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.