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

Posted on: April 6, 2007.

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6,712 comments on “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise

  1. Tim I need help! I’ve been doing your 4 hour body diet for close to 4 years and have never been in better shape. However this winter, which has been very brutal in the northeast this year, I noticed my body not maintaining but rather starting to store food. My activity level is pretty high, I run 4-6 miles 2-3 times a week, I walk to and from work and back (4 miles ) 3 times a week and throw in at least two hit Crossfit like workouts a week. I have now gained over 20 lbs since my target weight last summer of 198 without breaking the diet. I have tried decreasing beans increasing veggies, postponing a cheat day to every other day or just having a cheat meal on my cheat day but nothing is working. My caloric intake is very low for my size (6.0 athletic build) yet I gain belly fat. I even went to see a thyroid specialist but levels are normal.

    Don’t know what else to do, I hope you can find some time to give me some advice.


  2. I know this is probably a crazy question and I have looked in the book and can’t find the answers anywhere …. can you eat mayonnaise, bacon and sausage on the diet?


      • Thanks Cookiepants143. I figured as much. Just thought it was worth a try. This is my third, well really 2nd week. The first week was filled with several events and lots of temptation, so I did not complete a full “stay on the diet” week.


  3. I Know this might sound dumb but I can’t lose wieght I just can’t I need motivation….I excersice for three weeks and I give up esaliy do you know anything that can help me or somewhere I can go to lose wieght ? Plz


  4. I stuck with this down to the letter for 4 weeks and a few days, to my horror not only did I not lose weight I gained it! I’m so upset, I took this very serious and did not stray even taking the cheat day once a week. I looked for trouble shooting answers in the book and saw common mistakes such as not eating enough food. I even incorporated the ice packs on my shoulders and neck before bed. I made sure to drink lots of water and only water except for the cup of black coffee in the morning. I ate within 30 minutes of waking up, I followed this exactly! I’m at a loss, I really wanted this to work and I’m not sure what to do at this point as I’ve strictly applied myself to the diet in the book. I’m feeling defeated and like there”s no hope at this point. I’m 5’4″ and 242lb and utterly miserable. I desperately need to loose the weight.


    • I would say stick with it. My progress was slow for the first month too because I already ate relatively healthy. And remember it’s not about the weight but about inches that you lose because you will be building and retaining muscle while losing fat. Weighing yourself will only dishearten you ,try measuring key areas chest, belly arms thighs etc instead. You will see movement.
      By the second month 30 lbs literally vanished seemingly overnight. Even skeptics admitted they thought I was wasting my time but saw the results come out of nowhere.


    • I had the exact same experience with this diet. Sounds great on paper failed for me. I have high activity level had gotten pretty lean doing insanity and eating paleo. Thought I would give this a try to get last few pounds off. Went exactly the other way started gaining weight and fat like crazy.


  5. Re: No fruit. I take Cranberry Extract every day. Will I need to stop on this diet (except for the “day off”)? I’ve done research and have not found an answer. Thanks!


  6. Thanks so much! This really simplifies things. I make myself nuts by trying to reinvent the wheel. By the way, it’s perfect the way it is. Don’t even try doing it! I’ll definitely update on my progress. I’ve lost 100 lbs and I have 50 to go. I’ve hit a brick wall and definitely need to do a 180 in exercise and diet. This is such a big help!


  7. This sounds legit and safe enough,i’m gonna try it starting tomorrow. I will be back to share results or lack there of. I REALLY HOPE THIS WORKS…oh thanks for the info :)