Keto Didn't Work for Me - (Semi) Carnivore Does!


I don’t post very often, but I just had to post to let people know how thrilled I am after a little more than 2 months on (semi-pure) carnivore.

The background: I had been keto about 2 years and was not happy with it. This is not to say it doesn’t work for some people, but it didn’t work for me. First, I continued to gain weight on keto (I was not that overweight, but was above where I wanted to be), plus my body composition did not change. I started keto at 5’4", 135 lbs or so, 35% body fat. After 2 years, I was up to 140 lbs, and still at 35% body fat.

Second, my sugar and carb cravings did not go away on keto. I always tell people I have a heroin-addict level sugar addiction, and it’s true. I had a hard time sticking to keto because the cravings continued to torment me. So, one could say that I didn’t do better on keto because I cheated, but if I can’t stick to a WOE no matter how hard I try because I have overpowering cravings on that WOE, then to me that WOE is not working for me.

So, back in February I hit a bottom. My weight was up to 140 lbs, a lifetime high for me, and I was sick of being jerked around by food cravings. So, I decided to go carnivore (there are a couple of exceptions that I can describe later). It has been life-altering for me.

First, and most important, the cravings are almost completely gone. When I do get mild cravings I can satiate them with a little cheese. I have not slipped and eaten sugar once in the two month period, a record for me.

Second, after two years of gaining weight on keto, I have now lost 7 lbs in 2 months! And, my body composition has finally shifted, dropping from 35% to 33.5%. Still too high, but going in the right direction.

Finally, I can tell that my relationship to food is really changing, for the first time in my life. It’s hard to describe, but it feels like my body has shifted to really crave and desire nourishment - and then to feel happy and satiated once I get it. It feels really different from the old sugar and carb cravings which felt bottomless.

I want to emphasize again that I am NOT saying keto doesn’t work for anyone, or that everyone should be doing carnivore/zero carb. Not at all. I think we have different physiologies and need different WOEs.

For me, I feel pretty certain I have a defect in the way my body handles carbs that makes it so that I really can’t eat them at all. And I wanted to share in case there were others who might be having similiar problems with carbs, even on keto, and might benefit from my experience. And also to let you all know how happy I am to finally find a WOE that works for me, after literally decades of searching!

(Susan) #2

Congratulations Sophie on finding what works for you! There are a lot of other Carnivores on here that would agree with you I think =).

I am not, but I am happy for you that you found your perfect WOE =).

(Candy Lind) #3

Congratulations, @Sophie107! Your post has me thinking that maybe I should consider carnivore, at least for a little while. I would like to hear about those “exceptions” about which you spoke, as well.


@CandyLindTX Definitely! Here are the exceptions:

  1. Some who are really purist think carnivores shouldn’t drink coffee or tea because they are plants. I LOVE my morning ritual of several cups of good black tea with heavy whipping cream, so it would take a lot to make me give that up. Fortunately I think it’s working for me fine, so it stays for now.

  2. Pre-carnivore, my daily breakfast was scrambled eggs with raw sauerkraut mixed in (for the probiotics and also because I liked it). When I went semi-carnivore I added two strips of bacon to that, and now cook the eggs in the bacon fat. But I kept the sauerkraut. I am loving this breakfast and it doesn’t seem to be bothering me, so for now I eat bacon, eggs, and sauerkraut every morning.

  3. I have been keeping frozen brussel sprouts in the house and have added them to my dinner a few times (sauteed in olive oil). In the first 6 weeks of so of carnivore, there were times when I was just feeling sick of meat, so I made a meal of fish and these sauteed brussel sprouts. (It could have been any non-starchy vegetable - I just happen to like brussel sprouts!)

Lately, though, I think my tastes have been changing - I haven’t had that “I’m sick of meat” feeling in several weeks. So I may have grown out of that phase. But I like keeping these veggies in the house just in case, and the net carbs are low enough that I don’t feel it would cause a problem for me if I ended up eating them once a week or so.

  1. Cheese is in kind of a gray area for carnivores as I understand it - it’s an animal product, but it does have some carbs, unlike meat. I am eating a little more cheese than I would like, partly because I take medication 4 times a day and can get nauseated if I do it without food, and a few slices of cheese helps a lot. Or, I sometimes have a few slices before bed to help me sleep. I also put cheese on my ground beef patties. If my weight loss stalls I may try to do something about it, but right now I’m not too worried.

  2. For a while I was making a big pot of a ground beef mixture with onions, bell peppers, and a little tomato sauce, to make the ground beef a little more interesting. But, I have not felt inspired to make this for about a month. Again, I think my tastes may be changing, as I feel less need to enhance or diversify the taste of meat.

In general my philosophy toward the whole thing is not to be too concerned about whether I am really truly doing the “correct” carnivore diet - clearly I am not being pure. My concern is how my body feels, whether I’m being bothered by food cravings, and of course weight loss/body composition. All these things seem to be going in the right direction for me so I am content for now - though I may make changes later, who knows.

I hope that wasn’t more detail than you wanted! I included it because for me at least, when it comes to food, the details are important. :slight_smile:


Congrats Sophie…yea you are not doing the correct carnivore menu because it truly is no carbs from plant matter at all…but that is not to say you aren’t doing stellar in your new eating.

And like you said you are changing. You might find you don’t want any veg down the line and that is cool, but if you do keep some extra food in there it is ok. I mean you can be anything you want :slight_smile: Some find any plant matter is bad for them but if you find you are doing very well on a tiny bit of veg with a meal every now and then and rocking it out, yea you can keep it, why not? :slight_smile:

I loved your post. I am just like you…you said you can’t stick to a way of life long term if it still has intense cravings…that was me to a T for sure, my extreme low carb, even tho eating around only 10 total carbs per day in any plant matter etc…kept the cravings alive and then with eating the fake 0 carb sweeteners, omg a downfall for me big time.

But once those cravings are gone, life is a whole new ballgame on how we get thru our day in fine form. Easily existing with food instead of fighting it on a daily basis which gets so old :slight_smile:

Super happy you are doing so well and you got some good weight loss to boot and as you continue to eat this way only more good things will come your way I am sure!!


Congrats on finding what works for you, but pretty safe to say 2 years keto and no change means you were doing something horribly wrong as least as far as your metabolism was concerned. It would probably be real helpful to newbies reading this if you explained what you were doing so maybe they won’t, or identify a problem that they might me having. Were you tracking your intake? Counting calories or fat or just carbs? Exercising? Eating to satiety or doing fasting?

(UsedToBeT2D) #8

5’4”, 135 lbs. That’s about ideal body weight for a normal person. Why do you want to lose weight?


I love keto but I find that the artificial sweeteners. although zero carbs - create HUNGER in me, and make doing keto more difficult. I find I have to restrain myself more if I indulge myself in a keto dessert, and if I leave out the sweet taste even in the zero carb form, I lose that incessant hunger, and the craving for sweets. So I guess I am one of those people, sadly, who reacts with insulin secretion even on artificial sweeteners. If I want keto to really work for me, then I have to do it right in order to be able to continue with this WOE.

(Elizabeth ) #10

I don’t understand how somebody can say that carnivore doesn’t work for them if they’ve never tried it. It really is the ultimate elimination diet and I highly recommend that you give it 90 days of just meat and water, just animal products. Then if you feel you need something else try adding back one thing at a time. I believe there’s very few people that need to be carnivore, but for those of us that do it’s life-changing. Low carb and keto are excellent for most people.

(Scott) #11

I am just over a month carnivore. It was somthing I just wanted to try. I am going to give it 90 days to see how I like it. @Sophie107 don’t stress over whether your carnivore is correct or not. I have a saying “it’s my diet and my rules” I have wine daily and sometimes beer too. The only other thing I have been having trouble with is almonds. My wife keeps buying them and keeps the bag in my office.


@lfod14 The premise of your question seems to be that if I were doing keto right it would have worked for me, and I don’t think that is the case. Again, not by any means saying that keto doesn’t work for anyone - if it works for you, go for it! But I find I need to restrict what I eat far more than the keto WOE specifies.

I have now shifted my paradigm from looking at macros and carb levels, as I did under keto (I never paid attention to calories), to looking at what foods trigger satiety in me vs. triggering cravings. My experience with keto was that many foods considered keto-friendly in the proper amounts triggered cravings for me. Some prime examples are almonds, almond butter, and avocados.

If I have these foods in my house, I WILL end up going over my carb limits because I will binge on them. Not that I would eat 50 avocados or 5 jars of almond butter in a sitting, but I would eat more than my body needs because instead of triggering satiety, for me these foods trigger “eat more.”

And that doesn’t even address keto foods that are designed to resemble “regular” food. I never made these because I instinctly knew they would be a danger zone for me, but I had a roommate who did. One time she went on a trip and told me I was welcome to the batch of keto muffins she had left in the fridge. I have no doubt she got the macros right, but I ate all ten of them in one day (granted, they were small).

As I said in my original post, one could say I “failed” on keto because I didn’t keep to my carb limits, but I think the fact that I could not use self-discipline to keep to the limits tells me that this is just not the WOE for me.

Again, I think I have a fundamental problem with sugar and, therefore, carbs. I feel like my body is a like a heat-seeking missile that will track down any molecules of glucose, fructose or sucrose in the house and devour that food in an attempt to get that sugar hit. If I don’t have ice cream or cookies in the house (which has been the case for decades), it will go for whatever is the next best thing. So, I need to avoid any foods that trigger that reaction in me.

One thing I didn’t mention in my original post is what I am mostly eating now that I have switched to semi-carnivore. Again, I am focusing on what foods produce satiety (and conversely, diminish cravings). I have found that a diet of mostly red meat and eggs is the most satiety-producing for me, so that is what I am doing. The vast majority of what I’m consuming now is red meat (beef or bacon), eggs, butter, cheese, and HWC. Cheese is the only food listed there that is a bit problematic for me and may need to get eliminated at some point. I am not counting macros or calories or really anything - just eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full. The point is that I have no problem now doing the latter, which is a truly amazing feeling.

I hope that all made sense.


@Fangs Thanks for the words of support! It sounds like we have had some similiar experiences. I am sure the way I do carnivore, or semi-carnivore, or whatever it is, will continue to evolve. One thing I didn’t mention in my original post is that I doing mostly red meat and eggs as I am finding that works best for me for satiety.

This is a huge change for me as for most of my life I ate very little red meat (yes, I believed the scare stories about it). So one challenge with my new WOE is figuring out what all these darn cuts of red meat are and how to cook them! Also, it has been taking a while for my body to adjust to eating mostly red meat, as I mentioned, but I am finding that over time my body seems to be more and more happy with it. :slight_smile:


@Rclause Almonds were a major trigger food for me too! I found I couldn’t keep them in the house.


@KetoType2 Healthy body weight is a range, not a number. I have learned I look and feel best, and have the best body fat composition, at 120-125 lbs. So that is my target. It is also within the healthy range for a 5’4" woman.

In addition, I said in my original post that my body fat percentage under keto was 35%, which is NOT healthy body composition - it is considered “over fat” even if one is not overweight. For me fat goes to my stomach, and I had way too much belly fat, which is not good for health or appearance (and yes, I care about both). It has started to diminish since going semi-carnivore but I have a long way to go.

My goal right now is what I think of as 25/25: a weight of 125 and a 25% body fat. Once I get there I will reassess. I’m also doing a small amount of weightlifting to build more muscle (I have a medical condition that limits how much I can do, so I’m just doing my best.)

(Elizabeth ) #16

When people tell you you’re doing it right or doing it wrong just tell them to shut up. There’s whole foods keto there’s keto AF there’s keto eating keto crap there’s even a vegetarian keto. Any way of eating that put you in ketosis is considered keto. The difference with carnivore is that it’s really simple to find out if you’re doing it right or not because if you’re eating plants then that’s not carnivore :slight_smile: But again very few people have to be carnivore, if you’re eating some amounts of other plant material and want to be carnivore-ish that’s cool too. those of us that can’t tolerate the smallest amount of plants are just jealous of you :slight_smile: carnivore adjacent carnivore-ish dirty carnivore, who cares what it’s called?


@Elizedge I like the term “carnivore-ish” - I may start using that! Dirty carnivore sounds somewhat x-rated but maybe that’s just me. :smile: (Let’s just say I’d be afraid of what I would get if I put that as my headline in a dating profile!)


@Elizedge P.s. I have to admit I had never heard of KetoAF and had to google it to learn from a Reddit sub that it means “Keto Animal Foods.” I was amused by this exchange on the sub as this was my first reaction also:

“Semi-disappointed to learn that KetoAF did not mean Keto As Fuck. Glad to eat the animal kingdom, though.”

“Yeah, I gotta admit I had the same thought till I clicked the link and read the header :grinning:

(Elizabeth ) #19



you know that is a key thing you said here.

so many ‘read the list of food’ that is acceptable to eat…keto muffins, low carb cheesecake, fake sweetener dessert subs, fake bread who knows what subs LOL and all these things are ‘ok’ cause others eat them and might do well…but we ain’t them are we :slight_smile: Nice thing is the more meat/seafood only you go and find the simplicity of this healing nutritional food, when we add in a few things back we truly know how they effect us. Immediately we know if I eat XYZ I crave. I eat ABC I find I am very hungry like 1/2 hr later. Listening to our bodies and what the food does to us is so personal…you are doing it great for yourself. Going by the body and not a written eat this list in this amt of macros…we know ourselves best thru the physical application of our eating. Cool, I like what you said in that post!

(Bob M) #21

They are high in PUFAs. This is one reason why they might cause overeating.