Why You Should Say NO to The Skinny Rules and YES to Being Awesome


Let’s start this off with a disclaimer. First, I have no problem with women wanting to look “skinny” or “slender”. I encourage women to build the body THEY want, whatever that means to them. My problem with The Skinny Rules below isn’t about the “skinny” part. It’s the fact that those rules reinforce a negative mindset, contribute to obsessive compulsive eating patterns, feed on the “rapid fat loss” mentality, and are unrealistic to apply long-term.

Second, this article isn’t my typical style, but after reading “the skinny rules”, I couldn’t help but sigh in utter disappointment. After all, the wave of women choosing strength over dieting has been growing, faster than ever in my opinion. But books like The Skinny Rules are making the battle more challenging. But, that’s okay, I’m up for the fight.

I’ve had the privilege of watching more and more women say “No!” to dieting and yes to strength training, building  a stronger body and mind, and becoming better versions of themselves without the use of starvation diets, crash diets, brutal workout routines, and other methods I think should be avoided.

And because this is my website and I’m entitled to my opinion, I’m going to share my thoughts about these so called “rules”.

Here’s an image I saw floating around the internet with “The Skinny Rules”. I believe this has surfaced and become viral because of the release of Bob Harper’s newest book, “Jumpstart to Skinny” (I will note that the following “rules” are in the The Skinny Rules and not his new Jumpstart to Skinny).

skinny rules

There you have it. The “simple, nonnegotiable principles for getting to thin.”

Nonnegotiable? Really? I’ll address that in a moment.

Admittedly, all of those rules aren’t bad. Eating your veggies and getting enough sleep are great “rules”. But some of the others, not so much.

Rule 2: Don’t Drink Your Calories. Yeah, I can understand that one. Easy peasy. But if you, like me, enjoy some cream or coconut oil in your coffee, then I say don’t stress over something so small and insignificant. Pick your battles for goodness sake! I’d rather you put some half ‘n half in your coffee and enjoy it instead of dreading having to gag down black coffee. This is when nit-picking is pointless.

After all, what will have a larger impact on your fat loss progress? Forgoing some cream in your morning coffee or choosing to eat a real food meal versus something you get in a drive through? Choose your battles and don’t obsess over the tiny details. If that means a splash of cream in your coffee, then do it.

Rule 7: No Carbs after Lunch. This isn’t a new recommendation. Or, excuse me, a “nonnegotiable principle”. I just don’t like it. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary and “nonnegotiable” to enjoy some carbs with your dinner. This is just another rigid rule that contributes to OCD eating patterns for many (meaning, not all) individuals.

Rule 13: Get Rid of Fast Foods and Fried Foods. I took this one personally. I can’t recall the last time I ate fast food and I very, very rarely eat fried food, so I follow this rule 99.9% of the time. But I’m a southern gal, and on the rare occasion that my Mama makes homemade fried chicken, I’m going to eat it. Is it smart to follow that rule the majority of the time? Of course. But to suggest people can’t enjoy something as amazing as homemade, pan fried chicken on occasion because it’s a “nonnegotiable” rule is just silly.

Rule 18: Go to Bed Hungry. Allow me to express my thoughts with a facial expression first.   O_o

Really? How is telling people to go to bed hungry, which is yet again another “nonnegotiable” principle, mandatory and helpful for fat loss? Sure, you may burn a few extra fat calories by applying this rule, but it wouldn’t be a large enough amount to have any noticeable impact even over the long-term.

Not to mention, that rule is in total conflict with the following rule:

Rule 19: Sleep Right. I agree that enough high quality sleep is very valuable for losing fat, building a better body, and improving your health. But, telling people to go to bed hungry is a great way to negatively affect sleep quality. If your stomach is growling and you’re so hungry that your pillow starts to look like a tasty marshmallow, I doubt you’ll fall asleep with ease.

In that case, any potential extra calories you could burn (which again, would be few) from going to bed hungry would be mitigated from stress and lower sleep quality.

Rule 20: Plan on One Splurge Meal a Week. Admittedly, some people love this approach and do well with it. I strongly dislike it. In fact, I dislike terms like cheat, forbidden, off limits, splurge, and other terms people apply to certain foods. This not only makes you want those foods more, but it tests your willpower unnecessarily. This is something I discuss in detail in Sane and Simple Nutrition.

Plus, having a “splurge meal” reinforces the idea that food is a “reward”. We’re not dogs. We don’t get rewarded with treats.

If I’m craving some ice cream, then I’m going to eat the ice cream and enjoy every cold, creamy, spoonful of that yummy goodness. I’m not going to eat it because “I’ve earned it” with a tough workout, following “all the rules” or some other nonsense. Such a thought process adds fuel to the “food is the enemy” fire. I know, because I’ve been there many years ago.

I could easily poke at some of the other rules, but that should be sufficient.

What’s Wrong with The Skinny Rules?

Some people can look at those “skinny rules” above and think they’re perfectly fine, even great. But that’s not what I see when I read those rules. I see rules that contribute to OCD eating habits. I see rules that continue to tell women they’ll never be good enough and that they must fix every perceived flaw they possess. I see rules that try to press every woman into some ideal mold — a certain pant size, body image, weight, or figure.

I see women stressing out. Depriving themselves of nourishment. Going to bed with a rumbling stomach unable to fall asleep. Causing themselves ridiculous amounts of stress over tiny, insignificant details that won’t have a big impact on their results. I see women trying to eat less and less. I see womens’ actions being fueled by negative thoughts (I’m too fat, I’m not good enough, I eat too much, etc). I see women thinking food is evil and that they must avoid it as much as possible.

I see women doing everything they can to follow the rules exactly as written because they’re determined to get results. But, inevitably, they’ll slip a little at some point because those rules just aren’t realistic. And, unfortunately, such strict guidelines can lead to binge eating. Sure, they may lose some weight and “get to skinny”, but more than likely they’ll quickly regain that weight back, plus interest, once they stop following the rules.

Then they’ll be back where they started before following The Skinny Rules. They have unwanted fat, again, and they’ll be upset that they didn’t get or maintain the results they wanted, and eventually they’ll seek the next diet that promises to make their dreams come true.

This is what I call Nutrition Insanity. It’s just more of the same “eat less (or way less) and exercise more” propaganda that’s run a muck in the fitness world. Sure, some people who are lethargic, overweight, and eat nothing but heavily processed, low quality food all day long could benefit from that advice.

But more and more women are literally eating less . . . and less . . . and less. They often combine such a low caloric intake with high intensity workouts. Sure, they may lose some weight, but they end up exhausted, burned out, their metabolism in shambles if they do this for an extended period of time, and desperately craving some dang food. But they won’t eat the food because they fear it will add fat to their body.

Those women do not need to be told to “eat less and move more”. No, they most likely can benefit from Eating MORE and Working Out LESS.

Gee. I wonder how many “nonnegotiable rules” that would break if women would pick up the fork and get off the treadmill for a bit.

These rules reinforce the thought process of “perfection” and do nothing but stress women out and make them feel shameful about their body. All these rules do is communicate to women that it’s too complicated to lose fat, build a better body, and figure out on your own. It reinforces the idea that women can’t trust their own bodies and listen to their own hunger cues; and it works. So many women are simply terrified to “eat when they’re hungry” because rules  like this make them think food is bad. Food is evil. Food makes you fat. Hunger is good.

The rules make it seem that if you’re not suffering, struggling, or depriving yourself, then you won’t get results.

But it’s just not true.

Starving, being miserable, and strict rules are not mandatory, and most certainly not “nonnegotiable” to lose fat.

Screw The “Skinny” Rules – Be Awesome

Look. I completely understand that not every woman wants to sculpt muscle and have an athletic looking body. I always encourage people to go after they look they want and to build the physique that makes them happy. If you prefer a more slender appearance, that’s fine. Go for it.

But, and here’s the important thing — I believe you should develop a simple, practical, sustainable, motivating lifestyle approach to achieve those goals. And once you achieve those goals, you should be able to maintain them.

You may wonder why I’m so passionate about this whole “screw dieting and trying to be skinny” stuff. It’s quite simple, really. It’s because I connect with women every day who have tried diet after diet in hopes of building the body they want. Heck, I’ve been there myself.

I learn of their struggles, desires, and I see how desperately they just want to regain their sanity and discover how to, once and for all, get the results they want and maintain them. They don’t want to focus on fat loss for the long-term.

I want women to be extremely confident. I want them to love their bodies and eat better and workout because they love their body and they want to become a better version of themselves. Eating and working out should not be punishment, and many of these “rules” that encourage women to be skinny does just that.

Instead of telling women to “not eat this” and “avoid that” I want to show them how to listen to their own bodies. To discover what works for them. To develop a simple, sustainable lifestyle approach instead of turning to a diet to solve their problems. To show them that if they follow a few simple, flexible guidelines that they can lose fat, build the body they want all while not starving, depriving themselves, fearing food, or being miserable.

And, ladies, I truly don’t care if you look awesome in a swimsuit, because if that awesome body comes with a mindset that’s constantly filled with negative self-talk, and you’re revolving your life around dieting and going to the gym, then something needs to change. Looking good is awesome. But having a strong, confident mind and not being tossed back and forth between the latest diets is priceless. The mind is truly where your transformation begins.

An overall stronger mind and improved self confidence is just one reason women should strength train. Instead of focusing on eating less and losing fat, strength training allows you to focus and be proud of what your body is capable of DOING. Not only that but strength training is fun, motivating, and incredibly empowering.

Say no to any and all “skinny” rules. Choose instead to be awesome. I discuss more about what it means to “be awesome” in Stop Basing Your Self Worth on Your Physique.

Bottom line. Whether you want to be lean and athletic, slender, or just strong and healthy, you can do so. But have positive motivation. Don’t look for more diets that encourage deprivation. Stop trying to be “less” and choose to be strong. Choose to be confident. Choose to be awesome. Choose to be the best version of yourself. Choose to be proud of your body and what it can do. Choose to focus on the weight on the barbell and not the scale.

Recommended Reading

If you’re ready to ditch the strict rules and opt for Being Awesome instead of chasing the goal of being “skinny”, I highly encourage you to get the free Beautiful Badass Mini Course. Just put your email in the box below this article, hit Sign Me Up, and you’ll get it immediately. That will give you a taste of what it means to have positive, motivating goals.

After you do that, here are some articles to help you on your journey to Being Awesome.

Simple Fat Loss 101 – if you want to lose fat, then this is the sane and simple approach to do so. No “nonnegotiable” rules included.

30 Rules to Lift Like a Girl — want a real set of rules that don’t say a thing about dieting, starving, or working out to total exhaustion? Here ya go.

How to be the Most Awesome and Strongest Version of Yourself – the title says it all. I highly recommend you read this article.

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  • “I freaking LOVE this info! I'm determined to be a Beautiful Badass!” -Tina V
  • ReachingMyFullPotential

    Fantastic post, Nia!! I will admit that this statement made me chuckle: “If your stomach is growling and your so hungry that your pillow starts to look like a tasty marshmallow…” You are AWESOME and such an inspiration. Thank you for all you do to support a healthy, sane, and simple approach to nutrition and exercise and general well-being!

    • Nia Shanks

      Thanks, lady! And I’m glad you reposted that sentence because I caught my typo, too. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647488139 Jody Amodeo Cady

    Thank you for standing up and speaking out against the get ‘skinny’ mindset… I prefer get ‘healthy’ – I have learned, the hard way, “Food is Fuel” –
    Consuming Good Food = Well running machine that is capable of doing whatever you want it to do, whether it’s bodybuilding, running, or just being able to be physically active and enjoy life to it’s fullest :)

    • Nia Shanks

      Exactly. I’ll take strong, confident, healthy, and awesome over that mindset any day. Thanks!

  • Dana Smith

    I just stood up at my desk and applauded loudly while yelling, “That’s right!”. Now the entire office is standing at my desk wanting to know what I’m reading. Just another reason to love you Nia Shanks! I belong to a page on FB, based on a book we all love, The New Rules of Lifting for Women. We have been discussing Bob’s new book and pretty much saying everything you said, just not as well! I’m going to share this on that page so everyone in the world can see it! Thanks so much for putting this all together. Did you know every book that gets marketed as a health or diet book has to make some kind of promise? That’s like a rule or something. Publishing companies aren’t doing us any favors, that’s for sure. Thanks to them, the trend to market things to women assuming we all want to be skinny forsaking all other things or common sense will just continue.

    • Nia Shanks

      HA! A standing round of applause in the work place? Yeah, I’ll take that! Thank you for commenting and for sharing the article. And I LOVE knowing there are groups of strong, confident ladies out there! Keeping being awesome, my friend.

      • Beechnut

        Thanks to Dana up there, I have been reading your articles as well! You’re fantastic. Thanks so much, Nia! And thanks, Dana Smith. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/finnseach Judith Winner

    Ok, so I won’t exactly worship at your feet, but…. ;) I am so glad I found your blog/page/what have you. :)

    • Nia Shanks

      HAHAHA! Just keep being awesome and leading by example.

  • Kath

    I happened to catch a snippet of him the other day on Dr. Oz
    while channel surfing. All I could do is laugh! I couldn’t even watch the
    entire piece. Had I not read Sane and Simple Nutrition and started to Lift like a Girl I may have been sucked
    in and again gone down another path of insanity. It is so liberating to be able to block all
    of the garbage out. I now have positive goals I am shooting for. I would be a
    liar to say I don’t still catch myself focusing on parts of me I don’t like but
    now I have dialog in my head to talk me out of that. Previously I would focus
    on what I didn’t like and then implement whatever new promise to fat loss was
    out there. Only to sink further and further into despair. Thank you for showing us a more positive way to health and fitness.

    • Nia Shanks

      Thanks for sharing, Kath. I know what you mean, because I’ve been there. It’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about showing women they don’t have to starve or hate their bodies.

  • http://manbicep.com/ Cori

    “Those women do not need to be told to “eat less and move more”. No, they most likely can benefit from Eating MORE and Working Out LESS.” – LOVE IT!

    His skinny rules basically promote starvation. Go to bed hungry!?!!?! Really!?!?! Uhm…YUCK.

    It’s crazy because so many people would have a much easier time of reaching their aesthetic goals if they ATE MORE!

    But hey he has to sell these rules so that in a few months he can come out with another book and sell a different angle on the fad. If we actually gave people something that worked, they wouldn’t have to spend half as much money jumping from fad to fad!

    • Nia Shanks

      Yerp. Just a different spin on the whole “eat less” mentality. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1502684566 Marissa Morris Oliver

    Noone in fitness industry that I follow is as grounded in wisdom and common sense as you are, Nia. Two thumbs up:)

    • Nia Shanks

      Think this one made me blush. :) Thank you.

  • http://www.sistasofstrength.com/ Amanda @ Sistas of Strength

    Love this. :) They should never been any non-negotiable rules. So dumb and you’re right…just leads to more and more OCD eating. The exact thing we need to eliminate!!

  • Audrey

    This is why I love Nia Shanks.

  • http://www.sweatlikeapig.com/ Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    Great post, Nia! Bob Harper is an idiot. That is all.

  • Nancy Anne Martin

    Bob Harper lost a lot of his credibility with me with these recent books. He’s trying to get the entire female population on a permanent cutting diet. Ridiculous, and no way to live an un-grumpy life!

  • onlyamy

    The other name for The Skinny Rules, it goes without saying, is Disordered Eating. Go to bed hungry = restricting. Splurge meal = binge. So destructive.

  • Michelle Piccolo

    Awesome post Nia! I’m sharing on my FB page because women really need to stop following these ridiculous “rules.” His new Jumpstart to Skinny book seems even worse..800 calories for women and I think 1200 for men?!? Basically a starvation diet even though he touts it as “short-term” only. Let the metabolic damage/disordered eating begin with Bob! Ugh! Thanks for educating the masses.

    • Nia Shanks

      I’m certainly not a fan of quick fixes. I see the mentality they produce long-term. Thanks for sharing!

  • olliehay

    I don’t disagree with your post, but I think you’re forgetting that Bob is writing to obese people with no nutritional know-how at all. You drink coconut oil in your coffee (I’ve heard about “bulletproof coffee” in the marathoning community) but obese people drink Frappaccionos. You might both be taking in 400 calories, but the Fraps are nutritional disasters, and the uninformed person Bob is speaking to will still have a full meal afterward, because 400 calorie drinks aren’t filling.

    Same with not going to bed hungry. Many people might have a few almonds or a glass of milk. The “norm” in the obese community might have ice cream or bags of chips as a matter of course. He’s speaking to people who don’t let themselves experience hunger.

    I meet friends from high school, so 40-ish and not super old skool, who are overweight and hopeless about it. It is STAGGERING to discover how little savvy they have about reading labels, about the most basic nutritional info, or that walking around the block once a day will not take off the pounds. I believe Bob can be a good starting point for them.

    • Nia Shanks

      The people you’re referring to need simple, flexible, guidelines that they can actually maintain long-term that teach them healthy eating habits. “Nonnegotiable” rules are not the way to go. I’ve worked with several obese clients who have tried diets that revolve around rules similar to the ones posted. They get frustrated because they’re not realistic to apply for the long-term.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=683120322 Mylynka Kilgore Cardona

    First visit to you blog (my friend Jen Coulter posted it to FB) and I am so glad I clicked over here! Awesome read! I am tossing my Skinny Rules book in the recycle bin when I get home!! Looking forward to reading more of your posts! THANKS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708596712 Sara Ann Mason

    Nia you are THE BOMB. Also, did you see Bob Harper’s latest crash diet to get people ready for swimsuit season? He recommends women eat 800 calories a day. It’s truly despicable. Too bad all fitness professionals can’t be great like you.

  • Jen Comas Keck

    Girl, you knocked it out of the park with this one. Well done! xo

  • Cliff Jones

    Your critique of the “skinny rules” is so riddled with misinterpretations and strawman arguments that it borders on completely useless. There are some which are misguied (ex: go to bed hungry) but you’re assigning meaning to them that they don’t posess. For example, it doesn’t say, go to bed STARVING. I believe the intent is that it’s unnecessary to be FULL when going to bed. The majority of these rules, if not taken to the absurd extremes your have assigned to them, are quite in line with what many health and fitness people encourage. I follow most of these as someone who eats essentially “Paleo”. And I’m a guy… who lifts heavy… and eats a lot. They’re not really about being skinny at all, necessarily. They’re about being healthy, ketonic, fit and lean.

    So thanks for the attempt to posture yourself as intelligent but you’ve clearly proven your rhetoric is no better than the majority of misguided people out there on either side of the fence. Try being more optimistic and emphasizing the good lessons in information like this rather than creating “straw man” extreme views of the information that can be so easily picked apart. Your tactic is transparent and anyone with a decent knowledge of diet, fitness and health can see through it.

    • mandy g.

      I’m glad someone critiqued this post, because I think it’s thought-provoking to hover on both sides of an argument. My take-away from Cliff’s point is that he simply interpreted the Skinny Rules differently than Nia has. That’s totally fine! Nia’s personal interpretation of the rules, however, happened to provoke a really powerful message of her own; consistent with the messages in all of her writing! The Skinny Rules aren’t the focus of this post. But yes, they were a catalyst to deliver a strong punch about women’s fitness. And it worked.

    • Nia Shanks

      There’s a reason I don’t agree with “what many health and fitness people encourage”.

    • Raven Springs

      The problem is that most will only skim the Skinny Rules and it will ultimately lead to more disordered eating. If people knew about real nutrition they would not have a problem, but they don’t! They believe all of the hype and keep searching for the latest miracle diet! Stop the Insanity!!! And I am not talking about a Susan Powter diet book! Come on! 800 cals! Prisoners of War eat that way!!! Not people let out of the Prison of Food Jail!

  • DeterminationFitness

    Why are you arguing with a TV presenter?
    Don’t you know Bob knows exactly what 50% of the population should be doing with their body?
    Bob is an expert in all things fitness, for example; Bob knows so much more about kettlebells than the previous 300 years of experts before him that he was able to redesign the k’bell?

  • Mary

    Anyone who has actually read the book knows Bob addresses the same concerns as Nia Shanks. He tells you the back story of the non-negotiable rules that is inspiring. Although the word “skinny” makes some cringe, Bob’s book is not the devil. His book is for those ready to commit and not just skim the facts. Like Nia did…with this article.

  • Mary

    This is the most uninformed, non-researched article. Ever.

  • Amanda Brown

    I love this blog so much – it really embraces what truly makes a woman beautiful and that is confidence and learning to love yourself and take control instead of being controlled by rules that are rigid and praying on our “I’m not good enough” feelings that pop up. Thank you Nia for being honest and sharing your thoughts!!

  • Tina Zufelt

    Thank you for this post – Great information.

  • http://fitchickcafe.com/ Brankica @ Fit Chick

    I absolutely agree with you and I can’t believe how many women ran to get his new book like it is the new magic pill that will solve all their problems. Then they end up going from one extreme to another. All those celebrity trainer keep forgetting about the most important rule of them all – balance.
    I like to eat my calories cause I feel fuller but I sure do drink my protein shakes and enjoy it. And I will enjoy an iced coffee I make myself including a packet of sweetener in it. Why does all have to be so black and white for those celebrity trainers. Oh yeah, cause you can’t sell anything if it promotes real health!
    As far as going to bed hungry, I would probably chew off my husbands arm during night if I had to do that. I eat my last meal before bed and it sure isn’t making me fat.
    Keep rocking, Nia :)

  • disqus_cV3k40XHw8

    <=== is awake at 3.30 in the morning because well … I'm hungry ….lol *going to raid fridge*

  • Franky

    i didn’t read the full article but nia rules :D.

  • Shwetha Kiran

    Thank You for this wonderful post. I needed this reinforcement so badly.

    I am one of those people who hates dieting but the thought of a satisfying meal would make me nervous because if I dont deprive calories.. I wont loose fat. And I am sick and tired of thinking about loosing fat, I have had enough of it. I am really glad I found your site through Tom Venuto’s blog where you had done a guest article. I want to thank you very much for making it simple, I have finally started to enjoy my workouts. As soon as I read your articles and mini course… I knew this was it. Its especially comforting to learn about this from an experienced trainer and first & foremost from a Woman! You rock!!!

  • Lauren

    Thanks so much for this! I lost weight in high school, but after getting to college I started comparing myself to everyone else around me and lost my confidence. I’m trying to change my mindset about eating and exercising, and your articles are helping push me forward!

  • Andrea

    I totally agree with you! Im not a huge BH fan anyways. I feel he is a little out of touch with reality and the “real world” that women live in. I believe if you have good eating 80% of the time, do your exercising and have treats in moderation then you will see results! Dont put these ridiculous “rules” into effect because you wont be able to do them forever. This is a lifestyle ot a quick fix that will end with a binge and more weight gain!

  • http://www.grassfedmomma.blogspot.com grassfedmomma

    Bob seems to have gone off the rails. 800 calories a day? Don’t you mean for breakfast Bob? great post Nia!

  • jjfg

    I like your post. I generally eat well, am happy with my weight, performance, and energy levels, and subscribe to the theory that you shouldn’t make changes you can’t live with indefinitely. I don’t actually disagree with some of his rules (e.g., read food labels, eat your vegetables) but “rules” based living, however convenient, divorces one from actually THINKING about what they’re doing and why, never mind the sustainability question. So preach on, girl.

  • Tea addict

    Great article! There are two words I hate about the BH approach: 1) SKINNY – for any of us who’ve experienced disordered eating in pursuit of society’s stick-thin ideal (and let’s face it. that’s probably half of western women if not more), this makes me shudder. I now focus on my health and strength and embrace my curves. 2) RULES – whilst some of the ‘rules’ may be sensible as flexible ‘guidelines’ (can’t argue with eating vegetables and reading food labels most of the time), I hate the ‘non-negotiable’ rhetoric. Everybody should be allowed to find what works for them and what makes them happiest. Information about food and nutrition can be empowering, but not when it’s presented in such a rigid, patronizing way. Keep up the great work Nia to counterbalance the mainstream dieting/starvation dogma!

  • Kate F.

    Although I don’t disagree with you 100%, you seem to WANT to dislike this book. Just because a person wants to be skinnier or healthier is does not mean they have no confidence or self esteem. My best friend and her husband have been following this book for the past several months, they have each lost 30 pounds, they have more energy, they have reconnected as a couple and it has improved their sex life, they are both healthier and sexier. This book and other one’s similar isn’t about following a list of impossible rules that make life too complicated, it’s about learning how to treat your body correctly and reinforcing positive eating habits. They way she eats is now second nature to my friend, she doesn’t have to stress about every little thing, it simply retaught her how to be healthy and treat her body right. Don’t knock it till you try it.
    I happened to be a Nutritionist, and I think this book is great, it promotes health through nutrition and diet, not through starving yourself and diet pills. This book reinforces the importance of healing your body through nutrition. Once you have the healthy eating habits down, then it is ok to incorporate exercise into your life. Open your eyes and understand they are other ways to get healthy. Some people need to get the body healthy before they are able to rebuild their self esteem. Being overweight for a long time can really damage a person’s spirit and confidence and we should encourage whatever avenue they take to get healthy and thin again.

  • Always Striving

    Loved what you had to say, I totally agree. I’ve struggled with my weight for years and developing Hypothyroidism and the onset of menopause hasn’t helped but I have managed to lose 200 pounds in the past 10 years mostly by following common sense ideas and not beating myself up over slips in my diet or taking a day off from exercise. I read the ‘Skinny Rules’ and although some of it appears to be common sense, just the title ‘Rules’ sets you up for failure. To me it means you aren’t striving to be your best, you are trying to be someone else’s best. Keep up the good work!!!!

  • Alp

    There is a detail that you left out. Bob Harper mentions it in his book that it is not meant for long term. It is a 3 week program. It is for people who have a special event coming up and they need to lose some weight fast before the event. It is written in the book, and he makes it clear multiple times. If you want to lose weight fast, you need to go to the extremes. There is no way around it.

    This article is misleading because Bob Harper says it should not be followed long term. If you’re trying to lose weight fast, you have to cut out homemade pan fried chicken. That’s just the way it is. If you’re hungry, just eat green vegetables. Under this diet you can eat unlimited amounts of green vegetables.

    Losing weight is a sacrifice. If you really want it, you have to work hard at it. Part of losing weight is learning not to crave foods that make you fat. I read the book and thought it was pretty good. I’m not following it only because I am not in hurry to lose weight.

  • http://katwhitfield.wordpress.com/ Kat

    Oh my goodness I can’t believe I’ve never seen this post before.

    For the past few months I’ve been doing a REALLY in-depth review of the book and “rules.” (At: http://katwhitfield.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/book-review-the-skinny-rules-by-bob-harper-introduction/)

    The general conclusion is that he uses bad studies to back up false claims, none of the rules he gives are non-negotiable, and 20 rules is far from simple to adhere to.

    Also women are only to eat 1,200 – 1,300 calories. Sustainable, right? One poster said that these rules are only meant to be followed for 3 weeks – that’s for the “Jumpstart to Skinny” book, not the one Nia just talked about, or the one I reviewed. As far as I can tell, these are ‘forever’ rules.

    Can the rules work to help you lose weight? Absolutely! Are they non-negotiable? Absolutely NOT. They are not for everyone. I would say that the vast majority of people should not be trying to follow the advice outlined in the book, especially given the calorie recommendations.

    Harper even says that if a friend invites you over for dinner, you shouldn’t go if it doesn’t fit in the rules. (Which it probably wouldn’t 99% of the time) Agh.

    Anyway, enjoyed this post, glad I found it, even if it’s a bit late!

  • Wanda

    Obviously, you read the rules, but not the book. Go read the book. Everything in it is based on proven research, not opinion. It’s not about being skinny; it’s about being healthy. Overweight is not healthy. This diet is for people who need to lose 30 or more pounds. I don’t know Bob, work for Bob, or have anything to do with him. I read both of his books, applied his researched based principles, and regained my health. I’ve lost 23 pounds so far and pre-diabetes.
    I could go through each of the rules you listed and tell you the facts of each fallacy you’ve written, but … really …. go read the book.

  • GColler

    Did you even read the book? Nothing is non-negotiable and it seems you wrote this after only reading the Facebook viral snippet. I’m strong, beautiful and a little overweight. The rules make sense, are backed by science and are not meant to be followed 100%. Take what you want and leave the rest. The words skinny and fat should not be tge reason you discredit the entire book. Those terms along with the attention grabbing headlines are simply that

  • teddybear

    Love love love this site!!! Thankayoo soooo much, you have no idea how much you’ve helped me just now : )

    And this is so true about the whole skinny rules thing. Can I just say…?

    1. So if everyone follows these rules, they will guaranteed be skinny, right? Meaning all those people trying to lose weight just can’t read then. Uh, sure!!!

    2. Skinny does NOT rule. Skinny = skinny. Not happy, not healthy, not successful, fulfilled… Or any of the things people think will magically go along with being skinny.

    3. Everyone is totally utterly unique. Trying to strive for some hazy ideal of someone else’s is a waste of time. Don’t do anything that doesn’t come naturally. E.g. Have another cupcake if you want it, even if it means you have to put up with a pound more than your ‘recommended’ perfect weight. Who’s going to care in 10 years time???

    Life is too short!!!

    And I strongly recommend googling ‘eat the damn cake’.

    Eat, live, go do!

  • Guest

    While I see your point, I think you’re taking some things out of context. When he talks about not drinking your calories, I agree with you that it’s not a big deal to add some creamer to yor coffee, but I’m pretty sure he means a significant amount of calories like those from sodas and alcohol. Drinking a few glasses of wine with a meal can have more calories than your actual food. Fraps and lattes can have crazy amounts of calories and super loads of sugar.

  • Linda

    These rules work for some people and they bring changes to them if they dont set well with you shut up go on with your merry life leave the rules to others