If you've followed me over the years, you know I've lost weight before. I've gone low-carb before. And both worked…for a while. Let me know if this is sounding similar to your own story.

Then, I decided to be done with the back and forth, and to dive in completely. I committed to the ketogenic diet.

You've heard of this approach by now. And to be clear, this diet isn't for the faint of heart. It isn't for wishy-washy flexible dieters. This is for people who respond well to militant restrictions (even if they don't know it yet). If you've tried other diets before and wavered back and forth, I hear you. But the only way out is to go in all the way.

That's why my new book, "The War on Carbs," doesn't start the way most books do. Before page one, before the table of contents, there is an actual agreement that I ask you to sign when you buy the book–and I seriously want you to physically write your name.

Here's why: the ketogenic diet is a lifestyle commitment–and a life-altering commitment. It means that when you sit down at a restaurant and they put bread at your table, you'll say, "No, thank you." You let people know. You hold yourself and others accountable by telling people, "I've joined the war on carbs and I do not eat that way any longer. That's not me. I don't do that." You tell other people around you, and make sure they're aware of what you're doing.

No, this doesn't mean you won't fail. We all fail. But it won't be the end of the world, because you signed that commitment. Don't be afraid of that.

Your 20-Day Battle Plan

I'm going to tell you exactly what my book "The War on Carbs" is all about. It probably doesn't make a lot of sense to give the information away for free, but I'm going to do it anyway, because I want to make an impact, not just an income.

The commitment to the war on carbs is an understanding that you're eliminating carbohydrates from your diet for extended periods of time. Once you rid your body of sugars and other carbohydrates, you'll get your body into a zone where you can think more clearly about carbs–and more clearly in general. That part of the keto mystique is 100-percent true. And once you get to that point, you'll care a lot less about the sugary goodness of doughnuts.

Yes, you will get there. But not by accident. You need a plan. So, for the next 20 days, here's what you'll eat.


  • Steak: filet mignon, rib eye, New York strip, and prime rib
  • Hamburger patties
  • Pork
  • Fish (especially salmon)
  • Chicken thighs and drums, including the skin
  • Cheese of any kind
  • Eggs
  • Cured meats, such as salami, pepperoni, bacon, etc.
Proteins such as fish and chicken.


  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • MCT oil/coconut oil
  • Nut oils
  • Butter
  • Fish oil
  • Ghee
  • Cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Fish oil


  • Only from vegetables–like, green ones

The Deep Details

  • About veggies: Any and all green things are fine. I'd suggest at least two servings per meal, prepared any way you want. Yes, with every meal you'll always consume some amount of carbohydrates in trace carbs. But those aren't a focus of the war on carbs. If you're looking for a number, try to get under 25-30 grams of these incidental carbs a day. Limiting yourself to vegetables should accomplish that.
  • Don't worry at all about calories for now. You may count them at some point in the future (I don't), but in the early going, definitely don't. Some people will tell you to limit your protein intake, but I say don't worry about that either, at least in the first few weeks and months. Just focus on cutting out all the carbs that aren't vegetables, and eating enough fat.
  • Be patient. It can take 3-4 weeks to optimize your body to be running on fat. Remember where you started: signing an agreement that said you're going to make a change, and start doing it right now.
  • If you go sideways and have something that's off the plan, just keep going and try to rack up as many days as you can without carbohydrates. See how many days you can string together. Remember, you're building new habits, and that doesn't happen overnight. If the diet is only based off of willpower and not actions and habits, then you will inevitably revert back to your old way of doing things.
  • Stick with a familiar training style, but don't be afraid to dial back the volume or intensity if it feels like too much. A huge mistake people make when they try a new diet is to try to adapt to the food, a lot of exercise, and a caloric deficit all at the same time. Your focus is simply to get adapted to the food, which means thinking and believing "no carbs" first and foremost–even putting it ahead of your training goals for the moment.

A lot of what you've read above is directly from "The War on Carbs." So, you might be asking yourself, "Why the hell do I need to buy the book if you just gave me the diet?" The reason is because you want to educate yourself and learn more.

And because I'm the People's Coach, and I said so. "The War on Carbs" is available exclusively at MarkBellSlingShot.com.

Additional Ketogenic Resources on Bodybuilding.com

About the Author

Mark Bell

Mark Bell

I used to be known as JackAss from my days at elitefts.com, or Smelly from the feature film documentary 'Bigger, Stronger, Faster.'

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Diet Keto