Weight Maintenance After Keto – Lose the weight and keep it off!

weight maintenance after keto

So you worked hard, you played by the keto rules and it all paid off. You have reached your goal weight! But, now what? This is a very common question and one worth asking. You spent a great deal of time and effort getting to where you are now and you certainly don’t want to throw it all away! Weight maintenance after keto looks different for many people but it doesn’t have to be scary! You have learned a lot on your keto journey and it will help guide you for the rest of your life.

The first thing you have to realize is that you can never go back to the way you ate before. The way you ate before made you unwell and ultimately unhappy. No weight loss will remain long term if you go back to eating junk food. Unfortunately, that’s just not the way our bodies work.

But, If you have been following Keto for a good length of time (and you likely have if you are considering long-term weight maintenance after keto)  then odds are you have learned a few things along the way. Keto is a great way to develop a healthier relationship with our food. By following Keto you have probably increased the variety of vegetables in your diet (or at least moved away from the carrots, peas, corn and potato mainstays). You have learned how to make healthy and filling meals and most importantly, you have broken your sugar addiction. Your body has learned how to survive off of ketones and fat. All of these lessons will help you greatly for the rest of your life as long as you remember them.

Weight Maintenance After Keto – 4 options you might consider.

weight maintenance after keto

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Option 1 – Stay Keto, Increase Calories

In the end weight loss occurs when there is a calorie deficit in our lives. The bottom line to all diets is that you need to burn more calories then you eat in order to lose weight. Once you are no longer interested in losing weight but wish to maintain it at a certain point then the calorie deficit is no longer needed.

By increasing your calories but remaining Keto you will continue to benefit from the side effects and health benefits you might have been enjoying on this diet.  You will need to consider your current exercise and raise and lower your calorie intake in response. More exercise equals more calories.

It might take a bit of experimenting before you find your sweet spot in maintaining weight and you will need to make sure carbs don’t start to creep back in with the additional food. By avoiding the lure to add carbs back into your diet its unlikely that any carb cravings will return. If you know that carb cravings are a weak point for you then this might be your best choice.

A selection of keto friendly vegetable's

Option 2 – Transition to Low-Carb or Paleo

Many people are capable of weight maintenance after keto with a low carb diet and Paleo is especially popular in some circles. By going low carb you will likely be leaving Ketosis behind and that’s okay if that’s what you want. By adding carbs back into your diet there will be an increase in water retention and the scale might reflect a few extra pounds.

Taking this route means remaining somewhat vigilant about what you are eating. Going low carb does not mean you should go back to binging on potatoes, rice, and bread. The extra carbs in your diet should come from the addition of fruits and more vegetables.

It is generally suggested that you raise your carb limit slowly in order to find a spot where you like the way you feel. Start by adding 5-10g of extra carbs a week and see how you feel. If you are maintaining your weight and feeling good then stay where you are. If you continue to lose weight you can probably add more, gain weight or feel bad? You need to cut back. The carb limit is different for everyone. Some only go up to 50g net carbs a day, others can go as high as 150g.

A good rule of thumb is to allow yourself a 5ib fluctuation window. If your weight fluctuates by more then that and then stays there then odds are you are gaining weight and it’s not just water retention.

Option 3 – Consider Cyclic Keto

Cyclic Keto is best suited for high-intensity athletes. If you want to gain some muscle or bulk after losing the fat then this is a pretty good choice for you! Cyclic Keto is a branch of keto all to itself and might require a bit of research to see if its a good fit for you.

In cyclic keto, you will leave ketosis on purpose for a brief period of time each week. The most common form is to eat a keto diet for 5-6 days followed by a 1-2 day higher carb diet. Following this plan and coupling it with several high-intensity workouts throughout the week will mean that you can benefit from the muscle building ability of carbs as well as the benefits of a keto diet. It also means that you can indulge once in a while without feeling guilty which many people like.

However, if you are not coupling this with a lot of exercise sessions then it won’t benefit you at all and you would be better off following either option 1 or 2 for long-term weight maintenance after keto.

A collection of Keto Pantry Staples. The collection includes Coconut Flour,Coconut Oil, Swerve, Olive oil and almond flour decorated with various blue and purple flowers.

Option 4 – Reintroduce Carbs, Count Calories.

This is what I consider to be the most dangerous option. Although it is possible to maintain your weight after reintroducing carbs as long as you watch your calories it’s a very slippery slope. It would be so easy to slip back into old habits.

By going this route you will lose the benefits of Low carb and keto. Most higher carb foods are pretty calorie dense and without the extra fat in your diet to keep you full its likely that you will feel hungry and be tempted to overeat. This path should only be chosen by those who have strong willpower.

Still, I know some people don’t want to be keto forever. They miss eating out, trying new foods or find it hard to budget which can be challenging on Keto. If you are very very careful then this can work … but I have a feeling it will be very hard. The good news is that you have the tools to go back to Keto if you find yourself unhappy and unwell again.

I want to restate that going back to the way you ate before is a bad choice, the weight will come back. You will start to feel bad again. If you choose this path, make smart choices about the foods you decide to indulge in.

What does your weight maintenance after keto plan look like?

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  1. I really give props to people going through diets. I can never stick to something for more than 2 weeks but I guess that’s why diets always fail for most people.

    I’ve been trying to eat healthier but it’s also expensive ☹️

    1. Author

      Eating healthier is definitely more expensive. It can be done on a tight budget but it often means being stuck with the same type of meals over and over again. It’s a real shame that processed junk food is the cheaper option in our world.

  2. This is such a helpful post! I know a lot of people who lose so much weight but pile it back on after a certain diet, super helpful how you’ve given multiple options too!
    Sophie – https://sophiehearts.net x

    1. Author

      A lot of people tend to slip back into old habits after a while and obviously, that’s not going to work long term! You have to think of your eating as less of a temporary diet and more of a lifestyle change I think to make it work! We might not be as strict with our Keto as we used to be since we have both lost as much as we want to lose – but we are well aware that we can never go back to eating pasta, boxed meals and pizza on a whim anymore either. Not if we want to stay healthy!

  3. I do Paleo for the most part, but I have gained weight from drinking alcohol unfortunately.. Everything in moderation I say lol. Great post!

    1. Author

      Alcohol will do that for sure, but you have to have fun in life too so as you say everything in moderation is a great way to look at it!

  4. This is really helpful as it’s so easy to put weight back on if you don’t have a follow up plan in place. Your before and after photos are amazing, what an incredible transformation. It goes to show it really works! Great job and thank you for sharing your tips lovely 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  5. Really good info. It’s a lot harder to maintain when you only have a one-size fits all plan.

    1. Author

      It really is, not everyone can stick to the same plan and have it work. Everyone is different and everyone has to figure out what works best for them! Thankfully there are quite a few options!

  6. Thanks for writing this post, I just tried to get answers from a fb group about this. I am basically at my goal weight and have been feeling very weak (still have a calorie deficit). Past two weeks I’ve felt like I have a cold even though my vitamins and calories salt / minerals have been the same for 7 months. I am guessing this is my body’s way of telling me I’m out of fat reserves? When I recalculated my Macros it was like nearly double the calories I am used to consuming, which seemed very strange to me. I am still feeling full and keeping up with the high protein and regular amounts of fat. Curious when you went into maintenance mode, did you have to start Fat Bombs or how did you get your calories back up? Did you feel this weirdly weak/ getting a cold feeling beforehand? Thanks for your help 🙂 my plan is to stay on Keto.

    1. Author

      I did not feel overly weak when switching to maintenance mode but there was a period in my keto journey when I did. Since I was feeling full all the time I just wasn’t eating enough, this also stalled my weight loss at the time though since you are entering maintenance that’s no longer a concern for you. That said my allergy issues sometimes feel more like a cold/weakness for a couple days then full on attacks after starting Keto (much preferable to the endless nose dripping of before!) Upping your calories could very well be a fix unless your body truly is trying to fight off a bug! Fat bombs can be good for adding in some extra calories for sure and as an added bonus many of them taste pretty good. You can also try adding some additional nuts, cheese, heavy cream, eggs and avocados into your diet. All of those are low carb but higher calorie. Some people have success introducing protein shakes which often have a high-calorie value. Just make sure to keep an eye on the ingredients as some are higher carb them others.

  7. I’ve lost 112lbs in 13 months on keto and am really struggling to get my head in to maintenance. I want to stay keto/low carb but struggling to get my calories up. I’ve upped my carbs to 30g a day and my calories up to 1400, but the calculators say 1880 for maintenance for me. I just don’t feel hungry enough to incorporate another 400+ calories. Any suggestions? x

    1. Author

      First off congrats on the amazing loss! As for maintenance, I found there was a bit of feeling it out for me. I couldn’t eat the number of calories all the calculators demanded of me either. I’m just not hungry enough to eat that much and I’m not going to eat a lot of high-calorie foods just for the sake of hitting some numbers. So I stopped worrying about it so much! I ate an extra slice of Keto cheesecake when I wanted too, added some more creamer to my coffee if I felt like it and now and then I indulge in some old fruit favorites. If you are still consistently losing weight and don’t want to then you might consider adding some more nuts to your diet or try adding some coconut oil to your coffee if you drink it! If however, your current weight loss is very slow then there is a pretty good chance you will hit a natural plateau pretty soon as your body finds it’s own balance. I continued to lose for about a month after starting ‘maintenance’ but then it slowed and stopped and I’ve been hovering within the same 10 pounds every since – it tends to go up with my cycle and drop back down afterwards, hitting the lowest points if I pull off a really good long run or a lot of exercises so I never worry with that amount of flux!

      1. Great information! Thank you for the guidance.

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