Carb Cycling and Phase 2 Metabolic Flexibility

After you’re through with doing Ketosis, where should you turn with your diet?

What if you still want to lose weight, and feel great, but you feel Keto isn’t for you any longer?

It’s time to go into Phase 2 with the Power Foods Lifestyle Healing Journey! Click on the podcast player below to hear the live recorded version on the Power Foods Lifestyle Podcast, or simply keep reading to get a more succinct version!

Taking the Phase 1 journey is important for helping you when experiencing gut issues, mental health conditions, stubborn extra body fat, hormonal imbalances, or just pesky symptoms that keep showing up in your life. Click here to view Phase 1’s protocol now. This is where you eat in a Ketogenic state (PFL style, of course).

The #1 concern I come across with those coming out of Ketosis is they think they can’t lose weight when they bring carbs into their diet. This is false. You can absolutely continue to lose weight by bringing carbs back into the diet–but it must be done so systematically, or in other words, according to Phase 2.

I don’t want to see you develop an unhealthy relationship with carbohydrates due to irrational fears. When you understand carbs’ role and macronutrient balance along with consistency and total caloric intake, you will feel more confident in trusting the process.

(4:20) “If your calories are the same between phase 1 and phase 2 (assuming a caloric deficit) and the protein is approximately the same, and we are titrating the fats down while we are bringing the carbs up, you can absolutely continue to lose weight. This is why the phrase ‘calories in, calories out’ does actually have a lot of credence. But we also need to look at the key factor being what is comprising and contributing to those calories?

The very strategic transition from Keto to Carb Cycling is done so by adding in 2.5x the carbs eaten in keto/low-carb eating every 2-4 days while keeping your calories approximately the same.

This will build your metabolic flexibility, which helps you use both carbs and fats as energy yielding nutrients. Your body can do this without gaining a bunch of rapid weight.

You’re learning and training your body to learn which carbohydrates work best in your body. It’s a journey, and there is a lot to learn! (I highly recommend listening to the entire podcast episode to hear lots more nuance!).

When adding carbs, do not forget you must reduce your fat intake so you balance your calories again. The results you achieved in Phase 1, Keto will have cleared out a lot of the insulin resistance that naturally happens when you’re carrying extra body fat. It’s going to help you handle some extra carbohydrates surprisingly well.

This is also one reason why if you DO have a longer way to go with losing body fat, I recommend being less aggressive by only using 1.5x the dropped carbs to cycle in every 2-4 days for a carb cycle.

Email me at to request the Phase 1-2-3 Meal Plans if you don’t want to design your own!

Eating in a Ketogenic way should become a tool in your toolkit to use here and there once you’ve reached a healthy body weight. I do not teach Keto as a PFL lifestyle (8:30).

What are POcarbs?

POcarbs are the type of carbohydrates that I would like to see you bring into your diet in Phase 2. It means POWERcarbs. I added this in to the Power Foods Lifestyle to differentiate between POcarbs from the earth grown naturally versus non-strategic carbohydrates.

I have observed many of our PFL Champions struggle with this as I have taught you carbs are carbs are carbs, and sugars are sugars are sugars (as it applies to body composition shifting), but when we are talking about a healing journey and a diversification of the microbiome to build longterm health and fight disease, the dialogue changes a bit.

Just a few of some awesome POcarbs include:

  • Apples
  • Black beans
  • Blueberries
  • Couscous
  • Grapefruit
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Whole Wheat

Some examples of non-strategic carbs in the PFL include:

  • Wheat Thins
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Processed Maltodextrin-filled protein bars

Bringing the right types of POcarbs into your diet will help you:

  • build a stronger immune system
  • maintain lower insulin levels and blood sugar levels
  • experience fewer health condition symptoms
  • fight long-term disease and illness
  • get more Polyphenols (plant compounds that contain numerous health benefits, including a reduction in blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels and oxidative stress.

Benefits from Transitioning into Phase 2 (12:20)

  • Slowly bring in lower-glycemic fruits and POcarbs to start colonizing good gut bacteria
  • Allow more mental control practice of moderately bringing in carbs on carb cycles
  • Maintain lower insulin levels and regulate blood sugar through practicing portioning, pairing, and timing principles.
  • Lower inflammation with controlled carbs and only choosing POcarbs
  • Teach cells to become more glucose responsive and insulin sensitive slowly enabling more metabolic flexibility
  • Feel energy come up as building metabolic flexibility and utilizing carbs for higher intensity workout sessions

grassfed meat, grassfinished meat, heritage pork, butcherbox, home delivered meats, organic meat

The Carb Cycle Logistics

2:1 = 2 days dropped carb, 1 day carb-up (a great place to start)
3:1 = 3 days dropped carb, 1 day carb-up (good for long-term carb cycling)
4:1 = 4 days dropped carb, 1 day carb-up (most intense–only recommended for those being very aggressive and compliant)

On the dropped carb day (the 1), take the total carbs you’ve been eating and eat 1.5-2.5x that amount. So if you were having 40 grams of carbs on my dropped carb day, then my carb day would have me eating anywhere from 60-100 grams of carbs, most preferably in the form of adding small portions (1/4-1/2 c.) of POcarbs.

Q. Can I change up my frequency of carb days to meet my lifestyle? Like go from a 2:1 to a 4:1 to a 3:1 or whatever works for me that week?

A. Absolutely. Compliance is king in body composition shifts and health reclaiming, so do what is best for you there!

Phase 2 Principles to Remember

      • Choose protein powder sweetened with stevia
      • Eat moderate amounts of protein (this means no more than 2-3 servings per day of organic animal meat, about the size of your palm)
      • Choose whether you stay dairy-free or bring it in–use in proper macro category
      • Eat 4-6 cups of dark, leafy greens per day
      • ½ cup olives daily (any variety)
      • Utilize healthy oils –MCT, coconut, olive, avocado, butter, ghee
      • Eat two plant-based fats for each one saturated animal fat
      • Eat a serving of cruciferous veggies each day (broccoli, cauliflower, Bok choy, Brussels Sprouts)
      • Use stevia or Monkfruit sweetener to sweeten foods
      • Take magnesium, potassium, and salt your foods
      • Plan your carb days and which POcarbs you will eat
      • Use an exogenous ketone supplement if budget-friendly on dropped carb days
      • Exercise: experiment with Higher intensity training after carbs and how your body feels
      • Be versatile with carb timing–think like a curious detective
      • Go for a walk each day
      • Don’t use carbs as a way to “feel better” — only use them as FUEL
      • Don’t add carbs to a meal without reducing the fats intake
      • Don’t eat red meat more than 1-3x/week
      • Don’t eat more than ½ cup nuts/seeds daily
      • Don’t count net fiber in this phase
      • Don’t bring in non-strategic carbs to your carb cycling day–this phase does not need to last a long time–here’s HOW to do it, but I wouldn’t advise it–clear the guck out of your body!
      • Don’t weigh yourself more than once per week and never on or the day after a carb day

exogenous ketones, real ketones, kegenix, ketone therapy

Mindset Strategies for Success

      • Plan your meals ahead of time and calendar out your carb days vs. dropped carb days
      • Set alarms in your phone to remember to eat
      • Focus on what you GET to eat
      • Have 2-3 go-to food items for fast food or dining out
      • Keep a snack in your purse of the drawer at work for emergencies
      • Tell others your goals and ask for their help
      • Have a Keto dessert prepared ahead of time just in case (fudge bombs)
      • PLAN your carb days and IF you will have non-strategic carbs or ot
        • If not, do not buy them. Do not keep them around you. Do not stick around them at meetings. 
      • Accountability that works for YOU (sticker chart, calendar, macros charting, nightly call with friend, etc)

#PowerYourBody one meal, one workout, one day at a time!

~Kristy Jo Wengert