Eating disorder & dieting
Real People, Real Results
Leigh Ann overcame PTSD, insulin resistance, and an eating disorder on a carnivore diet
Leigh, a loving wife and mother of four children, shares her triumphant story of healing from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcoholism, an eating disorder, and insulin resistance.
Childhood Trauma, PTSD, and an Eating Disorder
Leigh began her journey to recovery a year ago. At 37 years old, Leigh discovered that many of her physical and emotional symptoms were a product of PTSD from childhood trauma. “My father didn’t survive his fight with mental health. He passed from arrhythmia when he was 34 years old. I was nine at the time, and my six-year-old sister found him deceased.”
Survivors of childhood trauma often take on different roles in their families. The sudden passing of her father led Leigh’s mother down the path of alcoholism as means of coping. “When a parent struggles this way, it causes an emotional disconnect. I became the caretaker. A silent war started in my body.”
At age 15, Leigh developed an eating disorder after quitting basketball. “In high school, I began exercising four hours a day and restricting meat. I lived in hypervigilance, and I would strive for complete perfectionism.” Her mental health began deteriorating, and she suffered from suicidal thoughts and dissociation.
By age 19, Leigh says she was fighting for her life. “I sought medical help continuously, and new medications were always prescribed. I felt defeated and thought I had exhausted all avenues.” She fell into alcoholism to “soothe the overwhelming sadness and negative racing thoughts.”
Addressing Metabolic and Mental Health on a Carnivore Diet
Leigh entered rehab in February 2022 and supported her sobriety with ketamine infusions. Her bloodwork had revealed several nutrient deficiencies and exposed an underlying metabolic resistance issue. “My whole metabolic health was either deficient or low.”
Leigh had been following a vegan diet to lose weight, but when she heard Mikhaila Peterson’s story about healing from PTSD on a carnivore diet, Leigh decided to try it for herself. She has eaten eggs, steak, grass-fed ground beef, salt, and water for the last two months.
“By day 22, living in my head was just so different! I am now able to clear my mind and go through my thoughts and not just react. It’s been remarkable!”
Thriving as a Family
Since switching to an animal-based diet, Leigh has enjoyed more energy, no joint pain, and no restrictive thoughts regarding food. “The thoughts, memories, and overwhelming sadness finally subsided on the carnivore diet, even during my menstrual cycle. The restrictive eating thoughts are gone.”
Now sober for over a year, Leigh’s seen a considerable impact on her family’s health and well-being. “it was really hard for me to come to terms with the fact I had a problem with alcohol.” Even though she appeared “high-functioning,” she knew her kids “deserved better,” and so did she. As she continues to heal, Leigh has noticed that her teenage daughter is more social, and her son has less anxiety. “It’s a beautiful thing to see!”
Leigh credits ketamine treatment with putting her brain “back online” and believes that a carnivore diet has helped alleviate her fixations on negative memories and beliefs. “I feel so passionate about how much this diet has helped me. I wouldn’t have gone through the depths of hell to not share this remarkable information!”
Daniel and Ed thrive on a carnivore diet
Ed started a keto diet as a way to improve his focus and productivity, and noticed that it provided more consistent energy. His father had been working on losing weight, and had lost weight and found productivity and mood improved on a carnivore diet.
Ed wanted these gains for himself, so he started the diet also. “I was like, damn this is crazy so let me hop on this carnivore thing and try it out. I tried it out and that’s exactly what I saw for myself as well.”
Dan Needed Help
Dan was working with a different set of circumstances, and needed more than optimization-he needed help!
Ed and Dan followed the “Typical bodybuilding advice; eat high carb, take protein powders, all that and yeah it worked really well for building muscle but my skin got absolutely terrible” reports Dan. That wasn’t the only problem this diet caused, however.
Dan said “I have a bit of a history with depression, and I just felt like garbage all the time, and then my skin got to the point where I had these massive cysts on my skin, like huge volcanoes, and even have a scar where I had to have surgery on one of them. It was awful!”
Prescription Drugs Didn’t Work
“I went to the doctors…they chucked me on this pill called Accutane…man, that pill is evil, dangerous. Although it did make my acne go away, it literally destroyed my whole body. I got shin splints on it the entire time, tore both my labrums in my shoulders, and then was in bed for six months with debilitating pain before starting carnivore. The doctors said it was all in my head and the drug didn’t cause it. I got ADHD and depression; they said there’s no cure for ADHD. They chucked me on Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin, all this stuff and I was on so many drugs and I’ve seen all my friends play sports, and I’m just like, ‘this isn’t really the life I want to live. I feel pretty hopeless.”
Dan gained weight, and had to drop out of university because of his pain. His doctors told him that he would be this way for the rest of his life, which drove him to research more, looking for answers. He found the diet, and “life wasn’t even worth living at that point, so I went all in.”
Carnivore Diet Wins
Dan lost 30 kilos in five months (66 pounds), cured his depression, and reduced his chronic pain to the point that now he’s working on rebuilding strength. He eats mostly meat, and finds that he has to avoid fruit or he feels worse and develops cravings. “I fully got my life back!”
Ed also benefited, optimizing his sleep, improving his sprint speed, and finding more energy and focus. He does eat a little fruit and has no problems with portion control.
These two young men have both optimized their health through a carnivore diet!
Chana heals from NAFLD, skin issues, digestive issues, and pre-diabetes on a carnivore diet
Chana is located in Israel and has been on a carnivore diet for nine months. Her career was in music education, and she had been teaching as an orchestra director in New York and Pennsylvania since 1973. She also taught string instruments privately and in groups.
She always thought of herself as “into health,” and in 1982, “I decided to become a vegetarian, thinking that was a great way to go with my health because I gained a little weight after my first child, and then a year later I became a vegan and, um, way too restrictive! I actually felt okay for a while, then in the 90’s…couldn’t pinpoint it but I wasn’t feeling as well. When I get into these things, I’m very strict. Very little protein, and even less fat. You’d spread a little oil on the pan to saute some kind of vegetable and that’s about the amount of fat you got.”
Every time some health problem would arise, Chana would try to further tweak her diet. She now knows that she should have tweaked it by “getting rid of the diet, adding some protein and fat, get rid of the carbs.”
Then Chana started eating more raw foods, and “then I really wasn’t feeling so good,” and she realized this diet tweak didn’t help at all.
Chana tried Paleo “which helped a little bit but not enough to be ketogenic.” She found out about carnivore from a friend who was doing it. She thought about it for several months, but her friend wasn’t doing it anymore.
Fatty Liver and PBC
She was diagnosed with fatty liver disease and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). Chana also had reflux problems for a long time.
Chana started the carnivore diet on her birthday last year. She had problems with her adrenals and hypothyroid, “along with some yo-yo dieting things from the past where I was eating too many carbs.”
She has been able to minimize the level of bio identical hormones she takes, and after six weeks on the diet, her liver enzymes began to normalize. Chana experienced other changes in her blood work, with “cholesterol has gone up to 322, my HDL is 114, LDL is 197. Triglycerides are 53.” These values reflect some very healthy ratios, such as a triglyceride to HDL ratio well below 1.0. Her reflux completely vanished after six weeks on the diet.
Chana has also seen a big improvement in her energy levels: “I get much more accomplished. Before carnivore I was in bed a lot; I was exhausted.”
Her weight also went from 154 down to 125 in about six weeks!
As far as Revero goes, Chana feels “it has been a major source of help and camaraderie and community, and it’s really a wonderful platform to be part of because there’s so much support.” She is now a coach on the platform!
Claire overcame anorexia nervosa and depression on a low-carb diet
Growing up in France, Claire ate the typical French diet rich in saturated fat and protein. A dancer, she was naturally thin like her fellow ballerinas-in-training. Constant comparisons as to who was the slimmest, however, led Claire to develop body-image issues, and as she entered her teenage years, she started to restrict her eating. Her parents were in the dark concerning her struggles, and after experiencing a traumatic incident at the age of 16, her eating disorder got worse and developed into full-blown Anorexia Nervosa.
As the years passed by, Claire became a prisoner to her tyrannical eating disorder. At 5’ 7”, her weight would go on to drop to a life-threatening 69 pounds. She became so frail she had to use a wheelchair, and at one point, even lost the fat from her optical nerves and went blind for months. Her hair fell out, her teeth fell out, and her heart rate was always hovering below 40. In 2017, she got the flu and died on the table for several minutes. At 33 years old, Claire was desperate beyond measure, and started looking for alternative ways to try and conquer Anorexia.
When she came across the carnivore diet, she was intrigued by its simplicity. She started with a low-fat option, but still didn’t feel very well. Then, in July of 2021, Claire was unable to go swimming with her family when on vacation because she was freezing cold—even though it was the middle of the summertime. In her sadness, she became resolved to give the carnivore diet a real try, and booked a coaching session with one of the Revero coaches online. They encouraged Claire to think about eating meat and fat like taking medicine, and if she committed to it fully, her body would heal—fast.
“I was so scared, but from one day to another I only ate fatty meat…it was a life changer.” Claire started off with easy-to-digest ground beef. She also drank raw egg yolks and snacked on butter—sometimes up to several sticks a day! “I was eating fat all the time, and my body handled it fantastically…It was like body happiness…I couldn’t stop! Since the moment I started eating this way, I was not able to restrict anymore…I have to eat when I’m hungry—my body is so happy with it!”
Within three months, Claire was able to gain 20 pounds and come off all of her anti-depression medication—in close collaboration with her doctor, of course! Now, 39 years old and with a full head of hair, Claire is up to 110 pounds. Instead of being wheelchair-bound and blind, she is able to jump on the trampoline with her son, and work all day in her job as an engineer. All of her blood markers are excellent as well, leaving her doctors amazed.
Any lingering concerns about her weight have vanished, and Claire is miraculously unbothered by the scale.“The carnivore diet is not about weight loss, it’s about weight optimization. So, if it brings me to gain twenty more pounds or thirty more pounds—it’s possible—I don’t have any trouble with it. I want to feel satiated all the time and I want to be able to think clearly and I don’t want to restrict…I’m eating amazing food, I’m doing some movement, I’m sleeping well, so the weight will be what it has to be.”
Lauren manages eating disorders, mood, and skin issues on a low-carb diet
History of Disordered Eating
Lauren is in her early 30’s and has been carnivore for 8 or 9 months. Her disordered eating began when she was 11 or 12 years old. She struggled with anorexia, bulimia and what she describes as “very restrictive eating behaviors” up until she began her low-carb meat-based journey.
She always had a weird relationship with food and describes how she was obsessed with watching what she ate and counting calories.
Lauren started college anorexic—she was 100 pounds—not much for her 5’8” frame. For comparison, she is 145 pounds today. Her anxiety became so extreme in college that she had to drop out. She explains that she was in “fight or flight all the time” and couldn’t sleep at all.
Lauren would usually eat one big meal each day and use sugary foods throughout the day to give her quick energy. She didn’t focus on protein but on things like fruit, veggies, or a piece of candy for that quick pick-me-up.
First Month on Carnivore Diet
A friend tried a carnivore for a month, and Lauren decided to give it a try too. She found the diet liberating because she finally felt full and didn’t have to restrict her calories.
Lauren had eczema on her body and rosacea on her cheeks, and that completely went away after the first month. “For lack of a better word’” she describes her skin as “radiant.”
And she lost 10 pounds without trying, attributing the effortless weight loss to consuming no carbohydrates.
Carnivore Diet Simplicity Is Appealing
“I feel full, happy, and satiated throughout the day,” Lauren reports. She loves that there is no counting calories, planning what foods to eat, and feeling constantly hungry.
She believes that people with eating disorders may do well on a carnivore diet because they tend to restrict themselves already. Lauren didn’t think the diet was hard because she was already used to restrictions, so this may appeal to those with eating disorders as well, she explains.
Surprises on New Diet
Lauren is surprised by how much her mood improved on her carnivore diet. Needing fewer hours of sleep and waking up in a good mood without an alarm were all unexpected benefits of the diet.
Gut issues, such as bloating and constipation, plagued Lauren. She could eat a grape or a nut first thing in the morning and 10 minutes later “look 6 months pregnant.” She was “shocked” that there was no bloating eating this way. Her bowel movements are regular compared to before, when she may have had one per week.
How Lauren Does Carnivore
Cooking and eating mostly at home, Lauren eats ground beef, bacon, eggs, some steak, occasionally liver, and uses tallow for cooking.
She doesn’t measure how much fat she eats, but “the more fat I have usually the more full I feel.”
Lauren hopes to continue learning about the carnivore diet so she can help others get healthier on their carnivore journey.
Coach Evan reverses ankylosing spondylitis on a carnivore diet
Ever since Evan was young, he had an insatiable hunger that caused him binge eat, in addition to his other daily struggles of ADHD, OCD, brain fog and fatigue. When he turned eleven—embarrassed by his heavy frame—he decided to go on a diet. Following the conventional wisdom at the time, he started eating a low-calorie/low-fat diet, full of lots of “healthy” whole grains, seed oils and tofu. He lost 30 pounds, but describes his body composition as “skinny fat ” at the time. He also couldn’t help noticing that he was a lot weaker than his fellow classmates. Using sheer willpower alone, Evan struggled with yo-yo dieting and calorie counting throughout high school, but it wasn’t until he entered college that the real trouble began.
“Out of nowhere,” Evan says, “I became incredibly depressed, anxious and suicidal.” He tried exercising daily to combat his negative feelings, but saw zero improvement. Exasperated, he turned his focus to his diet, and in his research experienced the cognitive dissonance that goes along with learning that animal fat is an important part of the human diet, while also simultaneously being the main driver of heart attacks and cancer. In the end, the “experts” won out, and Evan persisted in following their low-fat/high carb recommendations—to no avail. “I just felt worse and worse—I wasn’t getting better at all.”
After years of declining health, a defeated Evan began binge drinking and eating candy to deal with his frustrations. He eventually was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis—an autoimmune condition that runs in his family that affects the spine. He would go on to gain 40 pounds, and when hospitalized with bruises all over his body, nausea, diarrhea and night sweats, his doctors told him that his symptoms were most likely psychosomatic.
Finally, in 2020, one of his friends—who happened to be on the carnivore diet—invited him over for a steak. After eating it, Evan was surprised by how satiated he felt, and ended up not eating for the rest of the day. He woke up the next morning still feeling full, so he decided to give the carnivore diet a try. After the first week, Evan had lost ten pounds, and while he didn’t feel great—he didn’t feel terrible either. “Within the next two weeks, all of a sudden my depression and my anxiety had vanished, my Ankylosing Spondylitis had gotten 90% better, the numbness in my hands was gone, my bruising started going away, my asthma went away, my heartburn went away, my digestive issues went away…my libido came back—pretty much everything you can think of went away within two or three weeks.” He also noticed a remarkable improvement in his ADHD and OCD symptoms. “My whole outlook on life is a lot different: I’m a lot more motivated, a lot more friendly, outgoing, happy. So, pretty much, everything for me has changed.” His friends and family all agree. “I’m not the same beaten down person that I was before.”
Alicea gains muscle and manages mental health on the carnivore diet
Alicia lives in northern California. She’s 52 and struggled with eating disorders since she was 15 years old. While she was never obese, she still struggled with bulimia, binging, and purging. At one point she got down to 107 pounds, which isn’t much for her 5’ 7” frame. Alicia often thought, “If someone could just tell me what foods I should eat, I could figure this out!”
A Carb Addict
She grew up believing fats were bad and would binge on chocolate-covered nuts and vegetables, admitting that she was a carbohydrate addict. Alicia also became addicted to exercise as a way to burn off all the extra calories.
Diet Pills and Emotional Eating
Alicia did try a plant-based diet, but gained weight on it and did not stay with it. She experienced joint pain, anxiety, and depression over the years, and was “on a lot of diet pills, also, in my 30s. I think going off those caused depression too, because I was on Phentermine forever.”
In 2014, Alicia weighed 150 pounds and wanted to stop thinking about food while losing some weight. She was “keto for a while…it was helping to some degree.” However, she found that “I was using food and sugar; I was addicted to it, so any emotion that came up, I was still eating it.”
Alicia was “in the keto space” in September 2020, and listened to the Joe Rogan podcast with Dr. Shawn Baker. She “figured I would try it, and I actually hid it from my husband for at least a week, because I thought he, or anybody, would think ‘uh oh there she goes on a crazy, you know, her eating disorders are back and this is nuts’ because I didn’t know anybody in my real life that was doing it.”
She noticed that the more she got rid of sweets, the more “the urges for all the sugar stuff goes away.” In a week or two, she thought, “Wow, there is something here!”
Alicia notes that her “recovery is so quick, it’s like ridiculous.” Her current diet is about 70% fat and 30% protein, and she maintains her weight at 145 pounds, with 18% body fat and good muscle mass. She eats two meals a day, including eggs, pork rinds, eggs, and red meat. She prefers flank steak and tri-tip over ribeye, and avoids liver.
Alicia doesn’t have any more cravings, and attributes that to “my insulin is really low and I don’t have the carbs coming in for my cycle and hormones to go nutty, and being in 12-step programs, talking my stuff out and not running to food for my emotional release.” She also has had “a lot of counseling in my past, and working on myself” and acknowledges that it did help.
Being carnivore is now part of Alicia’s identity, and she says she “doesn’t see other things as food anymore…the obsession and compulsion is completely gone; it’s amazing!”
Serena Beats Disordered Eating On Carnivore Diet
Serena lives in southwest Virginia, and has a history of being bulimic for 20 years, and disordered eating for 10 years after that. Serena would binge and then not eat for the next two or three days to punish herself. Her mother is an alcoholic, and her father is a drug addict, “so it manifested itself in me with carbs and sugar, and you know, having eating disorders.”
Previous Way of Eating
Serena is an experienced dieter: “I’ve been vegan, I’ve been vegetarian, I’ve done 14-day juice fasts, I’ve done water fasts; I mean I have literally done every diet you can think of. I also did restrict calories.”
She had always avoided beef, saying “I probably hadn’t had beef in close to a year. Maybe a few times in a year, because I felt like it had too much fat, too many calories, too many ‘points’ for me…I restricted for years, and it got me nowhere; it got me mentally unstable as far as food goes.”
After recovering from a SARS-Cov2 infection, Serena experienced parosmia. This altered the smell and taste of all her foods and made eating challenging. She tried juice fasts and found a water fast relieved it (until she ate food again.) The only foods that tasted normal to her were sweets.
A Sugary Rock Bottom
As a result of her parosmia, Serena once ate 20 cupcakes in 36 hours “which was, you know, the end of my rope.” She began researching and found the carnivore diet through Michaela Peterson, Dr. Baker, and Kelly Hogan.
Carnivore Diet Brings Progress
“It helped my parosmia in the beginning…It’s still not healed by any means—there are still many things like coffee, garlic, onion, and peppermint; many things that I can’t even really be in the same room as without feeling sick. I still can’t eat roasts… somebody takes the lid off the pot and I just have to leave the room”
Serena’s Diet Now
“I can eat chicken now, and I can eat hamburgers and steak, I can eat almost a full carnivore diet and feel really good, healthy, and happy.”
Serena has seen improvements in her energy, her hair is fuller, and her digestion is much easier with no bloating at all.
Serena finds that her carnivore diet has saved her sanity. “The idea that I’m free is still a little bit hard to believe, but it’s 100 percent true. I don’t worry about it, ever…it’s that ‘carnivore zen’, I think it’s the beef, there is such a healing power in beef that people just don’t know yet.”
Serena says “This is literally the first time in my life, it’s been about a year, of being free from that; free from the shackles and chains of, you know, disordered eating and eating disorders…for the first time in probably 35 years I’m at peace. I’ll be 50 next year, and I feel like I’m 30” and adds “Beef is a miracle food.”
Heidi Manages Type 1 Diabetes on Carnivore Diet
In 2009, Heidi thought her blood sugar problems were over as she welcomed the birth of her son. While still recovering in the hospital, she was assured by the staff that her first meal of Lorna Doone cookies was perfectly fine—the gestational diabetes she had while she was pregnant was now a thing of the past. Three years later, Heidi was diagnosed with mature adult onset type 1 diabetes. From 2012 to 2018, she desperately tried to get a handle on her blood sugar, while managing the highs and lows that go along with the condition. Then, in 2018, a well-meaning friend recommended a vegan, low fat diet advertised to “master your diabetes.” Unfortunately, after trying it, not only did her diabetes problems continue, but she ended up struggling with exhaustion, inflammation, brain fog—and newfound joint issues.
“To make matters worse, I started to have joint issues which I didn’t expect—you know, people from the vegan community never tell you that you’re going to have joint problems—but I started having trouble going upstairs and I’m like, ‘I’m not that old! I may be in my 50’s but I have a long life to live and I can’t hobble down the stairs for 50 years!’ So out of desperation I first went into keto, but then I started to see videos about carnivore.”
Keto is a common pitstop on the way to the carnivore diet, and Heidi was no different. “I saw a couple carnivore videos and at the time—I’m sure we can all relate to this— it was a little bit of cognitive dissonance. I was like ‘How do people really just only eat meat?‘“
After launching into carnivore at the beginning of 2022, she noticed after two weeks that the joint pain she had been experiencing was completely gone, her focus was returning, and as of today, she is currently down 35 lbs. Not bad considering the year isn’t even close to being over yet! On top of all that, her blood sugar has become more stable, she’s been able to halve the amount of medication she uses to manage her diabetes, has better skin, better sleep, and is just generally more vivacious. “My whole world’s different,” she says happily, “And I actually love my food now!”
Heidi says she prescribes to the beef/bacon/butter/eggs approach to carnivore. An added bonus? Her 16 year old daughter has also joined her on her carnivore journey! Heidi says the carnivore diet also gives her the freedom to not eat first thing in the morning—a time when sugar is usually highest for diabetics—and opts to start eating around 3:30 or 4pm in the afternoon when her blood sugar is naturally lower. “Not only do i feel subjectively better, but I do have objective numbers to say my blood sugar’s in so much better control now—and I have the presence of mind to actually enjoy life…I’ve never felt better. I’ve not felt better in literally probably decades.”
Article by Jennifer McDowell