My First 30 Days on Zero Carb by Karen Kelbell

Karen Kelbell

Karen Kelbell on her Path to Well-Being

I came to Zero Carb from a low carb background. I’m 57 years old and I’ve been low carbing for the last 30 years, gaining and losing the same weight over and over. I’ve found that the older I get the harder it’s been to lose. I’m 5’2 and was at an all time high weight of 273 pounds when I started keto. It took 6 weeks before I became keto-adapted and the next month was great. I had lots of energy and lost 18 pounds. Then, I hit a brick wall. For the next 18 months my weight would go up and down a couple of pounds, but I was never able to get under 255.

I know that my biggest problem was embracing what I call the “new keto.” My goal every day was to fit in as many substitute “junk” foods (many with Zero Carb sweeteners) as I could without exceeding 20 grams of carbs. Net carbs were the rule for all of my high fiber substitute foods which meant I subtracted the fiber grams from the total carbohydrate grams.

In addition to not being able to lose weight, I began to suffer from chronic fatigue. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue by a naturopath, due to my low cortisol levels and other symptoms. I can’t really describe the tiredness of chronic fatigue. Every movement was a challenge and some days even speaking was too difficult. I was suffering from depression and had an extremely negative attitude. I really believe I was causing everyone around me to suffer right along with me. It’s hard to deal with an illness that some in the medical field won’t even acknowledge.

Getting dressed and going anywhere took every ounce of my energy and usually left me wiped out for the rest of the day. I would wake up after a sleepless night and wish the day were already over. Some days I despaired of life and wished it would end. There are no words for how terrible I was feeling, both physically and mentally.

It was at this time that a friend suggested I try doing a high protein moderate fat keto diet. Supposedly this was the way to health and weight loss. I ended up gaining 8 pounds in 3 days! I was having trouble maneuvering the stairs in my home and would find myself out of breath once I reached the top. I was feeling scared at how out of shape I was, but didn’t know what to do. I started doing a beginner body building workout, but could barely get past the basics.

I was full of despair and – to add to my already stressed out life – my daughter had announced she would be getting married in 5 months. I was so tired and so overweight and so overwhelmed, I couldn’t even feel joy for her happiness. I didn’t know what to do. The 8 pounds I’d gained, putting me at 265, weren’t budging. I went back to my LCHF keto diet.

A couple of days later an interesting story came across my news feed in a keto group I was in. It was the story of Kelly Williams Hogan and her Zero Carb journey. I was intrigued, but I thought it was too much of an extreme. Meat and water? Who could live on that?! I honestly don’t know if I would have tried Zero Carb if I hadn’t been absolutely desperate. I HAD to lose some weight. So, I decided to give it a try.

I found the Facebook group Zeroing In On Health and started reading everything I could, both there and elsewhere on the internet about this unique diet. At first, I desperately hung on to my coffee replacement drink with heavy cream and a tiny scoop of stevia. It was so small; it couldn’t be that bad! Things went well and I lost 5 pounds in 5 days. So far, so good.

Then something astounding happened. I woke up on Day 6 and my life had changed. I felt rested, peaceful, and happy. Getting up didn’t seem to be a chore. As the day went on, I realized my new found energy was staying with me. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I was doing Zero Carb to lose weight, never dreaming it would make me well. The next day was the same.

I realized the hip and knee pain that had been waking me up at night (when – by some miracle – I was able to get some sleep) was now gone. My mood continued to improve, even when I didn’t think it could get any better. I’ve seen this described by some people on Zero Carb as “euphoria.” I would say that’s a good description. Then I had a setback.

I took my sleeping pill one night and didn’t go immediately to bed. I was then able to convince myself that eating a couple of mini low carb chocolate bars made perfect sense. After all, I was still using the stevia in my coffee replacement drink without any visible problems, but now I realize this “carb-free” sweetener was perpetuating my desire for sweet things. They say experience is the best teacher. I’d have to agree.

The next morning I woke up and the tiredness was back. I felt nervous and edgy all day and had gained 3 pounds. So, I decided I was going to give Zero Carb my all. I wanted that good feeling back! That day I gave up my stevia for good. I also gave up the coffee replacement drink. I did start having a cup of coffee in the morning with heavy cream. I just felt like I needed it.

After 3 days I was back to feeling great again, although my weight at that point was bouncing around. I read that dairy could stall weight loss, so I decided to give it up. (I probably should have given up the scale, as well.) I wasn’t eating much cheese, maybe an ounce or less every few days, so that wasn’t hard. I tried drinking a cup of coffee black, but found it tasted so bad without cream there was no point in drinking it.

I’ve now fallen into an easy basic Zero Carb routine. Eat meat (and eggs). Drink water. Live (and enjoy!) my life. I love the simplicity of it. No more counting carbs or worrying about whether I’ve eaten the proper ratios. It’s like everything is built into Zero Carb eating. I get hungry, I eat. I eat until I’m full. When I’m full, I stop. At first I felt hungry a lot and worried about eating too much. But I was trusting what I’d read on Zeroing in on Health and ate if I was hungry.

After about a week or so, I found I was only able to eat 2 meals a day. That was so amazing to me. I wanted to try eating only one meal a day, but I knew that I would be playing head games if I tried to manipulate my hunger. So, I just let my body lead me.

At first I thought eating meat would be the most boring thing ever and wasn’t sure I would be able to stick to it. It hasn’t been that way at all. I wait until I am truly hungry and then every piece of fatty meat I eat tastes wonderful. I feel like I’m eating a King’s diet. After only 30 days, it is clear to me that this way of eating is not only the way out of my obesity nightmare, but it is also the path to restoring my health. I am sold on it for life.

To date, I have lost a total of 9 pounds. My clothes are also fitting much better and I’m sure if I had measured inches in the beginning I’d be amazed at the results. Zero Carb is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I’m thankful every day for the opportunity to live life to its fullest. I am actually looking forward to each day now, and I am even feeling excited about my daughters upcoming wedding!

Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

If you are interested in meeting others who practice an All-Meat diet, please feel free to join us in the Facebook group Principia Carnivora for support.



15 thoughts on “My First 30 Days on Zero Carb by Karen Kelbell

  1. Wow! I am feeling this way now. I am so tired and cranky and sick feeling all the time. I have been contemplating ZC and researching for weeks. This is what i needed. I am so grateful for you and your story. Thank you!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charlotte, I’m sorry for the late reply. For some reason, I hadn’t realized people were commenting. I hope by now you have given zero carb a try and that you are experiencing great results. If not, please do! You will not regret it! Wishing you all the best.


  2. Wow, you and I are near the same age! I will be 57 in August this year. Your story sounds much the same as mine. So good to read your blog! I have just started the Eat Meat/Drink Water way of living. I had a colonoscopy yesterday (3/26/15) and figured it would be a good time to start off on a newly cleansed colon! I have done low carb for years on Atkins but is seems they have tweeked it too much from the original ’72 version. I have been through menopause and now just stumbled onto this site from a gal that was leaving Atkins and going the way of EM/DW, and I love this Eat Meat way of living! Yesterday and today have been great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny…I always said I would do best just eating meat and could have lived on hamburger patties every day, but didn’t think I could do it and cook for my family at the same time. Especially since they are mostly low carbers. It’s hard to turn away low carb meals and treats when you have to cook them! Thankfully, most of my family has joined me on this way of eating! I hope you are continuing to do well!


      • I am doing well having survived Easter and all…!
        I do not think I am losing weight (fat) yet (just a bit more than 1 week) but I am gaining knowledge about my body. I am perfectly sustained with meat. I have NO cravings. After I eat I am full and could EASILY go another whole day without eating! So strange what this diet does to the body. Now I know what the meaning of “listening to your body” means!!


  3. What an eloquent description of how bad we can feel after a lifetime of carbs,and how even the small amounts of LCHF are still toxic for some of us. I’m so happy for your new well-being. May it only increase. And congratulations to the mother-of-the-bride-to-be!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Cassandra!! Every day that sense of thankfulness is there for me that my life was turned completely around by something as simple as eating meat and drinking water! Very much looking forward to the wedding now! 🙂


  4. Hi;
    Your story contained a lot of elements that we share. I’ve been through a grueling depression and lack of energy for years and didn’t know why. I finally decided to do something about my diet 4 years ago after I got diagnosed with diabetes, fatty liver, arthritis, and depression. I’ve been through a lot of diets from vegan, ayurvedic, paleo, Autoimmune, food restrictions, LCHF, Intermittent Fasting (IF) (currently in to control diabetes). Although I am feeling much, much better, I have yet to lose any real weight (it goes up and down by five pounds). I have stopped insulin but I haven’t conquered carbs yet. They are my downfall. Zero carbs sure sounds like it is the way to go. I just asked my nurse who heads up the IF group what she thought about zero carbs and she said it would be fine. I am having problems whenever I eat ANY kind of carbs to include veggies. It sets off a chain reaction and next you know, I am looking everywhere and stealing my wife’s snacks and things. So, yeah, zero carbs sounds like the ticket. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.


  5. Thank you Karen for this testimony. Just when I was about to give up after only 5 weeks. I will continue on ….knowing that it will only get better. Carbs will only make my life worse.


  6. Pingback: My First 30 Days on Zero Carb by Karen Kelbell | Karen'sLittleWonders

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