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. Hi Tim love your work sooo much thank you 🙂 is this diet suitable for a female who wants a slim feminine physique and not overly bulky & muscular? Thank you

  2. Hi Tim. I have had intestinal issues throughout my life, for example wheat and lactose sensitivity. I am prone to bloating and gassiness with certain foods. I have been trying to add legumes and beans to my diet as suggested, but am having issues with digestion. Are you able to make any suggestions on alternate foods that will provide the same nutrient density but are easier to digest, or perhaps different ways of preparing them? I use both dried and canned lentils and beans. When cooking from scratch, I usually soak them overnight first.
    I have experimented with the carnivore diet and variations thereof for the past two months and have found my stomach was perfectly silent and comfortable when eating that way. Slow-carb makes so much more sense to me though, I want to find a way to make things work. Are you able to provide any counter argument to that given by the carnivore advocates with regards to plant toxins, lectins etc. contained in legumes and beans? Any advice would be much appreciated.

  3. I’m not losing weight. I eat about 600 calories a day and very few carbs. I want to lose 25 pounds. Why am I not losing? This is my meal today. Fried cod. Took crust off. 1/2 baked potato. No butter. Salad with ranch. Snack is watermelon. Nothing works. Why?

  4. lets say you reach your target in terms of body fat percentage and muscle mass; apart of sticking to eating a set amount of calories to maintain weight, what do you recommend with regard to gym, diet, cheat days?

  5. I’ve gained over 30 lbs. in the past year alone. I weigh around 160 and I’m sick of being in what feels like a fat suit. I’m going to dedicate the next 30 days straight to your method. I will give an update to see if any weight was lost. I will be forever grateful to you if I can loose this weight. I know I can keep it off. It’s getting it off. I’ll be checking in February 3rd. Wish me luck.

  6. Being spinach is high in histamines, I try to stay away from it. Is there some other type of salad I can eat that still has nutritional value?

  7. I had a dream about stomachache and throwing up after eating too many almonds. What does it mean?

  8. I get up and cook 2 eggs and heat up a mix of black and pinto beans for breakfast every morning, and IMMEDIATELY feel bogged down/gut bomb. Sometimes I even need to take a nap right after breakfast! Why is this happening?!

    Fyi: I typically go at least 4 – 5 hours after waking up before I even feel hungry. Maybe this has something to do with it?

  9. What are non-white carbohydrates?

    Obviously “whole wheat store-bought bread” is not non-white, it’s just marketing.

    But German brown bread? What if I make my own bread using “real” whole wheat? Is that non-white?

    Or is the rule just simply avoid carbs (like an Atkins)?

    Love your books!! Thanks!!!

  10. This tip is beneficial if they are consistent with it. Weight loss is not a one-day goal but a long-term goal. Do you think weight loss supplements can help more in this diet plan?

  11. Hi Tim, I’m big of your book (4 Hour Body).
    Now I’m on Slow Carb journey for 1 week. For the cooking, I can use Margarine replace Butter?

  12. any recommendations for lacto vegetarians (no egg, not meat, no seafood) ? Wondering how can lactose vegetarians can avoid white food at all. It will be helpful to get tips from community. Thanks.

  13. What about Oatmeal, Almonds and Walnuts?

    And what about Berries(raspberry blackberry & bananas

    I have hit a Plateau after 50lbs.

    All I eat is egg whites with 1 yoke. Lentils quinoa kale Greek yogurt (whole milk)
    All kind of seeds flax chia coconut flakes and Vital Protein powder Collagen & peptides.

    I just started fast waking 3 miles a day this may help.

    Should I cut out the fruit? Oatmeal?

  14. In the damage control chapter of the 4-Hour body, you state that you were 9.9% bf on Saturday morning (start of the binge) and 9.6% bf on Monday morning, 48 hours later.
    Was there anything critical that you did on Sunday in-between that contributed to this outcome and is there any evidence that you could binge more frequently and still experience weight loss?
    It’s Sunday and I miss the bingeing from yesterday. Trying to find an excuse to cheat again, but also genuinely interested.
    Do you know of anyone who has successfully lost a significant amount of fat using a higher frequency of binge eating?

  15. Hi Tim, I really love your slow-carb diet – I feel great on it BUT I’m really plateauing. I’m following it pretty strictly and I’m not going to bore you with the details, but I would like to know if its important to stick to the proteins listed? For example, I have two eggs instead of one egg plus egg whites, for breakfast. Some days I have tinned tuna, some days I have chicken. Should I be adhering to the listed proteins more strictly? Thanks in advance.

  16. Your work came up during a “catch up” call today with a former co-worker that is now across the country. Until recently a marathon runner and now at almost 70, I’ve let myself slow down and put on dangerous extra weight. I’m starting my program tomorrow. Will check in in 10 days