In June 2013, I was absolutely desperate to lose weight. I decided that it was the one thing I had battled and never conquered my entire life and that I would do it or die trying. A friend in whom I had confided – after the calories in/calories out (CICO) method had failed me – suggested I read Gary Taubes book, Why We Get Fat. Within two days, I devoured that book and began a journey to health that would lead me on remarkable paths, healing physical and psychological hurts that I didn’t yet fully understand and am still discovering.
The first six or seven months of LCHF involved my following a plan of fewer than 20 grams of total carbohydrates. In addition to Taubes, I read anything and everything I could. I ordered supplements, experimented with LC flours and sweeteners and completely changed my eating and cooking habits. The first 50 lbs melted away, and I was smitten with low carb. Shortly thereafter, my weight began to stall, which is about the time I discovered a number of low carb support groups on Facebook.
I spent most of the next year reading everything I could and following every hack of nearly everyone I met. My time was dedicated to tracking macros, increasing fat, increasing protein, eliminating dairy, avoiding sweeteners, executing egg fasts, following fat fasts, restricting calories, increasing calories, fasting intermittently, and ordering more supplements all while testing blood glucose, blood ketones, urine ketones, and breath ketones.
When my scales didn’t register a loss, I ordered a new scale that measured percent body fat, convinced the old one was just hopelessly broken—probably because I was weighing three or four times a day! In addition to weighing, I was taking measurements and photos to monitor progress. It took a full fourteen months to lose an additional 30 pounds, and I was still 20 or so pounds from my goal.
In short, I was obsessed. If I read a compelling argument that wearing purple underwear and holding your nose while eating underwater would guarantee weight loss, I’d try it. Between the LCHF library I collected, the journal articles, and blog posts, I spent nearly every waking moment trying to figure out how to make my body smaller. Incidentally, my husband David decided to joined me on my low carb journey, and lost 60 lbs, though he was a lot more relaxed about it all than me (and lost it more quickly and easil than me, of course!)
In late February, I stumbled across a blog post by Kelly Williams Hogan in one of the numerous low carb Facebook forums that I frequent. She sounded like a long lost sister as she described her weight loss struggles! Kelly’s journey ultimately led her to eliminate all plant foods from her diet. Still, the idea of no veggies sounded extreme to me. Yes, a meat-based diet still seemed extreme to the woman who had continued to try everything to no avail. But, I was intrigued, and so I decided to try it.
Within three days my energy level was up and my scales were down. Both scales! And something odd happened. Me, the queen of low carb food blogging recipes, the woman who faithfully tried two new LCHF recipes per week, who even “invented” a few baked goods, found that food was no longer fascinating. Eating ground beef at each meal—the two big meals I began to eat each day—was satiating and simple.
By week two, I loved breezing into the grocery store meat department and breezing right out. I saved time shopping, and I certainly saved time cooking. Among the changes I noticed were that I was happiest eating a big meal early in the day whenever I was hungry. Some days that means eating at a traditional breakfast hour and other days it means eating at lunch time for my first meal.
Instead of eating a small meal for my first meal, I began eating like a lumberjack—two burgers, two eggs, four or five pieces of bacon and maybe a sprinkle of cheese. A meal like that leaves me satisfied for up to eight hours. For dinner, I eat a similar meal and then I don’t eat again until breakfast. At the end of week two, I also had my menstrual cycle, which didn’t bring irrational cravings or wild mood swings like it normally did. It was quite uneventful, which was remarkable.
By week three my fridge had more room in it, especially when I cleaned out the veggies that were going bad because I had neglected them. When I went to Pinterest to find a recipe for a friend, I realized I had nearly 1500 followers and thousands of LCHF recipes. I began to understand that I had made this journey incredibly complex when what seemed to work for my body was meat and water. By week four, my husband decided to join me which is the ultimate high praise.
Along the way, I noticed that cravings – which had plagued me over the past three months – were minimized on zero carb. I already ate very clean, but minimizing carbohydrates to what is present in animal foods like eggs and dairy – and limiting my intake even of those – simply made me feel more satisfied, more energized, and more clear headed.
After thirty days, I’m in love with my scale again. In my first 30 days of eating a meat-based diet, I’ve lost ten pounds and my goal weight finally seems attainable. Once again, I have the unspeakable thrill of stepping on the scales and seeing a new “personal best” that I’ve never in my adult life seen before looking back at me on the scales.
More than that, I’ve let go of the complicated recipes, of focusing on food for entertainment, and of treating myself like a human test subject in a never ending weight loss trial. Meat, water, an occasional egg, and a little dairy are enough, more than enough to help me finish the journey to my goal weight and to complete the healing of the hurts I still seek to understand.
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 Charles Washington in his Facebook group Zeroing in on Health or Michael Frieze in his Facebook group Principia Carnivora for guidance and support. These two groups use different approaches, so if you find that one does not suit you, please check out the other one.