*Disclaimer – this post has some pretty insane nutrition advice, and should be considered informational in nature. While I never recommend anything I haven’t personally tried myself, you should consult your doctor before doing anything mentioned below.*
Recently, I had a friend start drilling me about the specific tactics I used to lose so much weight (a little over 10 pounds) over the past month.
So I thought maybe I should make a post on it; teach you how to do the same thing.
Before I get into the specifics, I feel like there’s one thing I should mention to you first – the outlook I had going in that made this all possible:
For my overarching thought process, I highly recommend checking out my post “Meta-Improvement (or: How I Lost 10 Pounds in 30 Days).” I would not have been able to lose the weight without this big-picture approach.
OK, after reading that, you still want the tactics?
Really, if all you did was just read that post, you’d probably be well on your way to just figuring out the specifics for yourself…
…you sure you still want me to tell you?
Ok, here we go.
My promise to you is simple: if you can finish this article and do what I say, you’ll be able to lose at least 10 pounds in 30 days.
Strap the fuck in.
Tactic 1: Focus Exclusively on Fat Loss.
Apparently, some people can mix in all kinds of different types of training – including resistance training – while losing fat.
This is extremely difficult for me.
Now supposedly, strength training is great for fat loss. Almost all the fitness experts say to incorporate it, in order to lose weight. And there’s good reason for this: the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns, even at rest.
So if you want to lose a lot fat, you should incorporate some resistance training, right?
In a word: No.
No, I don’t think you should. Not if your goal, right now, is to lose as much fat as possible over the next 30 days.
In my experience, any type of resistance training makes me hungry, which makes me eat more, which makes me gain weight – or at least, it makes it difficult for me to actually lose weight. It’s a confounding variable.
While it is really good to do muscle work – and certain months, I do focus on that – I found I couldn’t do it during this month of rapid fat loss.
To really lose weight quickly, I had to focus purely on fat loss and NOTHING else.
That meant NO strength training AT ALL, during this time.
No Cross-Fit. No dumbbells. No pushups. No dips.
I understand. This flies in the face of most fat-loss advice.
For exercise during this month, instead of doing anything hard or heavy, just go on walks. Seriously. If you already do go on walks, try some real gentle walk/jogs.
Do this as frequently as possible, but keep it light and low-stress.
Tactic 2: Focus on Fibers/Vegetables.
I used to think of nutrition in terms of the three macro-nutrients (aka “macros”). If you don’t already know, the 3 macros are Proteins, Fats, and Carbs. Broadly speaking, everything you eat falls into one of these 3 categories. In the past, I used to try to eat more protein, and fewer carbs.
I was missing the point.
I now view it as follows. Here’s what I want you to tell yourself, if you want to lose weight:
There are 4 Macros.
Protein, fats, carbs, and fiber.
(Technically, fibers fall under the category of “carbs.” But just try this framework out.)
The last “macro” – fibers – refers to crunchy veggies: bell peppers, carrots, kale, cabbage, snap peas, green beans, chard, turnips, lettuce, radishes, brussels sprouts, etc. etc.
Now here’s the secret: About this “fourth macro,” fiber…
Eat as MUCH of it as possible.
That’s it. That’s all I want you to do.
Don’t worry about anything else.
Don’t worry about the other “macros.”
Don’t worry about moderation, measuring food, or counting calories.
Just simply eat as much fiber as you possibly can.
Pick just a few veggies you like to start, and then eat a METRIC FUCKTON of them. Seriously, at least TRIPLE the amount of crunchy, fibrous veggies you’re getting. Like, eat more than you think you should. View every meal as a precious opportunity to get more crunchy fiber into your body. (No, you are not going to eat “too much” veggies, that’s very difficult to do.)
If you just had ONE thing to focus on, forget about everything else and focus on this.
Now maybe you appreciate the simplicity of this approach, and are excited to give it a try.
But maybe you’re like me – and you think vegetables sound boring.
Do vegetables sound boring to you?
Hahaha…I thought you might say that.
If that’s the case, then I have a very fun experiment for you to try. Know that I attempted this myself:
Do not eat ANY fiber or ANY vegetables for a week. Eat only highly processed fast food.
(Don’t even eat brown rice, oatmeal, nuts, or whole wheat bread. They have some fiber too.)
JUST eat Domino’s, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., and any other fast food you can think of, as well as Oreos, ice cream, white bread, and whatever “treats” you want. (Low-fiber foods. Refined, processed foods. Fast foods.)
NO salads, that’s cheating.
Check the ingredients – if it has more than a tiny amount of fiber in it, avoid it.
You may want to have piles of some of your favorite veggies ready for later, because by the end of the week, you will be CRAVING VEGETABLES LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER.
And from then on out, you’re never going to think of vegetables the same way again.
And this is how you train yourself to permanently love vegetables.
I did this experiment myself, and started craving veggies after 3 days. I had to stop the experiment and go eat two salads.
Honestly, you’re probably not going to last the whole week either. And it’s going to profoundly change how you view food.
So yeah, in summary, get yourself to crave veggies, then eat a bunch of them.
(Oh, and as long as I’m talking about stuff that you should eat, I’ll say this, too: You can also eat as much lean meat and fish as you want.)
But yeah: as much of your diet as possible should come from fibrous veggies for the next 30 days.
Tactic 3: CUT refined, added sugar.
Your body needs some fat. It needs some carbs. It needs protein. It needs some sugar – the naturally occurring kind that comes paired with fiber, in various plants.
Your body literally has no need for refined, added sugar.*
(“Refined sugar” refers to…well… the stuff you’d probably just call “sugar.” Table sugar. Sugar that’s not found naturally occurring in something else.)
You don’t need it. At all. It’s pure extra energy, that is very readily available, almost never gets fully used, and then gets stored as fat.
(*I should say, if you’re breaking Tactic 1 and doing ‘real’ exercise, you get pass: you can have sugar. But right now, we’re focusing on losing weight as quickly as possible, and just walking a lot. So we’re not doing that.)
Refined sugar also affects your gut biome, literally changing the makeup of the bacteria in your gut, in a way that makes you gain weight. Go check out Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s website FoundMyFitness to learn more about this.
(I’ll clarify, in case it’s not already obvious: anything that has “added sugar” in the nutrition facts definitely has refined sugar.)
So, stop eating ANYTHING that lists “added sugar” in the nutrition facts.
(Big Hint: This is going to include almost ALL breads)
(Except for sprouted wheat bread, like Ezekial bread, which is fine.)
You should know – cereal, pasta, and tortillas are all refined carbs (just like sugar is).
They hit your body in more or less the same way sugar does.
For the next 30 days, for incredibly rapid fat loss, avoid them.
Fill up a TON on all kinds of vegetables, and just remove these refined carbs and sugars. If it sounds hard, just try it. It’s only 30 days, and it may change your life.
Tactic 4: Cut Dairy.
I don’t know what else to say about this, other than this: You’ve been led to believe you need dairy, but you don’t.
You know what dairy is really good for? Weight gain. If you’re trying to literally add fat to your frame, milk is an excellent tool. If you’re a bodybuilder lifting heavy weights and trying to add muscle mass, milk could prove useful. If you’re a growing baby who’s still nursing, by all means, have milk.
If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t drink milk, and don’t eat dairy.
Exception: Grass-fed butter is okay. (And is actually probably good for you.)
But for the love of god – don’t drink cow’s milk or eat lots of yogurt and expect to lose serious weight.
I have a friend who lost 5 pounds in two weeks by doing ONLY ONE THING. Can you guess what that was? Cutting out his morning yogurt.
Seriously, if you don’t believe me on this dairy thing, just test it out on yourself before you debate it.
*Side note on Tactics 3 and 4:
If you know me, you know I do have occasional cheat meals, so while I say “cut,” I never truly 100% cut sugar or dairy – because come on, you’ve got to have ice cream every once in a while.
But as a default for fat loss, it is good to shoot for zero dairy or refined sugar the vast majority of the time. Particularly during a rapid, 30-day experiment.
A couple times during the month, you’ll probably end up breaking one of these rules. That’s totally okay. Just make sure your habitual way of eating follows the guidelines.
Tactic 5: Employ Time-Restricted Feeding and Intermittent Fasting.
I’m going to have to make a whole other post just on this; it’s too powerful a concept to really do it justice here.
Suffice it to say: try to eat your food within a 12 hour window or less each day. That means you’ll be “fasted” for at least 12 hours every night. (This isn’t actually that hard, because for most of that fasted time, you’ll be asleep.) Just don’t eat quite so close to bedtime.
A 12 hour window is a pretty gentle TRF schedule. (“TRF”= “time-restricted feeding.”) You can probably pull it off right now, if you try it. Even for individuals on poor diets, you’ll get significant health benefits from doing this. (I don’t have time here to go into all of the health benefits here, but just know that the list is really long.)
Now here’s where things get interesting:
If you really want to accelerate your fat loss, try more restrictive eating windows – i.e., limiting your eating to only 8 hours, or even just 6 hours, most days. In addition, occasionally (“intermittently”) try longer fasts (going for a full 24-72 hours without food). Not only will this help you lose incredible amounts of fat, but studies suggest it may be extremely beneficial to your overall health and longevity.
Here’s my caution, though:
If you are going to try longer fasts, make sure you’re already getting great sleep, and have minimal stress levels. Read that sentence again. I mean it. Also, I wouldn’t recommend fasts or TRF if you’re concurrently doing any type of intense training. It’s too much cumulative stress on your body.
That all being said, though…if you ARE taking care of your body, and really limiting stress….and you DO try some longer fasts…
…you will lose INCREDIBLE amounts of fat, at rates you would not currently believe are possible.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself losing over a pound a day of scale weight during fasting periods. It’s insane.
No matter what you chose to try – easy, nightly 12 hour fasts, or more extreme TRF windows – here’s a huge tip: When fasting, drink as much water as you can. Seriously, drink a ton of fluids. A ridiculous amount.
(Actually, even when you’re not fasting, drink as much water as you can. This is really, really important. Drink more water than you think you should.)
(Although – be careful to not get too low on electrolytes when guzzling water while fasting. You can always sprinkle in a small pinch of salt to your water, as needed, to remedy this.)
Oh, here’s one more bonus tip:
Legend has it, any exercise you do end up doing while fasted will basically burn pure fat. (It has to be done at least 12 hours after your last meal though, to have this effect.) This is because after 12 hours, your body has used up its food stores, gone through a lot of its muscle glycogen stores, and is forced to start resorting to fat reserves for energy.
In other words, even if you just WALK while fasted – you’re burning pure fat. Legend has it.
That’s pretty exciting.
Tactic 6: Supplement.
These are the four most effective supplements I used during my 30-day experiment. They are all optional, but pretty useful.
1.) Green juice.
The number one all-around supplement I discovered, hands down, is green juice.
You get it in powdered form, and mix it in with water, and it basically allows you to drink the micro-nutrients from tons of extra vegetables quickly and effortlessly.
The most famous brand of this type of supplement is Athletic Greens, but I used a slightly cheaper (but also truly excellent) option called Green Vibrance.
Having some of this green juice almost every day made me feel great, made fasting easier, and overall made everything work better. (Note: I would generally have it before and after – but not during – fasts.) It served as an excellent “insurance policy,” making sure I always got some high quality nutrients no matter what.
If you’re going to add ONE supplement while trying to lose weight, I highly recommend it be this one. It’s expensive, but worth the investment.
With the amount of micro-nutrients in this stuff, it covers all your bases.
I have no financial interest in either Athletic Greens or Green Vibrance. All I know is that it really helped me during my 30 day experiment. In fact, I’m gonna go drink some right now.
…Ok I’m back. Sipping this, I feel better already. Again, this supplement is optional, but recommended.
What’s that? You thought you were getting enough fiber from all those vegetables I told you to eat? HA!
Get even more. It’ll help you.
Supplement with additional pre-biotic fiber. (I sneak it into protein shakes. And no, in case you’re wondering, my shakes do not contain dairy – they have almond milk or water as a base.)
Ah, my personal favorite tip in the entire article. Coffee – black coffee – is an appetite suppressant which also boosts your metabolism and perks you up enough to get out and exercise (or at least go on a walk or jog). It contains polyphenols which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetes properties. So does tea.
My general strategy (when I was really crushing it) was to follow a time-restricted feeding window, fast for 12-14 hours, then “break” the fast with coffee. (Since it has no calories, while you’re technically “breaking” the fast, you’re still in a fat-burning mode). I’d use the extra perk from the coffee to go on a fasted, fat-burning walk, or an easy run. Then I’d eat afterward. Overall, I really love coffee.
4.) Branch-Chain Amino Acids (Including Glutamine) +Electrolytes
Want to get really fancy about this, without having to spend very much?
Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) help with muscle recovery and make you feel less “fuzzy” when fasting or eating less. (I would usually drink BCAAs as needed during my “semi-fasted” state when I still wasn’t eating food but was having coffee.) Also, BCAAs may help with fat loss. Plus, the brand of BCAAs I used had electrolytes mixed in, which is helpful while fasting and hydrating. Overall, they really helped me, and are not very expensive, so they’re at least worth a shot.
Whew, that was a long article.
TL;DR: Eat as much fiber/veggies as you possibly can, drink as much water as you can, eat as much lean protein as you want, ease up on the exercise intensity (as well as all stressors) for a month, just go on frequent walks (or gentle jogs), use intermittent fasting/ time-restricted feeding, and drink green juice as well as maybe coffee, supplemental prebiotic fiber, and BCAAs. If you do all of this, and you’re still not getting the results you want, I will personally drive (or fly) to your city, take out you out to coffee, and help you figure out what’s going on.