Gaining Weight On The Carnivore Zero Carb Diet?


Before After Carnivore Diet

A lot of people lose weight in the beginning of the Zero Carb Carnivore diet because when blood sugars stabilize and you no longer have blood sugar highs and lows that cause cravings, people mistake lack of cravings for not being hungry and unknowingly under eat.  So the initial weight loss in these cases is from calorie restriction, not the diet.  Due to calorie restriction your metabolism slows down to compensate for lack of fuel.  This can go on for years. If you manage to push through this phase feeling like shit and having no energy then at some point your body will demand more fuel, you become overwhelmed with cravings and a carb binge happens. A carb binge can go on for years.  I have seen people fall hard after 3 years of eating a Zero Carb, all meat Carnivore diet, from this scenario and struggle to get back to ZC. Carb addiction is real.  I’ll call this Group A.

If you are consistently eating less than 2 pounds of meat a day, lost weight at first, then started gaining and/or not seeing desired results, you are likely in Group A.

Group B

You came from fasting or some sort of restriction (fat, calories, protein) and you gain or can’t lose on the Carnivore Zero Carb diet.  I call this the “Kelly Effect”, because Kelly is the first person we saw who gained weight when eating an all meat diet.  You can (and should) read Kelly’s story about her weight gain on her website My Zero Carb Life.
If you lose weight on some other diet, due to restriction, your body is starving and unhealthy.  You will gain on this diet!  Your body needs nutrition.  There is no way to stop it, your body will not allow you to starve it to death, unless you have a serious eating disorder. You can keep doing whatever you were doing to lose weight, which must be miserable or you wouldn’t be looking for a new diet, or eat fatty meat and just let health happen.  You will gain until your body is sure you are not going to continue starving it and eventually your metabolism will kick in and fat will be released.  Until then, buy, some cute, comfy, stretchy clothes eat more fatty meat and just ride it out.

Group C

Group C is more complicated and has nothing to do with what you are eating.  Group C can happen to people who have been long term on this diet, 4 or more years.  If you are new to this diet (3 years or less) and gaining or not losing you are likely in group A or B.

If you have been on this diet for 4 or more years, everything is great, you lost weight, you feel amazing, health issues were resolved, you have loads of energy and all of the sudden you start gaining, you are in Group C.

The first thing you have to ask yourself is, “what is different in my life now compared to my life before I started gaining?”  This can be a very difficult question to answer.  This happened to me and it took me a few years and lots of research to figure out what happened and then a couple more years to turn it around. YEARS!  Not weeks or months, YEARS!  Patience is key!

I had a lot of things going on in my life that were “different”.  Menopause, over the top stress on many levels, plus I stopped exercising.  I was an athlete and exercised my entire life.  When my life got busy, I stopped exercising, because I stupidly fell for the idea, that you don’t need exercise to be healthy if you’re eating a proper diet. Boy, was I wrong!

I have blamed menopause and stress on my weight gain, because that’s the easy answer, but the catalyst that lead to my weight gain was actually stopping exercise.  I’m pretty sure my body could have handled the stuff going on in my life had I kept exercising.

Change is stress.  You may not feel stressed out, but the body likes routine.  A break from your normal routine is stress.  A new diet is stress, moving, new relationship, divorce, sickness, a new job, etc.  Fasting is stress.  Stress can be very subtle, yet have a profound effect.  I didn’t know I was stressed until I got a test result saying I had no hormones, due to adrenal burnout, caused by chronic stress.  Chronic high cortisol, leads to adrenal burnout. My adrenals could no longer produce enough hormones; DHEA, Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone and Cortisol, were all below low.

Stress was my normal, I didn’t know any different.  It wasn’t until I started to learn how to relax, that I realized I never allowed myself to relax.  I didn’t know how!  My life was about everybody else.  I never thought about me and what I needed or wanted.  So, it took me a long time to learn how to take care of me and figure out how to relax.

Weight gain and loss is controlled by hormones, not food.  Stress raises cortisol, chronic stress keeps cortisol chronically high.  Cortisol, raises blood sugar, high blood sugar causes high insulin and ultimately leads to insulin resistance and fat storage.  This can all happen while eating a zero carb carnivore diet that should naturally keep your blood sugar and insulin low! You can be eating the optimal human diet but if you have a high stress lifestyle you will be unhealthy.

You can’t out run a bad diet, and you can’t eat away a bad lifestyle. Health will happen when you find the right balance of diet, exercise and lifestyle.” – ZCDANA

As a woman, I think as we get older we tend to take more on, or worry about more things than we did when we were younger.  I know I do and I don’t even have kids.  I can’t imagine the worries parents have these days with teenage and young adult children.  Young kids are a little easier as you have more control over them, but as they get more independence in today’s world, it has got to be terrifying. Middle age women (and men) tend to start gaining weight and we blame menopause or getting older, but I think the real blame is stress.  We generally take more on, we are less active and we worry more at this age and that is what’s ultimately causing weight gain.

Ok, so what can we do about it?  For me, I had to start exercising again.  I was so burnt out I couldn’t do much.  Normally after lifting weights I’m sore for 3 days.  At this point I was super sore for 2 weeks!  My body was so burnt out, my cortisol was so low (cortisol controls inflammation) that I couldn’t recover from my workouts, so I decided to just walk.  Walking lead to hiking, which led to running and then when winter came I started lifting again. It took almost 2 years, but I finally started feeling strong again, but I still wasn’t losing weight.  What ultimately jump started my fat loss was a slight change in what I eat.

I don’t like discussing this because 99% of the people who read this will take it too far and eat too lean.  Remember, I had been on a high fat, all meat diet for over 10 years at this point.  This will not work for newbies and it won’t work if you are not already eating high fat (75% or more)!
I had to lower my fat intake.  I was eating about 80% fat for 10 years.  If you are not or have never eaten that much fat, then that’s the first thing you need to do.  You need to see what that feels like.

The healthiest Zero Carb, all meat, ancestral diet has always been based on 80% of calories coming from fat!

From “The Stone Age Diet”, by Walter Voegtlin

I simply dropped my fat intake from 75-80% to around 70-75%. (You can read more about this here) I did that by eating less ribeyes, stopped adding fat and eating more chicken thighs with skin, pork shoulder steaks and trout fried in butter with the skin.  Since I am eating leaner, I eat more meat.  I eat about 3lbs of meat a day and average 3200 calories a day and I lost all the weight I gained in about 3 years. 3 YEARS! Not 3 weeks or months! You have to be patient. Healthy, permanent fat loss takes time.

For me, I needed the exercise to mitigate cortisol levels.  Exercise lowers cortisol and balances hormones.  Being an athlete all my life kept me sane because it kept my stress fueled high cortisol under control.  When I stopped exercising, cortisol got out of control and caused weight gain and inflammation.

I don’t know why eating leaner helped. It has nothing to do with calories, because I eat more now than before when I was gaining.  We (long term Zero Carbers) have known for a long time that as we get older we don’t need as much fat.  “The Bear” (50+ yr ZCer) even mentions this.  I haven’t really figured out why yet, but it is something I have observed in the past 15 years of helping people on this diet.

What to do?

Group A gainers – Eat More Fatty Meat!

Group B gainers – Eat More Fatty Meat!

Group C gainers – Identify what is different in your life, learn how to relax, find some time for self care and  start exercising, and if you are adding fat to everything, stop that.

Note to Group A and B gainers – If you think starting off leaner is a shortcut to success you are wrong, unless you are looking for temporary weight loss.

For more information about the Zero Carb Carnivore Diet, from the long time experts, join our facebook group, Zero Carb Health.

Zero Carb Shrimp in Seafood Alfredo Sauce Recipe

Zero Carb Carnivore Shrimp Alfredo
Zero Carb Shrimp Alfredo

Isn’t it annoying when you go looking for a recipe and you have to weed through paragraphs of meaningless bullshit and dodge 56 popups just to find the recipe? Yeah, me too, so let’s just get to it!

Seafood Alfredo Sauce

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 + 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

1/2 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or more to taste

White Pepper to taste

1 pound of Shrimp (small, large, cooked, raw, with shell, no shell, whatever you have, it doesn’t matter)

I use raw, in-shell with tail because they have more taste, and I eat with my hands, so the tail makes it easy and less messy to pick up.


Melt butter with Old Bay Seasoning.

When butter is melted add Heavy Whipping Cream. Simmer for about 5 mins or until reduced by 1/3.

Whisk in Parmesan Cheese until melted.

At this point, you can add the raw shrimp and cook them in the sauce, or add cooked shrimp and serve.

This is a great Zero Carb holiday or any day, side dish.


Relax, Be Happy and Focus on the Zen

Carnivore SweatshirtBy Dana Spencer, a 14+ yr ZC Carnivore

I see so many people struggling on the Zero Carb Carnivore diet who really just need to get out of their own way.  Some of you are focused on the wrong things or living in fear.  Fear of weight gain, fear of scurvy, fear of saturated fat, fear of eating too much, fear of what your family, friends, or doctor is going to think of your meat diet.

Too many of you are hyper-focused on your looks and how much you weigh.  Every time you put on a pair of tight pants you just want to cry and all day long those uncomfortable tight pants that dig into your fat belly when you sit down are constantly reminding you of how fat you are.  I get it, I have been there, it sucks.

Continue reading “Relax, Be Happy and Focus on the Zen”

Tessa’s Zero Carb Carnivore Meat Crust Pan Pizza Recipe

Long time Member of Zero Carb Health Facebook Group shares her awesome Meatzza Recipe!

Tessa's Meatzza

Amounts don’t have to be exact, use what you like, you really can’t mess it up.


  • 1lb Ground Chicken
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1lb Ground beef cooked and crumbled
  • 2 Cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Sliced pepperoni, as much as you want
  • Diced ham, as much as you want
  • Feel free to add cooked Italian sausage or any other meat toppings you like. (bacon, corned beef, brisket, linguisa, etc)
  • Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder) or pizza seasoning.


Crust – 1 lb ground chicken mixed with 2 eggs, 1/2 the grated Parmesan cheese, salt to taste, pepper, tiny bit of Italian spices, basil, garlic powder, onion powder. Seasonings to taste. (If you need exact amounts you are not a real carnivore )

Press into spring-form pan or any pan and bake at 375 for 20 mins.

Take out of oven and top with:

  • 1/2 the mozzarella cheese
  • Then all the cooked hamburger
  • Then cheddar cheese
  • Then mini pepperonis or any pepperoni
  • The rest of the Parmesan cheese
  • The rest of the mozzarella cheese
  • Then top with the diced ham

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes


More About Weight Gain on the Zero Carb Carnivore Ketogenic Diet

BMI Chart

By – Dana Spencer

This post is mostly for people who have been on this diet for at least 6 months.  If you have been on the Zero Carb Carnivore Diet for less than that, you just have to be patient.  Removing plant foods from your diet and getting into a ketogenic state is a major metabolic change.  Your body needs time to adapt. 

Most people lose fat right away on the Zero Carb Diet, but some people gain weight.  As frustrating as this is, there really is no quick fix and for some, it may be something you just have to accept if you want to be healthy.

In my 14 years of experience and observation of people on this diet, the body seems to like being in the upper range of normal on the BMI scale.  From an evolutionary point of view, this makes sense.   More stored energy would be beneficial for survival.

If you have been eating Zero Carb and are stuck in the upper range of normal on the BMI scale, you are not overweight.  If you want to be thinner, you are going to have to do something unhealthy like, starve yourself or regularly do some sort of strength training to look the way you want to look.

Continue reading “More About Weight Gain on the Zero Carb Carnivore Ketogenic Diet”

Sugar / Food Addiction

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The Hacking of the American Mind

By Guest poster – Stephen Visio Ewen

I read Robert Lustig’s The Hacking of The American Mind last year, he was on 60 Minutes years ago warning people about the dangers of sugar and he wrote a New York Times bestseller called Fat Chance

The liner notes description; “Dopamine is the “reward” neurotransmitter that tells our brains “This feels good, I want more.” Yet too much dopamine leads to addiction. Serotonin is the “contentment” neurotransmitter that tells our brains “This feels good, I have enough.” Yet too little serotonin leads to depression.

Continue reading “Sugar / Food Addiction”

Facing Your Fears about the Zero Carb Carnivore Diet.

Eddie Aikau

By: Stephen V. (2017)
While visiting Hawaii you may learn about a famous surfer and water-man named Eddie Aikau. There is a saying in regards to whether the surf was too high, “Eddie would go!” He wasn’t crazy or suicidal. He just knew the surf break very well. He was raised to respect the danger and learned the secret was not to fight the ocean. Instead, humble yourself and use its power to accomplish your goals. Hawaiians on surfboards and outrigger canoes amazed the Europeans who first saw them. Nowhere on the planet had anyone ever conquered the water that way.

Continue reading “Facing Your Fears about the Zero Carb Carnivore Diet.”

The Zero Carb Carnivore Advanced Fat Buster Protocol

The Zero Carb Carnivore Diet is not a weight loss diet, it is a get healthy lifestyle change. If you are simply looking to lose a few pounds this diet probably isn’t for you.

Generally, The Zero Carb Carnivore Diet is self regulating and you can’t eat too much.  For example, If you eat 6 oz of meat for breakfast you will be hungry in an hour.  If you eat 2 pounds for breakfast you should not be hungry for 12+ hours, unless you are very active (Shawn Baker said he ate 7 POUNDS of meat yesterday!).  BUT, like everything in life, there are exceptions to this rule.  Some people can’t regulate their hunger and they are so insulin resistant that they gain weight or can’t lose weight.

Carnivore Breakfast
1.25LB Lamb Burger with 3 Large Eggs.
Continue reading “The Zero Carb Carnivore Advanced Fat Buster Protocol”

About Stress

Stress Curve

Andrew Scarborough’s new update on his life with Brain Cancer inspired me to write a post about Stress.   I want to point out this quote by Andrew Scarborough, “Stress raises blood glucose and I became very aware of that the hard way, but I successfully adapted strategies to deal with that.”

So many people do not understand the significance or the presence of stress in their lives because “stress” is their normal.  They don’t know any other way.  I was one of those people, stress was my normal my entire life.

It wasn’t until just a few years ago, after several years of over the top stress, and my health starting to suffer, even though I had been eating the healthiest diet I know of, Zero Carb, when I took a hormone test and found out I had 4th stage Adrenal fatigue.   I believe my diet (5 years of Zero Carb at the time) probably saved me from further damage to my health and probably aided me in recovering so fast.  (Ketogenic diets decrease oxidative stress.)

Continue reading “About Stress”