Fat Loss via Better Science and Simplicity
It is possible to lose 20 lbs. of bodyfat in 30 days by optimizing any of three factors: exercise, diet, or drug/supplement regimen. I’ve seen the elite implementation of all three in working with professional athletes. In this post, we’ll explore what I refer to as the “slow-carb diet”.
In the last six weeks, I have cut from about 180 lbs. to 165 lbs., while adding about 10 lbs. of muscle, which means I’ve lost about 25 lbs. of fat. This is the only diet besides the rather extreme Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) that has produced veins across my abdomen, which is the last place I lose fat (damn you, Scandinavian genetics). Here are the four simple rules I followed…
Rule #1: Avoid “white” carbohydrates
Avoid any carbohydrate that is — or can be — white. The following foods are thus prohibited, except for within 1.5 hours of finishing a resistance-training workout of at least 20 minutes in length: bread, rice, cereal, potatoes, pasta, and fried food with breading. If you avoid eating anything white, you’ll be safe.
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again
The most successful dieters, regardless of whether their goal is muscle gain or fat loss, eat the same few meals over and over again. Mix and match, constructing each meal with one from each of the three following groups:
Egg whites with one whole egg for flavor
Chicken breast or thigh
Grass-fed organic beef
Eat as much as you like of the above food items. Just remember: keep it simple. Pick three or four meals and repeat them. Almost all restaurants can give you a salad or vegetables in place of french fries or potatoes. Surprisingly, I have found Mexican food, swapping out rice for vegetables, to be one of the cuisines most conducive to the “slow carb” diet.
Most people who go on “low” carbohydrate diets complain of low energy and quit, not because such diets can’t work, but because they consume insufficient calories. A 1/2 cup of rice is 300 calories, whereas a 1/2 cup of spinach is 15 calories! Vegetables are not calorically dense, so it is critical that you add legumes for caloric load.
Some athletes eat 6-8x per day to break up caloric load and avoid fat gain. I think this is ridiculously inconvenient. I eat 4x per day:
10am – breakfast
1pm – lunch
5pm – smaller second lunch
7:30-9pm – sports training
10pm – dinner
12am – glass of wine and Discovery Channel before bed
Here are some of my meals that recur again and again:
Scrambled Eggology pourable egg whites with one whole egg, black beans, and microwaved mixed vegetables
Grass-fed organic beef, pinto beans, mixed vegetables, and extra guacamole (Mexican restaurant)
Grass-fed organic beef (from Trader Joe’s), lentils, and mixed vegetables
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories
Drink massive quantities of water and as much unsweetened iced tea, tea, diet sodas, coffee (without white cream), or other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages as you like. Do not drink milk, normal soft drinks, or fruit juice. I’m a wine fanatic and have at least one glass of wine each evening, which I believe actually aids sports recovery and fat-loss. Recent research into resveratrol supports this.
Rule #4: Take one day off per week
I recommend Saturdays as your “Dieters Gone Wild” day. I am allowed to eat whatever I want on Saturdays, and I go out of my way to eat ice cream, Snickers, Take 5, and all of my other vices in excess. I make myself a little sick and don’t want to look at any of it for the rest of the week. Paradoxically, dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function, etc.) doesn’t downregulate from extended caloric restriction. That’s right: eating pure crap can help you lose fat. Welcome to Utopia.
If you enjoyed this post, check out my latest book, The 4-Hour Body, #1 New York Times and #1 Amazon bestseller. You will learn: the finer details of the Slow Carb Diet (outlined in the above post), how I gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days, how to produce 15-minute female orgasms, and more.
You can also get the Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek, which includes more than 50 new case studies of luxury lifestyle design, business building, reducing hours 80%+, and world travel.
Related and Recommended Posts:
Tim Ferriss interviewed by Derek Sivers
Tim Ferriss articles on Huffington Post
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.
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7,296 Replies to “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise”
Just completed four weeks and lost 14 lbs. (from 234 to 220). Believe I lost more than 14 lbs., since I lost 2 inches off my waist. No exercise. Age 47. The best results I’ve had from a diet ever. Thanks Tim Ferris!
Oops. My comment should read “Believe I lost more than 14 lbs. of fat…”
I love food. I just eat 5-6 times a day and focus on proteins and healthy carbs. Rice once every few days is fine. It’s great fun, allows me to get creative in the kitchen and has absolutely fired up my metabolism. Every couple of days I eat whatever I want, and I have not moved from 69kg for the last couple of months. (I am 29 years old @ 172cm)
No supplments and exercise just once a week. The real key for me was eating more than three meals a day. Oh, and only working three days a week and spending the other four playing with our baby who is 10kg and is perfect for constant dead lifts, bicep curls and playing superman (great ab workout). 🙂
The key is to just KEEP going. Even if you have a momentary lapse, be it for one meal or a whole week. When you realize you’ve gotten off course, get back on. You can do it!
244 down to 226 not to shabby see before and after pics at my site and contact me if you need a push or a kick to get going I will help you!
I just started this diet yesterday morning after a two month low-carb and binge death cycle. I am at 215 now, and my goal is 180. So far I like it, though all the legumes and veggies make me feel a little bloated, but I am thinking that will pass in a few days. Other than that I am feeling fine and look forward to introducing some exercise and of course the cheat day.
The one day a week of eating pure crap is true. I did the body-for-life program which also has this same plan…except you eat 6 meals a day.
I did it for 12 weeks…..which means 12 free days of eating ice cream, chips, fast food, chocolate, more ice cream and even a beer once in awhile….
I lost 22ls of fat by the end and gained 7 lbs of muscle while shedding my body fat % in half….it worked really well
Hey 🙂 do you know if we can have fat free feta cheese ???? Thx
Hey Tim Groupies
Thanks Tim for sharing your researched diet. I’ve been on the diet two weeks. I’m not sure how much/if any lbs Ive lost – it doesnt matter to me. But after some bumps, all in all the diet makes me feel healthier and more in shape- I run every other morning 15min and am gradually increasing for 30
Symptoms (results) of the diet have been needing to pee a lot (I’m drinking a lot more water), irritability (maybe not becuase of the diet), hunger, craving grain foods and in the first few days weakness. I’m pretty much used to eating the same four meals every day now (with a few slips). Except the day after Sat. I’m kind of like “uhhhhhhh”. The day before Saturday is actually the best. I’ll make a mental list of all the food I’m going to eat the next day while searching the cupboards and then the day of I’m not really too intersted. Oddly.
From my experience and noting others on this post, this diet is most effective with overweight people…I’ve got a BMI of 20 and I was looking to improve my lifestyle just for health-sake and felt that Tim’s diet would be a good way to flush out my system of toxins, etc.
BUT though I do feel this diet is healthy, obviously more healthy than the processed, benefitless junk that most “Americans” survive on, I don’t think IT is enough. Dr. Manny Alvarez’s book The Check List has great sections on this. To have a life of harmonious health you NEED exercise. Not just lifting weights for muscles, but cardio. Fruits have mental benefits that arent worth sacrificing for the vain weight that you may loose from excluding them from your diet. I think balance is so important. Some exercise (it won’t kill you – like this diet youll get used to it and enjoy it) and smartly-portioned meals a day of all the food groups as natural and organic as possible, plus lots of water.
Personally this is my goal – a harmonious healthy lifestyle – and though I don’t totally agree with Tim’s plan long-term though he has been doing it long-term, it’s a great kick-start for whatever your goals are and a great way to bring your body back to square one (a clean slate). Thanks – Peace
I have been on this diet since Feb and lost 8p. I’m 5’6 and 127 and my goal weight is 105. My cal intake is about 1200 – 1500/day and I follow the regimen Tim has outlined. Morning: 1 egg + 1 serving egg white (35 cal) + 1/4 cup (lentils) + spinach. Lunch is chicken or beef (4 oz) with 1/4 cup w/ lentils (beans) and spinach or asparagus – dinner same as lunch. at night 1 – 2 glasses of wine. I also train on daily bases. Why am I not loosing more weight? Sat is cheat day but I never exceed 2000 cal. Also, I drink 3 cups of coffee with splash of milk per day. I tried the supplements for almost 2 months but didn’t see any difference. Help!
You recommended supplements which will increase insulin sensitivity.
How will this effect someone who is hypoglycemic?
Anyone who is hypoglycemic, or otherwise has a medical condition (particular type-1 diabetes), should consult with their doctor before taking these supplements. Most of them can be used safely with supervision, but the dosages will affect blood glucose and insulin levels.
All the best,
Anyone who is hypoglycemic, or otherwise has a medical condition (particular type-1 diabetes), should consult with their doctor before taking any supplements like alpha-lipoic acid that increase insulin sensitivity. Most of them can be used safely with supervision, but the dosages will affect blood glucose and insulin levels.
All the best,
I am having the same problem as Mimmi! I am sticking to the diet w/ out any cheating except my one day a week, and after 3 weeks I have only lost 2 pounds. I am getting very frustrated!! I definitly expected to see better results than this!
Breakfast-2 eggs(one whole, one white) with spinich and 2 slices of lean turkey bacon & coffee
Lunch-Chicken, beans and mixed veggies
Dinner-Turkey burger & veggies
Lots of water throughout the day
Am I doing something wrong??? Does anyone have any suggestions??
Intermittent fasting is by far the easiest and fastest way to lose fat once you adapt to the fast. There’s some resources on my site if anyone is interested.
Hey Monica and Mimmi
I note that although Tim Feriss called the thing how to lose 20lbs with no exercise, he also said he gained 10lbs in muscle which means he must have been working out pretty hard.
I think maybe the answer is to do some strength building and cardio exercise as well as the diet. At least that’s what I’ve been doing. I don’t think you need all that much time wise although doing it hard when you do do it helps. At least based on stuff I’ve read and a bit of trial and error. Apparently hard muscle or heart exercies makes your body release human growth hormone which helps you shape up and look younger.
So far I’ve dropped from 17lbs in 80 days which I’ve been happy with if not quite as fast as adveritsed.
I was just wondering if the milk is kind of “off limits” what can I do for calcium? Probably can’t have any yogurt either, huh? Or do you just take calcium supp’s?
I am going to try this plan next week, after I get to town to go to the store and buy these things, I really feel like it will help me a lot along with exercise! How have people been doing? Any female’s lost a significant amount of weight and if so how much and how long?
These are great tips but I will add one to the mix, use a treadmill desk like the TrekDesk to keep your metabolism going all day. You walk at a very slow speed and it burns up the calories like you wouldn’t believe.
Why do you say “Lose 20 lb without exercising” and than talk about a
I’m going to start this diet tomorrow, but 1st, I have a few questions.
1. Is lentil soup ok? Here is the link to the nutrition facts:
2. Is it ok if I put stir fry sauce on my veggies?
Thanks for your help!
I started today, hope this really works. 6’4″ 251, last night was great, did my blowout.
Suzanne – he means that if you CHOOSE to work-out during this diet, you are allowed to have some carbs right after a work-out, like the pizza he is suggesting. You should probably read the post again… there are some other fine details you may want to be aware of…
Need some advice:
Are oats OK on this diet?
Hi, I am 33 yr old, 5’5″ and 195lb female. I hope this works! I eat tons of carbs so I know its gonna be a challenge, but hey, if its any consolation, just knowing that I’m 195lb and that I currently eat TONS of carbs should mean the exact opposite should happen if I STOP eating the carbs, right? I am psyched about the “go crazy day”, thank God I can still have my carbs, if only one day per week! I’ll let you know how it goes. I currently exercise 3X a week (cardio) and plan to continue with it on this diet. I am a little confused about being able to eat carbs after a workout. It seems this is a gray area and I like things more black and white so for me, I will be eating only lean protein, lots of veggies and slow-carbs (beans) for every meal and only have my beloved “bad” carbs on my blow-out day. Ok, 195 to hopefully 175 in 30 days….here I come. And of course, my goal weight is actually 140 so I have quite a bit more to lose after the initial 30 days. Wish me luck
so, around a year ago I was at my heaviest, about 278 pounds and I’m only 20 years old and about 5″11, so needless to say I was in need of some serious help. so since about january I made up my mind to lose weight and keep it off, and right now I weigh about 225. I have been looking for more stability in my dietary habits so from reading all the posts I got inspired again (I have been in a slump lately) and am going full into this eating plan, thanks for the posts tim
and I’ll keep you all updated
I just wanted to tell everyone about a fantastic site if you’re truly interested in knowing what you’re eating! http://www.nutritiondata.com. This site gives you very detailed nutritional information about the foods you are eating. It even tells you, in detail, all of the nutrional info about almost every fast food item or grocery store product you can think of. Just seeing what is in some of the “food” I eat makes me shudder…don’t believe me, just look up a BK Whopper when you go to the site! OMG! Talk about incentive to eat better! I’m starting Tim’s diet in two days and I’m not wasting my time wondering if I can eat fruit, oats, or anything else other than the items Tim listed. He mentioned in an earlier post that his diet in not meant to be fun, its meant to be effective. Think boot camp and just DO it!! Hoo-ahh!!
Something interesting about soy if anyone is interested (especially parents). http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53327
I am starting Tim’s diet tomorrow, I’ll let you know what happens.
does this really work?
I understand that we can eat carbs after working out because our glycogen stores have been emptied, so doesn’t that mean we can also eat carbs after waking up since our glycogen stores are usually gone after sleeping?
Thanks Tim S!!!!
I will be attending my 10yr high school reunion in September. I am anxious to try your diet. Being female it seems that diets don’t always work as well or as fast, but I am will to give it a go! I will let you know if all the old jocks were asking for my number.
Hey I’m new to this website and i was wondering if u could send me an e-mail of whats good to eat or what u normally eat and what u do for workouts cause every time i look for a website that would show me exactly what to eat or what to do for a workout routine but i can never find one
Thanks a ton
– Corey Smith
P.S. if anyone wants to tell me or ask me something my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
I have always been a proponent of vegetarianism for losing weight fast. To lose belly fat the best diet especially at night is a good plate of green salad. Once you start on this you will learn to make tasty salads( there a hundreds of recipes). And forget the calorie counts. Eat as much as you want.
Dmitry – The post is titled it “How to lose 20 lbs of fat without Exercising” The few people on here that say thay lost weight have been working out a lot. Others have done it and not lost any weight. So, I’m just trying to get the facts.
What am I missing?
The program will make you lose weight without exercise if you stick to it 100%. Obviously, exercising will improve the results and make you feel better but not necessary. However, after the first month, this program without exercise wont continue to make you lose 20lbs a month, but a good start to becoming lean. Maybe a quick one just before the beach!
I JUST STARTED DIET AND I GUESS WOMEN GET MORE ADVENTURSOME ON WAYS TO FIX THESE MEALS:)I TEND TO TRY AND THINK OF REFRIED BEANS AS MASH POTATOES, AND A GOOD MEDIUM SALSA AND BROCOLLI SLAW, YA CAN BUY IT ALREADY CUT IN THE SUPERMARKET. I WIL LET YA KNOW OF PROGRESS. I THINK ONCE I GET PAST THE BLOAT FEELING I WILL BE 🙂 or do ya ever?ANY WENT TO GYM AND STARTEING EXERCISE REGIMEN. EVERYBODY KEEP UP PROGRESS REPORTS AND RECIPES.
Hey guys there is this super healthy ice cream that i eat on this diet, do you thing it’s ok? Here’s the link to the nutrition facts:
It only has a few carbs so I thought it’d be ok
is this diet okey for breastfeeding mothers?
Can you use any herbs and seasonings for your meat/veggies/beans?
I’m assuming limiting butter and salt…but what about curry, chili powder, ect?
Hi. I got a couple of questions about this. First, I am currently working out about 5-6 times a week, doing 2 sessions karate/kickboxing, 3 of weightlifting, and also play basketball probably another 2 days a week. I obviously would have to adapt the structure of this diet to accompany my needs, but would it help towards faster muscle recovery?
Secondly, I actually am trying to lose fat, cause of an injury a couple of months ago during which I put on 5kgr, so would it cause a strain on the body if I followed this diet? Last question, I have never taken supplements, and would not like to start now. Anyway round them? Thanks.
I’ve been on this diet before and had great results. However, I had a few problems that caused me to break from it (along with the fact that I am visiting family and they don’t understand why I’m on a diet). First of all, I have a huge sweet tooth…has anyone found a good way to manage their sweet tooth during the week?
I’m going back on the diet starting tomorrow. I plan on making frequent posts here to keep me on track. If anyone needs support feel free to talk to me on AIM: darkblue439
To Ann, regarding the sweettooth.
I just stumbled upon this site this afternoon and while I’m not on the diet, I discovered something recently that helps me overcome my sweettooth. This suggestion might not be entirely diet-friendly for this diet, but the stress caused by denying myself everything I’d want is probably worse.
I noticed that I can buy a bar of chocolate, and with a normal speed of breaking off a couple pieces and chewing and swallowing, quickly consume 6-8 pieces before I feel sated. Alternatively, I can take one or two of those same sized pieces of chocolate, and suck on them slowly for maybe 5+ minutes. by the time they’re gone, my sweet tooth is often more than satisfied. nowadays it’s just one little square after dinner and that’s plenty. trick is to be aware of it, eat it slowly, savor it, resist the urge to chew, and appreciate how sweet it is. also go for something like dark chocolate for all the flavinoids.
UPDATE: My hubby lost 7 pds on this diet on his first week, i lost 4, I tend to consume too many veggies LOL, Oh and I chew Devon, so I guess I get calories. Thats so wild eating chocolate and not chewing, you dont gain weight? I really felt bloated all week, but Sunday was our splurge day we went out to eat also had icecream woke up Today Mon feeling lighter??? I guess the legumes do keep you filled up? We also are working out, ya feel better, and sleep bedtter!And its good for skin toning after losing weight:) I see this thread kinda dies out? We dont eat the pizza tho, really feel too full after having dinner, I couldnt imagine sitting eating a pizza everynite after working out then a glass of wine? To each its own whatever works, Hang in there, Kimmie
Hello to Everyone (and Tim),
Stumbled upon the website a couple weeks ago and decided to go for it! I wanted to get a quick “jumpstart”, so I began with the “Fruit Flush Diet”, last week, which lasted 3 days (bascially, protein shakes Day 1 and fruit every 2 hours for the last 2 days) to guarantee that I flush out toxins and ready to comsume lots of protein. I went from 268 lbs. to 259. The next day (Saturday) was my “Cheat Kick-off Day” and I ate…oh, carbs galore mostly (’cause I’m a carb-hound). I weighed in at 263 lbs. Sunday morning, which was ok, since I knew some was water-weight that I had dropped.
Sunday morning, I got started on this diet. I’m pretty jazzed that now on Tuesday, I’ve gone down to 257 as of this morning. Like Kimbeh (maybe it IS a “girl thing”), I decided to make things exciting in the limited menu given.
One of my favorite discoveries is cuban cuisine–case in point–I had refried black beans mixed with green chiles, mixed slaw (purple and green) with Annie’s Shitake & Mushroom vinagrette (2 tbs) and lean pork cops. I also mixed lean ground beef with veggie chili (with more black beans added). I might add that I use Amy’s Organic products, so that I was able to have the refried beans because it had, “ORGANIC BLACK BEANS, FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC ONIONS, ORGANIC BELL PEPPERS, ORGANIC TOMATOES, ORGANIC HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL, SEA SALT, ORGANIC GARLIC, ORGANIC GREEN CHILES, SPICES.”–all vegan ingredients.
I also use sea salt for flavoring and freshly-ground black pepper. Sea salt is documented as being far more healthy that table-salt, which is bleached with chlorine. Sea salt is not only natural, it is minimally processed and contains trace minerals that are good for you. I highly recommend Celtic Sea Salt, which is grey (from the minerals) and adds flavorful complexity to the food. True sea salt I might add, is NOT white.
I also try to plan a little my meals that require little to no prep time. For example, since it is full summer here in AZ, salad is my friend and easily fulfills the “mixed-veggie requirement”. Try to get mixed-blends that contain either radicchio, romaine,baby-greens, or butter-lettuce blends in the bag–NO iceberg! The rule of thumb is that the more colorful your greens are, the better. A really good salad I like is mixed-greens with grape tomatoes and a pouch of water-packed tuna on top, with ground pepper and the vinagrette. Takes like less-than 5 minutes tops to put together. I also marinate my organic and/or natural meats with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, wine, and fresh garlic, patting the meat dry before I pan-grill it. I also use olive oil and/or grapeseed oil to cook with–both very healthy fats that are essential for metabolic health.Cooking spray helps too, since I lightly coat the pan and then add a very small amount of the above-mentioned oils.
I want to add that I am very aware nutritionally of how to feed my body, but hadn’t the “time”. Thus, I ate horribly this past year (I am a teacher) in response to stress of first-year teaching and re-gained weight I had lost last summer. I have a long-term goal of getting to about 180 lbs, which is about spitting-distance to my old weight of 155 lbs. about 20 years ago. I am 42 years old (43 in about 3 weeks) and am 5′ 6″, with a rather large frame for a woman. This means that I am heavier than I appear, although unfortunately, I tend to gain weight around the stomach and breasts (an “apple”, as opposed to a “pear”…*sigh*…) I plan to add Pilates in a week or two and am doing about 20 minutes on the treadmill as of today. I also want to say to those trying to do this that I commend your courage and quest to become healthier. I will corroborate TIm here and stress that organics ARE the way to go in eating and that minimally-processed is best. Try to consume wild-caught fish as opposed to farm-raised–ladies, especially you on that one. Drink pure bottled or reverse-osmosis water and avoid foods with high-fructose corn syrup at all costs (Stevia is your friend and so is Splenda!). Read your labels. Try to eat locally-grown produce, which is cheaper. Try to shop at health-food markets like Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Henry’s, etc., which will make it a lot easier to stick to the plan, with the added bonus of having nutritionally-trained staff to help you make good food choices and provide free recipe ideas. A multi-vitamin is also recommended, preferably a whole-food vitamin as opposed to sythentic. EFA’s will also help (Essential Fatty Acids, like flaxseed and fish oils) and are easier to assimilate via supplement form (I like Sunhealth Total EFA). Finally, understand that the 20 lbs is most-likely initial in the first month, but you CAN still lose steadily though more slowly with this plan. It takes work, but in the end it’s SO worth it.
I know I’m gonna make it…and you will, too!
How many Mexican restaurants in the US offer grass-fed organic beef? Or in California alone?
@JT – Not sure what the total number of Mexican restaurants offering grass-fed organic beef, but the Chipotle’s chain makes a point of marketing themselves via serving organic beef, pork and chicken. Pretty tasty and you don’t have to have rice (I know, there’s one on the corner from work).
Suzanne – I cannot tell you what you are missing because, again, I do not know how much of the blog article/post you’ve actually read, but I would like to help. From your first post, it is obvious that you did not read Rule #1, specifically “The following foods are thus prohibited, except for within 1.5 hours of finishing a resistance-training workout of at least 20 minutes in length: bread, rice, cereal, potatoes, pasta, and fried food with breading.”
You probably skimmed over the very first part of the page also: “It is possible to lose 20 lbs. of bodyfat in 30 days by optimizing *ANY* of three factors: exercise, diet, or drug/supplement regimen.” – you choose which of the 3, Tim’s article assumes it’s DIET, in which case exercise and supplements do not matter.
What I can say is this, plenty of people have lost weight without exercising by following the outlined plan, as long as they do it right. I am 6’2″ 168lbs, and even I’m losing weight right now without exercising. No one I talk to thinks I have any weight to lose, but I am doing this to achieve definition in my abdominal muscles, which I will probably accomplish within by the end of this month. My job is time-consuming, so I don’t have any time to exercise, and thus I don’t, and neither am I allowed to eat pizza because of this (for 6/7 of the week, at least). The list of allowable food items is broken down between vegetables, legumes, and proteins in Tim’s article also – it DOES NOT include pizza, because it is to be used for those of us who choose not to exercise. The point is, if you want to eat pizza, you have to do resistance workouts, and if you do resistance work, it is ok, probably even advised, that you have some carbs within an hour or so of when you’re done.
Tim and anyone else, feel free to correct me if I am wrong…
I’ve lost 15 pounds on this diet so far, but I’ve only lost 5$ in the last 2 weeks. I eat about half to 3/4 pound of beef or ham a day, plus a can of refried beans and a can of English peas, along with a little hard cheese (cheddar, for instance) and maybe a spoon of sour cream. That’s all I eat, but I’m not losing near the 20# in 30 days. Any ideas? FYI, I’m 5’9, male, and 205 as of today, down from 220.
That was 5#, not 5$.
For the question about the sweet tooth, the best thing I have found is sugar free jello. Its cheap, sweet and has basically nothing in it. And if you want to mix it up, you can use fat free reddi whip which is also almost nothing!
Starting this diet on Monday (7/21)
And I have a few questions:
1- Is any sort of seafood acceptable in this diet? If so what kinds?
2- I hate lentils! I need some really gooood recipes to make me swallow them any ideas?
3- What is the difference between beef and grass-fed beef?
4- Is lean bacon acceptable?
5- what are some of your meal plans?
6- Are there any limits on the “cheat day”?
– Thanx for Ur Help! <3
sup i’m freshyip,
i’m gonna try whatever you wrote above, i’m 23, 167cm and 69.3kg (153lbs) and i am sick of this happening. lately my family doctor says that i’m falling into the path of obesity since i do no exercise and especially from all that excessive drinking i am constantly exposed to. i’m gonna try your steps above and see what’s up; i really wanna look hot again and don’t want them ladies just walk pass me as if i’m nothing lol… =(
Karl’s right: Chipotle Mexican Grill is a great way to stay on the plan. They offer a “Burrito Bol”, which are burrito ingredients w/o the tortilla. The meats they use are minimally-processed, all-natural–even the cheese and sour cream is from cows without the rBGH growth hormone. The carnitas are especially good. The guacamole is freshly-made, which you can easily get on the side. There’s enough ingredients in the dish to make 2 servings which means it’s easy to go overboard, but the food is really delicious!
First of all, great diet. Been using it on and off, here and there. I’ve been back on for the last six days and have lost six pounds. But I leave out the beans from my meals and eat protein(s) and vegetables only. This really works for me.
However, I have a concern about gaining weight from the “day off”. The last time I had my day off from this diet was, obviously, when I was last on it. I gained about 3 pounds from that day alone. This sort of ruined my efforts from earlier in the week, a period of 6 says during which I lost 5 pounds. Any ideas/responses??
i read this article about dieting and it catched my attention.i’m not fat but kinda chubby, i’m interested to try everything you wrote. i hope i’ll get good results. and by the way, is there any border or limit in “dieters gone wild day”??
I’ve been following this plan for 5 weeks and what can I say – it’s been the best way to lose weight that I’ve ever tried. After three weeks my friends were commenting on how much weight I’d lost, and at this point all my clothes fit great again.
Mexican, mexican, mexican. It is the key to my staying on this plan. Also, a handful of nuts periodically throughout the day is great too.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I have so much more energy on my runs – it’s incredible!
After about a week on this plan, I stopped craving “white foods” which is something I never thought would happen. So for those of you suffering withdrawal, stick to it – it passes.
Avoiding the ‘white stuff’ is one of the best tips. I like to tell people to think of white carbohydrate sources as ‘glue’.
White bread, white flour, white rice, white potatoes…essentially turns into a ‘glue’ of sorts in your stomach. White starches will only make most people fatter…there are just way too many other better carb choices, like the ones you have mentioned.
On day 6 of this diet (I’m 23, female, 5’5 and 150 lb). I’ve lost 2 lb so far and I’m happy for it. I’ve also gone to the gym 3 times for at least 50 minute cardio sessions, and I try to add 20-30 minutes strength training also.
I’m not progressing as much as other people it seems, but I’ll stick to the diet and hope I lose more than 2lb per week 🙂 I do notice I have more energy, though I’m rather cranky because of carb withdrawal.
I’ve noticed how often when I want to snack how I reach for something unhealthy! If anything I hope sticking with this diet will change my habits even if I don’t lose more than 2lb a week.
Yeah..could be good advice..except you need to make sure you still get your viatims and minerals your body needs on an ongoing daily basis.
After reading this site and most of the comments posted here (I spent a LOT of time reading these comments!) I became quite excited and decided to give this “diet” a try. I never realized just how many carbs I consumed in an average day until I read this site. David is so right — white carbs should be thought of as glue! With this new insight in hand, I feel confident I have found a plan that I can stick with and will see some real results.
Today was only day one for me, but I discovered just how wonderful these foods can taste with a little imagination! I have never been a big carb fan in the morning so cutting out cereal or toast wasn’t a problem for me. I made a veggie omelette with fresh spinach and zucchini and relished every bite. Imagine my excitement and amazement upon discovering that turkey bacon has virtually no carbs and is low in fat and calories! Tomorrow’s omelette will be even more savory than today’s.
I noticed a lot of females asking about other women’s success with this plan as there seems to be a mostly male perspective. I will frequently post my progress and gladly answer any questions anyone may have about my daily menus, if that will help anyone who is interested.
Thanks to everyone who takes the time to answer the questions posted here — many of my questions were answered as well because of it!
Wish me luck and I will keep you posted!
Why aren’t fruits incorporated into the diet?
KK brings up a valid point about women who are on this plan. I have noticed that some women are posting that they are not getting the same results as the men. I think there are some things worth mentioning–the first of which is that women have a different physiology than men do. We have a lot of things that affect our ability to lose weight and unfortunately, Mother Nature is NOT on our side.
Biologically, women are “wired” to retain weight in order to nourish their children. They also needed stamina to carry the babies and gather edible plants (‘cos sometimes those big mammoth hunts took days!). Although food is quite plentiful these days, our biology has changed little in this regard.
There is also the factor of (close your eyes, guys!) Menstruation, Pregnancy, Menopause, and all the stuff in between. Fluctuatiing hormones account for bloating and ft-retention, and willingly aid our dear Mother Nature in refusing to shed weight. This means that results are mixed. And makes it hard picturing losing weight realistically. I well remember when I was in my 20’s and was about 155 lbs @ 5’ 6″. So at an above-average height, coupled with a large skeletal frame, I was in reality pretty much where I needed to be. I worked out 3 times a week with both weights and aerobics and was healthy. I had no car, so I walked about around a lot or took the bus. But…that’s not what I saw then. All I saw was a “pooch” in my midsection, no matter how many crunches I did; breasts that refused to flatten (I was a large-cup size) and a host of other imperfections. I failed to see…
Well, I’m 42 now, and understand things a bit better. I looked at my photos the other day and was astounded at how skinny I was 20 years ago! So the realist in me wants to shed the weight, only now…if I can lose enough to put me within 20 lbs of my old weight, then that’s a victory I can live with.
All I want now is to be healthy…
Im very interested in your diet, and I can get use to eating the same things, in fact I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning, is this a bad thing. Does this fall under the bad white carb you mentioned?
The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.
— Mark Twain
This is one amazing blog posting. Over a year old and still growing!
I just found it last week and have decided to give this “way of eating” a try. I have been stunned at how easy and rewarding it has turned out to be. Nothing I have tried in years has come even close.
I am a 58 year old man, weighing in at 256 lbs. when I started Tim’s “diet” a week ago. I have battled with weight and dysfunctional eating most of my life. I also have AD/HD (just diagnosed last September). AD/HD contributes to the fact that I can’t get my eating under control because, until now, there were just too many exciting, distracting food choices, even on a “restricted diet”. What I really like about Tim’s eating plan is that the need to make constant choices has been virtually eliminated.
I love getting up every morning and making the same delicious breakfast every day. The overwhelming decisions are gone. These are all foods I really like. I use Antipasto mix with my egg whites instead of salsa. Yummy!
One of the symptoms of AD/HD is that boredom can set in quickly – I need to be stimulated to keep interested. So, I worried that I would quickly tire of pretty much the same meals every day. Surprisingly, that hasn’t happened yet. I suspect it’s because the benefits are so reinforcing.
Another big plus for me has been the big increase in energy that I have experienced. No more sugar highs and crashes. My productivity has more than doubled and I find that I can stay focused much longer.
Tomorrow is my first “binge-out” day. I think it will be fun but I am actually going to miss the un-stressful daily regimen of this eating plan.
Don’t you just love Tim Ferris!
Hey guys, I have been reading about this diet and all the comments, and have come to question if this would work for me. I am a 200lb/6′ hockey goalie and karate student, and 17 years old. I have noticed in the past month that I have been gaining some weight and eating horribly (which is probably why I am gaining weight). While this diet sounds very effective, would I be able to be as active as I am, and not be completely fatigued after workouts? Also, what could I substitute for certain things such as the wines, since I am underage and cannot legally drink those types of beverages, and what other vegetables would be acceptable? I dislike spinach and asparagus, but I can tolerate peas. Thanks in advance.
I followed a similar eating plan late last year and lost a great deal of weight in 6 weeks (not an impressive 4 weeks like you Tim!); however, I was eating one to two servings a day of the higher glycemic carbs (long grain brown rice, slow cooked oatmeal, or fruit). Also, I occasionally allowed myself 2 tbl. spoons of sliced nuts in one of my meals. I also devoured a buch of crap on my cheat day.
When I started my regimen, I weighed 165 lbs and I’m only 5’4. I got down to 140 in 6 weeks. During the 6 weeks I started strength training to build muscle and did light cardio to aid in my weight loss. I don’t know how much muscle I gained and how much fat I loss, but the results were fantastic. My eating program wasn’t as restrictive and I had to exercise to get these kind of results.
On a side note, I challenge you on the rice issue. A 1/2 cup of COOKED rice has around 150 to 170 calories (depending on the kind of rice and if it’s processed, etc.). A 1/2 cup of UNCOOKED or RAW rice has 300+ calories.
mmm an omelet with black beans and salsa. what a GREAT idea!
Actually, the bean idea is great. You can buy a bag of dry beans and with this diet it will last for a few days after cooked. Brilliant.
this post is slightly misleading… you say “how to lose weight… without doing any exercise” but then exercise is clearly part of the equation. oh well. at least it got me reading…
I was wondering about the beans. How many cans do most of you go though in a day? I would assume it’s at least 2 to fill in all your meals. Any suggestions?
Ok, I feel like I have read hundreds of posts, and I even used the ctrl-f function to find what I needed and didn’t see it anywhere. So, if this is repeated, I apologize.
What types of sauces/marinades are allowed for use on the chicken or pork? I’ve only been doing this a few days and I know I’m going to get tired of straight grilled chicken. I don’t want to add too many seasonings because salt will just make me retain water (plus it’s bad for you obviously). I know barbeque sauce is full of sugar but I won’t lie, I’ve used it. Is this ok in moderation?
Also, does anyone have suggestions for reasonable snacks? Reasonable meaning they won’t require as much prep as all of the meals do.
Thanks for your help and good job everybody!
I typically use either thick salsa (often has beans, corn, etc.) or “Montreal steak rub/seasoning”. In moderation — a thin coat and not dripping off — BBQ sauce will do minimal damage. I am a sucker for the occasional baby back ribs 🙂
I’ve been following this plan for about a week or so and I love it. I had a baby back in 06 and I lost about 40lbs of baby weight. Now I am 154lbs, my goal weight is to be around 135. I reached a plateau, I can’t lose weight easily anymore. Ever since following this plan my waist has gotten smaller, my muscles are toned, and I have a lot more energy. I am never hungry and I don’t crave junk food at all. I don’t know how much I weigh since started this eating plan. I will keep you posted.
I was really psyched when I first read this article but after following the diet perfectly for a week and a half and losing no weight my entusiasium is gone. I’m a 20 year old female, I think this diet may not work as well for women since alot of women on here seem to not see the same results as the men. I’m not really sure what else the problem could be since I did plently of exercise(cardio for 45mins & then weights for 5 days a week, and plently of walking on weekends). I ate only what I was supposed to(except on the 1 free day a week). I hope everyone else has better luck than I did.
Started this diet yesterday. After 2 days I can already see a difference. I will check back in later.
I am also female, and am just starting this diet again as I was on holidays and had visitors so I couldn’t stick rigidly to it the past few weeks. However when I did I deffinitely lost weight, but not near as much as the guys are reporting. I was loosing about 2 lb per week, not a 1lb a day! But it really showed around by middle which is one area I wanted to loose it. I am trying to loose about 14lbs, so started again today. so dont give up yet, I think it may take a couple of weeks for it to show. And I dont think that ‘free day’ is a good idea after only a week. That is probably why you didn’t notice the weight loss. I think the free day should only be to have something different like some fruit or a slice of bread, but not going mad as Tim suggest. That is just glutteny, everything in moderation! I think just have a few biscuits or some small treat, but not gorging on sugar and pizza. The idea is to loose weight and adjust your eating habits. Give it another go, dont go mad on your day off and get back on track next day.
Thank you for replying directly to my question! I know you are very busy and I really appreciate the help. Thanks again!
Thanks so much for this article! I am trying a diet very similar to this one, that incorporates high protein and slow carbs. It does allow for 1-2 whole wheat/whole grain carbs (bread, pasta, etc) per day. And also a “day off” to eat whatever I want.
I’m wondering, does anyone know if this is a safe diet in the long-run? I know there were some health concerns with high protein diets. Can a person like myself – who has about 100 lbs to lose – safely use this diet for a long period of time? At a good rate of weight loss (2 lbs per week) could a person use this diet safely for a year? Or perhaps make it a “lifestyle” or incorporate more carbs slowly after getting to their goal weight?
I have been on a modified version of this diet for about 8 months now, and I can proudly say I’ve went from 319 pounds, to 238 pounds :). I basically followed this diet, but took into account “Calorie cycling” which for 4 days you eat 15% below your Metabolic basal calorie needs. Then for 3 days you spike 5% above it. I’ve been doing 45 min to 75 min of cardio, along with weight lifting. I also bought a bowflex.
My goal is to get down to 215 pounds, wish me luck.
*I also got a girl friend, I love you baby! 🙂
Maybe I have skipped while reading comments, but I have question of few foods–whether they’re okay foods.
1) If fruit okay to eat? Or just the “Dieters Gone Wild” day? I frequently eat fruits like peach, banana, plum, etc.
2) Tortilla? I usually have burrito at the Mexican joint.
3) Yogurt? I usually have low-fat.
4) Noodle? Being Asian, this is one of the thing I really need to know. Too bad a rice is out in the first place.
Great diet ideas, no suffering or feeling deprived, healthy and they all seem like quick and easy ideas, thanks so much and congrats on a really SUPER blog site!
I love this diet, I did not know how much I would enjoy it, I tried it for 3 days before, then 3 days again, I have a husband and 5 kids so it makes it harder for me tho I am learning I can cook my stuff on Sunday for the week almost, however, I have 1 1/2 weeks to do this with no one home and I am looking forward to it, even if its just 2 lbs!
i will do your diet for 30 days and i will tell you if it works.
here’s a new update – 15+ weeks after start:
I’m still adhering to most of the reccomended foods, w/ the primary change from pre day 1 being not eating WHITE carbs…save for the occaisonal pizza slice or french fries & Coke (high fructose corn syrup – which is B A D !) on my “day off” (Sat).
I began weight training 5+ weeks ago & am supplementing w/ protien powder & creatine – sticking w/ whole foods mainly, high in protien & slow carbs. I’ve actually gained 7 lbs (due to muscle weight) from my last post – leaned down a bit, but not dramatically. Still feel great – maybe even look a bit better…comfortable in my skin again. Went to a restaurant opening last night, sampled a few items I wouldn’t normally eat daily but don’t have any “guilt” feelings over it (maybe 10 bites total, it was fun, & great to get out to an event like that!) – food cravings have been removed (for the most part, not always) and I’m rarely hungry.
the 20+ lbs initial weight loss is still off, plus an estimate of another 15+ lbs replaced by muscle (& repositioned on my frame…), so, I’m considering this a pretty good success.
How’d I “stick with it”?
I did it 24 hours at a time. They start to add up…
Keep up the good work —
I have posted a couple of times before but I wanted to give an update.
My wife and I are still on the diet and still losing weight. We both started on March 24th 2008 and she has lost 36lbs and I have lost 42lbs. I started lifting weights twice per week in June (trying Tim’s work out) and I feel and look like I have lost even more. I started out at 298 and I am now down to 256. I don’t really utilize my free days much anymore because I just don’t feel hungry for the carbs although I did get off the diet for a week while I went camping. Good luck everyone.
Thanks for all the information here. I’m going to give this ago and see what kind of results I get. Did you workout routines consist of an emphasis on cardio or weight training?
Hey, all. First I would like to thank all those who have started this diet and left comments because it helped me decide to give this a go.
Started this eating style July 1. Here are the results for the first month.
Started at 198 as a 5’10” male, 33 years old. I felt really fat at this weight as I had been 185 back in 2005, 175 2002. My weight in high school was 160 when I was a runner and athlete.
So July 31st I weighed in at 185 lbs! That is a weight loss of 13 lbs which doesn’t sound great but I definitely added some lean muscle as well as I do Tim’s weight-lifting twice a week and run 2 miles most days. So I would estimate I lost at least 15lbs of fat.
The really cool thing is I lost all the weight I had gained in 3 years of eating crap. This month I plan to lose another 10+ lbs of fat and continue to add lean muscle.
Now for comments on other things. I follow Tim’s plan very closely other than adding a slice of cheese or using a little olive oil with meals. I do this because that little bit helps me keep going as I also upped my cardio a lot.
Lean hamburger patty wth slice of melted mozzarella (60 cals)
Green beans, red onions, and green peppers sauteed in a small amount of olive oil (all from local farmers market)
This is my highest calorie meal and I feel full for hours.
Chicken breast with roasted garlic salsa
The one thing I can’t do is eat 4 meals a day, I am only doing 3 with a night mini-meal if need be.
The biggest changes aren’t the hard numbers but the visuals. When taking a shower I can see what this diet is doing and that’s the most important thing. Pants that were tight on me are loose now after 30 days. I am already eyeing all the clothes I will be able to wear again in 2 more months.
If anyone is reading this and is unsure I say go for it. You won’t lose by cutting the refined grains and sugars in your diet and you will find the lbs flying off. Set a goal and do it. My first month my goal was 185 lbs and last day of the month I hit it on the nose.
Hi Tim and everyone!
I too started this diet July 1st and the results are in!
I am a female 5′ 11” and on July 1st i weighed 175
Now today i weigh…………150lbs!!! My goal is to be 140
i didnt excercise at all but my job has been pulling me a part and i think that was a big factor. also instead of taking the esclators or elevators i always took the stairs. Also i didnt have a cheat day.. i did the first two weeks but it was too hard for me the next day to go back to lean chicken.
I’m still going to continue to follow this diet and i’m going to start jogging in the morning so i can be a bit more toned.
very happy with this diet!
Thank you TIM!
First of all, thanks for writing this article. I was eating something really similar to this for about a month and saw some results, this month i am going to try your methods and see how it goes. Here is what i’ll be eating: please do criticize and advice.
Breakfast:(Around 8:30 am)
scrambled egg (or Boiled egg)
Lunch one (around 1 pm)
LUNCH 2(around 4 pm)
1 chicken breast, lentils and mixed vegetables
Dinner(around 8pm after workout)
Vegetables and a protein shake
Now i do have a couple of questions
1. How do you prepare your lentils? When i make lentils i add alot of different kind of spice, basil and onion
2. What does your ‘sports training” consist off? is it mostly cardio ? etc
is it okay to eat steak while on this diet?
I’m 21 years old and have been on this diet for a week now. I began moderate dieting and exercise at the beginning of July and went from 220 lbs. down to 209 lbs. Mostly water weight and a little body fat. After contemplating whether to go on this diet for a couple of weeks, I decided to go for it.
I had been in shape throughout high school and freshman year of college. Gained a lot of weight after that year and then took it off to about 190 and close to 10% body fat. Then last November I broke my ankle and subsequently got incredibly lazy and ate of a lot of fast food.
After a week on this diet, I went from 209 lbs down to 200 lbs and went from a 36 waist down to a 34 waist. This diet definitely works. There weren’t really any times when I felt hungry or deprived. It also gave me a lot more energy for weight-lifting and cardio. I am really looking foward to my cheat day! My target weight is 178 lbs. But for this month I think 185-190 is a good goal. I would recommend this diet to anyone who is looking to lose weight in a healthy way.
In addition to this diet, I take a multi-vitamin in the mornings.
Thanks Tim and everyone else who posted their experiences here. They really helped me decide to go on this diet.
I’m curious…why the specificity on the type of beans and vegetables? Are red beans and broccoli prohibited for example?
Thanks in advance,
You need to buy Ketosis sticks at GNC or vitamin world if you are going to do this diet. As weird as it sounds, you pee on the sticks to make sure it is FAT you’re using as energy.
the point he left out is, instead of using carbs for energy, you use the fat in your body. One day a week i also have a “Carb up day” where i eat lots of bread 🙂
by the way, cheese can be eaten too.
Just to confirm, on cheat day. I can literally eat anything right? Ice cream, candy bars, foods higher in fat and sodium content than the norm?
Thanks in advance.
I too, did the diet and lost a solid 20 pounds in just under a month by choosing gems from each of the food groups listed above. I took a little bit of liberty substituting some legumes for others, but that was it. (Talk about winning the “pull my finger” game) Succinct, informative and effective. Thank you.
What helped me most, and I’m ashamed to stay, was the jumpstart of having been dumped. I didn’t feel like eating for awhile, so taking scoops of beans, broccoli, etc. from the salad bar at work, eyeballing the portion size for adaquacy, and sending the items down the hatch, regardless of flavor or fun was the key. As soon as I began to notice results, I gained momentum, and returned to exercise–something that had been sorely missing since I started that 12+ hour a day desk job, which I also quit in my new streamlined grandiose fashion, another story…
If anyone does happen to read this, please know that I am a true advocate and needed little more than the advice listed above and a new pair of runners. Cheers
So thanks again.
Yes, you can eat anything you want — in any quantity — on Saturdays. I tend to go nuts every 1 of 4 weeks and eat so much I get nearly sick, which makes me moderate the other 3. I love Snickers, TimTams, bear claws (and all pastries), and ice cream.
I’ve been on this diet for 1 week, and I’ve lost 6.5 pounds, and I feel terrific! Sleep and motivation are all even better!
I’m currently hovering around 150-155 at 5’6″, and have bet myself that I’d lose 30-40 lbs. by 40; I’m 38.5 years old at present…). Perhaps it’s easier for me since I’m a huge fan of beans and steamed veggies, of all kinds (but Lordy, I miss my potatoes–esp. being an Idaho gal!). This dealie also works well with crock pot cooking, for prepping on Sundays for the week (and peeps, a small note: those of you who are very busy, 1 hour up earlier or staying up late 1-2 nights a week, Ziploc baggies + recycled cottage cheese containers, hard-boiled eggs, and your freezer are your best friends. Prep, prep, prep!), and you don’t have to do anything–just let it cook.
And, doing one cardio activity 3 times a week (heck, do 3 different ones: swim one day, speed walk the next for 45 minutes.And walk/bike to work, if you can) + 1-3 days of lifting (only do speed-ifting with supersets)/ week, you will tremendously move the weight loss process along. I’m even barely starting to see my arm and tummy muskles starting to peek out… fun!
I had already started a workout program 2 weeks ago (cardio and weights/resistance bands), and I stopped eating processed food (except feta cheese, green tea, and wine) 2 months ago, but this is really boosting that weight loss factor. Best advice: refuse to use the word “diet”; this mentality is for life! Second, remember that being your true weight tastes better than being unhealthy.
But I have a question for Tim: is drinking veggie juice okay? I’ve got the low sodium V8, and I love to chug a cup of that stuff first thing in the morning, about 30-45 minutes before my workout (Oh, and if you take Tim’s “wine” suggestion a bit too libatiously, helps hangovers– ha ha).
Second, instead of bacon–which is my absolute fave–how about uncured pork strips cut like bacon (just a stripat a time, since they are thick) for either part of a meal, such as on a salad or in the eggs in the morning–will this upset my weight loss apple cart?
Thank you SO much for posting this info; it’s changing my health and life in the best direction, ever!
I’m gonna keep you peeps posted; by September 12th, I predict I will have made my goal. I’ll keep track too, on my blog: The Clumsy Napkin Chronicles on blogspot. THE BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE!
Hi Tim! I love your diet!
Just had a question: Do you recommend continuing this diet after the 30 days and 20 lb-loss? Would you continue losing weight or would the effectiveness of this diet eventually wear off? Thanks so much!