Last month, I gave a heads
up about what I’m calling the Keto Kickoff—a quick and
comprehensive 7-day dive into the ketogenic diet, a pure
distillation of the lessons contained in The Keto Reset Diet book. That
starts next Monday (sign-up closes Sunday night 1/6/19), and it
assumes, but does not require, an audience without any formal
experience in the ketogenic diet.
What about a similar-but-different-enough population—those who
have tried keto, stopped for any number of reasons, and want back
on the wagon? Should those looking to restart keto do or know
First and foremost, the basics still apply. Anyone looking to
restart keto should pay attention to all the stuff I’ve covered
in previous posts and books and will be covering in the Keto
Kickoff email series
(so sign up today!). Going keto is going keto.
What’s the most important step someone trying to restart a
ketogenic diet needs to follow before doing anything else? Identify
why you fell off the wagon in the first place. Then address it.
That’s really what sets you apart from the average keto
beginner—your preexisting hangups. If anything, you’ll have a
better physiological response to the ketogenic diet because your
body retains knowledge. Some of that metabolic machinery is still
there, still functioning, once you shake off the rust.
But you do need to figure out and overcome what tripped
you up the first place.
People have dozens of potential reasons for quitting keto. I
can’t possibly cover them all, but I can address and offer
solutions for the most common ones.
It Was Challenging Figuring Out How To Eat With Friends, Family,
The people who give this reason usually fall into one of two
camps. Either they’re too agreeable and give in to peer pressure
(imagined or real) at the drop of a hat, making it impossible to
get into any sort of keto rhythm; or they’re too rigid, turning
every social excursion with food into an epic battle of will that
eventually breaks them. The former group needs to toughen up. The
latter group needs to lighten up.
Avoid rigidity and timidity. Stand firm and be
resolute in your convictions about what diet makes you feel best;
don’t be afraid to say “no” or order a salad with four meat
patties when everyone else is getting pizza. In the vast majority
of these cases the only one making you feel awkward is yourself.
Most people don’t care. And if they do care, it’s probably
because they’re intrigued and want to know more. Besides, going
keto isn’t such a foreign concept these days. You may even have
secret compatriots present who are also restarting keto.
Stick it out for three or four weeks and then lighten up. Once
you’ve re-established your ketogenic metabolism and achieved
metabolic flexibility, it won’t hurt (that much) to drift in and
out on special occasions. You should be able to bounce back
relatively quickly after a dalliance with carbs at happy hour, or
Thanksgiving, or a birthday party. Just try to stick to healthy
Primal sources of carbs to make the transition that much
It Stopped Working
Sometimes keto stops working. An understandable reaction is to
stop doing keto. It’s not the ideal move, but it makes
If you’re thinking about restarting keto after a hiatus, and
the reason you stopped in the first place was that keto stopped
working, you probably have some bad habits or misconceptions to
You ate too much fat. A common trajectory
among keto dieters who plateau is that they overdo the fat. Early
on in keto, anything you eat seems to promote weight loss. The
extra fat in those early days even upregulates the fat-burning of
your mitochondria, speeding up the keto adaptation process.
You’re eating more fat than you ever have before, and you only
seem to be growing more powerful. It’s a profound sensation. But
as you keep eating more and more fat, you plateau. As you attempt
your keto restart, remember that getting into ketosis is more about
the carbs you don’t eat than the fat you do. Calories don’t
stop counting on keto.
You ate too little protein. Protein absolutely
can inhibit ketosis, but it takes more than you think. Ketosis is
protein-sparing, but you still need to eat it. And some people can
get away with far more protein than others and still remain firmly
in ketosis. The oft-given blanket advice to “limit protein” can
really throw some people for a loop and lead to keto “not
working.” Too low a protein intake on keto can reduce performance
in the gym, limit or even reverse muscle hypertrophy, increase
appetite, and make it hard to construct a palatable meal. If that
sounds like you, try eating a bit more protein when you do your
It Felt Too Restrictive
Not to toot my own horn too much, but this is one of the main
reasons why I developed the Primal Kitchen line. Having an
arsenal of reliable, convenient, and most importantly healthy
mayos, dressings, sauces, and marinades promotes dietary
variability. You end up eating a wider range of meats, vegetables,
and other keto-friendly foods when you can modify their taste and
presentation by flipping open the top of a bottle of dressing or
mixing in some mayo. Meal monotony is a deal breaker for many
people on any diet, including keto.
It Was “Too Hard”
That’s about as vague a complaint as you can get, but it’s
very common. Going keto forces a totally new way of looking at
your food, at your conception of energy, even your experience of
the world. Your breath changes. Your grocery shopping routine
changes. Three-quarters of the food at your favorite restaurant is
suddenly off-limits. Then there’s the salt, potassium, and other
electrolytes to worry about.
If you found keto to be just too hard to get a handle on,
you’re not alone. Sign up for the
Keto Kickoff, refresh your knowledge of the basics (and see
what you were overlooking, if anything), get daily support, and do
your keto restart right.
You Just Drifted Away
Things snowball, don’t they? You have a quarter of a donut at
work because it’s just a quarter of a donut and it’s your
favorite kind and it’s free. You get home and taste test the
mac-and-cheese you made for your kids a few times, then finish
their plate because, hey, it was only a couple more bites and
refrigerated mac-and-cheese gets weird. Before you realize it,
you’ve eaten refined carbohydrates every single day, haven’t
lost a pound, and you can’t rightfully call yourself keto.
Keto drift happens, and it demands a restart. To prevent it from
happening again, remember why you wanted to go keto in the first
For the fat loss…
For the improved energy…
For the metabolic flexibility…
For the freedom from hunger…
For the potential for a long, healthy, active life…
When you’re ready to get serious, get moving.
It Never Worked…As I Tried It
This is rare, but not inconceivable. Occasionally, a diet
If keto truly doesn’t work for you, no matter how faithfully
or optimally you implement it, don’t do it. Ketosis is still a
good state to visit, so just be sure to implement some other method
of entering ketosis even if you’re not going to restart the keto
diet, whether it’s
intermittent fasting, intense exercise (with
precautions), caloric restriction, or simply not snacking all
Do make sure you gave it a good three-week try, however, before
concluding that “it doesn’t work for me.” That’s the
minimum amount of time you need to know if it’s a good fit. If
you didn’t give it three full and earnest weeks, sign up
Keto Kickoff (opportunity for sign up closes January
6th!), and see what additional guidance and support can do
for your process.
For those interested in beginning the new year with the Keto
Reset Diet library of books, for a limited time all the original
bonus gifts—ebooks, audio, video and Primal Kitchen discount
codes—for each book (The
Keto Reset Diet, The Keto Reset Cookbook,
and the The
Keto Reset Instant Pot Cookbook) are available with purchase
Thanks for reading today, everyone. Are you restarting keto?
Trying it for the first time? Committing to another deep dive after
a successful keto experience before? I’d love to hear your
stories, questions and tips for all who are taking up keto in the