An Aggressive Dieting Approach to Use After a Period of High Calorie Eating

December 27, 2009

Most people, myself included, spend about 3-4 weeks eating higher calories than normal during the holidays.

I am not just talking about on the actual day of the holiday. I had at least 10-12 days in December where I really just sat back and enjoyed a large quantity of really good food. Don’t feel bad if you did the same. This is what December is all about.

Heck, if I could go back in time I would probably try and eat a little more of my Aunt’s cookies on Christmas. You live once and in my opinion, this is the time to reflect and enjoy good friends, family, and great food. So let’s talk about a strategy to lose body fat in a short time frame.

Holiday Eating

[No worries if you gained a bit of fat in November and December. It just meant you stopped and smelled the roses a bit. Now it is time to step away from the roses and obliterate that body fat.]

Your Body is Primed for an Aggressive Diet After the Holidays

When you diet for prolonged periods of time your Leptin levels drop as does your thyroid hormone concentrations. Leptin drops to preserve your body fat when calories dip too low for extended periods of time…it is part of the survival mechanism in the human body.

When Leptin is low you can still lose body fat, but it can make things tough.

High Leptin Levels = Easy Fat Loss

After a period of higher calorie eating…Leptin levels are high. I am guessing a lot of people have high Leptin levels after the holiday. In addition to that, I am also guessing that very few people are over-trained in late December.

To me, this creates the perfect condition for an aggressive diet to work wonders. The body can handle a week or two of low calorie dieting.

A Diet Burst of 7-10 Days Can Work Wonders

I want to give credit where credit is due. Lyle McDonald wrote a book about scientific crash dieting called “The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook”…and this is where I learned about the idea of short bursts of low calorie dieting.

You can get your calories down to a low level with great results as long as you don’t do this for long periods of time…7-10 days (14 days max). I only recommend doing this 1-2 times per year.

So What is Does an Aggressive Diet Look Like?

Remember this is only to be done for 7-10 days…so keep this in mind when reading this.

1) A Low Calorie Protein Source
2) Green Vegetables (Lettuce, Broccoli, etc.)
3) A Multi-Vitamin
4) Plenty of water

The key is to get just enough protein to insure no muscle loss and green veggies that don’t really add calories. Aim for a daily intake of roughly 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. Go a little higher if you are exceptionally active.

The goal is to keep these calories as low as possible while meeting your protein requirements and adding in green vegetables to fill the stomach a bit.

It is possible to lose 10-20 pounds in 10 days as well as 5-6 pound of body fat.

10 Days of Nothing but Chicken Salad & Chicken Soup

I have done this crash diet on a few occasions and I have lived on a 10 day diet of nothing but 3-4 chicken breasts per day either cut up into a salad or in chicken broth with veggies as a soup.

I used rice vinegar as my salad dressing. This is really a bland approach and you can add more variety, but I like to keep it as simple as possible.

You Can’t Train Hard During These 10 Days

A word of warning: This diet works best if you drop your cardio and just focus on a few resistance workouts during this 10 day period. Believe me, you will not have the energy to do cardio with this level of calorie deficit.

Even if you are tough enough to hit cardio during this 10 day period, resist the urge…it is counterproductive to the way the diet works.

This Type of Diet is Tough and Makes You Crabby!

Makes no mistake about it…this is a brutally tough diet and will make you grumpy. I am a calm and nice person most of the time, but tend to lose patience towards the end of this diet.

You Can Be A Little Less Aggressive and Push This to 14 Days

An alternative to Lyle McDonald’s approach is to add in a few more calories each day and extending the diet by a few days. This will work, but probably not at the same level as the more aggressive approach.

Note: Lyle McDonald is the master of this type of dieting. This is a VERY brief overview of how this diet works. I wanted to post this, because I believe that right after the holidays is when this diet will work best.

For more info…just go over to his site:

One Last Thing: You can use the principles outlined here to come up with your own strategic approach. Maybe you are slightly aggressive with your diet, but nothing this extreme.

There are many variations using this same idea that work very well.

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

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave December 28, 2009 at 12:04 am

I’m with you on this one Rusty.

I’ve had my fair share of Italian homemade cookies, sambuca, and terrific food… and I’d absolutely do it again. Good info above about how to quickly diet down but it can’t be stressed enough that this is to be done on a short-term basis infrequently.

Aditya December 28, 2009 at 12:31 am

I have done this in the past but I follow a different technique nowadays. I throw in some long fasts before and after a good binge day. I am on 9% bfl!

Lets say I have to go for a couple of dinners or lunches on a given weekend. Lets say it will have loads of beers, I love it so I just cant do without beer. My strategy says I would go on a 30 hour fast starting Thursday and then dive into the binge spree after the food party. Then comes the part when the party is over for that weekend. I would go on a 30/40 hours fast again starting end of the fast. Then henceforth that week, I would get back to normal eating (no hardcore dieting, normal as in no good or bad food). I would stick to following my ESE plan too. I normally do 3 fasts in my ESE so if there is one of these 30/40 hour fasts coming up, I would count that as one fast.

So basically I am relying on what I call On The Go Intermittent Fasting. A 30/40 water fast (I basically do a Lemon + Pepper Water fast) is tough, tough as in hardcore! So I am not sure if anyone can get away with them in a clean manner. Anyone of you good at this like me? 😀 I just started a 45 hour fast today after the Christmas Weekend consisting of 3 days of enormous eating. I would have binge days on 31st/1st too so I would have to be strategic enough!

Rusty, I know this is a way out of the line but does this look okay to you?

Jason the Caveman December 28, 2009 at 2:06 am

WOW Rusty you really picked the right time to make this post. Right after my finals I ate like a beast for a week and gained about 15 pounds reaching 163.5 pounds, So i started a 1400 calories crash diet for 5 days(1400 calories on non-fasting days), and 3 of the days I did Eat stop Eat along with gym. I know you are not supposed to do it 2 days in a row but, one of them was kinda unintentional. On those days I went to the gym, I just did my regular plank routine, interval training, then couple hours of intense basketball. Today, the 5th day of my diet/training, I weighted myself and I was 147.

When I saw my weight I was very shocked and didn’t know it was possible to loose so much weight in such a short time. Now I know why, cause of my high leptin level.

today, after my interval training I played ball for about 3 to 4 hours intensely with some breaks in between games. I knew I over-exerted myself but I didn’t think to the point where I would get the feeling to vomit and some headache for like 2 hours. I didn’t feel like doing anything, not even eating(note I didn’t eat before the gym, when I tried to eat something I just couldn’t keep going), so I just went to nap so I could nap for recovery.

What I want to know is why do I get the headaches and feeling to vomit. Is it because I exercised to hard? or is it because of the caffeine side effect(i took 200g of caffeine 30 mins before the gym?

gus December 28, 2009 at 2:25 am

good post

how low cal could you go on these days?

and is it dangerous to do some kind of cycles where u follow a plan like this for 2 weeks followed by 2 weeks on moderate level untill u reach your target weight?

im a huge fan loosing weight quicly, and i have a way loosing 10-20 punds in just 2-3 weeks, folowing a plan where i use a 7day cyqle where 5 of these days are consisting of fasting, low cal/carb 1 day where i only drink protein shakes and one “cheat day”, also i workout 3-4 times per week doing hiit and brief weight training.

last time i did this i lost 7 kg in just 2 weeks, and i am using this plan whenever im feeling to reach my target weight faster or after holidays/vacation, planning to this as soon as the hollidays are over. got the ideafor this plan from both lyle mcdonald and joel marion.

Markus December 28, 2009 at 5:10 am

Where do you get these great photos?

Gain Muscle Mass With Nick December 28, 2009 at 9:56 am

Instead of jumping into a severely restrictive diet after the holidays, I prefer to ramp up my training intensity and really focus on hitting the gym with a sense of purpose. Due to a 3 week period of overeating and mental lay-off, I find that I can really get things cranked up in the gym.

I’ve had good luck implementing a 2 – 3 week “low carb” phase with only about a 200 – 300 calorie a day reduction. By doing this, I build a bunch of muscle mass and get heading towards some decent fat loss without getting too cranky or weak. I prefer to focus on eating Omega-3’s and protein and cutting out carbs completely for 5 days, then loading up for 2.

While there’s no doubt that a 7-day crash diet will work for fat loss, I’ve always experienced a decent amount of muscle loss as well. For me it’s just not worth the possibility of losing any muscle mass – it’s just too hard for me to come by!

John December 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Hey Rusty-
I have been reading your blog for a while now and I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the info. I have been considering doing the P90X system I am sure you’ve seen advertised on TV. Do you have any thoughts on their program.

Also I am starting a blog in a completely unrelated industry and was wondering which theme you use for for your blog. I really like the layout. Thanks for the the info. Hope you had a merry Christmas.

Anna @ pathtofatloss December 28, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Hey Rusty, really liked this post because this is exactly what I’m doing. I happen to have Lyle’s books and I love that I can be aggressive for the next 2 weeks. I have been out of the gym and on the dinner table a lot…haha. Also went to San Diego and enjoyed some great food over there.

Basically, I did some cardio the day after Christmas and then proceeded with the Rapid Fat Loss protocol. I bought 2 big tubs of greens from Costco and one is almost out…haha. I thought about fasting by the cold weather makes it hard for me.

Great stuff! I hope you had a merry Christmas and a great new year ahead.


Meg December 28, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Ah, your timing is perfect. I appreciate the scientific explanation why now is a great time to aggressively lose the 5 pounds Santa brought me. Also, it is about time I gave you a big THANK YOU. I’ve been reading your blog for a little over a year, and it has been a huge help in reaching my fitness goals.

Interval training, occasional fasting, and nothing but planks for my abs has been a formula for success. The best part is that as mentioned in your last paragraph, your suggestions can be taylored to work for the individual.

One piece of advice you’ve given throughout your blog as been especially helpful – the idea of only taking advice from someone who is where you want to be. I’ve been using this concept a lot in all facets of my life. It sure weeds out a lot of useless garbage.

Here’s wishing you a WONDERFUL new year! Aloha.

Dee December 28, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I think I’ll be needing this after the holidays. I have found that going back to your normal “clean” eating after the holidays will also help to get rid of that extra fluff. Thanks for the info.

chacha December 28, 2009 at 3:54 pm

hey aditya..could you explain your plan in a more detailed way..i like the way your plan is..i too like ese

Rahim December 28, 2009 at 7:17 pm

This is JUST what I need. Especially since I’ve been enjoying good food since mid november. I’ve increased my workout, but I’ve also increased my food portions.

B FITZ December 28, 2009 at 7:35 pm

thanks for a great post! i have actually been REALLY strict over the past 3 weeks… because i am heading to hawaii in a couple days (yes, been following the vacation body blueprint!)

anyways, since i had to work over christmas, i put off my enjoyment of food/beer/drinks until later this week. great to know of a way to take it off when i get back!!!


Chris "The Muscle" Cannon December 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm


Don’t feel bad, I think all of us indulge a little bit over the holidays! I only went overboard for about 7 days in December rather than your 10 to 12; but I’m still guilty 🙂

I’m kicking off the new year a little early by starting a new HIIT routine for some added cardio starting tomorrow to burn those 2 extra pounds of fat I put on.


admin December 28, 2009 at 10:50 pm


This is interesting. The problem is that every piece of literature I have read is that lower leptin levels decreases the metabolism. I actually believe that there is a 3rd variable involving fish oils and fat loss that doesn’t involve leptin. This happens quite often in studies.


Yeah…I think this is best 1-2 times per year max. Good reminder.


I take a similar approach. I will go very low-cal the day after eating a lot of food. This is typically when I fast until dinner…and I even try and have a modest dinner. Works well. I recommend only 1-2 fasts per week, but you can get away with every other day for short periods of time. I think this will work well for now, but maybe dial it down within the next month or so. I tend to avoid anything too extreme for long periods of time…but it does seem to work for you.


The only time I feel like vomiting is if I have food in my system during an ultra-intense workout…and occasionally if I have too much Green Tea or Coffee in my stomach. For you it simply sounds like maybe you weren’t hydrated enough for such a high volume of work. That is a pretty intense day, so it isn’t a big surprise you felt bad…make sure you drink water, but don’t pound the water either. Another thing that happens when you are dehydrated is that you can feel like vomiting if you drink too much water too quickly. Either way, maybe skip the intervals if you are going to play ball for so long.


I was hesitant to give exact calorie amounts, but I have gone as low as 800-1000 calories per day for 10 days in a row…5 chicken breasts at 120 calories a piece = 600 calories…plus vegetables and either chicken broth (for soup) or rice vinegar (for salad). It is a ROUGH diet…but works extremely well.


I pay to get licenses for most of these photos…some are cheap and some are kind of spendy…but totally worth it in my opinion. I like clean, sharp photos for each of my posts. Glad you like them. I will e-mail you with a few sources.


I am with you on kicking butt in the gym as well. What I find is that many people have been away from the gym in November and December and after the holidays is the perfect time to do a few brief routines to get back into condition to hit it hard. Within 2 weeks they can push flat-out without getting extremely sore. Completely agree with you that this is the time to kill-it in the gym. I have just completed a 3 month body-weight only workout and just began hitting the weights again last week. I missed it and have a renewed sense of enthusiasm for lifting. Good dieting strategy by the way…looks like it works well.


I have seen a lot of people with fitness blogs bash the P90X program, but I listened to an interview with Tony Horton and did a lot of research. He probably has the best testimonials out of any mainstream fitness product and many people have achieved really impressive results. I have been quick to criticize these types of programs in the past, but this one looks really good. You have to have discipline to make sure and complete the program…but if you follow the program to “T” as well as the diet, I have no doubt that you will get outstanding results. Tony is also a guy that stays ripped year round…so hats off to him for setting a great example. I sent you an e-mail about the theme I use.


Good luck with the diet. It can be tough, but you already know how well it works.


Good job on your family blog. It must be fun to live in Hawaii. Your kids and husband look like they enjoy the scene. Thanks for reading (and commenting as well).


My advice is for people to lose any possible fat gained in November and December, by Mid February at the latest. This will give plenty of time for any loose skin to tighten up and get extra “lean and mean” for summer time.


Yeah…I know what you mean. Time to decrease the food while maintaining or increasing the gym time. A simple formula that works wonders.

B Fitz,

Lucky you! Very cool that you get to go to Hawaii. I am close to pulling the trigger to buy tickets to Mexico. I am addicted…I really love the people, the culture, good food, great beaches, etc. I simply can’t get enough. At some point I will travel over-seas to Australia, Spain, Greece, Thailand, France, Amsterdam, Croatia, etc. For now, I’m feeling another round of Mexico.



Sophie December 29, 2009 at 5:32 am

Rusty- I have been hanging around your site for over a year now. 5’7 20 yr. old woman. At first, I would read your posts but I couldnt get up the motivation to do anything. however, since september I have really pushed myself and have gone from 163 lbs to 140 lbs. My goal is 130 lbs. I would really like to achive this before I go back to university on the 23rd of January. (I have been studying abroad and look forward to showing off my new hot body when I get back to university!)

I am very active, have run 2 half marathons (under 8 minute miles), and play soccer. However, I used to replace the calories I burned with food and thus was counter productive.

How Have I lost the 20 lbs since september? I no longer had access to a gym and stopped working out. However, i drastically changed my diet. I have one yohgurt (160 cal) and some granola for breakfaast. A few pieces of fruit (kiwi and apple) during the day, and my “meal” at about 4 in the afternoon. (usually soup and then either boiled buckwheat and sliced turkey or a piece of fish). I also have a few wafer cookies before I go to bed. My goal is usually about 1000 cal. a day but I would say I range from 800 to 1600.

This christmas I left my study abroad location for xmas with the family (and arrived to tons of compliments) but am very nervous to step on the scale. Worried that my weight gain was large.

however, I have saved up the money and joined a gym for the month of january (until the 23rd) when I leave and am ready to really train hard/eat light for a few weeks to reach my goal.

What kind of plan do you recommend? What kind of workouts? An extended version to your “aggressive dieting approach?” I am very athletic (can run far and fast) and will have a lot of spare time to focus on this goal.

Thanks for your help, knowledge, and your motivation,


ps: thought you would be interested in my take on your treadmill interval workout: 5 minutes 9 mph, 5 min walk, 4 min 9 mph, 4 min walk, 3 min 9 mph, 3 min walk, 2 min 9 mph, 2 min walk, 1 min 9 mph, 1 min walk, 1 min 10 mph, 1 min walk, 2 min 10 mph… DONE!

sule December 29, 2009 at 8:12 am

i’ve been following ESE, and have lost weight and trying to ‘feel’ for maintenance calories on my days i dont fast, i have a 3 day split for resistance training and just as you said, i dont believe i will be loosing lean mass. i have lost 20 pounds succesfully, but i think another 20 should be in order ( probably more considering your podcast) my questions is.

option 1) i want to ramp it up now, as weight loss is slowly starting to fall. my idea is to still use ESE but do it for maybe 3 times a week instead of 2, this will drastically reduce calories for the week. also for my days i dont fast, i will be eating, 1 one protein shake for breaky, one for lunch, then a chicken breast and salad for dinner, and maybe some fruit in between. i will be going for something like 100-1200 calories for those 4 days i dont fast. this will net in about 4500 to 5000 calories a week, given that i will include a chat ‘meal’ not cheat ‘day’ on saturdays, maybe it will be pushed up to about 6000. do you think this is acceptable or is it going on the extreme of low calories and lead to negative side affects?

2) i simply want a way of eating less calories than i am now to improve weight loss again. is my method okay? or would it be more sain to simply eat or aim for about 1000 calories a day? then about 2000 for saturday?

I am tempted to use option one as it is going to be drastic, but im worried that it will be extreme? also it is a whole lot more complicated than option 2, but the 3 fasts i think will be very benificial. can you please enlighten me on which would be a better option, or if its even safe for me to do so.
of course i will be weight training but keeping cardio to a minuim so that i dont burn out. and sorry for the wall of text >.<

much appreciated, thanks

sule December 29, 2009 at 8:13 am

sorry to be a bother, i also just wanted to ask, that seeing as u said we would burn more fat because of leptin is it not okay to cycle this diet? ie, go the low call around 1000 calories for 6 days then have a cheat meal, so about 2000 calories for the 7th day? then repeat on a weekly system?

Reka December 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm

funny, carbs are supposed to give you energy… after 4-5 weeks of a very tough high protein low carbs low fat diet I raised the carbs during the holidays, and though I’m sleeping enough and not exercising (but I’m working every day) I feel so damn tired. I felt much more energetic during my low-calorie-lots-of-training weeks. But maybe it’s not the carbs but some other things, dunno.

RTB December 29, 2009 at 2:53 pm


I am an avid reader of your blog and find your posts really helpful and very encouraging as it filters out all the magazine and the mainstream dieting tips. (Not to mention that you actually make me laugh out with your random comments and pictures)

Sure.. I dont celebrate Christmas, but I still use “the holidays” as an excuse to eat freely in those two weeks and not really work out. I was hoping you can give me your two cents on my plan as I am not a speedy weight loser.

5’1 female at 109lbs, 16% BF. I want to lose a few pounds to get into a really lean tight overall body (and a short term BF goal of 12%).
My plan is for the next 10 days follow your aggressive approach above (*Averaging about 500-600 calorie intake a week- Keep in mind I’m a pretty small girl) and keep it light on the excercise (a circuit + Planks).

Once the 10 day period is up, and for a 4 week period, I plan on increasing my calorie intake to (BMR- 500 calories) and adding some cardio to my workout plan + HIIT twice a week.

And thats my plan for weight loss. Beyond that, It will be all about maintaining and focusing on my goal of a lower BF%.

I would really appreciate your input.

Thanks in advance,

* I figured, since you have gone as low as 800 calories, Given the vast difference between our sizes, I can go as low as 500-600 calories.

Ariel December 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Excellent post as always!

I have a question, how many calories should I be eating per day? I am trying to lose about 20 pounds and lean up ALOT. I am aiming for “Jessica Alba lean” (which is extremely lean). I do resistance training 3x per week and HIIT every other day. I really have NO idea how many calories I should be consuming to lose fat – but maintain my lean muscle. And also, once I reach my goal, how many calories should I be eating to maintain?

Thanks SO much Rusty!

– Ariel

John December 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm


Great post. But what about those of us who’d like to drop, say 30-40 lbs? Would two weeks of the above work, then amp up the calories (still staying low) work in the long term?
I am starting workouts again after 6 months of non-activity due to injury.

carla December 29, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I was wondering if adding nuts to this type of “diet” would defeat the purpose.

Katherine December 30, 2009 at 12:37 am

Being a vegetarian makes it kind of difficult to go high protein sometimes, although tofu is a great source…I use soy “meatless” products constantly. Any ideas? I’m thinking subbing in Boca Burgers for the chicken, or mabye replacing a meal with a protein shake?

Rahul December 30, 2009 at 7:44 am

Hi Rusty,

First of all, I’d like to wish you as well as all the readers here a very Happy and successful year 2010.

And second, I’d like a bit of advice 🙂 on an unrelated issue. Basically Rusty, I am at a point where I want more mass in my arms (Biceps, Triceps) and Shoulders. I am fine with chest, back and legs and just want to have excellent tone there without increasing the size.

In an earlier post ( you had mentioned that the basic logic to increase muscle tone is to use that muscle more frequently w/o tearing it down. Now my question is how do I mix this approach for Back, chest and legs with my striving for greater mass on the arms and shoulders?

At rpesent I do a split routine with 2 body parts in one day three times a week and do HIIT and abs for the remaining three days. I typically go easy (ie: lift within potential) for the body parts whose size I am satisfied with and lift heavier, exert myself and do more sets for arms and shoulders as I want to increase size here.

Is this fine or is there anything you can suggest? any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Rez December 30, 2009 at 10:09 am

I just got back from visiting my parents for the holidays. Four days of eating out, big meals, and tons of desserts. Probably over a week’s worth of my normal calories compressed into four days, with plenty of refined carbs.

Weighed myself yesterday, and I didn’t gain a pound. Very weird. But my middle definitely looks flabbier because I haven’t exercised in a week. Time to hit it again.

FitJerks Fitness Blog December 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Simple and effective, I like it. Personally I would stretch this to 14 days since I like to wreck shit in the gym. But don’t forget to throw in some fish and/or flaxseed oil into the mix, proven to help with fat loss. Caffiene is also a good idea since your energy will be dipping and is another decent aid during fat loss.

RTB December 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Hey Rusty,

Just re read my comment and I had meant to say : averaging 500-600 calories oer day. I do not want to eat only 500- 600 calories per week…that would suck….

Thanks again in advance!

Donkey Lips December 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm


One of the only ways to truly go High Protein Low Carb Low Fat and remain vegetarian is with Protein Supplements. Try to find a product that has less than 5 grams each for fat and sugar per serving, and then anything over 25 grams of protein. As a female you can use either soy or whey (men shouldn’t consume much soy as it increases estrogen levels in men according to some studies) as your best sources for the money. Tofu, nuts, beans, soy meatless products don’t really come all the close to mimicking a chicken breast or piece of fish. They have either too many carbs or fat. That adds to your calorie count if you’re trying to hit a certain number of grams of protein per day.

Diego December 30, 2009 at 11:41 pm


First of all I would like to congratulate you on your website, blog and follow up emails. The way you plan your content in a weekly basis is phenominal. Your content is clean and consistant, not hyped up with fluff. Keep it up your doing a great job, no matter how many emails you can send, you will never get an UNSUBSCRIBE from me.
I would like to ask you a question about a bet my friends and I do every year. Every year we gather a big group of guys to do a 3 month challenge. It consist of 3 different things but the main one which counts for around 70% of the challenge is a bad fat loss. I usually start off around 26-29% and typically get around 15-18% body fat after the competition. I do what I guess is the traditional method every one does, Protien Protien and lots of Protien! 5 days of training and moderate cardio. This year I would like to try something different that can give me good results but does not compromise my body fat. I would really appreciate your suggestions.

Good Luck in 2010 and I wish you great success.


damion January 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm

In the article you write, “It is possible to lose 10-20 pounds in 10 days as well as 5-6 pound of body fat.” If done correctly, what percentages of the loss pounds will be water, fat, and muscle?

Karsten88 January 1, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Hi Everyone. I absolutely LOVE this site, more than any other on the web. Wauw, you can learn so much by reading the comments in the posts. This is MY first comment. And i don’t know if its the right place, Probably not, but wanna ask something that is really important to me. Something that effects my life.
And sorry if my english is bad sometimes. Im from Denmark and don’t use it a lot.

I’ve had surgery 4 times in my short life (21 now). I had a tumor in my head right next to my pituitary gland, and it had to be removed.

After this my pituitary gland don’t work anymore. Which affects some of my hormones. But i get hormone replacement therapy.

The hormones i can’t produce on my own:
HGH = Human Growth hormone
ACTH = Adrenocorticotropic hormone
TSH = Thyroidea

I have a healthy lifestyle, and i eat well and work out.
Im trying to get lean at the moment and thats where i have my doubts. I’ve had trouble before with losing stubborn fat. But also haven’t applied any of the stuff from this site yet. Which i will now.
But im a little worried.
With my condition, can i stimulate my metabolism, will fasts and HIT work the same way for me as anybody else?
Will my body be able to release fatty acids after doing HIT?

Is there any hope for me if i want to get lean?

Ty January 2, 2010 at 2:36 am

a post about “ab nutrition” would be cool. You touch on abs in several of your archives, but I don’t see one dedicated to making the abs pop out and look very defined. Just a suggestion. (I didnt see a “contact us” link or I would have used that.)

Sherah January 2, 2010 at 3:22 am

Hi Rusty ~

I feel compelled to tell you that ever since I found you 2 weeks ago, this Fitness Black Book site and the comment sections are THE reason why I have been able to finally see results in my quest to become lean & strong.

As a mom of 7 kids in 10 years it hasn’t been easy to lose the weight after each pregnancy, but I am oh, so determined! I refuse to be the stereotype “overweight mom” who has lots of kids, looks haggard, and can’t do fun things with them because she’s always too tired.

I have worked hard to implement some of your techniques in the past 2 weeks and have seen absolutely phenomenal results. My focus is on burning fat.

I do the HIIT cardio in a fasted state either jump roping or sprinting (powerwalking in between) for 15 minutes, then powerwalk or march in place for an additional 20-30 minutes – I do this 4-5x per week in my home.

3-4x per week I do my resistance training also in my home with dumbbells, covering each body part once per week. I pick 2 exercises per body part and do 5×5 reps at about a 40% lighter weight than my max. I have not been doing lower body resistance training but my glutes, legs, etc are getting pretty darn hard anyway…it’s awesome! Because I honestly hate squats. =)

I love, love, LOVE your planks workout and am able to do them for 1 minute each so far (I shoot for 3-4x per week). I’m adding on 5 seconds each time I do them, so hopefully soon will be able to do 2 minutes each!

I also stop eating after 7pm, and if I do get too hungry I allow myself any type of raw fruit or vegetables – mostly I try to drink water, though, just in case that is why I am feeling hungry.

I implemented ESE and completed my 4th day/second week on Thursday – wow, does that dinner meal ever taste delicious after fasting all day! I eat only until full every single time I eat, and my main diet is plant based, low fat food. I do occasionally splurge on sugar/dairy but I am working HARD on moderation instead of binging like I used to do – not denying myself the treat, but having a small bite and relishing/enjoying it. Then getting on with my life instead of letting it control me.

I am so completely stunned at the results already – I am 5’3″, 33 years old, and have been at 145 pounds for months now (7th baby is 5 months old). Nothing I did seemed to work including HIIT running for months now, especially since I couldn’t maintain a strict diet – it was too rigid and too “forever” and I would end up binging and sabotaging my results.

Since implementing these things learned from your site, I have lost 9 pounds and 7 inches! 2.5 of them on my waist, which is a problem area for me of course because of all the babies in such a short time. I am getting compliments from people who saw me just 2 weeks ago, even.

Your methods and also the people who comment, have given me hope again that being lean and strong can be mine for the taking. I just have to work hard, love hard, enjoy life and it will come. I’m loving life right about now!!! Thank you!!

sktr January 2, 2010 at 5:35 am

Hey Rusty,
Great post, and at the right time as well.
Ive gotten quite lean in the past, but have let things slide in the past few months and have gotten up to 23% bf (I am a female, 5’1). I am looking to do the ‘extreme’ dieting approach, but this would mean my calories would need to go as low as 500 calories. This seems Very low to me, and as I am strength training (p90x). Combined with ESE/ warrior style, Im constantly cold. Any tips? I suppose I will just have to stick it out. Thanks for the post!

Rudi January 2, 2010 at 11:47 am


First of all, I’d like to thank you. I really like your blog, I have learned allot from it, and started ESE 2 days a week.

I train at a kickboxing gym 4 times a week. 3 times are regular bodyweight workouts, abs, etc. and 1 time a week we do a cardio work out concisting of running the staircases, and a 6km run. I go to the gym by bike, a distance of aprox. 18km and after the workout another 18km back. All of this is very time consuming, which I do not mind, but the workout’s are in the evening, creating a problem of when to eat dinner. If I eat dinner before I work out I have to eat rather early. But if I eat after I workout, it’s much to late for a decent dinner.

If I would like to start this 10 day approach, to lose the gained body weight from the hollidays, plus some extra weight, how would you recommend me spreading my meals over the coarse of a day? I’m 18 years of age, am 1.90m tall and weigh in at 92kg’s.

Thanks in advance!

Yavor January 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm


you will have to become your own expert in this.

– because fast release HGH and you can’t produce it, maybe you can time fasts with the injection of artificial HGH. Note – I don’t know if fasts are a good idea in your condition. But if you choose to do them look into timing the injections during the fasts.

– I recommend you subscribe to Dave Kekich’s LONGEVITY NEWS DIGEST – packed with cutting edge )as in brand new!) health info. We are talking stuff that will def make your life easier in the upcoming years:

Good luck and stay strong!

M0L January 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Hi Rusty,
First happy new year everyone!
Second rusty, can I still do ESE while on this 10 days diet?..I know cardio its a no. no but what about ESE.
Thanks in advance!
Ps. Perfect timing to do this post..I know everyone here appreciates your dedication man..cheers!

Karsten88 January 3, 2010 at 12:35 pm


I’ve been studying the hormones, but they are some tricky bastards!

I start my fast in the evening, and take my HGH Injection right before i go to bed. I only inject this artificial HGH once every day.

Do other people, with normal “hormone funktion,” produce an extra amount of HGH when fasting or doing HIIT? Compared to when they don’t do those 2 things?
I can talk to my doctor about getting a bigger amount of HGH, but im sure he will not let me. He says, that its better to lower the dosis with time.

Yeah, dont know if fasts or any of the tips on this great site will work for me.. since our hormones plays such a big role in getting lean/building muscle. But I will give it a try, cause i dont wanna be unhappy about my body anymore. Did my first fast last saturday.


Thanks for your tip on LONGEVITY.

Karsten88 January 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Im not proud of this but i’ve actually been thinking about if its worth living, if i cant get the body i want. Many people knows how it feels not to be satisfied with their body, being ashamed. And it is really painfull knowing that i probably cant change it ever. I don’t enjoy any aspect of my life because of this 🙁

Yavor January 3, 2010 at 4:52 pm

It definitely is worth living. That’s why I gave you the link to Dave Kekich’s newsletter.

I also highly recommend reading (many times) his credo and listening to this talk with him here:

In the coming years science will find solutions for your problems. Your job now is to stay as healthy as possible until those solutions arrive.

In the meantime, you can, albeit slowly, get closer and closer to your ideal body.

I also recommend listening to the nutrition podcasts by John Barban:

This will give you a perspective on things and also maybe give you an idea how to find a way to eat less that works for you (this is the key to weight loss). Fasting is not necessary.

Hope that helps,


Nelly January 4, 2010 at 10:53 am

Hi, everyone. Just wondering about something. If you do this type of dieting and then return to a more normal way of eating, won’t you gain some weight back? I only gained a couple of pounds over the holidays, but still have ten to lose total. I just don’t want to be tempted to eat that way long term to maintain the weight loss. Any advice would be great! Thanks!

Tom January 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm

To me, this seems like a slightly healthier version of the Atkins Diet. This is low-carb at its best.

People certainly will lose a ton of weight restricting carbs like this, but it is necessary to be especially careful when re-incorporating them back into your diet.

I’ve seen many a dieter lose a boat-load of weight by dropping the carbs only to lose it back the second they start eating them again.

admin January 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Okay…I will do my best to spend an hour to see how many questions I can answer…here goes 🙂


For one month…you should try to hit the gym 4-5 times per week. Possibly spend the first 7 days on this aggressive diet to get things started. If you want to know what sort of workout, possibly download Vacation Body Blueprint and use one of the aggressive strategies for 4-6 weeks. Just make sure you back off after that.


Option #1 is too aggressive. You could possibly get away with low calories like that for 7-10 days, but then you would need to be back to normal for a while. Why not aim for eating less calories, but also do one fast per week. ESE works extremely well as long as the one meal at night on the day of fasting isn’t too big. As far as cycling the diet…when you go this drastic it takes more than a cheat day to reset your metabolism back to normal. You can do the cheat technique on a less extreme diet like “Cheat Your Way Thin”…but this is a bit more intense.


Carbs slow me down as well. Typically when my body gets in fat burning mode, it is more sensitive to carbs like this.


I can’t help but try to lighten up the mood with the occasional cheesy movie clip or comment. You can get away with that diet the next 10 days, no problem. The 4 weeks after that might be a little aggressive, but could work. The key will be to monitor the way you feel and what is happening on the scale. I would probably advise you to eat at least 3-5 days right at your BMR, before cutting it back for 4 weeks. Just to be safe.


Don’t torture yourself to get Jessica Alba lean…I guess it depends upon which Jessica Alba we are talking about. I think she looks best in that corny movie with Paul Walker…”Into the Blue”. After this movie she got too lean in my opinion. It is best to be slim (but still look natural). It is just my opinion, but I guarantee you that most people would agree. As far as calories per day? Look up what your BMR is online…Google it. Start by eating your daily calorie amount exactly at your BMR, but with exercise. Weigh yourself and adjust either up or down from there. There are simply too many variables for me to give you an exact answer.


The good thing about having a lot of weight to lose is that you should see results pretty quickly. I actually don’t think you will need to get extreme and you will still see results. That being said…you can get a jump start on weight loss by eating like this for a week. After that just concentrate on a weekly calorie deficit…some days will be over your maintenance calories and some days will be over, but aim for a deficit over time. The easiest way I have found to do this is with Eat Stop Eat.


Nuts are pretty calorie dense. So not a great option if you are aiming for a large calorie deficit on a diet like this. They are a great food choice when eating a normal diet. I eat a few different types of nuts each week. Cashews are my favorite.


Both Boca Burgers and protein shakes would be a good choice. Are you Vegan? If not, veggies with eggs would be good for some meals as well.


This should be an easy fix…especially since training arms on the same say as shoulders works well. So do a reduced routine on your Back, Chest, and Leg day, but add more volume on Shoulder & arm day. Perhaps you will include HIIT on your reduced day (Back, Chest, Legs)…but don’t do cardio at all on your Shoulders and Arms day. Instead, you could do many more sets and reps with shoulders and arms. You will need to do higher volume of sets and don’t be afraid to increase the reps, reduce the rest periods on muscles that are particularly stubborn to growth.


One way you can insure victory would be to diet down hard. Download my free report “Vacation Body Blueprint”, but add a twist to it. Once you get really pretty low in body fat levels…about 3 weeks out…take creatine daily with water. You will increase the volume of your muscles a bit while still reducing your body fat levels. This should easily help you reach a lower body fat percentage.


There won’t be muscle loss in such a short time frame. This is something the supplement companies want people to believe. The other weight loss comes from glycogen stored within the muscle cells, and water. The water and muscle volume will decrease temporarily and will come back within a few days of eating correctly, but the body fat will not. So 3-4 days after this diet is when your body will look the best. At that point it is nearly 100% fat loss.


I can’t even pretend to know much about hormone replacement therapy, but I am betting a knowledgeable reader in this subject will comment and offer some great advice. I believe that you will burn body fat much in the same way as everyone else as long as you are taking the proper hormones. Again…this is just my best guess…I can’t see why the physiological processes involved would change.


To get the Abs to pop out really well you have to be at a low body fat percentage, but just as important is to not retain water. The guys you see in fitness magazines with sharp abs use strategies to reduce water retention as well as have low body fat levels. I already have an article on that, but could do another. I touch on this a bit in Vacation Body Blueprint as well.


Thanks for the kind words. I did that you linked to my site as well (always appreciated). I am glad you are getting such awesome results! All of the little things you mentioned add up to the ideal condition to losing body fat. Many people use just 1-2 effective methods but never really understand the true power of synergy by implementing all of the things you mentioned. You are easily going to be able to get as lean as you desire following the plan you outlined. It is as great feeling, isn’t it?


If you are constantly cold (and that is something new as a result of a new diet or workout program)…then you may need to “reset” your metabolism a bit. I don’t know if you want to go as low as 500 calories per day. Possibly for just 7 days…and not again for 6 months (or more). To be honest, since you are colder than normal…you should probably take a more gradual approach. Are you do a Warrior Style fast, where you don’t eat until dinner every day…or an ESE style fast where you don’t eat until dinner just 1-2 times per week. I personally get much better results with ESE.


When I was in the working world and running a men’s suit store, I used to work out at 6:30-7:30 and eat a decent sized dinner at 8:30. I was able to get really lean following this plan. This late meal will have little negative impact on fat loss, since your body is depleted of carbs and is ready to soak up a bit more excess carbs than normal. Most people need to avoid eating late, because they aren’t in this condition. If you work out at night this works fine…no need to stress. As far as spreading out the meals, anything will work. I tend to coach people to eat their largest meal an hour after training, but this is just a rule-of-thumb. Everyone is different.


Thanks for providing answers…it is always appreciated…especially since you give out such great advice!


I don’t think you would necessarily want to throw in an ESE style fast unless you mess up on one of the days. It is such a brutal diet, that I am not sure you will want to make it more challenging.


Of course it is worth living! Your body is such a small part of who you are. I do focus a lot on body fat levels, fitness, diet, etc…because that is the topic of this blog…but I think it is just a small part of a bigger picture. I am the first person to say that looks are WAY over-rated in our society. I do enjoy helping people look better because it can help improve self-esteem, but that is just one small part of life. That being said…I bet you can look pretty close to the way you want to look if you work at it.


You will gain back the water weight, but should not gain back the fat if you stick to a smart diet and exercise program going forward.


Yeah…this is an extreme low carb, low cal diet. Like you said, people need to eat well even after the diet. In my experience people think the diet is done and then go back to the way they were eating before (which put on the extra pounds in the first place). The best way to use this diet is a head-start on a long term strategic diet plan.


Kristin January 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm

rusty this post is great! just what i needed. i have a question for you,

im 5″3, 120lbs

i started eating 1200 calories on Monday. I workout about 4-5 days per week.. burning at least 300cals. I also walk to and from work every day.. the distance is about half a mile each way.

my question: should I be eating the cals I burn through exercise or no?

Daniel January 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm


I remember seeing an interesting article where (or maybe you wrote that in the comments) you said that your father lost weight by skipping breakfast or something like that. That was very interesting because you explained that there are many variations of the same principle that work. But I can’t find anymore that post where you said that thing about your father.

Can you please tell me the title of the post or repeat the anecdote?

Johnny January 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Hey Rusty, thanks for the advice. I’ve listen to the audio recording that you and John Barban made a while back about eating less to reach your goal weight and I wanted to ask you a question but I didn’t know where I could send you an email. But this post seemed similar to what you guys were talking about. Lol. I have been eating less for about 5 weeks now, and I lost some weight in my first week. Around 3lbs. and in my second week 2lbs. But in the last 3 weeks, only 2lbs. I haven’t change how I eaten in that time. I don’t have access to a gym, but I’ve been doing body weight exercises and walking in my neighborhood, especially when my dog needs to go outside. Do I need to have a day where I need to eat more in order for my body to reactivate my weight loss? I read something about leptins. Something about when its low your body holds on to everything it has cause it feels like it starving right? Please help. I mean if you lost 25lbs in what 70 days and I only lost 7lbs in 5 weeks, I must be doing not right. I’m still 20 to 25lbs overweight and I know I need to get closer to my goal weight before I bring up the intensity. Please help me again. Lol. I would really like to feel comfortable in my body and stop staring at love handles and man boobs.

Seahawkwalt January 7, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Great Blog!! Awesome practical advice too. I have recommended this to a lot of my patients too. Love the philosphy of low rep / high wt as well as static holds. Caloric restriction /ESE makes a TON of sense as well. It doesn’t make sense to wear your joints out w high rep /high sets year after year. I’ve had so many patients and friends who have chronic joint problems as a result. That is one reason i find the static hold concept so appealing. Our bodies have to last a lifetime. Keep up the awesome’s refreshing to see someone “buck the mainstream of thought” as well. Good luck and as always..Go Seahawks!!!!

adelle January 10, 2010 at 4:15 am

rusty if you were trying to reduce your muscle size (not fat but muscle) would you still keep the 3-4 meals of protein and veg only a day? would this type of plan be the most beneficial when muscle reduction is a goal?

I know overall decrease in calories and training style will lead to muscle loss but would the macro nutrients still be best to come from protein in a deficit?

Doné January 12, 2010 at 5:34 am

Hello Rusty

Ive added a comment on this blog but for some reason it seems missing… hehe 🙂

Hope you are well – just came from my South African holiday and it was amazing…. And yes – lots of eating.. not good hehe!

I have a question to ask…

This approach seems great and im starting today with my very low cals… and probably not going to do cardio during this time. But after this period, if I do about 5 days at BMR of 1400 cals per day will my leptin levels return to normal again by this time?
Because what I want to do is: my 7 days of very low cal and then 5 days of BMR to get leptin levels normal again before I start another cycle of 7 days low cals? Will this work or not? Or would I need more days for my Leptin to return to normal?

Also when im doing the 1400cals per day – I would be exercising so do I need to increase my cals by about 600 – since that’s how much I burn roughly during my gym session?

Thank you so much for your info… ive looked online for the answer but cant really get a definite one.

You’re a star dude 🙂
Have a good day!


Herniated Disc Surgery January 21, 2010 at 2:10 am

10 to 12 days of bad eating and then switching back to healthy eating can actually do wonders by tricking your metabolism a bit. Ever notice sometimes even though you ate a lot of crap and you still look leaner and bigger in the mirror?

Kelly January 21, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Hey Rusty,
Thanks for all of the great information and also the help over at BS. I have always had a pretty easy time dropping weight whenever I work at it, even though I am now 41. I still seem to be able to control my eating although the holidays are very tempting to eat like a maniac. Ever since trying out eat-stop-eat, I pretty much eat whatever I want and as long as I don’t get too far off track, the fasting gets me right back to where I want to be. Thanks for turning me on to ESE. I have been reading Visual Impact and as usual with all of your stuff, find it to have some great info! Look forward to learning from you in the future.

tibby January 31, 2010 at 9:55 pm

extended holiay season over.. need to banish 14lbs in 2 weeks!! help!!??

Pops February 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Hey Rusty,

Just found the site and love it! A few nit-pick questions on maximizing the body chemistry advantages of ESE type IF.

During the post holiday aggresive phase of this IF strategy, does it matter what you eat for dinner if you keep the caleries low? For example, if want to eat some cheese with my tossed tuna and spinach salad for about 800-1000 cals, will that stall my fat processing?

I don’t want to do without my morning coffee, with a pink packet and a slug of fat-free half anf half. Will this spike my insulin during a fasting day and again minimize my fat burning chemistry?

It seems like your limiting carbs by your food choices during this phase, is this by design or just a function of picking low calerie, nutrient dense foods? What about fruit? or higher fat content foods?

Thanks, Pops

Nonni February 17, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Hi Rusty,

I really think this is an awesome site you put together!!! I have to lose a lot of weight and was wanting to do this aggressive diet. I was wondering if you thought it would work if i do it for five days and then do two “moderate” treat days. I was thinking of doing this repeatedly until I am at my desired weight. What do you think?

Thanks a bunch!, Nonni

Jac March 10, 2010 at 7:58 am

Y’know, people think Lyle McDonald invented protein-sparing modified fasts, but Dr Michael Eades (1/2 of the “Protein Power” duo) wrote a great book about the technique 20 years ago. McDonald’s approach is sort of a dumbed-down version with an ephedra stack added.

Eades’ book is called “Thin SO Fast” and it’s widely (and cheaply) available used. Worth picking up.

Annie September 19, 2010 at 12:22 am

Hi Rusty,

I am really ineterested in trying this out. I just wanted to know if I had to do strength training over these 10-14 days as I am actually someone who tends to build on muscle very fast and I do recall you mentioning in some post that cardio and intervals is the way to go for ladies especially if they are looking to lose fat. So basically I am confused. What is your take on this? How do you think I should go about my workout routine?

Thanks in advance!

Gary - Simple Exercises January 8, 2011 at 8:29 am

After a 2 week eating binge, I find it very hard to return to pre-binge eating levels. Returning to work after the holiday break is usually a big help.

Mirha - Ab Exercises & Routines February 23, 2012 at 6:18 am

How should I know how much carbohydrates, proteins and fat I need to eat? I am getting confused about this…

Giselle August 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I really enjoyed the post.
I loved it but I like to take once in awhile some alcoholic aperitifs, what can I take if any? Wine, whiskey? Give me a hint. Because very annoying and not have a social life.
I appreciate if you can answer my question.

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