More than likely, you turned to the ketogenic lifestyle because you wanted to lose weight, but what happens once you have shed those stubborn pounds? Keeping up with the keto diet is a great way to ensure that you keep the weight off. However, you may struggle to maintain your weight on keto without a few core changes to your diet strategy.
4 Ways to Maintain Your Weight on Keto
If you want to keep the weight off without continuing to lose, here are a few tips that will help.
Consume More Calories
The main reason why you lose weight on any diet is because you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning. Keto makes it easy to consume fewer calories in part because fat and protein are so satiating. This calorie deficit spurs your weight loss, but it can be easily remedied if your goal is not to lose weight but to maintain.
The specific number of calories you can eat to maintain your weight will depend on your height, weight, and activity level. For the most part, the generally accepted guidelines are 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 calories for men who want to maintain their current weight.
If you are very active, you may need slightly more than this. Online calculators can help you determine your personal Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which tells you how many calories you burn each day. Make sure you are consuming right at your TDEE in order to hold your weight steady.
Consume More Carbs
Does the idea of introducing more carbohydrates into your diet fill you with excitement? While you do not want to overdo it on the carb count, if you’re fat-adapted and looking to maintain weight rather than lose it, you will likely be able to increase your carb consumption somewhat.
A good way to go about this is to consume more carbs in the hour or so leading up to your workout. Carb-loading on the front end of your workout is great if your workout lasts longer than 90 minutes or if you plan to do high-intensity workouts.
Of course, exercise is not the only time that you might want to increase carb counts. You can ease up a bit on the strict counting and gradually add a few more carbs to your diet. Most people can add about 10 grams of net carbs when they are looking to maintain their weight rather than lose weight.
You do need to make sure that if you are adding more carbohydrates back into your diet that you do so with a degree of intention. Do not blindly consume your favorite junk foods just because they now fit into your carb count. Focus instead on healthy carbs that come from whole foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains.
Increase Protein in Your Diet
When you want to maintain your weight on keto without changing your lifestyle, you might want to consider slightly increasing your protein intake. Protein requires more of your energy to burn, which can be great if you want to maintain your weight. In fact, about 20 to 30 percent of the calories in protein are burned in digestion.
Protein is also a great staple item to incorporate in your diet if you are shifting attention from weight loss to muscle gain. It helps your body preserve muscle mass while improving composition overall. Aim for 10 to 20 percent protein in your diet. A maximum of 30 percent will help you to make the most of weight maintenance with heavy workouts.
Keep in mind that in order to approximately maintain–and not drastically increase–calorie consumption, you should prioritize lean proteins such as beans, poultry, fish, or lean red meats. Vegetarians can increase their consumption of tofu as well.
Increase MCT Oil
One creative way to keep your body in ketosis while consuming more carbs is to consume more MCT oil. Eating MCT oil over the course of the day can keep your body in a state of ketosis, giving you all of the benefits of the diet.
MCT oil will help you to keep your energy up and still allow you to reap the health benefits of ketosis without continuing to drop pounds.
Adding MCT oil to your diet can be as simple as pouring a little in your bulletproof coffee or in a keto-approved smoothie. It can be added to sauces, salad dressings, or even just consumed right from the bottle by the spoonful after a meal.
Keeping Weight Consistent on Keto
The ketogenic diet is great for overall weight loss, but what do you do once you reach your goal weight? If you do not want to adjust the target and prefer to maintain a healthy weight for the time being, then you need to take some steps to prevent continued weight loss. Follow some of these small dietary changes to help you keep your weight right where you want it!