The Easy Diet
June 5, 2005 12:02 AM   Subscribe

Sick of all those fad diets? The No S Diet consists of fourteen words: No snacks, no sweets, no seconds except (sometimes) on days that start with 's'. It's sound advice and fairly easy to stick to. And what would a diet be without some exercise?
posted by bbrown (38 comments total)
Damn, hit "POST" too soon. I should have made the title of this entry "The Eay Diet."
posted by bbrown at 12:05 AM on June 5, 2005

If it's all in those fourteen words, why do I even need to click on the link? Hmm...
posted by kjh at 1:00 AM on June 5, 2005

It's not really particularly sound advice. It amounts to 'have a bunch of will power that, if you had it, you wouldn't be having this problem in the first place.' Also, there's nothing inherently wrong with snacks. In fact, eating smaller meals, or several healthy snacks throughout the day is an excellent way to cut down on the amount you eat overall.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:05 AM on June 5, 2005

You wouldn't take diet advice from a fat person, why take it from a fat book?

Hard to argue with that logic. Seriously though, sounds all right to me, though I couldn't follow it. Fortunately, I'm not overweight. Jacquilynne, I think it's reasonable as a diet - you're supposed to dedicate yourself to eating right on a diet, and as regimens go this one seems simple, straightforward, and probably effective. Does require willpower, of course... but no calculator.

are you allowed to eat 'sparagus?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:13 AM on June 5, 2005

Jacquilynne: maybe, but he answers your points on that page too.

I have to disagree with you about willpower. Is there some other diet plan that works without willpower? Of course not. So why not attack the root problem, directly?

In my experience, people overestimate how much willpower is required, and underestimate how adaptable they are.

This guy is talking about having three normal plates of non-dessert food per day. With treats more than two days out of seven. Show me the person who is not capable of this.
posted by brevity at 1:58 AM on June 5, 2005

I was thinking of posting a fpp on dieting, namely the Hacker's Diet; we haven't seen a post on that for a good long time.

Last year I lost 50lbs over 6 months on a plan similar to this... to lose 2lbs/week consistently requires maintaining a 1000kcal/day deficit, which in turn indeed requires:
  • Cutting back portions to the minimal nutritional necessity (absolutely no second helpings, in fact I would often spread large dinners over 2 days)
  • no crap carbs from starches and sugars, since simple carbs just drive blood sugars up which results in more insulin, which interferes with fat metabolism and causes just more hunger down the roadspreading those 1500kcal I was getting strategically throughout the day to keep me going and avoid hunger pangs.
So I disagree about the no-snacking bit (ah, in RTFA see he just talks more about grazing than actual set mini-meals), I had a 200kcal mid-day snack to get me from lunch to dinner, but he is right in cutting out after-dinner snacks; the basic idea is to eliminate the "grazing" behavior one does that adds those extra 300-500kcal/day that results in long-term weight gain.

The taking a break on weekends isn't that bad advice, especially if you use the extra calories to get out of the house and burn some of it off. Weekends on this plan should model eating behaviors that you will keep to after you reach your goal.

The most important things I learned from my experience:

1) Don't try to lose all the weight all at once. Pace yourself to lose no more than 2lbs/week or 1% of bodyweight, whichever is less. Losing too fast strips off muscle tissue, and that's bad.

2) Don't be afraid of healthy fats, like the fats in almonds. Fat in moderation is satiating, healthy, and I think makes the caloric deficit be not that bad since it gives the stomach something to do. Traditional low-fat diets are really just high-carb diets, and carbs are basically nutritionally barren unless you're eating cardboard breads.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:11 AM on June 5, 2005

"Chances are that you found this site through an ad, so let me explain."

There's truth in his statement. The ad was on MeFi.

bbrown...just for the you have any link or association with everydaysystems?
posted by peacay at 2:13 AM on June 5, 2005

As for his argument why the Japanese are so skinny, I can say it is because most people carry their groceries home from the store three or four times a week. When you've only got two bags to fill, you buy less crap.

Plus, in the cities at least, they have to walk a lot more than we do, and the whole swinging the SUV by the drive-thru after work is just not something they do (I didn't see a single drive-thru when I was there 1992-2000).

Also, in the US, when people get too fat we give them special placards so they can park close to everything and our stores now have motorized chairs so they can maneuver their fat glutonous asses around like Baron Harkonnen, while in Japan having to hoof it for 10-15 minutes each morning to the train station, and the half-hour-plus ride (often standing) provides a countervailing effect on weight-gain for most people.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:30 AM on June 5, 2005

This is basically the eat less calories and less sugar diet. Isn't that what doctors always recommend (unless they have written a diet book and hope to profit from it)? If you stick to this diet it should work. It seems like every diet these days must have a gimmick, and here the gimmick is simplicity (make that ?implicity).
posted by caddis at 3:12 AM on June 5, 2005

Here's my fad-diet-of-the-moment contest entry:
Don't eat fatty, sweetened or salted food and make sure you get an extra helping of fruit/veges on days that end with 'y'.

And get some frickin' excercise, lard-ass.
posted by spazzm at 6:11 AM on June 5, 2005

I loved the Shovel Glove link! Although I prefer to use a redneck katana.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:19 AM on June 5, 2005

Also, in the US, [. . .] our stores now have motorized chairs so they can maneuver their fat glutonous asses around like Baron Harkonnen[. . . .]

You, Heywood Mogroot, just made my day.
posted by mistersquid at 6:37 AM on June 5, 2005

"...and our stores now have motorized chairs so they can maneuver their fat glutonous asses around..."

Actually, those motorized chairs are for people who have legitimate problems with mobility, typically the elderly, and are most emphatically not for the obese. Those chairs can only handle so much weight, after all, and to those of us who work in stores that offer these chairs, it pains us to see an arthritic person having to hobble around because the motor chair is being taken up by an ungrateful sow. (And yes, they usually are ungrateful sows, as the more polite among the overweight don't typically expect everything to be handed to them.)
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:41 AM on June 5, 2005

Good thing for me I find spinach delicious.
posted by jon_kill at 8:41 AM on June 5, 2005

Jacquilynne, I think it's reasonable as a diet - you're supposed to dedicate yourself to eating right on a diet, and as regimens go this one seems simple, straightforward, and probably effective.

The difficulty I have with it is this:

There's nothing in there that tells you how to accomplish any of these things. Just 'if you fail, try again'. So what happens when it is 3 o'clock in the afternoon and you're completely starving and you JUST. WANT. FOOD?

Based on what's written on that page - who the hell knows. Either you suffer for the next few hours until its time for dinner, or you fail, and repeated failure is what makes people give up on diets, and it causes long term damage to their ability to cope with any kind of change. There's no strategy for coping with the changes they suggest - just 'go ahead and do it'.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:57 AM on June 5, 2005

"Completely starving"? Bullshit - you're hungry. Just a little hungry, compared to most of the people on the fucking planet. You'll eat soon enough, and yes, you can "suffer" till dinner. And at dinner, if you know what's good for you, you'll eat just enough to be good and hungry again at breakfast-time.

This idea that we should never be hungry - that we should eat so much or so often that each meal meets the previous one and the next before it leaves our fore-gut - is the definition of gluttony.

Eat less. Just 'go ahead and do it'.
posted by nicwolff at 9:19 AM on June 5, 2005

I have a very simple diet plan (with which I've lost 50 pounds in the last 4ish months). Eat less and exercise more. If you want, I can extend it out to 30,000 words and then sell it to you for $9.95.
posted by drezdn at 9:44 AM on June 5, 2005

Unfortunately 'diets' are seen as short-term. What people need to realize is you need to change your lifestyle, whether it is to lose weight, change your cholesterol or whatever your goal may be.

Lose the weight without really changing your lifestyle, and you will gain the weight back. So, for the 'No S' plan, it's not bad in that it wants you to make significant changes toward a more healthy lifestyle. Great, but call it that.

Basically, eat modestly, exercise, plan ahead for your snacks (an apple at the office saves a trip to the vending machine.) Otherwise, all the diets on the market are BS for the most part, as they generally are not long term oriented.
posted by fluffycreature at 10:39 AM on June 5, 2005

The not snacking thing is a recipe for failure. I have dropped 40 pounds the last six months by breaking my eating out to several small meals. I eat at 8 and 10 in the morning (shake and power or protein bar), then lunch, and usually another bar or popcorn around 2:30. Dinner at 6 then I keep three jars of my 'allowed' snacks (right now marshmallows, raisins and peanuts).
posted by UseyurBrain at 10:46 AM on June 5, 2005

Something must be working for this guy, though...he's HOT! Too bad he seems to be married...
posted by ChrisTN at 10:58 AM on June 5, 2005

"Completely starving"? Bullshit - you're hungry.

Don't be an asshole, nicwolff, it doesn't become you. Of course you're not completely starving when you want a granola bar. Despite my recent weight loss, I could eat nothing for close to a year and not actually starve to death. But it's still unpleasant and distracting and hard to deal with. Regardless of the intellectual realities, eating is an emotional and physical thing, not an intellectual thing and any advice that doesn't recognize that is useless.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:16 AM on June 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

None whatsoever. I just found the links a few days ago and thought they were FPP-worthy.
posted by bbrown at 11:46 AM on June 5, 2005

Speaking of being hungry, I forgot to mention that I am also on Topamax. This was originally marketed for people with seizures and migraines.

They found that people taking it tended to drop weight pretty fast. It makes you feel full. Without this my body would have been making me miserable as I was cutting my caloric intake by 50% daily.
posted by UseyurBrain at 11:58 AM on June 5, 2005

Calories in<Calories out
How you do it is up to you.
I know it's hard, but so are many things worth doing.
[I also support the small meals, but I think the point is that they should be considered meals and not impromptu snacks.]
posted by OmieWise at 12:29 PM on June 5, 2005

I have a very simple diet plan (with which I've lost 50 pounds in the last 4ish months). Eat less and exercise more. If you want, I can extend it out to 30,000 words and then sell it to you for $9.95.

Oh, geez, it's that simple? Whatever amount I'm eating right now, I should just eat less. And however much I'm exercising, I should just exercise more. *smacks head* Now why didn't I or the other millions of obese Americans just think of that?

I guess we lack the common sense of drezdn. Or maybe sometimes we'd like a *little* more guidance than vague platitudes.
posted by bbrown at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2005

bbrown: Now why didn't I or the other millions of obese Americans just think of that?

You didn't think of it because there's a zillion-dollar diet industry dedicated to making you think it's really complex. It isn't.

Yeah, it's a vague platitude, and perhaps it sounds like this is a slap in the face if you've struggled with your weight.

But I bet that whatever you tried was not something that activated the best system for losing weight: your own mind.
posted by brevity at 2:20 PM on June 5, 2005

I can say that before I decided to diet I really hadn't internalized the 'eat less' part. I had read that fat cells, once created, never disappear (which is true), and I thought losing 10lbs would be a herculean struggle requiring the pain of starvation for months.

In reality I found it wasn't that bad. 1lb of fat is roughly 3500kcal of energy. Undereating by 500kcal/day will result in a one lb/week loss rate (for normal people with healthy metabolisms).

The point of dieting is to induce your fat cells to dump their contents, reducing fat mass you're carrying around. The advice in the fpp link is pretty decent to get this to happen (avoiding sugar, portion control, not grazing between meals).

The critical change comes when you begin to think of food as fuel not entertainment. At work going to the vending machine was a ready-built excuse for a 10-minute work-break. Not good.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:34 PM on June 5, 2005

I agree with those who feel that the basic principle of weight loss is acutally quite simple: you have to burn more calories than you take in. How to monitor these amounts is where it gets difficult. And face it, members of western society are lazy. We want to start losing weight with as little effort and as little lifestyle change as possible. Lets see, I could figure out the calories of everything I eat every day and start working out every other day FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE... or take this little pill. hmmm......
posted by boymilo at 2:45 PM on June 5, 2005

I have been doing almost exactly what this post describes for about two months. I have lost over fourteen pounds so far. Maybe more, I weigh tomorrow.

It works. It isn't instant, but it is actually easier than it sounds. And I don't consider it a diet, just a lifestyle change.
posted by konolia at 2:53 PM on June 5, 2005

Now why didn't I or the other millions of obese Americans just think of that?

It's really that easy, as pointed out in the thread above, losing weight is done by making your caloric intake less than your output. Really, as pointed out in the abs diet book, most diet programs help you lose weight by limiting your caloric intake in some way or other (taking in less carbs, taking in less fat, taking in less sugar); but when it comes down to it, it's all just reducing your calories.

To just lose weight, one could just pick up a calorie counting book (the Doctor's Pocket Guide is one of the best) and follow their one page guide to how many calories to eat to lose 2 lbs a week (I believe it's 1200-1400 if you don't work out, 1500-1800 if you do). When I did it, at first I still ate plenty of fast food, because it was easy to get the calorie counts for them.

There are other little things that really help out, such as taking pictures of yourself, eating 5-6 small meals, etc.

As to why other people didn't think of it, I don't know, I stole it from Bloom Country.
posted by drezdn at 4:06 PM on June 5, 2005

I've been feeling guilty this past weekend and thinking about the role food plays in basic sociability. I ended up having two entire dinners on both Saturday and Sunday night - dinners with friends followed by going to someone's house where another dinner was unexpectedly laid on. Not that I was particularly hungry after the first meal, but the food was an excuse for having a congenial time with friends. Maybe that's something to add to the willpower issue.

Also, I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the Shovel Glove and am mentally picturing myself spastically slinging around the sledgehammer sitting in a corner of my bedroom. There's a certain dignity in its modesty that rescues it from ridiculousness - but it also reveals just how ridiculous most exercise machines are.
posted by incrediblemelk at 5:50 PM on June 5, 2005

I was pointed to this site recently, and I take his point as being that in simpler times, people ate less processed foods, and did more "purposeful actions" (it's there somewhere, the shovelglove is supposedly an example) like chopping firewood and so on, and were consequently healthier. He talks alot about the paradox of "exercise" (doing useless activity when we've designed life to involve as little physical work at all).
posted by ~rschram at 7:46 PM on June 5, 2005

The fad is dead; long live the fad.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:39 PM on June 5, 2005

Gee, what's with all of these diets, anyway?
I can eat all the sweets, fats, and salty carbs i want and i still stay thi--

*shot dead by a lard-ass in spandex shorts*
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:19 PM on June 5, 2005

The critical change comes when you begin to think of food as fuel not entertainment.

Very nicely put. Understanding and paying attention to the nutrient content of food can have you quite quickly looking at things like chips ("fries") and thinking "why on earth would i want to eat that muck? It contains absolutely nothing of any value to my body!" Ditto pastries & sweets, ditto white bread, ditto almost all takeaway food, ditto half of what you see on any restaurant menu...

(munches mid afternoon grazing wholegrain toast with a thin layer of tahini and honey - *YUM*; retains "athletic" body mass index)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:28 PM on June 5, 2005

A few comments:
  • If you have a real sugar habit, it doesn't sound like a very good idea to go back on it at the weekend, you'll have horrible cravings on Monday.
  • If you are capable of planning ahead enough to keep some bland snacks handy you'll be able to keep hunger pangs under control without pigging out. I choose unsalted nuts, which are convenient and nutritious. They are also boring enough that I don't eat more than I really need so I don't worry about the high fat content.
  • No seconds seems a bit OTT when it comes to maintenance although I guess it's a good way to lose weight a bit faster.
I would suggest a much simpler diet: don't eat anything that is very habit-forming for you unless it's good for you (unfortunately, I have not found _anything_ really healthy that I want to eat compulsively but that's kind of the point) . The thing is to realize that cravings for these things lessen the less you expose yourself to them. For a proper treatment of dealing with sugar as an addiction I would recommend Kathleen DesMaison's Potatoes Not Prozac, she provides a thorough plan for treating food compulsions which takes a bit of work in terms of monitoring what you eat but provides a lot of structure which some people here have found lacking in the 3S plan. Also appealing to me is the fact that the book is geared towards feeling better rather than weight loss, which happens as a side effect.
posted by teleskiving at 12:44 AM on June 6, 2005

BlackLeotardFront, I suspect you're still allowed to eat 'sparagus, but it'll still make your pi' smell...
posted by runkelfinker at 1:52 AM on June 6, 2005

UbuRovias, i vow to overeat until i am obese, in reaction to your disgusting puritan diet programme.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:29 PM on June 6, 2005

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