HELP! crashing /sleepy after meals. Trouble adapting 8 weeks in

(Sungl1025) #1

Hi guys. New here.

Started a keto diet 8 weeks ago. I believe I’m having trouble adapting because I feel very weak; my strength in the gym is half of what it used to be and my legs feel weak going down a flight of stairs. Now I have felt some moments of mental clarity but it tends to go away after eating. I cut out nuts and dairy because I heard it can prevent people from adapting. My diet literally consists of only fatty meats, liver, cruciferous veggies, ghee and coconut oil. I’m a really thin guy so I don’t want to lose weight. For the first 4 weeks I was eating 3 meals a day (1000 cal each) in a 8 hour window (8am-4am). I continued to get sleepy after meals so I started narrowing down my eating window to a 5 hour window (12pm-5pm) eating 2 meals at 1500 cal per meal. I’m a very thin guy with a rapid metabolism (137 lbs, 5’11). Eating any less will make me lose weight. Why am I crashing after meals and feel so weak in the muscles? I’m seemingly doing everything right. I supplement with electrolytes as well: (on average I get around 200-300mg of magbesium, 3500 potassium, and 5000-6000 mg of sodium. I keep my protein moderate and eat tons of fat. My carbs were at 50g initially net, then i read it might be too high so I dropped it to 30 grams, still sleepy post meal though. Is this diet not for me? I notice everyone who does keto is overweight so they reduce their caloric intake. I’m doing keto down health reasons in an effort to improve my acne. The only thing I can think of that is causing the issue is that am I eating too much per meal? If i eat less I’ll lose too much weight… I’m almost about to throw in the towel so any suggestions would help.

I should mention I just completed a 48 hour fast in an effort to problem solve my issues and get me to adapt faster. I felt awe full the entire 48 hours. Heart palpitations, no energy to walk, hungry. Electrolytes helped somewhat

My approximate/ average macros:

Approximately 2800-3000 calories
80-100 grams is protein (13%)
30-35 grams of net carbs(7%)
250 grams of fat (80%)
2 meals a day


Is all of that potassium in supplement form? You may well be overdoing it.

(Sungl1025) #3

Oh definitely not. I usually supplement with 1/2 tsp of Lo Salt a day which is around 900mg. The rest I get from spinach and cruciferous veggies.


You could try dumping the Lo Salt then - it sounds as if you probably get plenty from your food & many find that if they keep their sodium in check then the potassium levels pretty much take care of themselves.

Was keto a drastic change in diet for you?

(Sungl1025) #5

I was plant- based to a few years. Then I ate a more balanced high carb diet with meat for a few months before transitioning into keto. I will def try dropping the lo salt but my gut feeling is that it’s not the cause. Should I drop my carbs or lower my caloric intake?


Coming from a high carb diet you may need a little longer to adapt. You could try dropping your carbs a little more & you may need to take it easy in the gym for a while.

(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.) #7

I think this is your problem: 30-35 grams of net carbs(7%).

You’re suffering from carb withdrawal. 8 weeks is longer than most, but it’s not unusual either. I recommend you cut back on carbs to sub-20 grams per day. You may even have to cut back to sub-15 grams if your symptoms don’t improve after a week or so at sub-20.

If you don’t cut carbs sufficiently you will not stay consistently (or at all) in ketosis. If you don’t keep your glucose and insulin low enough they interfere with both lipolysis and ketogenesis. So you end up with insufficient fat/ketones and glucose to sustain energy. Being tired and weak is your body’s response to inadequate fuel. You’re eating enough fat/protein but you’re not using it efficiently. You’re still using mostly glucose, but not eating enough carbs to sustain it. Double bind.


(Sungl1025) #8

Thanks for the feedback. This is what I suspected. It’s incredibly tough for me to cut down the veggies even more cause I’d be starving (I’m a big eater) but I guess this is my only option at this point :frowning_face:

I will try it out for a week and hopefully not quit


If you’re hungry you should eat more fat & you may be able to get away with more protein - I eat at least 100gms a day & I’m only 5ft4/115 pounds. Some people need to limit protein but many of us don’t - it’s all trial & error :slightly_smiling_face:

(Sungl1025) #10

Great tips. I will up protein and fat and limit carbs further and update in a week. Many thanks!


If you do continue to feel unwell you should see a doctor but here’s hoping things improve :crossed_fingers::slightly_smiling_face:

(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.) #12

I suggest bok choy. You can eat a lot of bok choy without paying a substantial carb tax. There are less than 2 grams of carbs per 100 grams of it. Bok choy is a ‘super food’, micro-nutrient dense. It tastes good, too.

That said, keep in mind that there is no ‘essential carbohydrate’ and there are no essential nutrients that you can not obtain from fats and proteins. Check out the link I added to your quote above.

Realistic about carbs - inspiration
(Sungl1025) #13

Thanks for the bokchoy tip. Quick question: is the 20 g of net carbs forever or is it temporary rule until I get fat adapted? Will I be able to increase my carbs to, let’s say 30-40g in the future after being fat adapted without getting kicked out of Ketosis. And if I do get kicked out of Ketosis(when fat adapted) how long does it take to get back into Ketosis? Thanks again

(Bunny) #14

[1] ”…Dr. Berg explains why people get tired after eating. It has to do with either insulin resistance or low stomach acids. If you have a digestive problem add Apple Cider Vinegar Plus, which has a combination of apple cider vinegar and betaine hydrochloride…”

[2] “…In this video, Dr. Berg talks about the 7 reasons why you are tired on Ketogenic Diet. He also talks about the ways to improve energy:

  1. You need more B Vitamins (especially B1 and B5) – these 2 vitamins are crucial in the metabolism and the ability to make energy.
  2. Increase Potassium (Large Quantities of Vegetables)
  3. Deficiency of Stomach Acids (Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt, Betaine Hydrochloride )
  4. Hidden Carbohydrate
  5. Decreased Blood Sugars (Feeling Tired)
  6. High Blood Sugar (Tired After Eating)
  7. Needs More Sleep …”

(Joey) #15

@Sungl1025 Welcome to the forum. So sorry to hear your diligent efforts haven’t quite yet paid off for you. Hang in there and things will most likely come around with some minor adjustments (I’d put re-evaluating the potassium and backing off on exercise top on the list).

As @amwassil notes, you may not be staying in ketosis very consistently. Many healthy veggies (green leafy, above-ground growing) have only trace amounts of carbs and they’re superb to include in a well-balanced keto diet once you’re fat-adapted. But those carbs can add up quickly if you’re overdoing it.

Question: do you do any blood glucose and ketone testing? You might gain some insights as to what’s happening by checking your levels, both to confirm that you are in fact in ketosis and perhaps to explore whether you may be spiking your glucose from any particular menu item(s).

The 20 g/day carb ceiling is offered as a cap that will push virtually anyone into ketosis if maintained for a while. As for how high you can increase that figure down the road, everyone is different and it depends on your own unique situation (e.g., insulin sensitivity, general health, how long you’ve been fat-adapted, exercise habits, etc…)

And again, as for exercise, many folks going through the fat-adaptation process report that their normal workouts become miserably tough for some period of time (see: Phinney/Volek’s “Art and Science of Low Carb Performance”).

So, given that you’re not approaching any of this from a weight loss perspective (BTW, same with me), if these workouts feel awful, simply stop for a week or two and then try again. It will NOT hurt you to back off on the cardio and/or resistance training while you adapt. You don’t have to be superman with everything at once. For now, just focus on getting the carbs down - and eat only until you’re satisfied.

The fact that you’re sleepy after meals strongly suggests that (1) you are getting more carbs than you think and/or (2) you’re really eating more than would be required to satisfy your true hunger level. Are you feeling stuffed after you eat? If so, try to s-l-o-w down your eating and allow the satiety signals to work. Eating carbs is actually a different experience than not eating carbs… the hormonal signals from our digestive system are different than what we’ve grown accustomed to and you might be missing your sense of being full and satisfied if you’re rushing through to eat everything in front of you … like we do when eating carbs!

Hang in there and keep us posted on developments!

(Bunny) #16

And that’s not going to happen by eating ONLY steak, hamburger and bacon continually for years on end?

Depends on what type of proteins we are talking about, does that include marine life (e.g. iodine), dairy, eggs, lightly cooked glandulars like thyroids (iodine; hard to get that even if you supplement with it) and adrenals (vitamin C), organ meats like liver (vitamin C), only then you are getting all the essential nutrients from protein through carbohydrates and fiber?

Carbohydrates are definitely essential or we would not be alive, animals we eat, eat grass, grains, fiber, bugs and dirt (vitamin B-12; soil based gut flora; plants do contain it depending on the quality of the soil it’s grown in?) etc. and they ferment it into other vitamins through the rumen[1], reticulum and omasum etc.

So technically and realistically back in the world of reality carbohydrates and fiber are essential to life and anyone making such statements or parroting them as such needs to understand what’s wrong with that logic and needs to gain insight that it does not matter whether carbohydrates or fiber go through you[1] or through the animal[1], you are still technically eating carbohydrates and fiber? (soil based gut flora is what is lacking in most humans?)

Again: Important distinctions need to be made between highly refined and processed carbohydrates and Whole Foods (natural carbohydrates that include vitamins, minerals and trace elements)?


[1] “…The human rumen: The cow is a ruminant, and cow’s milk has evolved to promote bacterial growth in the upper small bowel; whereas human milk has evolved to discourage bacterial growth. Examination of the constituents of the two milks shows that their differences can be accounted for in terms of this difference in function. Children who are fed a calf’s diet tend to develop a rumen? …” …More

[2] Soluble fiber and Non-soluble fiber?

Realistic about carbs - inspiration
(Monique) #17

When keto folk say carbs aren’t essential they aren’t saying they aren’t essential to the animals we eat.

They do the hard digesting work for us, and then we eat them :cut_of_meat: :crab:. It’s fun being top of the food chain!

(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.) #18

Hey Bunny! Go to my carb thread and name one essential carb that humans must eat to survive.

(Bunny) #19

Just to survive? I think I would be more concerned about the quality of my nutrition and life than being under survival mode conditions?

(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.) #20

To add to what @SomeGuy said above in his response. My opinion is that concern about carbs is primarily, although not exclusively, a newcomer issue. For some it remains an issue. Because we all ate a high carb diet prior to keto we initially feel like we’ve sacrificed something worthwhile to adopt keto. Eventually, most of us come to realize that was not so. We gained something far better in the exchange and eventually lose interest in carbs. They contain no necessary nutrients. In view of that fact and all the nutritious and varied foods we eventually discover on keto, the concern for how many carbs you can get away with eating fades away.