Why Carnivore Didn’t Work for You, Part 4: You Weren’t Eating Enough

Load up that plate. Don’t be shy!

I’m a small person, but fairly solidly built. I’m five feet tall, and hovering around 115 lbs.. That sounds like a heavy weigh for my height. I’ve known a lot of women my height who think they’re fat at 100, but after a few years of lifting heavy weights, I’ve gained a lot of muscle. In fact, I had gotten down to 100 lbs. doing keto, and despite still having a little more fat than I wanted to have, I was looking downright stringy. I had plenty of food coming in, but the protein macro was lacking.

It took moving to a fully carnivorous diet to get back up to the weight I am now. I have a lot more muscle now, and the fat is still on its way out. It goes slow, y’all. I expect to maintain nearly this same weight, even as my fat percentage goes down, as I don’t think I’ve reached the top of my potential muscle mass yet. This way of eating isn’t just about fat loss. It’s about muscle preservation and, ideally, muscle gain. Even more importantly, it’s about feeling well and healthy. “Hangry” is not a word in the carnivore vocabulary.

You can’t get good results if you don’t eat enough.

It takes more food than many might expect to maintain good energy and muscle mass while still losing fat. While you think you’re trying to lose weight, my friend, you really are not. You may lose weight. That’s fine, if it happens. But you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, and that sometimes means that not much changes on the scale. Whether you see changes on the scale or not, getting healthy means eating enough food. Enough protein, especially. (We already talked about fat, remember?) When I was doing keto, my fat percentage was good, but I was adding a lot of vegetables, bringing my protein intake too low. When I switched to carnivore, that problem went away entirely, as I simply used more protein to fill up the space on my plate and in my tummy where useless fiber had gone before.

This worked for me the first time I tried it for one reason, and one reason only: I never controlled my portions. I just ate until my body and brain told me I was done. 

I know a man who tried first keto and then carnivore and gave both up for a lost cause because, he said, he was always hungry. After watching him load his plate one day, and comparing what he thought he should eat to what was on my plate at the same meal, it was clear to me that he just didn’t have a good idea how much he should be eating. I had twice as much food on my plate, and he weighs ideally 70-80 pounds more than I do. He probably should have eaten three times as much!

It was easy to see why carnivore wasn’t “working” for him. He had chosen two hamburger patties to my four, plus a hotdog, no butter, no trip back for seconds when he realized that wouldn’t cut it. My friend had a dieting mindset of self-denial. Being a big fella already, and struggling with a food addiction/compulsion as well, I suspect that he was also just plain embarrassed to be seen putting a pound and a half of meat on his plate. Not only that, but memories of binging probably tamped down his enthusiasm about piling up his plate. To eat that much food at one time would be greedy, in his mind. He had the false idea that calorie restriction and portion control are a necessary part of losing fat. He also had the false idea that it is greedy to eat an appropriate amount of food for your appetite.

There is no struggle with the appetite in this diet. If you’re trying to lose weight on a low-fat diet, it is true that you will have to watch your calories and stop eating before you’re satisfied. But you’re not on a low-fat diet. You’re on a protein and fat diet. That means eating until you are satisfied. Provided that you’re eating fatty meat and eggs, and you don’t have any weird goals like getting ripped for a body-building competition, you should never need to weigh, count, or otherwise measure your food again.

This is my lunch today. I already ate one burger before I thought to take the picture. I’m also about to go get some butter. I had a small breakfast, and I may have a snack later, but this is the big meal:

The nerf darts are a condiment.

Am I going to eat all that? I don’t know! I’ll let you know at the end of this post, as I’m having my meal while I write it. I cooked enough so I don’t have to worry about running out before I’m finished. I can save the rest for leftovers. Or doggies.

Carnivore, you need to just eat. Eat like it’s your job. Do not just eat until you think you’ve had a socially acceptable number of calories, or until you’ve had the recommended daily allowance of protein, or until you’re just a little hungry. Eat until you no longer interested in eating even a single bite of food. Then stop.

But that’s too much protein! No, it really isn’t. First of all, the RDA for protein is a sick joke that has been played on us by “scientists” who were trying to figure out the minimum amount of protein a person needs to keep from starving. It’s the floor, not the ceiling. And while there are plenty of quacks (you might be one yourself) going around saying that protein is toxic, ruins your kidneys and digestion, or makes your blood acidic, there is not one shred of evidence to that effect. It’s a bunch of hooey. (Go ahead and try to find the studies. Bring them to me. Good luck!)

We’re all going to have to get over what we’ve been taught about protein and calories, because it just ain’t so!

Earlier, I was comparing my plate with someone else’s. Don’t you do that, Dear Reader. Do not go by my plate to decide what should be on yours, and absolutely do not go by Michelle Obama’s idiotic My Plate. Go by your own appetite, which you are going to get to know intimately over the next few weeks or months. If you’re worried somebody will judge you for eating a ribeye and three eggs, and a can of sardines, and two tablespoons of butter (why yes, that is what I had for lunch yesterday), well…sorry to be harsh, but grow up. Get over that middle school mentality that what other people think or do matters a hill of beans to you. You’re not being greedy. You’re nourishing your body.

What your plate contains or has left on it when you are finished will depend on what your body needs that day. It’s OK to clean your plate, go back for seconds, or leave some food behind. Make a bunch of food. If you find it wasn’t enough, make some more. Your job is to eat until your body has everything it needs. Don’t be a slacker. Do your job.

So, did I finish the plate? Nope. I’ve got two burgers left. I’m sure the kids or dogs will be along shortly to help keep food waste down.