely necessary in order to lose weight on the keto diet. I lost 8lbs my first week on the diet living a very sedentary lifestyle.

If you want to get into ketosis in 24 hours though, exercise is highly recommended. You want to do some form of activity especially on an empty stomach to encourage your body to use up all its glycogen stores and begin burning fat for fuel.

Exercise complements a keto diet whether you’re trying to get into ketosis quickly or not since weight loss can be pretty rapid on the diet and you want to keep things looking tight.

It’s also good for your heart, especially with the increase of fat. Remember that some amount of muscle loss can occur on the keto diet and the heart is a muscle.

Get moving to support your overall health but especially while on the keto diet.

5) Get Good Rest

The quality of your sleep is important on the keto diet or any diet in fact in order to give your body deep rest. Deep rest is required for the body to replenish itself and helps in the production of the growth hormone which in turn helps to burn more fat.

Not getting enough sleep or restless sleep can increase the level of stress in the body which can lead to blood sugar spikes and a reduction in weight loss.

6) Add Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is actually the quickest way to enter ketosis. If you were to fast for a total of three days, you would enter ketosis but then what? In order to stay in ketosis, you’ll need to reduce your carb intake to below 20g per day.

You don’t have to fast for three days to enter ketosis however. You can add intermittent fasting to your keto diet. This is where you fast for a number of hours each day and limit your eating to a window of a few hour.

Some people fast daily for a ratio of 16:8. This means they fast for 16 hours and eat in an 8 hour window. I adopt this during the work-week.

In order to get into ketosis fast, I suggest the 20:4 ratio. I do this whenever I had a carb day and want to get back into a deep level of ketosis quickly. I fast 20 hours, eating 2 meals in that 4 hour window.

Remember that 8 of these hours are rest hours so for most people, this involves simply skipping breakfast. You can have sugar-free coffee or tea in the morning to help with any hunger pangs.

7) Include MCT Oil in Your Diet

MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides and they are fatty acids that the liver processes immediately into ketones. Studies report that they aid in the weight loss process.

This makes MCT oil a good addition to your keto diet to help you to produce ketones quickly and avoid carb withdrawal symptoms.

Since MCT oil is used up very quickly by the body as an energy source, this makes it perfect as a pre-workout supplement for additional energy, especially if you work out on an empty stomach. MCT oil is commonly referred to as brain fuel and is a great addition to your keto diet.

MCT oil is mostly available in coconut oil and animal fats and can also be purchased as a supplement.

how to get into ketosis fast

More Tips to Help Getting into Ketosis

Following the steps above should get you into ketosis very quickly. I’d be surprised if it took you longer than 24 hours. To ensure your sucsess and to help you stay in ketosis, I recommend following these other steps.

Track Your Macros

Download an app on your phone like MyFitnessPal or CarbManager to help you to know exactly how much carbs, fat and protein you’re eating.

Use a keto calculator to work out just how much of each nutrient you should be eating for your body, age and weight and follow the breakdown as much as possible until you’re comfortable eyeballing everything.

Remember that it is important to stay below 20g of carbs while on the keto diet for optimal weight loss so you want to track your macros to keep an eye out for hidden carbs.

Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Diet

Put a spoonful of ACV with the mother in it in your water each morning. ACV is rich in potassium which will help you to balance your electrolytes. It also helps to flush fat and toxins from the body and will help you to stave off the keto flu.

Try ACV capsules if you can’t stomach the taste of the liquid.

Try a Fat Fast

Some people report that fat fasts help them to break a plateau and lose a few pounds very quickly.

On a fat fast, you’re eating 80-90% of your calories from just fat alone while keeping your calories between 1000-1200 per day. Look it up to determine if you want to give this a try.

Use Exogenous Ketones

Your body is very capable of producing its own ketones and so I don’t suggest relying on this to help you lose weight on the ketogenic diet.

That said, if you’re just coming out of a carb day and wanting to get back into ketosis quickly, try adding these exogenous ketones to your diet. These are supplements that elevate your blood ketone levels naturally, aiding in ketosis.

Studies claim that exogenous ketones are a great way to help with keto-adaptation, especially for those who may not produce enough ketones on their own for some reason.

Testing for Ketones

Keto urine tests are available that will test for ketones being passed out of the body. That’s another great benefit of being in ketosis, once your body turns fat into ketones, they are not stored for later use but are passed out as waste.

This is why it’s ok to continue to eat moderately high amounts of fat even after you’ve reached your goal weight. You will need to provide your body with fat to use as fuel.

I like to test after eating new foods or recipes or for instance after a night out drinking.

Testing after eating new foods help me to determine which foods affect the level of ketones in my body whether negatively or positively.

Testing after a night out helps me to determine if I was knocked out of ketosis.

Related: Alcohol and Ketosis – What and How Much Can You Drink?

While testing is not a fool-proof way to determine ketosis, I feel it’s an OK indication of what’s going on inside my body since there are left over ketones to be passed out.

How Long Does it Normally Take to Get Into Ketosis?

It usually takes 2-7 days to get into ketosis naturally by cutting down your carbs to below 50-20g.

It can be frustrating to have to wait all of one whole week to see any results so I understand the desire to start producing ketones quickly. Seeing the needle move on the scale or the inches being dropped from our body is certainly a motivating factor to keep going.

How to Know When You’re in Ketosis

When you’re in ketosis, you will naturally start to feel all the benefits listed above. You’ll feel lighter on your feet, have more energy and mental clarity, have the ability to focus on your work or other project for a prolonged period of time, have much less hunger pangs and maybe even a reduced appetite.

Being in ketosis can also cause a funky breath so watch out for that and stay on top of your oral hygiene.

Of course one of the best ways to know if you’re in ketosis is to test for it.

How Long Does it Take to Lose Weight When You’re in Ketosis?

The answer to this question will clearly depend on a number of factors like your weight, age and level of activity. You can read here my results after just one week of ketosis but it isn’t abnormal for folks to lose up to 10lbs in their very first week.

Looking for a more complete guide to start or stick to the keto diet? My Ketogenic Diet 101 eBook is a complete, all-in-one resource for the ketogenic diet. This book includes all the need-to-know info about the keto diet, how it affects lifestyle diseases like autism, epilepsy, diabetes and high blood pressure plus over 45 recipes, checklists and grocery lists to get you started. Want the grocery list, quick start guide and 7-day meal plan for free? Get it below.