A Blogger’s Reason for Trying the Shangri-la Diet

Michael Giberson

Today I did something new. Something I’ve never tried before. I walked into the local Barnes and Noble bookstore and bought a diet book.

I’ve never really though of myself as overweight. For most of my life I haven’t been overweight. For the last few years, however, I have thought of myself as needing to lose a few pounds — unlike Lynne, I am no triathlete — and over the past few years I have added pounds rather than losing a few.

I got naked earlier today and stepped on a scale: 198.4 pounds. A quick BMI calculation online produced a 27.3. The number puts me smack in the middle of the “Overweight” category.

Lots of people try lots of diets. Over the last few years I have heard people talk about their low fat, South Beach, low carb, Atkins, high fiber, unprocessed foods, more veggies, weight watchers, and how to take it off and how to keep it off diets.

Two things I’ve noticed about people on diets: they can’t seem not to talk about their diets; and, except for the people in TV commercials, none of them seemed to be having fun. And while I get that not everything in life has to be fun, the general tenor of the discussions tended to put me off the idea. Plus, many didn’t seem to work.

My feeling about the matter was, I’m happy for lots of people to try lots of different diets, and if something actually works, word will get out, and then I’ll give it a go. I’m a big fan of experiments, especially when other people are paying the costs and I can sit around and wait. I guess I’m ready to join the lab rats.

Wandering through the bookstore, I came across Seth Robert’s paperback edition of The Shangri-La Diet. (Previously mentioned on KP here and here.) I’ve been thinking about the “SLD” half-seriously since David Tufte’s one-year anniversary post at voluntaryXchange. Picked the book up, scanned through, read the Stephen Dubner quote on the back cover (and front cover, and again inside – apparently they really liked the Dubner quote.)

The second quote at the beginning of Chapter 4 caught my eye: “It appealed to my essential laziness.” (The quote was by-lined “A Blogger’s Reason for Trying the Shangri-La Diet.” Now you know that I stole my title.) I think for me the “laziness” aspect is part of the appeal for me – it looks astoundingly easy to do. But in addition to my essential laziness, the book also appeals to my essential curiosity. It is a little quirky. Roberts is interesting. I’d like to give it a shot.

So I’ve bought the book. I’ll probably start in a few days. If I’m lucky, I will drop 25 pounds or so and never have to buy another diet book again in my life.

4 thoughts on “A Blogger’s Reason for Trying the Shangri-la Diet

  1. Michael,

    I am not sold that you need to buy a diet book to lose weight. Here is the easy answer: taper/eliminate red meat from your diet, eat high quality carbohydrates, eat fruit and vegetables (people say lay off the fruit because of the natural sugar; that is BS), drink low/no fat dairy, and most of all exercise.

    Walk or ride a bicycle in the beginning. If you’re a runner slowly get back into the activity so as not to get discouraged or hurt.

    If you’re disciplined you’ll loose the weight.

    Good luck…

  2. As long as you’re reading books…

    This book was extremely eye opening, and probably addresses a lot of issues that a naive dieter like you is going to have. For example:

    25 lbs. is a lot to lose. More than likely you are not going to be able to lose that much weight and keep it off long term.

    Weight is very similar to height in that, once our society evolved to the point where everyone was more or less fully fed, the genetic nature of weight and height kicked in. Thus, your weight and your body type are genetically determined, and there isn’t a hell of a lot you can do about it (just like there is little you can do about your height).

    There is a 20 to 30 lb range of weight that your genetics determines that you will be in. It sounds like you’re at the top of that range. Lifestyle changes can get you to the lower end of that range with a lot of work, but like I said, 25 lbs. is pushing it. That’s like becoming a vegan and a marathon runner in terms of a lifestyle change, big changes. That’s not buy a diet book change (that might be more like 10 lbs.).

    The thing that was really eye opening is that a BMI of 25 to 30 is actually where you want to be. That BMI range actually has a lower death rate than a “healthy” sub-25 BMI. There is almost no evidence that, short of a morbidly obese BMI, being overweight has any negative health consequences whatsoever.

    Anyway, the book is fascinating and goes through the cutting edge of scientific studies of how genetics determines weight. The book might make you decide that dieting is a waste of time, or more likely that making healthy changes need to be made for their own sake, not only as a way to lose weight.

  3. One of the side benefits of the SLD diet is that if Seth Roberts catches you blogging about it, he’ll link to you. Which he did. Which is how I got here.

    SLD? Try it. Don’t make a conscious effort to exercise or modify your diet or anything…just injest flavorless calories in the recommended amount for a few days and see what happens.

    Not everybody gets the same kick from it, but my personal experience was dramatic. It was a real mind bending experience, having my appetite fall away from me like that. Now I want to track down all those “eat less, move more” people and give them noogies. With a belt sander.

  4. Hey, Mike. After taking off a bunch of weight with Atkins (first strict, then modified by me to allow more fruits and veggies) and a lot of walking, I tried the Shangri La Diet for about a month and a half, using oil instead of sugar water, in an attempt to lose that last pesky 10-15 pounds. After a week I’d lost a cool two pounds but then nada times 5. I was faithful about it too. I think my set point/appetite may just be more stubborn than Roberts’. I’ll be interested to see how it works for you. One difference is that I started at about 30 pounds more than you, and got down to about 10 less than you with Atkins before trying SLD. I’m still in search of that last 10-15!

    Pat Whittle

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