How to Get Into Ketosis in 24 Hours (7 Easy Steps)
Thinking about going Keto, but don’t know where to begin?
If so, stick around.
Getting into ketosis fast is important because ketosis drastically reduces cravings that make dieting difficult. When ketones are produced, hunger drops, energy soars, and you begin to feel a wonderful sense of well-being.
As insulin comes down, due to the lack of sugar in the diet, your blood glucose level stabilizes, and you avoid the mood swings and frustration so common on low-calorie programs. Your thinking becomes clear, digestion gets better, and you can even lose a lot of that bloating you might get after meals.
Some people even discover that their small aches and pains, joint stiffness, and heartburn goes away.
All of these Keto benefits make it easier to stick to your diet, so you don’t want to waste any time getting into ketosis. It’s best to reach that blessed state as soon as possible.
However, if you’re thinking about indulging in a last-time carb binge just before you give Keto a try, this quick and easy method of getting into ketosis in 24 hours won’t work very well.
Since ketosis requires you to empty out your carbohydrate stores in order to trigger fat-burning, bingeing on your favorite carbs the day before you go Keto will only sabotage your efforts.
For that reason, I’m going to give you 7 specific steps that I follow when I’m trying to get into ketosis faster myself. This way, you can take charge of your life and be on your way to a healthier weight in only a single day.
Step 1: Start Your Keto Diet on the Weekend
There’s a common recommendation within low-carb circles to just start where you are, with your very next meal, but if comfort is important to you, then you might want to use a bit of strategy when using this absolute fastest way to get into ketosis.
This is because you’ll be using a short-form of water fasting to get the job done as quickly as possible.
Fasting to get into ketosis is not a new idea. People have been using this method for awhile now. However, there are tricks you can use to make the process more comfortable and less stressful, especially if you’re used to using food to soothe your emotional state.
Whether you choose to do this on Friday and Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday doesn’t matter. The idea is to have you skip two meals when you can more easily distract yourself with errands, family obligations, a fun day, or other self-interests.
If you have to go to work while fasting, you’ll be fighting all of the break room donuts, lunches, and snack machines. Best to set yourself up for success and do the fasting when you’re at home.
Personally, I do this on Friday night to Saturday night, so if something happens and my hunger hasn’t crashed by Sunday morning, I have another day that I can go zero carb to keep the momentum going. While the body will trigger ketosis as soon as you run out of glycogen, hunger is attached to your triglyceride and insulin levels, which might take an extra day to normalize.
Step 2: To Speed Up Ketosis, Make Your First Keto Meal Zero Carb
On Friday or Saturday night, whichever night works best for you, have a zero-carb meal. This meal starts your fast, so it will be the last time you eat before Saturday or Sunday night. No snacking during the evening. If you want to speed up getting into ketosis, this is not optional. It’s the prelude to your fast.
Zero carbs are only found in:
- meats, poultry, and fish
- healthy fats like coconut oil, bacon fat, nut oils, and butter
However, we know from what Dr. Atkins taught in 1972 that a carbohydrate load of less than 10 carbs will be treated by the body as if you hadn’t eaten any carbs at all, so go ahead and season your meat with your favorite herbs and spices, including packaged marinade blends.
Just be careful with the garlic and onion powder because garlic and onion are pretty high in carbs. Use mayonnaise, where appropriate, and cook up 2 or 3 eggs to go along with the main course.
The eggs can be hard boiled and made into egg salad. They can be scrambled, soft boiled, baked, or fried. You can even make deviled eggs if you like. This way, your first dinner will contain two items and feel more like a meal.
|Don’t eat something you dislike for your zero-carb meal.
Choose something you really, really love!
Shrimp sauteed in butter and garlic is our favorite entree.
What’s essential is to pick a dish that you really like:
- favorite cut of steak
- broiled or grilled pork chops
- beef roast baked or cooked up in the crock pot
- pork ribs well seasoned and baked or grilled
- roasted chicken leg quarters
- shrimp sauteed in butter and minced garlic
- bacon and egg omelet or egg scramble
- hamburger patty topped with bacon and fried egg
- nice piece of salmon
If you’re doing this on Friday night, you could even pick up a lemon-pepper or garlic-and-herb rotisserie chicken from the grocery store on the way home from work.
There is no portion restriction on how much you can eat. Eat until you’re satisfied. The only requirement is that the total carb count of your meal should be less than 5. Carbs should be the incidental carbs found in eggs, mayonnaise, herbs, and spices.
Try to have your meal earlier in the evening.
We normally eat around 5:00 p.m. or so, but if you’re doing this on a Friday night and don’t get home from work to eat that early, you can certainly push the meal back to later in the evening. If so, you’ll need to extend your fast on Saturday, so that you eat your next zero-carb dinner at about the same time as you did on Friday night.
Step 3: How to Get Into Ketosis in 24 Hours is Fasting
To deepen Ketosis, skip breakfast and lunch the next day. Don’t eat again until around the same time that you ate dinner the day before. This makes a full 24-hour fast.
Ketosis is triggered when your liver glycogen stores (the storage form of carbohydrates) depletes itself about half way. When you don’t eat any carbs, the body has to draw upon these glycogen stores to keep your blood glucose level steady.
Since you can easily store about 80 to 100 carbs worth of glycogen at any one time, you only have to burn through about 200 to 300 calories of carbs before the body begins to find alternatives. Some of these alternatives include oxidizing amino acids and making ketones from the glycerol backbone attached to triglycerides.
Since liver glycogen stores are relatively small, many people are actually in a mild form of ketosis when they wake up in the morning. This is one of the reasons why Intermittent Fasting works so well. Going for long periods of time in between meals helps you to become more sensitive to the insulin your body makes.
If your last meal of the day was zero carbs, and you didn’t eat anything before going to bed, ketosis will be well under way by the following morning. The body will have run out of fuel during the night and will have already begun the ketosis process by the time you wake up.
What you’re going to do to speed up ketosis is take advantage of that normal, slightly ketotic state. You need to get into a deeper state of ketosis, so you’re next going to force the body to create more ketones for fuel.
You do that by skipping breakfast and lunch.
Without more proteins and carbs coming in, the body will turn to its worn-out protein structures and fat stores for fuel because your liver glycogen stores will already be depleted.
Muscle glycogen is a closed system. The muscles pull glucose into its cells from the bloodstream, lowering your blood glucose level, but it won’t directly share with the liver if liver glycogen is low. It’s stingy. It saves what is has for itself.
As the blood glucose level drops, due to muscle requirement for glucose, the liver continues to empty its glycogen stores, while seeking alternative sources of glucose, so activity does help to make the process work quicker.
This is why you’re not going to eat until dinner.
If you aren’t already in a state of ketosis when trying to fast, it can be a bit uncomfortable. The hormone ghrelin is secreted according to your eating pattern, and secrets around the same time every day, so if you’re used to eating breakfast every morning, you honestly might get hungry.
Same goes for lunch. Ghrelin is secreted just before your normal lunch time, so it’s going to take a bit of willpower to get through this, especially since your last meal was zero carbs.
When I was growing up, our family always fasted for two meals on the first Sunday of every month. Although, it was often difficult, I would simply tell my stomach that I was fasting, that it wasn’t negotiable, and I wasn’t going to eat until later in the day.
I then turned my attention to something else.
The best way to get through this is to distract yourself with fun things to do.
|Find things to do that take your mind off the hunger.
Don’t just sit around waiting for dinner time.
My mom used to take us for nature walks or to a wilderness park that was nearby. Once a month, we’d go to our grandparents house on the day we were fasting and eat dinner there. Sometimes, I’d get lost in a book and sometimes, I’d watch something extremely interesting on television. Today, I get lost on the internet.
Whatever you choose to do while fasting, make sure that it doesn’t include food. Even low-carb food. That’s a recipe for disaster. Stick with something active. It will make the time fly by faster.
Step 4: Drink Lots of Water and Carb-Free Beverages Throughout the Day
Since this is a personalized form of fasting, I’m not going to require you to drink only water. Many people do it that way, but I don’t. I drink:
- diet sodas
- tea or herb teas
- salty chicken broth
- Crystal Light type beverages
Even when fasting. Coffee can be drunk black or sweetened with a liquid sugar substitute to avoid any carbs in the filler. Powdered sweeteners always contain carbs. About 1 carb per packet. Heavy cream contains 6.6 carbs per cupful, so also keep that in mind if you choose to use a tablespoon or two of heavy cream.
Heavy whipping cream contains 0.4 grams of carbohydrate per tablespoon. Not enough to keep you from going into ketosis. But if you’re a heavy coffee drinker or have a habit of not measuring out how much you’re using, those carbs could interfere with getting into ketosis quickly.
Some low carbers put butter and coconut oil in their coffee, instead of cream. I personally do not like it that way, so I just use diet soda on days when I don’t eat breakfast and lunch.
As long as what you drink contains no carbohydrates, it will not interfere with you getting into ketosis within 24 hours.
Water is necessary to help replace the water needed to process your glycogen stores. When insulin falls, the body dumps sodium and to regain balance, it also sheds extra water. Water is also lost if you’ve been retaining water due to protein deficiency.
Recommended water intake is to drink half of your current body weight in ounces a day. Since I currently weigh 200 pounds, that would be 100 ounces for me — slightly more than three 32-ounce glasses of liquids.
Dr. Atkins recommended that you drink a minimum of 64 ounces a day, and did not require you to drink only water, so if you aim for a higher intake, like that explained above, you’re more likely to hit or exceed that 64 ounces recommendation of liquids.
When the body is dehydrated, a need for water can surface as hunger, and the last thing you want to go through on a fast is hunger, so you’ll want to make sure that whichever method you use to determine your water intake that you drink enough liquids so that you aren’t more hungry than you need to be.
In addition, liquids can help to calm the stomach until it’s time to eat dinner.
Step 5: To Get Into Ketosis in 24 Hours, Reduce Your Stress Load
This is another good reason why you need to do this on the weekend. You need to leave work at work. Stressful situations cause you to secrete cortisol, a stress hormone that controls how your body burns fuel.
A small bit of cortisol, secreted now and then is fine. It’s how the body was designed to work.
But when cortisol stays chronically elevated, either because you consistently worry too much or you are under some type of severe stress, it causes the liver to continuously dump it’s glycogen stores into the bloodstream.
Worrying about how much you’re losing on the scale or whether the diet is going to work for you is enough to stop weight loss dead in its tracks. Honestly. I’m not kidding here.
|Are you too concerned with the number on the scale?
If so, the worry can actually slow down weight loss!
Many low-carb dieters are so obsessed with the numbers on the scale that they can think of little else. They allow that number to control their feelings about themselves, their day, and even living.
Dumping glycogen is what you want to initially happen when trying to get into ketosis, but if there isn’t any glycogen to dump, the liver will create glucose and dump that into the bloodstream, instead. This is called gluconeogenesis and keeps your blood glucose level consistently elevated, which in turn causes your basal insulin level to rise.
For some individuals, high basal insulin levels interfere with fat burning, especially if your blood glucose level rises about 100 ml/dl and stays above 100 mg/dl consistently.
Too much cortisol tells the liver that you are in physical danger and need a lot of energy fast. The brain doesn’t understand the difference between physical danger and emotional stress. When emotionally stressed, the brain thinks you’re in a life-and-death situation, so the liver comes to your rescue and gives you the glucose you need to fight off your attacker.
However, there is no real physical danger. There is no attacker. That’s only in your mind. You just got your feelings hurt or you’re worried about something.
If you judge what you weigh today to be bad, if you judge anything to be bad, inside of you or outside of you, then you’re going to drive up your glucose and insulin levels — guaranteed.
Taking charge of your stress can be done through:
- relaxation techniques
- having a fun-outing day
- doing something you particularly enjoy doing
- changing your belief system
How you get into ketosis in 24 hours is by keeping your stress load as low as possible during your fast, and even beyond.
In fact, it’s even more important to maintain calmness, clear thinking, self-compassion, and patience as you move into your regular Keto diet. Since Keto is a lifetime commitment, anything that drives up insulin will affect how easily you burn fat for fuel.
Step 6: Rev Up Your Activity
I briefly talked about this above in connection with getting through the day, when fasting. It’s important to stay actively engaged in something that doesn’t include food. But actively engaged doesn’t always include getting up and moving.
To help you speed up getting into ketosis, you can also include some low-intensity activities, such as walking or swimming. I’m hesitant to recommend light cardio because people rarely understand what “light” cardio even means.
Too much exercise when fasting will drive up cortisol levels, as discussed above, because it will stress out your body, especially if you are fairly sedentary. You don’t want your heartbeat to go too high while fasting, unless you’re already a well-trained endurance athlete.
What you want to do is use your muscle groups, so that they have to pull in glucose from the bloodstream to replace the glycogen you’re using during activity. This will further encourage the liver, already short on glycogen, to turn to your fat stores to feed the brain.
When the liver breaks down triglyceride into fatty acids, incomplete fragments called ketones result, which can be used by the entire body for fuel in the beginning stage of ketosis.
Intense exercise — more than just fidgeting or pacing — uses ketones, when glucose is in short supply, which means the body has to create more ketones to replace what you use. This is great for those who are used to a moderate to intense activity level, but intensity is a fine dance between encouraging ketone production and elevating cortisol for the rest of us.
Try and keep your heart rate below 130 beats a minute while fasting. Since getting into ketosis only takes one day, this is only a temporary restriction on exercise.
Step 7: Break Your Fast with Another Zero-Carb Meal and Snack
|Make your second zero-carb meal also something you love.
We LOVE barbecued spareribs smoked or grilled.
When I moved into extreme fat-burning mode in 2008, I started my personalized version of Atkins with a full week of zero carb to clear out the glycogen as quickly as possible and get the body into fat-burning mode.
Today, I realize that a full week of eating that way isn’t really necessary. A good hard start is all you need to get the wheels of fat-burning turning.
And zero-carb, followed by fasting for two meals, and then followed up by a second zero-carb meal is almost always all you need to get into ketosis fast. By Sunday or Monday morning, after a second night of no carbs, you’ll be in a deep enough ketosis that hunger will crash and your energy will surge to help you transition into your low-carb diet of choice.
When I fast or do zero carb, I always experience a surge in energy and well-being.
When I first went zero carb, I was pretty shocked to discover that some of the low-carb foods I was eating were contributing to my neck and knee pains. All of my aches and pains went away when I removed all vegetable matter from my diet.
Later on, when I tried to return a salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing, my hunger went through the roof, but not because of the salad.
It was actually the olive oil and vinegar I was reacting to.
So I don’t want you to break your fast with carbs. It’s better to break your fast with another zero-carb meal, so you can be in a fed state when you begin to transition into a more normal low-carb diet.
Like in Step 1, pick a protein food that you absolutely love to break your fast, and add a couple of eggs.
There are still no portion restrictions, so eat until you’re satisfied, and if you need a snack before bed, choice something that is high in protein and fat like tuna mixed with mayonnaise.
Tuna salad is one of the most satisfying foods there is. It literally kills your cravings. I don’t know why this works. It just does. If you need to snack after dinner, tuna salad is what I recommend here.
Okay. I’m in Ketosis. Now What?
Once you’re in ketosis, you have a wealth of options to choose from. You can either go with a full-structured plan, such as:
- Atkins Diet
- Keto Diet at Reddit
- Nutritional Ketosis (also called Keto)
- Protein Power LifePlan
- Protein Sparing Modified Fast (PSFM)
Or you can design your own low-carb plan by starting with the basics of a ketogenic diet and building from there. Whichever way you want to go, we have lots of resources here on the site to help you get started