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.
    black-and-white-eyes-face-60061
    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.

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61 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?

    3. You know you are in ketosis when people approach you, then they try to discretely pretend to rub their face to cover their nose as they slowly back far enough away to no longer inhale your reeking rank. There is no deodorant, mouthwash, or body lotion that can cover the smell of fat melting off your body. I know I’m in ketosis when I catch a foul whiff of myself…it is what it is and I hope this smell doesn’t last forever. 40 down 40 more to go.

  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….

      1. I’m so glad you mentioned the smell. All I’ve read about keto symptoms say nothing about smell. I thought it was just because the weather has been soo hot and humid, but then i said wait a minute ive never smelled so bad( even after workout). Then it clicked. I’ve been doing keto for about 2 weeks. I must be detoxing from all the junk in my body. I even commented on a post somewhere about smell, nobody replied so thank you this is the first I’ve heard it mentioned.

    1. Leave the store bought deodorants and start making your own. Truthfully it goes through a tabata workout AND a 1 hr hot yoga session and I promise you it works. Store bought deodorants are toxic so if you’re in the process of detoxifying your body may as well go all out and start making your own health care products.

  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!!!!

    1. That’s awsome. I hope i do as well. Ive only been on keto 2 weeks. I don’t dare weigh myself for fear of becoming discouraged.

      1. Don’t go solely on the scale 🙂 take before pics. Find some piece of clothing you want to fit into. I haven’t budged for 6 weeks but today my new shorts are baggy and I’m wearing a shirt I never thought I’d fit into. Just keep going

  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.

    2. All of this is enlightening. Now it makes sense. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I almost shat my pants multiple times and I noticed I stink to my body too. I have been taking multiple showers a day.

  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.

      1. I believe she was telling the person that had their gallbladder removed to watch the broccoli consumption. 😊

    3. Keto is not something you should start and stop once you reach goal. It is a way of eating, not a quick fix crash diet. If you go back to what you was doing prior, it will come back. Think of an alcoholic. They go in for treatment/detox for 30, 60, 90 days; then what? They are no longer alcoholics so they can drink again? Not how it works.

      To maintain your loss, if you dont want to continue as extreme as keto maybe try paleo or just low carb and introduce some good carbs back in to your diet in moderation. Monitor how they affect your body and adjust more or less carbs accordingly.

      My 2 cents: research as much as you can and my biggest tip when starting keto: keep it simple. Good luck on your journey.

  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

    1. I have intense itching on the bottom of my feet at night. I have pretty much linked it to dehydration. It seems to be really bad when I’ve had alcohol as well.

  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’?

  19. I am 5’4”. Started Keto at 152 lbs a month ago. Lost 7 lbs the first week and after that. I go up and down daily by a couple of pounds. I am. It cheating with sugars. Pi am stuck. My dream weight would be 130 lbs but being 46 years old makes it almost impossible to lose weight.
    What can I do to break off this plateau?
    By the way, I do smell, I am itchy all over, have this horrible breath all the time, I get HOT and all the “good” stuff but I never experienced or read about the “shits” lol is hilarious!

  20. I had terribly itchy shins and inside wrists. Also, I would wake up often with leg cramps so I began supplementing with magnesium which resolved the cramps and later enhanced collagen powder which seemed to take care of the itchy skin.
    I eat keto to control my type 2 diabetes which is inherited, not due to weight. I didn’t really lose too many pounds as I really didn’t need to but I have definitely lost inches and am really happy with how I look eating this way. I’ve had no issue with the weight gain of menopause that other people my age (53) seem to have to deal with and I definitely credit the keto lifestyle for this. A little black cohosh for the mild hot flashes I was having and I’m getting off pretty easy through this part of life.

  21. Hi Christine! I am not a professional but I have been studying health and nutrition for 18 years. My husband and my daughter are diabetic. It scares me when I see people doing the Keto diet. Repeatedly going into Ketosis is not safe. Our bodies are designed to live off of a low sugar, protein, veggies fruit and grain balanced diet. Keto diet was designed to be done under a health car professional for certain health problems. It was not designed to be used long term. Repeatedly going into Ketosis has the same effect as my husband and daughter going into Ketoacidosis, which causes damage to your kidneys, blood vessels, eyes and heart. Eating a balanced diet with Keto desserts is a better route to go and less harmful to your organs. Take this with a grain of salt, I just hate to see people do harmful things that my daughter sometimes can’t avoid as a diabetic. Praying that you achieve your goals and stay healthy. Robin

  22. Started keto about a week ago and I feel like crap now. I’m emotional and feel like I have the flu. My body aches and my head hurts, and even the hair on my toes hurt. Help!!!

  23. So what do you eat on a normal day? I am not addicted to sugar and I eat very little of it, when I do, and yet I am not able to lose the weight. I don’t eat refined carbs or even good carbs…I eat a lot of protein and greens along with my coffee with heavy cream. Maybe it’s my age that makes it difficult…I don’t know!

  24. I’ve been on Keto now for about 5 weeks. Have lost 12 pounds. I have more energy and my body looks like I’ve lost more than 12. Stay off the scale and measure your waist at the belly button. You’ll see results. I eat no carbs except for what’s in vegetables. Huge salad every night with feta, radishes, mushrooms, etc. I also have about 6 ounces of red meat. I do intermitten fasting of about 16-19 hours. And yes I shit my pants on the reg. Haha!!

  25. I’ve been eating keto for 2 weeks now and have lost 7 pounds. I feel great! My pre-keto eating habits were not bad but I didnt realize how much sugar I was accidentally eating! I started at 150 and my goal weight is 120, once I reach my goal weight I plan to introduce some healthy carbs to stabilize and then cut back as needed. The metallic taste is for real! I find a few drops of peppermint or lemon essential oil in my water cup helps fight the bad breath!

  26. First, super fun and great post!

    Okay, to a previous comment that said ketosis is dangerous. This is not true. There is a huge difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis, which individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus can experience. It is VERY dangerous. Ketoacidosis is an uncontrolled extreme level of ketones AND HIGH blood sugar in the body that does damage organs and can be deadly. Dietary ketosis is a controlled way of using ketones exclusively for fuel which doesn’t make your body become highly acidic like ketoacidosis does. And yes, it is a way of life. As a type 2 that is 36 and has had three eye sugeries due to retinopathy I assure you that I with I had known about this diet when SUGAR was literally rotting the blood vessels in my eyes! Keto is safe and a lifesaver for me. So please don’t be afraid to take the plunge and cut the toxic crap out. All carbs are seen as sugar in the body. Look up Dr. Jason Fung he is very smart. Dr. Berg. And more

  27. Great blog Christine! I love the way you just say it as it is.
    I have been on the Keto way of eating for 2 years because of type 2 prediabetes. I had a terrible sweet tooth before but now can watch others stuffing their faces with puddings and sweets no problem. I just keep in mind that I am saving my life with this eating plan.
    I lost quite a few pounds at first, although I was not overweight to begin with. My cause was medical treatment for cancer. I now weigh pretty much what I did in my twenties (quite a few years back) and have stabilized within a couple of pounds either way.
    The thirst can be an issue, and the peeing, but I stay away from erythritol and all the other sugar alcohols and stick to stevia so the s***s are not a problem! Try it.
    The Keto plan has brought me back to normal blood glucose which is such a relief and I can see myself keeping to it forever no problem.
    If you think back in human history, this diet is what we used to eat around 200 years ago and Is quite natural.
    Good luck to everyone here on your Keto journey.
    Hope to see more from you soon, Christine.

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