I don’t have the greatest eating habits, and I don’t diet well either. I’m too finicky and enjoy sweet things way too much. So when I heard about the Shangri La diet a year ago I was intrigued. It wasn’t until summer 2009 that I finally picked up the book. We were visiting family in BC and I spotted it in a second hand book shop.
I only got round to reading it this January and before I was half way through I was eager to give it a go. The theory is based on science and self-experimentation by Seth Roberts. The idea is that we all have a set-point (a food thermostat) and the higher the set-point, the longer it will take for us to feel full (just as a temperature thermostat regulates the temperature).
The goal is to lower your set-point for food just as you would lower the thermostat to lower the overall temperature of your home. As you lower your set-point, you eat less to get full, and in eating less your body shrinks.
So how do you lower your set-point? Roberts lists a number of methods but the one he found most successful – in fact consistently proven – was taking a combination of sugar water and flavourless oil as part of his regular diet.
The beauty of it is that you don’t need to change any of your eating habits at all – you just add the sugar water or flavourless oil to your daily intake and let the magic begin.
Onto My Experience…
It took me a little while to get my head around the concept of the book at first, it seemed to make sense reading it but then when I came to try and explain it I struggled. Still after finishing I decided I’m crazy enough to try it. I started out by taking a tumbler glass of cold water with a tablespoon of sugar in – what I didn’t remember was that I was supposed to sip it. Remove my appetite? It did – but also left me with a giant headache! I then took to boiling the water and drinking it like I would tea or coffee which is much less pain.
It took a few days for the weight loss to kick in, but the appetite died straight away. I found I could easily dodge a packet of crisps or chocolate bar. Interestingly, when I did finally become hungry, I became hungry for much healthier things, and new tastes. This all happened without any conscious thought – Instead of buying a chocolate bar when I found myself in a cafe or newsagent, I’d mysteriously find some sort of will power to simply ignore it. It’s like magic – all craving and hunger gone.
After a while on the sugar water, the sweet taste in your mouth gets a bit sickly so I decided to hit the extra-light olive oil. I poured a table spoon and slurped it back. After about half an hour I felt the oil sinking to the bottom of my stomach and when that happens – the thought of a greasy packet of crisps is enough to make you feel physically sick. The oil felt like it had 3x the power of the sugar water – I could get by on one meal a day and eat nothing all evening – every time I turned to the cupboard where the biscuits are I had to look away.
I kept it up for a month and consistently lost weight. Unfortunately things changed at work and I found myself working late and on an irregular schedule. I still managed to lose weight but not as fast. I seem to be over the busy period now so I’m going to get back into the routine and I’m aiming to lose another 3 stone. At this rate I calculate I could manage this by October in time for our 4th wedding anniversary – so I’ll post updates.
One caveat I think I have discovered. At one point a few weeks ago I attempted to ramp up the weight loss and started taking 3 tablespoons of oil in one go – this seemed to have a counter effect – it was putting me off my appetite but achieved little. So the best advice here is not to go gung-ho, you’ll just hit the other side of the bell curve. Just maintain a steady course and the weight will eventually drop off. I’ve found it tends to be a ratio of 3 pounds off, 1 or 2 pounds on.
So how did much weight have I lost so far? In 2 months I’ve lost 13 pounds – 1 pound shy of a stone. I may have lost more too if I had followed it consistently, but I have even skipped days due to a hectic work schedules. I have not been meticulous in tracking results as I wasn’t sure how it would go, but here is my personal chart of what I did track so far:
I have managed to convince others, but no-one yet has taken it up. I was stopped outside church on Sunday by someone who had noticed the weight loss and wanted to know how I did it. I have still yet to convince my fiercest critic – my loving wife, but at least she’s stopped calling it a placebo!
If this has whet your appetite (pun intended) or got you interested then you can pick up a copy of The Shangri-la Diet at amazon.co.uk.