September 11, 2012 posted by

3 Simple Steps To Weight Loss In 3 Weeks

We love to make dieting complicated but the reality is the 95% of the obesity epidemic can be blamed on one thing: we eat a lot of junk. You’d never figure this out looking at the diet section of your local bookstore, though, where it seems like everyone on the planet has a different opinion on why we’re fat and thinks you need to read 300 pages and redesign your beliefs and lifestyle in order to eat healthy. Truth is, eating ain’t that complicated. So today I present three steps that will lead to weight loss if you follow them with common sense.

First a little background. The three steps are presented in my latest article, Fit For Fall in 4 Weeks over at DPM Climbing, along with some training for climbing. The plan is a simplification to one of my early articles for Beachbody in 2001 that has been revamped many times and was also the basis for the nutrition plan for Yoga Booty Ballet. It’s essentially a less OCD version of all of Beachbody’s diet plans that leads you to the same outcome, eating natural foods and minimal junk.

This isn’t a knock on all those books or other nutrition plans. Most can be helpful. One might be exactly what you’re looking for, since there are as many ways to eat healthy as there are personalities. I’m all for reading about nutrition, especially since I write about it for a living. I’ve written thousands of pages about it. Reading them all will certainly help you learn (in the mood, start here). But since many of you have other interests in life my goal is always to keep things as simple. For those of you disinterred in become nutrition experts here are three simple steps to weight loss.

Step 1 – Drink water

Drink a gallon of water a day for a week. Plain water only. We spend most of our lives chronically dehydrated, which does two big things leading to us getting fat. First, it makes you hungry when you’re actually thirsty. Second, it causes your body to retain water, making you heavier. There are a lot of other unhealthy things associated with this condition but today we’re sticking to the basics so this is all you need to know. The best way to stop retaining water is to drink water. Lots of it. The obesity trend began with the rise of soda as our de facto beverage. Soda is the worst food in the world. Drink water, not soda, and you will be smaller.

Step 2 – Cut out junk food

Cut out junk for a week. Okay, here’s the rub. We eat junk—a lot of junk. Most restaurants are junk. Fast food is junk. Most of the aisles at your supermarket are filled with junk. “How do I even know what junk is?” is a common excuse. But you do know, don’t you? When you chose fries over a salad you chose junk. The cookies your friend brought to the office, junk. KFC on the way home because you were in a hurry, junk. Big Gulp to take the edge of the heat, et al. You know.

I wrote this dismissal of the USDA’s food pyramid because the pyramid-now-plate ignores what’s wrong with how we eat. We don’t really need to nitpick carbs and fats and proteins. We certainly don’t need to bicker over what kinds of fruits are healthy. We’re fat because the stuff we live on isn’t on the USDA’s pyramid, or plate, at all. Eat meat from animals and plants from the ground. Avoid foods with words you can’t pronounce, drive through restaurants, and shopping at the gas station.

Overeating real food is actually pretty hard because you’re getting fiber and nutrients and your body sends signals to your brain that it’s full. Junk, devoid of nutrients and stuffed with calories, does the opposite. You’re always hungry because you’re lacking nutrients even though you’re eating way more calories than your body can burn. Simply cutting out junk will fix your issues most of the time.

Step 3 – Have liquid breakfast and lunches

Finally we address habits. Not only do we eat junk but we eat too much. In the land of “all-you-can-eat” we’ve lost touch with reality. For one week have a juice or smoothie for breakfast and lunch and then eat a normal dinner. The catch is that the above rules are still in play. You’re drinking loads of water and you can’t have junk.

This is a version of something we do at Beachbody called the Shakeology Cleanse, though I’m making it less strict. You can put anything you want into your smoothies (or juices if you have a juicer) as long as it isn’t junk. This means that you’ll likely start with a protein or meal replacement base and then add fruits, veggies, and maybe seeds. You can’t add sugar, or ice cream, or Skippy (read labels). Dinner isn’t regulated, so you can fill yourself up, but with the no junk rule in effect you’ll likely stop eating when you’re no longer hungry.

The trick in all of this-—if you want to call it that—-is to learn a lesson about your body’s relationship with food. Food is fuel. It’s there to help our bodies work better. Eating well improves your performance, which is something society has forgotten. Instead, we tend to eat because we’re bored, or depressed, or happy. We’ve turned it into a crutch instead of a tool. Yes, eating is fun. It can, and should be, rewarding. But the reward should be for a life well lived. And we live a lot better when our bodies function like they’re supposed to.


  • Well said! I also feel that a meat free day a week helps get in extra veggies. Thanks for posting 🙂

  • What about people doing Body Beast who want to gain and not lose weight?

  • No Skippy? I'm out.

  • Great post. In my own experience, my health and weight issues were taken care of when I realized Food is Fuel, We don't live to eat, we eat to live. I used To obsess and always be thinking about what I was going to eat next and eat until I got tired as if food was going to dissappear. Now I pretty much don't care or over think about food, just look for the healthy options and if it's not going to make me healthier, I skip it!

  • You can eat peanut butter, just not skippy. My favorite is Krema. Ingredients: Peanuts! That's all.And it is delicious.This is a great article. Thank you.

  • Solid article & @ annonymous doing body beast apply everything drink water don't eat junk & eat tones of protein get as much as 2x ur body weight for example if u weigh 150lbs get 300 grams of protein egg whites, tuna fish chicken -Bulldog Bill

  • I feel exactly the same way. It just clicked for me recently. Food is fuel. That's it.

  • Ugh. The trap of the modern American mindset is in full display here: false dichotomies abound.Food is a fuel, not a hobby.Eat to live, don't live to eat.blah blah blahIn fact, food can be both a fuel and a hobby. You can eat well, be fit, and enjoy food too.Sure a Shakeology shake every morning for breakfast will make you healthy. But, I submit that every once in a while an order of Huevos Rancheros will make you happy. Everything in moderation. Even moderation.Dogma is dumb. (See how I did that?)J

  • You are exactly correct. That simple diet plan works. I only eat what has been alive. That's it and it is all it takes…and yes, I was once fat and tired. I started eating REAL food in 2008 and never looked back. Exercise makes me feel great and I now crave it. It is fabulous to feel good!

  • This article is on weight loss. What you're asking is a whole different article.

  • Instead of Skippy… Try PB2 (Powdered peanut butter with most of the oil/fat removed) at:

  • Instead of Skippy… Try PB2 (powdered and 85% fat free) at:

  • What's your opinion on protein bars? I read that if you're going to eat a pre-packaged food, you should at least be able to buy the first 5 ingredients off the shelf elsewhere in the store. Protein bars are the one exception to my "clean eating" regimen and b/c I don't know what half the ingredients are, I'm considering starting to make my own. Though the Cliff Builder bars and Zone Perfect bars are actually palatable unlike most of their competitors.

  • Great post! Good reminders!!

  • The bar niche is for convenience nutrition, so most of them only aim to be better than most junk you grab on the run. Most of them are just ok for you. Some are better. You need to evaluate them by ingredients. Cliff and Zone are mainly in the "better than candy" realm, though Cliff just released a line of whole food bars that are much better. But for their purpose all are okay and they are balanced from a macronutrient perspective and have a lot less calories than the meal you'd likely replace them with.

  • Can I use yogurt or orange juice in my smoothie or should I avoid adding these?

  • What about the Mealpack/Pemmican bars? Those are awesome!

  • I did this and gained 36 pounds. I feel so bad. This did not help me at all. At dinner I was so hungry ate all the veggies and fruits I wanted till I was stuffed. I was so hungry then felt miserable. I ended up not sleeping because of the heave meal I had so late in the day. My acid reflux is now horrible. I am going back on my junk food diet and loose all this weight I got from eating real food. Good grief, what crazy advice! Don't eat all day and live. Eat what you want you only live once.

  • In my opinion, I wouldnt' eat the PB2. It's not a whole food. For more info, check out this article

  • Steve – Have you reviewed the book, Thrive The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life? I'd be interested to read your thoughts on it.

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Steve – thank you for breaking it down in a way that gives some people simple rules to follow. I was curious, when Asylum part 1 came out you recommended a way to prep for it using Speed and Agility, any chance you will have something similar for Part 2?

  • Prep for Vol 2 using Vol 1.

  • Steve Thanks for the great information. You are exactly correct. That simple diet plan works.simple steps to weight loss

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