How to Lose the First 20 Pounds

Ooops. Wrong pic. I said lose 20 pounds, not gain it….


There’s more than one way to skin a cat for weight loss. Doesn’t fried kitty claws in sauteed hyena oats sound kinda of tasty?

You’ll be happy to know that skinning the weight loss cat just got easier. I lost my first 20 pounds with very little information on what to do right or wrong. There was a major learning curve involved, but the 20 pounds did come off eventually. I’m now 40 pounds down and, looking back to the beginning, I would certainly do some things different to expedite my weight loss.

So how’s about right now I unscrew the top of my cranium and do a massive brain dump of knowledge that will help you lose those first 20-pounds without you feeling like it’s rocket science. Here are my 9 fanciest tips…

1. Forget About the Stars Being Properly Aligned: Don’t wait until summer. Don’t wait until after the holiday. Don’t wait until you have expensive fitness equipment or until you paid uber-dollars for a gym membership you may not even use. You seeing a trend here? Because all of those are excuses. You want to lose weight? Then do something about it right now. For a beginner, walking is ideal. The combo of walking + calorie counting can help you shed pounds fast.

2. Count Calories: Well, crud. I really hated counting calories. It was a chore and made feel boxed in. So why am I telling you to do it? Because it’s important in the beginning. Tracking your calories (aka, food logging) helps to educate you on the “cost” of the food you gnaw on. And trust me, the calorie-cost of food is usually always more than you can guesstimate while non-tracking, so don’t screw yourself over. There’s a ton of tracking apps & websites where you can get a ballpark idea of how many calories you should be eating, complete with a reference database of the calories in your favorite foods. Take your pick. Find one you like. Since I’m an old school geek squad member, I used an excel spreadsheet. Do your tracking with whatever method works for you. In time, just like me, you may not need to track anymore. But at least try it out in the beginning.

3. Packaged Foods vs. Whole Fresh Foods: Packaged foods like Lean Cuisine typically contain a ton of sodium that cause you to retain water. And with meals so microscopic, they never really fill you up. This is not an all-or-nothing method. I simply encourage you to get on the bandwagon of preparing meals using whole, fresh ingredients sooner than later (that’s called “clean eating”). Your body will be better fed and you’ll avoid the artificial, chemical fanfare of ingredients found in most packaged foods. You’ll also avoid FDA-approved toxins like Splenda & Aspartame. As you phase into the practice of cooking whole, nutritious meals, do your best to eat as little packaged foods as possible.

Actual packaged meal I used to eat looks like a diarrhea sammich.


4. Phase Out Fast Food Slowly: There. I said it. Yep. While trying to lose those first 20-pounds, you don’t necessarily have to go for an all or nothing approach to giving up fast food. First, start by ordering the more healthy options from the menu (like salad or a grilled chicken sammich). Over time, as you strive for clean eating, you may find that fast food starts tasting nasty or, God forbid, maybe even give you a belly ache. My point is, phasing out fast food, when forced, usually doesn’t go well. Give yourself some flexibility and leeway to make better choices over time. It’ll make for sustained success.

Back in the day when the Greedy Family forced me to buy them Wendy’s.  


5. Go Easy on the White Flour Carbs: Ugh. Still is something I did NOT do to early on. Big mistake. Breads, pastas, white potatoes, and other forms of carbification really slowed down my weight loss progress. But as you know, I’m all about greediness in moderation, so please don’t restrict your favorite foods completely. Just be aware of how white flour carbs can affect your body and save them for a treat meal (not a cheat meal). White flour carbs are famous for causing major bloat, making your body look soft and swelled despite all your workout efforts. Reduce the excess-eating of carbs for a week or so and take note of how you feel and look, especially in your tummy area. Some ideas for healthier carbs include Ezekiel bread, sweet potatoes and brown rice. But you still have to watch your portion sizes!

6. Strength Training NOW: “But Josie, I’ll start to lift weights once I lose some weight”. NO! Please don’t talk like that. Lifting weights will expedite your weight loss, have you looking more awesome, and transform your body in a way that only strength training can do. There’s no such thing as achieving sexy curves without lifting weights.

7. Hydrate Sufficiently and Avoid Soda: Boo! The topic of hydration is soooo freaking boring, but I have to mention it anyway. Phase out soda using the same technique for phasing out fast food. I might drink an occasional Ginger Ale during holiday feasts or a summer barbecue, but that’s it. I don’t recommend bottled juices either. Instead, juice your veggies for epic, nutrient-rich hydration, and learn to love water and tea. Hydration is majorly important to staving off that hungry feeling. It really does help to keep the excess eating of calories in check. Try out my recipe for Homemade Citrus Sweet Tea. It’s real tasty ‘n stuff.

8. Cut Out the Excess Sugar & Acquire a Taste for Healthy Alternatives: In 2010 I went 7-days without eating sugar. It changed me forever. It totally broke the bonds of sugar addiction and reset my mindset and cravings. After the detox I was able to make better choices with sugary foods and consume them in sensible amounts. I still eat crappy sweet food, but it’s always a mindful decision and always in moderation — no longer driven by compulsion. I believe you can get to this place, too. Feed your belly a healthy treat, like my So Delicious Low Cal Strawberry Shortcake. It’s full of delectable om-nom-noms!


9. Practice Greediness in Moderation: I can’t stress this enough. There is no dang reason to give up your favorite treats, no matter what they are. I don’t care if it’s a fried Oreo & Twinkies combo at the State Fair. Eat it, baby! Just eat it not too often. Moderation is the key, but getting there isn’t always easy. I’m that girl who used to eat 5 slices of pepperoni pizza every Friday night, then scrounge the unwanted pizza crust off everyone else’s plate like a hungry hoover. Moderation was hard to achieve. It took me 9 months to beat the pizza addiction through a process of simply trying to makes better choices with my portion sizes on each pizza night. There were a lot of highs & lows. It took practice but I got there. You will get better at the art of moderation if you strive for, so don’t give up.

RELATED: Intermittent Fasting 12-Week Results 







  1. These are great tips. I was a greedy pizza eater too until I realized that pizza alone would never fill me up, and I always eat it with a generous helping of salad.
    AdjustedReality recently posted..I Can’t Even

    • yumyucky says:

      Welp, in my case, the pizza did fill me up by 2nd slice. I just kept eating anyway. Salad sounds good right now.

  2. Joi says:

    I love these tips! They are very practical and double. Phasing out over cold turkey all the time!
    Joi recently posted..Go Where the Fire is, NOT Where You Wish it Would Be

    • yumyucky says:

      HEY JOI! Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you’re doing well. You mentioned “cold turkey”, which would go very nicely on a sammich with mayo for my lunch. Yes?? 😉

  3. Saginaw Mike says:

    Josie, but you were never really big. Even in the Wendy’s pic you show above, you appear small and petite (and pretty within your comic antics).

    • yumyucky says:

      hehe. Hey Mike. I had already lost 20 pounds by the time the Wendy’s pic was snapped. My family made me buy them fast food, but I didn’t order any for myself.

  4. Saginaw Mike says:

    Finding myself among the first commenters, I am going to ignore shy misgivings and am going to go ahead with this followup note. Am a 58.5-year-old retired newspaper reporter, who first encountered and “discovered” Josie Maurer doing research for a silly post-retirement blog on the then-newfangled Chocolate Cheerios. Hee hee. Food and fitness aside: (1) Josie is a truly outstanding writer. She makes good writing, with her occasional humor, seem effortless. It’s not. Josie has a talent, but it is not all “gift.” She works hard at this. (2) Josie is truly an outstanding person, too. Just look at how she takes extra time to answer our notes. Such a good heart and soul. (3) None among us should take Josie for granted. THANK YOU, JOSIE!!!

  5. StarvingDiva says:

    Such great advice, the tracking is such a pain in the ass but you are right, it was amazing how quickly I changed my eating when I would eat something, (usually prepackaged) that I thought was okay, and then realized, wow I have eaten so many calories and it’s not even 2 and would have to really finagle the bagel for dinnertime, learned to eat much more filling meals (usually eggs) that sustained me.
    StarvingDiva recently posted..A Day Late and a Dollar Short

  6. Kita says:

    *cries* but I love wendy’s and they building one in walking distance of me can I walk there eat it then walk it off…..
    I have lost about 10lbs but it was because I have been hardly eating I just get a bite here and there but that’s not good cause now I am hungry
    Kita recently posted..Entrepreneur OLIVIER ARRINDEL

  7. Great tips Josie!! I love the one about tracking — when I track I am way more mindful about my choices than when I don’t.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted..A Healthy U Conference Update! Speakers, Sessions & Sponsors

  8. mimi says:

    Yes, especially #1! If you keep waiting for the right time, it won’t happen. That’s been true of every change i’ve ever made, including cleaning out my diwt and losing the weight.
    mimi recently posted..A to Z Challenge: V is for Visit and Victory

  9. Can I just say YES! :) I had an IG follower ask about getting lean. I said for the hell of it, even though you think you know what you eat, track for a week.. it may surprise you. :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Taking a Few Days Away; Happy Easter

  10. GiGi Eats says:

    I just got a hernia from laughing so hard at your Wendy’s photo!
    GiGi Eats recently posted..This Recipe is ALL ME!

  11. Man, I thought this was going to be a joke with that strawberry shortcake picture, but you nailed it for realz. I am so over calorie counting now, but I would never have been able to lose weight if I didn’t do it at first, and I still read labels and make choices based on calories and serving size (and other factors).
    Coco (@Got2Run4Me) recently posted..High Five Friday Running Survey

  12. 444 says:

    You made me laugh at least three times:
    1. The diarrhea sandwich
    2. The Wendy’s bag
    3. The hungry hoover
    The person above is right – you never used to be real fat, so stop pretending you used to be a land barge. I still think it’s very hard to lose 5 lbs., though.

    Hey, I’m 144 now, just like my driver’s license says! I had to NOT eat a lot of things the last few months, but it was worth it. And you speak the truth about fast food. My highest weight = Fast Food Central. Now, I barely darken a drive-thru’s driveway. There seems to be a direct correlation.
    444 recently posted..Hey hey!

  13. LuckyMama says:

    Great post!!!! And every bit of it is true…except the exercise part…it can’t be true….can it?? I mean…I have to EXERCISE too?!?!?!?!
    Seriously, giving up sugar was the very first effort I made. If I never lose another pound (please don’t let that be the case), giving up sugar has changed my life. It’s AMAZING how much calmer I am.
    Like the Monkees said, ‘I’m a believer!’

  14. Robin says:

    I love your website, the posts coming! I am also a home workout athlete, so it’s wonderful to find another. Tracking is absolutely key! I have been doing it on and off for years, and when I slack off, the pounds creep up. Strength training and walking are my favorite exercises, and they definetly keep the weight in check.

  15. Marc says:

    “carbification” – I like that!
    Marc recently posted..We all can do it, despite the naysayers

  16. Kim says:

    Love your tips!! If only I didn’t like pizza and wine and Cheetos so much!!!
    Kim recently posted..Plyo and Hunter the Runner (4/20 – 4/26)

  17. Valerie says:

    Outstanding post for real world weight loss. New reality show – Yumyucky Rocks!
    I have one thought (and the only one I’ll think today) – I hate counting calories! Instead, I count sugar, carb, and now fiber grams. I try to keep my eyeballs on what I believe is important for my weight management.
    Valerie recently posted..3 Simple Ways To Eat A Healthier Diet For Faster Weight Loss

  18. Lisa says:

    Great list! I agree! I have a friend who is ALWAYS starting the diet (or exercise plan) “next week.” I always say, why wait? Do it now.
    Lisa recently posted..Report Card

  19. Cassandre says:

    I love this list… Just today I was looking at different apps to aid with tracking…
    Cassandre recently posted..Thankful and Blessed

  20. Claire Johnson says:

    Hey sugar you look stunning. I’m very new to this stuff after giving birth to 3 hyperactive boys.

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

Disclaimer: Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Neither Josie,, nor anyone else associated with this website will be responsible or liable for any injury you sustain while exercising.