How I Lost 15 Pounds in Four Weeks

Updated on April 5, 2016

The Basic Story

First let me say that there is nothing to buy at the end of this article. Second, this is just a personal experience, not a medical opinion or professional dietitian's opinion. So be smart. 15 pounds in four weeks may not be right for you.

The basic story is that I had been wanting to drop some weight for quite some time, but had never really made any serious attempt to do so. At 50, with a height of 5' 10", I weighed about 200 pounds. Once I decided to get proactive about losing some weight, it became basically a function of intake, taking in fewer calories than are expended on a consistent basis. During the dieting period I was physically active, but had no exercise plan. I paid more attention, in general, to the type and quantity of food I ate, than to counting calories.

Some Background Information

No matter how hard I tried, just thinking that losing weight would be a good thing never made it happen. In the last year, my company has made a big effort to educate employees on health issues and has even provided some "boot camp" exercise programs. I never really made time to participate. But I began to notice a few individuals at work who were making some significant weight loss improvement. Looking back, just seeing their progress was more influential than I thought it would be.

Something else I had noticed was that sweets, fried foods, and over-eating seemed to cause a lot of indigestion. Unfortunately, those are three of my favorites. I wanted to see how much beneficial effect would come from eliminating them.

Before going on the diet, it was fairly common for me to drink four to six cups of coffee per day. I was curious how that might be affecting the indigestion. Also, for the last few years, I had noticed what seemed like an unusual amout of fatigue, especially at the end of the day. I wondered if too much coffee and sweets was causing that.

Eating to Lose Weight

Exercise in general doesn't really burn a lot of calories, compared to how quickly you can gain them back with a couple of big cookies or a bag of chips. So I knew that my main strategy would have to be reducing caloric intake.

  • A decent rule of thumb is that the number of calories you need daily to maintain your current weight is your current weight times ten. So for me, at about 200 pounds, that was 2000.

Thus my plan was starting eating less that 2000 calories a day. I didn't really count calories, but you do have to at least be somewhat aware of them. Since my weight had kind of stabilized at 200 pounds, I figured my calorie intake was fairly stable and that any reduction from the norm would have a weight-loss effect. I basically just started cutting out stuff that I already knew was bad (or unnecessary.)

Summary of Essential Steps

  • Limit drinks to water and tea. Drink more water than usual.
  • No sweets, no fried foods.
  • Banana and/or one half peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.
  • Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack: one serving of trailmix, or small bag of preztels or chips.
  • Lunch and dinner: Soup or sandwich or limited servings of balanced meal.

Rules for the Diet

  1. I stopped drinking any beverages other than water and tea. I thought that it would be difficult to stop drinking coffee but it really wasn't that bad since I was still drinking unsweetened tea. At least one cup of tea per day was green tea. I increased my overall fluid intake by drinking more water than usual.
  2. I stopped eating all sweets and all fried foods.
  3. I stopped over-eating by limiting lunch and dinner to smaller portions than what I normally would eat. No second helping either.

What You Can Eat

• One banana and/or half a peanut butter sandwich using one slice whole-grain bread and 1 1/2 tablespoons natural peanut butter.
• Once during the four week period I had an early meeting so I ate two regular eggs and three slices of bacon.
Mid-Morning Snack
• One serving of trail mix, plain pretzels, or potato chips.
• A few times during the period I had a banana.
• A medium-sized bowl of soup or a sandwich. Can have crackers or chips, but no fries.
• If I'm eating with others and someone else had selected the food, I limit myself to small servings of two or three items. No seconds and no sweets.
Mid-Afternoon Snack
• Same as mid-morning.
• A meat, a vegetable, and a starch. Limit servings. No dessert.

Why This Diet Works

This plan worked for me for a couple of reasons.

First, I was mentally ready to live by the rules.

Second, I ate just enough just often enough to keep myself from getting really hungry. The peanut butter was especially good at warding of the hunger for a few hours. Sometimes I would have that for supper. Overall, just trying to be purposeful about eating less than normal was the key. For the first two weeks, I was a little hungry at bedtime, but my body eventually seemed to adjust to the new quantity of food.

I love to eat and generally eat a wide variety of things, so I was suprised by several things through the four-week period.

  • I didn't miss the joy of eating that much. I tried to start thinking about food as merely fuel rather than a pleasure.
  • I didn't miss the coffee as much as I thought I would.
  • I was also surprised by how much of a social thing eating had become for me. While I was perfectly fine eating less in the company of others, I did have some misgivings sometimes that I was not doing my part to make the meal enjoyable; sort of putting a damper on things. Especially if someone had prepared an entrée or dessert for me.

The Diet's Effects

  • The weight came of in fairly small increments, sometimes a pound or half-pound per day. Some days I didn't lose anything.
  • I know this won't work for everyone, but I weighed every morning to stay informed about how my body was responding and for motivational purposes.
  • Most days I would try to walk a half to a full mile around the office, not so much to burn calories but to help keep my metabolism up a bit.
  • The fatigue that I had been experiencing is totally gone and the indigestion is decreasing.

Update: July, 2011:

  • While the first 15 pounds came off in 4 weeks, it has taken 6 additional weeks to lose the next 5 pounds. Hope that is normal.
  • Over the past six weeks I haven't been doing the daily walking, but have been doing a few minutes of exercise in the morning at home.
  • As my appetite has decreased some, have had more times when supper was just a banana or peanut butter sandwich.
  • Really like the protein drinks. Using GNC's Gold Standard Whey. They really seem to help statisfy hunger urges. I get the chocolate flavor, which really helps satisfy my sweet tooth.
  • Added coffee back in to daily diet. It's good.

Update: October, 2015:

  • Wow. I can't believe it has been so long since I entered an update here. Over the last three years, my weight has varied up and down in small increments. The current result is a gain of about 16 pounds (up from the max. loss of 20 pounds,) but it has been steady at that level for about a year. It's been a more stressful than normal year with a lot of erratic eating. I just got a Fitbit and have been fascinated by how much the daily steps level varies. They say 10,000 steps per day is a good goal. Going to try that and cut back on desserts for a while. Would really like to drop about 10 pounds by the end of the year. I have maintained a part of the original diet. Breakfast every morning for the last year has been a banana, bowl of oatmeal, and a cup of coffee.

Update: September, 2012

  • At the time of that update I had just reached a loss of 20 pounds. Almost immediately after that, our family went on a six-day cruise for a vacation. I had decided that I would enjoy the variety of foods on the trip (without too much ridiculous over-eating) and see what would happen. Turns out, I didn't gain any weight. No doubt all the walking on board and on the side trips had a balancing effect to the extra eating.
  • Monday Night Football was different story. My son and I got into the habit of ordering a pizza every Monday night, which was great bonding, in more ways than one. As fall and winter progressed, my weight varied between +3 and +5 pounds above the original 20 pound loss, but leveled off at that. I continued taking long walks on a fairly often basis.
  • As winter deepened, and walking tapered off, ice cream became a more frequent part of my diet. By the beginning of this summer, I was up +5 to +8 pounds. Summer became so hot so quickly that I never really picked up the walking again. I did however start reducing my overall intake. About 8 weeks ago, we joined a small gym, where I have mainly worked on building muscle mass. Weight is staying level so far, but hopefully I’m trading a little bit of fat for muscle. Lost about one belt notch so far.
  • This week I have decide to begin implementing a few steps from my original plan, one step at a time. First is to try to eliminate most fried food. Next will be trying to eliminate most desserts.

Best wishes if you give this diet plan a try!

Top Tips

Great suggestions from readers who have commented on this article:

  • Maximize the value of protein shakes by having one within 30 minutes of rigorous exercise.


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    • profile image

      unimpressed 9 months ago

      you lost 20 and put back on 16. isn't the idea to keep it all off

    • profile image

      Zane 2 years ago

      I have also discovered a few tips that are working for me. I am currently doing a 60-day fitness challenge. I started 31 days ago and have lost 16 pounds to far.

      1. Eat more lean protein and less carbohydrates. Most nights for dinner, I have grilled chicken, baked salmon, rotisserie turkey breast, beef or chicken kabobs or fajitas. As a side dish, I always have vegetables such as a green salad, green beans, pickles, etc.

      2. For breakfast, I like Fiber One cereal with skim milk or a Jimmy Dean Delites breakfast sandwich (the honey flatbread sandwich with egg, cheese, and turkey bacon is exceptionally good and only has 240 calories).

      3. I have a small piece of fruit as a mid-morning snack.

      4. If I am hungry between meals, I have a handful of Fiber One cereal or a few Rtiz crackers with peanut butter and a cup of skim milk.

      5. I go to the gym three times a week and do weight training followed by cardio (treadmill or swimming). It's actually fun, and I listen to music or watch TV while on the treadmill.

      6. I take a multi-vitamin every day.

      7. I drink a lot of water throughout the day, and I always drink at least one full glass before every meal.

      8. Get plenty of sleep at night.

      9. The first two weeks are the toughest, but after that you start to develop new habits and your craving for sweets, soda and other unhealthy things diminishes.

      10. Cook and eat at home as much as possible. No fast food (except perhaps a 6-inch Subway turkey or chicken sandwich once a week.)

      11. When you haven't lost anything for a few days, you are on a "plateau." Stick with your diet and exercise, and your weight will eventually drop. Don't get discouraged by it. If it really bothers you, then weigh yourself only once per week.

      12. Don't be afraid to try new healthy foods that you don't usually eat. I have discovered that I really like broccoli and brown rice, steamed artichokes, whole wheat pasta, lentils, and some other things.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 3 years ago from Japan

      Well done mate. Another method which most people don't really understand is using heavy weight. Done correctly will burn a lot of fat from around the muscle without the muscle getting too bulky.

    • profile image

      Julyanne Pessoa 3 years ago

      Great hub! First thing is to want to change and this is a very hard decision to make. I believe this needs to be a lifestyle and it won't work if you change your diet just for some months.

    • WeeCatCreations1 profile image

      Susan Caplan McCarthy 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you for describing your plan, one that doesn't involve pills or diet shakes, but reasonable choices.

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 3 years ago from Dominica

      Great hub! Very useful practical approach that does not appear intimidating to the food lover or undisciplined dieter.

    • NScarpediem profile image

      Carpe Diem 3 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks. This is a great diet plan. Now I'm motivated.

    • AngeShearer profile image

      Angie Shearer 3 years ago from Whangarei, Northland

      Wow....I soooo love this hub...very informative very real and great tips....yet not missing out on lifes yummy pleasures it makes sense how this works and even better you still ate BACON....sold thankyou sooo much for sharing your experience

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 3 years ago from Dominica

      Good job! Its sometimes difficult to get started but once you make the effort, it gets better each day:)

    • wiserworld profile image

      wiserworld 3 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. Another good technique is to watch sugar intake as well. Cutting off soft drinks completely is definitely a step in the right direction. Even fruit drinks can be just as high in sugar as Cola.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Thanks for sharing about your successes. Sometimes it's a learning process to see what works best and what you can keep up.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 3 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      A good start, just realizing that our eating habits need to change, and then to have a plan for healthy snacks.

    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna W 3 years ago from East Coast

      This is great inspiration! I too am trying to learn the concept of use food for fuel! But, I still find ways to enjoy my food also. Eating want you want but in moderation is a great key. Loved reading this!

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Shows how just a shift in mindset can cause health benefits.

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 3 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Great Hub. I am afraid that keeping weight down is actually the real challenge! I have been on target so many times just to gain it all, little by little as I relaxed.

    • hubsy profile image

      hubsy 3 years ago

      Wow, this is so inspiring! I feel so motivated by your success story, thank you so much for sharing!

    • Vvitta profile image

      Kalai 3 years ago from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

      Actually all it takes is a simple change in lifestyle. Cut the carbohydrates and sugar and up the grains, fruits and vegis and you are there. Unfortunately, many of us are use to eating a certain way and find it difficult to change. I am trying my best to make these changes too.

    • profile image

      Richard 3 years ago

      You lost so much because you were very overweight and at this point you should lose another 30 pounds but one problem is you did not get into a healthy diet. Your diet requires more vegetables, especially greens, both lightly steamed and raw salads. Have at least three fruits a day and no juice. It would be a good idea to reduce meat, eggs and dairy to almost none daily.

    • profile image

      tompoteet 3 years ago

      Thanks. It would be more correct, at the moment, that I am more mindful of the routine that following it precisely. Working on lowering cholesterol..oatmeal every morning, soup or salad most days for lunch, medium size supper. Fortunately, weight has stayed fairly stable. I need to do an update for the column above. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      sim 3 years ago

      what is ur weight now....... r u on same routine..... ur story is really inspiring

    • profile image

      tompoteet 4 years ago

      That would be great. Thanks. Tom.

    • leni sands profile image

      Leni Sands 4 years ago from UK

      Very useful article. Your honest updates are helpful as well. We strive on, don't we, with all that life throws at us? I have just updated my hub - 'Cut the Crap diet that really works' - stress, anxiety and depression has sent be right back to where I was so with the help of other dieting hubs and following my own original advice I am hoping to find some inner strength and will power to get my weight down you mind if I add a link from my dieting hub to your dieting hub?

    • kitkat1141 profile image

      kitkat1141 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sounds like a simple plan to follow. I love protein shakes too, they keep you full on very few calories. Thanks for the honest updates too.

    • profile image

      tompoteet 4 years ago

      All...thanks for the recent mega-flurry of comments. I'm always glad if this article is useful to others, and your comments are quite an encouragement to stay with the plan.

    • profile image

      tompoteet 4 years ago

      Also, as I mentioned in the article I was quite surprise by how much I felt compelled to consume extra servings in a meal or partake in desserts when I was at someone's house or out to eat with a group. Just reinforced how social eating can be.

    • profile image

      tompoteet 4 years ago

      Good question. I think my answer to that is "not really" and "not nearly at much as I thought I would." I love to eat, and there are very few foods in general or sweets specifically that I don't like. What I found was that I got very particular about which sweets that I would eventually (after the weight loss period) eat. Having lost some weight, sweets and other high calorie items began to really standout as something I could easily do without or just consume less.

    • Rose Anne Karesh profile image

      Rose Anne Karesh 4 years ago from Virginia

      Did you find yourself missing sweets a great deal?

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Bravo on your weight loss. It's one of the hardest things besides getting out of debt that you have to have discipline to accomplish! I know how hard it is as I myself lost 80's putting your mind to it and being single-minded! I also like that you listed what you ate! Great job and voting this up as useful and interesting!

    • ebonynivory profile image

      Amy 4 years ago from Oswego, NY

      Very encouraging! Thanks for your simple plan to start shedding unwanted plans...gotta go refill my water bottle.

    • moronkee profile image

      Moronke Oluwatoyin 4 years ago

      I started loosing weight when I cut down eating large portions of food.

      No more sweets, cakes and soda drinks for me - they make matters worse.

      Your method of losing weight is quite healthy and I'll recommend it to anyone.

      Very useful.

    • Grace-Wolf-30 profile image

      Grace-Wolf-30 4 years ago from England

      It is good to read about somebody losing weight sensibly rather than following the latest craze diet. We can all learn something from the article.

    • artdivision profile image

      Art Division 4 years ago from London

      Thanks so so much for your tips. I love eating but have seriously got to watch the weight!

    • chinared profile image

      Just call me, Rick 4 years ago from Asia, and all over

      Thanks for sharing your experience. My weight used to fluctuate so much, but over the past couple of years it seems it's stabalized. I love snacking... peanuts, sunflower seeds and chips. I'm gonna try your diet and see if it works for me. Oh yea... ARG!!! Replace my 5 cups of coffee with one cup of tea? Oh well... here it goes. Voted up and awesome.

    • profile image

      khmohsin 4 years ago

      Great Hub! Nowadays, my weight is increasing rapidly because I am not involve in any excersize activity from last 10 months. So I am really worried about that how I lose my weight. This hub teach me that how can i control my weight easily. I really like the tips and suggestions. Thanks for sharing your helpful and useful ideas.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      First I just want to say well done! I find it very hard to lose weight without doing exercise because I have thyroid trouble and this makes me very tired so I really have to push myself. If I walk every day fairly briskly for at least 30 minutes it certainly speeds up my weight loss. Great hub. Voted up and interesting and shared.

    • pooja2109 profile image

      Pooja S 4 years ago from Toronto

      This is great idea to lose weight.Nice hub!

    • Missy Mac profile image

      Missy Mac 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for this Hub! I am re-energizing my weight loss plan and great pointers.

    • scottymb profile image

      scottymb 4 years ago

      This is a great hub! With a little exercise and eating right, anyone can lose the weight. Thanks for inspiration.

    • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

      Ruchi Urvashi 4 years ago from Singapore

      Very informative and useful hub. Eating bananas in breakfast can help us lose weight. Increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables and decreasing or eliminating junk food, certainly helps.

    • Ericajean profile image

      Ericajean 4 years ago

      I was encouraged reading this hub, because most of my life I weighed about 145 and later on at 19 I weighed 130, now I am 185 and have tried walking and exercising. My food favorites are minimal, but still contains sugars/fats: Vanilla wafers, iced coffee, fried chicken.

      I can honestly, say that I have stayed away from fried foods(that was difficult) and I eat more fruits and veggies(I particularly enjoy Dole's Peach crisp with the oats). I began my Pilates routine again as well. At the same time I read JJ Smith's book on "Dieting Without Exercise" and she mentions that Detoxing is good-detoxing means cleaning out your(bowel) system because exercise is not enough and food sitting inside us is toxic. I will also jump on the counting calorie thing, it seems to work.


    • profile image

      tompoteet 4 years ago

      Thanks. I'm thinking maybe I should add a section to this main article to capture all the good tips like this one...protein shake within 30 mins of work with weights. Tom

    • webscripts profile image

      webscripts 4 years ago from Chicago

      Protein shakes are great! Check Pinterest for an assortment of recipes. They are much better than smoothies (way less sugar) and can be very filling. I have one for breakfast in the morning. If you incorporate weights in your routine then you should have 1 within 30min of lifting also. Good luck and great start!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Congratulations! That's a great feat. You have so much self control. I guess discipline is the most important part in any change of lifestyle. Stay healthy and fit.

    • Justlife98 profile image

      Justlife98 4 years ago from Georgia

      Good advice exercise will not help much with losing weight if your not lowering calories.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I definitely like your approach. No fad diets, no one food only type deal, a plain and simple eat in moderation.

      You're right exercise can only do so much so it is better to think of how you eat instead of trying to exercise all the time but moving more has helped me feel better.

      Great tips! I definitely will keep this in mind.

    • rumanasaiyed profile image

      Rumana 4 years ago from Sharjah, UAE

      Losing weight is really a headache. But story is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

      Voted up Useful and Shared!

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Hi Tompoteet, Thank you so much. I like your practical approach which seems to be based on mindfulness. Incidentally I just ran out of coffee :) As a tour guide at the beginning of summer, I am starting now. Best regards, ECAL

    • profile image

      trina 4 years ago

      im confused arent lays regular chips fried???

    • profile image

      Matt 4 years ago

      Great work and thanks for sharing...I'm going to try something similar over the next 6 weeks.

    • profile image

      Dprang 5 years ago

      I firmly believe we are what we eat. What I love about this article is the way Tompoteet devised his plan for himself using logic etc.

      I started my own path 3 years ago. The first year I concentrated on calories and avoidance of sugar and artifical sugar and ALL soda drinks. I also studied different fats and only use olive and coconut oil as a rule. The second year I concentrated on reducing chemicals as much as I could for riskier foods and am now passionately opposed to GMO foods and all their derivatives. The third year I developed my way of eating which is basically whole foods, nothing fake including farmed fish and amimal meats from production farms. I believe if we actually get the nutrients we need without the bad stuffs, we can learn to love food again. I mean real food.

      I have lost the weight, am stable with less fluctuation and my belly is gone.

      The basic premise I follow is that no way do I want to take pills for life like statins etc. I am of the age that I accumulated a lot of bad eating for a long enough time to do damage.... now reversed after 3 years. I do not know about other doctors but I have never had one that was interested in using food for health rather thaan pharma drugs.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image

      Shell Vera 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I enjoyed this for its honesty and practicality. In June, I began following the ideas outlined in Skinny Sexy Bride, which can be tailored to anyone. As a non-bride, I have enjoyed the benefits of a clean diet, healthy living, and not working out until I am ready to die but instead working out smarter. Like you, I only drink water and tea now as a main rule - though I do sneak a Crystal Light in from time to time for variety. I love cooking again and have taken up hiking more difficult trails, not for exercise but for my love of nature. It is a win-win. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

    • Oscarlites profile image

      Oscar Jones 5 years ago from Alabama

      very good.. so its a lot of small decisions, and adding a bit of food knowledge that helped you eat smarter and lighter and better health ahead!

    • profile image

      tompoteet 5 years ago

      Thanks for the kind words. Yes, you are certainly welcom to create a link in another hub.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This is a very motivational and inspirational health hub. I haven't done any dieting in my life (yet) and I feel blessed that I don't need to (yet) but this is something I could keep in mind or perhaps make it a rule in order to stay as I am now. My guilty pleasure? Cheesecake and drumstick ice cream. Urghh!

      I am definitely voting up and useful and will be sharing your hub.

      P.S. I'm revising some of my old hubs to wake them up and would like to use this hub to link in one of my health hubs. I hope that's okay with you.

    • profile image

      tompoteet 5 years ago

      Note to self: It is much easier to avoid ordering french fries if you haven't first made a science out of knowing the location of the best french fries in town.

    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Wow - how wonderful to lose 15 pounds in just 4 weeks! But I prefer to see inch loss than weight loss because belly fat is what really concerns me. I lost 5 total inches (3 from waist alone) by eating healthfully, drinking water instead of soda, exercising, and adding a thing called Oxycise!. The latter had a huge effect on me!

    • profile image

      tompoteet 5 years ago

      Thanks Mandy. Hope you find something useful here.

    • mandypoole profile image

      mandypoole 5 years ago from UK

      Interesting hub, hoping to lose a stone in 1 month so thank you for the inspiration!