My Zero Carb Experience
I do get asked very frequently about my diet. It’s common knowledge that I am not like other people, I mean not having eaten any grains or sugar since 2008 probably qualifies me as a bit odd. Since moving to a Paleo diet in 08 I have tried pretty much everything that revolves around low carb from low carb high protein to low carb high fat to keto and finally most recently to zero carb. My experiences have been varied with success coming quickly on some methods and stalling progress on others. I have found that my body changes drastically depending on how many carbs i am eating and when but I am getting ahead of myself.
I stared paleo, I gave up sugar and grains and was very happy. The resulting 70 lb weight loss that has stayed off now for 8 years (I can’t believe I just wrote that) was actually fairly easy and I wrote about my changing mindset on several occasions, most notably HERE. Once I reached what was a reasonable goal I started trying to figure out what I could change without changing the results and without allowing the carb cravings to return. I eventually ended up in the keto camp, sticking with below 25g of carbs (or so I thought) a day but not really caring when I ate them. This gave me a little latitude to eat rice or yams or potato which was fine with me. However, what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was ingesting hidden carbs that were pushing my totals out of whack. I was drinking skim milk and eating nuts both of which resulted in large undercalculations of my carbs. 1 liter of skim milk which I would drink per day (including in my coffee) has almost 50g of carbs alone and the cup of nuts I was eating was another 30g. So the 25g I was factoring in was actually closer to 100g.
I decided about six months ago enough with the nuts and milk and I switched to heavy cream in my coffee (Starbucks will actually make a latte with 35% cream if you ask and it’s awesome) because 1 cup is only 6g and a cup of whipping cream is A LOT!! I also dropped the nuts completely which was actually hard to do because I was snacking at night so I decided to switch my meal times at the same time. I was finding that I wasn’t hungry in the morning so I backed my breakfast out to lunchtime and then didn’t eat again until either after my workout or after I coached. This meant having a large meal later in the day and therefore not snacking. Since I don’t get hungry I knew my snacking was just a habit not a desire so replacing it with a meal was easy. However, on days when I worked out I was having a big meal after and then starting to miss my evening chicken. This was when I understood that I was now into Zero Carb territory. Now, ZC people will tell you that true ZC is meat and water. That is all. I wasn’t quite that extreme, I was eating eggs and cheese still since cheese is awesome. But some days I would not have the 5-6 egg omelette and cheese in the day time and end up completely ZC. What I found was that my energy in they gym was really lacking. Also, I looked flat, unimpressive and I didn’t like that, the body dysmorphia kicked in pretty hard and I needed to do something so I decided to add back some targeted carbs after my workout knowing that (thanks to NIMGU) it wouldn’t affect my insulin and I should reap some benefits strength wise. I have already written about this just before Christmas so you will already know it worked quite well and since then I have stuck with the TC Keto and things seem to be working well. My diet is currently around 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs which still puts me around 250 calories of carbs a day or 60g on a carb day. I was back to my happy place, seeing some size return and having more energy in the gym. However, being happy is a problem because I stop being so careful. My weight is now 238 which is around 10lbs too heavy so I think a couple weeks of paying attention is in order.
For those of you who may be here for the first time there is a lot of information in the side bar about my journey and if you are lacking some motivation feel free to start at the beginning and relish in my struggles with P90X as a 300lb lump with delusions of fitness grandeur…