Vacation should be fun, free from restrictions and stress—really, that time off is much deserved! However, if you’re on the keto diet, it means those frozen daiquiris and refreshing, minty mojitos that you love to sip on while laying out by the pool or beach aren’t allowed.
And if you’re visiting an all-inclusive resort that’s buffet-style in dining, there’s a wide variety of foods to pile on your plate, but unfortunately they’re very carbohydrate laden, with often unhealthy fats and added sugars and calories to quickly kick you out of ketosis.
Plus, if you’re traveling to a new destination to explore a different culture and cuisine, you’ll probably want to splurge on non-keto diet foods and seize the opportunity to make your trip worthwhile. Of course, vacations are temporary hiatuses—you’re bound to reset and return to reality when returning home.
So, what might you expect when going off ketosis when on vacation and traveling? Here’s everything to know and expect about how your body will adjust when out of ketosis and how challenging it may be to get back into it after your vacation ends. Plus, these tips will also make the transition easier and smoother.
You’re Going to No Longer Burn Fat for Fuel
The mechanism behind the keto diet is that you’re burning fat by using fat as the body’s energy source, as opposed to traditional glycogen, which comes from carbohydrates and is the body’s preferred, primary fuel source. By increasing ketones in the body, you enter “ketosis,” and if you can stay in ketosis, you’ll burn fat and see greater benefits.
However, once you go over your carbohydrate count, you’re no longer going to use fat to burn fat and for bodily functions, but rather glycogen once again, since you’re supplying your body with fresh stores.
Unfortunately, this switch will stop fat burning and promote more storage of energy that’s not burned off with movement or used elsewhere for bodily needs. This means you won’t be in ketosis, so don’t think that you’ll still be able to burn fat and “be keto” if you’re not following the diet well enough to remain in ketosis. It changes fast! So, go into the vacation aware and ready.
You Won’t Have as Many Ketones Present
The presence of carbs and altered body state, where you’re no longer in ketosis and are producing ketones, means that you won’t have as many ketones present as usual for fat-burning and energy.
Since you’re going to be eating more carbs outside of keto macro requirements (a small net carb bank and a high percentage of healthy fat), you might want to take exogenous ketones while away for a little boost in ketones naturally—a supplement provides your bloodstream and body with ready-to-use ketones, so they don’t need to produce them through high-fat foods, as usual when on keto.
Simply mixing an exogenous base powder with water is easy when on vacation. You’ll get a boost—just don’t expect to be in ketosis again on the spot, as you’ll need to start eating keto again and it’ll take a few days to get into the flow again. It may make the transition easier, though.
You May Hold Water or Gain a Little Weight
Since you’re eating more carbs and burning less fat, you might also start to see the scale go up, depending on how much you’re eating as a whole in terms of calories and how long your vacation is. Of course, anytime you eat excess calories you will gain weight gradually, but leaving ketosis might introduce more tendency to hold water and to bloat. Plus, the lack of fat burning mechanism, in favor of fat storage, will exacerbate it.
A good idea is to drink alkaline water containing electrolytes and to keep your body as alkaline as possible for greater wellbeing, as opposed to an acidic and dehydrated state. And keep healthy snacks with you, like keto protein bars, with a goal of snacking well and saving meals for those non-keto eats, which gives a little moderation when vacationing.
Transition Will Be Tough
Don’t expect it to be easy when returning to the keto diet back at home. While how long it takes to get back into fat-burning and ketosis differs based on how much effort you put into it, how long you’ve been out of ketosis for, and whether or not you supplemented or prepped when on vacation in any way to make the transition smoother.
Expect it to be a few days at least, and be patient. Remember, vacation is over, so it’s time to be efficient and dedicated to getting back into the keto lifestyle in order to keep achieving your goals. Having those exogenous ketones in base or BHB pill form, drinking water and electrolyte sources (as well as electrolytes in food), sleeping well, exercising for movement and of course eating keto approved foods is the only way to return to ketosis.