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

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6,439 comments on “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise

  1. Hey
    I’m 16 and weigh 170lb I really want to lose weight at a young age now so it won’t be hard for me to lose it later when I’m older i really want to weigh between 140-50lb. Tried the gym for a month but I can’t seem to see a difference. Can u help?
    Thank you

    • Hey Lisa. You´re sill young so you have the advantage of faster metabolism. Tim Ferris have good advise regarding proper eating plan mentioned above (though I use a different one). Follow it through with proper exercise and cleansing, you will see better results. Exercise is very tricky. You have to focus on certain areas and work it. And working out doesn´t mean losing weight. Because you will be gaining muscle and burning your fat totally. Body fat to burn is a different process.

  2. Great article and tips !
    I will add and share my personal method how I lost 50lbs in a year

    1.) A disciplined daily regiment of exercise , 30 minutes minimum to start and increase each month.
    a.) walking
    b.) walking 10 steps / jogging 10 steps – combo > increase over time
    c.) short wind sprints
    d.) resistive weight lifting
    e.) Breathing technique – As your heart rate increases and your breathing
    becomes more labored,
    Intake breath through open mouth and exhale by closing mouth and push
    out twice through your nose , contracting your lower diaphragm.
    Over time this will become second nature.

    *note* : As you exercise your core temperature rises.At a critical
    point the body will begin to overheat and shut down muscle
    function, this is experienced as fatigue,forcing you to
    stop exercising well before the muscle tissue is actually
    totally fatigued.
    To counter this,have cold packs at hand (carried in a
    backpack / fanny pack when walking jogging running )
    and when you reach your fatigue point,stop retrieve the cold
    packs and hold the cold packs 1 in each hand, making contact
    with the palm for 3 minutes.Resume exercise till fatigue is
    reached again then stop exercising.
    This method will allow you to burn more calories at every
    exercise session = more rapid weight loss in a shorter
    amount of time.

    2 .) Dietary supplement
    Exercise and Dietary supplement work hand in hand
    a.) Drink only distilled water
    b.) Make a Blender full of dietary supplement daily, using the method and
    supplements listed below.

    Monounsaturated Fats
    An essential fatty acid (EFA) that seems to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is considered a type of ‘good’ fat. Olive oil, and canola oil have this in them. You need approximately 2% of your daily calories as EFA’s. For substantial weight loss, you can increase the daily amount to 20% or higher. This may seem counter-intuitive to loosing weight by ingesting a large portion of fat in your daily diet , but remember this is the ‘good’ type of fat. What happens when you employ this method, is you trick your body’s metabolism into using fat as your primary caloric source instead of using and burning protein and carbs as the primary caloric source.

    In my case, I lost 50lbs. over the course of a year. I would use a food blender with puree setting , and add a medley of fresh fruit ,( Bananas,strawberries,kiwi fruit,mango,apple,pineapple,carrots ,1cup raw oatmeal,1/4 cup wheat germ,Low-fat Yogurt, shot of lemon juice,1/2 cup canola oil,2 scoops of a milk whey protein and low-fat milk added as you blend till your desired thickness consistency). 4 raw egg optional. You can add any fruit / veggie combo you want, mix it up for variety.
    This would make a full blender of nutrient dense easily digestible “base food” , which I would ingest 5 to 6 times daily, with small portion meals.
    Additionally I added the following supplements listed below.

    Creatine (monohydrate)
    A muscle fuel that is extracted naturally from meat and fish, or synthesized in the lab. Once it is in the muscles, creatine combines with phosphorous to make Creatine Phosphate (CP), a high powered chemical that rebuilds the muscles ultimate energy source, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). CP powers your muscles for high intensity exercise for short periods only, consequently, athletes who compete in power and sprint event will have an advantage if they take supplemental creatine. More CP in the muscle cell translates into a greater resistance to fatigue. Also, CP helps with the transfer of energy in the muscle cells, thus speeding up the action, which may enhance performances that are aerobically taxing. Reports says people who take creatine supplements may recover from intense activity faster and experience less postexercise muscle soreness.
    Creatine is a naturally occurring compound in the muscle tissue and when converted in the muscle tissue to phosphocreatine during exercise can provide sudden bursts of energy. Insufficient amounts of phosphocreatine could result in a fatigued feeling in the muscle. The Creatine Monohydrate Powder provides enough energy to delay to onset of fatigue. Creatine Monohydrate is a synthesized metabolite that is the powerful energizer providing instant energy and strength with better endurance and helps to maintain optimal levels of ATP production during intense exercise.
    Why Monohydrate? Creatine comes in several forms. Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Phosphate, and liquid form. Creatine Phosphate is much more expensive to manufacture while it offers no advantage. Liquid creatine has many problems associated with it. When mixing creatine monohydrate with a protein drink, or water, the creatine starts to become unstable. Within 24 hours, the creatine begins to change or ‘fallout’ into creatinine. Creatinine is a useless substance to the body. Thus, buying a premixed liquid form of creatine is not a legitimate product. The best absorbed form of creatine is the creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is better absorbed because it is more stable, resulting in higher concentration of available creatine.
    Creatine & ATP. ATP is the molecule that releases the energy for contraction of muscles, the breakdown and synthesis of proteins and all other reactions requiring energy. In short, ATP is the energy molecule powering all of our movements. By giving off its energy through its high energy phosphate bond, ATP is reduced to ADP. The problem is that the amount of ATP that is stored in our cells is limited. Depending on the intensity of the activity, ATP supplies can be used up by converting to ADP within seconds. So how do athletes run or workout for long periods. We can do that because there are three way to replenish ATP.
    1) You can restore ATP using energy derived from the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates. This is a slow process that occurs in the mitochondria. 2) You can restore ATP through lactic acid, which is utilized to produce energy, which turns ADP back into ATP. 3) Through Creatine Monohydrate, which helps creatine phosphate create more ATP from ADP within seconds. It is a short term, high energy backup for ATP. It does not need carbohydrates, fats or oxygen to recharge ATP.

    Creatine (titrate) optional
    Titrated creatine is less expensive than effervescent creatine, but has the same total solubality and absorbability. The result is free-ionized, soluble creatine. Titrated creatine acheives the process by titrating, or changing, the pH of the water when it’s stirred in. The altered pH solution enables more than 95 percents of the creatine to go into solution, so you get dissolved creatine.

    An amino acid. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue. Studies are beginning to show that having extra glutamine in your body may be important to maximize muscle growth, by increasing growth hormone levels. Glutamine also is important to maintain proper health, and is shown to have anabolic and anticatabolic properties. During intense training, the signal for muscle breakdown (which is a bad thing) may be the release of skeletal muscle glutamine. That means that each time you train, your muscles release glutamine which in part triggers a catabolic state (a catabolic state is synonymous with muscle breakdown). By proving Glutamine, documented clinical studies have shown that Glutamine will have a significant impact on maintaining a positive nitrogen balance which is essential to muscular development and recovery.

    Hydroxicitric Acid (HCA)
    Also known as Citrimax. Acid found in the fruit Garcinia Cambogia that affects fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Studies have shown it reduces the conversion of carbs into bodyfat. HCA competitively inhibits an enzyme kown as ATP-Citrate lyase (the major enzyme responsible for the production of fatty acid). When HCA blocks the production of fatty acids, a buildup of citrate occurs, which may cause the cell to inhibit glycolysis (breakdown of stored sugars).

    There are many other useful supplements , research the subject for a better understanding of them.
    If supplements are a cost burden, you can still achieve great results with just the blender recipe above. And above all else patience, and NO procrastination.

  3. I’m 17 and 4’11 and and weigh 236 pounds. I really hate the way I look and feel unhealthy. I started drinking only water about 8 months ago and have since lost 11 pounds. I really want to lose a total of 80 pounds overall (bringing my weight down to 156 at least). I can’t afford the healthy meals or supplements that are available. Although I walk everyday, I have very little time to work out between school, work, and family needs. What are some easy, affordable ways to lose weight? What are some foods that cheap but effective?

    • Eggs are cheap and are a great source of protein. Brown rice is also inexpensive as well. Which helps keep you full and still is Better for you than white rice. Beans are very inexpensive as well. If you can find a little time once a week to look though the coupon circlars that come in the mail you really can save a lot of money. It’s tricky to eat healthy on a budget but it’s doable. Veggies too are less expensive when you get them frozen. Or when fresh veggies are at a good price if you can buy a little extra and wash and freeze it. I hope this helps you out some. I had a very hard year last year money was almost nonexistent. This is a doable thing :)

  4. Hmmm… the “pig out saturday” is a neat concept. Many health people and diet specialists now warn that dramatic reduction in caloric intake results in the body / mind perceiving a “food shortage” (age old survival mechanism) and your metabolism drops like a rock, you get tired and you GAIN WEIGHT! I have a couple of questions though – I don’t see fish on the diet – I think fish is great for protein with low fat and healthy oils. I *love* beans and lentils – this could work for me… For “pig out saturday” for me it would be a mediterranean pasta dish, spicey, with chicken. What kills my diet is the darned snacking on unhealthy stuff. What I need is CARDIO. I think you need strength training, cardio and proper diet and REST. All four. Skip one and fuhgedaboudit – you’re done. I think healthy people who eat and exercise and sleep regularly have one thing those of us struggling don’t have: DISCIPLINE!! :P

  5. Great Post. White carbohydrates are very dangerous as well. We are all allergic to bread but for some it shows up, for some not. I for example was experiencing a lot of nightmares, head problems and thanks to one great doctor after quit on wheat products – it all disappeared.

    The eating same meal over and over again is a good way too, I like this approach, but what to do when all the family members cannot same meal for second time?

  6. what would I have for breakfast as I now have cereals to take to work I start work at 7am and finish at 4,45 pm and have breakfast at 9am we have no canteen facilities therefor I have to take my own breakfast, lunch and anything else I require to eat throughout the day how many meals would you recommend I have in that time, can I still eat fruit as I have at least 4 pieces per day, how long do you recommend to be on this diet is it a long term one or a maximum of 30 days (if maximum of 30 days how long do you have to leave it before you do it again)

  7. We simply LOVE YOU! You help change lives for the better and you are always a great read. What a wonderful human being you are. Now, to prepare for my husband’s weight loss challenge! Thank you!

  8. Hello, I am going to try this diet. I have been thin my entire life and have never had to worry about a pound. I will be 35 this year and have gained 30 lbs in a year and for the last 6 months haven’t been able to shed a pound. I am starting this today and will post as time goes in…. Wish me luck!!

  9. I was wondering if skim milk would be aloud or still leave it out. And i am 15 1/2 and about 6 feet and i weigh close to 240 lbs, should i change anything in this diet considering i am a teenager?

  10. With all respect to the author, the Saturday “cheat day” is an unhealthy practice and is not recommended. Especially the gorging. At 33 yrs. old, the digestive tract can take a real beating but why abuse it? The snickers is simply a non food. It’s on the do not consume list.
    Aside from this aspect, I have gained much benefit from the 4 hr. body and use many of the principles in the book every day.
    Thank you

  11. well, day 740. dieted off and on with this approach 2months here 2 months there, never really went crazy on off months. only ever drank water the whole time. went from 550′ish to 330′ish (-220lbs)

    simple changes are the key thing, figure out what you can give up. I used to drink 4 to 6 12oz sodas a day, which came out to about 1,000 extra pointless calories. multiply that out a week, and you get 7,000 almost 2lbs of fat (in calories)

    on off months I would eat normal things again like tortillas with my chicken, or pasta with my beef. however having been away from so many things for so many days, you don’t feel a need for certain things like twinkies or cola. you just kinda forget about them, and when you do try them again they never live up to your memory.

    guess what i’m trying to say is this, this is a simple rational approach even though it sounds like a regiment of rules. just find 6 meals you like and rotate for success.

    you are your biggest enemy, just realize being a little hungry here and there is okay. specially in the beginning, when your body freaks out from going from crazy calories to normal calories.

  12. Hello everybody, thanks a lot for sharing this, I’m thinking about starting Monday I actually have 40 lbs. to loose :/. Anyhow, I wanted to know if the repeated meals were just for one day or actually the same meal for the whole period, also please, can we use olive oil and salt in his diet?

  13. Trying loss 20lbs ..I cut out the carbs eat 4 servants of fruit and veggies a day. I do the egg whites and eat chicken fish also.its my three week..I workout 46mins a day. I weigh 148 and 5″6. Any suggestions

  14. I feel like I’m in FAIL ONLY MODE. I have been stuck at 268lbs for over a year and can’t get back to 210 (from 7 years ago), not even 240! It’s freakin depressing, but I know it’s my fault cause when I have a bad day I turn to food. Then I fail and give up. Suggestions?

  15. I can understand a little of this as I am also having trouble with the last 20 pounds.
    Larry, are you doing the following:
    1) Taking the Garlic, Green tea, and Alpha lipoic acid polycosanol supplements?
    2) Writing down EVERYTHING you eat and drink? I use the app “fit day”. Sometimes you don’t realize all you are eating.
    3) Avoiding artificial sweeteners? I notice another blogger found these stopped him from loosing weight.
    4) Doing the air squats etc ie resistance training that Tim suggests?

    If you want to try to figure out more things that might help, I found this a good site with alot of information:

    A final comment-
    It is a strange thing but for me, as I get thinner my personality and behavior change. I don’t take crap anymore, am more assertive (some might say aggressive!), so I have to come to grips and be comfortable with my new behavior at this weight. I don’t know if you have any such issues, but I mention it, in case it helps.

    Good luck and keep up the courage!

  16. My wife and I are doing this diet so that we can both lose our “baby weight” gained during her pregnancy with our second child born 4 months ago. We enjoy our Saturday splurge days, but it is really interesting that we can tell a big difference in how our bodies feel after these big splurges (cheese dip, pizza, ice cream, etc.) Is that part of the design–to remind our bodies how bad this type of food makes us feel so that we break the craving for it?