My story began in 2007. I was massively obese that time – over 500 lbs at 30 years old – and with no hope for change. I have been following the the standard diet suggested for weight loss: the whole grains, low fat, and no fun diet. I started to research other options and discovered low carb. I followed a low carb diet for 5 years, until 2012. Then, I decided to try a ketogenic diet which was higher in fat and even lower in carbs.
For most of the year, the only carbs I consumed came from leafy greens. However, during the summer, I included strawberries and tiny amounts of pumpkin, peppers and few other relatively low carb plant foods which did not normally eat on keto. I remained on a ketogenic diet for another 3 years, from 2012 until April of 2015. During the past 8 years of low carb and ketogenic eating combined, I successfully lost half of my body weight, or 250 lbs.
In the beginning of this year, I became very frustrated though, as I was working my ass of at the gym, eating really healthy food, and sticking to my diet… but I could not seem to lose anymore body fat. My weight would fluctuate two pounds down and then five pounds up, even though I was watching my macronutrient ratios, total calories, ketones levels, blood sugar numbers, etc. It was making me me completely crazy!
My feeling of frustration was so deep that I enlisted for a gastric bypass at the end of this year. Then, one day, I came across Kelly Williams Hogan‘s blog and read her story. This was my first introduction to a Zero Carb diet, and I was intrigued the moment I read about it. I spent a few days for researching it and was eager to try it for one reason in particular: when I was a kid I hated everything veggie and my mom had to push them on me. (To read all of the details of Anne’s Zero Carb journey, I recommend starting with her first post.)
I always loved and wanted meat, but was often deprived of it. As a fat kid in the 1980s during the middle of the low fat craze, I lived with the pressure to lose weight and guess what? I was fed healthy whole grains with no limit and was only allowed tiny portions of meat. So reading about a way of eating that allows me to only eat what I really was extremely tempting.
I decided to jump in with both feet and started my Zero Carb journey two months ago. My transition to this lifestyle was pretty smooth. For the first few days, I suffered minor headaches and was tired – but nothing major to complain about. When I switched from moderate low carb to a ketogenic diet back in 2012, the adaptation phase was much, much worse and took me a lot longer to adjust.
The hardest part of the transition, for me, was the social aspect. When people tell me I looks so healthy now and ask what I have done to lose weight, I have learned that It is best not to explain how I eat. For some strange reason, it always ends up in weird side effects, like people pushing cake on me with the lame excuse that it contains essential nutrients. (See Anne’s blog post: The Odd Case of “Vitamin Cake” Deficiency for more details on this bizarre phenomenon.)
Socially, I am still in a bit of a fight with this situation that my so beloved and relaxing carnivorous lifestyle is a taboo and ends up in stupid ethical discussions. Or in discussions about how I am going to become deficient in vitamin C. Most people are too lazy or set in their ways to read and educate themselves about the advantages of eating this way. However, the great benefits of this diet make it worthwhile to go through the social transition as well.
Here are the major improvements I have noticed so far: First, I lost almost 8 lbs. of fat in the first 30 days of Zero Carb. I had a DEXA, so I know exactly that it was in fact fat that I lost and not just water. In fact, My percentage of water actually increased. So that was exactly the thing I wanted to see… Zero Carb has restarted my weight loss. And with ease! In 10 days, I have another DEXA and cannot wait to get the results. I am certain I have lost more body fat during the second month, as my clothes fit better and I look trimmer.
Another benefit is the wonderful sleep I now experience. I love lifting heavy weights at the gym, with emphasis on heavy. I always wanted to sleep more for better regeneration and results. I made time for more sleep, but I just could not sleep more that about 6-7 hours. Now I sleep 10-12 hours on some nights and that is really wonderful because It has improved my performance in the gym.
My skin glows and I look very healthy. A lot of people have noticed this recently and have commented on it.
Also, I have had knee pain for years – the only effective remedy was to swallow 24 capsules of fish oil per day. Not only was that expensive, it was also disgusting. I stopped that routine a while ago because it just grossed me out and the knee pain returned in full force. On Zero Carb, the pain in my knee got worse for a few days and then suddenly disappeared completely, it is truly amazing.
Additionally, I just had my second period on Zero Carb, and it was both painless and quick. I don’t remember ever having a pain-free period. It is absolutely remarkable and makes life so much better.
And best of all, my thyroid blood test came back great for the first time in years. I have a normal, very good T3 reading now, yay! Before Zero Carb, it was close to the bottom of the normal range, and now it is close to the top. This way of eating seems to be healing my metabolism as well.
I usually eat two meals a day. I have beef with every meal and combine it with other meats or eggs when I want some variation. I have better energy levels on beef than on any other meat or animal food, so I need it at least once a day to be happy and stay fit.
The amounts of meat depend on my appetite. Some days, I will have almost a pound in one sitting, but on other days I can barely eat half a pound. I eat eggs occasionally and have some cheese in small amounts when I feel like it. I drink coffee with a spoonful of heavy whipping cream after breakfast just for the taste.
In the beginning of Zero Carb, I worried a lot about eating the right amount for weight loss, but after my first DEXA I trust my body to tell me how much to eat. That is one of the biggest benefits of Zero Carb in my experience. I feel calm and deeply relaxed about my food. I don`t have to stress out about weighing food, calculating calories, macronutrient ratios, or even measure my blood for ketones or glucose. It is such a relief to be free of all that and still be able to feel so healthy and vital AND finally lose weight again.
To continue following Anne’s Zero Carb journey, please see her blog Bad Ass Carnivore.
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.