Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.

I Have Problems With You, Bob.


Good morning! I hope your Thursday is treating you well. Is anyone else finding that this week is going by particularly fast for them? I don’t really have any exciting plans this weekend, but I’m looking forward to a relaxing couple of days.

So for today’s post, I wanted to talk about Bob Harper’s the “skinny rules” that have been floating around Pinterest lately. I remember hearing a lot about the book when it first came out, and then Sara mentioned that it had been popping up again. Which of course, reinvigorated my anger and frustration on the topic.

So Mr. Bob Harper, I have problems with you right now.

I don’t believe in an all-encompassing set of food rules. Every body is individual, so the idea that one set of rules works for every body is ridiculous.


Your only saving grace right now is the adorableness of your dog.


In real life, food rules don’t work. I spent years following a prescribed set of diet rules for myself, and then wallowing in fear and anxiety if for whatever reason, I didn’t follow them. That was not an enjoyable way to live, so I have no intention of doing so again.


So…I’m going to show you exactly how I DON’T follow Bob’s ‘Skinny Rules’ Winking smile I won’t go through all 20 because then we would all be here forever, but these are (what I feel) are the worst offenders.



2. Don’t drink your calories.

Once in a while, you need sangria.


Because sangria is delicious. And no one can drink water all the time.

4. Slash your intake of refined flours and grains.

Yes, whole grains are better for you than refined grains. But you know what’s good for your soul?

Refined flour-filled cupcakes.

if there is one thing I won’t turn down, it is a chocolatey cupcake such as this (note to self: go back to that shop and buy another cupcake).

6. Eat apples and berries every single day.

I remember when the book first came out and Harper was doing a lot of publicity, he was on some sort of celebrity show (I’m pretty sure it was Access Hollywood) and he explained that berries and apples should be eaten every day. Only these fruits. The host asked him about bananas, saying something along the lines of “bananas are healthy, right?” and Bob’s response was something along the lines of “I’d much rather you eat the apple!”

First off: berries in the middle of winter are expensive as hell and taste like water. No thanks.

Second: Sooo…no other fruit besides apples and berries. Not happening.


Yesterday’s OIAJ breakfast included a sliced banana. Because bananas are awesome. Bob, you cannot take those away from me.

7. No carbs after lunch.

I HATE THIS RULE SO MUCH. Out of every diet rule out there, this one makes me rage the most. I like carbs. I don’t discriminate between breakfast carbs and dinner carbs. They are all delicious. And I refuse to go the rest of life not eating a proper sandwich or bowl of pasta for dinner.


Last night’s dinner. French toast with berries, real maple syrup and a slice of bacon.


Pure. Carb. Deliciousness.

9. Stop guessing about portion size and get it right.

Nope. I don’t even want to think about how many minutes I’ve spent carefully measuring out my food before consuming. In the end, is an extra 20 calories really going to matter because you didn’t measure out your portion of chicken exactly? Absolutely not!

10. No more added sweeteners, including artificial ones. more sugar, stevia, honey, maple syrup, xyla…not happening.


And just wait until I find these again. The variety store that used to have them stopped carrying them. But, oh…I will hunt them down. And I will drink them, for no other reason than I think they’re wonderful.

11. Get rid of those white potatoes.

So…white potatoes are high in vitamin c, vitamin b, fibre, potassium, magnesium and iron. Research has indicated that they can be beneficial in lowering blood pressure, protecting cardiovascular health, and regulating stress. (source)

And Bob doesn’t want you to eat them.

So silly.


So homemade baked potato wedges (with tons of ketchup) will remain a diet staple for me, thank you very much.

17. Eat your vegetables. Just do it.

What I’ve learned lately, is that I have two options when it comes to vegetables.

I can force myself to eat veggies, all the time when I don’t really want to and leave the meal feeling unsatisfied. Or, I can eat less vegetables, but eat them when I want them and truly enjoy the experience.

Option b sounds more pleasurable, doesn’t it?

18. Go to bed hungry.

No. No no no. My second most-hated rule.

Going to bed hungry is just so, so unpleasant to me. Because inevitably, I will wake up in the middle of the night with hunger pains, which is terrible. 98% of the time, I eat a dessert or snack an hour or two before bed. This has not caused me to gain weight or have anything terrible happen…and I get to sleep well.


20. Plan one splurge meal a week.

This is one of those rules that I really don’t think applies to a lot of people. Myself, I need something sweet each day. Like real, can’t-be-satisfied-with-fruit need for sugar. If I tried to limit myself to one ‘splurge meal’ a week, I would go absolutely nuts and likely stuff myself to the point where I feel ill. So…yes. I’d much rather stick with my daily chocolate habit…and have a ‘splurge meal’ whenever I damn well want one.


having four chocolate bunnies in the house definitely kept the sweet tooth happy for a while.


So really, what I’m getting at is this:

Don’t follow ‘rules’ when it comes to how you eat. Eat when you’re hungry, eat what you’re hungry for, and stop when you’re full (most of the time – sometimes, food is so damn delicious that you keep eating. And there’s nothing wrong with that).

Following someone else’s rules when it comes to eating is just going to lead to guilt and anxiety, and that’s not a fun way to live. Everyone’s bodies are so different, so there’s no guarantee that those rules are going to work for you anyways.

Just eat. Simple enough?

And Bob…I always liked Jillian better.


Have a good one!

<— What well known ‘food rule’ pisses you off the most? The no carb after dinner, or anything that deals with restricting carbs. Your body neeeeeds carbs!

<— Bob or Jillian? I did like Bob until he started putting books out. Not so much these days.

76 thoughts on “I Have Problems With You, Bob.

  1. Don’t eat after (whatever time that person/book happens to say). I’ve always hated that one – if you’re hungry, you should eat.

  2. Gah! Don’t drink your calories is one ‘rule’ I find so stupid. Milk (cow’s) is so nutritious and a great source of protein! Also, measuring food just opens up a huge gate to obsessiveness and disordered eating. So I ate 20 grams more… 20 calories? 50 calories? Psh your body probably burnt that on the toilet this morning already.

  3. Ahhh the “skinny” rules. So outrageous. During darker days I actually had them typed into my iPhone for reference, SO silly. I’m pretty sure I don’t follow any of them. What are you supposed to do, diet your whole life away? Ridiculous! I don’t go to bed hungry, I eat all the carbs I want, I eat white potatoes, and I sometimes drink my calories. Woops! Don’t care 🙂

  4. Oh my gosh I break every one of these rules and I’m proud of it. Chocolate milk and hot chocolate are regular staples in my diet. I only like white potatoes, and refined carbs are my jam. Pasta is the main part of my meal at night, and I plan to have a “treat” every day. At least once. I have never followed rules like that, even when I was in my worst days. The number one diet in my opinion is balance. I don’t care if you’re overweight, underweight, or right where you should be. Sticking to a balanced diet is the only way to be a truly healthy individual.

  5. Hahaha oh my I LOVE THIS!! I freaking HATE when people say go to bed hungry. Um, no. I always eat before bed.

  6. BEST POST EVER, Sam- Love this! I’ve always been Team Jillian and even more so now…these are all absolutely ridiculous! As a health “expert”, i hate that Bob promotes the idea that eating healthy and leading a healthy lifestyle has to be miserable! Amongst all of the above, another food rule I hate is “don’t mix your protein and carbs”….WTF: I want my chicken with a potato and oatmeal with eggs, thank you very much!!!

  7. Jillian, all the way!
    And GO SAM!!!!

  8. I never liked Bob. I feel like he start out being the ‘soft’ trainer and didn’t like that role for himself. I also don’t appreciate the way he talks down to women IMO, who are the main audience for his stupid rules. Jillian rocks – I have all of her DVDs available in the UK and she’s a real inspiration to me.

    Did you see Bob was recently quoted in an article suggestiing women only eat 800 calories? I wish I had the link to it…point is, it made me want to punch him in the face. I’m not usually a fan of the term but he looks totally manorexic to me anyway – hardly a role model for health.

    It has been proven so many times that when you eat does not matter – it’s cumulative calories that are the issue, no matter how often some idiot pedals out the ‘no carbs after lunch/don’t eat before bed’ bullshit. Even when I weighed under 90lbs long ago I still ate right before bed, and I still ate carbs after lunch. I just didn’t eat enough calories, period.


    • I have not read that!!! I’ll have to seek that out, so I’ll have another reason for my intense dislike of the man.

      And exactly – I’ve never thought that ‘timing’ had any affect on how your body uses calories.

  9. I was rather disappointed when I heard some of the things he was recommending. I heard (can’t confirm) that his new book places the lower limit for women as 800 calories and for men, 1200. Horrifying.

    Like you, much more of a Jillian fan 🙂 I’m going to see her tour stop in Toronto this May and I couldn’t be more excited.

  10. Lol, these are so awesome! I HATE the no carbs after lunch rule. There is just nothing correct or helpful or decent about that statement.

  11. THANK YOU for posting this! “Skinny rules”?? I’m 100% sure that not all skinny people follow these… so they must not be true! And no carbs after lunch? It doesn’t matter when you eat it, your body processes it the same — this rule is ridiculous!

  12. Ew Bob…not a fan of these rules. I actually haven’t seen them anywhere (guess I don’t pay close enough attention haha) but I agree with you on all of the above. Carbs are essential and I eat them all day long so there is no way I would stop eating them after breakfast. Also the go to bed hungry would NOT work for me. Sometimes I still wake up at like 4:00 AM hungry because I didn’t eat enough before bed!

  13. I eat apples and berries [almost] everyday, buuuuuuut that’s in addition to all of the other fruits I eat as well. Bananas? Two a day at least. Drinking calories? Hellooooo daily cappuccinos. No carbs after lunch? Pft… I’m just getting started! Go to bed hungry? Not bloody likely – I enjoy sleeping peacefully, thank you very much. So yeah… I’m definitely not on board with these dang skinny rules… especially because I know first hand how damaging they can be. And honestly? Who the heck can live like that for any extended period of time? Getting healtheir is about making choices that you can maintain in the long run. Not about making yourself miserable and just wanting to quit.

    Grat post, Sam.

    • lmao I love the ‘just getting started’ part…me too lady, me too.

      And you’re right, these sorts of rules are absolutely damaging and cause so much more anxiety than they’re worth for a lot of people. Making yourself miserable for the sake of following a set of rules that you hope will make you healthier is not worth it to me at all.

  14. I love, love, love this post! I hate how many diet books are giving people false conceptions about how to be healthy. Moderation and exercise. Done.

  15. Oh I want to shout from the rooftops how much I LOVE this post. Awesome. I’ve never liked Bob, especially after the story about how he flipped out on a really popular MN restaurant because his celebrity status couldn’t get him a table on a Saturday night. I love me some Jillian though!

  16. I REALLY hate these rules. I kept seeing them and just don’t like the overall feel of deprivation. one of the worst is going to bed hungry, I mean really how can you sleep like that? also potatoes are delicious, back off my studs I mean spuds.

  17. Yep. I hate rules too. No go for me. Did you see him on Dr. Oz yesterday? He was discussing his book on there. And while he did say these are more rules for special events, or brides who only have 3 weeks to shape up. So, I can kind of understand it if you have a limited time to “slim up” or lose weight. These rules are SO not realistic for the long term healthy lifestyle. And I love all the points you made underneath 🙂
    No carbs after Lunch. Oh goodness, I wouldn’t be too pretty if that happened. Let’s just leave it at that ;)And going to bed hungry is not an option for sure. Okay, so maybe all these wouldn’t work for me too hah.

  18. Yeah, I am SOOO not loving these rules. I especially cannot agree with the no carbs after lunch or the apples and blueberries only rule. I love my carbs and a wide variety of fruit WAY too much to abide by those rules. Silly Bob! 😉

  19. amen sister!! thank you for this post- faddy rules make me more hungry! I once tried Slimming World, and got more obsessed with what I couldnt eat that my husband begged me to quit! Life gets in the way- you only life once and its to be enjoyed. Lets raise a toast to cupcakes and sangria!

    All of these ‘rules’ irritate me SO much- particularly the one about going to bed hungry. And I eat (at least) one banana every day. So, take that, Bob…

  21. On one level, I agree with Bob’s general idea that if you want to lose weight (and let’s face it….the majority of people in the USA need to…), you can’t eat sweets and “junk food” all the time. BUT for those of us not needing to lose weight, and especially for those of us who are athletes…all these rules are just bunk. ALL foods belong in a healthy balanced diet – some more than others, sure, but, dessert, beer, burger, pizza etc – depriving yourself of those just sets you up for a miserable life. It’s cliche, but you really do only live once, and a life of deprivation isn’t a way to spend that one life. And no carbs after lunch….THAT’S THE DUMBEST THING I’VE EVER HEARD. I mean, even if you’re obese and need to lose weight….how are you going to get through, say, your 5:30pm workout after a full day at your job without carbs?!? further, if you exercise in the morning….what the hell are you supposed to use if you don’t eat carbs after lunch?!?

    And also, the no fruits besides apples and berries….the most important part of being healthy is having VARIETY in your diet. Yeah, bananas don’t have antioxidants and they’re the highest-carb fruit…but again, for active people, carbs are necessary and bananas taste good. Food rules like that don’t do anything but limit the amount and variety of nutrients you take in.

    • Yes, you can’t eat junk food and sugar 24/7 and expect to be healthy, but I think the idea of putting health and weight loss as something that can be categorized into rules is a little silly. As someone else said, try to be active and practice moderation (and educate yourself about things like fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats), you will probably be fine.

      • exactly! anything else is just obsessive….I guess having rules gives Bob something concrete to make money off of LOL

  22. Screw Bob and his stupid beard and his stupid rules. I think he has a new book out which is why we’re seeing a resurgence. Its one of those “kick start your diet” things. I saw it on Kathy Lee and Hoda.
    I’m so glad you posted this. GO TO BED HUNGRY? Why the eff would you ever want to do that? So you can wake up at 4am with your tummy rumbling and just wait around for it to be an acceptable time to eat breakfast? No thanks. Been there, done that. No carbs after lunch? Really? Sorry, but if I followed that rule (even with eating oatmeal for breakfast) I’d be at like 20% of the carbohydrates I need to function. And I’m with you– I will eat 6 goddamn bananas a day if I feel like it because they are DELICIOUS. And if I cut out white potatoes, I wouldn’t have been able to make my yummy soup from last week! And that would be a tragedy.

    So here’s my question to stupid effing Bob–what’s so great about being skinny anyways? I know it didn’t make me happier or mor successful. Why should I follow your arbitrary lame-ass rules just for the sake of being skinny? If he can answer me that, I’ll maybe start to respect him. Until then, he can STFU.

    Thanks for posting this Sam! You are amazing!

  23. I’m so glad you posted this. I was getting so irrationally angry when my friends kept posting these “rules” on Pinterest. Going to bed hungry is the worst one for me – your body is TELLING you you haven’t had enough to eat, and you’re supposed to ignore it for no other reason than it’s dark outside? Pass me the ice cream, that’s just nonsense.

  24. Going to bed hungry? Are you joking me? I do not like that rule, and the no carbs after lunch. So no pasta for dinner ever? I will never listen to that one.

  25. Holy crud, no carbs after lunch?! What ze heck? That’s blasphemy! I canNOT support that #carblover

  26. Remember, this is for people who are obese, and want to lose weight quickly. It’s also implying that they don’t exercise very much. That’s why he has the carb rule. Also, these are just some guidelines and rules that WILL help you lose weight…he never said not to adjust them right? But I agree, some rules are just ridiculous. He’s giving up so much on the diet end of the spectrum when he could easily balance it out by making his 15 minute exercise routine LONGER. But, hey, if you’re lazy, it backfires on you with what you eat.
    Bananas though high in calories, are very healthy…
    Love your posts, by the way.
    I like Jillian better 🙂

    • I do realize that Bob’s intended audience is more for people who who have health reasons to lose weight, but seeing it float around Pinterest makes me think that that’s not all he’s managing to reach. Stuff like this makes me sad, because girls who already struggle with self-esteem issues and have no medical reason to lose weight stumble across these sorts of things and take them as gospel.

      Glad you liked the post Dania! And me too :-p

  27. Amen, Amen, Amen!!! I absolutely love this. I can not believe that somebody still writes skinny rules. I mean, we are not professionaly, but even WE know, that no rule works for everyone!! And eating veggies every day – come on. I have so many days when I can not stand the thought of a green leave and only goe with white stuff. It’s all about balance, rules suck.

  28. Ugh I hate the no carbs rule! I don’t think people realize that carbs are HEALTHY, especially fruits and veggies which are primarily carb-based. It’s just ridiculous to avoid them after a certain time of day or at all. And that only berries and apple rule is probably one of the dumbest ones I’ve heard. I eat pineapple, mangoes, dates, grapes, watermelon, etc. on a daily basis and I’m not giving up fruit just because someone thinks only berries and apples are acceptable. I don’t care if some of the fruits I eat are higher calorie or whatever, I enjoy them and they’re healthy so why not?

  29. Go to Europe Bob! We break every rules- every day! No carbs at night! That is sacrilege in Italy 🙂 and why go to bed hungry, when you could eat and not be? Why is starvation an aspiration? Gee get a life Bob, love your rule breaking Sam! Keep being a rebel! Xo Sophia

  30. I’ve never even heard of these rules until you mentioned them but man they sound DUMB! Going to bed hungry is possibly the stupidest one. Going to bed hungry is so unpleasant!

    I prefer Jillian – she always sounds so awesome her interviews that I’ve read in magazines!

  31. Amen amen amen!! As you already know, this list INFURIATES me as well! I can’t stand any one of Bob’s silly rules, and absolutely hate that he’s promoting a disordered relationship with food. Telling people that they can’t eat certain foods–especially natural foods filled with a plethora of vitamins and antioxidants is absurd. I firmly believe that the simultaneous obesity and eating disorder crises in the Western world are products of lists like this. When people feel guilty about eating, they begin restricting or bingeing, which sets them off on a long road of disordered eating. It’s so sad.

    I’m actually planning on addressing this again, as Bob was on The Today show earlier this week promoting his new diet book ( . Get this: he’s telling women to eat 800 calories/day. I kid you not. hfjsdfhajkhdajsdhajsjk!

    Love you, and hugs! ❤ xoxo

    • Someone else mentioned that!!! I’m thinking I’m going to have to write a part 2 to this post so I can give him more sh*t. I mean, 800 calories??!?1 He’s promoting anorexic tendencies, quite simply.

      And I absolutely agree that these sorts of list lead obesity, eating disorders and disordered eating behaviours.

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  33. Better yet ask which of the well-known “food rules” doesn’t get me upset. There are way too many and – as if that wasn’t enough – even more people actually following them. Seeing people mention how they hadn’t eaten anything until well past lunch time or how they weren’t eating carbs for dinner anymore makes me so sad, angry and just upset. No, I might not be the healthiest role model in terms of eating but even during the worst times of my ED I never followed any of Bob’s rules. Also, I wonder how some people can actually stop eating after 6 or even 4 (!) PM. Is that even possible? Sorry for the rant but food rules really get me enraged and frustrated about society.
    Great post, Sam! Happy Friday!

  34. Man I hate Bob Harper so much. All of his ‘rules’ are so antiquated and go against everything I try to do with my own clients. Makes me SO ragey! The absolute worst are no carbs after lunch (maybe he didn’t get the memo that your body can’t tell what time it is!) and going to bed hungry…. right, so your body can just eat all of its muscle up as it starves, leaving you flabby and miserable!

  35. GO TO BED HUNGRY?!?! Is he for real?!! Ok, yeah, I admit I’ve obviously been living under a rock because this is actually the first time I’ve heard of Bob’s “rules”. I know he’s some big shot know it all celebrity trainer dude, but seriously, people put WAY too much stock in fame…just because someone is on TV doesn’t mean they know everything! And like you said, you canNOT have a prescribed list of rules that works for everyone because NO ONE is the same!!! Omg, I think my blood pressure just increased! This seriously pisses me off! And the no carbs after lunch thing? I have NEVER in my life understood! I mean, even when I was the one restricting calories and tracking everything like a slave and even fearing fat so much that I practically LIVED off diet foods, I never saw carbs as the bad guys. I mean, I wouldn’t sit down to a bag of chips or cookies or something for dinner, but I wasn’t about to cut out grains and starchy veggies for dinner…hell, I grew up in the SOUTH…we are all about some meat AND POTATOES!! And I am NOT ABOUT to deny myself some French toast (or ANY breakfast food for that matter) for dinner!

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