People Are Quick to Criticize Low Calorie Diets

I am a subscriber to Brad Pilon’s newsletter. He is the author of one of my favorite diet books, Eat Stop Eat. He just sent out a great article in the newsletter that I’d love to expand upon.

The article is titled: Are You the Victim and the Villain? It is about how people are quick to criticize an aggressive low calorie diet.

Eat Stop Eat

[I was overdue for a picture of a fit woman in a swimsuit. I know it is borderline tacky, but it just makes the article more fun to read!]

Eating Less Is the Simplest Route to Losing Weight

As Brad puts it, the politically correct answer to give when someone asks about losing weight is by “eating healthy”…but “eating less” is the scientifically correct answer.

You can eat a lot of healthy foods, but if you eat more than you burn…you are NOT going to lose weight.

A Proper Diet is the Foundation to Weight Loss

You can’t “out exercise” a bad diet. What you eat is a huge indicator of how lean you will become. I didn’t really believe this until this past summer.

Due to a full-time job, girlfriend, running a couple of sites, etc…I didn’t have much time for exercising. In fact, I have averaged 2 times per week the past 3 months. I figured I wouldn’t look as lean only getting to the gym 2 times per week. What was the answer?

 Luckily, I Knew About Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is a way to put your body in a ‘fasted state’ for a while alternated with a period of  eating. In the past I tried a version of this called the Warrior Diet. The Warrior Diet was good, but slightly unrealistic. It is based upon eating once per day.

Eat Stop Eat is a scientific version of Intermittent Fasting that I like best. Brad based this book upon his graduate paper “The Metabolic Effects of Short Periods of Fasting in Humans and its Potential Application in Weight Loss”.

So I Now Go Low Calorie a Couple of Times A Week

A blog post won’t due Brad’s book justice,  but basically I fast twice per week in a strategic way. I eat normal food the rest of the time and even eat higher calorie food on certain days.

People who hang out with me on my fasting days are quick to criticize my “weird” way of eating. The funny thing is that it is backed up with strong scientific research and works amazingly well.

Won’t the Weight Loss Come from Muscle?

A common misconception about fasting is that you will waste away and lose hard earned muscle mass. Brad points out a scientific study in his book that indicates that you will retain all your hard earned muscle by just strength training twice per week!

This means if you want the weight loss to come from fat, you only need to hit the gym twice per week. I think you will look your best if you can go around 4-5 times per week, but that really isn’t necessary if you just want to lose body fat.

People Are Quick to Call a Low Calorie Diet an Eating Disorder

True…there are people with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, but for every one of those people…there are over 100 people who eat too much!

If you are overweight it is simply because you eat more than you need to. It is politically incorrect to tell people that they are eating too much, but everyone joins in when they see someone skipping a few meals.

Fasting Makes Your Digestive System Feel Better

The two biggest things I notice on low calorie days is an energy surge and how good my digestive system feels. When you give your body a break from food and just drink a lot of water it really cleans out your system. It is amazing how much better food digests once you get back to eating.

I really believe that our bodies weren’t meant to digest food around the clock.

To Lose Weight, Find a Simple Way to Reduce the Amount of Calories You Eat

You certainly don’t need to do Intermittent Fasting to lose weight, it just leaves you with a larger margin of error (plus you can get away with eating high calorie stuff every now and then).

You could be strict on a daily basis and reduce your portions and eat lower calorie foods.

The bottom line is that you do need to eat lower calories than you are now. Find some way that works for you and you will see results.


60 thoughts on “People Are Quick to Criticize Low Calorie Diets”

  1. I really think it just depends on your goals! If your trying to shed weight or tone muscles, then fasting or eating low calories a few days of the week is definitely a good resource, but if your trying to bulk up or gain even a little muscle mass than you obviously want to be taking in more calories, maybe even more than your burning in your workout! Great article though some people really don’t get this concept!!

  2. I really liked your information. I think it was great! I love reading as much as I can about fitness and health. 2 of the biggest things that should be part of our lives!

  3. …and if you can’t afford eat stop eat, think about the money you will save not eating twice a week for 24 hours. Maybe fast for some weeks and save up some money. LOL

  4. “I was overdue for a picture of a fit woman in a swimsuit. I know it is borderline tacky, but it just makes the article more fun to read!”

    I would not have noticed this article otherwise!

  5. Julian,
    This article is a little old but it’s the main page I use to save fitness black book. Here’s my message to you since you’re probably going to have limited feedback:

    Weight loss is easy. You cut calories or burn calories. Its only hard work if you choose the second option. Starving yourself is not eating. Weight loss is eating less calories than you burn. YOU HAVE TO LOWER YOUR CALORIE INTAKE TO LOSE WEIGHT EVEN WHEN EATING HEALTHY FOODS. People who lose weight because of healthy eating are usually eating higher fiber, less fat and protein resulting in fewer calories in their diet (aka lower calorie intake). Welcome to weight loss 101!

  6. lowering your caloric intake to lose weight is true, starving yourself? insane. eat smaller portions of balanced meals and excersize= fat loss. its that simple. avoid sugary, salty, saturated fat snacks, try almonds for example, food with lots of fiber, yummy! i agree with a lot of the things on this site, but not this. People just want shortcuts, unfortunately, there are none when it comes to fat loss, just hardwork and dedication. dont cheat yourself, its unhealthy.

  7. Right on target with this. People don’t want to hear that the equation for weight loss demands simply consuming fewer calories.

  8. Hey Rusty,
    I have been working out solidly for a little over a year. I am 5’8 and 140lbs. with a body fat percent in the 4-5 range. I have an upcoming surgery that will keep me from excercising for three weeks. What is the best way to prevent muscle loss during this time?

  9. Hi again,
    With IF, after fasting all day, do you need to eat in the night? If so what can you eat? I thought you had to fast for 24 hours staight through for two days a week? While fasting in the day can you take multivitamins? I have so many questions? Thanks

  10. Hi
    I am really interested in your site and I am want to try the Intermittent Fasting plan. I am 196 pounds and my goal weight is reach to 145 pounds. Would this fasting regimen help me to loss the weight.
    I currently attend the gym 4 times a week and its been four years and I’ve been up and down with my weight. The least I’ve ever weighed was 180 pounds. Also I’ve been trying to purchase the Eat Stop Eat book but it can’t be shipped to my location. Intermittent Fasting, is it just fasting for two days a week and you would get results?, is it so easy? And at least exercising 3 times a week….? Please explain. Awaiting your reply with bated breath and thank you in advance.

  11. Tams,

    Go with milk. Soy has actually been shown in some cases to increase estrogen levels and cause an accumulation of stubborn body fat. I won’t go into to details about this, but do a Google search on soy and increasing estrogen levels. Chewing gum is fine and won’t have a negative effect.


    I’m pumped you stopped by! You are a true innovator and I have been following your teachings for the past few years. I’m kind of a cardio guy, but not long drawn out cardio…just a bit of HIIT followed by 20 minutes of steady state cardio.

    Note: For anyone reading this. Craig has developed an amazing training course that is an advanced way to burn body fat without cardio. His methods work well and is a way to get lean if you can’t stand traditional cardio. Turbulence Training


    You are doing 24 hour fasts like Brad recommends, but he only recommends twice per week. Believe it or not, I’ve found that I can stay leaner this way than doing this everyday.


  12. Isn’t this the same as eating one meal a day? I mean I normally eat my one meal around 6pm and don’t eat again until 6pm the next day. Would you say I’m already doing the 24 hour fast? If so, I’m not seeing many results. I’ve kinda hit a plateau and haven’t been able to lose any more weight. I still have 30 pounds to go. What am I doing wrong? I even added HIIT to my workout. Thanks

  13. I’m a big fan of ESE, even though i was skeptical at first. I have a lot of clients who have used it with great success!


  14. Hey Rusty,

    I have been reading your posts like crazy – they’re fantastic! – and i’ve been giving the whole IF thing a go but i have some questions; when im fasting i chew gum so that im not tempted to chew on food. does this affect how insulin works? cause one of your posts says if you eat anything your insulin levels go up and then you do the wieght gain thing…does gum do the same thing even though your not really swallowing anything? also, i was having a debate with a friend yesterday and i was wondering your opinion; milk or soy? she says soy is better because its easier to digest, but im really caught up on the calorie side of things because trim milk has less! what do you think?

  15. Diana,

    Thanks for the compliments and all of the great comments. The nice thing about having a private website is that I’m not influenced in “any way shape or form” by any supplement company. I can call it like I see it. I tell people exactly what I would do if I was in their shoes…not just stuff that sounds good. Brad Pilon, who is one of my acquaintances is the author of Eat Stop Eat. He is cool as hell and one of the “good guys” in the fitness industry. I hope his book reaches a lot more people. His diet flat out works.


    The big benefit to fasting comes when you fast for at least 18-24 hours straight. So you would eat a dinner on Tuesday at 6pm. and not eat again until Wednesday at 5 pm…then maybe again a couple hours later. You pick one other day of the week to do the same thing. It sound tough, but it is pretty easy…it also gives you the flexibility to be able to go out to eat and eat a big meal every now and then…something you can’t do on a 6 meal per day approach unless you want to put on weight.


    Excellent post on your blog. I commented, but I think my computer was acting up and it didn’t post. I will try again at some point. You have lengthy posts that deliver a lot of info. I told you to quit, so you wouldn’t make me look lazy 🙂 Great stuff buddy!


    Let yourself eat some big meals every now and then. I eat some really big meals at least twice a week (I like going out to eat every now and then and getting full). You will still remain lean. No need to be so strict.


  16. hey rusty..i have a problem. it seems that i have lost my feeling of satiety. i think one reason might be that i sort of overdo it with IF and especially with the warrior diet in the last month. when i tried the warrior diet for example or other versions of daily fasting i usually eat rather big meals…sometimes in a short time period. so, i follow “eat stop eat” now and feeling fine..except for feeling never satisfied during my meals and snack all the time because i am “allowed to eat”most of the time i am not you think i had massively exaggerate it with fasting? sometimes i have the impression that i developed some kind of an eating disorder or something..i think i got a bit too obsessed about eating..any suggestions?

  17. Hey Rusty,

    I really agree with you on the fact that you “can’t out exercise a bad diet”. In my post on gaining definition in your abs, I harp on this point quite a bit! It seems to me that the overall benefits, both aesthetic and internal come mainly from a good healthy diet, incorporating the proper amounts of servings of fruits and vegetables.

    Thanks for the great post!

    All the Best,

    Andrew R

  18. By fasting/low calorie diet I meant eating only break fast and dinner.
    Say cereal in the morning and Eggs for dinner. And some fruits in between. Is that kind of a light diet beneficial or is it not.
    Thank you!

  19. Hey Rusty , does this work if I fast/eat a low calorie diet every day? Or is it better to fast only a couple of days a week?
    Cheers if you answer!

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