How to lose the most weight in the least time – cheap, simple & easy!
Ever feel like keto is complicated or expensive? It truly does not have to be, and shouldn’t be. When I first started eating very low carb (keto) 11 years ago, it was “stupid simple” – all I really had to do was learn to read labels. And since it’s as simple as “20 net carbs a day” the math was pretty easy too. 😉 Somehow though, over the last few years, it became over-complicated, with a lot of expensive advice & products (that you probably don’t need).
I’m just getting back to work and catching up on messages, and had 4 really great questions hit my inbox last week. One about which supplements to use when starting keto 🚫 another about eating Kraft cheese slices 👀🧀 and two about MCT oil.
I thought you might enjoy my take on these topics too, plus a few more tips I’ve learned over the last decade – to help make things easier.
My reply: No, I only used MCT oil when I had gut health issues, to relieve painful inflammation in my entire digestive system. It has other great benefits too, but it’s definitely not necessary. You don’t need any supplements to start, just simple real foods. 💯 😉 I used the Atkins website. The phase one plan (now called Atkins20) is Keto 🙂 and they have helpful food lists etc, all free! See:
Atkins vs Keto: Which One Is Right For You?
I felt a little overwhelmed when I first started too, even without all the “keto trends” and products & supplements that we have to wade through now, but it turned out to be MUCH easier than I thought. And it STILL can be (is) that simple.
Of course, I do love that there ARE so many more options now. Things like cleaner bars & shakes with way better ingredients, delicious keto ice cream in SO many flavors, unsweetened macadamia milk, GOOD sugar free chocolate (without maltitol) etc. That definitely helps!
Simple Keto: How to Lose The Most Weight in the Least Time
If you’re just starting out, or you’re restarting, the best advice I can offer is: keep it VERY simple. Don’t over-restrict yourself with things like an egg fast, calorie counting, intermittent fasting, etc. That feels too much like dieting! Simply eat 20 net carbs a day max, eat when you’re hungry, and find sugar free low carb alternatives for your cravings so you can easily stay on track.
Keep it THAT simple, and ignore everything else (to start).
If you’re in a stall, or just want to speed things up a little, my 3IMAX method works like a charm for everyone who’s tried it! 3IMAX = 3 Ingredients Max and basically means: whole foods, very simple meals, no more than 3 ingredients per plate. That’s an easy rule!
You could eat just wings or baked chicken thighs, cheesy eggs (eggs scrambled with cheese), or grilled salmon with steamed asparagus, a hamburger steak with roasted broccoli, etc.
As for how much to eat, and when to eat, just listen to your body: eat when you’re hungry, don’t when you’re not, stop when you’re satisfied (vs stuffed). Your appetite will totally change once you’re in nutritional ketosis, so that will take care of itself. Fortunately your cravings and taste buds totally change too, which is what makes “eating keto” so easy! 🙂
* salmon, spinach & broccoli
Water & Electrolytes
I have never used an electrolyte product in my life. 🤷♀️ That seems like an expensive and unnecessary supplement (to me), and I’ve been “eating keto” for 11 years. I think the only time you might “need” them is if you drink too much water or eat low sodium while in ketosis – as being in ketosis is a natural diuretic, which is why you feel less bloated and lose all that water weight!
The simple solution is to “salt up” – take a shot of pickle juice, or my preference: enjoy a nice hot mug of chicken broth. If you just try to re-hydrate with water alone, you’ll flush out the sodium & electrolytes your body needs.
When my daughter had a stomach flu and couldn’t even keep broth down yet, I gave her Redmond’s sea salt and had her put a bit on her tongue while she sipped her water. Worked like a charm!
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Lisa said: “Lynn, I have tried keto previously and felt great until the 7th day. I was using a supplement system and they told me to drink half my weight in ounces if water. I was drinking 100oz. I got SO dehydrated, ended up in ER for electrolyte replacement. What is your recommendation for calculating water per day.”
My reply: How scary! It sounds like you had water intoxication. That was definitely bad advice! 😕
Unfortunately there are some potentially harmful myths floating around about chugging water, drinking half your body weight in ounces every day, water challenges, etc. 😳
My advice: listen to your body, drink when you’re thirsty. Ideally your urine should be pale yellow. Any darker: drink more water. Any lighter or clear: drink less water (or “salt up”). Simple!
Other Supplements (Take This and That and Take This Too) 👀
I cannot count the number of social media posts I’ve seen fill up with comments on various supplement recommendations like: potassium, magnesium, electrolytes, apple cider vinegar, Vitamin B, exogenous ketones, mct oil, potions & drinks & pills oh my!
You don’t need all that.
Who can even afford all of that?!
There’s a time and a reason for some supplements, but for the most part, and especially starting out: you don’t need what you don’t KNOW you need. Mostly you just need real foods that are naturally nutrient rich: steak, avocado, spinach, blueberries, salmon, etc.
You want to talk to your doctor before starting any combination of supplements. It’s ideal to get a panel done (bloodwork) to determine if you’re deficient in anything first, and to also discuss any symptoms or issues you’re having.
A Hard NO to Exogenous Ketones ❌
The first thing you should know is that there is A LOT OF MONEY in exogenous ketones. They are raking in the big bucks selling these to people with some pretty “interesting claims.” If you’re curious about my take on it, read this quick post: Exogenous Ketones 🚫 My Take…
MCT Oil (Be Cautious With This One!)
I mentioned I’ve used MCT Oil in the past, and with great results too! It’s not something I recommend to anyone starting out though. I used it for a very specific reason (after already achieving my ideal weight, btw). But it DOES have a lot of great benefits – as long as you choose the right one (and NOT most of the “snake oil” on the market these days.).
I’ve just starting using it again lately, for similar reasons as before (this time: gut health issues). The one I use and recommend after researching over 50 brands & types is Kiss My Keto MCT C8/C10 Oil. It’s a pure and very high quality mct oil, at one of the lowest prices – and it’s the ONLY one that comes in a glass blottle (vs plastic), and with a pump!
As for the difference between C8 and a C8/C10 combo mct oil, I’ve tried them both. The ONLY difference I could tell… was in the price. 😉
The ONLY other thing I like at Kiss My Keto is their dark chocolate candy bars. 🍫 Our discount code is LOWCARBTRAVELER at that website, but the MCT C8/C10 oil and dark chocolate bars are the only two things I like there. Everything else I’ve tried was: 👎 (just being honest).
The candy bars are pricey, but they’re HUGE (3 generous servings per bar) and one serving is very satisfying. Pumpkin Seed & Sea Salt was (surprisingly!) my favorite. I ended up ordering more of those. 😋 Which works out great, because it bumps my order up to get free shipping when I order their MCT oil. I’d much rather have chocolate than pay for shipping! 😉
Long story short: you don’t need to use MCT oil unless you NEED to use MCT oil, and if you DO decide to use it or try it (because it’s a great appetite suppressant, great for fasting, and great for gut health issues) – then definitely get the C8/C10 blend from KMK, because it’s the highest quality AND best value. ✅
I lost all of my weight just eating very low carb, with no hard rules or strict eliminations, ZERO supplements, and without exercise. I started exercising later, very close to my goal weight, to tone up: to gain muscle, not to lose weight.
All you have to do is 20 net carbs max, 70% fat minimum, eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty, don’t when you’re not – and keep it that simple. And don’t skimp on the healthy fats! 😉
I never counted calories, and ate 70-80% of my total daily calories in fat (very high fat). See: Low Carb High Fat Explained and also Macros Made Easy – plus this Video: Eating Fat To Lose Fat.
Eating high fat does not equal eating low protein. That’s a common misconception, as is “keto is a high protein diet” (which is fine too). It’s more about the ratios. For a simple explanation on that, see: How Much Protein Should You Eat? – Including 5 Keto Food Diary Examples with LCHF Macros.
Don’t let anyone over-complicate it for you. You’ll do best just eating real food, real simple, and very low carb of course. But when I started I “did it all wrong” and still lost 8 pounds in the first 10 days. “All wrong” meaning I drank a lot of diet soda (and NO water), binged on sugar free chocolate, ate a lot of processed foods (as long as they fit in my 20 net carbs a day!) etc. “All wrong” being subjective…
I always say: Do whatever it takes to get started. You’ll learn as you go, your tastes and preferences will change, your appetite and portions will adjust naturally, the results will kick-start your motivation – and you can improve as you go from there. 💕
“Can I Eat Kraft Cheese Slices?”
This was a question I got on Instagram a few days ago. It was actually worded this way: “Is Kraft slice cheese good for you on low carb eating?” Kraft makes a lot of different kinds of cheeses. I assumed she might mean Kraft Singles, the individually wrapped processed cheese slices, but that was just an assumption. Kraft also makes block cheeses, shredded and “real cheese” slices – all of which I buy and love. Especially their colby jack cheese blocks. 🥰
The term “good for you” is relative too. Taken in the context it was asked, I would guess (assuming again) she simply meant “is it low carb?” or “is it okay to eat as part of my 20 net carbs a day”- in which case the answer is yes and yes, it’s fine in that context.
When I first started eating low carb, I didn’t know the difference between margarine and butter. I grew up with Country Crock “spread” in the refrigerator, and honestly thought that WAS butter. 🤷♀️
It was later that I switched to “real butter” and can definitely taste the difference !! but in the beginning it didn’t stop me from losing weight (at all) and it wasn’t any more “bad for me” than all the other junk and processed food I was eating before I went low carb.
I eat pretty simple now and actually prefer “whole foods” (real food), but I’ll still grab an Atkins bar or meal now and then, enjoy keto ice cream, etc.
Whatever works to stay on track, and sometimes: whatever’s convenient in the moment!
Anyway, without any real context and just making assumptions, this was my reply to that question:
It’s been years since I’ve looked at the label or carb count. I get the real cheese slices, the sliced cheese vs processed cheese. It just tastes better. 😉 But check the label and see what the carb count is. Kraft makes a lot of different options. 🧀
I get the Kraft colby cheese block and love the Sargento brand sliced cheeses too. I wasn’t very picky at first as long as the carb count was decent. 🤷♀️ I’m not an ingredient snob (lol) I just got spoiled on “real cheese” – kinda like “real butter” after growing up on country crock (margarine). 😬 The flavor is just so much better!
There are a lot of “keto experts” around the web making it all seem a bit complicated, and for me: difficult to sustain long term. There are also a lot of “keto police” running around, quick to tell you what you’re doing wrong 🙂 lol. That can be SO discouraging!! My advice: keep it simple. You know your body best, and you’ll figure things out as you go. I did!
This is a great read too, and includes a 20 minute Keto Q&A video:
Keto Diet Simplified: What It Does NOT Mean
Anything that “feels like” dieting is really hard to maintain, for me at least. That’s the reason I chose keto 11 years ago: because you don’t have to count calories, go hungry, do without, etc.
There are so many great low carb and sugar free options! And if you drop all the “rules” it’s super easy to maintain long term.
I struggled more the first few years going on and off track, but I found that just made it much harder. The longer you are in ketosis consistently, the less junk food or cheat days will even appeal to you. That makes it easy!
I eat super simple whole foods mostly, but I do enjoy a (low carb) splurge now and then, and I don’t do fasting or calorie counting or anything that feels restrictive or HARD. I find what works best is “mindful eating” and to just listen to your body.
Sometimes my body says, “ICE CREAM!” 🍨 haha – fortunately there are some great keto friendly ice creams at most stores now. There’s a fix or a recipe or a swap for just about anything you might crave… if you really want to stay on track. 😉
Mary asked: what do you recommend starting on in the beginning as far as supplements, vitamins, etc?
Starting out, just real food – cheap and simple. See what the diet change itself does first, then only supplement if necessary.
Mary replied and asked specifically about collagen because she had joint pain & stiffness. Collagen is definitely good for that! But honestly, I think you’ll be impressed how much better you’ll feel from just eating low carb alone. Carbs & sugar promote inflammation in the body, which is the source of a lot of our chronic pain & health issues. That’s why I suggested just eat very low carb first, and see how you feel after 3-6 weeks.
Supplements I’m Taking Now (And Why)
I started using a good collagen several years ago when I had major gut health issues that caused my hair to break off and fall out & my nails to split. That was AWFUL. It was a really bad flu that totally wrecked my entire digestive system and took me over a year to fully recover from.
It was bad enough for me to see a specialist, and my gastroenterologist recommended the collagen and mct oil + FDgard and IBgard in addition to a super strict elimination diet (to identify & eliminate culprits). UGH – that was a terrible experience!
That was a case of “listen to your body” with obvious signs in my hair & nails. Which to be honest, bothered me even more than the gut health issues (lol). So that’s when I started using collagen daily.
I started seeing results by the 3rd week and have been using it ever since!
See: Creative Ways To Add Collagen Protein To Your Keto Diet (And Why You Should)
That post ^ has some great ideas for using collagen even if you don’t drink hot coffee or tea.
Unfortunately I have post-viral syndrome again now, aka longcovid. So while I don’t normally use anything outside of my collagen, I’m currently taking a new combination of supplements in a series of tests (trial & error) with my doctor – and this combination is one that finally seems to be helping! 🙌
I’m currently taking:
The monolaurin has REALLY helped with my (scary) neurological issues and cognitive dysfunction. I researched it in depth and read a lot of reviews from people with chronic conditions, brain fog & autoimmune disorders. It just may be a miracle supplement!
☕️ The collagen I use is Perfect Keto Unflavored Collagen Powder and they’re having a Buy Two Get One Free Sale this week if you’ve been thinking about getting some – or need to restock. My daughter uses and LOVES their Cinnamon Toast Collagen, but I prefer the unflavored.
The MCT C8/C10 oil worked really well for me with gut health issues and digestive inflammation before. I also discovered it was great for fasting. I used it first thing in the morning and didn’t get hungry until an early dinner!
Note: If you haven’t used MCT oil before, you’re meant to start out with one teaspoon (1/3 of a serving) and work your way up to a full TBSP, just fyi.
A good (clean) MCT oil will also improve (raise) your ketone levels and metabolism, works great as an appetite suppressant, and I definitely experienced a nice energy boost with it.
But again, quality REALLY matters when it comes to choosing an MCT oil. Most of them are just overpriced coconut oil and empty calories – without any real benefits.
I got in the best health and shape of my life just keeping it super simple without over-restricting, enjoying a wide variety of delicious low carb foods, and with zero supplements. Basically “without dieting” but rather just enjoying an easy low carb lifestyle.
Once I lost weight and started exercising, I consistently got leaner and stronger. I started with just an easy one mile walk, then added in inclines, longer walks and a faster pace – and worked my way up to some way more FUN and adventurous workouts like bouldering, rock climbing and back country hikes. 🙂 I so look forward to getting back to all of that when I’m well again!
These pictures were taken 2 years ago, age 46, before I got sick last year:
You don’t have to “do it perfect” and you don’t have to do it like anyone else.
Find what works for YOU in a way that you can ENJOY life and get healthy – at the same time!
For me that meant relying less on the scales and focusing more on living and eating for my health. That was a huge shift for me away from dieting or losing weight, and into more mindful eating – which ultimately lead to more mindful living, and being MUCH happier. 💝
I hope this proved helpful, or maybe even answered a question you were curious about too. If you have any questions or you’d like my take on anything else, just drop a comment & let’s chat! 🙂