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:
- Extreme thirst: You may find yourself refilling your water bottle more often and making 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.