Success stories

As I prepared to write The Shangri-La Diet, I gathered success stories from my friends. After the Freakonomics column about the diet, however, my collection of stories was swamped by a much larger number of success stories posted on the Web. This page provides a sampling. In the forums over 100 people are posting their progress (no longer active).

Ann & Co.

After Ann Hendricks started her blog, about a dozen people regularly reported their progress. Almost all were successful – so much so that Ann asked people to post failures. She didn’t get many.


After CalorieLab posted a long article about the diet, comments poured in, many contradicting the article’s skeptical tone with their own experience of success.


When Michael was forty-eight, he weighed 254 pounds. He is six feet tall. He had been heavy since grade school. Quite apart from health issues – his knees hurt, for example – his weight was a problem because it caused people to treat him poorly. . . . continues — Michael, undisclosed location

Lily M.

“I started the Shangri-La diet the same day I read the Freakonomics column about it in the New York Times Magazine. I swallowed a spoonful of canola oil, and my appetite disappeared almost immediately. . . .” continues — Lily M., Los Angeles, California


Sarah’s problem with her weight began when she was young. “When I was nine, I weighed 109,” she said. Growing up, she always weighed more than she wanted to. In her forties, she tried Weight Watchers, which worked for a while. . . . continues — Sarah, Bay Area, California


“I started at 184 lbs (I’m 6 foot 1 inch) and, using Seth Roberts’s “Shangri-La” approach, lost 11% of my body weight (20.5 lbs or about 1.4 lbs per week) over 15 weeks . . .” continues — Sean, Highland Ranch, Colorado

Stephen G.

When Stephen started the Shangri-La Diet, he weighed 203 pounds. His body mass index (BMI) was 29, which is considered overweight. The diet was worth a try, he thought. . . . continues — Stephen G., Bay Area, California

Stephen M.

“In 1992 my world fell apart. My eldest child became sick. In the next five years I would bury three children and gain almost sixty pounds. By the time the world was stable under my feet again, I was about 240 pounds and unable to lose weight . . .” continuesStephen Marsh, a lawyer in Texas, who blogs at

The Author

My story is here — see the second half of the paper.