I have spent a lot of time over the past few years learning about the benefits and downfalls of various diets and I recently came across one that I’ve come to believe is by far the best weight loss diet, or at least the best one that I have seen. But frankly I’d be surprised if I ever found a better one.
Before I explain it I figure I should probably talk about my biases, experience and motivation behind writing this. My general philosophy on food is that we should try to eat the things our ancestors ate like red meat, animal fats, and organic produce and avoid things like ultra-processed food, seed oils, and high-fructose corn syrup that our ancestors never had access to. The diet I’m about to talk about does not come from someone of that school of thought and to be honest I took issue with it at first. This diet comes from someone who got their PhD at 23 but still manages to stand outside the thinking of mainstream nutrition experts. I, on the other hand have no formal education on this topic so you’re probably better off trusting this guy’s advice over my opinions, especially since he doesn’t seem to be bought and paid for by the seed oil and drug industries like so many nutritionists and doctors are these days.
I’m writing about this diet because I believe it can help people better than other, more well known, diets can and I want to be able to have an article I can point people to when they ask me for weight loss advice. I believe the diet I’m about to explain will be a lot more helpful to people struggling with obesity than any of the nutrition content I have put out in the past. The nutrition related stuff I’ve written in the past is a lot more helpful to healthy people than it is to unhealthy people because it sets the bar a bit too high for people who are just starting out on their health journey.
I learned about the diet through reading Michael Easter’s book The Comfort Crisis. The diet comes from Dr. Trevor Kashey who has a through understanding of the science behind nutrition, weight loss, and muscle building. The diet he recommends is quite simple: You are allowed to eat whatever you want, but you have to eat less than 2000 calories1 a day.
Doing this will require that you actually track and measure everything you eat in a day. Research has shown that people are terrible at accurately estimating the amount of calories they eat, most people think they eat way less than they actually do either because they are not good at portion control or they forget that they had a snack or drink with something; it is not uncommon for people to eat over twice the amount of calories than they think they did in a day, this is why a lot of people are unsuccessful in various diets. Dr. Kashey tells the people he works with to buy a kitchen scale and weigh every single thing that they eat so that they can accurately track the calories they are taking in, they won’t be successful with their weight loss if they don’t do this.
When Micheal Easter decided to give this a try and weigh the food he ate he was surprised to see that the light healthy snack of an apple and some peanut butter he had been eating every day was nearly 700 calories. What he had always assumed was a reasonable amount of peanut butter was well actually over three servings of the stuff. I ’m sure if you were to start measuring the things you ate you’d have some similar surprises.
Over time I have come to believe that the reason this diet is so great is that it is not restrictive. Sure, you can loose a lot of weight rather quickly if you ate nothing but cabbage soup for a month. But the entire time you are on a cabbage soup diet you’ll probably be craving ice cream or something like that and once you hit your weight loss goal you’ll reward yourself with a big bowl of ice cream and pretty soon you’ll be right back to the weight you started at. Most people who use restrictive diets (like the cabbage soup diet, Adkins diet, keto diet, vegan diet, etc.) to loose weight will gain all their weight back within a year. When you go out of your way to loose weight you want to keep that weight off, so you want to use a diet that will teach you how to keep it off.
Using Kashey’s diet, if you are craving ice cream you can budget your calories for a day so that you can treat yourself to some ice cream before you go to bed. If you do this you’ll learn two things. First you’ll learn what a reasonable portion of ice cream actually looks like (something very few people have seen), then you’ll learn that ice cream isn’t very filling because you’ll go to bed hungry. And you’ll remember those two lessons long after you’ve reached your weight loss goal. A more popular restrictive diet would have never taught you that because it would have never allowed you to have that experience.
Kashey’s diet plan is genius because it allows you to discover for yourself the things that you should and shouldn’t eat to satisfy your hunger without overeating. Sure, he could tell you which foods to eat and which ones to avoid, but that won’t be as powerful of a teacher as going to bed hungry after eating that bowl of ice cream will. You understand things better when you learn then for yourself through experience.
Hopefully you already have some experience paying attention to how certain foods make you feel. I’ve never measured calories but I have noticed some things with foods I eat which changed how I eat now. For example I avoid eating pasta that doesn’t have a cream or cheese based sauce because pasta with a tomato based sauce doesn’t fill me up, I could eat a pound of it and still be hungry half an hour later. I’ve also found through research and experience that increasing protein and decreasing carbs will help you feel more satiated. There was a while where I was eating eggs, sausage and toast every day for breakfast and I was feeling alright but then one day my bread was moldy so I skipped the toast, surprisingly when it came to lunchtime I wasn’t very hungry so then I cut the toast out of my daily breakfast and soon began skipping lunch because I didn’t feel like I needed it.
Of course Dr. Kashey could easily tell you that you should try to eat more protein dense foods to stay full, or he could tell you that things like soda and juice are just wasted calories that would be better spend fighting hunger but he understands that you are better off figuring those things out yourself through trial and error. In fact if you plan on trying this diet for yourself forget about what I said about ice cream not filling you up and protein being useful to stay satiated, let yourself learn those lessons the hard way. I’m sure if you were one of Kashey’s clients he’d try to steer you in the right direction if you were struggling to figure those things out on your own, but for the most part the genius of this diet is that you are the one discovering what foods work for you and which ones don’t. I can’t think of a better possible way to loose weight and learn to keep it off.
1 - If you were to work with Dr. Kashey he would give you a personalized calorie limit based on your body, but 2000 calories is a fairly good general limit. I suggest you do your own research to figure out what amount of calories would be best for you, or you could always hire Dr. Kashey.