How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise

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




Black beans

Pinto beans





Mixed vegetables

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”

  1. If all a person is looking for is weight loss, this method of eating may help temporarily but if they are looking to get weight down and feel better and improve their health, they should look elsewhere!

    Why would you support drinking diet sodas when there is so much evidence as to the all the ways it is harmful to humans– especially “drinking as much as you like” of it. Also, adding extra healthy fat (coconut oil, grass fed butter, olive oil) is a great way to add calories and control hunger without hurting your gut with an onslaught of legumes at every meal– most people do not prepare them properly and have gut issues when they eat them, a sign that it may not be the best thing to eat.

    While I understand that every body responds differently to food and there is no one way to eat, I think it is important to focus on eating healthy whole foods and avoiding processed, inflammatory foods/drinks like candy bars, diet sodas, etc. You can have a cheat day to get that spike in calories without eating stuff that does absolutely nothing for you nutritionally.

  2. hi chris i read your post and i liked it. i am 5.2′ and weigh 167lbs. i have been trying to lose the weight and got stuck to 160lbs and i wouldn’t lose nothing no matter what exercise i do mostly running, skipping and eleptical. please can you advise me on what to do. i want to lose 20lbs in the next 40 days .please help me. thanks.

  3. I absolutely appreciate your approach to giving information. The facts, a few funny anecdotes and we are on our way.. I’m a yoga teacher with a new yoga biz and I just finished The Four Hour Work Week. Thanks to you I have a girl taking care of my social media (which I hate) and she will take over more as needed. Now I will conquer French and fat loss in record time and efficiency. MERCI BUCKETS.. 😉


  4. Oh k this some to out there really lose 20 lbs in 30 days. Will can’t be that crazy I tried different types of diet so I guess I will try this one two for one week. Will let you know who it goes.

  5. I am 10 pounds away from my goal. I’ve loved being on the 4HB diet, but now starting to wonder what the transition to “maintenance” should look like. I’d hate to gain all the weight back in the next few months. Or is this something we just do indefinitely?

  6. I am 35 years old. I am 210 pounds currently and not of muscle. I need to make some changes in my life. I had success from atkins a,few years ago but can’t seem to get motivated no matter how bad I feel. I also just found out my testosterone level are well below the normal levels. Any inforation or success stories or tips would be greatly appreciated.

  7. I have a question. Does Post Grape Nuts (or the generic equivalent) fall under the “white carb” category? I eat them at breakfast for the high insoluble fiber content. Would this screw up the dietary balance? Tim, anybody, please give me input…..

  8. Hey great stuff! I’m going to try it! I have been doing no grains and no dairy for awhile, but I don’t feel like I am losing weight. I feel better, but haven’t lost anything. I was wondering though: WHAT CAN I EAT INSTEAD OF SPINACH? I am allergic or something cuz my throat gets very tight when I eat it.

  9. This post has helped and inspired me to make some changes. This post really encourages and motivates me. I also loved reading The 4-Hour Body. I’m going to start by just changing my breakfast for 1-2 weeks as recommended in your book The 4HB. Looking forward to sharing my results with you.

  10. Hey Tim, I want to give this a try but I have a couple questions:

    Are other veggies ok (broccoli, carrots…)? are Nuts in or out? Fruits?

  11. These Steps are really effective I really think so, since the goal here is only to lose weight without killing yourself with strict diet programs imposed by some. Now, I would like to know if this kind of diet can be incorporated to workout routines. If so, what kind or type of workout can be best associated with this. BTW, just a beginner. Thanks!

  12. I did not succeed to do it in 30 days, it took me 3 months to lose 10 kilos 🙂 and additional 1 months to lose another 4 :-D. Now I’m stable on 80 kilos (have been for about 2 months). The best part is that I have gained experience about who I am and found a way to handle my eating! Tim u r the man, thanks!!

  13. Mr. Ferriss. Thank you. If you would like I would give you a long answer to what this program has done for me, I have been a diabetic for a long time. I am 67 yrs old. You probably have added yrs to my life, One month lose of weight about 10 lbs. glucose readings never seen before. contact me and I will explain how you have done what doctors and diets have not been able to do. .Again Thank you sir. Diet education priceless.

  14. I’m currently in my 4th month of the Slow Carb Diet and have seen incredible results! When I first started I was 170lbs, being overweight given my height is 5 feet 4.5 inches, now, I currently weigh 110lbs. Its amazing how Tim changed my life. I used to lie to myself that I’m fated to be heavy. That I was “Born to be this Fat”. The heaviest I’ve ever been in my life was 187lbs. I got myself a personal trainer then, but I felt exercise alone wasn’t doing much for me, simply because I rewarded myself too often and only managed to lose 15lbs over a longer period of time (1 year).

    My advise would be to those who are in self doubt of whether the Slow Carb Diet works, I have to strongly agree, that it does take time to get used to something different and new, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be glad you’ve taken the first step, and that is placing trust in yourself.

  15. Thank you, am gonna give it a go.

    Ive lot 5lb, and am fealty motivated.

    Carbohydrates are the sin!!!!!!

    -thank you for your amazing post.

    Kind regards to you…….

  16. I just read this and bookmarked it for reference. .I will begin using your ideas on meals today, and look forward to my body changing for the better! ! 🙂

  17. Do you have to have the legumes with every meal? What if I only pick from two columns and have just chicken and veggies for lunch? Also, are tomatoes okay? And can I use any spices/marinades such as salt/pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic?

  18. My first week and only lost about 2.2 pounds… I did have fruit though is that why many I did lose as much as I hoped???

  19. Hi my name is Shelby and I am 20 years old I have recently been eating stuff that is not healthy for me and I’m afraid that I might end up like the rest of my family diabetic if I don’t change my eating habit I am 205 pounds I don’t look like it and I don’t feel like it but I want to lose 60 To 80 pound off of me please help me and give me

  20. How about fish? I don’t eat pork and I’m not much of a meat eater. I eat meat once a week and I don’t wanna eat chicken everyday so, is fish an option?

  21. How long in the 6 weeks does it take to start losing weight? I have been on the diet one week and notice (measure) no change; I expect it will be later, but when?

  22. This diet sounds awesome and very manageable! I would really like to be in shape by this spring 🙂 But I have a few questions? See I work crazy hours ranging from 3pm-11pm and sometimes I do doubles 3pm-7am. I’m wandering if this diet will work for me because I sometimes don’t eat till 6pm which is when I usually get my dinner break. So if I’m not eating till that late and sometimes I have to eat in the middle of the night, should I just eat my meals a few hours apart?

    Any tips or information would be really helpful?

  23. This is cool and perfect if you’re not a big fan of going out for a run or lifting those weights. I love breaking my sweat and being drenched in it after a hard workout session. Nothing feels better than a good exercise.

    On the other hand, good post and I hope I can get my cousin to follow these steps exactly but she’s not a big fan of dieting either. lol

  24. I’m been religiously on the diet for 2 weeks – not a trace of difference & can’t imagine any change in 2 more weeks. Sticking with it but very confused … any suggestions appreciated!

  25. Lol, I don’t really think smoking pot is going to help anybody lose weight. If anything you’ll smoke, lay out on the couch, get the munchies and splurge!

  26. This is such a terribly flawed diet.20 lb of fat in 30 days?? So having a calorie defecit of 70,000 calories in 30 days? Not to mention that losing so much fat at once is unhealthy and you’re unlikely to keep it off.. I lost 22lb in 4 months – And that is damn good.

    If people can’t be bothered to be focused on being healthier (instead of just losing weight) then they will be fat their whole lives.

  27. Hi there, how much fruit are we allowed to consume for the diet to follow through smoothly? Also, what about protein bars? Can they be included?

  28. My fiancé and I tried this diet- followed it to the T and after a month, neither of us lost a single pound. I cook everything from scratch, so we are many different meals, but all of them were within the guidelines for the diet. I guess it just does t work for everyone.

  29. This is horrible advice! It feeds into an uncontrolled, sugar-spiking, unhealthy binge at the end of the week out of boredom.

  30. Tim I tried the 4 hours body diet in your book before but in my off day (staurday) I gained so much weight that I spend the rest of the week loosing those pounds.

  31. I am 5’3 and I weigh about 143 lbs. I feel very unhealthy and I wish to lose weight. I will try to take vlogs of my journey with this diet. I will try to upload them to YouTube. I hope this works.

  32. Are protein shakes OK in the slow carb plan? (specifically we use 100% whey, typically mixed with almond milk and veggies – obviously we’d skip the fruit we’d previously been adding)

  33. Hi Tim!

    I’ve found your website and i found it very inspirational an educational. I’m looking for to lose 25 lbs. My current weight is 144lbs. When I was healthier and so energetic I used to weight 119 lbs.

  34. Can i just say, i was SO glad to read that you have breakfast at 10am and go to bed at 12am! Just to read this/hear about someone who’s very healthy (no doubt) and loses weight ANd eats candy and junk food but dOesn’t get up at 6am, eat branches and pure vigor, then hit the gym for 8 hours was SO nice. Thankyou. For putting reality and realistic-ness back into perspective.

  35. Sorry but on the long run this is not healthy, too focused on proteins. Please do read dr. Gart Davis “Proteinaholics” or the books of dr. Esselstyn or dr. Campbell or dr. Fuhrman, or dr. McDougall. Fast weight loss doesn’t mean that you will keep that weight for ever, on the contrary. And, more important, this is unhealthy.

  36. Great post! I especially like the once a week cheat day. I absolutely agree, eating 6-8 times a day sucks. Even though it is very effective for fat loss. I’m going to try some of those legumes. Thanks.

  37. Hi, I am 18 years old, 5’7 and weigh about 218 pounds. I would really like to try to lose weight within the next two weeks for a wedding and to continue after for myself. I’ve tried the low carb diet but I find it extremely hard to have the motivation to continue it longer than a week. I don’t each much junk food, only on occasion and I do try to walk as much as I can. Does anyone have any ideas?

  38. I’ve attempted this several times and seen huge success. 16 pounds in the first two weeks (about 380 starting weight). My struggle is about 18 days in when I cave. I don’t know why, but this seems to be my breaking point. Any advice from anyone on getting over this hump?

  39. It’s been 10 days since my wife & I started this regiment & although I have lost about 5-7lbs my wife has not lost any (potentially gained 1-2lbs) despite matching almost exact food intake. We of course have much different body types & sizes but it’s odd & a bit discouraging, any advise or tweaks someone can recommend?


  40. Hi,

    I just want to thank you Tim for this diet.

    After only two weeks following your instructions, I don’t know how many pounds I’ve lost because I refuse to weigh myself, BUT, I always considered myself to be a glutton, alwways being hungry and thinking about food..

    The feeling of perpetual hunger is gone …

    I feel FREE …

  41. Hi Tim… Ok, I have been bumping into your YouTube videos or web sites off and on for a few years now, and I just so happens today I am in a review state of mind. You are one……

    Sexy, badass yet grounded intrepid spirit. Lord have mercy.. Thanks for being you… Your intrepid spirit makes every time your life energy crosses my path that much more, intriguing. Because it’s the universe saying hey take a look here, think about that.. Perhaps you needed to know this.. And finding various gurus of this new age where we are discovering new limits of understanding of self and how we fit into this place, such as you, brings me to remember the primordial thought. Gratitude, for living in this age.

    For as many challenges as there are in this world. There are priceless experiences that all of human history until now, such souls as ourselves have been waiting to be able to experience and experiment with.

    And now I have begun, my own journey in health discovery and lifestyle transformation, I can even better appreciate what you are sharing. Meeting your essence online yet again is rather unexpectedly cool. Sending you peace, in all the emanations of that word. As I salute your inspiring light.

    Namaste! Lailaorchid

  42. Hi I’m a 11 year old girl, I’m 4’11 and I’m 125 pounds. I REALLY need help losing weight because I need to fit in my sisters sweet sixteen dress. I need to lose at least 25 pounds in order for me to fit into that dress. Is this diet safe for me? Can I do this diet? My parents will basically do ANYTHING to make me lose weight. If I do this diet, is it safe? PLEASE HELP ME SOMEONE!!

  43. what about fruits?do i eat?i have a 45 minute workout routine of a little bit of cardio(15 minute dancing or jumping rope) and some toning exercises for legs and belly,do i keep doing it?

  44. I have tried so many

    Diffrent things to lose and I always end up havier than when I started. I’ll give this a try I sure hope it works

  45. I gained over 100 pounds in 6 months after my sons death,I went from 169 to 278 w/o care for life.

    It has been 16 months and i am ready to live again,feel again & rid this depression of also now being obese!.

    I would like to lose it with a high protein inexpensive grocery store bill the entire family can eat together easy meals fast results (possibly) 5-6- months?

    If someone can help me truthfully, honestly i would be grateful.


  46. Hi Timothy,

    I have started two months ago with your your book and have lost 10 kilos in 2 months. I am very pleased with the results and am planning to lose another 15 kilos before the summer. I have also started my own blog, where I report on my daily progress and issues [Moderator: link removed]

    Thanks and kind regards,


  47. I’m 5 ft tall, at 181lbs. I want to lose 40+ pounds in 2 months. Some of the food items mentioned are a bit too expensive. What are some other options that I can benefit from as far as fast weight loss.

  48. This is the first diet i feel will work for me!

    I only have one question, i work mon-fri 11-5 what should i do about my first lunch? (I work at chipotle, we are not allowed to have breaks before 6 hours.)

  49. im 30 years old three kids one c section gaining weight fast never have been over the size of 9 what is a supplement i can take to decrease my belly fat and tone my body. I am able to exercise minimal however do stay active. Please any idea’s I need my SEXY back. Lol, krista

  50. Hey im 14 and im 190 lbs and need to lose weight fast. So can u tell me wat i must do? i also hav harmonal problem (periods dont come and go on time) so i went doc and she just said the its due to that but i wanna lose weight so plz plz tell…

  51. Yes my name is britney i need help losein weight i had to big boys and now i get sad i eat all the time and its makein me get big and it makes me sad because i have a 2 year i need help losein weight. Plzz so i can plqy out side with my kids

  52. Could one piece of fruit daily such as an apple or banana be added to your slow carb diet? If not, what negative affects would that have on trying to lose 20 in 30?

  53. So, two things.

    1. what do you think about Using AGG as a pre-workout stack with a little cottage cheese and a cup of coffee ? Would there be any detriment to muscle gain ?

    2. Is there a way to combine the Keto Diet/Slow carb/fasting over a period of months for the optimal ( beyond 40lbs weight loss ) life style ??

    Thanks for any help


  54. I’m an admitted Kombucha addict. My intake has creeped up and I’m wondering if that’s why my belly fat has increased. I’m vegan, a yogi, aerialist, and don’t eat any white or starchy carbs. When I drink alcohol, I stick to tequila (no sugary craft cocktails although they are delicious) and red wine.

    I know you say not to drink your calories. Even though Kombucha is so healthy, is the 120 calories a bottle adding up in my body even though I’m accounting for those calories and stay within 1,500 a day?

  55. Please look at the latest research and rethink the recommendations you’re offering. Meat, dairy, and eggs are all horrible for you. They *might* help you lose weight, but they also wreak havoc with your body, hormones, and heart, in particular. TIm, I thought you were all about the hard science? Time and time again, animal products have been shown to be the leading cause of chronic illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers. What good is losing weight if you end up dying of heart disease, which most Americans do? Check out How Not to Die, The China Study, and Forks Over Knives.

  56. Reached my goal day before yesterday, started on 105 kg, scales read 95.9 kg after exactly 4 weeks – I reached my 96 kg goal. Lost 9kg – about 20 pounds. Followed this strictly including eat anything on Saturday. Other effects – diet is bland so taste buds can taste rich food better now. Cannot tolerate spicy food any more – jalapenos too much now. Water is very important, the weight only comes off if you drink lots of water. Drank Coke zero on occasion also. Went out for rice free burritos when couldn’t be bothered cooking. Ate same meals otherwise every day. Enjoyed a soy flat white coffee many days. Now weaning myself off the diet, but will continue with many foods such as the breakfast. Will never have dairy again. Also, I had a clearer head meaning I thought differently and more positively a week after starting. Body being fed with what it actually wants.

  57. Hi I just was wandering I have type one diabetes with insulin pump I am over weight I am 5.2 and I am 177 do you think I can do that diet I need to lose weight for 30 days please I need help