What Is the 20/20 Weight loss plan? – Health Fitness, Diets, Weight Loss

What Is the 20/20 Weight loss plan?

At Verywell, we consider there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all method to a wholesome way of life. Profitable consuming plans must be individualized and take the entire individual into consideration. Previous to beginning a brand new weight loss program plan, seek the advice of along with your well being care supplier or a registered dietitian, particularly in case you have an underlying well being situation.

The 20/20 Weight loss plan, created by Dr. Phil McGraw of the favored daytime discuss present “Dr. Phil,” is a four-phase weight reduction plan primarily based on the idea of “energy meals.” Based on McGraw, these meals take lots of vitality to digest, which can help within the weight reduction course of.

McGraw’s TV present, podcast, and books all cowl numerous psychological and emotional well being matters, that are his areas of experience. Though McGraw holds a doctoral diploma in psychology, he’s neither a medical physician neither is he an skilled in vitamin.

McGraw has written about weight reduction previously. His 2003 New York Occasions bestseller, “The Final Weight Resolution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom,” dives into a number of the science behind weight reduction. The overarching angle of the guide is that people who find themselves obese might profit from reframing their views on meals and weight-reduction plan.

In McGraw’s more moderen guide, “The 20/20 Weight loss plan: Flip Your Weight Loss Imaginative and prescient Into Actuality,” he conveys his signature no-nonsense method to weight reduction with a definite four-phase plan. The guide is marketed towards individuals who have struggled with yo-yo weight-reduction plan (weight biking) and weight regain. The guide gained consideration following its launch in 2015 and the 20/20 Weight loss plan rapidly turned one of the crucial sought-after diets that 12 months, regardless of McGraw’s lack of vitamin or medical credentials.

What Consultants Say

“I’m cautious of any weight loss program that encourages particular meals and requires inflexible meal plans or timelines versus sustainable modifications. And on this one, I’m involved that individuals following the weight loss program will forgo different meals simply to ensure the 20 steered ones make the minimize.”

Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD.

What Can You Eat?

The 20/20 Weight loss plan is predicated on the idea of thermogenesis. When one thing is thermogenic, it means it tends to provide warmth. In regard to weight reduction, this idea means that sure meals make your physique work further laborious to digest them and that vitality is launched as warmth (also called the thermic impact of meals). The extra vitality your physique burns whereas digesting meals, the less internet energy you soak up from that meals. 

The 20 “energy meals” listed on the 20/20 Weight loss plan supposedly take lots of vitality to digest. These meals are coconut oil, inexperienced tea, mustard, olive oil, almonds, apples, chickpeas, dried plums, prunes, leafy greens, lentils, peanut butter, pistachios, raisins, yogurt, eggs, cod, rye, tofu, and whey powder. 

Whereas this sounds nice in idea, there isn’t any conclusive scientific proof to help the assertion that every one 20 meals require extra vitality to digest than different meals. Inexperienced tea appears to be the one meals on the checklist with any conclusive thermogenic knowledge behind it. Some analysis has, the truth is, discovered inexperienced tea to be a metabolism booster, however different analysis contradicts these findings.

Among the energy meals, comparable to apples and leafy greens, would possibly assist you reduce weight as a result of they pack lots of vitamin with few energy. Different meals on the checklist are excessive in energy (e.g., peanut butter, dried fruit, pistachios) and might contribute to weight achieve should you aren’t cautious about portion sizes.

What You Must Know

The 20/20 Weight loss plan consists of 4 distinct phases. Throughout all phases, you’re speculated to eat 4 meals, 4 hours aside. This is a fast overview of what to anticipate throughout every part.

  • Part 1: The 5-Day Increase. Throughout part one of many plan, you solely eat the 20 designated energy meals. 
  • Part 2: The 5-Day Maintain. Throughout part two, you begin including in meals outdoors of the 20 energy meals, however every meal or snack should include not less than two of the 20 energy meals. 
  • Part 3: The 20-Day Attain. Part three is considerably longer than phases one and two, and issues grow to be extra structured. Every meal should include not less than one of many 20 energy meals. You’re additionally allowed two “wise splurges” of any meals you take pleasure in per week, however provided that they keep underneath 100 energy.
  • Part 4: Administration. Whenever you get to part 4, it’s all about sustaining your weight reduction and new consuming habits. McGraw’s guide focuses on every day way of life ideas and encourages followers to not enable a busy way of life to get in the way in which of their vitamin. 

The primary two phases of the 20/20 Weight loss plan don’t enable for a lot modification, however the plan will get extra versatile when you enter phases three and 4. For those who don’t meet your aim weight by the tip of part three, you’re supposed to start out over and hold repeating phases one by three till you obtain your aim weight.

No meals are actually off-limits at that time, so you may modify the 20/20 Weight loss plan to fulfill your dietary preferences, whether or not you comply with a vegan, vegetarian, paleo, low-carb, or one other consuming plan.

Individuals who comply with a vegan weight loss program might battle with the 20/20 Weight loss plan, nonetheless, particularly throughout the first two phases when yogurt, eggs, and whey powder are consumed. Whereas there are nonetheless loads of different meals to select from, vegans will even have to switch recipes that embrace animal merchandise.

For the perfect outcomes on the 20/20 Weight loss plan plan, followers are suggested to buy McGraw’s guide, which particulars the precise protocol and contains sections on managing your mindset throughout weight reduction. 

What to Eat

  • 20/20 “energy meals”

  • Animal proteins

  • Dairy merchandise

  • Starchy and non-starchy greens

  • Fruit and fried fruit

  • Fish and seafood

  • Wholesome fat

What To not Eat

  • Refined carbohydrates and sugars

  • Quick meals

  • "Junk" meals

20/20 “Energy Meals”

This group contains the core meals on the 20/20 Weight loss plan, that are thought to extend the thermic impact of meals and burn lots of vitality throughout digestion, in keeping with McGraw. 

Starchy and Non-Starchy Greens

Some veggies are included within the 20/20 energy meals, and you’ll eat all of the greens you want within the later phases of the plan. 

Fruit and Dried Fruit

This energy meals group contains choose fruits and dried fruits, however you may embrace extra varieties after part one of many plan.

Fish and Seafood

McGraw encourages consuming fish and seafood all through the whole weight loss program. Cod can also be one of many energy meals. Fish and seafood present ample nutritional vitamins, minerals, and wholesome fatty acids.  

Animal Protein

You possibly can add proteins comparable to rooster or turkey breast and lean floor beef into your weight loss program after the primary part.

Dairy Merchandise

Yogurt is among the 20/20 energy meals, and you can even eat cheese and drink milk later in this system if you wish to. 

Wholesome Fat

Nuts and seeds, avocados, olives, and cooking oils are inspired on the 20/20 Weight loss plan.

Refined Carbs and Sugars

Whereas not utterly off-limits within the later phases of the weight loss program plan, McGraw recommends avoiding meals with easy carbs and added sugars as a lot as doable.

Quick Meals

A part of McGraw’s philosophy with the 20/20 Weight loss plan is avoiding previous habits that will have contributed to weight achieve, comparable to frequenting your favourite fast-food eating places. 

McGraw advises refraining from meals that set off “free-for-all consuming,” comparable to processed snacks that are available wrappers, baggage, and containers.

How Processed Meals Can Have an effect on Your Well being

Pattern Buying Record

Part one of many 20/20 Weight loss plan emphasizes the checklist of 20 energy meals earlier than extra meals are launched afterward. The next pattern buying checklist supplies ideas for getting began on the plan. Word that this buying checklist shouldn’t be all-inclusive, and should you select to comply with this weight loss program there could also be different meals that you simply choose.

  • Darkish, leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens, bok choy)
  • Apples, dried plums, prunes, raisins, and different complete fruits comparable to berries
  • Chickpeas, lentils, and tofu
  • Cod, salmon, tuna
  • Hen and turkey breast
  • Eggs
  • Rye bread
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut oil, olive oil
  • Almonds, pistachios, peanut butter
  • Mustard
  • Inexperienced tea
  • Whey powder

Pattern Meal Plan

The 20/20 protocol entails 4 meals a day spaced 4 hours aside. The primary part is probably the most restrictive, which might make meal planning tough. The next pattern meal plan presents ideas for the primary two phases of the weight loss program. Word that this meal plan shouldn’t be all-inclusive, and should you do select to comply with the 20/20 Weight loss plan there could also be different meals that you simply choose.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: 1 Peanut Butter Banana Blueberry Acai Smoothie
  • Lunch: 1 cup Curry Chickpea Salad; 1 cup inexperienced tea
  • Snack: 1 cup of yogurt with 1/4 cup dried raisins and chopped prunes and 12 almonds
  • Dinner: 4 ounces Oven-Baked Salmon With Herbs; 1 cup combined greens (arugula and mustard greens) drizzled with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

Day 2

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled or over-easy; 1 cup sauteed kale with mustard seeds
  • Lunch: 1 serving Tuna Salad Collard Inexperienced Wrap; 1 cup inexperienced tea
  • Snack: 1 sliced apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Dinner: 1 serving Ginger Hen With Child Bok Choy

Day 3

  • Breakfast: 1 serving Spinach Underneath Eggs; 1 cup inexperienced tea
  • Lunch: 1 slice rye toast topped with 1 tablespoon peanut butter; 1 cup inexperienced tea
  • Snack: 1 serving Excessive-Protein Shake With Berries
  • Dinner: 4 ounces pan-seared cod; 1/2 cup cooked lentils; 1 cup sauteed collard greens with mustard seeds

Professionals and Cons


  • Consists of quite a lot of meals after the primary part

  • Encourages train

  • Emphasizes hydration

  • Accounts for psychological well being


  • One-size-fits-all method

  • Too structured for some

  • Questionable approaches to weight reduction

As with all diets, the 20/20 Weight loss plan has its advantages and downsides. Overview the professionals and cons related to this plan to find out if it is the fitting selection for you.


Features a Number of Meals 

Whereas the primary part of the 20/20 Weight loss plan limits you to simply 20 meals, your choices open up after these first 5 days. The opposite phases encourage quite a lot of wholesome meals, from animal proteins to starches to greens. McGraw doesn’t utterly discourage treats and processed meals, however he does stipulate that any “wise splurges” must be few and much between (not more than twice every week) and restricted in energy, which is cheap vitamin recommendation.

Encourages Train

The 20/20 Weight loss plan supplies train tips about prime of dietary suggestions, which is one thing that not all weight loss program plans provide. Particularly, McGraw suggests getting three to 4 hours of moderate-intensity train per week and two to a few hours of vigorous train. For those who meet each minimums, you’ll interact in not less than 5 hours of train per week, and as much as seven should you meet the maximums. 

Encourages Hydration

Moreover, the 20/20 Weight loss plan supplies hydration suggestions. Whereas everybody must drink totally different quantities of water primarily based on their physique dimension, exercise degree, medical situations, and different elements, aiming for eight to 10 glasses (as steered within the 20/20 Weight loss plan) makes for a superb aim. 

Accounts for Psychological Well being

Although McGraw shouldn’t be a registered dietitian, he does have expertise serving to his purchasers handle their weight. McGraw makes use of his information of mindset, motivation, and different psychological elements to supply weight reduction ideas.

McGraw touches on psychological well being because it pertains to weight reduction. Your psychological state can have an effect on your capability to lose or preserve your weight, as weight reduction is usually extra difficult than “energy in, energy out.”

The way to Overcome 5 Psychological Blocks to Weight Loss


One-Measurement-Matches-All Strategy

Diet consultants agree that weight reduction is a extremely particular person course of. Profitable weight reduction requires customization to an individual’s well being standing, exercise degree, present way of life, medical situations, previous consuming habits (e.g., disordered consuming), and far more. Plans just like the 20/20 Weight loss plan assume that everybody can reduce weight following the identical plan, which simply isn’t correct.

Too Structured for Some

The recommendation to “eat each 4 hours” could possibly be too regimented for some folks. With life being as busy as it’s, it’s laborious to maintain monitor of precisely once you eat. This technique neglects the idea of intuitive consuming. What should you’re not hungry 4 hours after your final meal? What should you’re ravenous two hours after your final meal? It’s not at all times a sensible concept to disregard starvation cues simply to stay to the foundations of a weight loss program. 

Questionable Approaches to Weight Loss

In “The 20/20 Weight loss plan” guide, McGraw supplies ideas and tips to assist folks keep away from weight-reduction plan pitfalls, however these tips gained’t work for everybody in the long run. For instance, McGraw suggests brushing your enamel once you’re craving junk meals, however adhering to methods like this may alter your capability to establish your pure starvation cues.

Your cravings could be telling you one thing vital. Maybe your physique wants carbohydrates to replenish glycogen shops after a exercise, or possibly you’re simply hungry.

Is the 20/20 Weight loss plan a Wholesome Selection for You?

The 20/20 Weight loss plan shares related traits with different weight reduction plans. As an example, the Dr. Oz 21-Day Weight loss plan, one other weight loss program created by a TV persona, serves as a fast reboot, detox, or cleanse, none of which usually end in long-term weight reduction.

Much like the 20/20 Weight loss plan, the Zero Stomach Weight loss plan facilities round “energy meals,” though on this weight loss program, there are solely 9 energy meals. There’s additionally the South Seaside Weight loss plan, which follows a phased method just like the 20/20 plan and teams meals into “allowed” and “keep away from” classes. Nevertheless, this technique may be detrimental to your relationship with meals.  

The 2020–2025 U.S. Division of Agriculture’s Dietary Tips for Individuals recommends consuming quite a lot of nutrient-dense meals together with fruit and veggies, grains, low-fat dairy merchandise, lean protein, and wholesome fat. The important thing suggestions within the federal tips are as follows:

  • “Greens of all sorts—darkish inexperienced; purple and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and different greens
  • Fruits, particularly complete fruit
  • Grains, not less than half of that are complete grain
  • Dairy, together with fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and/or lactose-free variations and fortified soy drinks and yogurt as alternate options
  • Protein meals, together with lean meats, poultry, and eggs; seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy merchandise
  • Oils, together with vegetable oils and oils in meals, comparable to seafood and nuts”

A good thing about the 20/20 Weight loss plan is that it contains quite a lot of meals from totally different meals teams throughout phases three and 4. Even throughout the first two phases, the 20 energy meals embrace dairy, fish, nuts and seeds, fruits, greens, and protein, although the weight loss program does lack in complete grains and general selection.

For these looking for to reduce weight, it helps to know calorie consumption and vitality expenditure. Everybody has totally different calorie wants, that are primarily based on elements comparable to age, intercourse, weight, top, physique composition, medical situations, and degree of bodily exercise. Whereas a goal of two,000 energy per day is usually used as a normal measurement, you might want extra or fewer energy to succeed in your weight objectives. This calculator can offer you an estimate.

As soon as you progress into phases three and 4 of the 20/20 Weight loss plan plan, you can begin so as to add in additional meals to fulfill the USDA suggestions for a wholesome, balanced weight loss program.

The Fundamentals of a Wholesome, Balanced Weight loss plan

Well being Advantages

The restrictive nature of the 20/20 Weight loss plan mixed with common train will seemingly create a calorie deficit, which is often wanted for weight reduction. Regardless of that many wholesome meals are eradicated throughout the first part of the plan, the restrictions begin to ease up within the remaining phases. The plan turns into extra nutritionally balanced as extra wholesome, complete meals are inspired.

Well being Dangers

Although there are not any frequent dangers related to the 20/20 Weight loss plan, any weight loss program that’s centered on restricted consuming can result in disordered consuming habits and a strained relationship with meals. Slicing out meals and following a regimented consuming schedule might result in binge-eating conduct or different unhealthy consuming habits. Those that have had an consuming dysfunction or could possibly be in danger for creating one ought to keep away from making an attempt this weight loss program.

A Phrase From Verywell 

Not everybody has the identical dietary wants and weight reduction objectives, which suggests a one-size-fits-all method just like the 20/20 Weight loss plan is just not going to work for everybody. For those who’re all for following a weight reduction plan, it’s vital to totally analysis your choices earlier than committing. Your weight reduction journey is fully distinctive and you might have to experiment with totally different consuming patterns till you discover one which works greatest for you. Plans just like the 20/20 Weight loss plan might not be efficient in the long term, particularly should you don’t do nicely with meals restrictions. 

Bear in mind, following a long-term or short-term weight loss program might not be vital for you and plenty of diets on the market merely don’t work, particularly long-term. Whereas we don’t endorse fad weight loss program tendencies or unsustainable weight reduction strategies, we current the information so you can also make an knowledgeable choice that works greatest on your dietary wants, genetic blueprint, and funds, and objectives.

In case your aim is weight reduction, keep in mind that dropping pounds isn’t essentially the identical as being your healthiest self, and there are numerous different methods to pursue well being. Train, sleep, and different way of life elements additionally play a significant position in your general well being. The perfect weight loss program is at all times the one that’s balanced and matches your way of life.

Creating Wholesome Habits in Your Life to Have a Profitable Weight Loss

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