Review: The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor


A while ago, we ran two posts from Jonathan Bailor all about the “calorie myth” and why counting calories doesn’t work and how all calories are not equal. The posts were brilliant (check them out here and here). And now Jonathan has taken those ideas, TONS of research and examples, and put them together into one heck of a book: The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better.

I’m not just saying this because Jonathan has had me on his podcast and said uber nice things about FBG either. Yes, he’s our healthy living bud, but this dude knows his stuff. And The Calorie Myth is 315 pages of, like, everything cutting-edge that you need to know about weight-loss and being healthy. Even if you think you know it all, even if you think you’ve read it all — I guarantee you’ll learn something new that’ll have you saying, “Hey … that’s right. That common dietary advice we’ve been following for years makes NO ABSOLUTE SENSE.” And then you’ll want to give Jonathan a hug for making your life healthier and simpler.

And that’s probably what I love most about this book: the advice is simple. Sure, the book is dense. I won’t lie about it. This is not Twilight. It’s filled with lots of scientific words and jargon and study after study, but if you take the time to read through it and understand it (and Jonathan does a great job of breaking very complicated processes in the body down to easy-to-understand terms and metaphors), it will most likely change just about everything you think you know about losing weight.

In The Calorie Myth, Jonathan debunks the “eat less, move more” recommendation we’ve all been giving for years, and he shares a SANE (no, really — that’s his acronym for it) way to eat and work out that really does make sense and is based on eating high-water, -fiber and -protein foods (hey, kind of sounds like our advice — great minds think alike!) and short workouts that focus on really calling on all of your muscles to adapt through eccentric training. Although Jonathan never really says “Paleo,” a lot of the plan of it is pretty Paleo, and he writes a lot about getting our bodies back to their natural state, before we were all eating all the processed foods and spending hours on the treadmill to burn calories and thinking low-fat was best. I particularly liked how in detail he goes into about our body’s natural set-point weights, too — and how that is a scientifically proven thing.

And I guess that’s what really makes this book stand out to me: how much of it just plain based on facts (and not politics — he even addresses that quite a bit in the book). I know his advice to work because — without knowing it — I pretty much follow his eating plan and, although I work out more than he says is necessary, I definitely do the types of workouts he recommends. But he hasn’t just written a book that says “thou shall do this and lose weight!” Nope, he has the science and studies to back it up.

He even has a chapter to address underlying motivational behaviors and a little bit of hippity-dippity stuff. We’ll differ with him a bit on the whole “moderation” thing not working (we think it works with mindfulness and attention to feeding your emotions properly!), but besides that, this book is solid. One of the best books we’ve read in a looong time about weight-loss. So, rock on Jonathan! You’re changing the world!

Do you still count calories? Stay tuned to tomorrow when we share Jonathan’s 10 tips for SANE eating! —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


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  1. Fit Missy says:

    Counting calories never works! Imagine counting calories the rest of your life?

    I know, crazy!

    I have found with my clients that sticking to high protein and lower carb diet works the best for weight loss.

    Looking forward to reading the book! 🙂

  2. Erin says:

    I am almost done with this book. I absolutely love it and have recommended it to all of my friends. It is such an easy read, too!

  3. Helen says:

    While I find this book enthralling and it make sense I do have a question. While quality and quantity is stressed, J Bailor does quote portion sizes. On one hand he is saying you can eat as much as you want of quality foods, he then tells you how much is a portion. Well if you can eat all you want, what is the point in giving portion sizes? For example, nuts are 3 tbsp. per portion – ?? somewhat confusing.