Losing weight is hard. Shedding excess bodyweight not only requires serious dedication to a strict fat-burning diet and workout plan, but it can also be frustrating—you often start to see progress on the scale and in the mirror, only to slowly level out and plateau.
It can make it even more frustrating to see some of the most ripped actors in Hollywood show off their celebrity trainer-worked physiques on Instagram.
But there’s one celebrity dude who feels your pain: Matt Damon. The Massachusetts-born actor underwent an extreme physical transformation for a role in the 1996 film Courage Under Fire. Damon had to lose 60lbs in a short period of time to play an army medic in the war drama, and in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” he revealed exactly how he cut the weight so quickly—and trust us, it doesn’t sound fun.
Damon, who normally weighs around 190lbs, got down to roughly 139lbs to shoot the film, according to the AMA. “I had to run about 13 miles a day, which wasn’t even the hard part. The hard part was the diet,” he revealed. “All I ate was chicken breast. It’s not like I had a chef or anything, I just made it up and did what I thought I had to do. I just made it up and that was incredibly challenging.”
— Franck (@francksydney) July 29, 2014
But while it may have been challenging, it was definitely effective. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something you should try for yourself, because it’s not exactly a good idea for your health—or your long-term fitness goals.
“In theory, only eating chicken breasts that equate to a caloric deficit will help you lose weight,” says Jordan Mazur, M.S., R.D., the Coordinator of Nutrition for the San Francisco 49ers. “But you’re missing out on many other important nutrients your body needs to function and thrive.”
Mazur says that since a typical chicken breast has about 160-200 calories, 30-35g of protein, and just a little fat, you need to balance out your diet. Because if you don’t get “all of the macro and micro nutrients your body needs, it will catch up to you and in the long run your health issues will ‘outweigh’ your weight loss.”
So if you’re embarking on a weight-loss journey of your own, you’ll want to stick to a diet that includes a balanced variety of fiber-packed and protein-rich foods, which will definitely include chicken breast here and there. But to liven up your meals, check out these seven easy ways to make chicken that are anything but boring.