Duncan Forbes Eats With His Fists (and you should too)

We put this off as long as we could.  It is April 15, the day things come due.  You have two months before the Memorial Day, shorts, and no excuse for the extra layer you think is hiding things.  There are slimming silhouettes (Flouser Sack Suit comment notwithstanding) but that only works in air conditioning.

Quick side note, and there is a post about this in my notebook I will get up here in the next few weeks.  The healthier your body is, the better your clothes will look.  Zero exceptions. 

Meet Duncan Forbes.  Duncan is a Nutritional and Fitness Leader, with his own clients and a corporate gig doing the same.  I know Duncan.  He shares responsibility with Dylan for what I think this morning is 3 inches off my waist since the first of the year.   We have had several private sessions around nutrition and health, and the only thing I can tell you that he knows his s**t.  Literally, actually, more on that in a second.

First, get to know him.

This is my friend Duncan.  Duncan “was chubby.”  But as a kid.  I was chubby too as a kid.  I was just more consistent that Duncan and kept it going into adulthood.

Another great story about Duncan.    I had just finished running, and it was not pretty, hands tugging shorts, bent over, gasping like a fish on the dock, Duncan comes over and says something encouraging.   My sense of humor is a professional tool but it is also a defense mechanism, so I, between open mouth oxygen gapes, say “I wanna look like you.”  He smiles, and starts walking away, over his back he says, “Don’t be the next Duncan, be the first you.”  And that was a throwaway line.  I don’t even think he meant for me to hear it.  I am going to this guy more often, not for nutrition but for material.

So I lost three inches, and you can see Duncan here, he’s good, right?

Duncan’s first rule.   There is no perfection, so shoot for 80%.   He doesn’t have cheat days, he has truth days.  Truth days.  Before meeting Duncan, I was apparently VERY honest.


Here’s a visual aid Duncan shared with me that reflects his approach. Rather than try a regimented diet, he prefers you to borrow basic truths about nutrition and integrate them. I have found this is MUCH easier to maintain.


Duncan’s second rule.  Don’t eat products.  Anything that comes in a box he calls a product.  I didn’t ask, but in going over his diet I am not sure he even eats anything wrapped.   If you just tried this rule, no products, nothing processed, for a few days, you would feel something remarkable.  I did.  You feel clean.  And your waist goes in threes.  At least mine did.  For two days, NOTHING would happen.  Then on the third day, hmph.  Something!  On the next third day, Something!  Before I know it, I am in my tailor taking things in instead of letting them out.  And Bob’s your uncle.  (I love that expression, it probably is a little extra here, but whatever).

Duncan’s third rule.  Water.  I know.  He has me drinking 97 ounces of water a day.  I was like, you do know I have a job where I have to sit still for more than 20 minutes at a time?  And who can type in the bathroom with that fan running?  His answer:  I would rather go to the bathroom 8 times a day today than go to the hospital once.   He has a formula for your water intake, when we do the Q & A with him I will ask him, unless me drops it in the comments here.

Vegetables.  Duncan preaches vegetables.  He emailed me, try to eat 3 – 5 fistfuls of vegetables a day.  Now, I am an elite competitive athlete in my prime who has to text while he works out just to keep turning down endorsement deals, performing way way way past the norms of my age bracket,  and still attractive to 20 year olds.  So my requirements might differ from yours.  But they probably don’t.

Duncan measures protein, his other gospel, with his hands, too.  A palm of whatever is 25 grams of protein.  I am like, you measure protein the way my gas pump measures gallons to dollars.  He is like, just try it.  So I am.  I will report back to you.

Week on, weekend off is the way he works.  He drinks Tito’s with a slice of orange on the weekend.  Why?  Because Tito’s is made of corn and not wheat (in addition to not being raised with our birth parents, we have another thing in common – we both don’t tolerate wheat well).  Why an orange slice?  Because orange juice at a bar is a…  product.

Finally, the universal.  The world begins in your head (that’s a tagline of a meditation company I am working on, so shameless plug, sorry).  But the world does.  So I talked to Duncan about that too.   First, I asked him why he does what he does.

Because I give my clients back their own time.

I thought that was cool.   He told me that for him, health in all forms is at the center of everything.  Nutrition is tough to get a handle on, but he said, “If you control your diet, it shows you, you can control other things.  It promotes confidence.  You look down in three weeks and you say that if you can control what you eat, there are other areas of your life where that discipline can be applied, now that you know you have it.”

He concluded, “It’s spiritual.  Spiritual health comes from service.  Service comes only after you can serve yourself.”

I wanted to say, serve yourself anything that isn’t a product, right?  But not everybody wants one liners all day.

If you have questions for Duncan or want to work with him, you can email him at Dforbes@lt.life.  I have seen his work with clients, and it is SO NOT just the stupid wear a rubber band to remind yourself to drink water stuff.  It is science-based, but psychologically and spiritually driven.   Otherwise, I am hitting him up to do a nutrition post answering questions here once in a while.





26 Comments on "Duncan Forbes Eats With His Fists (and you should too)"

  1. Indeed! I too have taken off considerable weight in the last couple of years (working hard to maintain it), and look/feel better in my clothes than I have since the 90s. Regular exercise is important but so too is managing what AND how much one eats each day. One word. Two actually. Fresh fruit. Darn hard to avoid the occasional small lunch-sized bag of Doritos or handful of pretzel sticks now and again though. Is it the salt, artificial flavoring, or other chemicals we crave?

    Kind Regards,


  2. @Heinz-Ulrich, I and my waistline have had the opposite experience of you and JB over the last couple of years. It’s probably time for me to give nutrition a deeper look.

  3. whiskeydent | April 15, 2022 at 12:21 pm |

    There is what appears to be a zipper running down the center of my chest. A heart surgeon gave it to me on January 6, 2021.

    As you might guess, I’ve made some lifestyle changes and they are in line with Duncan’s rules:
    1. No more cigarettes (smoked the last one outside the emergency room at 6:45 a.m., September 2, 2021)
    2. Walking three miles three times a week
    3. Significantly less whiskey denting
    4. No processed anything and nothing in a can because evil salt and other poisons lurk in them
    5. The fistful thing
    6. Wonderful/harmful vitamin G rationed to about once a month

    I’m doing an excellent job on 1, 4 and 6, but I’m not doing well on 2 and 3. I am an utter failure at 5. Thereis significantly less of me now, but I could stand to lose another 10 pounds.

    I think I need to find myself a coach like Duncan, somebody who will motivate me and occasionally kick my ass. As a Texan might say, I’m fixin’ to think about doing it. Thanks for the inspiration and good luck on your own journey. This sh*t is hard.

    I am so glad you are as well as you are! Thank god! Better a zipper on your chest than on your bag, brother. Email Duncan. He is terrific and does virtual all the time. – JB

  4. For anyone trying to lose weight, I cannot say enough about going vegan. In addition, cutting out all coffee and alcohol (I live like a Mormon) has helped tremendously. In a few months, I have lost over 15 pounds. Now, most of my clothes have to be sent to the tailor for alterations, and I’m almost certain that I’m responsible for paying for my tailor’s Aruba vacations.

  5. No argyle socks, no plaid and stripes mashes, no garish hankies blooming out of my chest pocket. For me the ultimate fashion accessory is a 30” waist. It pairs well with white tab collars, knit ties, slim lapel herringbones and blazers over Cordovan shells. Shocker alert! ……health living promotes good health.

  6. whiskeydent | April 15, 2022 at 1:40 pm |

    I don’t know about this healthy living thing. If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have treated myself worse.

  7. Hardbopper | April 15, 2022 at 4:02 pm |

    A healthy diet, cardio, and weight training with consistency is the key.

    By weight training one’s shoulders on a regular basis, one will soon gain an appreciation for soft shouldered suits, sport coats, and blazers. Powerlifting, i.e., squats, deadlift, chest presses, and heavy back rows, consistently makes one appreciate the sack suit. And muscle is a fat burner.

    Yes, this will stimulate your appetite, big-time. I like to chase a workout with a 12-16 oz. V8 & OJ cocktail, a banana or two, and a pint of whole milk. What would Duncan say about this?

  8. Thank you everyone for sharing your Idea’s of Health! I love it. Always remember that any health or fitness journey, do not judge your won success by someone else’s ruler.

    As per @hardbopper question, love your choice of exercises! For your beverage after, I would make sure just to get 20 or more grams of protein in whole food or supplement form! Protein is the perfect macronutrient for muscle building!

    Cheers everyone

  9. Expat Yank | April 15, 2022 at 5:53 pm |

    JB, your efforts are showing and you are looking good these days. I’m on the same journey and have been doing well myself, so cheers from a fellow fat-loser.

    And yes, “ The healthier your body is, the better your clothes will look. Zero exceptions. ” Absolute bingo right there. I’m convinced that the reason certain guys can make a simple outfit rock, is because they are fit. C.f. McQueen.

  10. True about stuff in boxes, but this here protein bar, plus an apple, will keep you going strong ALL day–until the greens & salmon for dinner. Before you laugh, smirk, or dismiss, check out the ingredients.


  11. Current favorite is

    I can’t taste the kale or kelp, but they’re in there.

  12. So. I thought about this for a minute, and if you disagree with me, please do let me know, here or anywhere. I am open. But. Kent’s posts were personal. I don’t want this to be a space where anyone is personally attacked. I guess that includes… me. Disagree with me all you want about the subject. Like, for instance, say that eating cake is better for you than a fistful of vegetables. Ok. That’s discourse. But personal stuff doesn’t add anything. Kent, if you want to disagree with the direction the site is taking, by all means. Please post 1,000 comments a day about it. But if you want to speak to me personally, you have my email.

    I am not gonna lambast you here. That would be unfair. But I am also not gonna let you do it to me. – JB

  13. Kent, you sure spend a lot of time and energy complaining about the proprietor of this site.

  14. Old Bostonian | April 16, 2022 at 12:32 am |

    At least we’re not bombarded with the five-and-dime “philosophy”, mysticism, even astrological nonsense that CC showered upon us and that had nothing whatsoever to do with Ivy style.

  15. Philly Trad | April 16, 2022 at 1:06 am |

    I don’t mind John’s occasional off-topic meandering: he always gets back to Ivy matters. The WOCBD posts have been particularly worth reading.

  16. James Borkowski | April 16, 2022 at 9:06 am |

    As a reader of this site for years, I enjoyed the prior moderator’s thoughts and opinions, but it was time for a change. Things were getting a little mystical and foppish.
    Is the “new” site more tongue in cheek? Absolutely. It is also more fun and accessible.
    As someone who spent 12 years wearing a Catholic School uniform, and then a plain sack suit for Court appearances, I never really gave much thought how to put together an appropriate, individual look for myself. John’s reviews of ties, shirts, and hopefully more style components, are very helpful.
    For the summer, I would appreciate content on appropriate summer casual wear. The only option can’t just be boat shoes, chino shorts and a polo shirt. Thoughts?

  17. Reddit? This is (supposed to be) evidence of thoughtful rejoinders? Good god. Talk about bottom of the barrel shite.

    JB, keep up the good work. Remember what 311 said about the naysayers.

    Oh, and —
    Happy Easter.

  18. * I am referencing Kent’s reference to (positing of) Reddit. I hadn’t seen it– until then. Again and to repeat: what a nine-circles-of-hell that space is.

    Off to an Easter vigil.

  19. Boston Bream | April 17, 2022 at 1:06 am |

    Re: “Off to an Easter vigil”.
    That’s between you and God, sir.
    We New Englanders and believers in Ivy values don’t advertise such things.

  20. Charlottesville | April 17, 2022 at 11:40 am |

    I seem to have missed whatever the flap was regarding Kent, thank goodness. At any rate, Happy Easter to all.

    Henry Contestwinner, if you happen to see this, did you wear your stroller this Easter out by the S.F. Bay as in past years? Navy pinstripe, white shirt and repp tie for me. A few other ties were in evidence this morning, and even one very nice bow tie, with a navy blazer.

  21. Like my friend Charlottesville, I can’t figure out who is saying what to whom here, but I did want to take a moment to say Happy Easter, brothers.

  22. Point well made — and taken. Typically I don’t advertise participation in ecclesiastical rites. I stand in solidarity with discreet New Englanders.

  23. Dear Kent,

    I’ve emailed you. You didn’t answer. But you post.

    (1). It isn’t impersonating you when … I sign my name. (2). I did call you boring. I am deleting that too. That was wrong. Apologies. It was wrong of my to do. My point… that wasn’t wrong. (3). PLEASE, the site is what it is, just don’t come here anymore. We have tripled in daily unique readers in less than a year. I understand that you wish things were different. They aren’t. And you aren’t reading the room.

    This space is for discussion of the topic. On this post, we were offering some advice from a nutritional expert on how to eat better so that you look better. And live longer.

    I just really think it is best that you just find another site to read. This is clearly not for you. JB

    (… … see, I signed that JB, so that means it is me writing it, not you)
    (… I deleted your comments because they were full of false personal attacks. If you want to discuss, please feel free to email me, which you won’t)

  24. Hardbopper | April 17, 2022 at 8:38 pm |

    Brown longwings, light chinos, bb blue u-stripe ocbd, vintage bb yellow tie with red birds, (bb audubon collection?) with navy blazer for Easter services. Alleluia.

  25. NaturalShoulder | April 17, 2022 at 11:05 pm |

    Happy Easter all.

  26. Interesting (to me, at least) that a lot of the Easter Sunday Ivy/Trad I saw was worn by quirky people who have taste for (tendency toward), generally and clumsily speaking, quirky things. Why/how is it that the people who maybe/probably preferred Ivy thirty years ago have shifted to (the dreaded) ‘Updated Traditional’ look (God, it’s everywhere, isn’t it? Paul Stuart won the war.), while the Wes Anderson/Indie/Buy Local/Wes Anderson/Old Volvo/Cool-in-a-Weird-Way are wearing the old tweed sacks and button downs? I guess, understood from a certain perspective, this makes sense.

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