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Low-Carb Diet: Lose 20-30 Pounds in Two Months

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What is a "Low-Carb" Diet?

A low-carb (carbohydrate) diet is one of the fastest ways to lose weight. Plain and simple, your body does not get enough nutrients and metabolizes fat cells to make energy. This is an extreme diet and requires dedication and will power. The first week is the hardest, but after that the strict routine becomes more natural. I do not recommend using this diet for longer than three months, as losing weight this quickly can cause health problems.

What Will Be Covered

Doctor Approval Before Dieting

How the Low-Carb Diet Works

Getting Ready

Preparing Your Pantry

Tip: When Do You Eat?

What to Drink? Water!

What to Eat? Say No to Carbs!

What to Avoid


Some Final Thoughts

Doctor Approval Before Dieting

Before starting this or any diet, check with your doctor. Whether this diet is right for you is up to you and your physician. Severely limiting calories can lead to some minor health issues, including fatigue, constipation, nausea, and diarrhea. More severe health problems resulting from very low-calorie diets include gallstones, irregular heartbeat, and an imbalance of electrolytes.

I recommend this diet for those special occasions when you will see people you haven't seen in a long time, like a reunion or a party where you're going to see your ex, and you really want to look fantastic. Two to three months is the maximum with this diet. Any longer is not healthy. In addition, too long on this diet will lead to lots of extra loose skin!

How a Low-Carb Diet Works

When on a diet, your body generally attacks your muscles before it burns fat cells. There is a way to divert this process, however, and trick your body into directly attacking your fat cells for energy. You will shed pounds daily and watch the weight fall off.

The secret is simple: calorie deficiency. Most women between the ages of 19 and 30 should take in about 2,400 calories a day just to maintain their weight. Even without eating and keeping up a moderate amount of activity, you burn calories. But the Low-Carb diet will have you shooting for only 1,000 calories, with no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates, per day. This diet keeps you at a steady 1,400-calorie deficit daily.

There are 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat, so you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. At a deficit of 1,400 per day, you will lose a pound of fat in 2.5 days. That's 2.5 pounds per week. If you work out or get any exercise, you will lose even more. Thirty minutes of moderately intense exercise burns about 250 calories.

Getting Ready

The first step before starting this diet is to pick a day to begin. Tell yourself that you are going to start on the selected date and DO NOT move the date further back. By doing so, you will subconsciously tell your body that you are not ready for such an extreme diet and you will fail. Trust me on this!

Stock Up on Vegetables

Go through your pantry, kitchen, and secret stash and dump all of the tempting carb-heavy foods in the house. Head to the store and stock up on fresh vegetables so you can train your body to choose healthy foods over junk.

Go through your pantry, kitchen, and secret stash and dump all of the tempting carb-heavy foods in the house. Head to the store and stock up on fresh vegetables so you can train your body to choose healthy foods over junk.

Preparing Your Pantry

The next step is to go through your pantry, kitchen, fridge, and secret snack or sweets stash and get rid of all the crackers, pasta, and other snack foods. Don't take "one last bite”—just toss it or give it to a food pantry. This exercise will train your mind to believe that eating junk food is not an option. There will be no unhealthy, carbohydrate-loaded choices lying around the house, so you will have no choice but to eat the healthier stuff or nothing at all.

If you can keep your house carb-free for two weeks, and avoid all junk food, you will program your body and your mind not to go back to the old way of eating. You will set yourself up to make healthy choices when you are done with this strict diet. Trust me: you really won't miss those Funions or Lays potato chips you used to love so much.

But I won’t sugarcoat it. This diet is hard!

Tip: When Do You Eat?

The best way that I have found to eat less is to look at why and when I eat. Am I really hungry every time I eat? Am I eating out of boredom or for emotional reasons?

Once you have answered these questions, you will get to the root of why you eat the way you do. If it is out of boredom, find something else to keep your mind busy. I for one get sucked into my job so easily that one hour turns into 10-12 and I haven't eaten at all. When I go home, it is time for dinner and then bed.

What to Drink? Water!


I cannot stress enough that this is not the safest diet around. If you adventurous enough to partake in such a diet, then you must drink water, CONSTANTLY.

Drinking COLD water is important for three main reasons: It cools your body down, which burns even more calories because your body will have to work to keep your body temperature at a normal rate. It also keeps you feeling full. In addition, water helps clear the toxins out of your body. If you get sick of the taste, add lime juice. This improves the taste, boosts weight loss, and helps you feel more energized.

What to Eat

The idea behind this diet is to limit calorie and carbohydrate intake. These changes will shrink your stomach because your portions will be smaller.

A simple rule of thumb: Eat nothing but low-carb foods. When studying labels, don’t look at anything but the carbs. Read labels carefully: foods that claim to be low-calorie can be high in carbs. However, if you lower your carb intake, you will also lower your true calorie and well as sugar intake. Ultimately you are fighting three sources of fat, not just one.

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Keep your carbs to between 10 and 20 grams a day. The hardest part is the first few days.

Foods to Eat

Egg whites are highly nutritious sources of protein. Prepare them into an omelette or scramble, but avoid the yolks.

Egg whites are highly nutritious sources of protein. Prepare them into an omelette or scramble, but avoid the yolks.

Chicken in any form—roasted, baked, poached, or grilled—is a highly nutritious way to get fuel without carbohydrates.

Chicken in any form—roasted, baked, poached, or grilled—is a highly nutritious way to get fuel without carbohydrates.

Low-Carb Diet Foods List

What to EatWhat to AvoidTips to Make it Delicious!

Lean steak or chicken

No dark meat or deli lunch meats.

Cook in lemon juice!

Fish, all types

No batter


Chicken or turkey, all forms

No glazes or sauces


Shell fish

No sauces

Turkey bacon

Limit use of regular bacon.

Egg whites


Instead of dressing or sauce.


Keep cheese sticks on hand for quick energy.


Make sure dressing is low-carb and low-calorie.


Don't overdo it!

Skim, low-fat, coconut, soy, or almond milks only.

Protein powder

Choose one that builds muscle and helps lose weight.

Mix with milk or water. Can be used three times a day as a meal replacement.

What to Avoid

Stay Away From

Anything with more than 5 to 10 carbs.

Any form of bread or pastry.

Sauces made with milk or creme.

Fried foods.

Foods with high fat content.

Fast foods.

Sugar, including soda, candy, or processed foods.



Any amount of movement or exercise will only increase the number of calories you burn. Whether you run a mile at a decent rate, lift a couple weights throughout the day, move heavy objects, or simply get up to take the copies out of the printer at work—any effort on your body’s part will burn calories.

A good rule of thumb is that 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise, including walking, burns 250 calories.

When you are on a diet, you are taking in substantially less fuel. Exercise with caution. If you feel like you are going to be sick or feint, stop and eat. Be sure to continue exercising after finishing this low-carb diet. At that point, regular exercise will help keep the fat off.

Some Final Thoughts

I cannot stress enough how hard this diet is. Restricting your calorie and carb intake is harsh. Your body needs both of these things to perform, which is why the diet works so well. Your body will burn your fat cells to create fuel. Just remember to drink water and be safe!


Elledee on May 04, 2018:

Very very bad advice give here.

Kim Meadows on July 21, 2017:

Can you eat pink grapefruit. Or do you have to eat white. Does it make a difference?

Sharan on February 12, 2017:

Hi...can you suggest a standard diet plan to follow for two weeks?

Jamie on February 15, 2016:

This article seems like something I'd find in the "tips and tricks" column on a pro-anorexia someone who used to follow dangerously close to these and employ such tactics as a teenager, I find it in my own, and anyone else's best interest to stear clear of any suggestions other than drinking plenty of water and eating plenty of vegetables. Other than that it seems pretty dangerous. I prefer not to revert.

Jo on June 17, 2015:

Thank you Mike (and Heather). I started reading this article but lost interest as soon as I saw 'low-fat'. Cutting out (virtually) TWO major food groups sounds like a recipe for disaster to me!

Can't seem to find info. re. 'Eric'... but I'll re-visit Mark's Daily Apple.


Mike on June 05, 2015:

this article is very flawed. If you want to know the truth about paleo locate good sources like Eric last min. You are supposed to eat more fat fat makes you satiated. Hight fat low carb, eat butter and bacon and the weight falls off. all of this is based on science not some opinion like this article

peter on March 07, 2015:

I've done this before and have lost 30 pounds in a month. Pretty much followed this. Plan on doing this again soon to lose another 30

heather on February 18, 2015:

How can you go low carb and low fat? Low fat would keep your body from going into ketosis?

And you'd be INCREDIBLY hungry without'd need the willpower of a massive bear to stay away from food. I know I couldn't do it...

Cynthia Hoover from Newton, West Virginia on February 12, 2015:

No doubt this is a severe diet. I think that no one should enter into it lightly. I would suggest if you have any health issues talking with your Doctor is a must! That being said having struggled with my weight all my life lo-carb has worked wonders in the past for me. I lost 100lbs in 8 months cutting out carbs. The only issue is that without making a lifestyle change we are very prone to gain it back (I did). I will be starting the lo-carb diet very soon, just have to get my shopping done!

Madgelene on January 20, 2015:

Mackinreviews: Are u supposed to count the carbs in the vegetables too?

25 weight loss challenge on January 11, 2015:

gxg39 on December 10, 2014:


so in the low carb diet I can not have fruits- right?

but I can have grapefruits. please reconfirm.



Colleen Swan from County Durham on September 25, 2014:

Great hub and loads of information that I will take note of when shopping. I recently heard bad reports about fructose and weight gain, and noticed that many of the traditional sauces and pickles are now adding this instead of natural sugar.

MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on September 13, 2014:

My husband and I have just started a low carb diet and this was helpful-thanks

Tracey on August 19, 2014:

It's nothing bad about this article.. It's the same recommendations the doctors tell you to stay away from..

Pinki on August 07, 2014:


Thanks for your reply.As per my doctor's instructions i follow the following diet plan:

1. Breakfast- A bowl of oats with a cup of skimmed milk.

2. An apple/pear at mid morning.

3. A bowl of salad, a bowl of soup,a glass of buttermilk,3-4 medium piece baked chicken.

4.Same for dinner as it is for lunch.

I also have several cups of herbal tea throughout the day with lemon and honey.

Ty (author) from Las Vegas on August 07, 2014:

@ Pinki - You can do this diet as long as you would like, as for your doctors instructions, how many carbs are you consuming? This diet is a very strict and very hard diet to follow due to it containing almost no carbs at all, has your dietitian allotted you a specific amount of goal of carbs for you to take in or to stay under? Yes, you should be able to reach this weight, and no you wouldn't need to follow it for the rest of your life, just make healthy choices after you have met your goal and stick with your workout routine and you will be golden.

Pinki on August 07, 2014:


I am 5.5 ft tall and weigh 68 kg. I have been to a dietitian and according to her instructions, i have been having a low carb diet since last 3 weeks. I also hit the gym almost 4-5 days a week for 45 mints to 1 hr and also go for an evening walk for 4-5 days a week for 1 hr.I want to know 3 things,

1. how long will i have to stick to this diet if i want to reduce my weight to 50-52 kg?

2.Will i at all be able to reach that weight?

3. And if i reach, do i need to follow this same diet plan for the rest of my life to maintain the same weight?

Ty (author) from Las Vegas on August 07, 2014:

@ Kat - I would consult your physician before attempting this diet if you are diabetic. Always ask your doctor before you attempt anything that could potentially be harmful to your body or health.

kat on August 07, 2014:

what about a diabetic is this ok?

Chelsea on August 05, 2014:

1 pound is equivalent to 3500 calories, not 3000 calories.

Christopher Brown on August 04, 2014:

Funny what people say about metabolism slowing down on a low calorie diet. This is not true, it is one of the diet myths. Studies have shown that fasting or VLCDs increases metabolism slightly.

Len on August 01, 2014:

Many thanks for discussing your blog post, it interests me exactly how various folks look at the subject of weight management, from different angles whether it be a diet plan, just what meals to consume, or just what is the very best exercise. I myself prefer to check out exactly how you could raise the metabolic rate to make sure that the body can burn much more calories.


Ty (author) from Las Vegas on July 29, 2014:

@Luigi - I don't eat fruit as much as I should, when I formulated this diet, I didn't eat them, even though they are beneficial to the body. I would suggest eating grapefruits if you are going to venture into this diet, as the acids in the fruit will help destroy fat. Other than that, I wouldn't really recommend any other fruit, as they do have carbs in them. The diet was formulated to be nothing but low carb foods.

Luigi on July 24, 2014:

What about fruits?

Ty (author) from Las Vegas on July 11, 2014:

@Jose - I wouldn't recommend protein bars unless you do your research on them. The majority of these bars aren't actually good for you, they are loaded with carbs, and sugar alcohols which you need to burn off. IF you decide to eat these bars, ensure you do some sort of exercise throughout the day to help burn them off.. but I honestly don't recommend them. A rule of thumb for protein bars, in my weightlifting and body building days, was that if they DIDN'T taste like cardboard, its more than likely not healthy or beneficial for you during your weight cutting sessions, so for this diet, if they taste good, don't eat them. (I would recommend a low calorie, low carb protein shake made with water only, not milk, yes, it will taste like cardboard, and eventually become hard to handle because of how horrible it tastes so if you go this route, get a couple different flavors to mix it up and give your taste buds a break lol) Good luck Jose.

Jose on July 11, 2014:

How bout protein bars? Like those oatmeal and rasian, or chocolate and oatmeal? Can I eat those as a little snack?

Ty (author) from Las Vegas on April 02, 2014:

You're correct, vegan is a great way to get into the low carb stages. Bread kills diets and really helps pack on pounds. Sugar is also a killer, as it is in absolutely everything, drinking water and black coffee really helps, and in cutting out sugar you see a difference very quickly.

Sushma Webber from New Zealand on March 24, 2014:

Going vegan is also a great way to go on a low-carb diet. You can get all the nutrients you need from plant-based sources and not eat as much bread, and white flour based food. I have been trying going vegan for Lent and I can see a huge difference. I have also given up taking sugar in my decaf coffee and tea. I think going sugar-free has been the most effective.

David from Birmingham, UK on July 17, 2013:

This is a very severe diet. But it will certainly work. Personally I'd recommend 2 weeks on 1 week off (on maintenance), then back on again. Otherwise your metabolism will slow down too much and your leptin levels will drop, leading to your body holding on to its fat stores more.

Also when you said 10 - 20 carbs, did you mean 10 - 20g of carbs?

Oh, and do eat the egg yolks. Really. They are nutritional powerhouses and very healthy. See my article on eggs. You will up your calories a little but it's worth it.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 29, 2013:

That "one last bite" usually gets me, but I can overcome that, I'm sure. Thanks for your recommendations. I have to think before I set my date.

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