How to go through a door (and why it's important for your diet)

So you think you know the right way to go through a door do you? I bet you even think there’s only one way to do it too, right?


What if I told you that you’ve been doing it wrong all your life? You’d tell me I was absolutely mad. You’d counter my argument with the anecdote that you’ve never not been able to get through a door (that wasn’t locked, of course) and that your way was the perfect and only way to go through a door. Right?!


How to go through a door

“What does any of this have to do with nutrition or weight-loss?” I hear you ponder aloud. Surprisingly, quite a lot and I’m going to explain how with a little example that I’m elaborating from a video I saw by one of my favorite coaches/nutritionists; Eric Helms of 3D Muscle Journey, a coaching team that uses evidence-based approaches to coach bodybuilding competitors.


Let’s imagine 3 different people (A, B & C) in a room with one door. Person “A” is a pretty normal guy whereas persons “B” & “C” are a little bit... quirky! Their only goal is to go through the door to get out of the room. How they do so, doesn’t matter. Let’s see how they each do it:

  • “A” walks up to the door, turns the handle, opens it and walks right through 


  •  “B” walks up to the door, turns the handle, opens it, gets down on his hands and knees and crawls through the door


  • “C” walks up to the door, flicks the light switch next to it on and off 3 times, turns the handle, shouts “open sesame”, opens it, does 2 full 360º turns, closes his eyes and jumps through the door


After reading this, your first reaction is probably going to be: “B & C are either crazy or idiotic. Why would you do something so silly to get through a door?”. Nobody would blame you for thinking this way.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat

However, let’s remember what the goal of the exercise was: “Go through the door and get out of the room”… in which case, all three participants were 100% successful. From each participant’s point of view, THEIR WAY WORKED!


While the “Method” for each person was different (walking, crawling or some serious crazy s#!t), the “Mechanism” was the same: they all passed through the door. As the mechanism was the same, they all got the same “Result”. Everyone got out of the room.    


How does this apply to my diet?

Judging by the amount of Fad Diets that pop up in magazines and on the internet, it’s safe to say that there are plenty of ways to successfully lose weight.


Atkins, the Cabbage Soup Diet (does anyone remember that?), raw food veganism, paleo, Weight Watchers etc., all of these diets on the surface appear very, very different but all CAN result in the same thing: Weight-loss!


The reason for this is the Mechanism is the same:


“Virtually all diets that result in weight-loss, do so by reducing calories”


The “Two Pounds of Broccoli” Diet

This is why you will hear people raving about the new diet that they’re on that sounds absolutely ludicrous but has helped them lose weight over the past month. For example, all they had to do was eat 2lbs of broccoli before each meal, no snacking and they magically lost weight.


Of course they lost weight! 2lbs of broccoli is VERY low in calories and how much other food can you fit in after filling your stomach with that much broccoli? Not a lot. The total amount of calories you eat in a day drops drastically and you lose weight. Any one who does this might end up believing that broccoli has some weight-loss magic powers... but it’s as simple as just eating less food.

No Carbs in the Evening

A really common diet strategy that I regularly get asked about is the “No Carbs in the Evening” or “No Carbs after 6pm” approach.


People stop eating carbs at night and soon notice that they’ve lost weight. Is this because eating carbs later in the day causes you to gain weight? (Most people’s logic here is that at night you don’t burn the carbs as energy for activity). However, the truth is that just by eliminating carbs in your evening meal, you immediately lower your total daily calorie intake and lose weight. People often consume a lot of calories at their evening meal so eliminating an entire food group is an effective way to reduce total daily calories {1}.


What about Paleo, Atkins or Vegan Diets?

The same rule applies thanks to a very simple concept. When you eliminate entire foods or food groups you automatically reduce the amount of food that people eat: less choice leads to less calorie intake and vice versa {2-4}.


That’s why so many restrictive diets help people lose weight (at least initially). Restricting food choice automatically helps reduce calorie intake. No magic involved.

So what’s the best diet (or the best way to go through a door)?

That depends on a lot of things. If we look back on our “get out of the room” examples, “A” was by far the simplest and the most efficient method. However, like I said, “B” & “C” are pretty “quirky” people and maybe just walking through the door makes them feel uncomfortable. If that’s the case, then no amount of persuasion is going to convince them to do otherwise. The same goes for a lot of people and their diets. They’ve found something that works for them and they’re perfectly happy sticking to it. If that’s the case, let them stick with it.


The quirky methods of “B” & “C” are absolutely not necessary for weight-loss, from a physical/biological standpoint but they do help bring about the Mechanism needed to bring about the Result. This may be through purely psychological or emotional effects... but it works.


So, in summary, whatever Method (diet) that helps you achieve the Mechanism (calorie reduction) for your result (weight-loss) is fine ( long as it’s both healthy and something that you can stick to in the long-term).


While a lot of methods might be completely unnecessary (or downright ridiculous), if they help you achieve your goals, go with it. Just don't fall into the trap of believing that that method is the “only” or “right” way to do it.


As for me, I’m going to stick with just “walking” through doors to get out of rooms.


Eat well, folks.    



  1. Baron KG, Reid KJ, Horn L Van, Zee PC. Contribution of evening macronutrient intake to total caloric intake and body mass index. Appetite. 2013;60(1):246–51.
  2. Raynor HA, Epstein LH. Dietary Variety , Energy Regulation , and Obesity. Psychol Bull. 2001;127(3):325–41.
  3. Brondel L, Romer M, Van Wymelbeke V, Pineau N, Jiang T, Hanus C, et al. Variety enhances food intake in humans: Role of sensory-specific satiety. Physiol Behav. 2009;97(1):44–51.
  4. McCrory MA, Fuss PJ, McCallum JE, Yao M, Vinken AG, Hays NP, et al. Dietary variety within food groups: Association with energy intake and body fatness in men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;69(3):440–7.

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