I have spent the better part of my adult life exercising and on some sort of “diet.” I graduated college in 2007 with a degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Health, so I was very familiar with exercise and healthy nutrition; or so I thought. While in high school and college I worked at different gyms and did the traditional bodybuilding diets of several high carb/high protein meals per day. This diet worked pretty well for me at the time considering I was metabolically healthy and super strict. A friend with a masters in dietetics designed the diet for me and I shared it with several other people. I was one of the many people that mistakenly believed “you have to eat several small meals a day and include carbs to build muscle!”
Over the next few years I did the best I could with the knowledge I gained in college. In 2012 I read “The Warrior Diet” by Ori Hofmekler. This was a game changer for me back then. The Warrior Diet led to an intermittent fasting lifestyle, which at the time worked great for me! I was able to fast all day and eat one big, massive carb-loaded meal at night. Unfortunately, I also developed severe heartburn and I began taking antacids, which continued until recently (more on that later). The heartburn was just a product of getting older and I thought it was something I would have to live with for the rest of my life. I took an OTC antacid everyday, and even took tums on top of that, depending on what I ate that day. I just attributed the heartburn and stomach pain to my busy, stressful lifestyle. I continued to stuff the carbs down my face, often in the form of gummy worms while working out. If I ate enough food, I could get strong. But if I cut calories and fasted through the day, I didn’t have the energy to workout and I often injured myself.
Frustrated and in pain, I finally came to terms that this is what it’s like when you get past 30 years old. I hurt every morning when I got out of bed. I had terrible issues with snoring and was in the early stages of hypertension, which has plagued my family. I kept buying bigger and bigger clothes every year. I was strong, but in no way healthy. At one point I reached 262 pounds and I could barely breathe when I put my shoes on. I was able to diet back down to 225, but as you can see from the picture in 2019, it was a very soft 225. I was not happy with myself, but I had resigned to the fact that I am going to be “heavyset” for the rest of my life.
Around Christmas of 2020, a friend and cousin of mine sent me a video about increasing salt intake. It was a 20 minute video of Dr. Ken Berry and Dr. James DiNicolantonio. In the video I learned that what we had learned of salt was actually false. On top of that, sugar, which I was ingesting frequently, was more likely the cause of hypertension and water retention than salt. I wanted to learn more so I started researching Dr. Berry and watching his videos on salt, keto, and carnivore. Laying in bed one night before the turn of the new year, I decided I would give keto/carnivore a try. I told my wife about my new “diet.” She wasn’t surprised that I was trying something new because I had done this so often before. My wife, Danielle, has always been extremely supportive. She was already gluten free, so cutting out carbs and grains wasn’t too much of a stretch for her. Slowly we both cut carbs out of our diet. I found that the more I restricted my way of eating to only meat and fat, the better I felt. It wasn’t long until I was eating full carnivore, with the occasional spoonful of natural PB or avocado. My weight began to drop rapidly and the best part about it was that I wasn’t starving myself like other “diets” I had done in the past. I was starting to see real results that I had previously believed were out of the question for someone in their late 30’s; especially so quickly.
Along with the weightloss, I started seeing other health benefits too. I got a blood test/physical 6 months in and was anxious to see my results. My numbers were outstanding! Everything had improved from the year before. My nurse was shocked to see that I had lost 5 inches around my waist. That’s all she seemed to care about for the most part. That, and the fact that I had dropped almost 40lbs since the previous year. I didn’t tell her that I had really only been doing this for 6th months, and I certainly didn’t tell her that I was mainly only eating meat and fat. For the first time since we have been doing mandatory physicals, I had finally received a good report. I was ecstatic! Even better, I no longer have the need for antacids. I don’t get sleepy throughout the day and I don’t feel the need for a nap after meals. To say this has changed my life is an understatement.
Shifting to this way of eating has not been without struggles, however. I’ve not had an issue with cheat meals like some people. I don’t like feeling bad and I undoubtedly know that eating carbs or seed oils will result in a negative impact. There are many naysayers that say, “that salt will give you hypertension,” or “you better watch that red meat. It will give you a heart attack!” I have learned that people like this will always come out when you decide to make a change in your life. I love helping people and have been able to more now than ever. The Carnivore way of eating improved my life in so many ways. I am beyond thankful that I am finally healthy for the first time in a long time and I am thankful for this supportive community!