Diets can be tricky. You always hear about these fad diets like Keto, Paleo, Atkins, and heck, even Vegan and Vegetarian diets. With so many articles, bloggers, influencers, and of course, doctors, giving you different advice on what you should and should not be eating, so how are you supposed to know what's right for you? Well, for one, listen to the doctors first, but, in reality, I'd start off focusing on what makes you feel good - both inside and out. I may just be another blogger preaching about weight loss, right? From personal experience of trying Keto and Paleo, and mostly failing, I wanted to spread the word about an insanely easy diet plan to lose 20 pounds.
I don't like the term 'diet plan.' When I hear about a diet plan, I think of a quick fix. If you're planning on going on a diet, what is your purpose? Weight loss? Optimizing your health? Or both? Regardless, a diet should set you up for success in the long run. An easy diet plan to lose 20 pounds should allow you to lose 20 pounds and keep those pounds off, but so many diets aren't optimized. Instead, you go on a diet, lose 20 pounds, celebrate a little too much, and 20 pounds are back on before you know it.
This principal is my biggest issue with Keto. I love the idea behind Keto. Eat healthy fats, optimize your body, burn ketones for fuel, and become superhuman!? Who doesn't enjoy the sounds of that? Unfortunately, it only takes a few weeks for most people on the Keto train to step off. You get burnt out, or maybe you just want a donut, either way. The diet that I'm going to discuss in this post takes some notes from Keto, but it's something you can stick to in the long run, and it's an insanely easy diet plan to lose 20 pounds on and continue to keep those pounds off.
The Easy Diet Plan to Lose 20 Pounds
The diet that I'm referring to, coined by Tim Ferris, is known as the Slow Carb Diet. Ferris has an entire book devoted to the diet called the Four Hour Body. Throughout the book, Ferris discusses what the diet looks like, and the science behind it. For the sake of this post, I'm going to summarize the diet. Hopefully, I save you some reading time, but the Four Hour Body is an excellent read if you want more information.
The slow-carb diet is an insanely easy diet plan to lose 20 pounds on because it is straightforward and easy to follow. There are five main rules for the diet.
Avoid Refined Carbs. Notice I didn't say carbs in general - you can still eat carbs! The carbs you need to avoid are white carbs such as Bread, Cereal, Potatoes, Pasta, Tortillas, Rice, and anything fried.
Eat The Same Few Meals Over and Over Again. Consistency is key.
Don't Drink Calories. Drop the soda, pick up the water.
Don't eat Fruit. I know this might be a shocker. I'll explain later on in this post.
Take One Day Off Per Week. Did someone say cheat day!?
That's it! Just five easy rules to follow in this easy diet plan to lose 20 pounds. I know you're probably wondering how these five rules can help you quickly lose weight, so let's get into it in more detail.
Avoiding Refined Carbohydrates
Refined or 'white' carbohydrates are frequently considered to be one of the most significant factors behind weight gain and loss. Your body uses glucose as its primary fuel source, which primarily comes from carbs. When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into simple sugars to act as a fuel source. Hence, you hear about Marathon runners carb-loading before a race. If you're eating carbs to fuel your workout, fine, you're going to burn them off right away. However, if you're eating carbs and proceeding to binge your favorite Netflix episode, those carbs will be converted to fat. Not good!
You can, however, still eat carbs on the Slow Carb Diet. Instead of getting your carbs from white, starchy foods, you're going to get them from legumes and vegetables. Beans are a fantastic food to get your carbohydrate intake from, and they should become a staple in your diet. Beans are full of protein and will make you feel fuller than any other source of carbs. Not to mention, they are great for your heart and overall gut health. So put down the bagel and add some beans into your day. Just make sure they sugar-free - plain black or pinto beans work great.
Eat The Same Few Meals Over and Over Again
To quote Tim Ferris, "There are over 47,000 products in the average U.S. Grocery Store, but only a handful of them won't make you fat." When you eat the same few meals repeatedly, you are training your body to know what to expect every time you sit down and eat. If you're eating proper, healthy foods, this will help with weight loss and digestion. Make a couple of meals with the foods in the following list. Stick to three or four of them throughout the week.
Fish (Salmon is best)
When creating your meals, it is essential to note that, without typical carb fillers (like rice, quinoa, pasta, etc.), you're missing a lot of calories. If you only eat protein and veggies, you're going to feel sluggish and tired due to lack of calories, so make sure you don't skip the Legumes.
Don't Drink Calories
Outside of carbohydrate intake, drinking calories can be the biggest culprit behind weight gain. Drinks like soda, juice, and even coffee with sugar added will hinder your ability to lose weight. You should stick to drinking water and unsweetened tea and coffee when starting on the Slow Carb Diet. You can have up to two glasses of red wine per night or a shot of hard liquor in terms of alcohol as long as you don't mix it with anything sugary. I'll make a Margarita with lime juice and seltzer water from time to time if I need a drink, and it works like a charm. Just make sure you avoid beer and white wine.
Don't Eat Fruit
Bear with me here. I know this is a weird one! As Ferris puts it, humans don't need to eat Fruit seven days a week, and we certainly don't need to eat it year-round. He proves this point by relating to our European ancestors, who likely didn't have access to a Flordia orange in the middle of December. Ferris' point rings true, and honestly, it makes sense. Almost all Fruit is chock-full of sugar and glucose. Yes, it is all-natural, but when it's all said and done, your body processes sugar the same, whether it came from nature or a lab. When you eat Fruit, your body goes through the same process as with refined carbohydrates. Your body wants to burn the Fruit off for fuel, but when you don't need to burn fuel after eating those five handfuls of blueberries, the sugar gets converted to fats.
When I started on the Slow Carb Diet, I was concerned about not getting enough vitamins and minerals if I stopped eating Fruit. To combat this, I ordered this Antioxidant Supplement.
The only exception to the no fruit rule is tomatoes and avocadoes. Both of these have minimal amounts of glucose and provide some vital nutrients for your overall health.
Take One Day Off Per Week
The rule that makes this diet all worth it, yes, you get a cheat day! One day per week, you take a break from the Slow Carb Diet and overeat on whatever your heart desires. I use my cheat day on Saturdays, and I like to call it my 'Faturday.' My day will typically involve two donuts and coffee in the morning, an excellent juicy burger and fries in the afternoon, pizza and beer for dinner, all washed down with half a pint of Ben and Jerrys. Pure bliss.
You're probably thinking this sounds insane. How can you possibly lose weight by eating like crap for one day every week? It's simple that by dramatically spiking your caloric intake once per week, you are increasing your likelihood of fat loss by kicking up your metabolic rate to help you burn all of the energy you're eating. When you step on the scale the first day after your cheat day, you might notice a slight increase, but give it two or three days, and you'll see those numbers decrease.
Cheat day is one of the best things about this Easy Diet Plan, but it is only useful if you follow the first four rules!
Earlier I mentioned how a 'diet plan' shouldn't be a quick fix; rather, it should be a lifestyle change. My girlfriend and I have been on this easy diet plan for over four months now. Sure, the first two weeks were a little tricky as we had cravings, but four months in and the Slow Crab Diet is now a lifestyle.
To put it in perspective, here's what our daily non-cheat day food log looks like.
8:00 am: Delicious Protein Coffee
10:00 am: Bacon, Sausages, and Eggs
2:00 pm: Peas, Cauliflower Rice, Beans, and Chicken
6:00 pm: Peas, Cauliflower Rice, Beans, and Chicken (or Pork, Beef or Salmon)
8:00 pm: Tea or Red Wine
Notice that I never talked about working out for weight loss throughout this post. That's because, as long as you follow the rules, you'll lose weight without the need to work out. The Slow Carb Diet is effective. However, if you want to expedite your weight loss process, then hit the gym. I recommend picking up a Kettlebell and doing some American Swings. Ferris dedicates a whole chapter in the Four Hour Body to the Power of Kettlebell Swings. Give his book a read if you're curious for more information.
I hope this article helped outline an easy diet plan to lose 20 pounds. Remember, at the end of the day, diets aren't fun, they're useful. Use the food list above, find combinations that work for you, and be sure to enjoy that cheat day.