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I lost 121lbs in 12 months doing the carnivore diet

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When I was 18 years old, I was diagnosed with scleroderma. I had a lot of joint pain, to the point where writing by hand was painful. I stopped sewing, doing leather work, and typing for a long time.

I was also diagnosed with Raynaud’s phenomenon which meant that my blood circulation was cut off in multiple fingers, and when the blood would start coming back, I’d be in pain.

I also had sleep apnea and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). I could not eat without having indigestion. At the time, I was overweight, and eating almost anything would make me feel sick.

My feet swelled up and I developed severe depression and anxiety. My depression was very bad. I’d wake up every morning and tell my husband that I wish I hadn’t woken up. I did not value myself as a human being. Because I worked from home, I wouldn’t leave the house for months at a time.

Amanda Lipstate did a carnivore diet
Amanda Lipstate pictured before (L) and after (R) losing 121 pounds, doing a carnivore diet.
Amanda Lipstate

When I was 32, I weighed 360 lbs and I was using a walker. By then, I had developed type two diabetes. That’s when I decided to do the carnivore diet. It was June 28, 2022.

What prompted this change was going to the hospital in severe pain thinking I was going to die. While sitting in the hospital bed I remember looking over at my husband and it struck me that all my choices in life had led me here.

The next day, I went home and we got rid of all of the sugars and carbs in my house.

I had previously done different diets, but they always led to me losing weight, and gaining it again. I was introduced to the carnivore diet by my brother who had lost roughly 30 pounds and had gotten extremely fit while doing it.

Seeing this led me down a rabbit hole of watching Mikhaila Peterson and then Dr. Ken Berry on YouTube.

I thought: If this can help her with her autoimmune issues, maybe it can help with mine as well.

That was it—I was 100 percent in!

The carnivore diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-to-no-carb way of eating. I ate things like eggs, beef, chicken, fish, pork, and other types of meat as well as butter and high-quality hard cheeses with a trace amount of spices for flavor.

I do not consume any fruits or vegetables as the oxalates in them are highly inflammatory causing my autoimmune issues to flare up. That being said, there are those who do great with some low-carb vegetables, I just happen to be one that can’t tolerate it.

Currently, a standard day of eating for me would be two eggs and two pieces of bacon around 10 a.m., followed by dinner at 5 p.m. consisting of 10 to 12 oz ribeye steak with one teaspoon of butter on top. I drink plain water with intermittent seltzer water, with no artificial sweeteners or sugar in them.

A very interesting thing that happened once my husband and I switched to carnivore was that we stopped throwing leftover food away and we didn’t have to buy snacks or fast food. Our food bill ended up being cut by 60 percent, leading to huge financial savings despite now having ribeye for dinner a few times a week.

All of these improvements were amazing, but the start was a bit rocky.

I’d been eating the standard American diet for my entire life. I had to fully accept and understand that eating what I wanted led to me being morbidly obese and severely depressed. I’d experienced meat aversion a few times, but I realized that it was my brain throwing a tantrum wanting sugar and carbs.

Some of the immediate effects I noticed from transitioning to the carnivore way of eating were that I stopped retaining fluid, my joints stopped hurting, my glucose levels did not need to be regulated by medicine anymore and my brain fog lifted.

I noticed that four or six weeks into doing the carnivore diet, I no longer woke up and told my husband that I wish I hadn’t woken up. I began to value myself. I realized that I was not tied to how much I weighed. I discovered that I had value.

The carnivore diet tastes amazing, and the level of satiety from having fatty cuts of meat allows me to save a lot of money. Cooking is extremely simple, cleaning is extremely simple, and we make half the trash that we did before.

There has not been a single point on my journey that I have wanted to quit. I am guaranteed an early painful grave eating the standard American diet. Carnivore has been difficult but it has also forced me to grow and fully understand why and how I got to being 360 pounds. No other dietary intake has given me room to remove my addiction to sugar and carbs.

After 12 months of doing the carnivore diet, I lost 121 lbs. Seeing the dramatic change in the number felt amazing. However, I had come to realize during this journey that the number on the scale means little.

medium ribeye steak with garlic butter
Stock image. Amanda Lipstate eats ribeye steak a few times a week as part of the carnivore diet.
iStock/Lisovskaya

It’s all the small non-scale victories that truly are the most important.

Things like being able to do basic hygiene; being able to lean over and put my own shoes on; not having to use a walker anymore at 32 years old; walking my four dogs every single day; no longer being suicidal; being able to leave the house; being happy with myself; loving myself despite not being that perfect number on the scale; and going from hardly moving to now hiking 5 to 8 miles a few times a week.

The biggest change is wanting to live and to improve the world for others each day no matter how small of an impact it is.

I no longer have type two diabetes. I am also considered to be within the normal range of insulin, which is amazing. I can also type on the computer without feeling any joint pain. I went from hardly being able to move, to being able to walk, bike, hike, and paddleboard.

Choosing to go carnivore was not a miracle, but it opened up the space available for myself and my mind to deal with the problems I had. I was so consumed with eating bad food all the time, filled with chemicals and seed oils.

My back pain slowly got better, and I no longer use a walker but I still have it. I will probably keep it forever as a reminder of how far I’ve come.

My GERD symptoms were gone within 2 months, and I have dropped two categories of being morbidly obese. Over the next year, my goal is to get to a normal weight, and to no longer be considered obese.

I currently take half the dose of Fluoxetine for my depression and half a dose of hydroxychloroquine.

I also take multivitamins, but I’d like to eventually taper off my antidepressants, but because I’ve been taking them for 21 years, it may take some time, but I’m okay with that.

My goal is to be drug-free, which is a drastic change. What was more drastic was being 32, using a walker, being overweight, and being in a lot of pain. Life was miserable.

It is not like that now. I love waking up and going for my morning mile walk with my husband and my dogs and enjoying the small things in life that I missed before.

Amanda Lipstate has worked in the physical therapy field for over 10 years and is a YouTuber, documenting her weight loss journey to inspire those who are struggling and obese.

All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

Do you have a unique experience or personal story to share? Email the My Turn team at myturn@newsweek.com

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