SLD Musings

On her MySpace page, Janice writes:

I have been on [the Shangri-La Diet] for a month and I have lost 12 pounds! It is the easiest way to lose weight.

During this month she started riding a recumbent bike. I am struck by how often this happens: After people start SLD they start improving their lives in other ways. (Didn’t happen to me, by the way.) Does cessation of struggle with food (which took “energy”) leave more “energy” for other forms of self-improvement? I wasn’t struggling with food when I started SLD so I would fit that theory.

This wouldn’t explain why SLD causes non-caloric cravings (such as for coffee and cigarettes) to go away. Maybe they go away because they are triggered by hunger. Speaking of cigarettes, Gary Skaleski, who invented SLD nose-clipping, suggests that maybe you can quit smoking if you clip your nose while you smoke. You get the nicotine needed to remove the craving but the lack of smell removes the possibility of addiction. No one becomes addicted to plain sugar water, which has no smell. Fascinating idea.

9 Replies to “SLD Musings”

  1. I don’t think it’s a matter of energy, but rather one of control, time, and physics.

    Control is the big one — it’s very hard to convince yourself that you can improve if you’ve tried and failed to control something as simple as your eating. My experience with SLD is that it turns off the part of my brain that (a) maximizes calorie consumption and (b) has veto power over the rest of the brain. Before SLD, I didn’t even realize that there was this disconnect between what I consciously decided to eat and what I ended up cooking or ordering. Once I started SLD, the conscious decision-making both decreased my intake but, much more importantly in my book, greatly improved the quality of my intake. (If you told me last year that I would willingly eat only 1-2 red-meat meals a week….) With control over my eating (and more stable blood-sugar levels, I’m guessing), doing things like exercising more, getting up earlier, and quitting a massive diet-soda habit seemed both easy and worthwhile.

    The sleep and eating-less benefits of SLD also increased the time I had available for self-improvement — not by a lot, but every bit helps. Finally, losing weight makes most exercise easier. I actually avoided adding exercise during my first few months on SLD because I wanted to prove to myself that the plan would work without it, and I didn’t want to fall into the (for me common) trap of eating more to “make up” for calories used up exercising. I’m glad I waited; when I did start ramping up the exercise, the motivational benefits of feeling light/fast were excellent.

  2. A couple of months ago, the AHRQ bulletin (which summarizes medical journal articles) included a randomized experiment that showed that making multiple life changes resulted in more positive outcomes than making single life changes.

    It’s an active area of research — I know Bonnie Spring at Northwestern has been looking into it for awhile.

    The converse is that if someone falls off the diet wagon (or perceives themselves as having fallen off), they may also stop exercising as well.

  3. I was thinking about this the other day too, as I also have been long trying to improve my life before SLD, not suddenly after.

    Maybe for alot of people, they see weight loss like trying to push a giant boulder by themselves, but SLD is like getting a machine that pushes the boulder for you. But the machine only does so much and suddenly one feels that any energy they put into moving the boulder with the machine will actually help the boulder along. People feel like a burden has been lifted and pushing the boulder is possible, so they want to help it move as fast as possible.

  4. That would be an interesting study: ask people about their various goals (e.g., get more exercise) and how far they have gotten on them month after month; and then see if starting SLD actually causes them to do more on their other goals. Does it affect 1. food-related goals (e.g., drink less diet sodas). 2. weight-related goals (e.g., get more exercise). 3. health-related goals (e.g., eat less salty food). 4. wellness-related goals (e.g., get massage). 5. non-wellness related goals (e.g., blog more).

  5. I would think you’d find a lot of reinforcing effects. With me the oil both tends to reduce cravings and tends to give me a feeling of control, which increases hope, which increases motivation, which increases efforts in other areas, which results in positive effects…which increases feelings of control and motivation.

    It’s a wonderful feedback loop.

  6. I did SLD over a year ago: was ~167 lbs, did some sugar water for 3-4 weeks between breakfast and lunch; got down to ~147 lbs; the weight never came back. I didn’t start exercising any more though I might be slightly more active. I did however stop eating meat. I didn’t so much become a vegetarian as realize I was one. I would go several days and realized I hadn’t had any meat. I’ve since learned that vegetarianism is the new Prius, which is nice, because I can’t afford a Prius:

  7. David, I love that article you linked to. I’m a “flexitarian” mostly due to my picky tastes (I really don’t like much meat) but it’s encouraging to realize that simply eating more healthfully could help with other, larger problems.

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