Easy Fat Loss With Three Simple Things

Yea, I let myself go for a couple of years. Mostly is was about behaviors, bad habits, isolation, and other things. While I held my life together generally, it was nowhere near where I knew I wanted to be, where my blurry vision suggested. The manifestation was mostly in my appearance.

I never gained it all back—the 60 pounds I lost on Paleo back in the day— just about half of it.

Then I moved to Thailand in mid-January, thinking that would automatically fix everything. Nope. I’d been cooped up in a large house, small-town Sierras, alone, for a couple of years. You don’t fix the downstream effects of that sort of life overnight by jumping on an airplane to a tropical paradise on the other side of the world. If anything, it compounds existing issues which require focus to overcome.

Attaining focus requires, in a word: purpose. My only “purpose” was that I wanted to feel good again: physically, mentally, and spiritually. No, that’s not a purpose; that’s a desire. So, the first four months in Chiang Mai were mostly about fulfilling desires and other than a few false starts and a pound dropped here and there, nothing much changed.

Covid-19 unavoidably caused all my plans to change. I was to depart Thailand for Vietnam mid-March, then nomad-hop the world indefinitely—a new country every few months. Instead, the flight was cancelled and I got “stuck” in Thailand with no place to go except perhaps back to the U.S. But I’d just spent a year salivating about getting myself out and on the travel circuit. Plus, with things shaping down, down and downer as they were, who knew when I’d be able to depart the U.S. again for anyplace I’d want to go?

So I did something I hadn’t done meaningfully or importantly in years: I shouldered a whole lot of responsibility. And guess what happened? I attained focus.

I built a house in rural Thailand for myself, girlfriend, her two daughters, and mother. It took 2 1/2 months. People work 7 days a week, here.

I’m 14 years older than Warunee’s mom. Both think that’s hilarious.
Rural Si Saket Province, Thailand (my motorbike is the 70s Triumph look-alike)

I was my own general contractor, hiring individual labor and sourcing all materials. Consequently, my total build cost would make any “Lands of the Free” unionized tradesmen blush with embarrassment.

Of course, I had to create an amazing high-ceiling bedroom-workspace combo.

Yea, snakes in Thailand. I have so far encountered that green pit viper pictured and a baby monocled cobra right outside the back door. By the way, that’s a tile floor.

I have the full story to tell about all of this but for now, let’s get back on point.

Fat loss. See, right after I got here, being outside all day managing the build in the hot and humid tropical sun, I felt pretty miserable. So I started fasting quite a lot—hot and humid being a great appetite suppressant. The build ended, so that particular purpose ended with it; but my newly-established focus wouldn’t let me rest, so I took on additional responsibilities.

I do micro-lending to micro-businesses (think food carts and outdoor-market kiosks) through a Thai intermediary. These are very short-term loans, analogous to payday lending, but to businesses that are making money every day and making their loan payments every day. Not a penny lost, not even in jeopardy.

And I provided start-up capital for a small Isan food restaurant in Lalom, right across the street from 7/11. Location, location, location.

Call me a loan shark, I don’t care. My aim is to make money in Thailand without violating any conditions of my residency visa. On the drawing board is a home construction company, small scale. That’s the vision my focus has led me to while taking on the responsibilities keeps my sense of purpose in good health. No more effing around.

You want to know what a chief reward in all this is? Gloating. Yes. See, in “The Land of the Free,” all of the above things would be out of reach, in some way illegal, a regulatory pain in the ass—inter alia—and even if you persevere and succeed, it’s not if you’re going to be sued or investigated, it’s when. Here in deep rural? Guess how much the building permits cost? What’s a building permit? How many inspections and how did they go? What are inspections? And yet, this house is 100% built of reinforced concrete, block, and steel. The only wood is some doors. Your insanely-priced permitted-and-inspected toothpick jokes will blow down long before this place would.

So here’s the simplicity I’ve put together that has shed 4-5 kilos (9-11 pounds) in the last 2-3 months without really trying. It’s a combination of what I knew, plus just practical things along the way to make it fun and challenging. This is a basic overview. I’ll be diving deep in a series of posts starting soon.

First, drop the nonsense that it’s predominantly about what you eat [to lose fat]. What you eat can certainly contribute to helping or hurting but the truth is, most people use approved and disapproved foods to eat ad libitum, expecting magic. True fat loss is going to hurt, or you are not going to lose fat.

I did a Twitter series on this earlier. It’s actually an elegant little method, as it forces you to be concise. Like 13-points-240-characters concise.

You can read and comment directly on Twitter, or on Thread reader. Or, continue below.

1/ For all the continuing talk of best foods, best macros, stuff to avoid, and so-on, you can make it ridiculously easy with just three basic things (4-5 kilo fat lost last couple months):

  • a. SOME presence of mind about calories
  • b. Target protein (~30% of kcal)
  • c. Eating window

2/ a: Some idea of calories is, if not absolutely essential, just helpful and smart. Why ignore what’s helpful? The big takeaway is that fat is more than 2x energy dense and the least satiating in comparative studies (I don’t give a shit about your n= 1 lie).

3/ a: Calculate your general daily caloric requirement, but not at where you are, where you want to be (people “stall” because they do the opposite and reach equilibrium when BMI gets to the level they’re eating). This is not hard. It’s easy and helpful.

4/ b: Protein is essential because #1 it’s the most satiating macro comparatively and #2, it’s the least energy dense (fat=9kc/g; carb=4kc/g; protein= <4kc/g, depending on thermal effect–the more protein, the less net caloric energy from each gram). Leaner cuts are better.

5/ b: Protein is also critical because #1 it aids in spairing lean tissue in an energy deficit and #2, it can give you “lean gains,” that is, build lean tissue through resistance exercise even when in energy deficit.

6/ c: Most people eat in a 6:19 window. That is, meals and snacks over an entire 18 waking hours and this is dumb. Flip that around and you have power. Even in perfect body-comp shape, 12:12 is an excellent policy. Go at least 12 hours every day, no exceptions, no intake.

7/ c: For fat loss, I think 16-18:8-6 windows are the best, with some flexibility built in. So, no less than 16 hours *no intake* every day, 18+ being better. This means you can only eat for 8 or less hours every day. Feel free to incorporate a 24+ 1-2 times per week.

8/ Now go full circle with calories. Calculate your requirements for *your goal weight* and apply the weight loss levels from mild to extreme as you prefer and you don’t have to stick to a single one every day. Maybe mild on weekends, moderate or extreme during the week.


165# goal, male, moderate activity

10/ Next, divide your calorie number into your eating window hours. For example, if my goal is 165# and I’m at 185#, then I’m using the calculator at 165# levels (goal), not 185. If I go moderate and I’m doing 18:6, that’s 300 damn calories per hour for 6 straight hours.

11/ And that’s f_cking easy. All you need is just the barest knowledge of the food-calories and sorta winging it is fine because everything is stacked in your favor if you just adhere to the eating window, target protein, and calculate from goal weight not current weight.

12/ I highly recommend a fasting app. I’ve tried a few but didn’t find any helpful until I decided to give @fastic a go. Over a week now and I haven’t missed my 18 hour goal once. It’s very encouraging. No, no affiliate link (sadly–would love to have one). The free version is adequate for most, anyway.

13/ I’ve seen and reviewed everything since blogging Paleo and being an influencer since 2008. This is the most COMPREHENSIVE thing you will ever come across. And, @AlexJLeaf is involved.

“The Fat Loss Blueprint”

Proud Affiliate Link:


Now, go forth and give this the old try if you need to. Many can just wing it on general principles alone and they continually self-correct. I’ve resigned myself to needing a structured program that’s pretty easy, very effective, and actually works, never having to resort to that “stall” builshit, which is euphemism for “I’m eating on average the exact amount of energy my body requires at this weight and composition.”

Stop embarrassing yourself by believing and uttering that nonsense. Today!

Best wishes. I’ve embraced the responsibility of once again jumping back into this sphere and to be effective with it. While there’s a limit to how much responsibility you can take on if it’s responsibility in the meaningful sense, there is no limit to your purpose and vision.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. Lars on August 6, 2020 at 04:22

    Going by your earlier posts on diet, potato hacking etc this is gonna be great! Will check the linked program.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 6, 2020 at 06:29

      Thanks, man. You know, I wouldn’t blame some for saying, man, Richard, you bounce around so much. A valid criticism. I guess I’m tolerated by most because I try to be plainly honest and transparent about my shortcomings without being a pathetic bitch. ;)

  2. DAVID NIKOLEY on August 6, 2020 at 07:30

    Thanks Richard!
    I recently finished the latest version of Eat-Stop-Eat. I like your approach and will download the app.

  3. Jogo on August 6, 2020 at 08:49

    That’s a big tip o’ the cap from me. I’ve been in Thailand for more than 10 years now, and I know the difficulties of accomplishing what you’ve pulled off up there. I’ve heard many stories about the horrors of getting something built as a farang, and I know I wouldn’t try it. Mamalution, that girl lucked out. Good for her.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 6, 2020 at 10:16

      Well I grew up around construction, so that helped. I see bullshit coming a mile away. Second, all the workers I hired were well-respected worker men in this tiny village, some who have known my GF since she was a girl.

      Team effort and success.

      Funny how you say “up there,” when having relocated from Chiang Mai, I think of it as down there. Next step is to rent a getaway condo on Jomtien. Crazy what you can get for 10-15k per month.

  4. Jogo on August 7, 2020 at 00:23

    All of Isan is ‘up there’ to me here on Phuket.

    Yes, even here in the most expensive province I have a two bedroom hillside Patong bay view condo for 16K a month. The place is now a ghost town (and getting ghostlier by the day), but it still works for me.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 7, 2020 at 05:23

      My first visit to Phuket was in 1988, USS Blue Ridge at anchor. I was attached to 7th Fleet Staff.

      There was the main dirt road along the beachfront, then another dirt road perpendicular. That was it. There were maybe a half dozen beer bars (no go-go), some restaurants, one or two hotels (I stayed at the one with a pool), and I think one massage parlor that did not do happy endings.

      It was a delight.

      I sent back a year or so later when I was on a month’s leave after leaving 7th Fleet while in Manila, and hopped a ride on the Admiral’s P-3 that happened to be heading to Bangkok. I high tailed it to Pattaya which wa still great in those days (spent three separate 30-day leaves there). Ended up hooking up with a Brit and during the month, we went up to Bangers and hopped a flight to Phuket.

      We also did Koh Samet. Back in 1989, it didn’t have paved roads and there were only a few outcroppings of beach bungalows. They shit off the generators at 10pm.

  5. Big on August 7, 2020 at 20:30

    Fibre too. Keep up your fibre. Good for gut health and great for bowel movements.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 7, 2020 at 21:35

      Yui makes me a spicy and crunchy cabbage salad I eat often. Farts galore. I’d eat more of the green papaya salad thats ubiquitous here but they make it “hottest fucking thing” style.

      Incidentally, that side salad is raw cabbage. See my Instagram.

  6. King Nikoley Worshiper on August 7, 2020 at 20:58

    Probably one of the most moving posts you’ve made in a good long while, King Richard.

    * The pic looks good, especially for a 59 yo dude (plus you imply you’re not done). I’m 27, same age as your GF, already losing my hair, not in good shape financially, so I doubt very much your hot, very impressive Thai chick would go for someone like me even though 30 years younger than you.
    * Nice filling in the blanks. Last we knew, you were in Chiang Mai. And wow, building a house in 2 1/2 months. Impressive! Not only that, but supervising the build without speaking the language of the workers. Doubly impressive.
    * Thanks for the affiliate link. I’m familiar with Alex Leaf’s work so I’ll bet that’s a worthy, science based program.

    You never cease surprising and amazing me! I am not worthy.

  7. caro chevrier on August 10, 2020 at 16:26

    Five months of Covid bullshit. The construction posts were such a welcome delight. I have so many questions. But you end up answering them, so all good.
    Someone who I will never meet IRL writes oodles of material that helps me navigate a crisis.
    To be frank, I am just happy that at this juncture, you seem at peace. Or happy. Or whatever. Because I am a chick.
    Life is cool. It really is. Thank you Richard.

  8. Matt on August 11, 2020 at 21:09

    Hey Richard, do you still use Elixa probiotic? Just curious because I was considering buying some.

  9. Geri Gill on April 27, 2021 at 01:09

    Hoping you will do more posts on health, diet and nutrition. Thanks

    • Richard Nikoley on April 27, 2021 at 01:13

      Yes, I just sent out an email. It’s going to be a main focus, with twists.

      Because, living now a year in a tropical paradise for over a year, i can plainly see a huge part of the problem, which is the LIFESTYLE part of “Diet and Lifestyle.”

      Very hard to diet your way out of a life you basically hate.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.