Lose 2.5% Bodyfat In 5 Weeks

Jeff Popoff Experimental Test Pilot

Reading time: 1.0 minutes (600 words @ 600 wpm[1])

The body is the most sophisticated machine known to man, and I enjoy seeing what its capable of.

Sometimes I will go to unusual extremes like eating dogfood or entering full-blown ketosis.

The Experiment

This months experiment is simple because as an online health coach I understand that my executive clients operate under real-world pressures and constraints.

My experiment was to make the smallest adjustments possible to lose 2.5 lbs and 2.5% body fat in 5 weeks while maintaining my strength (lean muscle mass).

My goal was to keep things as simple, easy, and flexible as possible. (I learned the hard way to stick with proven methods).

Achieving this goal requires running a very mild negative energy balance of 250 calories a day[2].

  • This could be done by skipping 1 snack a day OR
  • Walking an extra 5,000 steps (about 2 miles) OR
  • Any combination of the above.

The advantage of a mild calorie deceit is you don’t hungry enough to make excuses and stress eat.

The Results

2.5% Bodyfat Experiment

You can see I manage to lose 2.5 lbs of fat while keeping 100% of my lean muscle mass and strength.

You can see my exact food logs and nutrition macros in my personal MyFitnessPal Diary. If you are stuck in a weigh-loss plateau, check out my solution here.


Three Gold Stars

Remember your favorite teacher who gave your three gold stars by your name? Pretty motivating rights?

In fact, here is my actual Gold Star Chart for this experiment (I use Evernote for my Adherence Tracking):


Hell, even your car mechanic is “gold star certified” (although most men take better care of their cars than their bodies).


The Rule of 85

As grown-ups we like a more sophisticated version of this, something more impressive sounding like:

The Rule of 85

This simple rule goes like this: To see consistent results, you need stick with your healthy habits only 85 percent of the time.

  • In practice, this works out to 6 days out of 7, 18 out of 21 meals, and 1 high intensity exercise session a week.
  • What do you do with the other 15 percent? You take a rest day, indulge in a favorite food, whatever.
  • The point is that you have wiggle room, so don’t assume that today’s beer or skipped workout will ruin you forever.
  • Just chalk it up to the 15 percent of the time that you’re officially “off” the plan and move on — without guilt.
my health pyschology

The Psychology of Self-Mastery

If counting to 3 or 85 is too analytical or too much math, try my Sage Mantra:

“Will this food choice or skipped workout move me closer or farther from my health goal?”

There are two ways you can look at this:

  • Subjectively: Do I value Self-Mastery?
  • You value self-mastery if you feel guilty after giving in to junk food or skipping exercise.
  • Personal Example: I get a social invitation to stay out late Friday night. I typically do my strength training early Saturday morning. Both events are enjoyable to me.
  • Solution: Go out Friday night and reschedule my workout for Sunday morning.
  • Objectively: What gets measured gets done.
  • You are 100% more likely to succeed in your health goals if your track your nutrition and log your exercise.
  • Personal Example: Statistics and my experience show that logging nutrition and scheduling exercise is foundational to long-term health success.
  • Solution: Make yourself accountable to yourself and one other person you trust. All my food and exercise logs are publicly available here, here, here and here.

You can read more about self-mastery in my positive health psychology tricks and toxic health psychology traps.


  1. Do You Read Fast Enough To Be Successful?, Forbes
  2. -250 cal x 7 days x 5 weeks= -8,750 cal / 3,500 cal/lb = -2.5 lbs

Originally published at The Healthy Executive.

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