May 19: Hi everyone. I started the diet on May 10, not to lose weight but to reduce my evening junk food (sugar, fat, salt) cravings. I've posted about it on my blog, How to Save the World, which you can read about at http://blogs.salon.com/0002007/2006/05/10.html#a1522
. I also wrote today about Seth's paper that led to the discovery of the diet, here: http://blogs.salon.com/0002007/2006/05/19.html#a1531
This is my first status report. It's kind of long, to provide background. Future reports will be shorter, I promise.
I haven't lost any weight so far. I am on the 'light' version of the diet (the minimum suggested consumption of canola and sugar-water). So far it has had no impact on my evening cravings either. But a large proportion of those on the diet who have commented or e-mailed me (most of whom I know, so I know they're objective) say that it has
worked for them -- reducing weight painlessly, quickly and significantly, and reducing cravings as well. So I'm going to try increasing the dose by 50%.
My weight has varied over the years from 1966 (when I was 15) to this year (when I will turn 55) as shown on this chart:
. I'm a relatively small-framed guy, 5'9" (175 cm), so my 'ideal' weight, depending on who you believe, is somewhere between 130 and 170 lbs (59 to 77 kg). I gained weight slowly but steadily throughout my 20s, 30s and 40s, adding about 1.2 pounds (500 g) per year. My waist size went from 28" to 34" (71 to 86 cm) proportionally. My chest size went from 36" to 39" (91 to 99 cm).
I tried to correlate this with my level of physical fitness (best in 1974 and 1988), my level of personal happiness (best in 1969 and 1980), and my stress level (worst in 1972 and 1984), but there is no apparent correlation. About three years ago, the first time I had ever been noticeably overweight, I suddenly started losing a lot of weight inexplicably, and my red blood count plunged from quite high to too low to donate blood. They did a lot of tests but came up with no explanation, and the weight loss stopped, and red blood count returned to normal, about a year later. This year, in anticipation of finally re-starting an exercise program, I started monitoring my weight again. It has varied between 149 and 155 lbs (67 to 70 kg) since the start of the year, and since I started working out (5 km / 3 mi run three times per week) three weeks ago, and started the 'diet' two weeks ago, it has varied more narrowly between 150 and 152 lbs. My chest and waist sizes are 38" and 31" (the same as they were when I was measured for my tux for my daughter's wedding last year). My evening craving for salt, fat and sugar has not been affected by either the exercise or the diet, and although I am more aware of the cravings I have not tried to deliberately ignore them. A month ago I quit drinking soft drinks and started using stevia instead of sugar in my tea and coffee, though that doesn't seem to have affected my weight or cravings either. As I mentioned earlier I have the poor eating habits common to 'night people': consuming tea, water and juice only from when I get up at about 9 am until 3 pm, light late lunch (toast or granola and fruit) at about 3 pm, a full and varied dinner at about 7 pm, one or two snacks from about 9 pm to midnight, but not right before bed at 2 am. Yes, I know I should eat a proper breakfast. Occasionally I do, but when I skip it I don't seem to miss it. I don't eat a lot at any time -- at restaurants I have to either stick to one main course dish only, or dispense with the main course dishes and have two appetizers instead. Half the time I'll have dessert after that.
I may need to adopt Seth's 'insomnia' routine (morning light, breakfast conversation or talking TV heads in the morning) to get to a more healthful circadian routine, which might also help reduce the cravings. And I am going to adopt his '9 hours a day standing' program of replacing my desk and easy chair with a standing-height desk and fatigue-reduction footpad, to improve my posture and strengthen my sprain-prone back.
I'm convinced our cravings are actually withdrawal symptoms from addiction to the ingredients, and Seth does acknowledge that strong, uniform, easily-digested foods do have all the attributes of addictive substances. I know enough about addiction (I am a child of the 1960s) to appreciate its physiological power over us, and so I'm intrigued that the consumption of 'empty calories' of one type (fat or carbohydrate) could reduce craving for another type of food (such as salt).
We shall see.