My experience with Carnivore
Diets are all the rage whether it's Keto, Carnivore, Paleo or any other flavor you enjoy. I love eating meat so I figured I would try out Carnivore. I was also combining it with the Warrior Diet. There are different versions I am familiar with...24 hour fast with just one meal or intermittent fasting 20 hours off 4 hours on style. I chose the latter. The great thing about Carnivore is I could eat steak every day and as much of it as I wanted! I loaded up on some great grass fed Ribeyes and was ready to enjoy myself. Before I go over results I will give you my layout. I was allowing myself coffee/preworkout, any kind of animal protein(but 95% of it was steak), olive oil, butter, BCAAs/EAAs and egg yolks. I even did the Gaston GET YOKED challenge and drank 12 eggs one night after a steak. Great stuff! But I was not allowed any fruits or veggies, processed foods, carbs, etc.
Within 2-3 days I dropped 7-8 lbs. That sounds crazy but I am chalking all of that up to water weight. When not eating carbs I was not holding onto as much muscle glycogen, therefore not as much water in my muscles. I began having bathroom issues, and not constipation related. After a few days I figured it was the sucralose in my preworkout (I'm human I enjoy pre workout and this one tastes really good) and then boom I felt great afterwards. My weight stayed the same over the next week or so but my midsection was leaner for sure. I don't feel like anything changed on me except for my belly button and love handles being a little leaner. But if I didn't check the scale I would say it's bullshit I'm down 10 lbs. For me the goal wasn't weight loss. The goal was to eat as much as possible, give digestion a break and give myself an insulin reset so I could eat more carbs coming out of the diet. In fact I would like to hover between 205-210 and be as lean as possible. I'm not into losing 15-20 lbs to look "lean and shredded." Plus I am a big foodie and I will always love eating > "lean and shredded."
I did 11 days without carbs and on Day 12 I ate a 3lb burrito as my refeed, and only meal of the day. I felt fine and surprisingly didn't see any weight gain on the scale. I was expecting some combo of water/muscle/fat but nothing. Hard to tell on these cheap scales, you really need caliper measurements. Then I went another 6 days no carbs and had a refeed with 3 lbs of potatoes. Same thing again, not really any changes on the scale which is GREAT. If I can handle a 3 lb burrito or 3 lbs of potatoes with all the steak I was eating and not gain body fat then we are cooking baby. The following day I had a BBQ where I had a drink along with a little dessert, then did another day of no carbs after that. I love experimenting with diets and getting information but you're kidding yourself if I'm going to sit in a corner and not enjoy good food and company. We only have one life to live and you aren't judged by how your stomach looks. Side note- If I was overweight and had a serious weight loss goal that's a different story. I'd be dialed in. But I'm at a very healthy and happy body fat percentage for myself.
That Monday gyms opened up and I knew I would be adding in a ton more volume so I added a little bit of carbs to my dinner each night. After a week of that I'm back up 4-5 lbs at 201 as of Sunday morning. Did I put on that much muscle or fat in a week? No, introducing the carbs helped restore glycogen so I'm holding more water. I would say I feel a little bigger, not fatter. But going from 206-208 down to 196-197 and now 201 I honestly say I feel the same weight wise. I don't feel heavier or lighter. I think my mid section looks better and I look more muscular, which is the goal. But without measurements I do not want to make those claims. All in all I was able to add in carbs this week and I don't think it hurt at all. Success.
Now let's get into the negatives. I do not like anything restrictive. Sometimes I want a veggie or salad with my meal. I went out to eat way too many times. Took a friend out for her birthday and was able to get a great piece of steak but she ordered freshly made donuts and they smelled SO DAMN GOOD and it was torture having them stare me in the face. My sisters and I took my grandmother out for dinner one night and I tried her flounder stuffed with feta and spinach, and she gave me a death stare when I pulled out the spinach and feta. It's not easy to explain a diet to your 88 year old grandmother. I had a fantasy draft over the weekend and was hoping to stick to just the chicken wings but I submitted to the chips and dip. I'm human. I am not a big snacker I would much rather eat food and meals but if I'm watching TV or a movie at night that's pretty much the only time I crave anything. And that's a habit/boredom issue. So kind of hard to navigate those scenarios. Hence why I have yet to put any clients through strict carnivore despite knowing the results you can get. The key word is when the diet is done properly, not carnivore 80% of the time then allow for snacking on weekends.
In the end I enjoyed eating as much as I wanted and not going hungry but in the long term it's not something for me. Give me all the steak I can eat, but the OPTION to add in carbs and veggies and have some variety. The more I do this the more I learn about myself and I'm starting to think I'm ok with Gluten and most carbohydrates. My biggest enemy, and I don't mean addiction, is processed foods and inflammatory oils. My stomach will bother me if I eat something that was cooked in a bad oil, or have something from a bag/jar/whatever that has bad oils in it. I will definitely be bloated when I use products that have sucralose so I am going to do my best to completely rid those from my diet. I also don't need veggies/fiber to go to the bathroom or feel full. I think many people over do that without understanding what's going on in their bodies.
If you aren't ready for full carnivore, go with the "low carb bootcamp" approach popularized by the late Charles Poliquin. Myself and my clients have been very successful. Let's say you start on a Monday morning, you have unlimited meat and veggies each day and then on day 13 or 14 (the weekend) you have your cheat/refeed. Go another 6-10 days depending on leanness before the next cheat day. After a month you should be down to around every 5-7 days OR by then you may be lean enough to handle carbs post workout.
Whatever it is you do....I cannot stress enough it has to be something that you like and is sustainable. I cannot count macros and calories or I want to kill myself. I prefer the unlimited meat and veggies approach with the one cheat/refeed on the weekend. That suits my personality and lifestyle the best. Get in tune with your body, run some experiments, do what feels best. This is not a one size fits all approach and that's the beauty of the health and fitness industry.