Monday, February 27, 2012

synthesis (or lack of it)

I took "The Shangri-La Diet" on the plane with me yesterday; i thought i might be able to soak in and muse upon "the science behind the diet" in the enforced environment of low distraction.  It didn't work very well.

The philosophy seems to be based upon three unrelated research themes plus a generous helping of n=1 experience, and i'm darned if i can get any sense out of the stew.  Most of what Roberts put in the book is more of a "story" than an explanation.  ...So why the hell does it WORK???  I guess i need to find a better "explainer" online to approach the idea from a different perspective.

Also puzzling -- he described the use of the unflavored source of calories as a means of resetting the weight setpoint, but clearly warned that if one ceases to employ the technique, one will regain weight (i applaud him for telling the whole truth, as well as giving credit for improvements to those of his followers who tweaked and shared).  To me, this is not really RESETTING the "fat thermostat" -- it's more like the constant re-entering of the desired "temperature" on a thermostat which has lost its ability to store the programming which has already been entered.

I compare that to the results of the Strong Medicine technique, in which the long period of time that the patient has been eating the prescribed food list automatically makes him/her resistant to weight gain, once the ideal weight has been achieved.   Now, THAT is a reset.

While waiting for the shuttle at the San Francisco airport i started formulating my own version of the setpoint theory -- then the damn train arrived.  If this hotel has a hot-tub (i do my best mental work in water), i'll work on that line of thought again, from this starting point: 

Lean individuals have a very strong system in place which keeps their body composition remarkably balanced.  Many overweight individuals do too, at a higher number of pounds.  What they have in common is TIME SPENT AT THAT WEIGHT.  Most dieters are different because their weight is constantly on the move.  Perhaps homeostatic systems REQUIRE stability for awhile, to really function appropriately?  And the more one has dieted, the more this system is damaged, and it takes longer to make the body "confident" that this weight is the one it should be maintaining?  hmmmm....

I'm going to have to develop this theme more in a second post -- this one is getting a bit long already!  I was about to start speculating on the "magic resetting" aspect of the SMD regimen, and there's a lot of material there!


  1. Tess, that's an interesting idea about the importance of set-point stability. In my case, I definitely seem to have a weight set-point, but it does reset from time to time, and usually the changes are toward lower weights each time. That is good, but the change is frustratingly slow.

    In regard to Seth Rpberts' book about the Shangri-La Diet, I agree with some of his ideas, and I disagree with others.

    For example, his ideas about losing weight by consuming sugar water and extra light olive oil: I think that's pure nonsense, unless you consider it to be a placebo effect.

    On the other hand, I really like his style of self-experimentation. I am amazed by some of the results he comes up with ... even though, again, I still think some are placebo effects.

    But, for me, the most important lesson I got from Doctor Roberts' thinking is that self-experimentation is essential. I don't care if something works for everybody else; if it doesn't work for me, that's all I need to know.

    And, most leading medications don't seem to do anything good for me, so I don't take any meds. And that means that I don't get along with MDs when I refuse to take their meds.

    I often say that there's only one thing worse than a drug that makes me feel bad, and that is a drug that makes me feel good, because a feel-good drug is the one that might get me addicted.

    So far, the only pill that ever made me feel good was hydrocodone. I have only taken one htdrocodone pill in my life, and it made me feel so good that I immediately threw the rest of the bottle away.

    Why are doctors so eager to get everybody addicted to drugs? Are doctors doing any good for society?

    Sometimes I think that all addictive drugs -- and all the doctors that prescribe them -- should be banned.

  2. i have a real problem with the medical business, myself! no doubt, SOME doctors are stellar, but way too many are more interested in "the easy way" -- i.e. DRUGS. (of course, if their patients aren't willing to make an effort, there's not much else they can do.)

    yes, self-experimentation is the only way to know what works on one's own body -- which is essential when results are so often unpredictable, like with mine! :-)