“I want to lose 20 pounds in 3 months.”
How many times have you said or thought that to yourself?
“It is so hard to lose weight, I hardly eat anything!”
You might have said that as well in frustration.
Is it really easy to lose 20 pounds in 3 months?
The shocking truth is that losing weight is not as complicated as we think.
Your body is always trying to get healthier, if you just let it.
You do not need any magic potions or shakes to lose 20 pounds or more.
Nor do you need special meals delivered to your door step.
I will give you the recipe to lose 20 pounds or more in just 12 weeks.
So, if you are ready to invest some effort and planning, get ready.
Yes, you do have to put in some effort, but not as much as you think.
Small steps, one after the other will bring you to your destination.
These small changes will result in a major transformation.
Losing 20 pounds over the next 3 months is within the healthy guidelines of 1/2 – 2 pounds of weight loss per week.
But, do not push yourself to lose more than a pound or two each week.
As soon as you settle into this system, your body will work it’s magic and release the right amount of fat.
The first step is to establish a routine of 3 meals and at least one snack every day.
Therefore, your first small step is to establish a regular meal pattern.
This is the first step to lose 20 pounds in 3 months, or more!
1. Establish a Regular Meal Routine
A foundation of consistent fat loss is having a regular meal pattern.
Some people think that going low carb is the pillar of fat loss.
Others think that starving themselves, such as intermittent fasting is the best way to lose weight.
Everyone has an opinion on how to lose weight.
Does it make sense that weight loss seems to be more complicated than rocket science?
Of course not.
So, let’s simplify the easy steps that you can take to transform your body from fat to fit.
Depending on your starting weight, you can do this in only three months.
If you are only 20 or 30 pounds overweight, you can see great results in 3 to 4 months.
You can absolutely lose 20 pounds in 3 months.
For 50 or 60 pounds, you are looking at 6 to 7 months.
Do not attempt to lose more than 2 pounds a week.
Even one pound a week is a great success.
Your first small step is to establish your meal routine.
8am – breakfast
12pm – lunch
3pm – snack
7pm – dinner
1a. Why is a Regular Meal Routine so Important?
When you skip meals, your body gets distressed.
Skipping meals is not the way to lose weight and certainly not fat.
By skipping a meal, your body does not know when the next meal is coming.
As a result, your body will hold onto your fat reserves very tightly.
Just one pound of fat in your body, stores 3,500 calories!
Your body will not release that fat if your body believes that it needs to hold onto the fat.
Instead, your body will take some of your muscle reserve, which is more expendable.
Muscle is your friend, but also very expensive for the body to maintain.
One pound of body fat only requires a few calories a day to maintain, whereas a pound of muscle can require between 50 and 100 calories.
As a result, your body would rather hold onto body fat instead of muscle.
Unless you teach your body that it is not necessary to hold onto your body fat.
You do this by teaching your body that it will be fueled every few hours.
By eating regular meals, every day, your body gets used to your pattern.
Whatever you demand from your body, your body will adapt.
Like a magic genie (within human reason of course!).
1b. How to Release your Body Fat
If you take away one idea from this post, take this one:
Establish this regular meal pattern.
By eating regular meals, your body will be more willing to release your fat.
3 meals and a snack worked wonders for me.
I lost 100 pounds over the course of a year, approximately 2 pounds a week.
Four years later, I continue to maintain this weight loss.
You have to experiment a bit to see what works for you.
But clearly, having a regular meal routine is the foundation of your transformation.
You might just need 3 meals and a snack or 2 snacks.
You want to make sure that your body gets some fuel every 3 or 4 hours.
1c. Never Be Hungry
You should never be feeling hungry.
I know the temptation to fast and stop eating, thinking this will help to really get rid of fat.
Don’t do it!
All that we accomplish by fasting is starving our poor body and not losing fat.
(Even worse, you might be setting yourself up for a binge.)
You might lose some water weight, but not fat.
The water weight is lost from your cells as your body uses stored carbohydrate (glycogen) in your skeletal muscles which are bound with water molecules.
So, we do not lose fat on a fast, we end up losing water and muscle tissue.
Establish a regular meal pattern, 3, 4 or 5 times a day, so your body knows what time it will get fed.
That is the first step to weight loss that is primarily from your fat.
2. Get Up and Move!
Another pillar of effective weight loss is to start moving and burning calories.
You must expend more calories than you consume in order to lose fat.
In order to lose fat, let’s assume that you have already established your meal pattern, your daily eating times.
Now that you have your regular meal times, you want your body to know that you need to burn more energy.
What is the best way to do that?
Is it by starving and eating less?
The answer is no, because there is no reason or need to starve your body.
Your body needs energy, your brain needs glucose to think, to remember and to learn.
Is it by eating protein powders and not real food?
I also say no, this is not necessary.
The amino acids from protein powders if you use them, are going to build or repair muscle tissue.
That is the main rationale for protein powders and meal replacements.
And if you only use protein powders and limit carbs, you are going to be missing an important macronutrient (carbohydrates) that is the preferred energy source (carbs turn into glucose) for all the cells of your body.
The best way to burn fat then, is by demanding more from your body in the form of movement.
Your body is built to move.
Sitting around all day just tells your body that all you need to do is to sit around.
But, if you do 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week, your body will get the message to start burning fat for energy.
Especially if you do moderate intensity cardio, approximately 65% to 75% of your target heart rate.
The point is that by asking your body to burn more calories through movement, this is the way to burn through your fat reserves.
At the least, make sure that you are doing some sort of exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 to 6 times a week.
You need to move in order to lose 20 pounds in 3 months.
Whether the physical activity be cardio or strength training.
2a. Don’t Eat Less – Establish a Schedule and Move More
Some people say that every diet can be reduced to four words, eat less, move more.
While there is a basic truth to that idea, it does not give you a proper plan.
Eat less, what does that mean to a person who is 30, 50, 60 or 100 pounds overweight?
What does eating less mean to anyone is struggling with overweight, obesity and weight loss?
Have you ever heard a person who is trying to lose weight?
“I hardly ate anything today and I still cannot lose a pound!”
Have you heard that line before, or have you said it yourself?
So, telling a person who thinks they are hardly eating anything all day is not productive.
I think that establishing an eating and training schedule is the solution.
By establishing regular meals, your body already knows that it will get fuel.
And now you are demanding more calories through movement, either cardio, strength training and/or stretching,
And suddenly your body says, “Ah, you are demanding more energy, no problem, I have stored fat and will release the energy from my fat reserves.”
By building muscle in your strength training, you are also demanding more calories to maintain that muscle.
However, the foundation of burning fat is by having a regular meal pattern to start.
It is much more effective for your body to burn fat through movement (exercise, cardio, walking, running, lifting, swimming, stretching), than by starving your body with no food and no movement.
That is just cruel to our body that just wants to keep us alive and does so by breathing and circulating blood with oxygen and beating our hearts our entire lives.
So, the bottom line, is that on top of your regular meal routine pattern, now you establish a movement pattern, every day or at least 5 – 6 days a week.
It is always a good idea to rest up your body at least one day a week, take a break.
Now you have two pillars, regular meal pattern, pillar 1 and regular movement pattern – pillar 2.
In the old days, people moved around all the time, farming, hunting, building.
Today, modern life does not require a lot of movement, because we have transportation, no need to move, the car, bus or train will move you from place to place.
Then there is entertainment, so instead of playing, we watch others who are playing or moving around on a screen, on a stage or in a stadium.
The movement pattern that I suggest is 5 days a week of cardio, between 30 min to an hour max.
If you do 30 minutes a day, that in fact, is the recommended guideline for an adult.
For muscular strength and endurance, I suggest 2 to 3 times a week of strength training, which will hit your entire body at least twice a week.
You should also do stretching on a daily basis for flexibility.
Simply put, exercise is medicine.
3. Real Food is your Friend
What do you eat? Where is your fuel?
The preferred source of energy for your body is carbohydrates.
Classic and traditional carbohydrates in many cultures are real foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains, which are great sources of carbohydrates.
For example, in Asia, rice is prominent as a fuel source.
In India, there is rice and lentils.
In South America, common carbohydrates are sweet potatoes and beans or corn and beans.
Europe survived and thrived on the white potato and buckwheat, also known as Kasha.
The middle east has pita bread made out of wheat flour, and hummus, which is made out of chickpeas.
In every culture, all over the world, the main source of energy for thousands of years has been either grain and/or legumes.
This is besides the seasonal vegetables and fruits that were available in each geographical location.
Stick to real food (as opposed to processed manufactured food) and besides exercise, food will also be your medicine.
3a. The Evil Carb – Is That True?
News flash – carbs are not evil.
How many times do you meet someone who tells you they need to lose weight.
And before you say anything, they say that is why they are not eating carbs.
So that they can lose weight.
The sad part of that story is that removing carbs from your diet is not the answer.
I have experienced the same demonization of carbs.
When I originally began the Hashi Mashi Diet, I swore off carbs.
Yes, I lost a lot of weight, but I also felt like I was very hungry.
Even starving, and that cannot be healthy.
On top of that, I did not feel strong.
So, Hashi Mashi has evolved as I have learned more about exercise and nutrition.
The solution is to have a moderate amount of food at scheduled times and move more.
Yes, and even if you eat some carbs, you are still better off than the person starving him or herself from good fuel sources.
You are not bad because you like carbs.
Your body likes carbs because carbs are easily transformed into fuel for energy.
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose that provides energy for your cells.
Believe it or not, your brain is the most energy-demanding organ, using one-half of all the sugar energy in the body.
Brain functions such as thinking, memory, and learning are closely linked to glucose levels and how efficiently the brain uses this fuel source.
You need glucose for your mind, to think, to remember and to learn as well as feeling good.
The solution is in balance, not in extremes.
3b. Protein for What?
Protein is broken down into amino acids.
Amino acids are used to either build and/or repair muscle tissue.
Protein is not for fuel.
Do not eat protein for fuel.
Eat protein to enable your body to build and repair tissue, that is it.
Eat carbs for fuel and protein for tissue building and repair.
Your body needs about 45 to 65 percent of calories as carbohydrate and 10 to 35% of calories as protein.
The rest is from fat.
You need approximately 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight.
As your exercise level increases, so do your protein requirements.
You do not need a protein powder for protein if you eat regular meals every day and include protein foods.
For example, a cup of whole grain cereal like oatmeal has about 7 grams of protein, 2 tbsp of peanut butter has 8 grams of protein, a cup of lentils has about 16 grams of protein.
The average woman for example needs approximately 46 grams of protein a day.
A sedentary man on average will require 56 grams of protein a day.
You can easily get 40 to 50 grams of protein a day through real food.
And you do not need a lot of food to get your protein.
Your typical protein powder gives you 20 – 30 grams of protein.
Protein powders are good for convenience, but they are not required for fat loss.
A cup of milk, a slice of bread and a tablespoon of peanut butter will also give you 20 grams of protein!
In a 12 week period, it is reasonable to lose 20 pounds in a month, which is within the guidelines of 1/2 to 2 pounds a week.
Truly, you can even lose 24 pounds in a month.
You do not want to lose more than 2 pounds a week.
One pound a week is great too!
4. Meal Schedules and Templates – the Real World
Between 7 – 9am have breakfast, whenever that works out.
Somewhere between 12 – 1 have lunch.
Between 3 and 4 have a snack.
Somewhere between 6 and 7 have dinner.
Stop eating after 7 or 8 pm, you do not need more food for your sleep in the evening.
Base this on your schedule…so for example:
What to have for these meals?
Keep it simple, for example:
A cup of old fashioned oatmeal ( easy to prepare and filling ), some berries or banana.
You can add a hard boiled egg.
Or a banana, blueberries, grapes, walnuts ( a tablespoon or 2!) and a plain or vanilla greek yogurt (try to use a brand with low grams of sugar).
Or a slice whole wheat toast, a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, some slices of banana or strawberries on top.
whole wheat pita, hummus, vegetables.
whole wheat pita, vegetables like cucumber, tomato, pickle and a small can of tuna with tbsp of mayo.
vegetable soup with a cup of whole grain or bean based (non-gluten) pasta.
1/2 cup of brown rice, a SERVING of chicken/fish/meat, a vegetable….a serving is about 4 oz or the size of a deck of cards.
left over chulent (bean stew) and a vegetable
tuna fish sandwich with vegetables on rye bread
an ounce of raw almonds (about 24 almonds)
an apple and a few walnuts
a plain yogurt (if you did not already have one)
a hard boiled egg (if you did not already have one)
a baked potato
Broccoli, potato, lentil soup
Asparagus or spinach or mushrooms and tilapia or some other white fish
sweet potato and vegetable and salmon (4 oz)
or keep it even simpler:
any vegetable, including raw vegetables and a potato/sweet potato/whole wheat pasta
sometimes there is no time to cook.
easy to boil a sweet potato and have some vegetables and chick peas.
a. The Main Meal Template Is:
Fruit in the morning – with a grain like oatmeal and/or if you want, a protein like an egg or yogurt.
A vegetable and beans/chicken/fish in the afternoon, or grain and vegetable…even sushi, brown rice/avocado, rice and fish sushi.
A fruit and/or some nuts for snack in the afternoon.
A simple dinner at night.
Do not eat after 7 or 8 latest in the evening as mentioned before.
At night, there is no reason to eat.
End of the day, sun is down, time to sleep, not eat.
Drink water or lemon water or tea between meals….minimize drinking with meals.
Shoot for 8 glasses of water a day.
If you drink water, believe me you will be much less hungry…and many other benefits…!
Having four meals a day makes it easy to get your 8 glasses.
Have a tall glass of water 30 minutes to an hour before and after meals.
That will work out to 8 glasses of water a day, perfect!
5. The Stomach is not meant to be FULL
Your stomach will let you know when your body is hungry and needs energy.
But your stomach is not designed to be filled with endless quantities of food at one time.
Eat up to 2/3 fill of your stomach.
Your stomach is literally about the size of your fist.
This is why you want to keep the size of the food that you eat to the size of your palm or so, you do not need more.
If you eat a moderate amount every few hours, you will be shocked at how much your body will transform.
You just need to give your body a chance to recover from the excess processed food and amount that we usually ask the body to deal with.
The stomach is not built for a thanksgiving dinner every meal of every day.
“The stomach of an adult is about the size of a fist.”1)https://www.reference.com/science/big-human-stomach-2bc73162f366a298
“Overeating is like poison to your body.
It is the main source of all illness.
Most illnesses which afflict a person are caused by harmful foods or by filling your stomach and overeating, even of healthful foods.2)Mishneh Torah – Chapter 4, Law 15 – Moses Maimonides, 1135-1204, Spanish Rabbi, Physician & Philosopher”
Summary of the 5 Easy Ways to Lose 20 Pounds in 3 Months
- Establish a set regular meal pattern routine, 3 meals and 1 snack a day, about 3 to 4 hours apart.
- Start moving, at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise, 5 – 6 times a week.
- Food is your friend, even carbs, just stick to real food.
- Use the Meal Template to create your own menu.
- Eat to 2/3 fill of your stomach. Overeating creates the state of overweight and is like poison to your body.
If you follow this 12 week program, please let me know how it is going!
If you have other ideas and experiences on how to lose 20 pounds in 3 months, please share.
For personalized coaching to lose 20 pounds in 3 months, please contact me to start your transformation.
References [ + ]
|2.||↑||Mishneh Torah – Chapter 4, Law 15 – Moses Maimonides, 1135-1204, Spanish Rabbi, Physician & Philosopher|