- I lost 40 pounds in a year on the keto diet, but then I wanted to quit.
- To quit without regaining all the weight, I used “maintenance keto”.
- Maintenance keto is a time when you increase your carb count and decrease your fat intake.
When I started the
I was the heaviest I have ever been.
By the end of the 12 months, I had lost 40 pounds. Going on the keto diet was easier than expected, I ate foods I loved and always felt full.
Weight loss was my original goal, but after a year I started not recognizing my body and losing my curves. My dilemma was, if I quit keto, how will I not regain weight?
So once my body was at a point where I felt healthy and strong, I consulted nutrition experts to start my version of “maintenance keto”, a transition to a strict keto diet when you Gradually increase your carb count and decrease fat intake. .
Some choose to stay on keto-friendly foods, but up the carbs with green vegetables. Others decide to incorporate foods outside of keto and stick to less than 50 grams of carbs. Some use this period to switch to a fully balanced macro diet without any limitations.
While it worked for me, it’s important to note that the keto diet isn’t ideal for everyone and can come with risks. These are the steps I took with my network of experts while listening to my body. It is important to consult your doctor before drastically changing your diet.
I used 6 months of maintenance to get off the diet and make sure I could maintain my weight in a healthy way
I think because I was on clean keto—a version of the diet that focuses on supplying your macro fat with mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like fish, avocado, and seeds—my transition was more easy.
Instead of living with convenient macro numbers that would increase my fat intake, I listened to my body and balanced healthy fats with carbs from vegetables to help offset my daily food intake.
During my first few months on keto maintenance, I started increasing my carb count.
On strict keto, my carb count was 20-30 grams per day (mostly from green vegetables). For the first month on maintenance keto, I increased my carb intake to 45-50 grams per day while decreasing my fat intake to make up the difference. I kept my protein intake and my food menu the same.
I focused on eating more green vegetables while minimizing the additions of extra healthy fats to my meals. I’ve always cooked with oils and eaten fatty cuts of meat, but cut out fat bombs or extra avocados and nuts.
For months two through four, I stuck to about 50-60 grams of carbs a day. I also ventured into fruits and vegetables with higher carb counts, like squash and carrots.
During the five and six months of maintenance, I stopped counting macros and started opening up my diet to more foods, including a little dairy. I started following more than one
which consists of meats, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and produce (including most fruits and vegetables).
In month six, I started eating foods I ate before keto and saw how they interacted with my body.
For example, the first bite of a traditional milk chocolate bar with cane sugar after a year and a half without sugar tasted grossly sweet. I couldn’t believe I had eaten sugar for so long without seeing how incredibly sweet it was. My favorite food has always been potatoes, but when I ate one after 18 months it tasted bland at first and my heart broke.
Month six took elements of keto, paleo, and my new food likes or dislikes and made them my own. I also learned what gave me energy after eating or what made me feel bloated or tired.
Overall, maintenance keto has worked for me and my lifestyle
By spending 12 months on keto and six on maintenance keto, I lost 40 pounds and felt at peace and in love with how I felt (body image aside).
In months five and six, I put on a few pounds. But for the next two years, my weight generally stayed in the same 5-pound range. As someone who could constantly fluctuate 5 pounds a day, I couldn’t believe it.
My body, at that time, was exactly where it wanted to be.