An Indianapolis man named Hugh, who goes by Nufftin on the Shangri-La Diet forums, has been blogging about his weight loss (including graphs) at increments of 10 pounds lost (he writes a post when he’s lost 10 pounds, 20 pounds, etc.). So far he’s lost more than 50 pounds and is close to his goal weight, which is near his weight in college.
I decided to read all the entries and note what I learned. He started more than a year ago.
November 2011. He’s been gaining weight for a long time. He is about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs more than 200 pounds, giving him a BMI in the 30s. He does not explain why he decided to try it. He has nice clothes that no longer fit.
April 2012 (10 pounds down). It took a long time to lose the first 10 pounds because he started just before Thanksgiving and Christmas, big eating holidays, and he gave up. He started again January 1 and gave up again. Then he started again in February. Daily weight spikes can be as much as 4 pounds (he weighs 4 pounds more on Tuesday than he did on Monday), but that only happened once (New Year’s Party?). After he becomes consistent with the diet (in February), the graph of his daily weights is enormously convincing that the diet works.
May 2012 (20 pounds down). Here’s exactly how he does the diet: “a shot glass full of extra-light tasting olive oil in the morning, with no eating for an hour each side; two heaping tablespoons of table sugar dissolved in as much water as it will take to dissolve it in the evening.” (You can see why I would write a rather short book about such a diet.) He also does 15 minutes of exercise most days but I won’t describe it in detail since it doesn’t seem to matter — he stops exercising but keeps losing weight. Some old clothes now fit again. Only two people have commented on his weight loss. Maybe everyone notices but intentional weight loss is so rare it could be he’s dying. (Which is what one of my Berkeley colleagues thought about my weight loss. He actually said, “Are you dying?”) No one wants to hear that.
July 2012 (30 pounds down). The diet does require some effort. “I lost concentration for a couple of nights and, BOOM. To be fair, it was due to two great dinner parties (feta cheese hamburgers and The Descendants at one, Cuban sandwiches at the other).” These two “losses of concentration” did not have long-term effects. After 5-6 days — how long it took an unusually large amount of food to pass through his body and his salt balance to return to normal? — after those parties, his weight returned to its usual downward line.
September 2012 (40 pounds down). One of his shirts is now too big for him. He gained 6 pounds during a two-week trip. The gained weight comes off quickly (in about a week) but this time there is a noticeable long-term effect: Weight loss resumes at the same rate as before but the function is shifted by two weeks. He stops his 15 minutes of exercise and nothing happens to his rate of weight loss.
January 2013 (50 pounds down). It has taken 15 months to lose 50 pounds. There was one serious plateau, from December 2012 to January 2013, where he did not lose weight. Almost all of his pants are too big. He can take off his shirt at the pool.