Inspired by this thread
I thought I would make a nice long post about all the frequently asked questions regarding the diet and my answer to them (which is not exactly the best answer so please chime in with anything you've got, let's make this a group effort). I've always wanted to have one thread that could break down some of the mysteries of SLD without people having to delve too deep into the forums to find the information they need. I'll just order them as they came in the thread for the time being. So away we go!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I possibly lose weight by adding calories?
It does seem crazy but the idea is that these are not just any old calories, they are flavorless calories. And that flavorless signal tells your body to lower its setpoint making you less hungry and pushing your weight down. This is commonly known as Apetite Supression or AS on the forum. In effect you're trading a small dose of flavorless calories for what would have been even more calories had you not had the AS.How can this possibly affect my brain?
It's a signal/response that is deeply ingrained in our survival mode that tells the brain when we are getting less flavor from food, the setpoint can be lowered. It goes back to the ice ages when men stored up fat when food was plentiful to survive when it was not. For more information on the science behind the diet pick up a copy of the book.What kind of oil should I take? Are flavored oils ok?
The most popular at the moment is Extra Light Olive Oil, commonly referred to as ELOO on the boards. Some also choose Refined Walnut Oil, Flax Seed Oil, and other various kinds. Whatever oil you choose it should be flavorless. Some have chosen oils with more flavor and then "nose-clipped" them (Using swimmers noseclips to hide the taste of the oil) with varying rates of success. Be aware that switching oils can disrupt the diet for a few weeks so only do so if things are not working right.When should I take my oil or sugar water?
You can take it whenever you want. Some take it all at once in the morning or evening, others break it up into 2-3 doses throughout the day. Work around your schedule and find out what works best for you. Some even prefer to do it 1-2 hours before a meal because they find it makes the AS stronger during the meal.Which should I take, oil or sugar water?
It's really up to you. People have had success with both, many with one or the other. Quite a few prefer oil because there is less of a time investment (the sugar water has to be consumed over a period of 30 minutes to avoid an insulin spike), but others can't get used to drinking oil and prefer the soothing aspects of a warm cup of sugar water. Whichever you choose, decide on it and stick to it for at least 3 weeks before changing things (and only do so if you are not getting AS) so as to avoid setbacks.When does Apetite Supression kick in?
Again this is different for many people. Some feel the effects the first day on the diet, others it can take up to a week or two to kick in. If by the end of the second week you still feel no effect from the flavorless calories, reexamine your method, tweak a bit, and post here in the forums for some helpful advice.What is the two hour window?
In order for the oil or sugar water to be completely flavorless we have to remove any aspect of flavor from our brain both before and after taking the calories. To do this you must go an hour before and an hour after taking your oil/sugar water before putting anything with taste in your mouth (including toothpaste, gum, or anything with flavor regardless of calorie content). This seperates the taste of other things from the calories you consume, properly lowering your setpoint.How much oil or sugar water should I be taking?
Depends on how much you want to lose. A popular guide is to double your current weight in pounds and take that many calories in oil or sugar water (1Tbsp Oil = 120 calories, 1Tbsp Sugar = 40 Calories). For those using the metric system, multiply your kilos by 2.2 to know your pounds, and then double that figure. Very heavy individuals may choose to triple their weight in pounds. In the end if you are getting AS than it is working, if not adjust the amount of calories accordingly.Does the amount change at any point in the diet?
Yes, you can add to the amount if you feel you are not getting enough AS (but most do not take more than 400-500 calories, more is not always better) or you can reduce the amount you are taking as you lose weight. Tweaking is quite common in this diet. Listen to what you're body is telling you with regards to your AS and adjust accordingly.How will I know if it is working
Your feelings towards food should begin to diminish. You should think about food less, eat less, and in many cases actually crave healthier foods. The strength of AS is different for everyone but most report feeling an almost complete loss of interest in food most of the time.Can I still drink things that have no calories in the 2 hour window?
Anything with flavor cannot be taken because of the signal it will send your body that you are getting calories that taste good (even if something tastes bad your body will train itself to like it after time, diminishing the effect). Water (or sugar water) is basically the only thing that can be taken during this window of time.Can I add lemon, honey, tead, etc to the sugar water
No because then that would add flavor, ruining the effect of training your body to get calories without flavor. Think, if a regular soda which has a strong flavor, was allowed on the diet, everyone who drank Coke would lose weight. Unfortunately it just doesn't work this way.Taking oil is gross, how can I take it without gagging?
Many people add cold water to the oil and let the oil float on top to help them drink it easier. Some also noseclip while taking it.How long do I have to wait before deciding that it's not working
Wait at least 2-3 weeks and then post any issues you are having here on the boards. For some it just takes more time for the effect to take hold.How come I only have 10 pounds to lose and it's taking forever, when heavier people lose 10 pounds in a heartbeat?
It is not entirely clear why people with more to lose seem to lose it faster. One thing that is consistent is that even those with a lot to lose tend to have difficulty with the last 10-15 pounds. This may be an effect of the setpoint beginning to reach a healthy level and slowing down (along with your metabolism possibly). If you are having extreme difficulty with this diet there is a thread here
called the Very Stubborn Set Point Club (VSSP) where you can trade tips and advice along with progress reports about what is working and what isn't. Don't give up, there is plenty of support on these boards to help you get to your ideal weight!Why can't I brush my teeth right after I take my oil?
The flavor of the toothpaste would become associated with the calories received from the oil, diminishing the effect of the diet.How can I lose weight by adding fat to your diet? Doesn't make much sense.
It sure doesn't, but in effect the fat you are taking in will cause you to want food less and tell your body to survive on less. It's trading a few hundred calories of fat for many more that you would have eaten throughout a normal day.Do I lose weight by avoiding flavors or flavors with calories or reducing the strength of flavor / calorie associations or... It isn't clear to me how flavors, calories and flavor/calorie associations play together.
You only want to consume flavorless calories during the 2 hour window. Outside of that go for as much flavor as possible. By default your body raises its setpoint when it detects flavors that it knows and loves, and lowers it with unknown flavors. Because of this you should always attempt to eat a variety of foods and flavors. The only time you have to worry about the flavorless calories is during the two hour window.Will I have to drink oil the rest of my life?
If you go off the oil your setpoint will likely begin to raise again. However it is not uncommon to skip days and usually the required dose to maintain a weight is around 1Tbsp or less.How much should I weigh?
Better to ask "What should my Body/Mass Index be?" Healthy weights are different for people of different sizes. For a general idea see this site
to calculate a rough estimate based on BMI. Be aware that BMI is not the greatest test, especially for athletes who have more muscle mass. You might consider getting a body fat monitor scale that calculates using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) or use the waist/hip ratio calculation described here
.Can I eat (insert name of food)?
As long as it is not during the flavorless window there are no strict restrictions on what you can eat. That being said there are types of foods you should always do your best to avoid. High Glycemic Index foods, heavy sweets, and "ditto foods" (Foods that you are extremely familiar with, think comfort foods and foods you know the flavor of before you even start to make them) should all be avoided as best possible.How can I survive Thanksgiving/Christmas/Holidays/Business Trips/Parties etc.?
Choose small portions of many things you have never tasted before. If possible avoid things that you are very familiar with. Most importantly, don't stress about the rare occasion. Enjoy yourself and get back on track the next day. SLD is a very forgiving diet and you'll find it is easy to jump right back in and start where you left off.What is happening to me? I just don't feel like eating (insert name of food) anymore.
That's the AS. SLD is working for you, congratulations. Take the opportunity to try many new things and experience unique and interesting flavors.Why am I suddenly craving (insert name of food)?
One odd side-effect of this diet is that many report strange cravings for new and unique flavors. From Nutella on Chicken to Turkey/Raisin Bran Meatballs, there are many things people have done to change up food they are familiar with. This is not a bad thing and will actually help to continue lowering your setpoint. Get a bunch of spices and put different ones on your food to change it up often.What are Mr. Brains Frozen Faggots?
An abomination of all that is holy and decent in this world.Doesn't that much oil give you the runs?
It takes a few days for your stomach to create the proper enzymes to digest oil properly. During the first few days of this you will probably experience some diarhea. Don't worry, this will pass in about 3-4 days at the most.Are you drinking oil because you are constipated?
Nah, we are just crazy people doing something completely insane that actually happens to work. Will the oil make you throw up?
It shouldn't, this depends on your personal experiences. Some cannot stand the idea of oil going down their throat. Best suggestion is to try it, if you don't like it either adjust your method by taking it with water or switch to sugar water. Most of the time you will find the initial "gag reflex" will go away after awhile.Why do you carry a nose clip?
It's an extra credit way of getting more flavorless calories. Your sense of smell directly effects the ability to taste food. Because of this many people try eating some of their food with a noseclip on and waiting awhile to take it off so that they will ingest more flavorless calories in a day. This is not a substitution for oil or sugar water, but simply another extra credit way of jumpstarting your weight loss if you are stuck in a plateau or find those last few pounds hard to lose.How long do you leave that thing on your nose after you eat something?
Probably depends on how strong the flavor of the food was. Some people will rinse their mouth out and wait 30 minutes or so before taking them off, others perhaps only 10 minutes. This is an area you will have to experiment with and see what works for you.I slipped and ate something in the one hour window -- is the diet ruined for me forever?
Nah, don't worry too much. Tomorrow is another day. SLD is a very forgiving diet and you will find it very easy to jump right back where you left off.If I tried the diet and didn't keep on it, will it work for me a second time?
Yes, unlike other diets where the effect is diminished after repeated trys, SLD will work regardless of past history with it. Much like exercise will always burn calories, flavorless calories will always lower the setpoint.When I go off the diet, how long before I regain the weight?
You will most likely regain the weight at the same rate you gained it before. If you are at your goal weight and want to maintain that way experiment with taking a small dose of oil daily (1/2-1Tbsp) to maintain your weight without raising or lowering your setpoint. Maintenance is a tricky thing and requires a lot of experimenting to find the optimal method. Feel free to post your experiences here on the boards for helpful advice and feedback.What do I do about the saggy skin after the diet is over?
Though it takes some time, skin is naturally elastic and will shrink back to fit your body depending on how large you were to begin with. Aerobic exercise can help increase the rate in which your skin tightens. If you were very large and after a year find that your skin is still very saggy you might see a doctor about having excess skin removed. Though skin is naturally elastic if it is stretched too far it will not always shrink back the way it originally was. This can also depend on how long you have been overweight. If you are very self-conscious about this see a doctor about your options.How can I be losing inches and not losing weight?!
Your body is just adjusting itself and shifting the weight to other areas. Your weight could be water weight, you might have gained some muscle, or your body might simply adjusting the proportion of fat/muscle in certain areas. No one is entirely certain why this happens but stick with the plan and you will see results (and enjoy the lost inches regardless!).Is it necessary to the success of the diet to weigh yourself or can use use something else to gauge weight loss (e.g. fit of clothing, measurements)?
You certainly are not required to weigh yourself, though some find it to be reassuring, others can't stand looking at a scale. Measuring your waistline, chest, arms, and legs can give you another very accurate picture of your losses. And of course fitting into clothes that were normally too small is a great encouragement and indicator that you are losing. Do what works for you!Do you have any suggestions to help for when you are not hungry, but want to eat?
Drinking a warm cup of coffee or tea has been noted to help (you could also substitute a mug of warm sugar water here and have more flavorless calories). If you're not a coffee or tea person, regular water is also great for subsiding those feelings. A good general rule is that if you are hungry, drink a bottle of water and wait 30 minutes. If you are still hungry your body is telling you it need nutrition. Don't ignore it, eat something. When you are not hungry attempt to find things to distract yourself from the oral fixation of eating. Chew on a straw, drink water, work a crossword puzzle. Post on the forum for more ideas from other members.I've heard a lot of talk about avoiding "ditto foods" but what are they and how do I recognize them?
Ditto foods are any food that you can recognize the flavor of time and again without even tasting it. It is believed that these foods raise your setpoint because of the taste association is so strong. "Comfort Foods" are pretty typical of being ditto as are many preprocessed foods. Although avoiding them completely may be too difficult you can take many steps to cut down on them. Whenever possible cook your own dinners. By using fresh ingredients you can usually assume the flavors (though perhaps too subtle to taste they are there) will be different every time. Another option is "crazy spicing" where you grab different and random spices whenever eating a meal to provide variety.