I recently saw on Pinterest (yes, guys…it’s ok to be on Pinterest.  You’re girlfriend might even respect you more for it) this graphic titled “The Skinny Rules, by Bob Harper”.  Regardless of your opinion of The Biggest Loser, it is very popular and this guy is seen as an icon in the industry.  So I’d like to take a moment and dispel some of the bullshit myths spreading under his name, or at least offer my take on this list.  Let’s dive in:

Drink a large glass of water before every meal.  No excuses.

The reason behind this is to drink more water.  There is no practical reason to doing this before a meal to be “skinny”.  Also, how many times are we eating per day?  Three?  How big is a glass of water?  Eight ounces?  Is 24 ounces gonna cut it for the day?  No.  Advice is helpful only if it’s specific.

Don’t drink your calories.

An arbitrary rule with no reasoning.  Milk, juices, protein drinks, etc can have productive and useful applications.  If he changed this to “don’t drink caloric soda” that would be more helpful, but you can still do that and be “skinny” if you play your cards right.

Eat protein at every meal – or stay hungry and grouchy

Finally something I agree with!

Slash your intake of refined flours and grains

The only reasoning behind this that makes sense is that it’s easy to overeat on these items.  Slashing your intake of anything will likely have the same effect.

Eat 30 to 50 grams of fiber every day.

Do this.

Eat apples and berries every single day.  Every.  Single.  Day.

Why?  These are not magical “skinny” foods.  Nothing amazing is going to happen if you do this.  Yes, these are good and fine foods – but they do not possess some secret that is going to melt away pounds.

No carbs after lunch.

1998 called and wants it’s weight loss theory back.  STOP WITH THIS GARBAGE CRAP ALREADY.

Learn to read food labels so you can know what you’re eating.

Smart advice, I like it.

Stop guessing about portion size and get it right.

Distill the entire list down to this one item and it would be a great list.

No more added sweeteners, including artificial ones.

Not a bad idea I suppose, but zero calorie sweeteners aren’t making you fat.

Get rid of those white potatoes

I understand it’s easy and convenient to say all white foods are bad (rice, bread, potatoes), but there is nothing inherently evil about a white potato.  EAT THEM, I DARE YOU.

Make one day a week meatless.

To accomplish what?  You’ll take in fewer calories that day likely, unless you say “I’m not having meat, so I’ll double my carbs!” in which case your plan has backfired.  Whoops.

Get rid of fast foods and fried foods.

These are definitely calorie bombs and a good place to start, especially if it’s a regular thing.  You can, however, get/stay skinny eating these things if you are meticulous with your diet.

Eat a real breakfast

Great, but can we define that?  Cheerios and a banana doesn’t count.  Get a protein source, get a fat source.

Make your own food and eat at least 10 meals a week at home

This is a good habit but if you don’t know what to make this isn’t necessarily going to help you.

Banish high-salt foods.

Other than the fact that high-salt foods are often processed (another fictional devil in the weight-loss world), this is pointless.  Salt doesn’t make you fat.  I salt the hell out of my food.

Eat your vegetables.  Just do it.

Yep, good plan – but don’t treat them as though they don’t have calories.

Go to bed hungry.

Great plan.  Also how eating disorders are born.  But, you know…if you aren’t miserable, it isn’t working.  Or something…

Sleep right.

How?  What does that mean?

Plan one splurge meal a week

Ah yes, the binge to justify all your hard work.  Trust me, this has the ability to turn into the most unhealthy habit you can develop.

So, how would I re-write these rules?  And what would I call them?  It sure as hell wouldn’t be the “Skinny Rules”, because I don’t think that’s a particularly appealing goal.  How about the “fit and healthy rules”?  That sounds lame and cheesy, but let’s run with it.

  1. Monitor your intake carefully.  Track it.  Adjust it – in small increments – only if you don’t see progress over a 10-day period.  Be consistent.
  2. Lift weights (funny how nothing on the above list was activity-related)
  3. Get a variety of foods.  Experiment.
  4. Drink a ton of water.  100 ounces a day is a good starting point for an active person.
  5. Avoid foods that make you feel physically bad.  Everything else is ok.  Yes, everything.  Wrap your head around that, then see point 1 again.  Moderation, people.  Oreos don’t make you fat.  A package of them a day does.
  6. Take up a hobby that requires you to be active.
  7. Take naps when your body wants them.  If it doesn’t want naps, work harder until it does.
  8. Be honest with yourself.  Completely and wholly.
  9. Learn patience.

There you go, that’s the list.  Do those 9 things, learn about yourself, and refine your activity and intake to really get to know your body.  THAT is the real secret.

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