Fat Loss and The Carnivore Diet

Fat Loss and The Carnivore Diet

Fat Loss and The Carnivore Diet

how to lose fat on the carnivore dietPeople come to the Carnivore Diet for various reasons.

Some people experiment to regain physical or mental health. Some people want more focus and energy to fuel their work. Some want more performance in the gym and in their sport.

Many come from a Ketogenic Diet when joint pain or autoimmune issues linger or weight loss stalls.

But the #1 reason people come to The Carnivore Diet is for Fat Loss. 

Fat Loss on The Carnivore Diet (…and Fat Gain)

Daily I hear another 100lb+ fat loss story.

Frank just eats beef franks and his gut melted away. Sally’s bacon, egg, and beef diet chiseled out her bikini body. Success stories abound.

But the stories you aren’t hearing about are carnivore experimenters who gain body fat.

They follow the diet to the tee – they eat only meat, drink only water, and they gain weight.

Why the discrepancy? 

Carnivore Starting Point

When starting this diet, everyone comes from a different place.

Some people come from a SAD (Standard American Diet), some from Keto, some from decades of yo-yo dieting. Some start the diet with 40% body fat, some with 4%. Some people have gut issues and insulin resistance. Some are “fat-adapted” and others come from years of fat-restrict eating.

All of these different starting points impact the transition to a Carnivore Diet and whether someone will experience fat melting off their waistline or the scale tipping in the wrong direction.


Let’s say John is a 51 year old male who has eaten a SAD diet for decades.

He is pre-diabetic, 65lbs overweight, and doesn’t exercise. He decides to experiment with the Carnivore Diet. In the first 30 days he’s loses over 20lbs. He’s excited.

He decides to extend the experiment another 30 days. Another 15lbs fall off.

The experiment now has an indefinite timeline. All he’s doing is eating meat until he’s full. He prefers ribeyes and fatty beef cuts. He generally eats 2 times a day, though occasionally he eats just one, and other days he eats 3 meals. He listens to his appetite.

And 9 months down the road, he’s loving meat more than ever. It’s all he craves. He’s lost over 50lbs of fat and gained over 10lbs of muscle. He looks better than he did at 30. His blood sugar has dropped, and his energy has skyrocketed.

This story is not an outlier. This is common. 

But Sally had a different experience…


Let’s say Sally is a 42 year old female who has watched what she’s eaten for years.

In the past she’s tried vegan, the Mediterranean Diet, and most recently a Ketogenic Diet. She watches her calories and tracks her macros like a scientist. She does an hour of cardio 3 times per week and some light weights.

She’s gotten some good results with Keto but her fat loss has stalled. She also has an autoimmune disorder that hasn’t resolved.

She saw what the Carnivore Diet has done for John, so she decides to experiment herself.

She follows the diet to the tee – she “eats meat. drinks water.”

Unlike John however, Sally is ravenously hungry. She almost embarrassed by how much she eats.

She knows from the “Ultimate 30-Day Guide to Going Full Carnivore” that she isn’t suppose to track calories or macros but eat until satisfied. So she does.

The first 30 days go by and she’s gained 5lbs!

She considers going back to Keto. She considers staying Carnivore but cutting back on calories. But she remembers the “Warning” section in the 30-day guide she read. No tinkering.

She decides to stick with the experiment another 30 days, because her energy has been amazing and she’s seen improvements in her autoimmune disease. 

Another 30 days go by, and another couple pounds added to the scale.

Sally doesn’t know what to do. She’s feeling better than she can ever remember, but her weight is going in the wrong direction.

What’s going on…?

John vs Sally

John and Sally started the same diet from completely different points. John was obese and had never restricted a calorie in his life. His diet was composed of junk. A switch to the Carnivore Diet, or any diet, would lead to weight loss. Most people see dramatic improvements in body composition because most people are overweight/obese. They and the scale move in the right direction no matter how many steaks or how much bacon they eat.

John had some transition issues. He had some sugar cravings the first couple weeks but easily overcame them by eating more steak. His rapid success led to more motivation and more success.

Sally started off far leaner than John. She also couldn’t remember a time when she wasn’t restricting her diet in some way. When Sally was told she could eat as much meat as she wants without measuring or monitoring, two floodgates broke open.

  1. The first floodgate was the mental switch from famine to feast.
  2. The second floodgate was the complete nutrition meat provided her malnourished body.

For decades her body wasn’t getting the protein and fat it desired. She was deficient in micronutrients as well as macronutrients. She was malnourished. And when she finally started giving her body the nourishment it craved, it wanted to get as much of it as it could.

I was a “Sally.”

I came from a restricted Keto diet. I gained weight and fat when I started. My body needed it. My brain needed it.

Is the Carnivore Diet a Fat Loss Diet?

I get nervous when someone who is already lean and in good shape tells me they want to experiment with the Carnivore Diet for fat loss. Usually this person wants to get a ripped 6 pack or a bikini body with unnaturally low levels of body fat.

Eating a carnivore diet that is consistent with what we are designed to eat, results in natural body fat levels. And for most people, single digit body fat is not natural. The body feels a lot “safer” when it has a bit more energy reserves than that.

However, most people have body fat levels that are far above their natural set-point. And the further someone is above this natural set-point the more dramatic their results tend to be. But for people who are closer to their natural body fat (not to mention those who are already very lean) – they may experience the opposite – fat and weight gain.

Many people are just like John. They lose fat. And they lose it fast. They feel better. They look better. And they never think again about leaving the diet.

Yet, for every few “Johns” there is a “Sally.” It seems unfair, she was the one who has worked to stay health and get fit. But often a “Sally” has to take a step or two backwards before taking steps forward.

The First Step

The first, most important step, is getting healthy.

And “healthy” means something different for everyone.

It could be like John who was on the fast track for diabetes and cardiovascular disease who needed to reverse insulin resistance. Or it could be like Sally who needed to cure her gut and autoimmune issues and heal her mental hold on food and regulate her natural appetite.

The “healing” phase can take time.

If a “Sally” is coming from a good ketogenic diet it may take 3-6 months as her appetite regulates, hormones balance, and gut heals. To her it may seem like its 10 steps back and 1 step forward.

With a “John” it may take a year or more to reverse disease. But to him it may seem like every month is a step forward.

Whether you are a “John” or a “Sally” you need to achieve your “Homeostatic Carnivore Set-point.

This is stabilized health. 

There is no objective test for this but there are signs to look for. You will notice body weight/fat stabilizes at a healthy level. A level that most people are ecstatic to achieve. Sleep will become regular. Bowels will normalize. Mood will stabilize. Energy will be consistent. Diseases will remit.

This “natural set-point” is what most people want – a healthy body and healthy brain.

The natural body fat set-point will vary from person to person. Women tend to naturally carry more body fat than men. And there is a range of body fat percentage that people will settle in at. The higher one’s body fat prior to starting the Carnivore Diet, the longer it will take to achieve this natural set-point.

In fact, it can take years.

Most people get impatient and want to start tinkering before achieving this. They see the scale hasn’t moved in a week and they get anxious.

Weight loss is not linear. Often people gain muscle in tandem with fat loss on the Carnivore Diet. The scale can be misleading.

Forget the scale and forget the clock. Regain health. Achieve a natural appetite, normal hunger signals, and natural body fat.

Then, if – and this is a big “IF” – you want to get leaner, there are some tinkering strategies with calories/macros.

Tinkering with the Carnivore Diet

BUT – what if you want that bikini body and the shredded abs…?

I don’t think people should consider tinkering with the Carnivore eiet until Step 1 is complete. Because by the end of “Step 1” 99% of people will be better than they ever dreamed possible – in terms of health but also body composition. They don’t ever need to consider “tinkering” – they just need to be patient.

But what if you’ve been patient, you’re healthy, and you still want to get even leaner…

I’m as guilty as anyone else.

I like to have and stay at low body fat levels. Lower than my body would stabilize at naturally.

It’s important to know that there are trade-offs to getting super lean.

Energy will tend to suffer. Hunger will elevate. Hormones will adjust.

So if you’ve achieved your “Homeostatic Carnivore Set-point” and still want to get leaner, here are some strategies you can use:

Fat Loss Strategies

Strategy #1: Stick with “Level 2”

The first strategy I would use is “Sticking in Level 2” (in the 30-day guide) for the most part. This means removing things like dairy and cheeses cheeses, added fats like butter, and things like pork rinds that are easy to overeat. Stick with lots of fresh meat. This alone can get you to where you want to be.

Strategy #2: Protein

The next step would be to alter your macronutrient ratios. I wouldn’t recommend counting calories or even protein/fat grams. Rather, by this point you should have a good idea of how many pounds of meat/day you eat. Just substitute in some leaner cuts or trim the fat off the fattier cuts.

For example, I ate a lot of strip steaks. Typically, I would eat all the fat and the meat. However, if I wanted to lean out a bit more, I would trim the fat off the side of the strip instead of eating it.

Or if I know I eat 3lbs of beef/day, and I want to lose a bit more fat, I would continue to eat 3lbs of meat/day but I would choose leaner cuts.

Strategy #3: Fat-Cycle

I recommend using this strategy in tandem with Strategy #2. One to two times per week I would increase my fat intake back to normal levels. On these days, don’t trim the fat. This helps with energy, hormones, appetite, and preventing some of the trade-offs that come from getting unnaturally lean.

Strategy #4: Intermittent Fasting

Many people naturally intermittent fast to some degree on a Carnivore Diet. But limiting yourself to an 8 hour window each day in which you can eat can help further fat loss.

Strategy #5: Before Bed

If you want to know if you’re on the right track with your daily eating, go to bed with the feeling “I could eat.” It’s not a feeling of starvation or dying to eat a meal. But just a simple, light “I could eat” type feeling.

Strategy #6: Cardio

Going into cardio and weight training is beyond this article, but a simple concept that can help continue fat loss in the “unnatural territory” is cardio. Use a progressive approach. If you are use to doing zero cardio, then maybe start doing 20 minutes 3X/week. Evaluate results. Want more fat loss, bump it up to 30 minutes 5X/week. Evaluate. Slowly progress. I strongly recommend weight training to preserve as much lean body mass as possible as well. And if you are not accustomed to weight training or cardio, I’d start with the weights, and then slowly add the cardio in from there.

99% of People

The vast majority of people never need to “tinker” with The Carnivore Diet. It is why I was hesitant to even write this. However, for those vain like myself, these strategies can help you get “unnaturally” lean – just beware of the trade-offs you make with the devil 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize body composition with a meat-based / carnivore diet, I’d highly recommend watching the Meat Health Masterclass:

71 Replies to “Fat Loss and The Carnivore Diet”

  1. I know for the bulk you said to do up to a year and the cut for I think 4-8 weeks. then reverse out. My question is how long to reverse out and also do I go back to a bulk? If so, how long for the bulk?

    1. Good question, and really this is all dependent on one’s goals as well as where they currently are.
      For example, I’m doing a 18-24 month “bulk” then, depending where I am at that time I’ll probably do an 8-12 week cutting phase, after which, I’ll gradually reverse either into another bulk or into a more maintenance mode.

  2. For all of you moaning about gaining weight/fat on the Carnivore diet, just be grateful that you body, digestiion and metabolism is working as it should be,, I’m currently under weight, I was doing loads of carbs to try and gain weight, I wanted to gain body fat, gain something, but lots of carbs just made me ill all the time,,, , this is why I started Carnivore to try and fix my metabolism, digestion , organs body, overall health .. I’ve only been doing it just under 2 weeks, I’m still under weight at present, but the day I start gaining weight, body fat, after 20 years of try, it would bring tears to my eyes, this is something I’m so looking forward to … Thanks Kevin for this site , all your input and support for everyone transitioning,, G. Bless you

  3. Kevin: I have been following carnivore since early May. I am a 55 year old female, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 202 pounds. I have a history of going to extraordinary lengths to lose weight. I have steadily gained about another 3 pounds since May. Prior to that I was doing alot of IF (no weight loss just MISERY); I did very low cal, low fat, mod carb, mod protein prior to that. Rare alcohol. Maybe 2 drinks a week (glass of white whine; Paloma made with Fresca (no cals), lime juice, Tequila, salt. I now eat several eggs a day, some ground beef , 90% of the time grass fed,, eggs are duck or free range chicken. Fish/shellfish/sea food probably 4 days a week. Steak several times per week. I eat generally 2x daily. I seem to do best this way. It’s almost as if my brain thinks I’m starving no matter what. I am at my wits end. I am thinking of going vegan (I DONT want to do this) OR Ted Naimans P:E Diet. Any suggestions?? I also do not believe I EVER burn body fat as I am so stinking miserable if I try to fast. My body does NOT burn its own body fat. It doesn’t switch to fat burning.

    1. Hi Dani I understand the frustration. If I were you, I would focus on Part 1 of this fat loss guide: https://www.kevinstock.io/how-to-lose-fat-on-the-carnivore-diet/ and I would combine it with weight training.
      What I would encourage is a long term / lifestyle goal vs a short term weight loss goal. Because the scale might not drop overnight, but as your body heals and your relationship with food heals and hormones re-regulate I think you’ll be happy you took a long term approach.

  4. I’ve been keto since 2018. I lost 45 pounds in 9 months on dirty keto then stopped when I started eating a little bit more junk during the holidays. Gained about 15 back then in January of 2019 went strict keto. Lost about 20 pounds and stalled for a whole year even though I did followed a very low carb version of keto. Then, being tired of stalling, I went carnivore in January of 2020. I lost another 9 pounds and stalled out again. When I stall I get really frustrated and bored. The SIP hasn’t helped. I went off it off and on for a few weeks but the weight has been up and down around the same 5 pounds which is normal for me.

    What I noticed during all of this is that I’m losing weight in my butt and thighs. I’ve also noticed some hollowness under my waist line. What I haven’t noticed is my waist moving at all. It’s still this annoying pourch of 47 inches and hasn’t budged. I had a 24 inch waist in my younger but after having 3 kids it never went down. Why doesn’t the waist budge? I’d take my bigger hips and boobs which are natural for me. I’m not used to having this huge waist. Oh, after a cat scan because I had some issue going on with my lower gut at one point they said I “did not have fatty liver” and that I had a small hernia near my belly button and a small heital hernia. Could that be causing the waist issue? My doc just isn’t good at answering those questions. Thanks

    1. In order to lose fat and decrease waist size, I would recommend doing what Kevin says in the guide.

      1) intermittent fast – eat the same protein and fat macros for the day but in a more condensed eating window
      For example: Eat your first meal at noon and make sure you’re done eating by 8:00 PM.
      Repeat the next day. This leaves you with 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating.

      2) Try doing a couple days per week of maintenance protein levels but very low fat cuts of meat. Some people call them
      Protein Sparing Modified Fasts or PSMF days.
      For example: On the two days per week that I do not weight train, I eat only lean meat.
      So on a normal workout day I eat 200 grams of protein and 100 grams of fat.
      On a no workout day, I eat 230 grams of very lean protein containing only 30 grams of fat.

      Do these things and you should see a dramatic difference.

      Good luck!

  5. I made it 12 weeks before messing up, due to smoking a particular herb and going on a candy binge. A day of nonsense turned into several weeks, but i’m back on it now.

    My question is, what is the real impact of taking break and eating some complex carbs? I’ve resolved not to mess with that herb anymore, but I will ‘cheat’ on vacation. We go on city breaks and its just not possible to get enough meat to sustain without cooking facilities (at least $30 for a ribeye and i need four a day).

    To be clear, i’d be happy to see a six-pack but gut health is my key goal and i cannot do FODMAPS. So the ‘cheating’ would be fries or rice so i can get enough calories in me on vacation.

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