This shows Justin Wehr‘s weight over two years. He is 26 years old and 6 feet 2 inches tall — at 140 pounds, very thin. The record begins with a switch to a vegan diet. Over three months he lost seven pounds but gradually regained the lost weight, even though his diet didn’t change. In the middle he suddenly gained five pounds on a trip to Alaska and Seattle and then gradually lost it.
He describes his diet like this:
My diet was pretty average Midwestern meat and potatoes sort of thing prior to going vegan-ish, and I emphasize the ish. I’ve been vegan-ish since I started tracking weight, meaning that I don’t buy meat or dairy products at the store, but I’ll happily eat whatever sounds good off of a restaurant menu or whatever is being served when I’m eating at someone else’s place. I intentionally keep my diet very boring. I eat an absurd amount of peanuts and raisins, I estimate in the range of 600 – 900 calories per day. Besides peanuts and raisins, most of my calories come from lentils, frozen vegetables, and bread + olive oil. I drink almost exclusively water, with a few swigs of OJ most days, and have a glass of wine or a bottle of beer on occasion.
The features of this data that interest me are (a) weight loss when he changed what he ate (first three months) and (b) gradual regain of the lost weight (after that). Few theories of weight control can explain the regain. However, the theory behind the Shangri-La Diet can. It says that he initially lost weight because he shifted to foods with relatively weak flavor-calorie associations — weak because the foods were relatively new. As he ate them again and again, the flavor-calorie associations got stronger and this raised his set point.