I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I quit smoking thirty years ago, going up and down 30 pounds several times. All I can tell you is that it’s a helluva lot easier going up than it is coming down, though you probably already knew that.
Five months ago I took up the cues offered occasionally by Glenn Reynolds to the work of science writer Gary Taubes. Glenn had linked to Taubes’s book Why We Get Fat. Taubes recommends a low-carb/no-carb diet, as some of the popular diet books apparently do, both for reasons of weight control and overall health.
I reported on my experience following a low carb/no carb diet after 25 days in “Dietetically incorrect.” I have now been following an unmethodical version of the diet for five months: no bread, no sandwiches, no pasta, no pizza, no fruit, no sugar, no desserts. I haven’t eliminated the sugar from salad dressing or the beans from chili, but otherwise have tried to avoid obvious sources of carbohydrates. When hungry between meals I have snacked on cashews or cheese.
As of today, I am down around 25 pounds. Eliminating desserts from my diet and overcoming the craving for them after meals seem like an accomplishment, but I am also eating substantially less than I did before the diet, without trying. One of the attractions of the diet to me was that it doesn’t depend on reducing portions.
Other than the weight loss, lethargy in the morning is the most noticeable change that I feel. I haven’t figured that out yet.
The first 14 days of the diet made me feel like I did when I quit smoking 30 years ago. I missed desserts. I craved them after every meal. I was depressed not to be able to look forward to them.
After 14 days the cravings vanished, seemingly miraculously, and it has been almost no effort to stay on the wagon for the past four months since my initial post. After that initial post on the subject, incidentally, I read Taubes’s (long) New York Times Magazine article “Is sugar toxic?” It “feels” to me like the logical extension of Taubes’s dietary writings. If you are struggling with weight issues, Taubes is worth checking out. (I also cited some critical pieces on Taubes in my initial post.) I am grateful to InstaPundit for sending me in his direction.
Taubes is a sober writer. I don’t think he is ever intentionally humorous in his writings on diet. For the humorous take we go (as I did in my initial post) to Woody Allen, who gives us something like the condensed version of the Taubes doctrine in his great comedy Sleeper (clip below).