The road to 7% body fat
What it feels like to go full keto
FIRST FEW DAYS
You may feel low on energy, lethargic and dizzy. Some people suffer from headaches or flu-like symptoms during the first few days or weeks thanks to the depletion of muscle glycogen. This is the hard part, because you have to avoid eating carbohydrates to halt the cycle of glucose-based metabolism, even though your glycogen stores are dwindling and your cravings are probably increasing. Your body is used to burning glucose, not fat, for fuel, which is why you may find your energy levels are lowered in the first few weeks.
You’ll probably see a pretty rapid weight loss in the first week, though this will be from water depletion. Glycogen is attached to water in our bodies, so when you lose glycogen, you also lose water – as much as 2kg of just fluid. Your workouts may also suffer during the first few weeks; many people report a loss of strength and endurance until their bodies become more efficient at using fats for fuel.
Your body will still be adapting to using fat for fuel, but toward the end of the second week and into the third week, you may start to see increasing energy levels. As glycogen becomes depleted, your body will start producing ketones – some of which are excreted in the urine, so you can now start measuring the levels with keto test strips (available in pharmacies and online) to see if you’re at a low enough level of carbohydrate restriction.
THIRD AND FOURTH WEEKS
At this point, if you’ve been keeping your total carbs to less than 50g per day, you should be in ketosis. Getting down to 10% body fat, or even 7%– a truly shredded physique – is doable, depending on your starting percentage. Your energy levels should start to improve, though it can take several months for your body to fully adapt to using fat for fuel. The desire to eat regularly throughout the day to sustain mental clarity will have faded, and your muscles will have access to a near-limitless supply of energy.