The Mental Struggles of Going Zero Carb

I have loved eating great-tasting foods for the whole of my life. I was known as a bit of a creative cook back in the day and spent ages dreaming up new recipe combinations to try out.

This led to me spending many hours in the kitchen experimenting and creating motherloads of washing up as a consequence. In my family and group of friends, I would have been considered the last person most likely to go zero Carb – but I did, and I don’t regret a single moment.

Since going Zero Carb, I have become the laziest cook in the world. I love the simplicity of preparing carnivore foods and the minimal washing up created by eating only two meals per day and using so few cooking utensils.

I mean, who in their right mind can say they love spending time doing the washing up, right?

No matter your reason for switching to Zero Carb, whether it is to get healthy, eliminate allergenic foods or reduce brain fog and boost your brain function, the simplicity of ZC is your most fantastic tool. Still, it can also be your greatest downfall.

Suppose you have spent decades trawling supermarket aisles each week and hours in the kitchen each day weighing out ingredients, prepping fruit and vegetables and frantically stirring lumps out of your sauces, gravy and custard. In that case, it can be a real shock to the system to suddenly go from all this activity to wasting zero physical and mental energy on preparing your food.

Goodbye complication, hello simplicity

Looking back, I cannot believe how much time and effort I spent preparing food each day. Overcomplicating your meals can be such as waste of your mental energy – no wonder people find themselves so exhausted after working all day and then have to keep slogging away in the kitchen to prepare food as well as all the clean-up needed afterwards.

Naturally evolving to follow my hunger signals and eating only two meals per day is also a massive time saver. Most of my meals now only consist of one meat, such as beef, with maybe a side of bacon or eggs for a bit of variety, making this way of eating even easier on the mind.

But this mental shift doesn’t happen overnight. If preparing and cooking food and clearing up the aftermath has been a big part of your life for many years, the simplicity of Zero Carb can be very overwhelming. You can even start stressing out about doing ZC perfectly to help fill up all the spare time you save shopping and in the kitchen preparing your old meals.

Photo by Mateusz Dach on

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

This is especially true of people who come to Zero Carb after years of doing keto, where they have analysed every ingredient to ensure it meets with their keto macros. Zero Carb not only frees you physically and mentally from hours of food preparation per week but also frees you of all the mental maths and hyper-focus on meeting arbitrarily set macro goals.

Many new carnivores start their journey geared up to eat the right amount of protein for their ideal body weight or to cram themselves full of fat trimmings from day one despite spending the past few decades eating a low fat, high carbohydrate diet full of grains, sugar, alcohol and seed oils. They expect the switch over to be easy and that it will give them instant results. This is why 95% of people fail Zero Carb in the first few weeks.

The most often repeated advice that long-term veteran carnivores give is to keep things simple, be patient, and stop making food the centre of your life. Zero Carb is all about simplicity. Eat your meal and go and enjoy your day. When you are hungry again, eat more meat. Simples!

1: Eat your favourite meats that you enjoy and can afford.

2: Cook with animal fats only – no vegetable or seed/nut oils.

3: Eat until comfortably full and satiated.

4: Drink water to thirst – there is no minimum amount of water to consume on ZC.

5: Do this for at least six months, and you will be amazed at the results.

The takeaway of this post is to emphasise that we should eat to live, not live to eat. Yes, a massive mental shift is needed when switching from a standard diet to Zero Carb, but we need to learn to get out of our own way on this journey and let our bodies do their job.

For those preparing to move to the Zero Carb way of life, it can help to find yourself a new hobby or something to do that will distract your mind and fill up all the free time you will gain from quicker food shopping and less kitchen preparation and washing up.

I wrote a post back in 2019 about using food as an emotional crutch. This would be a good read for anyone struggling with adaptation and grieving their old favourite foods.

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