The Great Re-Feed Experiment

Last Friday was my youngest daughter’s third birthday and she’d requested a modest celebration of soft play with her two best friends followed by KFC for lunch and an afternoon with family. I’d already earmarked this as a day for a cheat and planned a “re-feed” day. My weightloss had stalled a little and lots of people had been telling me that a day of replenishing my glycogen levels might help to kick things off again, so I thought that I’d take the opportunity to use it as an experiment going forward, seeing as this would be my first ever cheat day.

One thing I’ve noticed is that keto can make other people feel a little…uncomfortable! If I were doing basic calorie counting (or even the dreaded Weight Watchers/Slimming World) I’d probably be able to have a biscuit with my tea every now and again, but with keto this type of treat is completely out of the question and although I go to great pains to explain that I really don’t mind, it seems to make the people around me feel bad if they choose to indulge. This is why choosing J’s birthday seemed sensible all round as I didn’t want to make everyone feel self-conscious about eating the birthday cake while I couldn’t! I’d already decided that I wouldn’t go¬†mad with what I ate (more about that later…), just enjoy a guilt-free lunch and cake, which didn’t seem unreasonable to me.

For breakfast, I had my usual biltong and coffee, purely because we were on a time-limit. For lunch, I had a “Mighty Bucket for One” from KFC (thinking this would be a slightly healthier option, given the lack of bun) and later in the day I ate a piece of cake, a handful of Skittles and some Pringles, followed by some pizza at teatime. Here are my main observations:

  1. I used to think NOTHING of eating all of that and MORE on a daily basis and I really do not miss eating that way.
  2. I had acid reflux for the first time in WEEKS. I used to suffer daily but haven’t since eating keto.
  3. I woke up the next day feeling like I had a hangover. I was strictly back on keto straight away but it honestly felt like the sugar was giving me the sicky, headache-y feelings you get after a night on the booze.
  4. I felt bloated and pretty miserable, and like I’d gained back every single pound that I’ve lost so far.
  5. I was genuinely relieved to be back on-plan with eating and exercise the next day.

As I mentioned above, I was quite restrained in terms of how I USED to eat, but at the end of the day I decided to log everything I’d eaten into MyFitnessPal, just to see what my intake had actually been like for the day. I won’t lie; I was shocked:

From what I estimated (and I may have over-estimated slightly as I didn’t want to lie to myself), I ate 3830 calories, which consisted of 367g of carbs, 188g of fat and 147g of protein. In terms of the fat and protein, obviously they aren’t the end of the world, but almost FOUR HUNDRED grams of carbs? That’s 20 times what I’ve been eaing in a day, and I know I keep saying this, but I used to eat like that EVERY DAY. No wonder my blood sugar is a mess, no wonder I gained so much weight and no wonder I’m in the state that I am now.

Saturday was okay, I was back on the wagon and with glee. Sunday, however, was the day that the keto flu set in. Maybe if I hadn’t eaten like quite such an idiot the move back into ketosis wouldn’t have been so bad but I literally spent all day feeling nauseated and completely off my food. I tried to hit all my macros, keeping my fat levels up and supplementing with rehydration drinks for the electrolytes, and I knew what to expect from last time so I didn’t feel quite so horrendous, but for the sake of one day of eating bad stuff the after effects just aren’t worth it.

As it stands, I didn’t actually gain any weight, which is the one plus-side to all of it, and I’m back to the gym today so I’m hoping I’ve seen a bit of a loss by the end of the week but unless that loss is significant, it’s not going to be enough to make me want to have another re-feed day any time soon!

Have you tried a re-feed day? Do you have them regularly? Do you find the transition in and out of ketosis easy or as unpleasant as I do? Do leave me your thoughts in the comments below!

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