By: A 10 year Zero Carb Diet, meat only, veteran
Subjects covered in this post are, broadly speaking, IF and other forced fasting, Keto and LCHF protocols such as fat-shots, electrolytes and other supplements, restriction of food, macro-manipulations and various other mind-influenced ‘dieting’ interventions:
Most people, when they begin ZC, bring all sorts of LCHF/Keto ideas with them. This includes beliefs about adding extra fat, intermittent fasting and the ‘need’ for electrolytes as well as other supplementation, among many other things.
They begin ZC but they believe that ‘science’ shows that they need to supplement, take electrolytes, do intermittent fasting, add extra fat arbitrarily to everything along with monitoring macros, portions, controlling eating times to some preconceived hours of the day, keep frequency and size of meals tightly reigned or otherwise employ other limits on food, in some manipulated structure, based on some model they believe ‘science’ has shown is ‘necessary’…
They are also very much often still worried about calories and harbor deep fears about getting fat and that, together with the loss of proper ability to interpret hunger/satiety signals from so many prior years of dieting (‘dieting’ meant here as to include Keto and LCHF protocols, which are and always will be just another form of enforced restriction dieting), means they do not eat as much as their body actually requires to properly deal with adaptation and to support all the processes involved in regaining proper homeostasis.
These essential processes which occur on proper ZC, are what can eventually help to reverse the many years of damage and thus allow their body to begin to heal and, for most, then finally provide a reversal to their propensity for fat-gain also.
During adaptation then, especially, since there are HUGE internal shifts occurring which require metabolically expensive resources, it is vital to thus eat plenty of meat to allow for better facilitation of all those necessary changes. Most people will need easily double what they may later, once fully adapted, end up eating, after their body has properly adapted and hormonal systems have been better re-balanced.
Why? Because the body, on all these previous diets, has been getting utterly screwed over, up until this point. And it therefore usually will need, for many people to be able to bring their metabolic hormonal internal chaos back in line, a period of eating large amounts of meat in order to restore balance and change the vital signalling pathways back to more ideal functioning. Where it can then, finally, regain access to its fat stores and reverse the tendency to store fat every time a person eats anything at all.
For some it will only be a matter of weeks for their body to adapt, for others it will take much longer and their fuel needs may thus be greater for longer too.
However, all these forced interventions mentioned above (what amounts to diet-gimmicks in fact, since NONE of them are truly sustainable in the long-term), such as intermittent fasting, fat-shots, limiting protein, popping supplements, taking electrolytes, etc, they all just add to the existing imbalances in the body, which it is trying so strenuously to reverse.
The resources required to heal are huge and they therefore need freely unrestricted amounts of meat in order to fuel the systemic processes at play. This is why so many people struggle and continually fall off track during the first 6 months, because they simply refuse to eat enough to allow the body to do what it needs to do to switch from their previous dysfunctional state (which encouraged constant fat storage), to one where it is primed for healing and thus can eventually produce permanent fat loss too as one of its side-effects to the healing and as a result of the restoration of healthy function.
Anything other than that will not produce permanent fat loss; it will simply come back once the person begins to eat their true fill again.
I am not talking about nor promoting force-stuffing yourself. Nor making yourself feel ill by force feeding when your body is truly not hungry. I am talking about the people who either witting or unwittingly restrict their food, sometimes stemming from either not fully realizing or not being willing to let go of the fear that drives their withholding of food, along with their diet-belief systems they hold onto, which are being allowed to drive that restrictive behavior, at the expense of their body.
Due to the recent threads involving some these subjects, out of curiosity I looked up Keto/LCHF groups…my goodness I had no idea there were so many these days! Far different than when I first started ZC 10 years ago.
Most of them are closed groups, so I had to request membership in order to be able to see the posts. When granted access, I saw that some of these groups have in excess of 20 000 members!
But, what really struck me, in light of this, was that every single LCHF/Keto group, as I scanned through the posts, was riddled with endless regaling about issues surrounding cravings gone mad; complaints about imbalances in every possible arena and constant examples of people continually searching for ways to resolve those issues with ever more complicated ‘tweaks’ and extreme interventions…all of which amounted to nothing more than producing an environment of mind-bending confusion.
The end result of all those things is, of course, a situation where everyone is desperate for ‘science’ to give them their ‘answer’ whilst they fail to see what is actually staring them in the face, ie, that most of these people following these forced protocols will never ever get free of the cravings-carb-blow-out rollercoaster and thus never gain a permanent solution to their addiction issues which fuel that vicious cycle.
The obsession level is overwhelming in these groups, understandably, since, unless you can free yourself truly from the addictions and diet-beliefs, then the diet-fixations can never properly be left behind. They continue to regularly surface such that people inevitably are forever ‘restarting’, whilst never seeing that, so long as they keep trying to enforce their mental beliefs upon the body, it will never be given enough of the proper fuel that it truly needs to overcome their metabolic dysfunction.
And the mind will thus not be able to see through the misapprehensions and mental cobwebs nor ultimately resist the addiction triggers either. Thus it will continue to add its own insidiously detrimental hindrances too, often sabotaging the very choices the person is able to then make. All this because a person can’t bring themselves to properly fill up on meat nor respond to its many cues for more fuel, whenever they arise, with as much meat as is truly demanded.
One thing becomes abundantly clear in all these Keto/LCHF groups…they are utterly blinded by the ‘claims of science’. They are riddled with ‘experts’, whose actual experience amounts to almost nothing beyond what their study of science theories (mostly just seriously flawed assumptions and speculations derived from woefully inadequate and often irrelevant data), have led them to believe.
The actual fact is that there is NO true scientific viable data on REAL ZC subjects. Most ‘studies’ are useless. They are often conducted for a mere 1-3 weeks on subjects which are, obviously, not even actually eating ZC in its proper form.
They can extrapolate all they like about how the body re-balances electrolytes, for example, but they are simply chasing shadows for the most part and these things are even more irrelevant when it comes to being able to deduce anything about actual ZC.
The more they include plants, manipulate macros and calories, force fasting, use lab-formula concoctions instead of real food, etc, the more off the mark and ridiculous they become.
People don’t like what we say about these things, and thus we may not be as ‘popular’ as these other places which insist that supplements and the like are ‘necessary’, but we say what we do because REAL ZC experience, time and again proves these theories false when it comes to ZC in long-term practice.
If you are going to try ZC, you must be willing to do it properly. Most people, unfortunately, simply do not. Because they cannot let go of their nutritional biases and beliefs, nor their fears of getting fat, nor their desire to try to ‘speed up’ healing and weight loss by attempting forced interventions and/or restrictions.
So they actually increase their potential issues, as they struggle thus more than necessary through adaption, by withholding food, limiting protein, adding fat, fasting, messing with supplements, etc….all of which simply hinder the body more as it tries to properly transition, heal and restore better metabolic function.
If you don’t eat enough meat then OF COURSE you may experience more issues with your body adjusting. People who eat freely and are willing to ignore all their diet-mentality fears, simply do not need electrolytes or other supplements for their body to be able to re-balance.
The exceptions to this, for some rare disorders or actual medical conditions, are a huge minority, thus the GENERAL advice we continue to give is that, as a general rule, not only are they NOT needed, but in fact they WILL in most cases further hinder your body’s ability and the speed at which it restores proper balance, including re-balancing proper mineral levels.
The more you ‘play’ with supplements the more you risk creating further disruption to the systemic restoration of properly balanced mineral levels along with other nutrient levels too.
Proper levels are also NOT something you can just determine from some SAD-diet-derived RDI chart, nor based on blood levels in carb/plant eaters. ZC is completely different. Our nutrient level balance is nothing like how the body tries to compensate for plants being ingested by people on other diets, or those who restrict calories etc. Therefore the blood levels in SAD eaters or even Keto-eaters tells us not very much at all about what the proper levels actually are for a true ZC person.
So, if you chose to do ZC, you simply must be willing to eat, first and foremost, and usually much more than you mentally may feel ‘comfortable’ about, due to all those long and deeply ingrained prior dieting beliefs and fears. When I first began, I needed massive amounts of meat, even on my tiny frame. Easily double the amount that I tend to average now, years later.
You must do this so that the body can change its ‘baseline’, change its metabolic response from one of metabolic suppression, to one where fuel stores become accessible again due to the effects of freely feeding on meat. Yes, it *may* mean a temporary transitional period of weight gain for some (NOT ‘most’) people, during the internal changes which are taking place. Most people freak out at the mere hint of weight gain, and they then go straight back to ‘reactive’ mode, whereby they find themselves either consciously or subconsciously trying to restrict or otherwise manipulate the process again.
While the fears are of course understandable, this reaction inevitably leads to rebound effects of continued ‘flare-ups’ of the deeper lingering withdrawals or the sudden onset of overwhelming cravings… which will always then eventually blow-out into eating carbs. Always.
And often then, of course, ‘eating’ carbs when this happens in these cases, means bingeing, often again leading to weeks of seeming lack of ability to then curtail those urges for carbs. Then, once the body has gone back to its previous distorted state of the kind of dysfunctional homeostasis which they worked so hard to begin to overcome, they then start the whole miserable cycle all over again and, in the long run, they end up just like most of the Keto/LCHF people on all those other groups, who are constantly trapped in that same cycle.
The more you ‘believe’ you need to enforce these protocols and either by force/will or inadvertently then place limits on how much meat you eat, the more you stay ever-trapped in these impossible situations where your body never fully gets given the opportunity to properly adapt because it is never granted enough on-demand fuel to cause the truly profound effects on hormones that are required for it to shift its base function ranges.
The body will ALWAYS reach/establish some form of homeostasis, whether an ideal one or not. For there must be internal balance system-wide. The whole point is to pull that ‘balance point’ back into a more ideal range. That is what ZC can help do, but only if you fuel the processes properly and allow it the time it needs to achieve a better homeostasis than the extreme one it got pushed and driven into functioning at (one that is so far skewed from the ideal range that it now seriously compromises health as well as fat metabolism), due to all the previous years of bad eating.
If you aren’t willing to fully and freely eat without reacting to every little temporary change during the healing process, then you will never get the true healing of ZC, because you are still resisting and forcing things upon it which burden it even further and slow down its ability to make lasting and profound internal changes.
Forced IF has proven, again and again, to be detrimental to the re-balancing process if it is an enforced restriction determined by the mind. The body will not receive all the nutrients it needs if you don’t break that nutritional punishment state. ONLY if you allow full feeding for as long as it takes, will the body eventually, for many people, naturally begin to need to eat less often…only if you first give it all the time it takes and all the meat it takes, to fully make the internal changes needed to re-balance hormonal systems.
Eating once per day, on ZC at least, is NOT ‘better’ than eating 3 or 4 times per day. Plant eaters such as those on SAD diets *may* benefit from limiting the amount of times they shove carbs into their body every day, but that has NOTHING to say about ZC. Do NOT force yourself to abstain from eating! It WILL derail the vast majority of people, usually a hell of a lot faster than you think. If not only by causing eventual overwhelming cravings, then by also blowing out your adrenals or causing some other negative metabolic cascade effects which can place a big toll on your health and thus leave you vulnerable to all manner of health issues, which can result from prolonged forced IF practices.
If you are too scared to eat plenty of meat during adaptation and then still beyond that, to continue to fully give yourself as much fuel as the body truly needs in order to allow it to make these changes (which, for some people, take many months and are often still at play for the first few years of the longer term healing and the process of recovery from what is often decades of carb-diet damage), then you will never actually be able to maintain ZC nor find a permanent solution to your weight issues.
The way ZC works, some people will not lose significant amounts of weight for a long time. That’s just how it is. If you want to try to ‘force’ it to lose faster, then you more than likely will never be able to hold on to that weight-loss and will be prone to rebound effects both physiologically and mentally. Inevitably so.
Thus you’ll find you keep unwittingly sabotaging your own efforts to get off the diet merry-go-round. Which leads to further compromised body systems. So then what will you do, as your metabolic issues continue to get worse through forcing these continued protocols and you end up, then, as some do, where the body almost entirely loses the ability to even lose much weight anymore even on restriction diets, due to the ravages of the constant inflammation from compromised immune and organ function etc, over so many years?
If you start ZC and barely manage to eat a pound of meat per day as it is trying to adapt, then is it any wonder you feel like crap and start thinking you need electrolytes or fat-shots or some other supplement to ‘fix’ your issues?
There are massive internal changes going on. If all you eat are a few slices of bacon and a couple of burgers for the entire day, day after day for weeks, how are you going to get the nutrients you need to make all those adjustments? If, instead of eating actual MEAT, you drink BPC or take swigs of MCT oil or cream, or coffee, etc, and in that way continue to depress your appetite and further skew and prevent your ability to relearn true hunger interpretation, on top of depriving yourself nutritionally, then all these things are only going to make adaptation more of a struggle and make it take that much longer too.
I used to average 3-4 pounds of meat per day. Why? Not because I was always ‘ravenous’, at least not in the classic sense, nor in the way carb-eaters experience a desire to eat, but because I received many other signals that this is how much my body needed in order to re-balance, restore proper function and basically heal all my compromised organs and systems. Feeling weak, moody, tired, dizzy, angry, weepy, having poor concentration, cravings, lethargy…all of these and many more can be cues for more fuel.
During adaptation, you need to respond to just about anything with eating some meat. That is how the body can then more easily do what it needs to, to direct its resources where they need to go. It is also the best way to relearn true hunger. Then you will naturally find it much easier to fuel your body based on its true demands, not on some contrived notions in your mind about what the ‘appropriate’ amount should be.
For me, these days I tend to average closer to 2 pounds per day, very broadly speaking…but, that is after YEARS of eating much more than 2 lbs on average. If I had not been willing to do that, then I would not have been able to restore the dysfunctional systems inside from a lifetime of damage, nor thus been able to remain ZC…just as those people who force protocols like IF don’t last in the long run and end up regularly going back to eating carbs/plants and never thus find the permanent solution to ‘dieting’ which they so seek, nor to the health issues caused by their dysfunctional metabolism, which all their previous diets actually majorly contributed to creating in the first place.
If you aren’t willing to EAT, and you insist on continuing to diet and aren’t willing to give your body the TIME and FUEL it needs to heal, then you’re never going to understand what ZC is truly about, nor experience how powerful it is when done properly and for a long enough period to address your own lifetime of metabolically compromised issues in order to reverse, as much as it is still able to, all your pre-existing conditions. It will, if you allow it, produce the best internal conditions for healing. But only if you work with that process, not against it.
You can take electrolytes if you want. But you’re usually better off just eating more meat. Similarly, you can fast, count calories, skip meals or do IF if you want, pop other pills and scull fat bombs if you want….but none of these either will help you find true freedom nor restore real and lasting proper bodily balance.
Which is why those sorts of recommendations tend to be quickly dealt with here, when people arbitrarily recommended them, based on nothing more than what other groups promote and espouse, without a deeper understanding of what is really at play and what is really at stake by messing with them when there is no actual underlying medical condition to do so.
All of them will usually only hinder the processes the body is trying to restore, and all of them will simply lead most people right back to their addiction to plants/carbs and keep their addictive attitudes alive when it comes to all those deep beliefs about dieting and nutrition too. Which, more often than not, the mind then uses to hijack the thoughts and emotions with, and which in turn leads so often then, into the kind of self-sabotage that is unleashed upon one’s choices and which eventually derails all the efforts that we made to try to become free of all that obsession-based behavior.
And that is how you can end up finding yourself distressed and back where you started…all while wondering what the hell ‘went wrong’, again, this time.
Some people with Keto/LCHF backgrounds simply HATE it when we continue to advise people to just EAT MEAT instead of endlessly ‘tweaking’ everything. It is both an affront and an offense, it seems, to all their learning and all their ‘science’.
They then may indeed go off and complain in other groups and indulge in name-calling and whatnot. That’s their prerogative, of course. However, we do not seek to offend, rather we speak as we do and stand firmly by what we say because in THIS group, some of us have 5, 7, 9 or even more years of real, actual ZC experience behind our words, not mere theories. Equating to decades and decades of knowledge here, about how ZC works and how to be successful at it for the longer term needed to truly achieve your health goals and improve your quality of life in any lasting sense.
Other ‘science-based’ Keto groups and the like have lots of suppositions, assumptions, speculations and beliefs, and thus they theorize about ZC, but they only have what, in the end, amounts to virtually no long-term real ZC experience.
So all the theorizing they do and all the nutritional beliefs in the world that they have come to believe are ‘facts’, are not going to come anywhere near what real ZC is truly about, nor how it actually works, in real life practice.
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