How I Got Back To My College Weight And Feeling Best In Decades

This is simply a short personal post that I’ll categorize in the health department of one’s preparedness.

I am going to tell you about a life-altering diet change that has been absolutely remarkable for me, and Mrs.J.

I have literally never felt better in decades, am (almost) down to my college weight, have WAY MORE ENERGY, I feel sharper – mentally, and ambitiously working out… AND, I’m eating foods that I really like to eat. Some of which you have been told are “bad for you”. My blood-work says otherwise…

I’m not going to get all technical on you. There’s plenty of information for you to research online if you’re interested.

Instead, I’m just going to say what it is, and briefly explain how it works, as well as my personal experience over the last four months on this diet change.


You have likely heard of the Keto (Ketogenic) diet. Simply put, it is a LOW CARB diet. Some stay below 50 grams of carbs a day, while others recommend a maximum of 20 carbs a day.

You might not have heard of the Carnivore diet. Carnivore is ZERO carbs a day. None. Nada.

How Does Keto / Carnivore Work?

They both work the same way. I am going to simplify it as best I can.

Most People’s Energy Source Is Glucose In The Body

Your body consumes energy to stay alive and function throughout the day. That energy SOURCE for people on the typical American diet is… Glucose (blood sugar).

Most Americans have WAY too much blood sugar, even to the extent of being pre-diabetic or diabetic. Glucose is fine when it exists at normal levels in the body. However that’s not the case for the vast majority on the American diet.

A few bullet points from WebMD:

  • High sugar levels slowly erode the ability of cells in your pancreas to make insulin. The organ overcompensates and insulin levels stay too high. Over time, the pancreas is permanently damaged.
  • High levels of blood sugar can cause changes that lead to a hardening of the blood vessels, what doctors call atherosclerosis.

Almost any part of your body can be harmed by too much sugar. Damaged blood vessels cause problems such as:

  • Kidney disease or kidney failure, requiring dialysis
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Vision loss or blindness
  • Weakened immune system, with a greater risk of infections
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Nerve damage, also called neuropathy, that causes tingling, pain, or less sensation in your feet, legs, and hands
  • Poor circulation to the legs and feet
  • Slow wound-healing and the potential for amputation in rare cases


There are three kinds of carbs. Sugar, Starch, and Fiber. Sugar and Starch turn to glucose in the body. Your body is “trained” (for lack of a better word) to use glucose as it’s energy source. Not using fat as an energy source, but glucose.

You will crave carbs for energy. Your body wants it for it’s energy source. As a result, most people eat way too much sugar and carbohydrates (starches).

Do you know what happens with the EXCESS glucose in your body from eating too much sugar and carbs?

Simply put, it converts to FAT, which is deposited in various places on your body… Your body will not “burn that fat” as a primary energy source while on the typical American diet. Instead, it will demand more carbs and sugar. So you just keep getting fatter…

Force Your Body’s Energy Source To FAT Instead of Glucose!

The Keto diet (low carb) or the Carnivore diet (zero carbs) will force your body to switch from glucose as it’s energy source, to fat as it’s energy source.

Ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can use for fuel.

How do you do that? It’s simple! Stop eating carbs and sugar!! Or in the case of Keto, limit your carbs to 20 grams or less a day. Yes, that means you’ll have to become familiar with how many carbs and sugars are in your foods. But it’s not as difficult as you would think. Read labels. But more importantly you will find that most all of what you’ve probably been eating are loaded with too many.

First, let me back up a little bit…

I am going to be honest with you about my weight. And in NO WAY am I intending to disrespect anyone out there who happens to be overweight. I’m just putting this out there as an example of my own experience.

I am 6’2″ tall. So I am able to hold more weight without looking terribly “fat” I suppose. I’ve always considered myself to be in pretty good physical shape. I do a fair amount of daily physical work – depending on my projects. HOWEVER, my weight had been slowly creeping up. Though I felt alright, when I hit 230 on the scale, I said to myself, “that’s it — time to do something about this”.

Jumping forward to today (4 months later), I have lost 40 pounds. 190. My college weight was right around 185ish.

How will I know when I get to where I want to be? Easy… while looking in the mirror I no longer detect ANY excess… not even any evidence of “handles” whatsoever. I’m almost there.

A HUGE extra bonus is how good I feel, physically. It has all been so successful that I just had to post about it, even though it’s a personal thing. Maybe there’s one of you who might find it useful. Or maybe someone down the road will do a internet search and hit on this article. Hopefully it will encourage more research.

Okay, back to the rest of the story…


I decided to go full-tilt Carnivore to kick it off (zero carbs). My plan being to transition to Keto once I get to where I want to be. Though once in a while I’ll incorporate (less than 20 grams) of carbs on given day, mostly during the last four months I’ve been strictly ZERO CARBS.

It doesn’t take long (a few days) and your body will switch over to ketosis and starting “eating” it’s own fat for energy – that’s how it works to get rid of that fat! Unlike glucose as energy (which does not consume your body fat), you actually start losing that fat on a low carb or no carb diet. The concept is simple.

What can I eat?

Meat (preferably beef, but any meat). Fish. Eggs. Butter… (there’s lots more to this)… But it’s basically a high fat diet. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s not.

Whether Keto or Carnivore, I am going to suggest that you watch the YouTube videos of Dr. Ken Berry (1.3 million subscribers). I discovered him while doing my initial research about Keto, and I really enjoyed and learned from what he has to say. He’s down to earth and tells it like it is. So if you want to learn more about how this works and what you can eat, etc… check him out. It’s my tip to you…

>> Dr. Ken Berry YouTube Channel

While on Keto or Carnivore, your cravings will disappear. You DO NOT have to count calories! At all! It just works. I eat twice a day. Around 11 AM and again in the evening. Eat until comfortably stuffed (as Dr. Berry says). In between I am not hungry. At all. In fact I’ve gone numerous times eating once a day without any issue.

The Keto Flu

I’m going to give you a heads-up about something that happens to varying extents depending on the person. When you start, your body is going to go through a brief withdrawal (from carbs). It happened to me and Mrs.J. Worst part was mostly one day – I think it was the 2nd or 3rd day after starting. I kind of felt sluggish, a bit of a headache, kinda crappy. It might have lasted about 2 days. That’s why they call it the Keto flu. Though it’s not bad like a real flu!

Once you get through to the other side, you’ll know it. For me, it felt great. It was obvious to me, especially as time went on, that this energy source is far superior to sugar and carbs! Wow…

Okay, one more warning about the transition. How do I put this… well, you WILL have a time with diarrhea. Sorry to be blunt, but fair warning. Your gut microbiome is transitioning. It’s not horrible, but it may last a week or two or thereabouts.

The Bottom Line

I went on for way more than I thought that I would. I have recently crossed the threshold into that “60” year stage of life, and I feel decades younger! Which is my motivation to post about this today. Preparedness is also about one’s health. There are many ways to be healthy. And I’m not pushing this on anyone. I’m just telling you what has worked very well for me.


  1. I thought for sure you were going to say that the nausea from watching the Republic die killed your appetite.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience. It is encouraging. Reaching my college weight is not a goal for me as I could never achieve it. Why? I never went to college! I guess the only way I could reach my college weight is to start college now, and I would be there! I don’t think in my mid 60’s, taking fake theory classes, suits me.

    1. Because most of the kids are there under duress and have no idea what they want to do other than party.

  3. Many years ago I went one month without bread, sugar, cake, all the traditional “carbs.” I’d figured out that I was eating way too much of that stuff, and in a month of high-fat diet essentially “trained” my body to use fat instead of carbs. I currently eat a lot more butter and cheese than is probably necessary, but I’d go full carnivore if I could!

    I went back to a normal diet after that one month, but I don’t like sugar that much anymore. Sometimes I’ll get “low blood sugar,” but I solve that problem by eating fat rather than carbs.

    At this point I’m probably balanced. Some carbs, some fat, heavier on the fat side.

  4. I highly recommend Dr Ken Berry’s Youtube channel to get educated on keto/carnivore eating principles.

    One tech detail that your source missed is the key problem we overcarbed people have. We usually don’t wear out our pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, but our cells develop insulin resistance. If Web MD said that, they are behind the curve…

    When we are overcarbed we can’t let the insulin into our cells to process the sugar so the cells ask for more and more insulin. This results in chronically high insulin levels which apparently facilitates the long term damage. Dr Berry goes into full detail about this.

    Dr. Berry also teaches the eating strategies as to types of food and intermittent fasting – both are important to curing this problem of insulin resistance and too much insulin.

    Glad you are doing well.

    I achieved similar results over a few years by just reducing excess simple carbs rather than full keto/carnivore.


  5. The fact that you feel great is benefit enough, even if you hadn’t shed many pounds. But now you have a bonus with baggy jeans that will make you look as undernourished as the grasshoppers looking for a hand out.

  6. Not quite keto but an easy way to remember:
    Cut out the five whites: flour, potatoes, rice, pasta, and sugar.

    1. That’s very good advice for Keto.

      I like potatoes, smothered in butter with plenty of chives! The butter part is fine. But all that starch carbs in a potato — is a no-no. At this stage for me (4 months later), I don’t miss it anymore like I thought I would. Mrs.J always liked her bread. She got over it too. No more cravings.

      What’s for dinner tonight? A nice thick ham steak! Yum

      1. Ken,

        Try cauliflower as a potato replacement. Mashed and seasoned like mashed potatoes, with a little half and half and a little cheese. Less than 3 net carbs for a one cup serving.

        1. Cauliflower is used in my cheeseburger-bacon soup and used it in my creamy chicken soup. It seems to absorb the flavors when boiled with stews and soups without the carbs.

    2. One thing I found out about keto is not to eat more calories than what you burn or it won’t work.

  7. Ken, good job. I did the same last year and dropped from 185 to 165. I also feel great. I’m 58 and feel better than ever. Sometimes people who go keto focus too much on meat. As you mentioned, it’s actually a high fat with moderate protein diet. And by diet I mean it’s the way you eat, not a weight loss program. It just happens that if you eat right, your weight will adjust to the proper proportion. Also, after several years trying to lower my blood pressure with herbs, it stabilized around 115/65 on keto. I drink more than my fair share of red wine daily but it didn’t seem to affect my weight loss or my current weight.

  8. It really works. I did it for 1 year and 1/2. Then life hit me hard. Hubby got cancer. Because of stress, I started eating bad again. I need to get back on the keto wagon. I don’t feel as good, gained a few pounds and my joints hurt. But while I did keto, my blood sugar was normal levels and I lost 80 pounds. I did not take any insulin at all. It really did wonders for my joints and skin. So far my blood sugar is still ok. But I need to start watching it.

    One small thing. Don’t fall for all the easy keto foods out there. Eat simply and clean. You don’t need the processed “keto” food. Its not good for you either. Good fats and protein. A few safe veggies if your not doing the carnivore version.

  9. Everyone is so different. For me to drop weight I just have veggies and meat for dinner and it happens naturally. Love my bread for breakfast. Have to watch the cholesterol.

  10. Good job. I went from 182 to 162 through low carb and lots of cardio. Supplemented that with a lot of stretching and foam rolling. At 56 I feel great. Workout three times a week and run 12 miles three times a week. Hope to keep it up until the good Lord taps me on the shoulder and tells me it’s time to go.

  11. I thought declaring who was the president elect was the responsibility of the MSM?

  12. Congratulations on your weight loss. Physical fitness is as much a part of prepping as material things and mental fitness. What good is a BOB if you can’t carry it and you want to be as medically fit as possible going into any SHTF scenario.

    My wife makes the cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and they are great. Also try roasting them in the oven.

  13. Ken,
    Thanks for the kick in the butt. This may be the shot I needed to drop some pounds. I’ve been about 250# for 15 years, would like get back to my “mining weight” of 220#. Now what am I going to do with 600# of potatoes I grew for this winter?

  14. Ken,
    be interesting to see what your menu was like for a typical week, real curious, im getting to that point of ok, time to diet, or something, physical like walking etc is tough with the arthritis, but am still active, just cant go on 5 mile walks without really screwing up my next day.

  15. What a great post Ken. There is no more important prep than your health! I have been unhealthy most my life. At 34 I was 660lbs.
    It sounds like I should be on one of those shows but I still worked full time on my feet everyday. Went hunting, hiking, ect was pretty active. Strong as an ox too but I am 6′ 10″.
    About 3 years ago I started throwing up and wouldn’t stop for about 2 weeks. Ended up going to the ER and spent 28 nights at a big hospital out of town. Didn’t eat for about 50 days and ended having my gallbladder removed. But I lost about 120 lbs in 50 days, I was on deaths door basically. Couldn’t walk or move hardly.

    I had very advanced fatty liver. Only ever had 2 drinks of alcohol my whole life. I used to drink 2 2 liters of My dew a day.

    Anyways the specialist said they are seeing as much or more sugar induced fatty liver than alcohol.

    I cut sugar 95% out of my life and won’t drink calories.
    Anyways I weigh 370lbs now and am in the best shape of my life. Still wanna lose maybe 40 more lbs so that’s what I have been working on. I eat mostly like you do it sounds like, but I still eat fruit and dessert now and then.
    Anyways sorry for the long post but man losing 290lbs makes you feel way better lol🤣

    1. I usually eat 4 or 5 eggs after I do exercise and drink a huge glass of water when I get up.

      Then about every 2 or 3 hours I eat a small meal. Can of sardines, half pint of salmon, low sugar greek yogurt, cauliflower rice and a can of tuna, maybe a low sugar protein bar or shake but I try not to eat too much processed food, half pint of deer or elk meat, cup of cottage cheese ect ect

      Kinda like a modified keto were I just eat all day long and never get hungry. Then usually have a massive dinner of some kind of unprocessed meat and a ton of some kind of veggie. Oh and drink a gallon of water a day.

  16. We’ve changed our eating to more protein and veggies and fewer carbs and sugar. It is a healthier lifestyle and we’ve lost weight and have more energy. But, we started prepping years ago and have grains and rice and other high carb or less healthy foods stored. Now it’s a quandary. Obviously, if it comes down to food insecurity, we would eat it, but we’re certainly not incorporating this food into our daily meals while trying to eat healthier. Does anyone have any thoughts about this?

    1. NW Gal.
      It’s portion control on ALL carbs..ESP. veggies.EX..peas, corn, sweetpeas beans, potatoes, yams, if they give hunger issue after eating, try cutting portion in half.
      I use one carb a meal, should i not,-blood sugars crash. Everyone has a sweet spot for adequate energy, short term and until next meal.. Mine is 10-11 Grams carbs/meal. I have 2 meals w/snack between…. Rest protein.
      I do not count calories: only proteins and Carb. Average 1 oz meat=7 gram protein.
      NO artificial sweetners, (stimulate appetite) I use very sm amt sugar-and Stevia.
      My R’d diet is, 90-110 gm protein + 20-45 Gm protein(Ave 30 Gms/day)
      Intermittent fasting… I eat – abt 10a, and supper 5-7. Fluids mostly water, unsweet tea, ocassionally, coffee w/lactose free milk for creamer. one regular cola every 7-10 days. Since 1994 wt loss 120#
      One day a week does not make THE whole diet..Some ppl go thru food fatigue, i use alternate meals to break boredom.
      Some adaptations to use those beans and rice..
      double amt beans:ratio to rice. if prepd as 1 dish..
      w/ 1/4 cup rice.. add pork to beans..50/50 ..tomatoes will add veg and low carbs.
      use 1/4 c rice as Only carb w/ eggs for Breakfast…
      use veggies ..onion celery, carrot,… +meats w/egg serve veggies over measured portion rice- for stir fry…Hope this helps.

      1. @the original just sayin’ and Ken and kula farmer. Thanks for all your responses. I’ve wondered about this from time to time, but hadn’t seen anyone talk about it. I have actually added more meats to our storage. I want to add more recipes as well. A variety of meals certainly helps. The rationale for improving our health and fitness now, and having the stored food as backup makes sense, especially with portion control. Thanks.

    2. @NW Gal,
      We too have lots of prep food storage inventory that are big “no-no’s” for a Keto diet. All grains & rice (for example). All kinds of stuff! So, what have I done about it?

      Well, firstly, it’s all perfectly good food for SHTF long term storage. If and when it needs to be accessed as such, I sure will be happy to have it all, even if high-carb starches! Survival will be the important thing!

      Next, we have really beefed up (pun intended) our storage of meats! Home canned meats. Store-canned meats. And lots of meat in chest freezers.

      Lastly, yes, Keto and long-term food storage choices don’t generally equate well. So much of typical choices for prep food storage are very high carb. However, survival is more important than Keto! So don’t worry about it…

      1. Ken,
        JMHO, if we are in a situation where we are using our stored foods, being on a diet will be the last thing we are concerned with. Be it from unemployment, or a collapse or natural disaster just having food will be a far more important thing.

        Like JS was saying above, portion control, that is one factor to consider, the other could potentially be increased physical activity. I know for myself, when things are wonky i burn more calories. Guess that not everyone is the same though, but as a general rule most folks will have to be doing more, staying awake more etc, could even just be from general nervousness over the situation.

        More protein in the diet and less carbs will be a good plan no matter what though, if able. If we are down to just buckets of rice and wheat i think having something to eat will be more important than what it is.

        1. “JMHO, if we are in a situation where we are using our stored foods, being on a diet will be the last thing we are concerned with.”

          Yup, that’s what I was trying to say above^

          However my purpose for the article was to simply relate my personal experience with the Keto / Carnivore way of eating. And being as healthy as we can be.

          Our own individual health is #1. I would rather go into a SHTF period being in as excellent physical health as possible, rather than otherwise. For me, Keto / Carnivore (Ketovore?) has helped “primed the pump”. I’m ready ;)

        2. Yep, totally understood,

          I was just more saying
          in some circumstances any food is better than no food.

          getting healthy, while we can and resources are available, is part of preparedness.

          This got me thinking about my diet again, i realllllyyy need to get my butt into the garden

        3. Ken, but now you have to buy new pants, shirts, underclothing, jackets, etc.

  17. I just stated carnivore on Monday. I did it 2 years ago and lost a lot but after listening to my wife complaining because of eating separate dinners I gave up. So gained it back and sick of feeling like this. I also do only one meal a day and have for a few years

  18. I think it is a great idea to lose weight for most of us but also maintain our muscle mass, which gets harder as we get older. I felt the best in my life when I followed an eating plan by someone called Jillian Michaels. It is eating Whole Foods and limits your carbs and sugar. I did not eat a lot but always felt full. I have noticed since the shutdown I am spending more time eating stuff I should not…which is interesting because I am crazy busy. Good encouragement Ken!

  19. Good job Ken. I never was a fan of bread, pasta, and potatoes, but we always had plenty on hand as DH loved all of those things. After he passed, I kind of started eating like you. I don’t know how much I lost but I did go down two sizes in my clothing. I feel better and have more energy as well. I still eat pasta, bread and potatoes from time to time as that is what I had stored and I have to eat it up.

    1. Peanut, moderation and portion control. carbs are necessary for some processes. by eating small amounts on some schedule- you prepare for changes in your supply. just my thoughts.

  20. Great job Ken I’m very happy for you. I did the gluten free diet and had great success. Sadly I let this lock-down get the best of me and I gained the weight back. Your diet and my diet have one main thing in common and that’s reducing bad carbs. Well I guess I better get back to my diet.

  21. if you need a salty snack, look at pork rinds. High in protein and virtually 0 carbs.

  22. I have tried it three times over the last decade. After 5 or 6 weeks of having the constant diarrhea I usually gave up. It wasnt worth it. After 3 or 4 days of it the bad feeling does go away but the diarrhea and constant stomach ache never did. Other than that it was fine. Too much garbage whey or fiber (pretty much a serving of beams or bran does me in) does the same thing to me.

    If you control what you eat, regardless of what it is, you can usually feel better by paying attention to what makes you feel bad. Doesn’t matter if your BMI is 4% or 40%.

    One of my better friends has been doing the keto thing for 7 years. She looks like the crypt keeper now complete with old woman hands that make her look double her age. But she runs, jogs, and feels better than ever with no side effects. She has a “little sister” that is only two years younger and probably 15lbs heavier and people think her sister is her Mom.

    I think people should try it, but don’t be surprised if there are problems.

  23. I’m 6’4″ 265lbs, 40 years ago my Freshmen year in college, I was 6’4″ 165lbs.

    I graduated at 195 ish but for the next 30+ years I’ve been an avid weight-lifter. I don’t think that anything below 215 would be good for me. I’d look like a cancer patient probably.

    But I could sure lose 20-30lbs and be much healthier! I think I’ll start tomorrow. :)

  24. I figure there is time enough to diet, when the lights go out and you have to carry all the water. Until then, its gourmet food and drink every day.

  25. First off, I would like to congratulate Ken and thanks him for sharing this info with us on this site. If this works for you, by all mens stick with it. I was initially going to skip this article until my wife pointed out that I have a lot to say in this area. As a side note: after reading this article and reviewing some of the posts, I am wondering how some of the vegetarians on this site feel about this topic. I am curious to hear what TmcGyver would have to say being a vegetarian. ( vegan or ovo-lacto? ). It can be tough to balance your foods in order to obtain the right combo of amino acids to make a complete protein.

    I will not try to reach my college weight because I was a distance runner on estimated 5% body fat at the time. At around 5% body fat, my immune system began to falter as evidenced by frequent and recurring colds/flu combined with frequent injuries. ( first one to catch a bug/last one to fully recover.) Once my body fat went a bit higher, I was a lot healthier with fewer injuries. I was eating so much running 100 miles per week, I learned to cook and started working in kitchens as a cook.

    One job I had cooking was for a fire crew and since we all worked hard most days, the diet was high calorie and high protein. I did some research on other occupations that work hard like special operations soldiers and wild land fire fighters and one commonality was a diet high in protein and fats to allow the body to repair itself. There was minimal counting of carbs in those jobs because they will be burned off an a continuous basis. To end this post, I agree with the premise of a balanced diet and having enough protein in your daily intake. Make sure you and your family get enough each day.

  26. This is post #2 for me on this topic: Diet is an individual thing. Start keeping a log and be honest about your own intake. My wife tried the keto diet only to be hospitalized due to dehydration on a hot summer afternoon. ( she lost too much water thru diarrhea over a 3 day period.) I would also like to encourage gradual change to reduce the shock to your digestive tract.

    My wife and I both do shift work within hospitals so we have to make an effort to shop smart and eat well. I eat a balanced diet with some carbs each day and I try to limit the amount of processed foods like soda and chips/french fries each day. Same goes for alcohol and caffeine consumption. a 2 drink limit per 24 hr day works well for myself.

    I do most of the cooking and purchasing of long term food storage for my house so most of the long term foods we keep have sugar in them as opposed to artificial sweeteners that do not last as long. A staple in this house for recovery from colds and flu is chicken and rice soup so we have enough supplies on hand to avoid the stores for a while. When GI upset or intractable nausea occurs, the best items I have around is regular Sprite or 7-up along with saltine crackers. Sugar and carbs serve well to settle a nervous stomach as opposed to taking lots of Pepto Bismol or Mylanta.

    Other than that, I practice portion control and exercise each day though running marathons and cutting fire line are now a distant memory.

    Many thanks to those on this site that share recipes as I am discovering the versatility of roasted cauliflower these days.

  27. SS,
    You can encourage him, let him know you are there to support him..Possibly offer to be a walk buddy. Start short,easy for you…Don’t make it abt weight- but about health..+ your genuine concern. Don’t preach it..,offer assist.
    The will to change weight and activity must come from within.
    I have multiple family with excess wt of 350-450 #. out of 4- one is making slow steady progress on weight reduction,better flexibility and better diet choices.. using DDPY for exercise and encouragement.

    1. SS,
      You are welcome. When i was heavy – very sensitive to any remarks…even from those that I knew had my best interest at heart. Important thing ,..getting started even on a 2 -3 x a week..walk..will begin to have more energy-and enjoy company.takes 3 weeks to form a habit.
      Diamond Dallas Page Yoga, DDPY, has a level of exercises for every level of activity. everything from a bed bound ,chair bound,to people able to jog.It s a paid service, but not expensive. Story is after a series of car wrecks and injuries- was the only thing he could do..He developed his own spin on yoga.
      DDPY groups/trainers encourage each person to begin where they are and make their personal goals. I’m NOT associated with them in ANY way.
      I have seen DD go from close to 400 to 320.and gain flexibility and function.Progress : from able to bend and touch above ankles- to able to touch flat handed to floor. It has not been fast.
      If interested you can find them thru you tube video’ s internet based.

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