6 ways your body is naturally telling you that you’re in ketosis

When I first started a ketogenic lifestyle in 2017, pee sticks were my low carb bread and high fat butter. For the first few weeks, they told me how well I was following my new way of eating and I always felt a level of accomplishment when my urine could make the little square sponge the darkest shade possible. Too much information? Cool. Not done yet.

Around the 2 month mark of eating HFLC, my body adapted and my urine no longer registered on the strip. I turned to my Keto for Badass Babes Facebook Group where many have experienced the same challenge.

Well I’m eating low carb, but like, how do I know, you know?

Some have suggested purchasing a blood test much like checking your insulin, you can check your ketones. They are reliable and accurate, but also expensive and I’m not 100% invested in the idea of poking myself just to see if I’m burning fat. I’d rather sniff my armpits for that confirmation.

I’ll admit, 2018 has been a year of regrettable sugar binges. I finally revisited my low carb roots recently, and experienced the painful sugar withdrawal symptoms to get back to burning fat for energy. Not fun.

I am a sugar addict and have no issues admitting it.

If it were my last week on Earth and there was a table full of illicit drugs in front of me and carbs were included, I’d pick the dang old donuts. The intoxicating ice cream. The romantical Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The voluptuous french baguette.

I should probably put a carbohydrate trigger warning at the top of this post, now.

After I most recently made it through the wilderness (the keto flu,) ketosis took over and I was reminded about the ways your body tells you it’s burning fat for energy instead of sugar. Without the use of a single pee strip or blood test, you may be able to tell that you’re ketosis if you’re experiencing these symptoms:

  1. Extreme thirst: You may find yourself refilling your water bottle more often and i need it! water GIF-sourcemaking more trips to the bathroom. Your body has begun to hold onto less water and due to this, water will taste like the most precious gift the world has offered humans.
  2. Elevated heart rate: If you wear a heart rate monitor, you may find your that your resting heart rate has elevated. I’ve never personally experienced this nor do I know the science behind it, but my sister in law, has relied on this tell all and has had a lot of success from this sign!
  3. Suppressed appetite: Intermittent fasting and the ketogenic way of eating go hand in hand, and it’s much easier to do on accident when you enter ketosis. There are a few reasons behind this. Fat keeps you fuller, longer and your blood sugar levels aren’t going to crash because you’re not eating sugar. Win, win. Being hangry is still possible, but you won’t turn into a Snickers commercial because the last thing you want to do is ruin your ketosis with one.
  4. Smelly: What’s the smell? Oh, it’s you. Yeah, it’s definitely you. Burning fat for fuel smells a lot different than burning carbs for fuel. If you start noticing your deodorant has weakened, it’s probably because your ketone levels strengthened. This mask might be worth investing.
    This guy looks like he just got a wiff of your keto-pits and doesn’t want to call you out, but also wants to suggest a new brand of deodorant.
  5. Metallic taste in your mouth: Your armpits won’t be the only thing that smell. Your breath may rival sasquach if he were real. Some liken the taste in your mouth to metallic or copper; it’s most present when I’m exercising, and tastes like I’ve been eating raw beef. Graphic? Yes. Burning fat, though? Very yes.
  6. More energy: Are you sleeping less and not tired? Welcome to ketosis! Once you adapt and no longer rely on sugars and carbs for energy, you’re going to feel better and you’re going to crash less. This will come after a few weeks of potentially extreme muscle fatigue from the keto flu and adapting, so you’ll really notice the difference once it happens.

Here’s my disclaimer. I am not a doctor and I don’t intend to become one. I’m not even a health and wellness guru. I’m simply pointing out the signs of ketosis that I’ve personally experienced, or those close to me.

Since going keto, anytime I break out of ketosis, I can feel it. IMO, sugar is toxic and it makes my entire body ache. That said, I’m still an addict and will basically give up my dog for a sugar binge if the weather is right and Mercury is in retrograde. I’m not proud of this, so instead, I focus on what new keto treats I can introduce to my mouth without the potential of shitting my pants in the process (thanks, sugar alcohols.) More on that to come soon!

Talk of shitting pants seems like a good place to end this post. If your body has naturally told you ways that you’re in ketosis that I left out, please comment them below! The more symptoms, the better.


35 thoughts on “6 ways your body is naturally telling you that you’re in ketosis

  1. Oh my gosh. First post I’ve ever read of yours and I’m cracking up! Will definitely be reading more of your posts. Great info and I love that you are honest. No need to hide those gritty human truths!

    1. Yes loved your post, so I have lost 40 lbs went off the diet and in only 3 weeks have gained 3.5 pounds back, how do you start back up, I am a sugar addict as well, but going back Keto seems so hard to do, since I just lost that weight I can’t start at the beginning again but I don’t feel like fasting 2 meals to get me back to ketosis, suggestions?

      1. 40 pounds? That. is. INCREDIBLE!! Picking it back up after a break is so hard. While everyone has their tactics, I’d recommend maintaining strict macros for the first two weeks. That way you’re not shocking you body with fasting AND using fat for energy. I have no medical background so my advice is about as good as a horses advise would be but, going back to basics is always safe.

      2. Drink coffee with MCT powder and butter first thing in the morning then get busy cleaning out a closet, working on a project or something time consuming at work. At noon or 1:00 drink another. Then butter, eggs, sausage, cream cheese and avocado omelet for dinner. 2-3 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream before bed if hunger comes back. This worked for me. I am thankful it did too because I hated to let the sugar/carbs win yet again! Hope by the time you read this you have found your way back.

    2. I did keto for four months I lost 15 punds then I got stock no more gain or lose got back on low calorie diet then I got out of control gain 6 lbs back trying going back on keto its even harder for the second time any sggestions?

  2. Want to mention Keto Rash! I think every mark and scratch is a badge of honor along with my weight loss! My rash is slowly going away. So be it….

  3. My number 1 symptom I watch for is the dry mouth. I don’t seem to get V completely disgusting taste in my mouth but my mouth gets extremely dry. I just love Keto! I am down 17 pounds in 3 1/2 weeks! Yay me!!!!

  4. All sooooo true! I am down 79 lbs in 5 months! I had a lil break due to having my gall bladder out. But I’m getting right back on track this weekend (easier to go through L Keto fly on a weekend) thanks for ur post!!!!

  5. Right am laughing so hard. I literally tried a new sf candy and am dying,! shit my pants too. So embarrassing and funny.

  6. I tried keto roughly a year and half ago. I didn’t lose much weight but after the flu period, felt really great. Energy levels soaring, skin glowing and clear. Even though I wanted to lose weight I was pleased with the other results.
    Then sugar happened to me in the form of a cake and I crashed. Never been able to go back, don’t know why.
    I did experience the xylitol accident too whilst on keto.🤦🏽‍♀️
    This has got to be the funniest post I’ve seen on the subject!

  7. Love the post and the comments!!! Dry mouth, smelly body…I honestly didn’t realize these are ways to tell without the stick! Lol. I’ve been eating keto for about 2 months, I’ve lost 16 lbs eating keto and plan on keeping on!!! My husbands bday was yesterday, fell off the wagon had the most beautiful, delicious almost orgasmic piece of chocolate cake ever! Fighting the urge to have another this morning. Thanks for posting and ask you to keep posting! Thank you!!

  8. This post was so timely for me! Yup had the almost accident but made it to the potty! Dry mouth like the Sahara and I seem to be hot all the time! Anyone else have that problem? I keep telling myself it my body burning fat. Ha! I haven’t lost the great amounts of weight although we are 3 months in. But I may be doing it wrong. I try to eat even if I’m not hungry. That’s probably my mistake.
    Anywhoo this was an awesome post! Thanks for sharing honest info.

  9. Oh my goodness, I am down to size 12, have metallic taste in my mouth, smelly sweat and have shat my pants! I thought I was sick but now realize I am doing great. Thanks for the laugh and the diagnosis, I love your posts.

    1. I feel hot all the time too not sure if it’s a symptom but I’m basically as naked as possible all the time. Try not eating when you aren’t hungry. Because your body is burned by fat and has pretty slow digested foods all the time you don’t need to eat as much most of the time I only eat twice a day and have been trying intermittent fasting as well. Maybe look into it. The idea is you fast for 12-18 hours. Usually best to use mostly sleep hours. Also drinking coffee with butter or eggs with butter or ground beef with butter… let’s be honest, everything with butter!! All helps. Good luck! I’ve onky lost about 5-7 lbs after 4 weeks. But most of it is shedding this past week.

  10. Thanks for posting this, I have experienced all of the Keto side effects. Getting back on track Monday. Thanks so Much for sharing!

  11. So glad I came up on your post! I’ve just recently started keto myself and I can’t last more than a few days. I am making a post about it soon on my blog to help others get to know what it’s like. I think the big put off for me is the amount of actual cooking I have to do. Blah

  12. Having your gall bladder removed will change your life honestly. I had mine removed in 2001 and each and every year I learned what I could no longer ingest. Drink allllllllll the water you can. keep your fiber regular. and stay away from broccoli unless its slightly steamed. spicy foods are my friend but in moderation. good luck.

  13. I am going to start keto soon, I’m hoping to lose 10-15 lb. max. How do you go off of keto and NOT gain it all back, I’m afraid if I stay on I’ll lose too much weight and I don’t want that either!! Loved the read, thanks!

    1. I started just for well being purposes, and had no intention of losing weight. However, I lost about 15lbs within a few months. I too was worried about going too far (I have a history of eating disorders), but stopped losing weight once i reached 125. I wiggle around that area, a little up, a little down, but never get too far from there. If you feel like you’re getting too low, stop fasting for a while. Eat an extra meal. Go easy on the workout routine. Keto has taught me you are in COMPLETE control of your body. Pay attention to it, and you’ll be able to do whatever you want with ease.

    2. why must you stay away from broccoli? I eat roasted broccoli and cauliflower almost every night. I lost 99 pounds in 6 months.

  14. My mouth goes dry, and I pee CONSTANTLY. The peeing part is only during transition, but the dry mouth is pretty consistent the entire time. Thank Glob for Epic gum!

  15. Been on keto 2 months and had rapid weight loss first, now slow but steady. All your signs are right on, especially the thirst. I wake up in the middle of the night feeling like the Sahara. One question to everyone though. I’ve been experiencing intense itching, especially my feet and ankles. Anyone else? I first chalked it up to bug bites, but it’s been way too consistent. Thanks for any answers in advance

  16. Your site is a keeper! I am eating Keto now but not for the obvious reasons. I’ve never checked to see if I was in ketosis but wondered about it. I eat this way because my body has slipped into some crazy autoimmune syndrome yet un-named. I get muscle cramps from hell if I eat any sugar in any form. So I cut carbs and sugar and eat moderate portions of protein with lots of veggies. I am never off Keto. I have lost some pounds but mostly inches. I love the new energy levels. I hadn’t noticed a body odor. Itching is definitely a thing. Thirst is a whole other thing! Once I start drinking water it does taste so delicious. I drink pickle juice during the muscle cramps. One of the benefits of that is sweet breath. I drink a lot of Bai Molokai Coconut. I put my protein powder in it too.

  17. Ha, now I know why I smell…lol! My hubs kept saying my breath smells like copper (sexy, I know). I am glad I came upon your post – like your writing style. I have been keto for awhile now and cycling higher carbs with sweet potatoes on the weekends, wouldn’t have it any other way.

  18. Thank you for a fun blog! Doing keto myself for a little over a week and lost 10 pounds. I’m diet overweight and every diet before this I’ve gained weight on. No matter how long and how dedicated I followed plan… packed on more weight. I’m active… walk dogs for people while they are working… 3-5 miles everyday. I know I need to up my exercise and vary what I do to surprise my body with something that will jump start my metabolism. I’m not sure if I’m in ketosis…. I did purchase but have not tried those strips you pee on!

    How can you tell how much exact fats one should be eating. I’m still brainwashed that fats are bad and it’s hard to know when I’m eating proper ‘micros’?

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