Back in August, I posted this video about my new ‘diet’ plan.
Calling it a diet is misleading though. It’s more of a way to trick your body into losing weight. I’ve lost more than 30 pounds since I made that video, about 40 pounds total on the Shangri-la Diet. It has not been hard. It hasn’t taken a lot of will power. I don’t starve myself. I never feel deprived.
The idea for the diet was developed by Seth Roberts. The hypothesis is this: your body has a set point, a weight that it wants to be. And your body resists gaining or losing weight. It tries to keep your weight close to this set point. However, this set point can gradually change over time. If your set point dips below your current weight, you will be less hungry and eat less (or burn off more calories in various ways), so that your weight and set point gradually come into sync. If your set point goes up, you will eat more, have more cravings, think more about food, until your body gains enough weight to bring you reach your set point.
But there are ways to affect your set point, to gradually push it up and down. Roberts’ primary insight is to link your set point with flavor calorie associations. Basically, flavors have a big affect on your set point. If you eat things which have strong flavors, consistent flavors and cheap calories, your set point can be driven up and you will crave more, eat more and gain weight. Obviously junk food, processed food and fast foods all have these consistent, strong flavors and plenty of calories too. He calls them ditto foods. The more we eat these kinds of foods, the more we crave them and the more our body wants to gain weight in general.
So he and others who have tried SLD have tried various ways to do the opposite, to disrupt the natural flavor calorie associations. For instance, eating bland food will push your set point down. Eating fresh foods that naturally vary in taste pushes down your set point. Eating lightly flavored foods pushes down your set point. And, most surprisingly, consuming flavorless calories pushes down your set point.
He first tried drinking sugar water. He drank a few hundred calories of fructose a day dissolved in water (simple sweetness is not considered a flavor the same way other things are flavors). He didn’t think it would work. But it did. He lost 35 pounds by drinking sugar water. It’s important to point out that he didn’t stop eating other foods. He added the sugar water to his diet. He simply made sure to drink the sugar water within a 2 hour flavorless window. He didn’t taste any flavors for one hour before or after drinking the sugar water. Eventually someone suggested flavorless oils like Extra Light Olive Oil (not Extra Virgin). That seemed to work too. People also tried crazy spicing, where they added random flavors to dishes that otherwise would taste the same each time. Others tried eating foods with noseclips on.
I’ve tried all these techniques. My weight loss was very steady up until about a month ago. I’ve mostly been stalled since then.
I’m trying to figure out what is stalling me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve started drinking coffee (many suspect that coffee, like chocolate is a strong ditto food and tends to push up your set point). I’ve been eating 1 or 2 eggs a day, although I don’t think that is the problem. The amount of simple carbs has increased from several sources. Still, I’m thankful that I’ve lost this much and I’m holding steady. I’m starting to workout again. Perhaps some weight training will help me break through this plateau.
If I make any more progress (or if I start to lose significant ground), I’ll post about it again.