I Was Really Hoping Not to Freak You Out
Since losing 125 pounds and sharing the story of how I eliminated all carbohydrates from my diet, the number one question I have been asked is, “What exactly do you eat every day?”
Until now, I have hesitated to be too specific in answering that question, because A) This is the point that I will set off most people’s “Crazy-O-Meters,” likely losing about 99% of the readers…and B) Because my exact way of eating is not the only way or the “Right way” to do a zero-carb diet.
That said, I remember asking plenty of zero-carbers the exact same question when I was 262 pounds and first getting started. I was fascinated by their success and wanted to know exactly what was working for them, right down to seeing pictures of their dinners! They graciously shared their habits and menus with me, so I will gladly do the same.
There’s More Than One Way to Do This
Before I share my exact eating habits, I think it’s worth noting that my zero-carb journey is several years in the making, and the way I eat now is not the exact way that I ate five years ago. My methods, madness, and menus have changed quite a bit over the years, though I’ve remained zero-carb throughout.
In 2009, when I first switched from eating low-carb to NO carb, I still wanted a lot of variety in my diet. For those first few years, I ate many different meats and lost weight quite quickly and easily! I ate steak, bunless burgers, rotisserie chicken (with lots of butter and all of the skin), bacon, eggs, beef roasts, ground beef, turkey legs, pork chops, etc. Pretty much ANY kind of meat, as long as it wasn’t coated in breading or any sauces (which usually contain lots of sugar). I lost 125 pounds eating that way and think it is a perfectly wonderful way to enjoy a zero carb diet.
That said, I no longer have any need or desire for much variety in my daily diet, so I mostly eat the same few things all day, every day. I don’t get bored with my food, because I don’t need it to entertain me. It’s simply fuel.
Nowadays, I have only a few requirements for my food: I want it to give me lots of energy, make me full, and allow me to feel my best. Also, it’s nice if my skinny jeans still fit. And bonus points if it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg or take more than 10 minutes in the kitchen.
So, every day, I eat thick, juicy, delicious half-pound hamburger patties. Annnd….that’s mostly it. (Crazy-O-Meter going off yet?)
Every several days, my husband grills up about eight pounds of these yummy burgers, and I eat off of those anytime I am hungry, which is usually about three times per day. Now, I know it sounds bizarre that I can be completely content eating such a repetitive menu, but I truly am. The burgers taste wonderful each and every time! Even more importantly, though, is how truly GOOD I feel eating this way. Energized, full, and happy! Other benefits: Not spending all my time hunting down sugar-fixes, sparing myself from preparing elaborate recipes, and no longer starving myself or exercising to lose weight.
A platter of burgers. It truly doesn’t get much simpler than that, right?
Also, I feel best when I have lots of fat in my diet, so I often add several spoonfuls of bacon grease to my burgers and eat those half-pound beauties with a side of bacon and plenty of the added bacon fat. When I finish eating a burger dipped in bacon grease with a side of bacon next to it, I am completely energized! And I am definitely NOT still hungry. But, of course, if I am, I just have another one without worry about weight gain or having to put in extra hours at the YMCA. Can I get an amen and a hallelujah?!
On very rare occasions, if I want something other than burgers and bacon, I’ll have a meat and cheese omelet, a steak, a huge plate of chicken wings, or any other meat that sounds appealing. So delicious! And VERY much considered part of a zero-carb diet.
6 Tips From When I Went Zero-Carb
Do you have to eat “my” way to succeed on a zero-carb diet? Good heavens, NO! I lost almost all of my weight while I had lots of meaty variety in my diet. And in fact, I didn’t start eating the “boring”, homologous way that I do now because I wanted to lose more weight. That transition just happened naturally and is completely unnecessary to succeeding on a zero-carb diet. Plenty of zero-carbers have had tremendous success eating a wide variety of foods from the animal kingdom, enjoying all manner of meats, cheeses, and eggs.
I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I am not here to tell anyone else how they should eat. I’m not giving dietary advice. I just want to share my experiences and tell my story. But since I have had dozens of people ask me how to eat on a zero carb diet, I will share some of the most useful advice I was given when I was first getting started:
1) Eat only from the animal kingdom. Meat, eggs, and dairy. No carbs.
2) Stay full. Eat meat/eggs/dairy until you are full and you won’t be as tempted to eat other things.
3) Eat enough fat. Fat will keep you full and will you give you plenty of energy.
4) Avoid all sweet tastes. It will be the quickest way to kill the cravings that you may have for sweets.
5) Drink water when you’re thirsty. Seltzer waters, unsweetened tea, and unsweetened coffee work for plenty of zero-carbers, as well. Each individual has to determine for themselves what works best. But regular water will definitely work for everyone, every time. And I have found no benefit to forcing down gallons of water each day. Just drink if you’re thirsty. And stop when you’re not.
6) No need to count calories. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop eating when you’re not.
And if you’re only interested in reducing (not eliminating) the sugar and carbs in your diet, that’s great, too! Any little bit of sugar that you can keep out of your diet is a win! I’m not here to say that zero-carb is the ONLY way to do that. But I definitely have found that eating a zero-carb diet was the quickest way to eliminate my sugar-cravings, give me the energy I needed, and help me to lose 125 pounds.
My next post will cover the most frequently asked questions that I have received over the past several years, including: How is your cholesterol? Aren’t you worried about dying of a heart attack? What is the actual science behind how this works? Do you take supplements? (And, everyone’s favorite…) How do you POOP on a zero-carb diet?!
And if THAT doesn’t bring you back, I don’t know what will.