Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sweetwater Diet, part IV

Seth Roberts is guest-blogging at the Freakonomics blog here. Apparently his list of weight-loss aids now includes - in addition to sugar water - "a few tablespoons of olive oil between meals" and the occasional raw egg. He still claims these are evidence that one can break a pavlovian mental connection between taste and food.

I have a simpler explanation.

I think Seth has rediscovered the notion that one can alleviate hunger better with many small meals than a with few big ones. There is a lag between the body getting enough calories and the hunger sensor getting switched off. If you eat slowly enough or in small enough chunks you are less likely to "overshoot" and eat more than the bare minimum required to turn off that sensor. Some people succeed at losing weight by this method.

Ah, but how to snack safely? People who start eating a few potato chips can find it hard to stop. Mr. Robert's solution: snacks that are monotonous, tasteless, maybe even a little nauseating. His snacks relieve hunger because they contain calories, but don't encourage more eating because they are unappetizing.

Rice cakes would probably work just about as well as the other three items.

UPDATE: "Seth's friend Tim" (who lost 100 pounds) provides some detail on his experience with what he calls "taste celibacy" in a comment.


At 12:19 PM, Blogger tastecelibacy said...

I am "Seth's friend Tim" (Timothy Beneke) who lost 100 pounds pictured with a "before" (March 1999) and "after" (September 1, 2005) picture in the photo gallery at the freakonomics site. (Before: After: I made use of Seth's basic principle that calories with weak or even zero taste reduce hunger, and developed a new method. Consuming calories with weak taste, and more recently, with zero taste, practicing what I call "taste celibacy" has enabled me to lose the weight.

Some weight details:
November 2, 1999 -- weight: 280. Began eeating weaker tasting low glycemic index foods -- eating fruits instead of juice, cutting out strong tasting desserts; no bread or potatoes; eating more low GI fruits and vegies (I used the book "The Glucose Revolution" as a guide to glycemic index.)

September 2000. weight: 250.

July 2003. Weight: 250. Began using roughly 350 calories of Star light-tasting olive oil a day scattered between meals, and continued to eat somewhat weaker tasting/low GI foods.

June 2004. Weight 210. Began experimenting with a mush, composed of liquified fruits and vegetables, mixed with a powder made of brown rice, almond meal, flax seed meal, dry non-fat milk, garbonzo powder, potato flour, and soy protein powder. I cooked it all together in water until it reached a moderately hard consistency. Then I take a tiny spoon, take some mush, and place it in my mouth, and take a big gulp of water and float it down my throat bypassing taste. I wash my my mouth out with water if I notice any lingering taste residue -- which is rare. Doing 25% of my calories with mush and olive oil only kept me at 210 for 10 months.

April 22, 2005. Weight 210. Then I began experimenting with total taste celibacy -- getting, initially for a few days 100% of my calories taste free. Between April 22, and today, September 17, averaging about 75% of my calories taste free, I've gone from 210 to 177, and am confident I can lose a bit more. I plan to lose another 8 pounds. I found, to my surprise that while taste celibacy deprives me of a certain pleasure, it's also liberating because eating has been such a source of worry, guilt, anxiety and ambivalence for so long.

There is a great deal more I could say but will stop for now.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

I agree about the change in the emotional states about eating.

I'm so pleased to be in the midst of the holiday season and to be losing weight instead of putting it on without even thinking about it.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

Any updates on how it is working for you? I switched to olive oil and it continues to work for me. It is amazing sometimes.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Glen said...

Are you asking me or Tim? Me, I gave up on the sugar diet and have just been eating normally with a whole lot of exercise. See my Videogame Workout blog for details.

At 4:46 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

I was asking Blogjack ... didn't realize you had two blogs, I'll check that out.

Bottom line, you switched to a brute force method. Now that I've lost enough weight to exercise like I used to, I'm tempted to do that myself.

At 6:00 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

Neat, glad to see you are back on the diet and blogging about it at:

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have to wait an hour after taking the oil or sugar water to smoke a cigarette?

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can you eat anything you want or does it have to be tastless food?do you take the oilbefore or aftermeals?I have heard boyh ways which way is right.I had some bean soup is that to tasty?


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