The Evolution of Weight Loss – Guest Post by Brad Pilon

May 29, 2009

I can’t thank Brad Pilon enough for taking time out of his busy schedule to do a guest post for my site. Any of you who are fans of “Eat Stop Eat” or have been following Brad on Twitter know that his wife just gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Ro Wilder Pilon (cool name). I asked Brad to do a guest post on calorie deficit and I think his son was born the following day! This is an outstanding article, well worth your time, and will challenge much of what you have heard when it comes to dieting and weight loss. Love it!

brad pilon eat stop eat

[Brad Pilon's ideas challenge much of the mainstream fitness info you see published in magazines, books, and online. Slowly, but surely, his ideas are going to go mainstream. Right now, anyone who studies his materials will be WAY "ahead of the curve".]

The Evolution of Weight Loss – By Brad Pilon

Well, evolution is probably the wrong word. It’s catchy, but it implies that weight loss has somehow improved or become better. This would be a fallacy because it’s simply not true.

The truth is your body has known how to burn fat since the very day you were born.

In fact, if you want to get technical about it, you were burning fat while you were still in the womb.

So evolution isn’t the right word. It may be sexy, but it’s not correct, so let’s change the title of this guest post to “The Flexibility of Weight Loss”.

And here’s a perfect example to illustrate my point:

In the late 1990’s (1999 to be exact) I first entered the supplement industry working in Research in Development.

Because I was working for a supplement company helping to design fat-burning pills and various other weight loss supplements, people tended to think I knew a lot about dieting and came to me for dieting advice.

Back then I was against low-carb diets. I thought they caused you to lose muscle (don’t ask me why). So when asked I advocated moderate protein, high-carb, low fat diets.

  • And, this approach helped people get lean. Really lean. Sometimes even contest lean.
  • In 2000-2001 Leptin became a big deal in the supplement industry. I spent countless days locked in my office reading about leptin. It became an obsession in the industry and like everybody else, I started recommending adding a ‘cheat day’ to peoples diet plan.

  • This new approach helped people get lean. Really lean. Sometimes even contest lean.
  • Then, around 2002 I began reading about low-carb diets. Sure enough the information I read was so convincing that I began advocated high-protein, low carb, moderate fat diets.

  • And, yet again this dieting approach helped people get lean. Really lean. Sometimes even contest lean.
  • In around 2004, I had given up on low-carb diets and switched to diets that concentrated on low glycemic carbs, these diets were moderate protein, moderate carbohydrates and moderate fats.

  • Not surprisingly this approach also helped people get lean. Really lean. And yes, sometimes even contest lean.
  • In around 2005, people were talking about cycling carbohydrates, so naturally, I jumped on the bandwagon.

  • Not surprisingly, this approach ALSO helped people get lean. Really lean and sometimes even contest lean.
  • In 2007 I took a radical shift in my life, left the supplement industry and went back to school to complete my Master’s degree in Nutrition.

    After completing my masters (concentrating on the metabolic effects of short term fasting in humans) I started recommending 1 or 2 24-hour fasts per week combined with simple, responsible eating (and weight training). I even wrote a book on the topic (Eat Stop Eat).

  • Again, this new approach to dieting helped people get lean. Really lean. Sometimes even contest lean.
  • So the lesson learned was that just about any diet will help you lose weight as long as it puts you in a calorie deficit. High protein, Low-carb, high carb, not eating for 24 hour periods, as long as you eat less calories than you are burning you will lose weight.

    The other important lesson (probably the most important), is that you DO NOT have to be in a calorie deficit every single day.

    What really matters is the trend. You need to be in a calorie deficit on AVERAGE over time. With carb cycling and “Eat Stop Eat” style fasting, you spend a couple days a week where you are not in calorie deficit. But on average over the course of the week, or even a month you are in a calorie deficit and this is why people lose weight.

    This story proves two things.

    First – All the posturing and positioning in the diet industry about which diet is better is laughable – All diets will work, some are easier than others, but as long as they create a chronic calorie deficit you will lose weight.

    Second – This calorie deficit doesn’t have to occur every single day, but it does need to be an average over time.

    So in keeping with the new title of this article, this is a perfect example of the amazing flexibility of weight loss and fat loss.

    The bottom line is this – The diet that will allow you the best weight loss success is the one that you find to be the easiest to follow and most comfortable way to create an ongoing calorie deficit over time.

    Ignore all of the metabolism-science-geek talk and concentrate on what really matters – finding a sustainable way that you can eat less while still enjoying the foods that you eat.

    <---------------End of Article--------------->


    Comments from Rusty: <----(I'm not trying to refer to myself in 3rd person...I'm not that cool). It is funny how it mainly comes down to calorie deficit. Even though calorie deficit is where 80-90% of your results come from, fasting every now and then has an added edge over typical diets.

    In less than 3 minutes, this video explains why I am a big fan of the “Eat Stop Eat” style of eating…makes staying lean easy!

    [One more thing...I have been advocating working out in a fasted state for years. Brad mentions this at the very end of the video.]

    If you like this article, here is where to find more great stuff…

    Brad Pilon’s Blog: http://bradpilon.com/
    Brad Pilon’s Twitter Profile: http://twitter.com/bradpilon
    Brad Pilon’s Weight Loss Course: http://www.eatstopeat.com

    profileNote:I blog less these days & save my most up-to-date info for my free exclusive newsletter.

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    Rusty Moore

    ----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

    { 68 comments… read them below or add one }

    M0L June 2, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    hey rusty,

    what do you thik about the 24hr on/24hr off IF type…like you fast for 24hrs and then eat on the following 24hrs and so on.
    for example, by eating from Monday 6 PM to Tuesday 6 PM, then fasting from Tuesday 6 PM to Wednesday 6 PM etc.
    I will appreciate ur input..thanks!

    admin June 3, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    John,

    I think the calorie deficit approach works well, but just finding a way to do it in a comfortable way is a good approach to be able to stick with it.

    Jason G,

    Good summary of important points when it comes to weight loss. I love corn tortillas too much to eliminate them from my diet.

    Fit Jerk,

    The fasting just gives people a little more “wiggle room” in their diets in case they don’t always eat clean foods.

    Dr. Ellis

    Thanks for the positive remarks about this post. It makes sense that calories in and out is where it is at.

    Brad,

    Can’t have cream in the morning coffee when fasting. Drink your coffee black for best results.

    gus,

    Focus on calories first, then carbs. Once you are losing weight then maybe adjust the carbs. I wouldn’t recommend tons of carbs before bed, just as a precaution. Even though you can still lose weight doing it.

    MOL,

    That is what a typical Eat Stop Eat style fast looks like. On the days you fast, you don’t eat anything between the dinner on one day to the dinner the next day.

    Rusty

    M0L June 4, 2009 at 12:03 am

    oh..ok, I thought it was only two days of fasting on one week..am I right?

    Liam | gym in stevenage June 4, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Brad – “So the lesson learned was that just about any diet will help you lose weight as long as it puts you in a calorie deficit.”

    That’s the long and short of it really. You can mess about with your macronutrient ratio all day long – if you eat less than you burn you’ll still lose weight.

    Catelyn June 4, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Rusty and Brad!
    So starvation diets will work – ie. 800 calories/day? Won’t your body get used to this lower level of calories, and then you’re stuck never enjoying life. Or, can you slowly add in more calories as you approach your goal weight?

    edt freak June 5, 2009 at 11:27 am

    thx so much, guess i must go back to that sore phase again………
    in yavor’s page, i read that alternating mass gaining and strength training can get better result gotta try that!!

    Richard Nikoley June 5, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I’ve used Brad’s ESE for 18 months, now, in conjunction with a mostly paleo diet and brief but intense workouts. I’ve documented a lot here:

    freetheanimal.com/root/intermittent-fasting/

    While I agree that calorie deficit (by itself) will eventually work, it’s no way to live. Hunger is primal and will eventually win out over most people. So, I think a higher fat and lower carb diet, combined with _purposeful_ and acute (not chronic) hunger is really the key to long-term success.

    Both a high-fat / low-carb diet (real foods, i.e., ‘paleo’ is best) and IF I think work hand in hand to really reset hunger. I’m now hungry. It’s 1:30 pm and I haven’t eaten since last night. I haven’t decided, yet, whether to make this a[n extended] fast, or not, or if I do, to break it at dinner, go until breakfast, or wait until our pool party tomorrow at 3pm. We’ll just see, and I have no particular preference either way. If I do take it until tomorrow, I know that I’l wake up completely without hunger for several hours at least.

    Hunger just doesn’t mean the same thing as it used to.

    not going to work June 6, 2009 at 10:45 am

    This idea is not going to work, when fasting the body wants to store up on fat after the fasting sessions is done. So that you will look “thin-fat”. It is proven that fasting is not the way to go to burn fat. You will ruin your muscle tissue and you will store up more fat after the session. Have you ever heard of japanese sea weed powder? Take that with green tea and you will help your body release stored fat. Remember to eat 6 small meals a day, workout 3 times a week, with 2 cardio sessions in between and you will see results;)

    admin June 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    MOL,

    Yeah…you are right it is only 2 days of fasting per week. The idea is the same, but just twice per week.

    Liam,

    I do agree. I still think there are a few macronutrient variables that can make it easier to create a calorie deficit, but the deficit is where the fat loss comes from…bottom line.

    Catelyn,

    Low calorie diets do work, but you don’t have to go to an extreme like that. I would recommend 1-2 days per week at a low calorie level and 5-6 days a week at maintenance level calories.

    edt freak,

    Alternating between mass and strength gaining is the best way to gain dense muscle. You don’t want to get that puffy bodybuilder look, so this is the way to go if you are after mass.

    Richard,

    I think creating a calorie deficit with Paleo style eating is easier and I do get stable energy levels following this method. That being said, some people have a tough time with the low carb way of eating…so in that case they need to create a calorie deficit following a different approach. I do agree with you that paleo makes it easier.

    not going to work,

    We are WAY ahead of you here. Thanks for commenting, but several recent studies have proven you wrong. Look up the term Intermittent Fasting on Google. There are dozens of people who use this way of eating to stay ripped year round. I have been doing this for 2 years and stay around 6-8% body fat year round and haven’t lost an ounce of muscle. The 6 meal-per-day approach is a rough way to create a calorie deficit. The meals are more like snacks…a 120 pound woman would need to eat no more than 200 calories per meal following this approach, if she wanted to lose weight. No wonder why so many people fail with the 6 meal per day approach!

    Rusty

    KCLAnderson (Karen) June 10, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you for this. I am not a looking to lose weight and build muscle for any type of competition, I’m just a 40-something woman who has played the weight loss game for far too long. I have FINALLY discovered what works for me (in terms of killing the sugar/carb cravings and false hunger that, in the past, derailed me every time): high protein (~75 grams) before 2 p.m. I am finding that my daily ratios usually look like this: 25% fat, 40% protein and 35% carbs. In addition to finding the right formula for me, it took a lot “head work” as I used to feel that my sugar/carb cravings and false hunger meant that there was something fundamentally wrong with me, like I was a lazy, undisciplined loser ha ha. Now I know better.

    Shawn July 6, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Can I use this to cut fat while on a bulking cycle?

    beatcoach September 15, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Good to see Brad Pilon here on your site. The more his views and teachings are disseminated, the better off for everyone!
    Beat

    Coder96 October 10, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Over the years, I’ve made it a point to cultivate my relationships with the local growers who come to the farmers’ market I helped organize as many of us could see thirty years ago that the American agricultural system was not sustainable for the long-term. ,

    Karen November 14, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Hey Rusty,

    I’ve studied the IF and ESE now and am really intrigued. I totally get the benefits. However, I’m rather dubious as to whether or not I could do this. I had to fast all morning the other day before a blood draw, and I seriously thought I was going to pass out. I’m the type that get really shaky if I go more than 3 hours without food. That’s why I always have a bag of almonds in my purse. My husband can go the whole day without eating and not even think about it, but I think I’d be dead.
    I’d love your thoughts on this since I’m sure I’m not the first person to comment on this. Thanks again Rusty for the great post!

    Sonny December 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Hey Rusty i love this site. It has so much valuable information. This comment isnt specific to this topic but it does involve dieting and radical claims. Im sure you heard of the warp speed fat loss diet and i wondered what your thoughts on it are as is claims one can lose 20 pounds in 28 days. To me thats no different than the muscle mags claiming one can gain 20 pounds of muscle in 28 days.

    BTW after reading your posts on the Warrior Diet, ive decided to try it and so far 4 days later i have lost 4 pounds.

    Thanks
    Sonny

    Don Kanalie January 25, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Well, who didnt know yet? Eat a little less (and maybe also healthier) is one of the key facts. But as usual it´s harder to DO than diet than writing about it. Nevertheless, great post!

    Justin February 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Could have written that comment myself. That is exactly how I feel.

    Patrick Kallie June 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I myself have used fasting to loose weight in the past to a degree. I don’t really like to tell people that they should do this because they usually try to do it too much.

    This is where people tend to get into trouble, doing it to frequently. They will loose the weight and then gain it back. It does work if you use it to your advantage.

    Jojo Mina July 21, 2010 at 12:08 am

    I am on the Warrior Diet religiously for the past two week and have lost since 5-6 lbs.

    My questions is, what is the reason behind not to take-in any calories on the fasting days? It is the insulin? If so, then using
    a Virgin Coconut Oil only on fasting days won’t do any harm and in
    fact will be a good detox day as well.

    Thanks God…I stumbled on your great site.

    gwanfogbe terence November 29, 2010 at 6:19 am

    the perfect site you need to loss that weight whoa what an inspiration

    Mike @ Papa Star Health January 4, 2011 at 1:41 am

    ESE is the best diet protocol by far.

    kayode March 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Brad,i am grateful for sharing your sincere thoughts and experience with us.Just as you mentioned that any weight loss program that make you eat less of calories than one consume will progressively take some pounds off one’s weight.
    Good thinking.

    Zeka April 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Hey Rusty, big respect for your blog! Just started with the fasting routine but have one question. Does the 24-hour fast begins after you have your last meal, or the time you supposed to have the next one? Lets say i had lunch today at 2pm, so would my fast be over at the same time tomorrow, or should i wait until dinner time? Or, how many meals do you usually skip on a 24-hour fast, if you eat 3 meals per day?? 2 or 3??
    Thanks in advance

    Simon July 9, 2011 at 2:34 am

    This is absolutely true, you can never achieve your weight loss goal by just focusing on one method, in fact there is no absolute method that can help you to lose weight effectively. What you have to do is just simply do not overdoing it, keep it simple and easy!

    Simon

    Jay @ weight loss review September 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Its very much true you have to chose a wight loss method that suits your lifestyle else you will find so much difficulties to go forward.

    PH Healthy Water October 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    The same applies to exercise. A workout with quick bursts of energy, raising the heart rate to maximum, then backing off, rinse and repeat. I like the idea of applying this to a diet as it gives you a break from the same ol same ol. ;)

    HCG Diet Texas December 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    The information is very interesting. I like the post. Thank you, this advice will come in handy. It made me understand something, and it is that I never knew before. Keep Posting!!

    Antibiotic Soap January 18, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Awesome post.I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and informative also .This is really a great web site.

    Medical Alert Systems February 26, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    brilliant… very informative post Brad.. To loose weight I set my target and work it on.. I got a great information from your article.. Yes I will also follow this “Eat Stop Eat”.. Try to eat only healthy food.. Thanks for sharing..

    Chris G July 12, 2012 at 3:14 am

    My wife did zumba. It really is an awesome way to lose weight. It just keeps changing. Awesome post!

    AllRawFoodDiet.com September 13, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Brad, I like your thoughts, As you mentioned that All diets will work, some are easier than others. I followed raw food diet for my 10 Kg of weight loss which have taken 180 days.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas…
    Had a great time on this website.

    Chad Steve March 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Great info. I never thought about weight loss this way before. I’ve been the industry for awhile now too. I like how you mentioned that your calorie deficit doesn’t have to occur everyday. People believe they have to starve themselves to lose the weight. Great post here.

    Chad S.

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