YES, it is possible to maintain a ketogenic way of life and have a social life at the same time. Believe it or not, it’s not as hard as you think.
You should be able to enjoy your friends and celebrations without stress. There is NO perfect way to do keto!! This is a life you’re living and you deserve to enjoy it. The important thing with maintaining a healthy way of life is that we do our best, take it one day at a time and enjoy the journey. A mindset of deprivation, missing out and judgment will lead to unhappiness and failure.
When a social event is looming, you have two options, either remain keto or go off plan. If you do choose to eat off plan, make it a ONE MEAL deliberate choice. Enjoy what you want, in moderation, then get right back to clean eating – with no guilt, and no shame. Just keep the right mindset. Get back on track the very next day and stay strict keto (low carb high fat). Your body will reset quickly especially if your fat adapted.
If you’re the type of person who cannot go off plan because you know it will derail your progress, don’t stress. Here are a few tips on how to not sabotage your keto way of life while socializing.
Six Tips to Socializing and Staying Keto
1. Have A Plan
Prepare for the event.
Strict Keto: Days before, make sure you maintain a strict keto lifestyle. Don’t let the idea of an upcoming event give you excuses to carb up. Instead, get yourself in a carb deficit so that your body is a fat burning engine. Make sure you have easily available keto food in your house for the next day.
Stay Hydrated: Make sure you’re well hydrated leading up to the event. The brain often confuses dehydration signals as hunger signals. This can make for the wrong choices when out. Plus if you plan on consuming adult beverages, being hydrated is especially important.
Bring an Appetizer or Side Dish: If this is a party, then bring a keto-friendly dish that you can share. The internet provides many delicious, easy keto recipes you can bring and share with keto and non-ketogenic people alike. Just make sure it’s something you will enjoy eating!
2. Don’t Arrive Hungry
Make sure you eat a little before hand, even if you’re a one-meal-a-day (OMD) person or an intermittent faster (IF). This may be the day to have a light keto snack or keto lunch. Expand your eating window to include a small keto meal before the event. Not only will this make sure you do not fall into temptation as soon as you walk in but, if there are limited keto choices, you will not feel ravenous.
3. Find Keto Friendly Foods at the Event
There is usually something low carb and healthy available at any event or gathering. Focus on clean eating like enjoying the meat and cheese platters and also the veggies and dip. I often take the vegetables (carrots, cucumber, celery) from the veggie platter and add meat and cheese to it. I use the veggies in place of crackers. If something has the tiniest bit of a non-keto ingredients, have some. Especially if you followed step one, you’re in good shape. For the main meal, focus on eating meat, fish and veggies. You can always put a favorite sauce (bolognaise or alfredo) over a sautéed or steamed vegetable. And for dessert, unless it’s a small bowl of berries, stay away. Have something available at home for an end of the evening treat!
4. You Do Not Need To Discuss Your Eating Style
You don’t need anyone’s permission or validation about your food choices. You are eating healthy for yourself. If you know you’re going to encounter a family member or friend that means well but is a food pusher, be prepared with a response. Walk in to the event with a thick skin and a huge smile. People can be hard to deal with sometimes. If someone attempts to tell you why keto is bad or that you just can’t pass up on the carb-laden dish or dessert, try to redirect the conversation to a different topic. You can simply say, “I’m eating in a way that makes me healthier and feel better. But let’s talk about you. How are you doing?” Also, “Thanks so much, but that dish would give me a terrible belly ache.” You can get through the event gracefully.
5. Plan an Exit
If this isn’t one of your preferred social events, have plan to leave a little early. You can always change your mind if you’re having fun. We have all been invited to obligatory events that we’d maybe prefer to skip. Show up, say hello and let the host know you have another engagement. My Husband and I make late dinner reservations at such times. We attend the event and have a cocktail then exit for a delicious late evening meal.
6. Get Right Back Into Your Keto Routine
Since you followed step one, you’re ready to jump right back into your keto daily life. Make sure you rehydrate, especially if you had a few (or more) adult beverages. Try to include some fasting in the morning to jump start your fat burning engine. Get your body moving. If you have a workout routine, stick to it. Get outside and take a walk at the very least. If you find yourself hungry or with unexpected cravings, make sure you eat only keto foods. And, if you went off your path, it’s OK!!! This is your life you’re living. Refocus on your plan and get right back at it. Your body understands keto and fat burning and will get right back into it as long as you give it the right fuel.