It is almost one week since starting #Carnivore75Hard. How are you doing?
There has been so much momentum in the #Carnivore75Hard community challenge. Thank you for all the participation and activity! I try to view many of your whys, your stories, your meals, your gratitude journals and your win the day calendars. I get ALL the feels. I hope it does for you, as well.
In less than 5 days, on Instagram alone, #Carnivore75Hard has over 2,500 posts and the private Facebook group has over 1,100 followers. Wow. This challenge has become a movement.
If you haven’t downloaded your “win the day” calendars, here’s the direct link.
I recently released a YouTube video talking about prizes and sugars. Take a watch because it talks about WHY I am absolutely hard on ZERO sugars and ZERO sweeteners.
You can watch it here.
I noticed on day 4 that people were mentioning lowered energy and struggling with cravings. I hope this modified post I shared in the private Facebook group, as well as the new YouTube video will give you encouragement to continue forward.
I wanted to address a couple questions I’m seeing. First of all, thank you for sharing your journey. I am happy to see everyone’s shares, even the ones struggling. It’s not easy to share but this community challenge IS hard and we are being real. We are on this HARD journey together and we have to keep going.
NO ONE LEFT BEHIND.
If you were not fat adapted before this community challenge, the first week or 2 is extra hard. Even with electrolytes, your body wants the least resistance possible and often times, your body will challenge you to get sugar. This way, the mind and body don’t have to work hard and create new neural pathways.
But we all know that the old ones don’t serve us well. We have to fight through this part of the hard. Here’s a few things I recommend:
1) Do not undereat. If you are consuming less than 2000 calories while transitioning, you may be up at night. Your body is kicking up adrenaline and epinephrine, telling you to look for quick energy for survival (glucose). Your body, all of a sudden, has to switch to make ketones but doesn’t want to— your body wants you to just get energy from sugary foods.
At first, if you initially eat these, you will feel the quick burst of energy, until the reasons you have your whys kick in and then it’s a downward, regretful spiral. If your adrenals kick out stress hormones to find food. Choose to ignore the cravings.
You have to get through this transitional process. It’s not fun but are you having fun with the current diet now?
More on how to work through this is down below.
2) Muscle aches and low energy. It can be an electrolyte deficiency so make sure to consume more electrolytes such as salt and magnesium. Don’t fear salt. If you eat low to no carbs, you don’t have to worry about salt. The low energy can also be caused by undereating and not getting enough nutrients through your meals.
If you get headaches, it can be withdrawals from caffeine, sweeteners and/or a need for electrolytes.
As I mentioned in the latest YouTube video, your kidneys don’t hold onto as much water. The science in a nutshell is because the storage of sugar (glycogen) needs 3 molecules of water for every molecule of glycogen. When your body uses the stored glycogen, your kidneys will remove all the extra water. And with extra water, you also lose a lot of your electrolytes. You don’t have to balance electrolytes as much once you are fat adapted for a very long time. Once in a while you may need salt but there are long time carnivores that use zero salt and zero electrolytes.
This is why some people lose a significant amount of weight when first going low carb.
3) Constipation. It’s pretty normal. Your body is having an overhaul in what it’s being fed. Have patience and know that everything won’t be working the same— in fact, it will be working better soon. We don’t have a lot of waste when we go carnivore because well, we absorb most of the nutrients and there’s not much waste to be made. It’s a mental shift in being okay with not sitting on the toilet, straining and going often. Go when you need to and sometimes it’s every few days. It’s normal. Don’t stress out about it.
If you feel very constipated, it might be too much dairy. Relax on the dairy and increase bone broth and water. It’ll help alleviate the constipated feelings.
We have to eat enough food. While our body is transitioning and we are in the hellish lands of not enough glucose and not enough ketones, our energy is going to tank. We need to take it easier and let our bodies go through the process.
Do you think a factory that made refrigerators and now has to make automobile parts will have a seamless transition? It takes time. Even the workers that work the conveyor belt will have to relearn. There will be a learning curve. It’s the same thing your body goes through from burning sugar to burning ketones. Your body has to relearn how to produce and use ketones. Give it time.
The best way to help with the transition is eating enough meats. You can eat up to 4-5lbs. Don’t be scared of meat. Just get your body adapted and give enough nourishment that your brain will have less cravings for survival energy.
I know at first you lose your appetite and it feels great to eat less. Because less food means faster weight loss. But it’s not that simple. Too little food can set you up for a binge.
There are 2 aspects to staving off binges and staying carnivore.
1) eat enough so your body doesn’t think it’s in starvation mode
2) mental battles of changing habits
YOU NEED THE FIRST TO DO THE SECOND.
I am seeing many people undereat. It will be a costly mistake in the end. Your BMR can suffer and more than anything, you’ll be up at night and struggling with hormonal and adrenal issues.
Eat guys. This is not the time to cut calories. You can do that later. Even if you gain weight at first. Get adapted. Then cut when your stronger and fat adapted. You can use the tool of extended fasting to lose weight later.
Don’t focus on just losing weight. You will pay great penalties for it. This is what I mean by eat enough and nourish your body.
Your body is going to fight you and the only way you have a fighting chance is to eat nutrient dense meats and an abundance of it. Don’t just eat cheese and deli meats. Eat beef, fish, chicken, organ meats, bone broth, eggs, etc. You don’t have to eat organ meats if you aren’t a fan. Just eat meat. And lots of it.
If you are having an absolute hard time eating, then fast. It is better to fast than eat only 800 calories in a day. Fasting does not lower BMR but over time, if you only eat 800 calories, your body will think it has to function at 800 calories. Not a good idea.
If you fast, your body will use its fat stores and studies have shown that BMR increases from extended fasting. I have a fasting series on Instagram. It may help you understand the BMR information a bit better. You can start at the first part of the series here.
The #Carnivore75Hard community challenge is a marathon and the journey will get you to live your best life. You can sprint and lose some weight quickly but you will risk burn out.
Keep going. A marathon is hard, especially the first time. But the benefits you gain after passing the finish line— well, there’s no better victory than that.
Get over this hard hump. Take it easier if you have to. Do the bare minimum with movement. Do a basic, basic 30-minute activity. Totally fine. But keep going.
Get fat adapted. Get over the hump and you will be transformed.
We are all in this together.
NO ONE LEFT BEHIND. ♥️
In love and health,
Judy (Nutrition with Judy)
PS. If you’ve been forwarded this email, make sure to sign up to get these newsletters. There are some community challenge updates coming soon. The newsletter will also provide you the easiest way to get the latest support and motivation, as well as access to everything #Carnivore75Hard in one location. Easy peasy.
PPS. I was planning on having this newsletter be an update about the challenge, but it became more of an educational pep talk. I hope it provides you the strength to push forward.
I do want to share at least one share from this week. I plan on sharing stories and posts from the community unless I am explicitly told not to.
I will use a screen name or initials to have a little bit of privacy.
This week’s share is a highlight from one of the members in our private Facebook group. I chose this one because it’s a good example of the struggles when first starting. It definitely shows how hard things are when habits aren’t solidified. But it also shows us the power of grit, resiliency and the power of the heart to keep going.
I know we all have it in us to keep doing HARD.
♥️♥️♥️ Community Share ♥️♥️♥️
WB: Hi all,
Tonight, after my wife and I got all our kids tucked in all I wanted to do was collapse on the couch and turn off my brain. I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I was too tired to get in my half hour of activity. The thought was nagging in the back of my mind though, “if you don’t start this off right what is the rest of the challenge going to be worth to you?” So I put on my boots and toque (beanie) and set off to squeak in my 15 minutes. A funny thing happened though; once I started walking i didn’t want to stop. I even sprinted up a little hill to the nearby college. The round trip was 2.7 km (1.7 miles), I am happy I got out the door even though it was 9:30 at night.
In the intro video Judy asked us what our why is. What brings you here and what is going to make you stay.
Ultimately, I think my why is my family. My wife KB deserves to have the best husband that I can be, not just an oaf that sits on the couch eating popcorn or ice cream every night, watching life drift. My children deserve the best father that I can possibly be. If I am active; they are going to want to be active. If I am eating properly; they are going to want to eat properly. Tonight, we had pork belly for supper and our 11 year old said that it was the best food she had ever had. That warmed my heart.
Today I am grateful for this community where we can all work to encourage each other on this diet, challenge, quest, journey whatever it is that you consider Carnivore75Hard to be for you. I am also grateful for the roof I have over my head, it is leaking a bit today with the odd fall that we are having, I think I need to replace it in the spring it isn’t much but it is mine and that means the world to me these days. Third I am grateful for my family, there are ups and down, broken bowls, spilled laundry soap, chairs scratched by toddlers, but at the end of the day it fills my heart to tuck them in and have hugs and kisses from all 5.
I am excited about the next 74 days.