If you’re like most people who are just getting into the keto lifestyle, you’re probably itching to see and feel immediate results. You may even be obsessively testing your blood for ketone levels and wondering why the test results fluctuate so often and so dramatically. To that we say: have patience! One of the biggest hurdles to success on a keto diet is a mindset that you’re “supposed to be” further along on achieving your goals or more in ketosis than you are. Plus, every single person reacts differently, so there’s no need to compare.
Getting into ketosis doesn’t happen immediately. It takes your body anywhere from 2 to 7 days to get into ketosis, depending on a variety of factors, including your unique body, health, activity level, and diet.
Why does it take so long? Because you’re retraining your body! Ketosis is a natural metabolic process, where your body uses fat for fuel rather than glucose (carbohydrates). To activate this process, you need to deprive your body of its usual go-to fuel, carbohydrates. Then you need to give your body time to adjust and your liver time to convert fat from your food and your body (adipose tissue) into ketones which will be used for energy.
Regardless of how long it takes you specifically, getting into ketosis has everything do with what you do and don’t eat. General guidelines for a ketogenic diet are to consume 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories from fats, 20 to 25 percent from protein, and 5 to 10 percent from carbohydrates, give or take depending on your lifestyle and other personal factors.
As long as you’re eating within your optimal macros (find out more about those here), you’re on your way. So rather than pushing yourself to the result, aim for the journey. The first month or two on keto is a learning experience, where you’re getting to know the diet, discovering how your body reacts to various foods, finding your pain points, and physically adjusting to burning fat rather than carbs for energy. If you don’t see results as quickly as you like, don’t be discouraged. Just remind yourself you’re embarking on a new, healthy lifestyle and keep on the path. In time, the results will come.
Practicing fasting or intermittent fasting may get you into ketosis in less time, but it’s not necessary and it may be a bit more than you want to take on right out of the gate. (Learn more about fasting here.)