Well, my name is Sura and today is the 58th day of my Zero Carb journey. Sorry for not posting any before/after photos, or more personal information about myself, but – for now – I’d like to keep my new way of eating a secret. But I’d love to share my story with you because you understand me, because – if you’re already reading this amazing blog – I know you won’t criticize my choice to eat this way. However, some of you do know me from the secret Zero Carb group on Facebook called ZIOH 2 (an off-shoot of the public Zero Carb group on Facebook called Zeroing in on Health).
I’m 23 years old, and I’ve always had some extra body fat on me. When I was a child, I never liked candies, cakes, or cookies, and I really didn’t have a sweet tooth. My favorite foods were chicken, salty fish, beef, sausage, etc. I was in a good shape for my age, and I was healthy. But when I was 15 years old, I made the worst decision of my life, and I became a vegetarian. I love animals, and I thought that it was not fair to kill them for food.
I also thought that being a vegetarian would help me to be skinnier like the Victoria Secret models. Well, I forced myself to eat and love vegetables (I hated them before), and I also started eating a lot of baked foods and sweets. Each year, I gained more weight and reached to my maximum of 72 kilos (or 158 lbs.). It was a nightmare for me, and – during those 7 years – I tried a lot of stupid diets in order to lose weight. I tried to eat nothing but steamed rice during one month, then only potato, yogurt, cabbage…etc. But after each of these crazy diets, I just weighed more and more.
Finally, in November of 2013, I started following the ‘recommended’ and ‘healthy’ low fat high carb diet, plus working out, which I did for 3 months until February 2014. Did I lose weight? YES. I lost 2 whole kilos!!! 2!!! (or 4.4 lbs.) But – mysteriously – I looked bigger. Then I discovered counting calories and downloaded 20 different apps to my phone to count them. I spent 2 hours at the gym, EVERYDAY! I was exhausted. But, I started losing weight and this caused me to restrict my calories even more.
I developed an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa. My worst nightmare. I started eating only 400-500 calories daily – just from steamed vegetables and fruits. My period stopped, I was always cold, I lost a lot of weight and was now 49 kilos (or 108 lbs.) at 165 cm (or 5′ 5″). I looked sick, my hair started falling out, my skin was dry, I was starving all the time, I was fainting everywhere I went because of hunger, I couldn’t sleep at night because of my heart pain, I became anti-social, and lost all my friends.
Then my father died and this made everything worse. I was sure that I was very sick, and I that would also die very soon. But I promised myself to keep it in secret because I did not want to make my mum to worry or be sad. Because…I’d rather die than be fat! See how smart I was?
In November 2014, I learned about the ketogenic diet, and all the problems associated with eating too many carbohydrates. I read and listened to every single piece of information I could find in books, articles, videos, etc. about ketogenic eating, and it made so much sense to me. So, I decided to quit my long coveted vegetarianism, and I started eating chicken and fish again.
But the fear of fat made me eat only lean chicken breasts, lean tuna, and low-fat cottage cheese. I knew that I needed to eat high fat, moderate protein, and 20 gms. of carbs daily but I had a hard time making myself do it. Anyways, I was still counting calories, and counting my macro-nutrients (i.e. protein/fat), and spending a lot of time thinking about food, and craving carbohydrates constantly. I was even thinking about what to eat for a snack while I was still eating my dinner!
I also forced myself to do intermittent fasting (IF) while I was hungry. Yes, I was maintaining my weight at 53 kilos (or 116 lbs.), but I was also maintained my ‘zombie look.’ I work as a diplomatic representative, and my career was almost over because I couldn’t concentrate on my work.
The positive side was: I stopped exercising all the time and could still maintain my lower weight. But nothing else. I was tired and wanted to sleep all the time. I was not happy and was – in fact – very depressed. Plus, I was spending a lot of money on taxis from work to home (the way is only a 10 minutes walk on foot) because I felt so weak.
One day, in February 2015, while asking some questions about chia seeds on the Internet forum ‘Reddit,’ I saw a post about Kelly Williams Hogan‘s blog My Zero Carb Life. I clicked it and started reading her blog. I read it again…and again…and again. I’ve literally read each article she has written at least 50 times! While reading her story, I was amazed and shocked at the same time. I could so relate to her experience and struggles with food and weight. So, I decided to give the Zero Carb diet a try.
Well, it has been almost 2 months now that I’m eating only from animal kingdom: beef, chicken, fish, eggs, bacon, pork, lamb, butter, ghee, and tallow. I’m not counting calories or macro-nutrients, or anything else. Can you believe it? I still can’t believe it. It is like a dream. This is the first time in years that I am able to allow myself to eat until I am completely satisfied.
But at the beginning of eating this way, I felt like something was wrong. I was eating a lot of meat and fat. It seemed that I could not eat enough. At first this terrified me, but Kelly calmed my fears by explaining that she was also insatiably hungry during her first 6 months on Zero Carb and did gain some unwanted pounds. (Yes, she saved my life again!) Then, her appetite went down, she needed less food to feel satisfied, and the extra body fat easily melted away. (Please see Kelly’s post When Lowering Carbs Causes Weight Gain where she explains this in detail.) So, I trusted her and kept going.
The interesting part is that although I did gain weight initially, I actually felt skinnier. I now understand that I was losing inches and gaining firm muscles, while simultaneous losing body fat. My body is more lean and strong now. Finally, I am skinnier like Victoria Secret models, but I don’t really care anymore. Why should I look like them? I’m better just being me : )
The main benefits I have experienced so far…
- I’m not excessively hungry anymore. I eat meat and drink water until satiety. Some days I eat a lot, some days I eat less. Sometimes I crave meat even after just eating a good sized meal. And so I eat it more.
- At first, I thought…one day I’ll get sick of eating just meat, but – to my surprise – each time I feel hungry and eat, I enjoy it more.
- I no longer feel cold anymore, and I have no more heart pain. I’m full of energy all the time.
- My hair is thicker, my skin is so clear and soft, my nails are stronger, even my eyes are brighter.
- Mentally and psychologically, I feel so confident and healthy.
- I don’t lose time counting my macro-nutrients or looking for different recipes, so I can concentrate on my work better. And, amazingly, I got a big raise on my salary 10 days ago. YAY!
- I am around my relatives and coworkers who have flu and cold all the time, but I never get infected.
I eat twice a day because I stay satisfied for a long time after eating. Breakfast and dinner are enough for me. I don’t drink coffee or use coconut oil (because they are not from animals), and I don’t eat dairy (because it always makes me crave more dairy and I easily overeat it). When I first started Zero Carb, I was using a lot of spices on my food, but now I don’t like them anymore. I use salt and pepper.
Another interesting thing is that I now prefer eating beef and lamb to other animals. Chicken and fish just don’t satisfy me anymore. I cook with tallow or ghee, and I add some butter just for taste. I’m not an experienced chef – because I never cooked meat before in my life – but I’m practicing and learning.
My butcher helps me to choose the best meat and my mum helps me with recipes. She is so happy that I am eating meat again. My fridge looks like a horror movie for my vegetarian friends, but fortunately I live alone with my cat. I’ve also turned my cat’s diet to Zero Carb and she is very happy about this!
My period is still missing (it has been almost a year), but I trust she will come in good time. I don’t want to go to my doctor, because they never understand me. Last time my doctor tried to make me eat a high carb low fat diet and gave me a lot of medicines to use. I threw them all away.
My bowel movements are okay. I only go once a week, but – somehow – I don’t feel bad about it. I’m not bloated, constipated, or in pain. It comes and goes naturally.
I don’t work out, but my muscles are very strong. I sit mostly at my office, but I do try to walk whenever possible. Additionally, I do yoga, just because I like it. I’m not mixing cardio with yoga anymore. That was making me feel too stressful, not relaxed.
Finally I want to say that when I decided to start this diet, I didn’t ask anything (I don’t say that asking is bad). I just read Kelly’s blog and started. All I can say is that this is the simplest way of eating ever. Eat meat, drink water, live your life! The rest is up to you.
Coffee, coconut oil, dairy… If they don’t create problems for you, then you can keep them. I’m not a coffee addict, I don’t like coconut oil, and dairy creates problems for me. So, I left them all behind. I simply embraced Zero Carb as ‘eating just from animal kingdom, nothing else.’ But, I do drink herbal teas because they warm me. I don’t worry about the calories or the macro-nutrient ratios anymore; I just let my body to decide it how much food it wants. If I am hungry, I eat.
If you are already healthy, and your metabolism has not been damaged too much by excess carbohydrate consumption, you really cannot overeat and gain weight on Zero Carb. But, if your past is dark and full of terrors – as was mine – then, in the beginning, your body might ask for a little bit more food to fix itself. Respect your body and feed it whenever it asks.
After some time, your body will fix itself, and you will lose that wild hunger and any extra body fat you may have gained. I sometimes wondered, what would happen if I had gained more weight in the beginning of Zero Carb? Today, after only 2 months of eating this way, I can confidently say that I would definitely keep going anyway because it saved my life and the benefits extend far beyond weight issues.
Yes, sometimes I still feel bad for eating animals, sometimes I keep my new way of eating a secret from others (like now), sometimes I have to eat before going to invited dinners, sometimes I have to pretend that I have allergies just to avoid eating birthday cake at a party… But, I now realize that this is how we should eat. It is the natural, ancient, and – I hope – future way of eating.
I am so happy to have discovered Zero Carb, thank you Kelly, thank you all of the other Zero Carb for your support and advice. Thank you, Esmee, for this blog. I enjoy being one of you. You are… we are… creating a new era. Thanks for reading!
Sura posted an update on April 20th:
I always have terrible allergies during spring time. I had allergies to everything! Trees. Flowers. Air. Dust. Sunlight. My sensitivity to sunlight was the worst. Even 5 minutes of direct exposure to my skin would ruin my whole day. I could never go to the seaside. I have had to live like a vampire and stay inside all day or wear long sleeves when I go outside. But now, I am not reacting to the sunlight at all. Today, I spent 2 hours outside in the sun with my cat, and nothing happened. I am totally fine. I finally get to enjoy sunlight. I can’t believe this. This is a miracle for me!
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.