Katie is doing a textbook version of TCD. I love her story, it’s honest and real. She also shares in the joy of realization that if you choose the right fats, food becomes something to be enjoyed again!
Here is her story, verbatim as she sent it to me.
I’m Katie, a 6 foot tall, 54 year old female. I think we all know the challenges that come with trying to lose weight at this stage of life, or even to maintain a weight loss previously attained. I have been through just about every diet protocol that exists, including 14 years of mixed vegetarianism and veganism. Bringing back meat protein was the first step in the right direction, years ago, and I was able to use calorie restriction in the form of alternate-day-fasting to get to an acceptable size 16, which was down from a post-pregnancy largest size of 22. Like most calorie restricting plans, the weight came back. Switching to keto worked well for a time, but not reliably. High fat dairy made me gain, keto baked goods made me gain, so the trick for me became eating huge salads or large servings of other low starch vegetables. I relied on the sheer volume of those salads to make me feel anything resembling fullness or satisfaction from the meal. I felt miserable and bloated, stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey as I rolled into bed after dinner. And of course avoiding carbs meant that when I did slip up and have something with carbs, I would have a 7 pound weight gain. No fun. No size 16.
I should mention that regardless of eating plan I have been a whole “real foods” type eater for a very long time. My problem wasn’t boxed foods or Twinkies. I was eating responsibly, for the most part, but never able to figure out lasting weight loss or how to get my hunger under control.
In January of 2019 I went carnivore. For the first 30 days it was meat only, as advised, to be able to use it as an elimination diet. I reintroduced dairy and had no ill effects. I remained leary of vegetables mostly because of the salad bloating I had experienced with keto, so I remained carnivore for 11 full months and lost weight! Lost serious amounts of weight. Size 14 was my goal, and there I was in 14’s. A few months later I was in 12’s. This was unbelievable to me. And then the impossible happened and those 12’s were getting baggy, and I was in 10’s. If you had asked me beforehand, I would have told you that I did not believe my 6’0” skeleton alone would have fit in size 10’s. I was at a legit healthy thin size. And I was maintaining it. My hunger issues were resolved, and I didn’t have to stuff myself full of bulky foods to feel full and satisfied. The down side to this eating plan was feeling awkward at social events and family dinners. And I did have to combine carnivore with intermittent fasting of up to 48 hours per week, and longer fasts of up to 6 days straight, to maintain. But I was used to dieting and used to going without food at certain times.
Then Christmas came and I lost my resolve and ate a lot of carbs and was back in my 12’s in a flash, which was still okay but not ideal. It was shortly after Christmas 2019 when I discovered the Croissant Diet and was enthralled by the idea of losing belly fat. Even when I was in size 10’s I had significantly more around the midsection than I would have liked.
I didn’t believe it at first, the eating actual starches part of it seemed like it would just have me walking around permanently with that extra 7 pounds of carb weight. So I dipped my toes in the water with sweet potatoes and butter. Hmm, no negative effects. Then started adding 100% cocoa powder to things, and again nothing bad happened. I began courting stearic acid more aggressively with raw cacao butter and cocoa paste. This is when the magic started happening. I was losing again, and it was belly fat! I added oatmeal with butter to the rotation and everything kept moving forward. Sandwiches on buttered sourdough bread came next, as did a reunion with certain vegetables like shredded cabbage, or okra, cooked in butter. I am grateful to carnivore for fixing many of my metabolic problems, but boy oh boy had I missed having some fiber (yes I know hundreds of carnivores are screaming that it is not necessary, if they are reading this, but I personally feel much much better having it back and was having some very serious digestive troubles, that were not resolved by eating more fat, without it). At this point I had also added glycerol monostearate, for even more stearic acid. More inches came off, and by the end of February 2020 I was not only comfortably back in size 10’s, I was able to fit into a pair of 8’s. Never in a million years would I have ever thought this possible.
And then the Titanic sank. Covid hit in March and my place of employment had to close down for quarantine for the foreseeable future. I was laid off and extremely worried about being unemployed for an unknown amount of time. No one had to tell me that I was going to gain weight. It would be impossible for a stressed-out body with as many years of (voluntary) food scarcity as mine had experienced to not want to freak out and add body fat. I didn’t even try to fight it. I didn’t even look surprised.
By July I was back in 14’s. I had long ago donated anything larger than 14’s so I drew a line in the sand at that point and said I need to get things back under control. So back to Croissant Diet, back to beef and eggs and butter and ghee. I kept avoiding everything I shouldn’t be eating, but I was not losing weight. I chalked it up to continued stress from still being laid off from work. Summer moved along…still no progress. And that’s when it hit me. My cocoa butter chips were sitting safely in my desk drawer at work, and I was at home 24/7. I had been adding GMS to some meals, but had not bothered to keep up with the cocoa butter and cocoa paste that I previously had been munching on at work every morning during the months when I was losing weight and belly fat before.
Once I added cocoa butter back into my routine, in coffee every morning plus later if I felt like it, I was back on track. I am happily wearing my size 12 jeans, and they are predictably getting baggy the same way they did last time. I know I’m on my way back down to being comfortable in size 10’s. I believe it is the additional stearic acid for sure that is helping me, not simply avoiding pork and poultry and MUFAs and PUFAs. I had to add more stearic acid to my eating plan, and have the most success consuming it first thing in the morning in a way that seems to prime the pump for the way my body will process the foods I eat throughout the rest of the day.
These days I’m not afraid of white starches, and I love the freedom to eat anything I want whenever I feel like it. If I want waffles for dinner, so be it. I also love the level of satiety that comes with eating TCD. One sourdough grilled cheese sandwich and I’m not capable of even thinking about food until the next day. I get to eat what I truly want to eat any given day. And those salads that were bloating me so horribly on keto? Pretty sure that it was the oils from the salad dressing doing its damage, regardless of whether it was a restaurant dressing made with seed oils or one I made myself with EVO or avocado oil. No more of that for me.
It did take me a while to believe buttered white rice and buttered popcorn and things made with white flour would be okay to eat. I checked with a blood glucose meter after eating, although I have never been diabetic. I was still frightened of insulin spikes, but nothing alarming ever happened with my levels. The thing that did happen was I had more energy again. I actually feel like I want to do my resistance exercises (3x a week, 10 minutes or so, I’m no gym rat but do try to protect my muscles and bones), and I look forward to going outside for a walk every day. It’s not jerky frantic energy like from sugar, it’s getting things done energy and I have plenty of things to do. Also my hands and feet aren’t cold anymore. I truly feel like I am firing on all cylinders now.
I believe that eating carnivore was a great reset that fixed a lot of my metabolic problems and allowed me to lose weight. But now I know it is not necessary to continue to eat that way forever. If you’re only eating meat and dairy, you are not consuming any oils and your fats are predominantly saturated. Everyone assumes that it’s the lack of carbohydrates that does the magic, and that starches and vegetables are somehow the enemy. It has been my experience that this is not necessarily the case.
My plan involves starting the day with cocoa butter in my coffee or tea. This is often enough to push my need for a meal off by several hours, but I do eat in the morning if I am feeling hungry. I eat protein with most meals, in a reasonable amount; not the large steaks I had to eat to feel full on carnivore. Along with the protein I will sometimes have a starch, like white rice or oatmeal with butter or ghee, or pancakes or waffles with added protein and stearic acid. Or I might have a vegetable cooked in or topped with ghee (and spices) as a side. When I have a meal it is a filling meal. I am usually not even slightly hungry again for several hours, sometimes not until late the next day. I may feel like having a grilled cheese sandwich on rustic sourdough (no oils in the bread making process) and this too will keep me full for many hours. Or it might be lean lunchmeat on buttered sourdough, or scrambled eggs and turkey breast in a croissant. A 1/3lb grassfed hamburger patty is filling when eaten with homemade coleslaw using Greek yogurt diluted with vinegar or lemon juice, and added GMS or stearic acid for the dressing. That same burger can be twice as filling if it’s eaten on a large butter croissant (store bought is fine as long as it is 100% butter for the fat and no added margarine or oil) and the slaw can be a side dish or skipped completely. Use the remaining beef fat in the pan to make a sauce, add onion and garlic plus some ghee and then spices like curry and garam masala, or taco seasoning, or whatever you want. Add some shredded cabbage to soak it all up, or serve it over rice, or save it for later. Sometimes I have buttered salted popcorn for dinner because I feel like having something but am not hungry enough for a meal. That is one of my favorite things
I have pinot noir two or three nights a week. If there’s one part of Brad’s plan that I struggle with it’s deciding whether or not to have the wine. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t be consuming calories and asking my liver to do me a favor at night when I have been done eating for several hours. Another part of me believes that it’s a legit part of the plan, and I do feel lighter the next morning after having some. Bottom line is that wine is nice and I am not one to argue with a scientist. If it was truly bothering me, I would have no problem deciding to give it a pass.
This way of eating is not an all day starch fest, it’s not an “I can eat anything I want all day long as long as there are no added oils” The part that works for me is feeling legitimately full from a relatively small amount of food and having that level of satiety carry through for many hours. The flexibility to make the meals something delicious that I am thrilled to get to eat is a bonus. I am not yet back in size 8’s, I’m not sure that will be possible until the stress of unemployment has passed when my workplace reopens. But I am done with 14’s, very comfortable in 12’s, and able to squeeze into 10’s and feel confident they will be fully back in rotation soon.
I’m forever grateful for the work Brad has done to figure this out. I never would have found healthy effective weight loss, that is this easy to maintain, without his researching it and getting it out on his blog and in podcast appearances. The fact that there are so many choices available by just following a few simple rules is amazing to me. Anyone wondering if it’s just a fluke can look at me, it not only worked for me; it has worked for me TWICE.
35 thoughts on “Katie’s Story”
For you it sounds like cacao butter is better than the GMS? Or you use both but the added cacao butter was the tipping point.
Best of luck with the job situation. Look after yourself -sounds like you are with getting outside. 😊
I feel like cacoa butter in the morning is a major catalyst for me. The first time through, while I was at work all day, I was usually eating dinner only – OMAD, but snacking on a combo of raw cacao butter wafers and 100% cocoa wafers (like one of each eaten together to make it tastier and to detract from the waxiness). I don’t know if the time between consuming this and having a meal has anything to do with it, but I am back to having between 2 and 4 of the cacao butter wafers melted and churned into my coffee in the morning, and I am back to losing weight. The GMS is something I add to protein shakes or to yogurt if I’m hungry but not wanting to cook meat. I don’t know enough about GMS to recommend it to others, honestly, but I personally am not afraid of it after doing a bit of research.
Thank you for your kind thoughts. Yes, the walks in the park have been a nice change.
This is SO awesome Katie – thanks for sharing! Wondering where you find glycerol monostearate?
Super curious about the glycerol monostearate mentioned. I can’t seem to access food grade stearic acid over here in NZ but I’ve found Glyceryl Monostearate sold here that is able to be used in food. Can I add that to things? How do you use it? what do you add it to? Whats the profile is it like 90% stearic acid? I’ve started adding some cocoa butter but I’d really like to try add more stearic acid and am hoping that the Glyceryl Monostearate might be the way to go. just a little sketchy since it sounds like some chemistry experiment lol
I bought GMS through the internet, the large company that starts with an A has it and it’s a single ingredient supplement so not a lot of room for variance. I am not completely comfortable recommending it, because I don’t know everything about it and would hate to steer anyone wrong. I use it as a mix-in with yogurt, or in a protein shake when I feel hungry but not really wanting to cook any meat to make a full meal. I like whey protein shakes made with frozen okra (do they have okra in NZ??) in place of the ice, with about a tsp of GMS and sometimes some powdered beef collagen. The combo of vegetable fiber and stearic acid and protein put a full stop to any hunger, and with a little ice it is the consistency of a milkshake. Mixing it with yogurt works for me, although it remains a bit grainy; no big deal to me but some people are more upset than I am about that sort of thing. The serving size is a tsp, so it goes into oatmeal or pretty much anything that you would eat with a spoon.
Happy almost summer there!
Thanks for sharing!
That’s really a great story told by a very good storyteller and good personal scientist. That’s what I’m calling people who take this kind of conscious approach to eating. Good for you!
So how much is too much? I hope you dont mind my asking, but where did you read/hear this? Just curious, as I just bought a bag of the stearic acid and am wanting to make my own bitter oil and use it!
Be careful with the glycerol monostearate. Too much is not good. It pulls water away from the organs and tissues and puts it in the muscle, which is great for hydration and muscle growth, but it can lead to complications elsewhere.
Very illuminating! Thanks for sharing! I am a 54 yo female with some similar history. I have been reading Brad’s blog and listening to some of his interviews. I’ve started increasing proportion of saturated fats and avoiding pufas and am really interested in experimenting along these lines. Recently received my order of stearic acid I ordered from fireinabottle and will start using tomorrow. Thanks again 🙂
Katie, Thanks so much for sharing your story! Boy, do I relate. I’m 68 and down 70 pounds from my peak weight after trying Bulletproof, Keto and then Carnivore with dairy a little over a year ago. (I must add that I’m so grateful that Carnivore eliminated my severe fibromyalgia pain!) But I am stuck at a 25-30 pound weight loss the last 6 months and have been craving bread, potatoes and popcorn! I still need to loose at least 80 lbs to get to my dream of wearing size 16s. I just learned about TCD a couple of days ago and am so ready to dive in! Your story is very inspiring! Can you please share with us the recipe for your cocoa paste and how you use it? And are you saying you just munch on plain cocoa butter chips?
It’s just plain cacao butter wafers and plain 100% cocoa paste wafers (sold as Organic Cocoa Liquor Wafers online) for me. I eat them plain or melt the cacao butter ones into my coffee or tea, or may slowly melt a few of the cocoa paste chips individually in my mouth at night for a treat. I melted some of each together once and spread it inside a croissant for a faux pain au chocolat, but it really needed some sweetener; so I will adjust it a little the next time I feel like something similar. I use 100% cocoa powder (extra brute) in protein shakes sometimes.
I got rid of all my high fat dairy when I went from carnivore to this way of eating. I’ll still have cheese on occasion, and I use the Triple Zero Greek Yogurt, and lowfat cottage cheese; so dairy products very low in both fat and carbs. I find the starch plus stearic combo more filling than heavy keto-type foods and frankly don’t need the extra calories those foods bring. If I’m having cheese it’s as a condiment, not something where I am eating way too much of it in one sitting because I’m hungry and that’s the only easy thing to eat (when carnivore this was the case all too often). Instead of keto desserts, I’m much more likely to just add pumpkin pie spice to a bowl of pumpkin puree and a little monkfruit or stevia sweetener so it is both filling and dessert-like. Same with cottage cheese and apple pie spice, or oatmeal prepared the same way. So it’s real foods with flavor enhancements instead of fake cake or cookies or things like that.
Hoping the best for you! There is some trial and error, but when you get the hang of figuring out which meals are filling and satisfying you’re well on your way.
Katie, I’ld also looks me to know if you are doing any intermittent or extended fasting with your TCD way of eating?
Comment correction: Katie, I’ld also like to know if you are doing any intermittent or extended fasting with your TCD way of eating?
I’m only fasting when feeling full, never “pushing through hunger”. It’s almost always two meals a day for me and then I’m full through the evening. So my last meal is sometime between 1:00 and 3:00, with the option to have another meal that night if I get hungry. It’s most common that I am not hungry again. My wine rules are that I can have some at night if I did not have a third meal, and there is no eating allowed after I start having the wine. I want it to be wine fasting, I don’t want it to be asking my body to metabolize alcohol and food at the same time. And I don’t want two glasses of wine to convince me I should start snacking on things for sport. Ha, anyone here knows what I mean. So sometimes I will feel a little hungry with the wine, but that’s the only time I “push through” any hunger. So I guess I am doing intermittent fasting to a certain extent, but only because it’s a natural side effect to the level of satiety I find with these foods. I won’t do extended fasting, I believe my history of dieting has made my body label me an unreliable provider, and any hint of a coming time without food means it will hoard every calorie it can. Instead we’re hanging out on easy street and get to eat whatever we want (within reason).
Thanks so much for your detailed responses. God bless!
May I ask how’s your lipid panel looks like? Is the LDL in normal?
My HDL is good. My triglycerides and LDL are higher than I’d like. I mostly attribute this to the wine drinking, although I have a strategy to reverse this pattern. Check back in here, I’ll be posting updates.
Your story truly speaks to me. I am 42 and have had a similar weight loss journey as you. Vegan/vegetarian, ww, keto, carnivore, fasting. Almost reached my goal weight with carnivore, then went back to keto and started gaining. Holidays 2019-gained. Covid pamdemic-gained. Beach vacation-gained. 15 pounds in 1yr. Then I heard about TCD. I have been on it for about 1 month and my weight has been fluctuating. Figuring out how to properly eat “normal size meals” again has been a challenge. No more feasting like I needed to do before to feel satisfied. I usually eat 2 meals a day with protein and starch, with stearic acid enhanced butter. Very few vegetables. Also, cocoa butter and coffee in the mornings. I have a glass of wine a few nights per week. I’m hoping I will start seeing results. I initially lost 2 pounds, then gained 5, but I think it is starting to go back down. I’m enjoying being able to eat starches, but wondering when the weight loss is going to happen. Any tips you can give me? Thanks for sharing your story.
I haven’t weighed myself at all, it’s all clothing sizes for me as a gauge and the numbers on the waistbands continue getting smaller. I know there were a couple weeks of adjustment before I started seeing results again. I eat two meals a day, with the option for a third. I have wine rules, see my other response for those, not sure if they are part of my success. I know what you mean about adjusting to normal size meals. At first when I was making a grilled cheese sandwich my brain would be telling me that I should make two. The same with oatmeal, my brain thought a cup of dry oatmeal in the bowl would be necessary. In both cases I had to explain to my brain that we are going to start with one sandwich, or half a cup of oatmeal and then if still hungry half an hour later we will make more. I haven’t had to make more. I think people who are overweight, or who have ever been overweight have an exaggerated fear of eating and still being hungry. I was always that way when eating in restaurants, scanning the menu more for the estimated size of the meal over the desired flavor or preparation. I think part of the adjustment period with this way of eating is getting our brains to trust us that yes this meal is going to not only be “enough”, but exceedingly satisfying. You’re doing everything right, hang in there.
Hi Katie! This is really encouraging – thank you for sharing. 🙂 Question for you: do you include any sweeteners in your TCD plan? If so, which ones and how much? I’m coming from a carnivore background, experimenting with some raw honey and dark/robust maple syrup here and there, just made some homemade raw honey-sweetened dark chocolate.
I use small amounts of stevia or monkfruit sweetener, and have some raw honey as well, but haven’t been drawn to it for a while. I do avoid actual sugar, and overall use sweetner of any kind pretty sparingly. If I want something sweet I push it to the end of the meal, and then it’s okay since there is limited damage that can be done because I’m not hungry enough to go overboard. So my wish-washy answer is I don’t have sweets too often, if I do make something it’s likely with monkfruit or stevia, and if I did want something with real sugar I would try to have it after a meal to make it less likely to make me want to over indulge.
I love the sound of robust maple syrup!
I’ve been following Brad’s blog for a few weeks now and bought some stearic acid from his site and made my own enhanced butter oil with it. His ideas have gotten me really excited to the point where I wake up at night and I can’t sleep for thinking about their awesomeness.
But I am not convinced about eating the carbs, specifically wheat, or any gluten grains for that matter. Does gluten not still cause “leaky guy” and interact with opiod receptors in the brain even if it’s pared with a high amount of saturated fat??? Not to mention the effect of these high carb foods on your heart and it’s interaction with LDL that transforms it from the “big poofy” form to the “small sticky” form.
How does the saturated fat/stearic acid interact with those problems? Being skinny is great, but if I keel over from a heart attack what good does it do? Look at all the “healthy” skinny runners that die of heart attacks because their diets suck because they can “eat whatever they want as long as I stay thin”.
You don’t have to eat the carbs. I do it to make a point and because I like them. Based on my inflammatory blood markers this doesn’t seem to be killing me.
Check out Emmy’s story.
I think everyone reacts differently to carbs, and I’m having no problems. I don’t have starch with every meal. My cholesterol is higher, but I had an autoimmune disease when I was vegan with “perfect” cholesterol levels and now I have zero symptoms of that. I thought carnivore had cured it, but it remains under control while having the flexibility to have some carbs.
How much of cocoa butter do you put in your morning coffee? How many gram of fat in your coffee?
10 grams of cold pressed cacao butter wafers. I don’t add anything else.
This is so helpful and so well described. I am also a tall female but a good bit older than yourself, struggling with weight since hysterectomy at 39. Also had similar results on virtually every other elimination/health diet; either I couldn’t follow it for long, or had worsened gastro issues, or chronic pain was made much worse. When I first tried the CD protocol, it felt good at first (and such a relief to eat normally), but then I felt very sick, and realized starch is not good yet–as with you, though, it may be again. I see that I simply was not eating enough fat, and certainly a lot of PUFA. The way you outline this is very helpful and the cacao butter observation was the light bulb switch. Thank you and thanks again Brad!
I’m hoping this plan ends up working for you! There seems to be a ramp-up period of a week or two before everything falls into place. And then it ends up feeling like what I can imagine it feels like to have a gastric-bypass surgery or a gastric band or whatever, feeling absolutely full on a much smaller amount of food. Now I get that same feeling even with meals that aren’t stearic-heavy. It takes a little trial and error to figure out which carbs will behave that way, and which will continue to cause that “hungrier than before I ate THAT” feeling.
Thank you! I look forward to reporting back.
I just made my butter oil today, and I came across this blog wanting to know more. May I know how much SA should I consume daily? I’m 42/M, about 130 (more like maintenance), primarily looking for more energy and maybe lose a few pounds more ;D
The banana milkshake study showed mitochondrial fusion and increase fat oxidation at 24g per day. That’s the best starting point I know. The butteroil is about 27% stearic. A tbsp delivers about 4g. But it also delivers another 4g of palmitic acid (long chain saturated fat), which may turn out to be just as good.
I’m still not clear whether the magic happens because you lower pufas and up the SA or because you are so satiated that you end up eating less over time (wine fasting etc). So far, I seem to eat way more calories (I was probably under-eating before) and am gaining weight/size as a result of that. Not sure if adding yet more fat would help. Or is the fasting an inevitable, necessary component for success as well?
Check out my latest series, The SCD1 Theory of Obesity. This attempts to explain why for some dietary intervention won’t be enough and other possible strategies.
Your story inspires me and gives me hope. I have had a very similar diet journey as yours. Now, I am hopeful to try TCD.
I want to know if you were in a calorie deficit while you were losing the inches?
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