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Want to Lose Weight? Try the Brick Method.

Posted by on Jun 9, 2013 | 4 Comments

My friends and I had an interesting debate on Facebook regarding weight loss. This was my original post:

Paleo, vegan, fruitarian, or any other fad diet and running, power lifting, step aerobics, Crossfit, bicycling or the thigh master. All are beholden to the same very basic principle of physical fitness:

Calories in > calories out = weight gain. Calories in < calories out = weight loss.

Want to lose weight? Eat less and move more.

The ensuing debate brought up many points related to the digestibility of food, effects on metabolism, even the psychology of eating.

None of it really disproved my man point:

Want to lose weight? Eat less and move more.

During the debate, my friend Trisha posted this article which turned out to support my point:

This quote stood out:

“Here’s what is true, she said: “The studies that have measured calorie intake, that have put people on calorie-reduced diets and measured what happened, show no difference in weight loss based on composition of the diet.” When people are essentially incarcerated, when all intake is weighed and measured, they will lose weight if the calories in their diets are reduced — regardless of the composition of the diet.”

In my experience, most people want to lose at least some weight. They’re willing to try all kinds of crazy methods to do this. Some are successful, but most fail miserably.


We think there’s a shortcut to weight loss. There’s a special food, diet, or exercise. Unfortunately there is no shortcut. To lose weight, we have to burn more calories than we consume. Yes, there are all kinds of nuances to this. However, the underlying principle is simple:

Want to lose weight? Eat less and move more.

To this end, I propose the “brick” diet. It works like this:

Step one: Go to your local lumber yard/ home improvement superstore. Buy 10 concrete bricks. Place them in a pile somewhere outside your house.

Step two: Calculate how much time you spend eating each day. Divide this time in half.

Step three: Spend one half of that time eating each day. Spend the other half moving the pile of bricks from the initial pile to a new pile. Once you move the entire pile, move them back to the original pile. Repeat for the predetermined time.

Step four: If you don’t lose weight, cut the eating time in half again and spend more time (75% of the original eating time) moving the bricks.

Give it a shot. It’s just stupid enough to work.

[Edit- there seems to be some misunderstanding on the point I’m trying to make. I’m not suggesting we don’t need a balanced diet for various nutrients. I’m also not suggesting various foods don’t affect our bodies in a variety of ways, which can be both universal or individual.

I’m simply suggesting that a caloric deficit is the often-overlooked reason why we lose weight. If this were not true, it would be possible to gain weight without consuming anything or lose weight while consuming three times our daily caloric expenditure.

Both are impossible. There are no exceptions.

If you want to lose weight, create a caloric deficit. ]


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  1. The Pooch
    June 9, 2013

    Haven’t read the facebook discussion, but what’s missing from this perspective is what stimulates appetite and desire to exercise in the first place. What stimulates an obese person to consume so many calories in the first place? What stimulates skinny, active people to go out and burn off all those calories? What if eating less and/or exercising more are the effects rather than the causes?

    • francois
      June 10, 2013

      + adding the effect of various diets on your training (this is, after all, a running blog 🙂 ). On these topics, I can only recommend reading “racing weight” from Matt Fitzgerald.

    • Chris Pedersen
      June 14, 2013

      #The Pooch
      Hopefully, the answers to your questions will be up today or tomorrow under the title, “The Authentic Paleo Diet”. It is natural to want to consume a lot a calories. The key is, it is unnatural to be able to access those calories whenever you want.

    • KelliA
      June 17, 2013

      I’ve lost/gained/lost more weight than I care to admit. I’ve done all the diets, potions and pills and can attest to the fact that your point is 100% true. Nothing beats serious exercise and watching what you eat. I’m so sick of companies feeding us bullshit and even doctors are jumping on the bandwagon. My 58 year old bro told me his doctor told him the best way to lose weight was to eat a piece of toast with banana and peanut butter in the morning, a light lunch and then soup (no mention of kind of soup) for dinner. WTF? Of course it isn’t working because said guru doc didn’t bother to tell bro that his 20 minute around the block walks a couple of times a week aren’t cutting it.

      But what do I know?