Life caught up with me in my 30’s – like it threw a rope around me and yanked me to the ground. I went from blissfully eating whatever I wanted on the SAD diet to desperately searching for the answers I hoped would save my health. I’ll explain.
Living in NYC gave me access to some of the most ‘exciting’ and tasty treats. I say exciting because eating and drinking is like a sport here and I bought right into that culture. Food became the first thought on my mind each morning as I anticipated that DOUGH Donut or Brooklyn Blackout Cake slice I was going to allow myself to indulge in. That initial excitement would quickly turn into panic, anxiety and inner pleading within myself while I desperately tried to find ways to talk myself out of making bad dietary choices, or, at least delay them as long as I could. In the end the craving always won. I was horrified and frankly scared at what was becoming my inner food landscape because it was worsening year by year and I realized I was powerless to say no to sugar.
No one else was worried about me. In fact, friends and family would giggle at me when I admitted I would sometimes down 3 pints of B&J’s ice cream in a week saying, “You’re tall and thin don’t even worry about it.” or “It’s okay, you deserve a treat sometimes. You work really hard. Maybe it’s stress or hormones.” But this was not okay; I knew I must be hurting my body massively with every bite of refined sugar. I actually wanted someone to flip out and humiliate me about my habits because I thought perhaps that would be some sort of catalyst to finally make me stop.
So here I was at the ‘young’ age of 32 battling a raging sugar addiction, watching my once clear complexion develop into a non-stop rotation of cystic acne and losing my youthful look as I visibly began aging more rapidly. I could no longer control myself around foods I knew were detrimental to my health. I woke up exhausted every morning no matter how many hours of sleep I got and I felt stiff and creaky. I began noticing new aches pains that seemed to come out of nowhere – just me living my normal life. Things felt bad and on top of it all, I was horrified to realize that my body just wasn’t healing at it’s normal rate – things were taking months and months to heal.
Naturally, I found myself trying to justify it, “Oh well, this is what happens as you age.” Honestly, since when is 32 considered old? I thought if this is my life now how could I possibly enjoy the rest of my life as my health continues to deteriorate?
I discovered Intermittent Fasting which led me to the Keto and LCHF diets. I jumped into fasting pumped that this would be my magic bullet – fasting just made complete sense to me. Using IF, I was finally able to steer my diet in a better direction for the first time in many years. I began enjoying eggs, dark-meat chicken and bacon drowning in olive oil, avo oil, coconut oil or butter with lots of low-carb veggies cooked in these delish Keto-approved fats.
The weight began melting off and I was ecstatic. I dropped so much weight I had to buy new clothes -”Yay!” I thought, “This is the answer I’ve been looking for!” Still my sugar addiction roared on but in a slightly muted fashion.
I was careful to only eat whole Keto foods keeping it simple with cheese, veggies and meat cooked in fat, I stayed clear of processed foods and carb-mimicking creations like cauli-pizza or Oopsie bread or fat bombs of any sort. I was fasting obsessively and fully intended to maintain this lifestyle, no problem. I convinced myself that I actually enjoyed fasting and the hungry feeling. Looking back this may not have been the healthiest thing for me but I figured it would be a short amount of time before I became fat adapted and then fasting would become easy and natural and provide the healing I was looking for.
Finally, I moved out of a stressful living situation and into my own apartment happily keeping up with Keto and daily OMAD – I was often hungry and wouldn’t allow myself to eat outside of my eating window. I did more research and decided that I simply needed to up my fats and incorporate bone broth – still I never felt as though I achieved the elusive fat adapted state everyone was writing about. I never felt truly satisfied. My skin had improved but not by much. I took another honest look at my inner food landscape and sadly admitted to myself that this wasn’t working as well as the testimonials I was reading seemed to talk about. Though I thoroughly enjoyed all the Keto foods in each and every meal I had to resort to leaving my credit cards at my apartment to stop myself from buying desserts on my way home.
As the months passed I noticed that I was still waking up exhausted, foggy, irritated, achy and full of pain in my joints. I wasn’t as enthused about fasting because, quite honestly, it did not seem to be healing me as much as I expected and I was tired of feeling hungry but forcing myself to power through. To my dismay, slowly my weight began creeping back up despite daily OMAD and strict Keto. I couldn’t motivate myself to go on the 2 to 3 day fast I knew it would require to get my weight back down again.
ZC/Carnivore tidbits would crop up in my daily search for answers. At first, I thought it was too extreme but as it continued to surface I became mildly curious. I dove in and began Googling. The research and personal testimonials slowly began to cast ZC in a new light: isn’t this what humans are supposed to eat? It seemed stupidly simple and yet completely impossible for food to be this easy. I longed for food to be simple and for my disordered eating to melt away – but come on – every single one of the females in my life struggled daily with food, dieting, weight and cravings. How could it actually be simple?
I knew I had to give it a try. Interestingly I began to feel drastic improvement immediately and it dawned on me that I hadn’t been fully aware of how bad my health actually was.I had learned to sort of push through or ignore pain because it was always there and I didn’t know what it was like to live without it.
So what changed? Well it’s only been around 3 months of a 90% carnivorous diet and I have blown my health out of the water, so to speak:
- Cravings – Mostly gone; if I do have cravings they are now manageable and I walk right past the sweets that used to control me every day. Oh! And I no longer have to leave my credit card at home to keep myself on the straight and narrow. I haven’t touched B&J’s, DOUGH Donuts or Brooklyn Blackout slices since I started ZC. I leave the fries untouched while I dive into my bunless burger at restaurants. This still blows my mind.
- Eyesight – My eyesight was getting more blurry each year. It has now improved and as an added bonus, my eyes no longer tire after a full day of staring at a screen.
- Energy – Steady and stable; I don’t feel tired, depleted or exhausted.
- Hair – Growing more quickly. My stylist recently commented (unprompted) on how soft my hair felt. I have been going to her for over two years.
- Skin – Complete 360! I barely even break out around my cycle. Not only have my breakouts diminished but the quality and color of my skin is beautiful now – I feel radiant.
- Nails – I used to have endless hangnails and painful cuticles that would not heal. My nails barely grew before and if they did, they inevitably broke. Since ZC, my nails have been growing so quickly that I have to file them every few days. I haven’t had a single broken nail and my cuticles are 100% healthy – no more pain.
- Digestion – Perfect – no gas, pain or bloating! #happytummy
- Food Stress – Let’s see I went from 24/7 food obsession and fear of calories to complete ease. Grocery shopping is a cinch: I complete my shopping in one 3-minute swoop through the meat department and I’m done. Cooking is a breazy 10 minute routine and I enjoy every single meal.
- Sprained Ankle – I sprained my ankle at least 8 months ago doing yoga and it simply would not heal. I thought Keto or Fasting would give my body the break it needed to heal-nope. Three months of ZC, and my ankle is completely healed.
- Joint Pain – 95% improved – especially my knees which were bugging me walking up and down the subways steps.
- Foot Pain – I actually forgot I had foot pain until I read my notes because it’s now completely gone.
- Hand Numbness – I used to have pain and numbness in my left hand whenever things would get really stressful at work. Not only is that gone but it doesn’t flare past a dull throb when I’m super stressed. It is noticeably improving still.
- Brain Fog – I went from being easily stressed out and lacking confidence to kicking ass and taking names. I’m now more enthusiastic, clear-headed and productive at work. I’m no longer leaving the office feeling like the life was drained out of me.
- Anxiety and Depression – Literally gone. I always thought my daily struggle with that down-in-the-dumps feeling was just my personality. With ZC the anxiety disappeared and the depression melted away. People keep complimenting me randomly and I know it’s because I’m in a fabulous, chill, happy mood bouncing around and enjoying everyday life. I’ve noticed the direct connection to my diet as this is the first thing to go if I eat sugary treats. Now that I know what affects me there is no going back, is there?
The only (temporary) downside I have had is a bit of initial weight gain, however, I think this will work itself out in time. Looking back on my life knowing what I now know, I realize that I have starved myself of anything nutrient dense for years. I was completely prepared for the possibility of weight gain after reading Kelly Hogan’s story and I was willing to chance the weight gain because I feel so dang good – you can’t bottle this feeling.
Happily – Healthily,