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:

Proteins:

Egg whites with one whole egg for flavor

Chicken breast or thigh

Grass-fed organic beef

Pork

Legumes:

Lentils

Black beans

Pinto beans

Vegetables:

Spinach

Asparagus

Peas

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.

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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 500 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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7,271 Replies to “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise”

  1. the articles headline is how to lose fat without exercise…so why you talking about exercise and put 1.5 hours training in the example plan?

  2. -A whole food, plant-based lifestyle is the easiest way to maintain a healthy weight.

    -Not only is it superior to any other diet on the market, you don’t have to starve yourself of foods you love.

    [Moderator: additional text and Instagram username removed.]

  3. I have been followiong ths SCD for about 6 month. I “only” lost around 12 pounds but I am 13,6% fat. Do you think I can get to around 10%? as I have not seen much progress in the last month or so.

    Lately I am restricting my calories intake in the morning to a whey protein shake, Is it allowed on the SCD?, because I had to move my squash game to

    early monring and I cannot ingest much food berore the session.

    Laslty as I am doing loads of cardio training should I indulge in some non starchy carbs or should I plan around lean proteins, beans, veggies?

    thx!!

  4. I need major help.

    I am 5’7 1/2″ and weigh 200. TOO DAMN HEAVY.

    I have a triathlon in August and October of 2017 and need to drop at least 30lbs.

    PLEASE HELP!!!!

  5. Anyone have success veganizing this diet without the use of faux meat products or tofu? Suggestions for most filling combinations? Trying to cut out all the Beyond Meat I am eating! AHHH!

    1. I have the same question! I have serious doubts that this diet can actually be healthy (note: losing weight/gaining muscle does not equate to health and no amount of research will convince me that cutting out fruit and “good” grains is health) given all my research has indicated that the WFPB diet is the most beneficial to overall health, but I’m curious to try this for a month and see what happens!

  6. Hey guys, I started the scd two weeks ago (July 3rd) and I’ve been pretty strict with the diet. Being vegetarian this has been tricky cause most of my protein comes from eggs and dal (lentils). I’m not sure if I’m making enough progress to cut the 20 pounds in the next two weeks, although I have seen results. I’m wondering if I should make any adjustments to my current meal plan to help, would appreciate any advice!

    Here is my daily meal routine:

    Breakfast:

    3 whole organic eggs fried in ghee, black beans (1/2 can), and salsa (within 1 hour of waking up)

    Lunch:

    3 boiled whole eggs + asparagus and beans

    Dinner:

    Big bowl of dal (red lentil ~35g protein)

    I also make sure to get enough water.

    1. Can eating too many whole eggs a day (6-7) be counter productive?

    2. I haven’t used whey protein isolate yet cause I wasn’t sure if I should?

    Thanks in advance!

  7. I did really well with this plan last year. I’m looking to do it again. I’d really appreciate any support that you guys can give.Thanks for sharing this post..

  8. Obesity figures have doubled in the past few decades, with a third of the world’s population now battling obesity. Obesity is now the leading cause for most lifestyle diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, cardiac disease, respiratory problems, digestive problems, ulcers and lots more. [Moderator: link removed.]

  9. I bought the book and I am following the diet, but I thought it was missing a chapter on what to do next? Once you lose weight, is there a maintenance diet that is maybe not as strict? I couldn’t find any resources on that topic.

  10. I’m in menopause n when I eat four meals a day as u say I feel bloated n haven’t lost weight it’s day two though when does weight start to shift

    Eat beans at every meal or lentil I found myself eating 2000 calories when usually I

    Eat about 1100 to 1200

    I was taught carbs put on weight

    N cholesterol is very high in this diet

    Is this good way to lose

    I’m desperate to lose n I move all day

    Long walk a lot ride bike go up n down stairs

    It’s like my metabolism just shut down

    Is it true some people cannot digest beans

    Nor lentils is split pea ok can one eat

    Tomatoes n escarole

  11. I don’t understand I stopped eating white everything,I eat brown rice,brown organic nutty bread,no meat , I eat tofu,tofurkey,tempeh and seitan ,alot of kale bag salad kits and cabbage stew with no starch and occasionally hummus with raw veggies or whole wheat club crackers, nothing is working for me is it because of my age

    1. Try reading Rule #1 again.

      Note that it says “Avoid any carbohydrate that is — or can be — white”.

      Specifically, you need to cut out the brown rice and organic nutty brown bread.

      I hope that this helps.

  12. Hello, recently tried the Enlightened Gluten-Free Roasted Broad (Fava) Bean Crisps at a party & loved them. Are these OK for the slow carb diet? I small bag has 15g carbs, 5g fiber, 1g sugar & 7g protein.

  13. Thanks for the great article. A few questions though:

    I love my carbs, but could probably give them up if egg whites and chicken are involved. However, I hate vegetables, making the rest of the diet tough. Are there any other “normal”/non-veggie foods that could be successfully integrated into the diet?

  14. Losing weight does not mean you have to exercise. This is a great example of this situation where you have to control your daily food to be able to lose weight. Great post! Keep it up!!

  15. You may have ‘assisted’ a 15 minute orgasm but one can never be ”produced”. File that under, You might be a narcissist if you think you can __________.

  16. Uhhhh… How big is the line for the 15 minute orgasm production?

    Hahahaha! I’m not doubting. I’ve had some pretty looooooooong ones myself, I mean, produced by my husband.

  17. There are three easy ways to lose weight quickly.

    1) Use only water as liquid and eliminate all other liquid drinks from your diet. You must drink as much water as possible every day. You must drink about half of your weight. If you have weight of 200 pounds then you must drink about 100 oz of water.

    2) The interval between the eating is very important. If you eat once, then you must eat next after 4 hours. You must take breakfast regularly. In the night eat your food three hours before going to bed.

    3) Walking is very good. You must walk as much as you can. Walk everywhere you can. Use of elevators and escalators must be reduced and instead of these you must climb stairs more often.

    I strongly recommend you use Red Tea detox, you can lose your weight very quickly. You must consult your doctor if want to change your diet or exercise routine. [Moderator: link removed.]

  18. I have type 2 diabetes, am 47 yrs. old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and weigh 215 pounds. I’ve been trying to loose weight and keep it off for about 10 years now. A few years ago. I went on a diet, and stopped drinking my Mountain Dew, and stopped eating my ice cream and White foods. White foods like French fries, rice, all potatoes, and especially white bread is one of the worst things that you can put in your body.

    Anyways, I’m going to try the diet from up above, and see if I can loose weight, because of my PERMANENT DISABILITIES, it’s extremely hard for me to loose weight and keep it off. Last time I lost about 35 pounds in a few weeks, but during the Wisconsin Winter, I put all of my weight back on plus extra pounds.

    GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU TRYING TO LOOSE WEIGHT AND MAKE YOUR BODY AND SOUL HEALTHIER. With weight loss, comes better Personal Self Esteem, which is one of the most important things that everybody needs to be their best.

    GOD LOVES ALL OF YOU!!!!

  19. Hi, I’m new to keto, I love how simple are your meals. I need more advices about how to have a good start. Please help. Thanks brother!

  20. I agree that it’s alright to allow a cheat day and eat whatever you want once a week. What I didn’t know though is that it can help in fat loss as well. Thanks for sharing this, it’s very informative, Tim!

  21. I started the no bread no pasta or no grains etc diet April 2 I eat fruit 3 hard boiled eggs with hot sauce for breakfast and salad for lunch than fruit for snack and than s chicken sdlad for dinner and i have not lost a pound I drink lots of water 80 ounces of water

  22. I don’t exercise my back hurts my arm is weak and I got arthritis in my left knee I use to weigh 132 I quit smoking and now I weigh 157. I need help I need to wear my summer clothes in the next month HELP HELP HELP PLEASE

  23. You are right by mentioning protein in the top list of food that will make the weight loss happens. Protein is the ultimate solution for weight loss and has multiple health and fitness benefits as well.

    Protein builds your muscle mass and keeps your metabolism boosted, these two are the major causes of more caloric loss even in your resting body conditions. Eating more protein will also keep you filled for the longer duration of time and so you will be in a better position to control your portion is and caloric intake.

  24. You say “how to lose 20 lbs of fat in 30 days without doing any exercise”, then state that you lost 25 lbs of fat doing this. However, you must have exercised. I find it extremely hard to believe you didn’t exercise. The reason I bring this up is because I was sitting at the 210 16% range and tried this religiously for 30 days. I was able to get to 205 12% range which is still good, but not the results I was hoping for. During that time period I did workout. I really enjoyed the book but I think that statement is only relevant for people who are immensely obese.

  25. I am hypothyroid and have lost 37 pounds and I didn’t need to lose that much weight. What can I eat or drink to gain weight. Please help me.

  26. I think that losing weight fast can be beneficial if it is done in the right way. It can depend much on the types of food you eat and their nutrient value. focusing on foods that have a high nutritional value can due a lot by way of helping the body to heal itself while the body is getting rid of unwanted pounds, so its important that you choose a diet plan that can help you in this area. [Moderator: promotional text removed.]

  27. This sounds good and I think I may go ahead and try the (protein, legumes and veggie) experiment. Thanks for the information. Will let you know how it works

  28. For people who have done this diet any recommendations for preparing food? Do you still use spices, butter, olive oil for flavor or is that of less concern as long as you stay away from white sugar?

  29. I am 45 years old and am trying to tone down the middle age spread. I usually don’t eat as much as per your sample plan. Usually only maybe 3 meals. Will that work?

  30. I am having a hard time with the 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. How critical is this? I have never been a morning eater but do understand getting your metabolism going. Does it have to be so much protein so quickly? I spend the next hour to hour and a half nauseous.

  31. Guideline #1: Avoid “white” carbs

    Avoid any carbohydrate that’s — or could be — white. The next foods are therefore prohibited, except with regard to within 1. 5 hours associated with finishing a resistance-training workout of a minimum of 20 minutes long: bread, rice, cereal, taters, pasta, and toast food with breading. Should you avoid eating something white, you’ll end up being safe.

    Rule #2: Eat the exact same few meals again and again

    The most prosperous dieters, regardless of regardless of whether their goal is actually muscle gain or weight loss, eat the exact same few meals again and again. Mix and complement, constructing each dinner with one from each one of the three following organizations:

    Proteins:

    Egg white wines with one entire egg for taste

    Chicken breast or even thigh

    Grass-fed natural beef

    Pork

    Dried beans:

    Lentils

    Black coffee beans

    Pinto beans

    Veggies:

    Spinach

    Asparagus

    Peas

    Combined vegetables

  32. Impressive article on losing fat.That’s a good way of losing fat and improving your diet.

    You can also add nuts in your diet as this will provide health fats to your body and will also helps in losing fat and is good for your brain.

  33. QUESTION: I noticed there is nothing mentioned here about fitting in snacks throughout the day. Is there any room for snacks such as almonds, sea salt popcorn, yogurt (and other dairy products)? Thanks!

  34. I am 20 years old student who weights 75 kilos. I know its not normal but i am planning to lose more kilo because im losing confidence to myself. At my age, i should be conscious coz im not getting any younger anymore and it’s for my health also. I love to eat pizza, burger, pasta especially fries. Yummm!! I start looking for a solution to my problem. I exercise, I make a diet. I limit myself to the food i love. But upon searching, i read [Moderator: link removed.] that CBD can help my problem. I am not sure about this. Can somebody tell their experience in CBD?

  35. I am enjoying both books. I started the Slow Carb diet a month ago. I’m 49, white, female. The first week I lost 4 lbs! Since, I’ve gained a pound and have lost nothing. (I did make allowances for my monthly cycle). I’m really not sure what I’m doing wrong. Eating black beans, eggs and turkey bacon in the morning, a protein shake for lunch and beans with either hamburger or chicken with veggies for dinner. I am eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking and drinking about 7-8/8oz of water a day. ??????? Really trying not to be frustrated but I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Help!

    1. Hi Mary, I’m 53 and I had to cut down on the bean intake. Once I went to small bean portions my weight started coming off.

  36. Fish and seafood can be taken as the animal source protein? I am pescatarian and this could be a good deal for me.

  37. Simply Amazing rules. You have covered How to lose4 20lbs of aft topic in a quite simple yet helpful way. This is awesome and I just love, Rule # 2 “Eat the same few meals over and over again” Thanks for sharing info

  38. I think the quality of the meat should be very high. Many experts recommend grass fed beef. One of the reason is the different composition of fatty acids. Grass fed beef contains more Omega-3 and CLA. It also has more Vitamin A and C and it is richer in antioxidants.

    It is more expensive however. Therefore I eat less of it but I treat myself with the best possible quality.

    I also find beef sticks, a bit similar to beef jerky. I know Tim does not recommend snack but it can be handy where there are only mars bars around… I buy them on [Moderator: link removed.].The typical Beef jerky is full of sugar and it is very hard to know the origin of the meat.

    I am curious to know where you source your beef and if you have good tips on beef snacks.

  39. To observe on from the lack of fruit being stated ,it is a perfect food for energy and breakfast meals. I would additionally point out the extra raw veg you devour is higher for you and I discover easier to prepare

  40. Thanks for sharing this useful information. I am also trying to lose 15lbs in 1 month. Taking a detox diet from over 10 days and similarly taking a lipotropic liquid supplement to burn fats faster.

  41. Correct me if im wrong.. But 20 lbs fat is about 63 000 Kcal.

    That means if one is supposed to loose it in 30 days you need to be in a 2100 Kcal deficit.. every day. For 30 days.. Right?

  42. Hi Tim & SCD Community

    Is ground turkey allowed on the Slow Carb Diet? (Scoured the web but couldn’t find the answer.) I mix ground turkey with the beans because that’s the only way I can eat them. Ground turkey is also the fastest to make. I get it from Whole Foods, but not sure of the % fat content. Just wondered if this could potentially be affecting my results. Thanks for your help.

  43. What kind of protein shake can be used in this diet? I bought 100% whey from Prozis but found another link saying only Isopure is good. I am totally confused regarding breakfast, don’t really like the beans in the morning…help!

  44. Hi Tim, Quandry……..Multiple joint issues, fusions and hip replacement, former athlete that fasts 23 hrs and eat once per day, nothing white and healthy, but cannot seem to lose. I walk an hour per day and unfortunately cannot do high intensity anymore. What am I doing wrong. Eat more often with less each meal to keep the furnace going? I have no problem going the distance meal wise but feel I kind of eat larger portions my one meal a day. Stuck in limbo.

    Thx.

    Dave

  45. Hi!!

    I am going to do this…

    My only question is does anyone have a good milk/cream replacement for my coffee it seems to be the ONE thing I just cant give up

    Thanks!!

  46. Great blog, the bit about not drinking your calories is so helpful, I wish it was that obvious in the first place!

    [Moderator: additional text and link removed.]

  47. Thank you for the comments.

    You can also try several of the following suggestions for boosting metabolism naturally.

    There are several versions of the boosting metabolism, including:

    #1. Get your protein in every meal

    #2. Don’t Skimp on Sleep

    #3. Use Your Circadian Rhythm & Try a Daylight Nutrition Strategy

    #4. Elevate Your Heart Rate

    [Moderator: additional text and links removed.]

    Thanks guys,

    Jenny

  48. Following a strict diet can help you a lot for your weight management. It’s the first golden rule suggested by many fitness specialists to follow and implement in your meal. By doing so you direct your body to consume only those compounds which are necessary to be healthy and fit. But according to me, being a fitness specialist at [Moderator: link removed.] a little exercise with a strict balanced diet can do wonders in your life.

  49. Sadly, it’s tough to stay away from the McDonalds and other fast food restaurants. I used to live in an area that housed a McDonalds, a BK, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and KFC all within 3 miles of my home (after moving from an apartment where Wendy’s was literally right outside my front door). I also used to live off of that food… and when I hurt my back and became unable to be active and became dependent on my room mate to bring me dinner every night (couldn’t get out of bed for a few days – and had trouble standing and walking for awhile after that), you can believe I added on a few pounds. My saving grace was mostly that I was only eating one meal a day because I couldn’t have him serve me day in and day out.

    I doubt the fast food chains actually put addictive substances in their food, but it sure is difficult to stay away when you become “hooked.”

    Regardless of my transgression and current crusade to lose weight, there was certainly some good information here. Thanks for the tips!

    1. If you absolutely cannot stay away from fast food, then order it without “the white” (bread, tortillas, etc.) and no ketchup (it is loaded with sugar): bunless burgers, taco bowls, etc. And read “Fast Food Nation”; fast food chains put all kinds of sugars and additives to ensure their food tastes good, and it’s the most unhealthy food you can put in your body. Period.

      If you really want to lose the weight, follow Tim’s advice– especially since you are a woman. The older you get, the more fiber, magnesium, iron, and good fats you need. And walk or do a beginner, 30-min workout video 5x/week.

      I lost 33 pounds in 5 months quitting ALL food that comes in a box or is “cooked for me” (i.e., restaurants), and by filling my plate with good veggies: spinach, asparagus, and broccoli. And 4 oz meat/3 meals: the less legs the animal has, the better: eggs, fatty fish, turkey, and chicken are the best bet.

      Good luck to you!

  50. Great post.

    Like this routine:

    10am – breakfast

    1pm – lunch

    5pm – smaller second lunch

    7:30-9pm – sports training

    10pm – dinner

    12am – glass of wine and Discovery Channel before bed

    Before read this post I watch video on
    [Moderator: link removed.] – 5 min hack to weight loss which is also nice.

  51. With all your wisdom Tim, you still preach this “one size fit all” mantra?
    How are you able to take the responsibility of such an act?

    If I would have seen this a few months back and try it, I would have ended up in hospital, and all I got is a miner case of recently discovered IBS…

    Please stop

    1. Eating veggies and cutting out saturated fat and bad carbs is healthy. This method and adding 30 minutes of any fun cardio up to 5 days/week will drop the weight; I lost 33 in about 5 months.

  52. Thanks for the tips. I like keeping it simple. I am have surgery To remove a tumor and will have limited movement for 5-6 weeks? Will this model work for me since I can’t go to the gym.

  53. I had back surgery a year ago. I do walk a mile at least every day or every other day and do stretches and lift free weights for my arms. My left hip is not bothering due to a femur that was broken when I was 16 and the back surgery. They’re telling me to do physical therapy. I would like to find some exercises that could be tailored to me. No trainers want to deal with this. Can you make some suggestions. I did buy a bike, and I have been going to the pool. However it makes it hard for me to walk for two days afterwards. I ballooned up to 190 lb from 165 in the past year some due to steroids. I quit smoking I quit drinking alcohol and now I am worse and heavier than I was before the surgery

  54. If 1 cup of cooked white rice is estimated to have 200 calories, then how on earth does a 1/2 of cup of rice have 350 calories? BRO, YOU’RE CLUELESS. SMH

    1. Hi, Richard –
      Tim’s approximate calorie count of 300 calories per half cup is for uncooked white rice, and I think you were looking at cooked.
      Best,
      Team Tim Ferriss

  55. What to do about the protein part on vegetarian diet? It is quite difficult to compensate for chicken and fish without increasing the fat level (i.e. nuts) or carbs (legumes)

  56. Love this idea and I know it will work. Problem is, I tend toward gastritis and have to be careful about eating too much like this, all my good heart- and muscle-healthy foods can tend to be difficult to digest so I can end up back in endoscopy with erosions and ulcers. Then it’s back to six weeks of the dreaded “white food diet” – exactly the opposite of how I care to eat – and a strict therapeutic drug regimen while my digestive system heals. It makes me so sad!
    I guess moderation in all things will have to continue to rule my life… but thank you for posting. All these choices are completely delicious, and I really love how generous you are about sharing the things that have worked for you.