Picture this: you've started the carnivore diet because you're ready to transform your health once and for all. You've read our article on what is allowed on the carnivore diet and you've grabbed some of our carnivore crisps to help keep cravings at bay while meeting your dietary goals.
And yet, you see no difference in the mirror or on the scale. What gives? Why am I not losing weight on the carnivore diet?
There are five potential causes you haven't seen the weight loss and body composition changes you were hoping for. It could be as simple as time - you haven't been on the diet long enough. Or, maybe you're still in caloric surplus despite eating the right foods. It could even be that you're not drinking enough water, you're constipated from the new diet, you're stressed out - or some other unrelated cause.
Whatever the case, we're here to help you determine once and for all why you're not losing weight on the carnivore diet despite eating the right foods. Before we get into the five common culprits for this frustrating occurrence, let's address a common question we get asked: can you lose weight on the carnivore diet in the first place?
Can You Lose Weight on the Carnivore Diet?
Yes - you can absolutely lose weight on the carnivore diet. In fact, when done correctly, you'll watch the weight fall off effortlessly! This is just one of the many benefits of the carnivore diet. There are a few reasons the carnivore diet works so well for weight loss.
First and foremost, you're eliminating just about all sources of carbs. Your diet is primarily made up of animal products. That means meat, of course, but occasionally you'll eggs, approved types of dairy, and other animal-based products. All of these sources are high in protein and fat, and low in carbs. Or, in the case of eggs and meat - zero carbs!
By eliminating carbs, you're forcing your body to use fat as its primary energy source. This process is called ketosis and it's why the carnivore diet works so well for weight loss. With that said, keto is an entirely separate diet. We have an article addressing the key differences between keto vs carnivore.
The elimination of carbs isn't the only reason you lose weight on the carnivore diet, though. You also end up eating less food to feel full. That's because protein encourages greater satiety (the feeling of fullness) compared to fats and carbs.
And to top it all off, a high protein diet - like a carnivore diet - increases your metabolism. This turns your body into a fat-burning powerhouse, essentially burning calories while you rest.
Knowing all this, it can be incredibly frustrating to star the carnivore diet to lose weight only to see yourself in the same place you started. Don't worry - it's probably one of the five things below holding you back from your goals.
Why Am I Not Losing Weight on the Carnivore Diet?
So, why am I not losing weight on the carnivore diet? We're going to help you make the necessary changes to your diet or lifestyle so you can open the floodgates to weight loss. First, let's rule out the possibility that it's just too early to see results.
It's Too Early
How long have you been on the carnivore diet? It's important to remember that progress doesn't happen overnight, and it can take your body some time to adjust. There are even some instances where, at first, you'll gain weight on the carnivore diet. Don't sweat it - this is just your body reacting to a major lifestyle change. With that said, how long to lose weight on the carnivore diet should you expect to wait?
this obviously varies from person to person - your starting body fat percentage, your metabolism, your activity level, and your diet all influence how quickly you see results. For some, you'll see noticeable changes in the mirror and on the scale after 2-4 weeks. For others, it can take beyond a month.
We encourage you to give the diet a full 3 months before making any judgments as to how it's working. Think about how long you've not been on the carnivore diet - that's a lot of poor eating over the years you are undoing.
One piece of advice we have for you to help stay focused and committed through these early stages is to take progress pictures. Get a sense of where you're starting from, and retake the exact same picture (angle, lighting, etc.) every week at the same time. You will notice that comparing week 1 to week 4 shows some noticeable changes. Comparing week 1 to week 8 is even more astounding. Eventually, you'll look back and barely recognize the person in that first picture!
Excess Caloric Intake
If you've been on the diet for a month or so and haven't seen any sort of movement on the scale or in the mirror, it could be that you're eating too many calories. The fact of the matter is, even the healthiest foods - in excess - can contribute to weight gain, or at the very least, restrict weight loss.
So - figure out how many calories you burn on a daily basis. You can use an app for this or take things more seriously and get tested professionally. By knowing this maintenance level caloric intake, you can then start tracking your calories. The goal is to get into a caloric deficit, which is where your body burns more calories than you consume. To compensate for the lack of calories and still have energy, your body will be forced to burn fat stores instead. This is how weight loss occurs.
All of this is to say you should be in a 100-200 calorie deficit for slow, steady weight loss. If you want to speed things up, go for a 500-calorie deficit - but just know that more isn't always better. If you starve yourself you'll pay for it in the long run. the goal is to achieve sustainable, healthy weight loss - and a slight caloric deficit is perfect for this.
In addition to cutting a chunk of calories out of your daily meals, you can get in a caloric deficit another way...
Lack of Physical Activity
If you aren't exercising at least 3 times a week, it's no wonder you're not losing weight! Trying to maintain a caloric deficit through dieting alone is tough - which is why burning more calories throughout the day is so important.
You don't have to do anything crazy like join a Crossfit gym or start training for a marathon. Increasing your physical activity can be as simple as a morning or evening walk around the neighborhood. Or, consider ramping things up by biking or jogging. Try to find activities you enjoy doing so you stick to the habit.
Along with burning calories through cardio workouts, it's worthwhile to make strength training a part of your regimen, too. We know what you're thinking..."I'm trying to lose weight, not bulk up!". Hear us out, though.
When you build lean muscle mass, your metabolism naturally increases - and you burn more calories at rest. This means that by lifting weights or doing other forms of resistance training you can make your weight loss goals more attainable!
Inadequate Water Intake
The last two points we made are in relation to getting in (and staying in) a caloric deficit. Most of the time, this is what's holding people back from losing weight through the carnivore diet. They assume that because the diet consists of eating healthier foods, it's a magic bullet to weight loss - but you know now that's not the case.
However, if you know for a fact you're in a caloric deficit and still not losing weight on the carnivore diet, it could be that your water intake is inadequate. There is an important relationship between hydration and weight loss.
Water plays a pivotal role in helping your body get rid of toxins and fat stores, so if you're not drinking enough water, your body won't be able to function optimally when it comes to weight loss.
It goes without saying that to get the most out of the carnivore diet (and any other diet) you should drink more than 8 glasses of water each day. Shoot for 10-12 and watch the pounds come off in no time!
You're Already at a Low Body Fat Percentage
The final reason you're not seeing weight loss on the carnivore diet could be that you're already at a low body fat percentage. There's an interesting correlation between how much body fat you have and how quickly you can burn it off. When an obese person starts making changes to their lifestyle, they see a lot of results early on. But as they make more and more progress, continued progress becomes increasingly difficult.
All of this is to say that if you're currently at 5% body fat, getting down to 4% is going to be a serious challenge. And at a certain point, you need to question if your goals are healthy or attainable. If you're preparing for a bodybuilding or physique show that's one thing - but getting to a single-digit body fat percentage might not be the right goal for everyone.
Your genetics and lifestyle influence what body fat percentage is optimal for you - and at a certain point, you'll hit a wall and reach your genetic potential.
Other Potential Reasons You're Not Losing Weight on the Carnivore Diet
The reasons above are the most common for why one may not lose weight on the carnivore diet. However, weight loss is a fickle thing - and there could be any number of underlying issues holding you back. One common example of this is stress.
If you have been under a lot of stress lately, it can cause an increase in cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Elevated cortisol has been linked to weight gain and cardiovascular disease. You need to find ways to keep your stress levels in check if you want any kind of successful weight loss journey.
Another issue could be a more serious underlying problem - like a hormonal imbalance. This could be why you're not seeing weight loss despite following the carnivore diet perfectly. Or, maybe it's your thyroid. Hypothyroidism has been linked to weight gain, so if you've recently gained weight and can't lose it, you should speak to your doctor.
At the end of the day, why you're not losing weight on the carnivore diet could come down to any number of things - some within your control and some outside of it. But don't give up just yet! With some strategic changes to your diet and/or lifestyle, you can make your weight loss goals more attainable. We'll provide some tips below...
How to Lose Weight on the Carnivore Diet: Additional Tips to Help You Shed Some Fat Fast
Our article offering carnivore diet tips and tricks for success is a great resource to help guide you through this journey. You'll learn how to do carnivore diet on a budget while still getting incredible results. But here are some pointers in the meantime:
- Get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough rest can interfere with your body's natural weight-loss processes and make it harder for you to control cravings.
- Increase your protein intake slightly if you're not seeing results. Protein has been linked to increased fat burning and more satiety, so increasing your daily protein intake could be just the kickstart you need to see some progress on the scale again.
- Add some intermittent fasting into your routine. Intermittent fasting is an effective way to burn fat fast, as it forces your body to use existing energy stores (aka stored body fat).
- Start incorporating more physical activity into your life. Weight loss doesn't just come from dieting, but also from exercise. Even if it's something simple like 10 minutes of walking a day - any sort of movement will be more beneficial than none at all.
Other tips include drinking more water, coming up with healthier stress-coping strategies, and eliminating unhealthy snack choices. For many, the issue of failing to lose weight on the carnivore diet is a matter of failing to control cravings.
Our carnivore diet snack list can you help you fill your pantry, office drawers, or gym bag with approved foods to keep cravings at bay. You can't go wrong with Carnivore Snax meat snacks.
Not sure what meat snacks are? These are essentially meat pastries that melt in your mouth. With just two ingredients - meat and salt - they're sure to supercharge your weight loss efforts. Give them a try, we have a wide array of cuts to choose from for every carnivore out there - including beef chips, brisket chips, ribeye chips, steak chips, lamb chips, chicken chips, or pork chips.
Final Thoughts on Why You're Not Losing Weight on the Carnivore Diet
Finding success on the carnivore diet isn't as easy as some people make it out to be; in fact, there are several potential roadblocks that could prevent you from losing weight. The good news is that you now know how to lose weight on the carnivore diet. By addressing the potential issues that are holding you back, you should be able to get back on track and start seeing results again in no time - so don't give up just yet!
With the help of our meat chips, you can satisfy your cravings without getting in the way of your weight loss goals. And because we only source through regenerative farms, you can feel good about making an ethical snack choice. So what are you waiting for? Get yours today and kick your weight loss journey into gear.