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Fat Loss and Body Composition on the Carnivore Diet

Fat Loss and Body Composition on the Carnivore Diet
Fat Loss and Body Composition on the Carnivore Diet

How does fat loss and body composition work on the Carnivore Diet?

In this article you’ll learn how to approach losing fat and improving your body composition with the Carnivore Diet.

Physique, Fitness, Fat Loss and Performance on the Carnivore Diet

Many people’s fitness goals when starting the Carnivore Diet fall into a few categories:

  1. How to lose fat
  2. How to build muscle

And how to build the physique you want while feeling good, not starving, and making it sustainable long term. The Carnivore Diet is an exceptional way to finally discover fitness AND health. This is the ultimate goal, to look great AND feel great. (The keys to this kingdom are in the Meat Health Masterclass which you can watch at the end of this article)

Warning: If your #1 priority is short term fat loss, the Carnivore Diet may not be the best choice.

But if you want to have a body composition you love, long term, along with health, you are in the right place.

The first place to start when using a meat-based, Carnivore Diet, to create your ideal body composition is getting adapted. Use the 30-Day Guide to get there.

For some people this takes 3-6 months, for other it can take years depending on the damage done.

Getting Adapted

Nearly 100% of people see a drop in performance while getting adapted to the Carnivore Diet.

Don’t go carnivore if you have a strength training meat (pun intended) this month.

Strength tends to catch up and improve quite rapidly. More glycolytic type training, like hypertrophy training that bodybuilders tend to focus on, takes a bit more time to get to the level you were at. It also takes more time to regain some of the muscle fullness (which might always be a bit less full than if you incorporated carbohydrates).

It takes many athletes 3-6 months to recover their prior level of performance, however, after this recovery period I’ve seen people who had not been able to make strength or size or performance improvements start to shatter their previous bests.

During adaptation you may experience increased soreness. Explosiveness takes some time (the highly glycolytic stuff) to get back. Strength generally goes up quite rapidly, but athletes can take up to 3 months to get fully back up to speed before dominating to new heights.

If you want to find a diet where you can feel and perform amazing while having health (ENERGY, FOCUS and VITALITY), the Carnivore Diet is one where you can have your steak and eat it too.

Before diving into some of the common questions PLEASE read this on “TINKERING” with the Carnivore Diet. It’s absolutely not something you want to do when starting. But for thriving carnivores that want to tinker, there are strategies to stay on protocol while optimizing for various variables like strength or size or fat loss or endurance or performance.

Post Workout Carbs and Cortisol

Many people worry about the elevated cortisol. Post workout carbs are often used as a strategy to lower cortisol post-workout. But these transient spikes in cortisol isn’t something to worry about. Your steak is all you need. As a thriving carnivore, your chronic systemic inflammation is low day in and day out. Acute inflammation from a workout is good and natural. Your delta between your chronic systemic inflammation and your localized acute inflammation as a carnivore is large which is good, your body knows how to allocate resources most effectively to repair and grow those muscles you just put to work. Just feed it the resources it needs. Steak. Your non-carnivore friends have a smaller delta between their chronic systemic inflammation and their localized acute inflammation. They likely have chronically higher cortisol levels and allocation of resources for repair are not as efficiently resourced because some need to go help the whole body inflammation (chronic) and some to the (acute). It’s important to see the forest through the trees.

Plus, there’s no difference in glycogen replenishment eating immediately vs 4 hr post-workout.


For most people, and most people’s goals, there’s no need to supplement. For example, creatine is a proven, effective, safe supplement. But red meat is the best source of creatine there is. Most people’s creatine stores will be “topped off” on a Carnivore Diet. Adding a couple grams a day probably has little to no negative impact, but also likely no benefit.

Protein Supplements: You’ll almost always be better off eating whole, real, meat. 

Counting Calories and Macronutrients

Being “aware” is better than being “analytical” here.

For example, if you are focused on building strength, eating a bit more is going to help. And if you’ve gone through the adaptation you likely have a good idea on average how much you eat, of what, to thrive. If you are wanting to gain strength and size you need to give the body the raw material (steak) it needs to add on this growth. All this requires is eating enough, and if strength or size has stalled you may need to eat just a bit more.

If you are wanting to get really cut. Being aware that you need to fulfill the equation: burn more energy than consumed. Generally you just need to substitute in slightly less fatty cuts, and burn some more energy.

Stalled Weight Loss

Weight loss is not linear. Most people who are focusing on fat loss and have above 10% body fat for males and 15% for females, just need to continue to eat meat and heal. They need to throw out the scale and just trust the process. Healing can take 3-6 months or a couple years depending on the extent of the damage. Focus on good nutrition, health first. Then focus on getting stronger and fitter. Lift weights, increase your HIIT capacity. Stalled fat loss should trigger you to focus on increasing strength and cardio capacity, not decreasing meat.

If fat loss has stalled and you are wanting to get super cut, see the Meat Health Masterclass at the end. Naturally, the body doesn’t like 4% body fat, so you have to force it there.

Regained Weight and Plateaus

Remember – weight loss is not linear. And weight or fat gain when starting a carnivore diet is not uncommon. As hard as this sounds, you have to trust the healing process. You need to throw out the scale. You need to keep eating meat when hungry until full. Your focus during this healing time should be on getting healthy first.

If you want to learn more about how to discover your ultimate body composition with a meat-based / carnivore diet, I highly recommend watching the Meat Health Masterclass:

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  1. Hi Dr. Stock,
    Just heard of the Carnivore and I am curious. I have yo yo dieted most of my life. The last diet was Nutrisystem and I lost 50 lbs. 2 yrs later and the 50 lbs is back. My end goal is 100 lb weight loss. I have been round my whole life but in my early fifties this is not a good thing. Any suggestions on where to start and whether or not this diet is for me? I LOVE meat by the way, so that is a plus. I am starting to lose hope at this point and would love to find something I can stick with.

    1. Hi Rebecca, if you want short term fat loss than I wouldn’t go this route, however, if you are looking for a way of eating to get healthy (which often has long term fat loss as a consequence) than I think this could be a great solution. People with a background of yo yo dieting often need to focus on getting healthy first (fixing metabolic issues) which can sometimes result in weight gain in the early going.

  2. Hey doctor Kevin thanks for answering our comments but this is really just anecdotal a for your other readers not so much to elicit any kind of comment from you. I’m a 55 year old post menopausal woman Who is 5′ 4″ tall at this point 200.6 pounds With roughly a 115 pounds of lean body mass I’m very muscular I have very dense bones and I have a lot of connective tissue so to speak. From years of yo yo dieting from many rounds of antibiotics and from a binge eating disorder I went from about a 140 which is a phenomenal wait for me up to my current weight. I have never felt full in my life and probably when my hormones were at their best which was about 15 years ago I could go to dinner with friends and stop eating but I think it was more of AI don’t know why it was just something I didn’t at the time have to control but with a binge eating disorder I never felt full I would eat a meal and then go want to graze. I noticed within 36 hours of starting a carnivore diet that all of a sudden I had a hard fast shut off point with my appetite I would take a bite of say grass fed ground beef Burger or a grass fed steak I would take a bite the next if I was full and I was done the next bite would be disgusting to me and I just knew I was done I have never experienced this in my life. I also had to hip replacements both on my left side the original and then a revision the Anastasia caused both thumbnails to fall off and they never grew back I was left with just the the rough horrible epithelial beds. My left thumb nail has grown back and I noticed yesterday that a big chunk of dead tissue fell off the right thumbnail and healthy nail is growing beneath it. I from stress and men a pause but mostly from stress I have lost about 50 to 60% of my hair I am really praying that my hair grows back in. I will keep you posted of course I would like my wait to go down but I understand from reading multiple accounts that while my body heals my weight may stay stable or even go up a little and then once my hormones are normal my weight will drop. I’m actually OK with this I’d almost rather have my hair back then to have if you gave me a choice I’d like my hair back I had gorgeous hair. I have never experienced anything like this in my life this works it really really works and I can tell like yesterday I did not eat enough though one thing I find is I don’t I never wanna have to force myself to eat but I’m finding that just a little bit satisfies me and I get that I hit that stopping point I may need to eat several times A-day in order from myself to heal to eat enough calories to heal my metabolism because it doesn’t take long before again I hit that beautiful miraculous stopping point that I’ve ever had in my life I will keep you posted as to my journey thank you I love your website and II love your 30 day ultimate guide.

  3. Hi Doc, I’m a 5ft 5 inch 41year old woman with pre-diabetes, I started the Carnivore diet 2 weeks ago weighing in at 83kg 36% body fat, today I weigh in at 80.7kg 35.1% body fat. I’ve tried to work out how much I need to lose to get to a healthy body fat % and I’m looking at 10kg. Have you any advice and tips to help me on this journey. I’ve felt so much better on this WOE already !

    1. Hi Lisa, yes, this is a very common question (I am actually going to be answering this vary question today on an Instagram Live stream if you get a chance (https://instagram.com/kevinstock12) to tune in – it should be live for 24 hours and then I will post it up in the VIP area of my website – https://kevinstock.io).

      But to address some of it here:
      The first thing to keep in mind is that weight loss isn’t linear.
      Periods of seeming stagnation are often followed by subsequent renewed fat loss and vice versa.

      But what I think is more important here is your overall goal. I’ll assume it’s a long term one of achieving a body composition you are happy with and feeling good and being healthy. If that’s the case, I’d highly recommend not starving yourself. That can work to achieve a short term weight loss goal but will almost certainly fail long term. This is why I don’t recommend extended fasts early on or any kind of restricted eating, rather to eat until satisfied. Many times people are in a hurry to hit their fat loss goals and often do “too much too fast,” hit a plateau, and it can be more challenging getting past this wall.

      “Failure” isn’t going to be a result of eating too much meat, it’s going to be from trying to use willpower to overcome hunger, and then caving into donuts and pizza and giving up.
      If I were you I’d do two things:
      1. Eat meat until satisfied, don’t force yourself to fast or undereat
      2. Start resistance training – make it your goal to get as strong as possible.

      If you do these 2 things with a long term “lifestyle” attitude, I’m 100% confident you’ll find the success your after.

  4. What are your thoughts on taking a daily multi vitamin to make sure I am getting all the vitamins and minerals necessary. Also would you recommend i stop taking my pro-biotic supplement?

    I am interested in carnivore for the weight loss aspect, but also to help with psoriasis.

    1. If it helps with peace of mind than perhaps it could be helpful, but in general, no I don’t think a multi is necessary or beneficial for most people. (for poor diets, yes, I think they can be helpful)

  5. Hi Dr Kevin,

    This post was very helpful to me. I’v been struggling with intestinal problems since about 15 years and think I have tried everything (different diets, yoga, acupuncture, kinesiology… and a lot of complements) and spent a lot of money without satisfying results. I also have hypothyroid. Since 20 days I’m on carnivore (no eggs no diary) after 8years lchf and 1 year carnivore/keto.

    No difficulty getting 100% carnivore but no big changement neither, and that’s what makes me doubtful.. until reading this post, and all your guides. When reading successstories it seems easy and quick, but now I realize I must be patient and realize it can take months and even years to heal and get better.

    Thank you for this realistic guide, it helps to keep going even when I don’t see big differences and gives patience!


  6. Thank you again. I will certainly put my focus on real foods, as I have been and stop worrying about how long I wait until I eat. I think intuitively we know these things, but it’s just nice to hear another person’s perspective and sometimes that’s just enough to calm some nerves.

    You’re doing a wonderful thing for many of us, I don’t want it to go unnoted how truly thankful and grateful we are to you for your patience and time with us all.
    Have a wonderful night and thank you again 🙂

  7. Hi Kevin,

    Thank you again for taking the time to answer all our questions and concerns. I’m wondering if you could give me your insight on having a whey isolate shake post workout (fasted cardio and weights first thing 5:30am) or whether I should continue to fast until lunch time which is when I’m about ready to knock anyone down to eat and I absolutely thoroughly love and enjoy that first meal of the day. However, I’ve been noticing some days I can almost start to think about ground beef while working out..lol , I’m a female and trying to explain this to my husband how I can fantasize about beef is beyond him..;) However, my goal is to lose some weight, and yes like everyone else build lean muscle, so a recomp I guess. However the goal of starting the carnivore way of eating was to stop the terrible depression and thoughts of suicide, which it has helped tremendously!
    I was thinking of bringing some whey isolate with me to the gym and mixing it up in some water post workout then a few hours later eating my official first meal of the day, as I like the feel of not having a large volume of food in my stomach first thing post workout, but I’ve also noticed I can get “hangry” from time to time and certainly more lately as my training has progressed.

    I’m wondering if you think this would be a good idea and whether you suggest I toss some form of fats in with it so it’s fat and protein or where it’s post workout should I shoot for straight whey isolate where it’s insulinogenic which helps stimulate PS, where adding fats might slow it down. I would greatly appreciate your feedback and whether you’ve noticed any significant differences in either of these post workout. I was thinking of tossing some extra salt in with the shake post workout as well, and if adding fats either substituting with fish oil possibly. I hear lots of great things about olive oil, walnut oil and or macadamia nut oil mixed in the shake(more keto obviously), but that’s obviously not carnivore.

    Thank you again. I just don’t want to mess this up as it obviously has detrimental effects on my brain and mood. And I’ve come a long way from where I once started, thank goodness! Have a wonderful day and chat soon.

    1. Hi Angelica, some good questions!

      First – if you haven’t gone through everything here, this is where I’d start: https://www.kevinstock.io/how-to-lose-fat-on-the-carnivore-diet/

      For most people (and most people’s goals) they are better off eating meat than supplementing with protein. There are some scenarios where I think whey protein can be ok, but these really are the exception.

      The post-workout whey can cause some blood sugar issues, especially post workout and having not eaten for an extended period of time.
      If you like fasting until lunch that’s an ok option. I don’t think it’s optimal from a muscle building perspective, but it may be optimal for you for your goals.

  8. What is MPS? “Muscle Protein Synthesis”? ,

    So if OMAD is not optimal for building muscles, how many times a day do you think one must eat as a carnivore to get optimal muscle development? It would seem that eating three or four times a day might be optimal for that, but that would get in the way of eating to satiety every time one does eat, or so it seems.

    1. Yes, muscle protein synthesis.

      Yes I think 3-4 times a day is more optimal than 1.

      But I don’t see how that gets in the way of eating to satiety (which just means eating to satisfaction/comfort).

  9. Hi Kevin — Due to following both your advice and that of Amber O’Hearn to make sure to eat to satiety, I started eating only one meal a day (OMAD-CARNIVORE) about 32 days ago. I was pushing myself away from the table, not eating as much as I wanted for the few months prior, as I was attempting to find a way to experience satiety on two meals a day (TMAD) and still not eat too much in the evening so as to not affect sleep in a negative way. Anyway, I love OMAD-CARNIVORE, for now I always eat to satiety, eating five poached eggs, four chicken thighs with the skin, and a half-a-dozen quarter pounders of grass-fed beef. (3 lbs of meat plus the eggs). But I’m wondering if OMAD is bad for putting on muscle. Does not getting fresh protein throughout the day get in the way of protein synthesis?. I’m done eating each day by 1 or 2PM and don’t start to eat again until 23 hours or so hours later, and while I love the satiety and the simplicity of life-logistics only having to prepare food once a day, and the way having an empty stomach helps me to sleep earlier, deeper, and better, I think I may be experiencing some strength loss in my workouts (HIIT workouts followed by resistance training 2x a week and working my legs with a dozen flights of stairs five days a week, up-one down one, repeated 12x every day of the week except Sun. and Thurs, as I workout on Mon and Fri mornings. I may add a resistance training session without any HIIT on Wed. Maybe that will help. Not sure. In any event, is OMAD less than ideal for attempting to gain strength? I’m a 60-year old who is 5’9″ and 158 lbs. as of this morning. But I’m hoping to put on about five pounds of muscle, as a foot injury for over a year led me to lose about that much muscle mass, I’m guessing. Thoughts?

  10. Hi Kevin,

    I’ve only been on the carnivore diet for a week so far (I’ve eaten nothing but rib eye steaks and some tallow). My main symptoms are an extreme lack of energy, constipation and my gut feels weird.

    I’ve been eating about 2.5-3 lbs of ribeye steak. I’ve been adding a couple of spoonfuls of beef tallow to this as well. I haven’t lost any weight yet and, although weight loss is not my goal, I wonder if this is a sign that I’m consuming too much fat? Could consuming too much fat also contribute to a lack of energy?


    1. Hey Josh I wrote 2 guides specifically to address these questions, I’d recommend starting there (with the 30 day guide and the fat loss guide – both of which you can download here). Pretty sure they will answer your questions far more thoroughly than I can do here in a comment – but after reading let me know if I can help/you still have questions

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