Exhausted and foggy brained on Keto after almost 2 months

(Shareef) #1

Hi! I could really use some help! I have been on keto for almost two months. I have been very strict and haven’t cheated at all. I am so exhausted all the time and my brain is so hazey. By the time I get off work I can’t think straight. My total carbs is 35g and net carbs never exceed 20g. There was a period where I was actually doing 20 total carbs but increased it because I was so exhausted. My protein is between 90 and 100g and my fats are between 170-190. Most of my carbs come from leafy veggies, all my fats are healthy fats, and I intake a teaspoon of sea salt for my electrolytes. I eat one meal a day and fast for the rest, I like doing it because I have a very busy schedule and it’s very convenient. I sleep between 8-10 hours a night. I could sleep longer honestly but that’s all I can get with my schedule. There was a couple weeks where I was getting 10-12 hours and I was still very exhausted. I really need help! I really like being on this diet, it works with my lifestyle and Ive lost 25 pounds so far so I really would like to find a solution because its unbearable my lack of energy and foggy brain.

Fasted too early, now trying to get fat adapted and I’m not sure it’s working
(TJ Borden) #2

Did you just recently start fasting or have you been fasting the whole time? I generally wouldn’t recommend fasting until you’re fat adapted. You might just be putting too much stress on your system. Try skipping the fasting part for a while, eat when you’re hungry, and see if that helps. If you’re not yet fat adapted, then right now you’re essentially just restricting calories, and starving. You might be tired because your metabolism has been forced to slow in order to meet what you’re taking in.

(Rob) #3

Macros seem good, weightloss suggests good stuff is happening, you are supplementing salt so you are good there. Foggy brain/sleepiness is the opposite of what most people have and keto flu is possible but unlikely at 2 months with consistent weight loss.

Couple of questions:

  • Calories are over 2000… is this a deficit to what your estimated BMR is?

  • Other supplements - Magnesium is vital and worth supplementing. A lack of Mg can reduce the effectiveness of multiple metabolic processes. D3 is deficient for many and also vital for many processes. K2 makes other supplements work better too.

  • Might you have an intolerance for something in your diet - e.g. Dairy if you are high cheese, cream etc. (that would be a huge bummer for me :open_mouth:) - you might want to try to eliminate obvious food groups (AIP lite) e.g. Dairy, nightshade vegetables are two common allergens

  • You might be fasting too early. When adapting, eat more meals a day. OMAD is not optimal for weight loss, more useful for maintenance, though some can pull it off.

Good luck and KCKO (for the moment)

(Shareef) #4

I’ve been fasting the whole time. When I first started I did two meals and then after about three weeks I started doing one meal. Do you still think that’s it?

(Shareef) #5
  1. I usually get in 1900 to 2200 calories a day in one meal. And probably not, before I would have 2500-3000 calories a day and maintain my same weight.

  2. I’m not currently taking other supplements, I looked for magnesium and couldn’t find it. Do you have suggestions what to look for at the store?

  3. I don’t think I do but I will try that! I am eating a lot more cheese than I normally did before.

  4. What would you suggest is better for weight loss? I just started one meal because it was super convenient for my schedule and I liked not having to think about food more than once a day.

Thank you for your help!!!

(TJ Borden) #6

Yeah, you’re fasting way to early. Start eating 3 meals a day for a while, still stick to 20 grams or less of net carbs, and whatever your protein requirements are for your lean body mass, and then eat fat to satiety. If you get hungry, eat more fat.

It can take a couple months to get fat adapted. Once you are, you’ll likely see an increase in energy and IF will become very easy, even natural.

In the short term you might see some pounds go back on. Don’t worry about it, you just need to correct/reset. By fasting so much before being fat adapted, your body wasn’t ready to use your stored body fat for energy, so the fatigue was likely your system slowing down to conserve energy since you weren’t taking enough in.

(Shareef) #7

Oh wow okay! Thank you so much for breaking that down for me, I really appreciate it!!! I will go back to three meals.

(TJ Borden) #8

Keep us updated on your progress

(Rob) #9

When fat adapting, its good NOT to restrict calories. All calorie restricting diets work initially for weight loss as a shock to the system, until the body adapts, lowers BMR and you yo-yo back. This isn’t a disastrous deficit but I’d go back up to your 2500-3000 until your appetite falls away naturally. Once you are fat adapted you may find you are happy with 1200 calories to get to satiety as long as you have sufficient body fat.

Not sure where in the world you are so what your local shops are like. Amazon.com is always a go-to resource to either buy if it’s in your country or at least to find stuff to compare to locally.
In the US there are tons of brick and mortar shops, in the UK, increasing numbers and the traditional places are ‘Health Food Shops’ e.g. Holland & Barrett. Pharmacies often have some choices. Opinions on supplement quality are incredibly varied so you might want to research what type of a specific mineral you get e.g. lots of people think Mg Oxide is a bad form of Mg and prefer Mg Citrate (often in liquid form), Mg Glycinate or Mg Chelate but there are many forms in pills out there. D3 and K2 are more basic, though I’m sure people have their preferences. It seems a little counter intuitive to say eat Whole Foods and then supplement but keto is a diuretic WoE and it’s hard to get enough of these vital electrolytes from food, especially when your appetite declines.

@Baytowvin addressed this already. I went from 4-5 meals/snacks a day to 2MAD and messed with my macros over that time and have lost pretty consistently (10lbs per month) for 4 months.

Keto is crazy in how many former rules you end up breaking (CICO, fat is bad, etc.) but give it a go in its fullest form and you should get better results.

(Karen) #10

Some, mostly gals, are not going to see the huge monthly loses, but there is some very good advice here for you.


(Kate) #11

A nice Epsom salt bath will help with magnesium as well. The skin absorbs it better than taking a pill- a little relaxing hot bath is just a bonus!

(TJ Borden) #14

No. But unfortunately many doctors don’t understand what keto is, and sometimes confuse it with ketoacidosis

(TJ Borden) #15

You don’t have to go carnivore, but it’s certainly an option. I prefer it because I know my carbs are so low, I don’t need to worry about counting anything. It’s also fun to tell my vegan friends that I’m only eating the stuff they don’t eat.

(TJ Borden) #18


(TJ Borden) #26

If your protien is coming from real food (not powders), it would be difficult to get anywhere close to dangerous amounts. Plus, I believe it has to be consistently high for the damage to occur… basically don’t sweat it. The general recommendation is 1-1.5 grams per kg of lean body mass. That’s a big range and there’s plenty of debate about what the ideal level is.

It’s actually better to err on the side of over versus under. As far as timing, I don’t think it’ really matters. Many people on this forum regularly only eat one meal a day, and get their while hit of protein at one shot.

(Bunny) #27

Lightheaded on Keto & Intermittent Fasting? Do This…

Today Dr. Berg explains why you might be light headed on keto and intermittent fasting plan. The reason is a low blood volume and pressure issue so now that your not retaining fluid from the carbs any longer the new way to keep the fluid is to add sea salt to your water. Make sure you keep taking your potassium and electrolytes then the light headed feeling will go away.

Feel Dizzy When You Stand Up?

Dr. Berg talks about what it means when you get up too fast and feel dizzy. This indicates possible adrenal weakness, because the adrenal are not recovering.

  1. The Adrenal Potassium Connection
  1. Sodium, Nutritional Ketosis, and Adrenal Function

(Karen) #28

No,my nephrologist asked why I had so many ketones in my urine and I said I was on the ketogenic diet. He said oh OK is that working for you? I said yes so far I’ve lost 35 pounds that was back before I was closer to 40. He didn’t caution … he didn’t seem to be worried about it at all. It’s not a high-protein diet. Just higher fat

(Bunny) #31

I have some questions about this HPA-axis thing and those circadian rhythm like hooks, and all those biophysio-psychosocial (emotional) and physical environmental stressor thingies so broadly disscussed on the net about adrenal stress/fatigue:

  1. I went on the ketogenic diet for X reasons?
  1. What was I eating before I went on the ketogenic diet? e.g. diet consisted mainly of carbohydrates (heavily processed?) and limited in fat and protein?
  1. How often (randomness/snacking) did I eat and why did I eat?
  1. How much did I eat until I was satieted or satisfied?
  1. Feeling hungry & Adrenal stress/fatigue on intermittent fasting (IF), leptin, ghrelin & glycogen stores!


Let’s say we start a ketogenic diet and our source of information tells us eat this many times and this much of that?

Heavily armed with that information on what to eat I take that information and eat when I am hungry but at the same time I am practicing intermittent fasting in ratios and not purposely restricting my intake, I eat when I feel hungry (glycogen stores start depleting; liver/muscle), and I take my blood sugar readings, I write it down before I eat to make sure my hunger signaling is not simply psychological, then I watch how long it takes until I get hungry again and take the blood sugar readings again, then I start spacing my eating window out little by little so I am not stressing my metabolism (HPA-axis, circadian hooks etc.)? What I am in effect doing is graduating in increments the ability to adapt and not shock the body into (hyperglycemic?) dysregulation?

In other words you are not ‘starving yourself,’ it has to do with the neurological signaling or nueroplastic conditioning of the ‘reward centers of the brain’ that can induce adrenal stress?


  1. Starving Yourself Feels a Lot Like Adrenal Fatigue: To the body, not getting enough calories is a very important signal. It means there’s a problem, some kind of starvation is happening. And it should begin preparing for the worst. So, as the body does this it has your back and it anticipates a future food shortage. It down regulates things like muscle building, fertility, energy, and immunity through many ways. At the cellular level, the metabolic processes that keep you alive begin to slow down, your hormones down regulate and blood pressure drops. Basically, your body slows everything down in an effort to keep you alive. Adrenal fatigue is very similar in terms of change in hormone production. In adrenal fatigue, as in starvation, your cortisol, DHEA and thyroid hormones are all out of balance. The two conditions feel almost the same. And from a measurement standpoint it would take not only a highly skilled practitioner but likely one who’s seen this before (a rare combo) to tell the difference. Unpacking the idea of starvation a bit more, let’s get into eating at a macro and micro level. If for instance you’re starving yourself of micronutrients like magnesium, then at least 300 processes in the body will be negatively affected. How would you know? Next time you’re having some blood tests done, ask for a Magnesium RBC blood test. This would do a lot to tell you where your levels are. There’s too many micronutrients to cover in this post and it might not even be something you should worry about. …More
  1. “…Studies show that fasting for up to 48 hours can actually boost metabolism by 3.6-14% (27, 28). However, if you fast much longer than that, the effect can reverse and metabolism can go down compared to baseline (29). One study showed that fasting every other day for 22 days did not lead to a decrease in metabolic rate, but the participants lost 4% of their fat mass, which is impressive for a period as short as 3 weeks (30). …” …More
  1. An Overview of the Adrenal Glands Beyond Fight or Flight
  1. The Impact Intermittent Fasting Can Have On All Your Hormones
  1. In conclusion, the present data indicate that starvation-induced enhancement of cortisol secretion in young healthy men is mediated by an increased glucocorticoid secretory burst mass, rather than changes in secretory burst frequency or duration or in cortisol half-life. In addition, fasting modifies the diurnal secretory pattern of cortisol by delaying maximal serum concentrations to the early afternoon. The inverse relationship between serum cortisol and GH responses to fasting suggests differential regulation of the corticotropic and somatotropic axis by the metabolic stress of fasting and/or feedback interactions between these two axes when they are both activated. (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 81: 692-699, 1996)
  1. 7 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Adrenal Fatigue
  1. “…Here we show the strength of the terminal synapse that controls epinephrine release is actually highly plastic. Fasting leads to a long-lasting increase in synaptic strength by a process that requires neuropeptide Y and Y5 receptors. In the absence of neuropeptide Y, synaptic strengthening is absent, epinephrine release is reduced, and the mice become hypoglycemic. These findings indicate that the response to fasting involves significant autonomic synaptic plasticity. …” …More
  1. “… Cortisol: Our brains don’t know if we’re stress or low in sugar: When we’re pumping out excess cortisol, our brain has no clue if we’re low in blood sugar or if we’re in a threatening situation so it tells us to be stressed out and crave energy… 2 birds with 1 stone. If we’re pumping out too much cortisol we’ll eventually produce more adrenaline as a boost and that will cause extreme stress symptoms like uncontrollable shaking, vomiting, irregular heart rhythm, fainting, etc… If we’re constantly pumping out too much adrenaline it will eventually contribute to burnout as well. …” …More
  1. “…colder climates may have relied more heavily on animal meats for food and warmer, wetter climates may have relied more heavily on plant food. This led to diversity in one specific gene responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates, alpha-amylase (AMY1). AMY1 is a salivary enzyme that begins the breakdown of starch in the mouth and makes it taste sweet. …More
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  1. Glucose Metabolism and Regulation: Beyond Insulin and Glucagon
  1. “…In addition to metabolize carbohydrates, the liver produces glucose to be used by other tissues, from glycogen breakdown or from de novo synthesis using primarily lactate and alanine (gluconeogenesis). …” …More
  1. Ketosis is Hard-Wired Into Our Genetics

(Running from stupidity) #36

Basically, you have to decide which theory you believe and go with that. I’m in the “not worried about too much protein #becausecarnivores” camp, but plenty of others are not.

(TJ Borden) #37

Then go with 121…or just don’t count and end up at …???

As near as I can tell, the fear about protien stems from two things:

  1. Gluconeogenesis. That’s where the liver converts protien to glucose for the few systems in our bodies that actually need glucose and can’t efficiently use ketones. The fear is that excess protien will end up as excess glucose, through gluconeogenesis, and then end up being stored as fat. That’s not how gluconeogenesis works. Gluconeogenesis is demand driven, not supply. It’s happening constantly on a keto/low carb diet, but it happens based on your need for glucose, not based on having extra protien floating around.

  2. Excess protien can stall ketosis. This freaks people out that are trying to constantly stay in ketosis and/or chase specific ketone readings. In this case, they’re correct that it can boot you out temporarily, but so what? If you’re using a ketogenic diet for therapeutic reasons where specific readings are needed, that’s different. For weight loss/metabolic repair, the ketone levels don’t really matter, and cycling in and out isn’t really a big deal either. In fact it’s natural, so long as you remain fat adapted.

The fact is, the SAD diet had the carb to fat balance thrown out. Protien was about right, and it seems most will eat what they need to intuitively.

PS- if it seems like I used the term gluconeogenesis a lot. It’s because I did. It’s the biggest word I know how to use correctly so I like to through it around to make myself sound smarter than I really am.