Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

bob-harper-skinny-rulesBig time trainer on the hit weight loss TV show, The Biggest Loser, Bob Harper released his new diet book this May.

The title of his book is “The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin”.

Does Bob provide any new rules for slimming us down, or have they been on the books for years?

The No-Brainer Rules

  • Don’t Drink Your Calories: Of course! Now, it is important to stick to this. No juices, sugared beverages, over-consumption of alcohol, etc.
  • Slash Your Intake of Refined Flours and Grains: Get rid of those processed carbohydrates because of the insulin response they create, making it harder to lose weight.
  • Get Rid of Fast Foods and Fried Foods: In other words, get rid of those mega calorie processed foods.
  • Banish High Salt Foods: Helps improve heart health and retain less water weight.
  • Eat Your Vegetables: How else can you lose weight and be healthy?
  • Learn to Read Food Labels: Don’t pretend you are an expert label reader. Time to actually read those labels.

Bob Harper’s 7 Most Helpful Rules

  1. Drink a Large Glass of Water before Every Meal: This helps to start the hunger mechanism by adding weight to the stomach, making you get fuller faster.
  2. Eat Protein at Every Meal: Helps to slow carbohydrate digestion resulting in more stable blood sugar levels. This helps to balance hunger levels and maintain good energy. Also keeps you fuller longer!
  3. Eat 30 to 50 Grams of Fiber a Day: The normal recommendation is 25 to 30 grams, but by increasing fiber intake, it helps to keep you fuller and ensure you are eating fiber-rich healthy foods.
  4. berries

  5. Eat Apples and Berries Everyday: Apples are filling due to the high fiber content and berries contain potent antioxidants.
  6. No More Added Sweeteners, Including Artificial Ones: Research shows that those who consume diet, artificial beverages and foods weigh more than those who don’t.
  7. Make Your Own Food and Eat 10 Meals a Week at Home: Very important. Dining out equals excess calories.
  8. Sleep Right: At least 7 hours of sleep is needed to properly control appetite hormones.

The Questionable Skinny Rules

  • No Carbs after Lunch: May help control cravings, but that’s about it.
  • Get Rid of Those White Potatoes: Packed with iron and resistant starches (a type of fiber). A sweet potato would be better, but I don’t see the need to hate the white potato.

Bob on the Today Show

Final thoughts

Bob’s principles in Skinny Rules are common sense for a good weight loss diet. In addition to the rules are 90 new recipes and four weeks of menus to help dieters stick to his guidelines.

So, I think that there’s not anything new or exciting in the book. But, for those new to diet and fitness, Skinny Rules would be helpful for those who want to know some of the best tips for weight loss and you are unsure how to approach a weight loss diet.

Also, for those who are fans of Bob on The Biggest Loser, this book will no doubt be a hit.

Bob Harper’s new book is available on Amazon for a discounted price.

What do you think of the rules?


  1. Thomas Hooper

    What is the beverage that one can drink before going to bed, to help with arthritis pain ?

  2. NJ Mom

    Sensible advice, but there are times when traditional diet and exercise may not be enough. I found myself with forty extra pounds after 45, brought on for the most part, from job-related stress. After finding another job, I thought I could diet and exercise as I had done in the past, and the weight would fall off. From low-carb dieting to calorie counting dieting and Nutri-System dieting – nothing worked, even combined with the gym three days per week. After a doctor actually told me to accept the fact that I’d just have to remain overweight, I found my own way to lose the weight as an over-40 woman. Sometimes, it’s an unconventional combination that pays off. The important thing is not to give up – even if a doctor tells you to.

  3. Lynette

    Someone posted the whole list on Pinterest and the one that got me was Go to bed hungry. Why?????

    I can’t speak for everyone but if I go to bed hungry, I wake up ravenous and that can be a very bad thing!

  4. Nika

    I do believe that if you have a well balanced diet with moderate exercise you will either maintain or lose weight depending on your goal & weight. A well balanced diet with vegetables, grains, proteins, fruits, & moderate sugar ( such as dark chocolate, or a cookie of 1 serving) & nuts & remember lots of water will help anyone to maintain or lose weight. As long as you get all you sufficient vitamins & minerals, fats etc… there will be no strong cravings.. it all comes down to balance & movement. I am a vegan & have tried many diets & have to say being a vegan works for me,,, but for anyone else moderation & getting all your protein, fiber, carbs, vitamins, minerals, good & bad sweets once in awhile will do the trick. & i do believe that alcohol in moderation is fine. You dont ever want to deprive!! Wish all well to there weight-loss or maintain experience

  5. TheBumbler

    I came into this scoffing that I’ll listen to Bob Harper when the man can finally squat more than me. But, actually, it looks like a lot of what he’s recommending is actually reasonable. Looks a lot like Precision Nutrition’s stuff.

    Kind of with him on the potato thing, though. Potato is great for active people post workout with decent insulin sensitivity who are looking to replace glycogen stores. My guess, with the title, he’s writing specifically for an audience who is overweight or obese and therefor may have impaired insulin sensitivity. So, kind of keeping the white potato as a treat food only may not be a bad idea for that specific group. With the “no carbs after lunch” thing, really time of day doesn’t matter a heck of a lot. Timing in relation to physical activity does, though. If I’m working out in the late afternoon, I’m eating my starchy carbs right after instead of in the a.m. when I’m cubicle-bound.

  6. Sara

    All the tips are quite valuable and I have tried some of those as well like I’ve got rid of fast food now and starting drinking glass of water before every meal. I must say that you have done a great job!

  7. Dan

    I have done a little research and it appears that white potatoes with the skin are an excellent source of potassium- even better than sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a very good, but not quite as good a source. So eating whole potatoes might be something good to consume for high blood pressure.

    • admin

      You are right. Potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6.

      Why ditch the humble potato?

      Thanks for the summary Nicole.

  8. Spectra

    Seems like mostly common sense to me, but I also wonder about the potato thing. I can see avoiding peeled white potatoes, but if you leave the skin on them they’re very nutritious and high in fiber.

  9. Jen @ Savory Simple

    I like his workouts and he seems like a genuine guy. However, his constant product pushing is irritating. Especially his smart weight loss pills. I guarantee he doesn’t use those!