Need to lose weight and don’t know where to start? Instead of doing more research, try this…
Set a 21 day goal
Mentally fill in the blank —> I want to lose _______ lbs in 21 days.
A rough estimate is fine if you have no idea. You can lose 20 pounds or more 21 days if you follow the plan below.
My choice of 21 days is intentional. Many people sabotage themselves by setting goals too far off into the future. A 21 day deadline is tight enough to motivate you, while providing enough time to achieve substantial weight loss.
In addition to a goal, you need a bathroom scale to track your weight loss. You’ll be weighing in on day 1, day 14, and day 21.
To speed up the weight loss process, I skip breakfast and eat all my meals & snacks between noon and 8p. This is known as intermittent fasting or the 16:8 strategy (fast for 16 hours, eat all meals in an 8 hour window). You can drink water anytime. All other beverages should be consumed between noon & 8p.
If you eat or drink late night, push your lunch back the next day to offset. So if you eat a midnight snack, don’t eat lunch until 4:00pm the next day and try to squeeze in your dinner before 8:00pm to get back on schedule.
You’ll be tempted to ignore my recommendation to skip breakfast. Marketers have successfully convinced most people that it’s the most important meal of the day. Reconsider for this 21 day experiment:
1 – You’ll lose weight faster.
2 – You’ll start to move away from mindless / unnecessary eating.
3 – You’ll be more productive.
By skipping breakfast, I’ve rewired my brain to expect food only after I’ve done the physical labor or productive work necessary to earn it. Even on days when I do an intense workout in the morning, I don’t eat til noon and I’m fine.
On leisure days, like weekends or holidays, I resist eating for as long as I can but I don’t obsess over it.
One tip to help you manage the potential social awkwardness of your new mealtimes: take the lead on proposing lunch and dinner outings. You’ll be surprised how often friends & family are totally fine with lunch at 2p or dinner at 6p. They’ll be excited that you took the initiative.
Eat meat and vegetables
This is the most impactful part of the diet. If you get this right, you win.
Carbs and sugar make me fat so I don’t eat them. Meat and veggies provide all the calories and nutrients I need so that’s what I eat. I use low carb sauces & spices to help keep the meals flavorful and indulgent so that it doesn’t get insanely boring. To kill cravings, I cook the low carb versions of my favorite foods like: Cauliflower Crust Pizza or Zucchini Pasta Alfredo.
Never had a low carb meal before? Here are some of my personal favorites:
Sauteed Ground Beef & Vegetables
Buffalo Wings with Roasted Asparagus
Lettuce Wrapped Italian Sandwich
My favorite low carb snack foods are pepperonis, dill pickles, black olives, almonds, and beef jerky.
I avoid bread, rice, pasta, chips, baked goods, potatoes, fruits, and sugary treats.
I do meal planning and grocery shopping on weekends and try to cook something on Sunday evening so I have at l
east one healthy meal available to start the week.
My overarching strategy for meal prep is to keep it simple. Four times a week I’ll make something quick — like 5 ingredients sauteed in a skillet and it’s done. Occasionally, I’ll make something more time consuming like a Cauliflower Crust Pizza.
I make meals large enough to yield leftovers. When the leftovers are gone or boring me, I eat out. This happens about 5 times a week. My favorite fast food and take out options:
- BBQ – pork ribs from Terry Black’s are my current go to.
- Lettuce wrapped hamburger – double patties from McDonald’s or P. Terry’s.
- Lettuce wrapped sandwich – two from Jimmy John’s for a full meal.
- Burrito bowl on lettuce (no beans, no rice) – Chipotle w/ extra chicken and guacamole
- Grocery store salad bars – about 1 lb of salad dressed w/ olive oil and vinegar
- Chicken nuggets – this is a splurge, but better than most options. I get the 20-piece from Chick Fil A or McDonald’s. I sometimes share with my wife.
If you have an overwhelming craving or need a cheat day, just do the minimal amount of cheating needed to satisfy the craving, then get right back on the wagon. It won’t sink your diet as I have built in buffers to offset cheating.
Over the course of the 21 day diet, I’ll probably have 2-3 full on cheat days and another 5-10 random occasions where I eat something that’s not low carb.
Wishing you all the best. What did you think of this information? Let us know in the comments below and if you found this story interesting, make sure to SHARE this post with all of your friends on Facebook.