‘You must be starving’

I get told this a lot when I tell people about what I’ve been doing to lose weight. It’s hard to imagine someone losing 34 pounds (as of today, March 25) in less than three months without starving themselves.

But honestly, I’m not starving. Most of the time I’m not even hungry.

Screenshot from January video and selfie taken March 23.

That’s kind of the point of the ketovore/carnivore lifestyle: You eat the foods that don’t make you crave other foods. Which is why dumping the sugar – especially processed sugars – and carbs is so important. Carbs make you crave other carbs. They set off a process in your body telling it to make insulin, which then tells fat cells to accumulate more fat and burn carbs – instead of fat – for energy.

(Want to know watch me gradually learn how to use YouTube? Check out my Molly’s Ketovore Life channel!)

When you’re not giving your body those carbs, it reverts to burning fat for energy. Cool, huh?

But getting to that lifestyle isn’t a matter of just flipping a switch. You have to be committed to making a change, and making it more than just a diet. To me, the word “diet” as a verb has always meant something temporary. That’s not what this is – this has got to be long-lasting. That’s not to say you can’t have “cheat” meals or weekends – I have already had a few of each – but you have to realized that once you start giving your body those carbs again, it’s going to keep wanting more. AND the weight you put back on will come faster than before.

Getting started

When my boyfriend started telling me all about his experience with the ketogenic and then carnivore diets I thought he was nuts. Yes, I’d heard that through ketogenic dieting you could lose a lot of weight fast – but the things you had to give up were things I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to: pasta, chips, potatoes, fruit, rice … those were my mainstays (and probably the reason I couldn’t lose more than 20 pounds with any given diet). With carnivore it was nothing but meat and meat products. Period.


Then he started talking about “ketovore” – a kind of blending of the ketogenic and carnivore diets. It focuses on upping your amounts of animal proteins and fats, and limiting other foods. You still get rid of the sugars and carbs but your menu is a bit more open.

I agreed to give it a month. After the holidays. I’m now three months in and LOVING it.

In the week before Christmas and New Year’s Day I gutted my kitchen: got rid of the breads, tortillas, frozen fruits, fresh fruits, canned soups, oatmeal, rice, pasta, potatoes, most condiments, tortilla chips – damned near everything. My son and daughter-in-law probably didn’t have to buy groceries for a few weeks.

We had one final “hurrah” for New Year’s and officially started the ketovore journey on Jan. 2.

What I eat

There are a lot of articles out there talking about what you can and can’t, should and shouldn’t, eat on ketovore. I use them as guideposts, but really kind of customize this menu for me. Some experts say to allow yourself one “treat” of vegetables each week – I eat more than that, but not daily. Some days I’ll have a small salad with lunch (olive or avocado oil and red wine vinegar for dressing), or will sometimes have some steamed broccoli or roasted aparagus with dinner.

I’m probably not losing weight and seeing the health improvements at the rate that devout ketovore followers are, but I’m OK with that. If I don’t enjoy myself on this journey, it won’t last. And I want it to last.

Before ketovore I ate beef only when my body let me know I needed iron – typically 3-4 times a year. Now it’s on my plate 4-6 times a week. But I also allow myself to eat chicken, fish, pork, and shrimp throughout the week, as well. I don’t get the high protein with those (other than some fish) that I do with beef, but then I supplement with added protein: chicken and shrimp, surf and turf, etc.

Eggs are also a staple, along with butter. Butter is a great source of animal fat – I typically scramble four eggs in a tablespoon of butter, cook up 3-4 strips of bacon, and there’s a good (great!) ketovore meal. Sounds like a lot of food, I know – I thought it was crazy the first time I put that on a plate – but it works. It really, really does.

When I go out to restaurants, I usually order a bunless hamburger or grilled fish, usually with a salad or vegetable. Yes, I’ve cheated and eaten fries (twice) but then made up for it in the following days.

Just as important as what you eat in this lifestyle is how often you eat. I had stopped being a three-meals-a-day person for the most part a few years ago, with the exception of the occasional yogurt or grapefruit for breakfast. With ketovore, two meals a day is a regular occurrence, and occasionally it’s just one. And once a week I don’t eat at all.

A typical week for me starts with a late breakfast/early lunch Sunday, we usually have bacon or steak and eggs (I know, what a diet!), and then nothing until dinner, usually steak or roast or chicken or something and shrimp or another protein. Sometimes I have a vegetable, but mostly I save those for during the week. Once dinner is over, usually around 6 or so, I start my 36-hour fast. It sounds tough, I know, but really I’m too full to eat after dinner, I fast all day Monday, and by the time I am ready to eat late Tuesday morning the fast is over. It’s tough some days, but not most.

And going back to what I said at the beginning of this post, I’m not starving – and rarely even hungry.


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I never thought I could do it …

I mean, I wanted to believe I could do it, but whenever I’d set my mind to losing weight I’d struggle for six months and drop 20-30 pounds at the most; the only time I lost an egregious amount of weight was when I dropped 115 pounds in the eight months after my husband asked for a divorce. And I really didn’t want to go through that kind of stress again.

Spoiler alert: I did it. And I’m still doing it. Yesterday I hit the -50 mark from when I started in mid-August – but even more, 30 of those pounds have come off just since Jan. 2 – 10 weeks ago.

Here’s what’s happening:

This is me now, taken March 12, 2023. Size 16 (no W)

I knew 2022 was going to be a big year: I was going to a California beach for 10 days with some family in the summer, and my son was getting married in the fall. I wanted – needed – to lose weight. I was the biggest I’d been since before the divorce and I wanted a change. Plus, the pain in my knees was excruciating during the coldest of the winter days – I didn’t want to spend another winter like that.

That January I made up my mind: I was going to lose 20 pounds by the time we went to the beach at the end of June, and another 20 pounds for my son’s November wedding. Small bites, easier to manage.

When it came time to go to the beach I had gained 15 pounds. I was devastated.

I finally decided I couldn’t do this on my own, I needed help. The academic medical center I work for has a weight management clinic, so I made an appointment. My first visit was Aug. 14, 2022 and lasted a little more than two hours. We talked about my lifestyle, what I thought some of the issues were (portion control and pasta – they go hand in hand). I agreed to and was prescribed an appetite suppressant.

When it came time for the wedding in mid-November, I’d lost 20 pounds. Then the holidays hit, and I gained five of them back.

A few weeks before the wedding I met a man who talked at length about the “carnivore diet” and its healing qualities. I was very interested in the man (still am 😉 ) but hesitant on this carnivore thing. According to this diet, you eat beef and eggs. That’s about it. He was trying to convince me it was the greatest thing ever while I was trying to convince him of the value of fruits and veggies. We had hit an impasse – at least on the diet front.

Then our conversations turned to “ketovore” – a diet that kind of “marries” the ketogenic and carnivore diets. Lots of animal protein and animal fats, but with a few veggies sprinkled here and there and a few other additions. The biggest thing was that it was the elimination of sugar and carbs. No creamer in my coffee, no pasta, no potatoes, no tortilla chips.

Me in August 2022, size 22W (left) and wearing the same outfit March 12, 2023, size 16. Still not done.

It sounded like something I could try so I agreed to do it after the first of the year. I gave it a month. I cleaned out my cupboards, my fridge, and my freezer. Processed sugars were gone.

My first week, I lost 14 pounds.

Yes, it was mostly water weight and I gained a few of them back, but week after week I continued to see losses of 5 pounds or better. By February I was seeing numbers on the scale I hadn’t seen in years. And They Keep Going Down.

One of my biggest hesitations about switching over to this lifestyle – because that’s what it is, it’s not a temporary “diet” – was that I didn’t want to stop enjoying the foods I loved. I couldn’t stand the thought of never again having nachos, or a cocktail, or a piece of cheesecake.

And here’s the fun part: I haven’t had to stop enjoying them. We’ve had “cheat weekends” where we’ll order a pizza or go out for Mexican, or get a sinful ice cream dessert at Culver’s or Dairy Queen. I’ve even had french fries – once. We went away for a long weekend and just threw caution to the wind. I gained nine pounds.

So here’s the other part of the diet: I do a 36-hour fast every week. Sounds awful, I know, but it’s really not: I eat a regular dinner Sunday night, and then no snacking. I fast on Monday, and by the time I get up and ready on Tuesday, my fast is over.

THAT is the difference. I did a fast after our long weekend and lost seven of those nine pounds. The other two came off through the week.

And the really weird part is I don’t feel deprived at all. We eat steak, roasts, ribs, shrimp – I’m far from starving, even on the fast days. Breakfast yesterday was steak and eggs. Not bad for a diet meal.

The proof is in the proverbial pudding – or the pictures. See for yourself. Or watch this video I shot in January to hear more: https://youtu.be/QKzK06LtAjw.

I’m not done – I still have a ways to go. But damn, this trip doesn’t seem so bad.


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So there was this thing …

OK, I know I said I was going to post right away after the first of the year, either Jan. 2 or 3. And it didn’t happen. It also didn’t happen on Jan. 4 or 5.

And then Jan. 6 came and I just couldn’t seem to find the energy, inspiration, or motivation to blog for a few days. When thousands of protesters descended on our nation’s Capitol building, and then hundreds forced their way in, vandalized the building, and scared the living hell out of everyone inside, suddenly writing about new year’s resolutions or what I learned in 2020 or what I was most glad to be rid of from 2020 seemed a bit … trivial.

I’m still not sure this is the right thing to do, but it’s what feels normal – and damn, if I don’t really want to feel normal right now. If we ALL don’t want to feel normal. So I’m here, posting what will likely be little more than a short stream of consciousness, hoping that it gets me past the writer’s block that’s jammed itself firmly in my brain.

I feel like I’m in a kind of purgatory in all of this – I in no way whatsoever condone, support, or am in favor of what that group did. It was repulsive and, honestly, terrifying. But …

I do have Republican friends, and friends who voted for Donald Trump. We are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but despite what others may say, I don’t believe for a second that any of my friends are racists, or homophobes, or home-grown terrorists set to overthrow the government. These are people I know. I may not understand their politics, but I know their hearts.

I also have many liberal friends who, like me, did not and would not vote for Donald Trump. Those friends far outnumber the others, but I value them all.

Unfortunately, my own toxic social posts about Trump over time have alienated many of my conservative-leaning friends, and the fact that I still have conservative-leaning friends has alienated some of my liberal friends. And just by posting this and admitting I (gasp!) have conservative-leaning friends, I may be alienating a few more of my liberal friends.

And it all just makes me very tired. Tired of hate. Tired of anger. Tired of being told who I should or shouldn’t be friends with. And now, thanks to a few thousand idiots who wanted to see their picture on TV, I’m a little scared – and I’m really tired of being scared already.

OK, I lied. This wasn’t that short. But it did kind of help. Cheerier thoughts next time. Girl Scout promise.


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… and we’re back

Sometime in mid-November I got an email that said my WordPress domain would automatically renew on a particular date in December. I thought about it long enough to think, “Oh, I’ll need to think about that.”

Then I forgot about it. At least until another email came on that particular day in December that said my renewal payment was successfully completed.

So I guess I have another year to think about it.

There was a time a few years ago I wouldn’t have even hesitated – I loved blogging. I still do, but back then it seemed I had more time to do it, and more material to blog about. The kids were still at home (OK, so more than “a few” years ago) and they always provided material, plus there was the never-ending online dating saga.

Then I started doing a lot more freelance writing, and more writing at work, and the blog just kind of, well, it got forgotten. When I got that email in November I had to look back to see when I had last posted – it was exactly a year prior, in November 2019 (remember 2019? Sigh …).

So … here we are. I’m going to give this another go, see how 2021 goes. Lord knows the last year gave me plenty to write about, and plenty to think about.

First up later today will be my new take on New Year’s resolutions. And those who know me shouldn’t be at all surprised that it will be coming out late on Jan. 2. Or maybe early Jan. 3.

It’s how I roll …


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The Online Dating Chronicles: On second thought …

It only took two posts in for me to realize this chronicling of my online dating adventures may not be as entertaining as I once thought it was.

Don’t get me wrong – I still giggle when I think of how I stopped dating someone for his gawd-awful pronunciation of aficionado (I know my story of his being “an aff-eh-KON-dee-oh” has ruined the word for at least a few friends), and while death is very seldom funny, getting mad at your boyfriend of three months because he suddenly stopped responding to your calls and texts for two weeks – and then feeling like a heel when you’re attending his funeral a week later – is a storyline that might have made for some good “The Mindy Project” fodder.

Those who know me best understand the struggle I’ve faced, sharing conversations like this:


Some have even offered help in finding “just the right guy,” like sending me profiles like this one:


So while I still rock the never-ending “you won’t believe THIS” dating stories, I’ll just share them little by little as they’re relevant – and welcome these “helpful tips” from friends.

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November 24, 2019 · 10:40 pm

The Online Dating Chronicles: Ghost stories are for Halloween, not dating


In keeping with the Halloween theme today (because, you know, it’s Halloween), I’ll just say this:

Ghosting should be illegal.

When I first started dating post-divorce 17 years ago, I was naïve, inexperienced, and really kind of a pushover. Guys could tell me things and I’d believe them or give them way more credit than they deserved. Let’s say I was impressionable. I’d been ghosted a few times, but looking back, it wasn’t all that surprising – the men were kind of aloof and not really looking for more than a hookup. When I wouldn’t hook up, they disappeared.

But now that I’m in my 50s, I have a different attitude and a different perspective. I’ve had a few relationships over the years and while I love the idea of being part of a couple – a team, a partnership – I’ve also come to value my private time. What that means is that you’ve got to bring something pretty special into my life to stay there.

I thought I was a bit smarter in my dating life.

Apparently, I’m not as smart as I thought. About a month ago, I thought I met someone – through the new Facebook dating app, actually – who seemed to be “my unicorn.” We chatted for a week or so, then had a few phone calls, then decided to go out on a date.

That first date was fabulous. It unseated what I had considered “the best first date ever” – which took place in 2005. He showed up with a bouquet of flowers in a vase – not just a few flowers wrapped in paper – and didn’t sweat it that I wasn’t ready. He gave me a soft kiss before we left, and massaged my shoulders just a little, to keep me from getting nervous. (All of this was OK with me because we seemed to just “click.” Trust me, I’ve had plenty of first dates where a kiss or shoulder massage would have been beyond creepy.)

He drove me to Galena, Ill., about 90 minutes from my condo, and we had one of the best Italian meals I’ve ever had. We walked through town talking and holding hands, and then drove back in driving rain – missing our turn and almost ending up another hour away. He came in to my place, we laughed, we talked, we joked, and then he went home.

That was on a Saturday. On Monday he sent me a bag of chocolate kisses at work. On Tuesday he came over to my place and made dinner, and the following Monday he came back and it was my turn to cook.

And then … he disappeared. He’d text a few times in the days following, told me he was sick and would respond when I’d ask how he was doing. Then he stopped. Everything. I checked out his social media just to make sure he was still alive (that’s a lesson I learned the hard way – but that’s for another post) and he was.

He just decided to stop. No text. No explanation. No anything.


Sometimes I really hate dating.

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The Online Dating Chronicles: Welcome to my world

It’s no secret – dating kind of sucks.

OK, that may be a bit strong. Dating itself is kind of fun – going out with someone, having a good time, getting to know them over drinks or dinner or a walk in the park, holding hands, kisses good night (or good morning 😉).

funny-dating-memesGetting to the point of having a date? That part sucks. Especially if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people using online dating sites to get there (and chances are, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 99, single, and looking for a partner, you probably are). Online sites are awful for many of the same reasons they’re great: You can meet lots of people, conversation is a lot easier over the internet, and it’s a lot easier to get out of a conversation if you can just log off rather than trying to back away slowly or hope your “wing man/woman” comes to save you at the right time.

They’re awful because people believe they can be whomever they want to be and say whatever they want to say – and often do. I’ve been thanked for chatting because he was “tired of doing the five-knuckle shuffle”; met a man who said he was single but was in fact ready to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary; and asked out by a man who should have been serving a life sentence in a federal prison but worked a deal with prosecutors for early release by helping to get a murderer to draw a map to where she hid the bodies.

You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

As much as I may hate to admit it I’m more familiar than I should be with dating sites. I tried my first site before my divorce was even final – udate.com in 2002 – just to get back into the swing of talking to men on a social level. I was an awkward dater as a teen, and after 12 years of marriage I wasn’t sure how it would go (turns out I’m a more confident adult dater than I was a teen dater). I met a man on that site and was convinced to move across the state.

The relationship fizzled, but my love for eastern Iowa was immense, so I stayed. And I dated. And dated. And dated.

And have developed quite the collection of crazy dating stories.

My initial intent was to write a book – and I still may – but that will take a while and I’m anxious to share some of these stories. So that’s what I’ll be doing here, on this blog. Some will be recent, some will have occurred sometime in the last 17 years. All – I assure you – will be true. No embellishments, no fictionalizing (other than the names, because, you know, most of them are still out there), no hiding.

I’d love to share some of your stories, too – same rules, no embellishments, yada yada yada. I’ll identify your stories as “from a friend,” so you don’t have to be as public in your self-deprecating humor if you’d rather not. Feel free to send them to me at mollyswhine@gmail.com.

Here we go – this could get interesting.

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A little help for the holidays

Holidays can be tough – especially when you’re a single parent who has lost their full-time job and is struggling to make ends meet with Christmas and Thanksgiving looming.

Please take a look at this link and help if you can. https://www.gofundme.com/help-make-the-holidays-brighterAfter-Christmas-Ornaments-347980

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It’s almost party time!


From the Facebook post my friends Trish and Cara posted inviting people to the party. They rock.

So very close!

2. I’m such a kid.

I know, I’m going to be 50 in just two days – it’s been a while since I’ve been a kid. But my birthday party is tomorrow (3-6 p.m. at Beer Burger in North Liberty – come on out!) and I feel like a 7-year-old. I’m a bit excited.

OK, that’s a lie. I’m a LOT excited.

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m not excited because people are coming out for me – I mean, I am, truly, because I’m looking forward to celebrating with everyone. But I think the real root of my excitement is that I’ve been anticipating 50 for awhile, and it’s finally here. It’s kind of like looking forward to college – not knowing how it’s going to go, you’re a little scared because it’s something new, but a lot excited because you know you’re going to be learning a lot and be a different person – a better person – when you come out the other side.

I’m not the first person to turn 50, and God knows I won’t be the last. It’s just a number, we all add one every year on the anniversary of our birth. And to be honest, I don’t know why I’m so excited about 50. I was excited about 19 (that was the drinking age in Iowa back then) and then about 21, but I don’t think I’ve been excited about an age since. I love birthdays, but it hasn’t been about the number in 29 years (OK, that realization kind of stung. It’s been 29 years since I turned 21?).

I was kind of depressed about 25, and 30 was good in that I was “finally a grown-up” and not a 20-something. When 40 came along I’d been divorced for five years and was raising two kids on a very limited income – and I had no idea how much that decade would change me.

But 50? I don’t know what it is, but I’m excited for what it has in store for me.

So go ahead, 50. Bring it.





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Learning to hold onto my f*@#s

Walk away

Learning to walk away when you just don’t give a f*@# is energizing.

Ohhhh, so close now! (Oh, and if the headline didn’t warn you, there may be some offensive language here. Just sayin’.) (And my apologies to my parents, my Aunt Patty, my sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Sellens, and to a few pastors who I know aren’t fond of the language contained here.)

4. A while back a friend posted this blog on social media, and it really resonated with me.

Not because of the photo – although it really is a great illustration – and not because of the language – although, as anyone who knows me is aware, that is sometimes one of my favorite words.

The reason I held onto this blog, and have shared it so many times I think Mark Manson should give me a promotional fee (kidding!), is that what he says is true: We really shouldn’t be so reckless with the fucks we give.

So I’ve started holding on to mine.

That’s not to say I’ve become cold and callous – far from it. What it means, instead, is that I don’t get worked up – or let go of a precious fuck – about things that really I have no business getting worked up about. Things like how other people raise their kids, how people choose to package their garbage, whether someone parks in the spot I normally use.

What I will give a fuck about – without end – is how other people are treated, how we serve and help each other, how my kids grow into adulthood and how they treat other people, how you treat animals.

When I was younger I was often curious as to why I didn’t have anything I was passionate about. I mean, I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was 12, so I was passionate about that, and I had my kids, and was passionate about them. But hobbies, pastimes – I’d see people passionate about baseball, or stamp collecting, or rock climbing and wonder why I didn’t have something I was that enthused about.

The last few years – and Mark’s blog – have helped me see that I am passionate about something – I’m passionate about expending energy, or giving a fuck, about something that helps or benefits others, that gives voice to the marginalized, that works to level the playing field.

That’s how I plan to go into my 50s: saving those precious fucks for things that really matter.



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