Interview with Me at Three New Leaves

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Just a quick post: Matt Madeiro, who writes a blog called Three New Leaves, recently interviewed me.

Matt is one of the growing number of people who bucks conventional living in favor of a simplified life that’s focused on things that really matters. Our blogs parallel in that our aim is to strip away the excess fluff to explore and cherish the essence of health life.

Matt is also a great writer and touches on many subjects that I value, including eating whole, real food and intermittent fasting. The interview is here: Part 1, and Part 2. I hope you enjoy it!

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14 Responses to Interview with Me at Three New Leaves

  1. Al says:

    After reading the interview and reading every single one of your posts i do believe that it is time for me to stop reading and start getting lean with DIF and eating “mostly” wholesome foods. I just wanted to say thanks for answering everyone of my questions over the past few months and for showing me the simplest way to get what I want: to be lean and more importantly to be happy.

  2. Jake says:

    I have been reading “The Old Way” by Elizabeth Marshall Thompson. Her parents were medical anthropologists and they lived with a hunter gatherer tribe in Africa in the 1950s before the tribe had any exposure to Western Ways. Elizabeth who was a teenager at the time lived with them also.

    You will have no questions on how hunter gather tribes lived after reading this book. It goes into great detail in their daily lives including hunting, gathering, cooking, family life, and sex. It is a must read.

    She said that hunters would never eat on a hunt and that meant they might not eat for 4 days. The women who did the gathering would only eat once and at night.

    So it appears that intermittent fasting is the way we were born to eat.

  3. fftraining says:

    Hey Johnny,
    Your story really is inspirational as I am at that 13-15% level of body fat and want to get leaner without counting every calorie or doing excessive cardio. While I want to get leaner for looks, I also want to lean out some more to make my strength-to-bodyweight ratios better. I pulled 495 last night at 196 lbs and I think I easily have 15 pounds of fat to trim off. That would put me at 2.75 as opposed to 2.53.

    Starting today I’m going to do a DIF, starting my first meal at 4 pm, before the workday ends at 5 pm, and only having coffee with some cream before then. Lastly, the part where you talk about how you started leaning out just in March 2009 after being in the game for awhile really gives me hope. Keep up the great work, what you write about matters to a lot of us.

    Thank You,

    • Audley says:


      Doing IF to make weight for a powerlift meet worked for me. I lost 4 pounds in a month to get under 165, ended up at 162, pulled 402 in the deadlift a PR for me. A ratio of 2.48, still not bad for a 53 year old.
      I looked at your website,your training is similar to mine, heavy once a week, with lighter workouts in between. I only did the 3 lifts once per week for 3-4 sets per workout the month before the competition. With IF got under the 165 with no problem.
      I may embark on DIF, but have to work to it slowly.
      Great interview with Johnny, will checkout the Three New Leaves on a regular basis.

      • Mark R. says:

        Hey Audley,
        Thanks for your comment. Great job! I hope to have your level of performance when I am 53. Yeah, my clients and I have seen nothing but great things since switching to lifting heavy once a week and then doing all bodyweight stuff (non-HIT) outside of that on the weekend. I used to dream about getting big and strong, now all I want to do is get more lean and compact. If I got down to 180 and stayed that way forever, I’d be fine with that. Bodyweight ratios is what I’m shooting for now. I usually use IF as I find that I do better at work and it’s a lot easier than figuring out what to pack. Although I must say that having some cream in my coffee makes things MUCH easier.

  4. Jordan says:

    Hi Johnny,

    Thanks for the great interview, it really made me rethink about trying your approach. The thing is, I’m almost 18 and I want to know if there is any negative effect in DIF and eating less to my growth (in term of height…)? Also, you’re not eating 100% paleo but you’re eating in a paleo manner since you eat mostly whole and unprocessed food, so that’s quite low-carb, even if that’s’not your main goal. My second question is: Are there any side-effect in eating like that at my age? So, in the end, would you think it’s ok for a teen who has to loose weight (and who is struggling with it) to adopt your approach?

    Thanks in advance Johnny, and I keep reading your articles, they are great and very valuable. I sent you an email with my questions but you did’t reply yet but it’s ok if you answer me here.


    • Stephen says:

      Martin Berkhan mentioned the growth aspect before when a 13 years old asked him if he could do IF/DIF and Martin replied that frequency of eating has no effect on growth and it doesn’t matter whether you eat 2 or 6 times or fast half day. Only total nutrients intake at the end of the day matter.

      Besides growing kids have been following an IF pattern (as can be seen in hunter-gatherer societies) for centuries, eating only when food was available, only when hungry and only when it was possible to eat together with the other members of the tribe, without the overabundancy of western societies and they never had a problem with growth. Growth is such of prime importance to the body that the chances of it being somewhat halted or stunted are minimal, even kids on wars eating nothing but canned tomatoes for a month and loosing a lot of weight, were reported to have a normal growth pattern once a more balanced diet was restored.

      Besides at 18 99% of your growth is behind you. In fact with most of the growth occurring between the age of 12 and 15, most people have already their adult body at the age of 14-16. All my cousins are the same height now at 30 that they were at 14. The tall ones where already tall and the shorter ones stayed shorter.

  5. Jordan says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for the reply. So you think it’s’ok to DIF and eat mostly whole, unprocessed food (so low-carb)?
    Also, I do resistance training since maybe 3 years with a lot of bodyweight and some weights. Do resistance training have (had) an effect on my growth?

    Thanks again Stephen, and it’ll be great to hear Johnny thoughts on my previous questions (about diet) and about resistance training.


    • Stephen says:

      You’re welcome Jordan,

      Yes it’s okay to do DIF just don’t become a victim of obsessive compulsive cults and extreme diets, just base your nutrition on foods that make you feel good, eat whatever you want, cheat and don’t be afraid of any food or macronutrient.

      Resistance training has only positive effects on growth. The idea that lifting weight before puberty might stunt growth is just a popular myth without scientific basis, let alone the idea that the same might happen after puberty has begun. In truth basketball, soccer, tennis, track and field, martial art and even just child play like hide and seek, put a far heavier load on the bones than weight lifting does; so if weight load were dangerous for the bones, running and playing hide and seek would be more dangerous than lifting weight. Weight lifting has been used with success by the staff of Boston Children Hospital or Avery Faigenbaum with children as young as 6 years old and they had nothing but benefits in terms of health, growth, body composition, nutritional habits and self confidence.

      As I said growth is just of such prime importance that almost nothing can stunt it. The idea that you can easily ruin growth is another popular myth not supported by even those studies on undereating children.

  6. Matt Madeiro says:

    Thanks for the nod, Johnny! And thanks to everyone who visited my site to give the interview a read. 🙂

    It was an absolute pleasure picking Johnny’s brain on these subjects, and trust me when I say that I’m incredibly glad to see his message spreading farther than ever before. This small interview is just the beginning, I hope, of a much broader movement toward simpler fitness and nutrition.

  7. Pat says:

    Wanting to implement DIF but I need a little guidance considering my schedule. I wake at 5:30 and walk 45 min, I BW/DB train 3 x week at 5:00 – 5:30 PM (30 – 35 min.). I sprint or do short met cons on other days. I eat primal and have lost 35 lbs but would love to lean out a little more (prob. 10 – 12 %bf now). My question is how can I DIF when I can’t train until 5 ( don’t mind training fasted) I usually don’t get dinner until 7 and I am in bed by 9:30 – 10. Should I eat a small meal at 4, a bigger meal at 7 and a small meal at 9:30. Seems like all i will be doing every night is cooking and cleaning. I also do all the cooking for a family of 4 (my wife loves the arrangement). BTW I despise lifting in the AM it aint gonna happen. What would you do?

  8. Janetta says:

    I found your site through your Three Leaves interview and I am SO GLAD I did! I have read a lot of your archives and must congratulate you on your concise writing and also the spare site design.

    I am a lot older than most of your readers, (or rather fans), a 63 year old grandmother, although I don’t feel that old. I have been yo-yo dieting for 40 years gradually increasing weight all the time. Last success was with Primal Blueprint, but only lost 6kg (13 lbs) and then stalled.

    Started IF’ing 13 days ago and have already lost 2.1kg (4.6 lbs) and I am just thrilled. I have always been a breakfast eater so I just stopped that straight away and it wasn’t that hard. So far I have cut out two lunches a week too. I have also cut out all snacks (and there is a lot of temptation at this time of the year). However, I haven’t been totally saintly: I still drink my glass of red wine every day and at the weekends I also drink liqueurs (my husband distills his own) and some dark chocolate and even some cake and icecream!

    I now weigh 71.9kg (158 lbs). I want to lose about 10kg (22 lbs) and it seems almost unbelievable that I could achieve this with IF and exercise (I do try and walk a lot).

    Do you think that I could continue to lose at this rate?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Janetta,

      Glad to have you on the site.
      The rate of your weight loss will naturally slow as you become lighter.
      That’s normal.
      At that point, avoid doing anything drastic and just let your body adjust to the new weight and intake.
      Stay active; maintain your current eating style.
      See where it takes you.


  9. TrailGrrl says:

    Great interview. Just rediscovered your website. I do IF with mostly paleo unintentionally. I don’t eat until I’m hungry sometimes that is 300pm sometimes earlier depending on what and when I ate the night before. I even eat nachos and drink full dark beer and enjoy tiramisu and flan desserts some nights. It makes everything much simpler and no obsessing or carting food through the airport in case I hav a sugar crash. So I usually only eat 2 meals that are a late lunch and a late dinner. I’m leaner and in better shape at 46 than I was in my 30’s and this is what works for me. A combo of real food and not eating until hungry but in a manner that allows me to still enjoy life and not stress out about what I should be eating or whether the hotel fitness center will suck (usually it does). Effortless, streamlined, and outrageously easy to sustain. I just bought new “skinny assed” jeans and tees at the Gap, which means I am lean because Gap clothes aren’t generously cut. Blood pressure went down too. I never saw my midsection, which is always hard for women, until I weaned myself off of needing to eat in the morning. Now, an early breakfast seems to wreck me for the rest of the day and I will them be sure to fast the next morning. It also seems to make me really more alert in the morning as well. It’s sort of hard to explain to people who ask what you’ve been doing. They really don’t get it at all. I try to keep it simple and say I eat real food and not processed stuff.

    Thanks for the motivation!


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