Struggling to break into ketosis, no matter what you do? Some of us have what Dr Atkins used to call “high metabolic resistance”. This means that it is really hard to break into ketosis – much harder than for an average person.
Obviously, sometimes we self-sabotage our Keto without realising (I certainly did this when I first started).
There are some common mistakes that can prevent ketosis, for example, hidden carbs sneaking in.
But sometimes ketosis evades you even if you follow all the standard Keto guidelines precisely. If that’s the case, it may be time for radical methods!
They are harder than conventional Keto. But really effective in inducing ketosis. Basically, you will leave your body no choice but to switch over. Once that happens, you can just transition back to standard Keto.
Please note – I would only recommend these methods if you are generally in good health, not pregnant and not under medical supervision for any reason. If any of these apply to you, consult your doctor or another health professional first.
1) Try a Fat Fast
Fat Fast was designed by Dr Atkins for those of his patients who struggled to break into ketosis on Atkins Induction.
A Fat Fast is basically a very extreme version of Keto. Here is how it works.
You keep your calorie level very low, to about 1200 calories a day. But 90% of these calories must come from fat. You would need to track calories and macros for this very carefully.
You’re not going to feel hungry due to enormous amounts of fat. Usually, a fat fast will induce ketosis within 2-3 days. Do not stay on it for longer than 5 days as the absolute maximum.
2) Try Zero-Carb Carnivore
Carnivore Diet is basically animal products only. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs. Some people also add high-fat dairy like butter and heavy cream. That’s it!
If you think that’s not extreme enough, there is a version where people eat only red meat and nothing else – so only ribeye steaks, fatty mince and hamburger patties.
When I first came across Carnivore, I thought it was insane. And that’s the usual knee-jerk reaction from most normal people.
But as I learned more about Carnivore, I realised it’s not as crazy as it sounds.
It seems to be genuinely helpful for people who struggle with auto-immune diseases and digestive issues. It’s been gaining popularity in the last few years, with some high-profile influencers like Shawn Baker and Joe Rogan.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that it works. And by “anecdotal” I mean hundreds of thousands of people who thrive on this way of eating.
We don’t yet have any meaningful studies to explain why or how it works, as it is still really new. But some experts believe Carnivore essentially mimics fasting. So the benefits to the immune system are similar.
But I digress.
If you wish to look into Carnivore as a permanent way of eating, check out this new book by Dr Shawn Baker – he is one of the leading authorities in that community.
But for the purposes of this article, I would recommend going Carnivore for just 2-3 days, purely in order to induce ketosis.
Stick to really fatty meats like rib-eye steaks, lamb shanks, poultry legs and mince with at least 20% fat. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel is ok.
Make sure everything you buy is pure whole foods – no marinades, no rubs, no sauces (those are a minefield of hidden carbs)!
3) Try a Water Fast for 24 Hours
This is the nuclear option!
Do a water fast for 24 hours. Literally just eat nothing. Drink plenty of water.
Fasting will induce ketosis no matter what. Your body will simply have no choice but to start burning fat for energy.
If you have already been cutting carbs beforehand, 24 hours will probably be enough to deplete your glycogen stores completely and switch over.
Fasting is not nearly as hard as people think. When I first tried it, I was convinced that it would be hell on wheels. But to my great surprise, I found that it was much easier than expected – hardly any actual hunger, lots of energy, great mental clarity…
The only real problem was boredom. And sort of like this empty void in my life where food used to be. But overall much, much easier than I thought it would be.
Bonus Tip: Supplements Might Help (A Little)
One other thing you could try is exogenous ketones supplements. Although this is not as foolproof as the methods described above.
Supplements certainly can’t substitute for real ketosis, no matter what the makers of these products claim.
However, if you are already on the brink of breaking into ketosis naturally, the right product could give you that one final nudge in the right direction.
BHB Salts are the most common format, either as a powder or as capsules.
Another one to try is Co-Enzyme Q10 in combination with L-Carnitine. These two supplements work together to stimulate fat-burning metabolism on a cellular level. Dr Atkins recommended them to speed up ketosis.
Summary: How to Break Into Ketosis Quickly
If you struggled to break into ketosis using the standard guidelines, try one of these radical ways – fat fast, zero-carb carnivore, or a water fast for a few days.
Once you break into ketosis, just transition back to standard Keto and breeze towards your target weight.