Losing weight is not an easy feat, so if you’re at or approaching your goal weight, good for you! You should be proud of everything you’ve accomplished. Now that you’ve lost your weight with keto, it’s time to go into maintenance mode!
Do you gain weight back after keto? If you go back to your original way of eating without taking the necessary precautions, you will likely regain all the weight you lost on a ketogenic diet.
Maintaining your weight is actually more challenging to do than losing weight in the first place. Many people think that they can control themselves by going back to their original way of eating. Some people have success while others watch while all of their hard work is undone.
The best thing you can do is be prepared. Keep reading for my tips to keeping off the weight you’ve lost on a ketogenic diet.
Tip 1: Make A Plan
Before I start, I want to make it clear that other than this first tip, they aren’t steps to be followed in order. You definitely want to start with this first tip, but after that, everything I mention is independent of anything else. Feel free to try whichever ones you’d like to find what works best for you.
Now that I have that out of the way, start by making a plan! In an ideal world, this planning would be done before you reach your goal weight, but if you’ve hit the number on the scale that you’ve been looking for and are now panicking, it’s better late than never.
If you’re late to the planning party, that’s okay. You are here now, and that’s what matters. Please take a look at the tips found on this page and use them to form your plan of action.
Tip 2: Keep Doing Keto
There is no rule that says that once you’ve lost your weight, you have to move away from eating a ketogenic diet. You’re already keto-adapted and used to the way of eating, and there’s not really a need to move away from what you’ve been doing. If you are happy on keto and like the way you feel, keep doing what you’re doing.
One of the best things about taking this route to maintain your weight loss is that since you’re not adding additional carbohydrates to your diet, you are at no risk of those carbs triggering cravings.
For many people coming off a ketogenic diet, the up and down blood sugars begin as soon as more carbs are introduced. With those blood sugar swings come your craving for sugar. Once that happens, you have to ensure your willpower is as strong as it can be. Staying on keto helps avoid this from the beginning.
Since you’ve reached your weight-loss goal, you can still take advantage of the many other benefits of keto. Some of them include:
- Improvement of acne
- Reduced risk of certain cancers
- Improved heart health
- Protection of brain functions
- Reduction of seizures
- Improved PCOS symptoms
- Reduced Appetite
- Increased levels of good cholesterol
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased inflammation
Tip 3: Control Your Food Environment
I am an emotional eater, so I have to make sure I have control over my food environment at all times. When I’m stressed, I want to eat. When I’m sad, I want to turn to food. When I’m bored, all I want to do is snack. It’s a dangerous revolving door that we can’t help.
Even if none of those things affect you, something as simple as a smell can bring on the cravings and the desire for all the foods that are bad for you. A good example is someone bringing a box of donuts and placing it in the break room at work. You weren’t craving a donut before you went into the room, but as soon as you see or smell one, I guarantee you’ll want to take a bite.
While there’s not a lot you can do about others bringing unhealthy food options into your environment, you can take steps to control what you do. The most important thing to think about is that you shouldn’t rely on your willpower on its own because if you do, you’re destined to fail. Even with the best of intentions, if that donut or cookie is there, there will be times that it looks so good that you’ll have no other choice than to shove it into your mouth.
Since we can’t be responsible for what other people do, we have to retain as much control as possible. Being accountable for our own food environment goes a long way to ensuring we make healthier choices. By doing so, you’re able to train your mind to make healthy choices automatically.
Here are some ways you can control your food environment:
- Prepare healthy meals for the week, so you’ll know what you’re having and not be tempted to stop and get fast food on your way home.
- If possible, remove any unhealthy food options from your home. If you’re not able to do it because of children or other family members, put the foods you know you shouldn’t have in a place that you can’t access easily.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand at work so if someone brings in unhealthy options, you have something you can fall back on.
- Put your healthy foods in easy to see and easy to reach places.
- When eating out, limit your portion sizes by asking for half of your meal wrapped to go before you start eating it. This keeps you from overeating and provides you with a meal for another time.
- Use smaller plates at home to reduce the sizes of your portions.
- When choosing a restaurant, research their menu to find healthier options so you’re not put on the spot when it’s time to order.
- If you’re taking a road trip, bring along some healthy snacks that are easy to eat on the go. This will help prevent you from grabbing unhealthy options in convenience stores.
- Make a shopping list before you go to the store and don’t stray from it. If there are no unhealthy options on the list, you won’t buy any. Not straying from the list prevents impulse purchases.
- Prepare the majority of your meals at home.
Regardless of whether or not you’re staying on keto or moving onto a standard diet, these simple changes go a long way towards ensuring you’ll successfully keep the weight off.
Tip 4: Surround Yourself With Support
There are few things harder than having to stick to a healthy way of living, especially when you’re doing it all by yourself. Whether it be your parents, spouse, children, or roommates, most of us embark on this journey alone while those around us continue to fill up on chips, pizza, cookies, and donuts.
Even if the people around you want to keep eating all these healthy foods, it’s vital that you know they are there for you and being supportive of the changes you’re making. Too many people try to sabotage others when they begin to see success, so having someone to support you when you struggle may be all you need to keep you going.
Talk to the people that are closest to you and let them know what you’re doing. Let everyone know about what changes you’re making to your lifestyle and what your goals are. If they understand what you’re trying to do and that you need their support, you’re much more likely to succeed.
Unfortunately, not everyone has these types of people in their lives. If that’s you, I want to let you know about the Let’s Start Keto Facebook group. It’s super supportive, and we celebrate successes regularly. You can drop in for advice or brag about the latest number on the scale. It’s a private group, so anything shared stays there. Click here to join!
Tip 5: Move Into Paleo
The number of carbohydrates you have to limit yourself to in order to lose weight is likely quite a bit more strict than the number of carbs to maintain your weight loss. Ketogenic and low-carb are not synonymous. Yes, a keto diet is low-carb, but you can do a low-carb diet without remaining in ketosis.
Many people ask why they’d want to increase the carbohydrates they eat when keto has been working correctly. The answer is, you certainly don’t have, but having the option helps you feel less restricted.
Adding to your carb limit allows you to be flexible with things like vegetables that have more carbs that you couldn’t eat much of while losing weight. Adding more healthy foods gives you more variety, but also aids in giving you many of the macronutrients your body needs.
Imagines being able to add carrots, butternut squash, and parsnips to your diet. These are all yummy options that can add so much to many of your recipes. If your goal is to stick to healthy eating for your lifetime, you want to make sure you have lots of options available to you.
Adding carbs is a scary proposition for anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight by cutting them out in the first place. If you’re going to go this route, I recommend figuring out the average number of carbs you’ve been eating and then adding 20 grams for two weeks.
The benefit of adding just 20 grams is that you can do it for a couple of weeks and then see how you feel. Are the carbs giving you energy, or are you falling back into feeling sluggish? Are you maintaining your weight, or are you seeing it go up?
Going the paleo route allows you to get those extra carbs while ensuring you’re staying in a healthy lifestyle. If you go all in and eat everything you want, you’ll quickly find yourself falling down the rabbit hole of junk food. If you choose paleo foods, you’ll still have limits, which can help you stay on course.
The carbohydrates you eat on a paleo diet are still rich in fiber and full of nutrients. Some of the goods include plantains and sweet potatoes. Sure, you can always gain weight if you go crazy with these foods, but it’ll be a lot more difficult than if you were eating chocolate chip bagels, waffles, and iced oatmeal cookies.
Tip 6: Pay Attention To Portion Sizes
Once you’ve restricted your carbs for a while, it’s going to be very easy to overeat if you start eating them again. As mentioned earlier, once your body gets a taste for them, it’s going to want more and more.
If you leave keto and start eating carbohydrates, pay attention to the recommended serving sizes of the foods you eat. When you discover that a serving size of cheese snack crackers are 27 crackers and not a bowl, you’ll be more conscious of how much you’re consuming.
Tip 7: Move Onto Lazy Keto
I’m going to be honest. This tip isn’t going to be for everyone. I’ve personally lost all of my weight doing lazy keto in the first place. If you’ve found your success doing strict keto and are scared of what the future holds for your progress, you’ll want to check this one out.
Lazy keto is a form of keto where you don’t worry about tracking everything you eat. Some people who are new to keto sometimes kick themselves out of ketosis in the beginning by doing things like this, but if you’ve already been successful, you’re probably not going to have to worry about that.
This form of keto takes away a lot of the monotonous tracking that gets old very quickly. You let your hunger guide you on when and what to eat. Since you’ll be staying in ketosis, you won’t experience all the hunger spikes that lead you to overeat, and you won’t have to worry about those sugar-filled treats that cause cravings.
Even when you do lazy keto, you’ll want to be conscious of how much you’re eating. You’ll also want to keep checking your weight semi-regularly so if it starts to go up, you can get a handle on it early.
Tip 8: Figure Out Your Maintenance Calorie Needs
There is no clear cut formula for figuring out your maintenance calories, so the best thing you can do is make changes and watch for changes in your body.
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure what your average daily calories have been while on keto. For example, if you’ve been consistently losing weight while eating 1,800 calories per day, your maintenance calories will likely be around 2,200 to 2,400 calories per day, assuming your level of activity remains the same.
This is not a foolproof equation, and to accurately figure out your maintenance calorie needs, you should gradually increase your calories over a period of time, which leads me to the next tip.
Tip 9: Slowly Increase Your Calories
When you’ve reached your weight loss goals, one of the most common temptations that turn into a mistake is to go back to your previous way of eating immediately. Don’t forget that it was the way you used to eat that lead you to keto in the first place, so the last thing you want to do is run back to that.
Instead of going all in, slowly increase the number of calories you eat until you get to your maintenance calories. You want to gradually increase the calories because your body has adapted to working on fewer calories, meaning you’re burning less energy, which makes you less likely to be active. After all, a sudden increase will have you feeling tired and sluggish.
What works for most people is slowly increasing your calories. When I say slowly, I mean increasing from 1,800 to 2,000 and stay there for a couple of weeks to see how your body is going to react. This is the only way to learn what your maintenance calorie needs are accurately.
Tip 10: Watch Your Fats If You Reintroduce Carbs
When you’re eating a ketogenic diet, healthy fats are the cornerstone of your diet. When you are limiting the number of carbohydrates you’re eating, fats are necessary to not only help you feel full, but to help you get the calories you need.
If you decide to reintroduce carbs to your diet, you’ll need to completely flip the switch. The amount of fat you eat will need to be reduced, sometimes by a significant margin. Each gram of carb you consume is the equivalent of 4 calories, so 10 grams equals 40 calories.
When adding carbs back into your diet, gradually introduce them to reduce some of the side effects that will come with them. Some of these side effects could include:
- Holding Water Weight
- Stomach Bloat
- Stomach Discomfort
- Increased Hunger
- Tiredness Requiring More Sleep
- Changes In Energy Levels
- Fluctuations in Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
Tip 11: Begin With Non-Processed Carbs
Even if you are terrific with self-control, once you decide to eat carbs again, you’re going to be very tempted to eat all the things you feel like you’ve been missing out on.
Don’t give in by going to your local donut shot or your favorite Italian restaurant for a plate of pasta and breadsticks. Instead, focus on introducing plant-based carbs to ease yourself back into things.
The best choices for a slow reintroduction include:
- Whole Grains
- Non-Starchy Vegetables
Are keto diet pills safe? While keto diet pills are not likely to harm you, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and have not shown any benefit over a traditional ketogenic diet.
What age should someone start keto? There is not a minimum age to begin keto. Exhaustive studies have been conducted that show keto is safe and beneficial for all ages, from newborns to older men and women.