How Terri lost 200 pounds and reversed her type 2 diabetes
Meet Terri: 200 pounds (91 kilos) lost, type 2 diabetes reversed, mental health greatly improved, and psoriatic arthritis gone. These are the results that Terri has gotten from a low-carb diet.
“My energy is great, and I feel at least 25 or 30 years younger than I am!,” Terri says.
Over time, Terri has found that a strict carnivore diet, a low-carb diet based only on animal products, suited her the best.
In this interview, Terri shares her story, which has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your name, age, and where do you live?
I’m Terri from Ontario, Canada, and I’m 64 years old.
I went on my first diet at nine years old and was on the diet roller-coaster for the next 50+years.
In 2011, I started low carb. Over time, I realized that I needed to lower carbs even more, resolve persistent health issues, and continue losing weight. I got to where I was only eating 10 grams of carbs per day, but I still struggled to lose more than half a pound per week. Taking my carbs even lower got the weight moving again, but I find that I need to stick to mainly carnivore for weight loss and maintenance.
How did you discover low carb?
I first heard about low carb when Dr. Robert Atkins came out with his book (the ’90s version), but I didn’t really do a deep dive into why low carb was the way to go for me, and after a short try, I drifted back to my old eating habits.
Then I read Dr. Michael Ede’s Protein Power in early 2011 and decided to try low carb again.
I did well and lost 120 pounds (54 kilos), but then I made the terrible mistake of thinking I could have moderate amounts of bread and pasta again. You can guess what happened: I gained back about 90 pounds [41 kilos] in short order, and that weight gain lasted until the fall of 2016.
In January 2017, I knew it was do-or-die time. I finally had to get it right, or I felt I might not be around for many more years.
I was over 325 pounds (147 kilos) at my highest weight at just 5 foot 2 inches (157 cm). I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which resulted from poor eating and from taking the maximum allowable dose of Quetiapine, also known as Seroquel, (for my mental health).
I also battled psoriatic arthritis, general rashes, and frustrating itchiness. I had IBS-D, severely damaged discs in my back from the weight, and had already had a heart attack at 53.
Depression and an anxiety disorder (with agoraphobia) were problems since my teens but were especially crippling in my 50s, as I was going through menopause.
What were you eating before making this lifestyle change?
I followed the standard American diet (SAD diet) of whole grains, veggies, fruit, pasta, rice, beans, some meat, fast food, etc.
In what ways has your health improved?
I’ve lost over 200 pounds (91 kilos), reversed type 2 diabetes, and no longer have psoriatic arthritis. My skin improved nearly 100%, my lab results are better than they have ever been in my life, and my depression and anxiety are more manageable than I ever thought possible.
My energy is great, and I feel at least 25 or 30 years younger than I am.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you now?
I eat once a day (OMAD) 95% of the time, so I’m fasting for about 22-23 hours each day. I don’t do cheat days or eat anything that tastes sweet, whether from sugar or artificial sweeteners. I eat mainly beef, lamb, liver, and eggs, plus some days I’ll have pork, chicken, or seafood. I have two cups of decaf coffee in the morning, then water and/or very weak herbal tea (chamomile or sleep time diluted).
Have you made any mistakes on your journey (which you’ve learned from)?
Thinking I could eat a “controlled” amount of carbs each day was a big mistake. When I eat carbs or drink alcohol, I crave more and more carbs, so I have to avoid them.
I no longer eat dairy, grains, sugar, sweeteners, fruit, or alcohol. Still, I never say never with certain things, and I may have a couple of wild strawberries if I find some on the ground or a few slices of cucumber in the summer for something cool with my meat, but only rarely.
I may have a drink again one day, but I’m just not sure I even want to get into it again, as it always made me crave carbs like crazy. Besides, if I’m honest about it, I’ve had the very best times in my life while being completely sober.
Do you think exercise is necessary for success on low carb?
I injured my Achilles tendon when I first started low carb in 2011, so I lost most of my weight with no exercise.
Now, I walk 3 to 5 days per week (about 6 kilometers or 3.7 miles) and lift 10-pound (5-kilo) weights a few times per week. But nothing heavy duty, exercise-wise.
I believe exercise is excellent for general health and well-being, but not so much for weight loss. I do it because it feels great to be out in nature and feeling stronger and more energetic.
What are your top three tips for people starting low carb?
- Follow the rebels, i.e., sites like Diet Doctor and any doctor or expert who has gone against the mainstream medical community: Ben Bikman, Tim Noakes, Gary Fettke, Keto Endurance, Shawn Baker, Ted Naiman, Nina Teicholz, Amy Berger, Amber O´Hearn, Gary Taubes, and more.
- Figure out what works best for you. Asking someone else to tell you exactly what to eat may feel comforting, but it may not be right for you. Think of it like an elimination diet where you take away the foods you suspect are causing your problems and go from there. Think progress, not perfection.
- Even if you’re just barely losing a pound a week, stick with it and be grateful for every pound lost and give yourself plenty of encouragement and support along the way. You WILL get there, and it will be so worth it.
Thanks for sharing your incredible success with us, Terri! I really like your advice to think about progress, not perfection, and to be grateful for all the small victories. That’s great advice I hope others can learn from. Keep up the great work!
/ Dr. Bret Scher
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