Diets are thought of as a temporary way of eating to lose weight. Many people in the carnivore community veer away from the term diet as this is a more permanent way they eat. There is not a timeline. Meat, eggs, and dairy is what they eat.
When I first start this way of eating, I was only going to stick to it for 30 days. I was using it as an exclusion diet to address my fibromyalgia symptoms. From there I have experienced so many of the stages of a carnivore.
This is so cool. I get to eat rib-eye, bacon, and eggs every day and call it healthy! This phase lasted through the first 3 months. Over that time my weight went down my fibro symptoms resided. I felt stronger and healthier that than I had ever been.
My friends and family had gotten used to my way of eating. And now they would be so sad and disappointed when I would not try some food they had made or were thoroughly enjoying. I constantly felt the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). I did not like the feeling of being the downer in the group. I wanted to experience the same foods as those around me were.
It was just after my first year I hit this moment. Couldn’t I just have a few drinks on the weekend? I had been doing so good for so long. What would be the harm in letting go just a little bit from time to time? I mean is it even living if you are so disciplined all the time?
The weight kept building. The arguments with myself got louder and louder. My symptoms were coming back. Why couldn’t I just be normal? Why did I have to eat like this when everyone else SEEMED fine on a Standard American diet?
If you are a therapist or study in the field of psychology, you are starting to see the steps of grief in my process. That was it exactly. I was grieving. This shift to becoming a healthier me meant letting go of family traditions, complete trust in authority figures on nutrition, and getting to be careless with what I put in my body.
At the end of the grief cycle we reach a particularly crucial step.
For me, this acceptance came in the form of identifying as a carnivore. I do not choose to just eat meat, eggs, and dairy. I am not on a diet – there is no end date. This is not just a way of eating. To fuel and heal my body for the long-term this is what I must due. I am a carnivore.
Making this shift changed the conversations I had with people.
“Would you like to try this pie, it’s really good?”
“No thank you, I’m a carnivore.”
“Would you like a salad instead of fries?”
“No thank you, I’m a carnivore.”
What I have learned as my own subject zero is that my body simply does not have a good response to the Standard American Diet. It does not matter about gluten or sugar free. It does not matter about the calories I eat. When I eat meat, eggs, and dairy I can be the best me. And so, this goes into my altered self-talks.
“Why can’t I have one piece of pie like everyone else?”
“Because you are a carnivore.”
“What would be the harm in a little bit every now and then?”
“It leads to a path of compromise in the way you feel every day – because you are a carnivore.”
“Is it really living if I have to be so disciplined all the time?”
“The way you feel when you eat that stuff is not living – because you are a carnivore.”
I am on year four of this journey. And I can tell you with all honesty that I transition between these stages from time to time. I do not beat myself up about it. I feel the negative impact. I gently remind myself that this is not just a diet. This is not just a way of eating. This is who I am. We are what we eat. I am a carnivore.