The Smarter Science of Slim: I’m Doing It

I love blueberries and I'll be eating a lot in the coming weeks.

This blog has been a personal journey for me and not in the way I expected.  I started it out of frustration over the poor fitness information that was out there.  I just wanted to be a sane voice in the cacophony of crappy marketing. What hadn't occurred to me is that I'd be learning a whole bunch of new information as I wrote (over 600 posts and counting).  There are so many people talking about diets in social media and I started researching, taking my "Nutrition 101" class in college as a base, and reading, reading, reading ... The best I've seen so far (funny ... he uses the term sane too) is from Jonathan Bailor and his Smarter Science of Slim™ program (affiliate link).  He argues that we already know a lot about nutrition and we shouldn't be all that conflicted about what to eat.  Pretty much it's lean protein and a lot of fruits and vegetables.  His SANE eating is a way to counteract all the crappy nutritional marketing he saw out there. Bailor's not a nutritionist and neither am I.  There are aspects of this program that registered dietitians will have problems with; there is dissent and conflict in the nutrition community among really well-respected people about how much protein to eat, or if dairy is good for you or not. The biggest push-back I've seen with Bailor's method is protein, that's he prescribes too much: 30 grams of protein per day, three to four times per day.  Here are my thoughts on this ...
  • When I originally read the book, I thought grams of protein meant the "whole chicken breast." It doesn't; any piece of meat also has a mix of fat and carb grams, which is why a big piece of meat is less protein than it may appear.
  • I was chagrined when I figured that out; it was after I had given an incredibly strong endorsement to the book and I was annoyed at myself (I know better) for making that assumption.
  • I talked to Bailor about it and he said, yes, he's heard the push back too, but he stands by his research results.  He wasn't going in with a pre-determined bias; he was just following the facts.
  • He also said I could eat 20 grams of protein per serving instead of 30 since I'm a woman, and no matter who you are, you definitely shouldn't eat to the point of feeling ill.
The other thing that I really like about this program is it's done on a range.  If you want to eat "average," you can have more starches and sweets and less protein and veggies.  As you eat better, you'll look and feel better, but to what degree is up to you. So I'm going to be testing this out.  I'll eat two weeks at the "Fit" level, two weeks at the "Hot" level and two weeks at the "Fitness Model" level. As a reference, the Fit level consists of:
  • two servings of starch or sweets
  • four 30-gram servings of protein (I'll do 20 grams)
  • seven servings of non-starchy vegetables
  • three servings of berries or citrus fruits
  • 1/4 cup of milled flax seeds


The exercise component is short but critical.  It is only 20 minutes per week (two 10-minute sessions) of metabolism-boosting work; this involves heavy, heavy weightlifting and intense intervals of cardio. "It is key that you do the two together," says Bailor.  "You won't see good results if you don't." This isn't replacing all exercise by the way; if you enjoy sports or other activities, keep doing them. You should also still aim for 10,000 steps a day, but according to Bailor, you will no longer need to go nuts on the cardio equipment in the gym just to keep the weight off.  I fully plan to continue to do hooping, a little running, and Pilates.  I already walk everywhere, so the 10,000 steps isn't a big deal. This eating plan is not a diet and you won't see quick results from it.  It takes five to six weeks to change your metabolism over to a "fat-burning machine."  When you get rid of the junk, you'll see a water loss, of course, and if you were eating a ton of excess calories, then that will reflect on the scale too.  But you need to give the process a little time to kick in.  So that's why I'm not doing the typical blogger "30-day challenge," but a six-week plan so you can see the whole transition (hopefully) occur. Feel free to join me on my challenge.  I know some of my regular readers have already started on the journey and I'd love to hear how you're doing!  I'm off to eat some egg whites, sauteed onion, and spinach; that'll be 20 grams of protein and two non-starchy vegetables.  A nice start to the day. Cheers, Lisa Here's a collection of all my "Smarter Science of Slim" posts

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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14 Responses to The Smarter Science of Slim: I’m Doing It

  1. Joe Williams February 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Lisa – I’ve been intrigued by Bailor’s work since you mentioned it in a previous blog post. I have the book on my wish list (my birthday is coming up soon), and I’ll see if my patience wins out or if I just get the book myself :)

    Thanks for undertaking the challenge and being willing to share your experiences. I’m contemplating joining you – I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made over the last 9 months simply by tracking my caloric budget and adding strength training to my program. However, what Bailor has to offer may be that extra kick I seek to “really rock.”


  2. Lisa Johnson February 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Joe, I’m happy to be your guinea pig ;-) I figured out about a year into my blog that I had actually donated my body to science without fully realizing it. LOL L–

  3. Chris Johston February 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm #


    Same name as my older sister but our last name has a “t”. When the book was announced I shared it with my fahter-in-law. He is going through the SANE diet and has already noticed in three weeks how much better he is sleeping. I have just started but I am really struggling with doing the heavy exercise well at least right. I am an exercise nut… I have been fairly rigid about a 6 day a week 90 minute to two hour a day routine for many years now so cutting back has been a mental challenge let alone figuring out if I am really getting the heavy heavy exericise done right. I am used to be knuckle dragging sore pretty much all the time. I was doing triathelons and I have tried triming the “insane” amounts of cardio back to see how my system responds. I have not seen any weight gain but it is off seasn for tri’s and I will like Jonathan do what I enjoy but see if I can stop the hours in the gym of resistance traing… I will be very interested in watching you and your journey. Thanks for blogging and sharing!! At may age I just want to be at the fit level and enjoy life and a tri once in a while…

  4. Lisa Johnson February 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Chris that’s what I like about his methods, you can dial in to the plan that works best for you. I’m officially on Day 1 today but I’ve been futzing with it for a couple of weeks now, I think it does take a few weeks to get the exercise right, there’s a bit of a learning curve with it. I really have to push myself further than I’m comfortable with! BUT you still have to be safe too.

    Definitely keep doing those tris, if you love ’em you should still do ’em. Cheers L–

  5. Sonia Simone February 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    At four servings of 30g, I was definitely eating to the point of feeling ill, so I’m glad to hear he doesn’t think that’s a good idea. (I didn’t either so I stopped doing it.) :)

    I don’t eat a lot of grains, weird fake food, or sugar anyway, so nothing really radical happened when I tried this out. My favorite takeaways were: 1) I bought a Blend-Tec (like a Vitamix) and am really digging that, 2) I discovered flaxseed meal (and also chia seeds) which is an awesome way to get those Omega-3s in, because I am not a fish oil fan, and 3) I can stop being afraid of fruit.

    I also like that he isn’t hysterical. He doesn’t say you’re going to be struck down by cancer and diabetes if you have a latte, or beans. (Hello paleo people.) And the “Fit” level even gives you a cheat day every week.

    I like his strength workout. I admit, I don’t do his version of intervals, I do my own version. Also short & intense, but slightly less short & less intense than his. I’m feeling good, though. And I finally broke down & got a trainer, which has been awesome.

  6. Lisa Johnson February 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Very awesome that you got a trainer Sonia, I wonder what he would think of the book. As a trainer/Pilates instructor myself it took a bit to wrap my brain around the exercise part. I was a little territorial … L–

  7. JoAnn Stack February 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    I’ve been doing a similar program for 10 months-lots of lean protein and vegetables, fruit, but no starches or sugar. I’ve also been doing strength training with a coach. He’s the one who recommended the SSofS to me and I’ve been using to be a bit more systematic in my approach. After struggling for years with my weight, I have finally found something that works consistently and feels like something I can do long term. The result? In 10 months I’ve lost 65 pounds and show no signs of slowing down. Tomorrow marks 1 year with the coach. This book is just the latest in a long line of things he’s introduced me to. Good luck with the program. I’m interested to hear how you like it.

  8. Lisa Johnson February 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Thanks JoAnn :-)

  9. Linda February 18, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    I started this diet at the same time. I’m wondering how you’re doing with it? I’m having trouble eating the quantity of food recommended. I decided to go full throttle and go straight to week six of the plan. I’m doing okay with that part I just can’t seem to get the amounts recommended. If I ate 12 servings of veggies, 5 fruits, 6 proteins…I’d never stop eating.

  10. Lisa Johnson February 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    Hi Linda, I’m definitely working up to it, I’m only on day 4 and I had a wretched cold on day 2 & 3 so I’m actually a bit off of my plan. I was getting in the fruit & veg no problem, ok with keeping starches/sweets down to 2x a day but yes, struggling to get the protein in. I’m only 20 g. per meal, not 30 after a conversation I had with him about it.

    I’m also not all the way to fitness model, I’m only on fit. I definitely need to break myself into it. I did buy some whey protein, but I haven’t used it yet, as a way to sneak in some more protein into smoothies and such.

  11. Jonathan Bailor February 19, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    Hi Linda – While it is important to eat 4 to 6 times per day, it is not important to eat 4 to 6 large meals per day. Every time you eat, enjoy SANE food until you are too full for starches and sweets and then stop. Hope this helps. – Jonathan Bailor

  12. Lisa Johnson February 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by Jonathan :)

  13. Anne May 11, 2014 at 6:02 am #

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m just starting on the FIT formula tomorrow, and am confused about the 20g protein bit too. Please help! So, does that mean 20g of any lean meat (for example chicken breast) OR focus on the protein contained within a chicken breast? e.g. The chicken breast could weight 50g but it contains the 20g of protein required. Thanks! Anne

  14. Lisa Johnson July 13, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Hi Anne,

    It’s the 2nd one … a chicken breast could weigh 20 grams but have 50 grams of “stuff” in it. Hope that helps.

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