What should you eat in weight maintenance?

What should you eat in weight maintenance?

A keto diet can be amazing for losing weight. But what about weight maintenance? Should you do keto differently once you’ve reached your goal weight? This question is frequently brought up in the Diet Doctor Facebook group.

This is what our dear moderator Kristin Parker answers:

Kristin’s answer

How do I know when I’ve reached maintenance?
The answer is “it depends”. Some people can set a goal weight, keep eating keto until they hit that goal, and then go into maintenance. Sometimes, our bodies seem to find a “set point” which means we may not lose as much weight as we want. Right now, I’d like to lose 5-10 lbs (2-5 kg) more, but my body seems kind of happy where it is!

At this point, there are two options. You can tweak your diet – double checking for carb creep, cutting out treats/baked goods, dairy, sweeteners, caffeine, etc. You can pretty much tweak down so far that you’re eating nothing but bacon and ribeye, or you can accept that your body is content with its “set point” and just keto on.

More about weight, health, and happiness

What should I eat in maintenance?
The most simple answer to this is that you can continue to eat exactly the same way — total carbs less than 20 g per day with moderate protein and enough fat to keep you satiated. You don’t need to change anything unless you need to stop losing weight.

Depending on your personal metabolism, level of insulin resistance, age, weight, activity levels, other medical issues, etc. you may find that you need to stick to the basics, just as when you were in weight loss. Some people find that they can raise their carb limit a little bit, especially if they are getting carbs from extra veggies, but not treats or baked goods.

Carb creep can still happen, and you will likely gain weight if you ditch keto completely. Keto should be a long-term way of life. This is about far more than just weight. A ketogenic diet can be anti-inflammatory and can be good for pretty much every main organ system in the body.

If you want to experiment with raising your carbs sensibly, go gradually. Try a couple of weeks at 25-30 grams of carbs and see how your body responds. For the sake of keto, you may find a blood glucose monitor beneficial. A lot of the benefits of keto come from keeping the blood sugar/insulin roller coaster as level as possible. If you are eating higher carb and your blood sugar is fluctuating higher, then that’s a sign that your body may not tolerate that limit, and it’s likely better to lower your carb count back down. Please know that increasing carbs has caused people to fall off the wagon completely as this can also bring back increased cravings. Going back to highly refined or ultra processed/”low carb” foods is also a potential recipe for disaster. Ingredients still matter!

Weight loss/maintenance is a lifelong journey – “goal weight” may be one milestone along the way, but is definitely not the final destination.

The simplest answer is that maintenance doesn’t have to look very different from how we are eating now, day in/day out!!


What’s your experience with maintaining your goal weight on keto? Leave a comment below.