Bryan Caplan  

The "Too Simple to Write a Book About It" Diet

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Yesterday I did a 10-minute interview in my office with self-experimentalist and diet guru Seth Roberts. Today he blogged it:

My self-experimentation inspired Bryan Caplan to do his own self-experiment: Could he lose weight by eating less without discomfort? He did two things:

1. Stopped eating when he wasn’t hungry. During a meal he began to pay close attention to how hungry he was. When he stopped being hungry, he stopped eating, even if it meant leaving food on his plate. Before this he rarely left food on his plate. Now it was common.

2. Cut down on his soda consumption. Previously he was drinking at least two cans/day of Coke or IBC Root Beer (both non-diet). He reduced this to one can/day, which he found was enough to keep his energy up.

Bryan is 5′ 10″. When this started he weighed about 178 pounds. Over 9 months, his weight went down to 155, where it has remained for 9 months. “Is this something I’m willing to do for the rest of my life?” he asks. “Yes.”

If I were going to write a book about my diet, I'd call it Don't Clean That Plate! But my diet (or, as I prefer to call it, "lifestyle") is far too simple to fill a book. The upside, perhaps, is that my eating advice is unusually practical - it's not only painless; it's easy to remember.


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COMMENTS (9 to date)
Mason writes:

I've been working on a similarly simple diet, the Dollar Diet. Instead of tracking calories I've been traking my food spending (only at lunch). I came up with a budget of $4 a day, this is more than enough for those little frozen meals (~300 cals.), but not enough for a lunch out (~600+ cals.). So before I can buy a foot-long meatball sub, I've got to save up for it, both in dollars and in calories.

I must admit my success has been limited, down ~10lbs since November, but I think if I were to apply this idea to dinner and snacking it would be more succesful.

Independent George writes:

Mason - stay away from the McDonald's dollar menu...

Amy writes:

I lost 40 lbs five years ago and have kept it off using a similar method (less food/more exercise). It's surprising how easy it is...but you've got to stick with it. For once, my stubbornness works to my advantage!

dearieme writes:

American Exceptionalism - grown men drinking lots of fizzy pop.

John Thacker writes:

A third thing that's useful to people who work in an office or live in an apartment:
3. Take the stairs, not the elevator. It doesn't cost you time like going to the gym.

Dan Weber writes:

I think the diet could be called "Throw Food Away."

I've thought of creating a blog about that, but I couldn't think of more than 2 posts to write for it.

A lot of us have issues with throwing away food, but if did it regularly, we wouldn't eat so much.

Chuck writes:

First off, congrats. That's commendable.

I think you tried the Shangri-la diet (Seth Roberts's semi-famous diet) a while back without success, but I really think you should give it a full two weeks and use the oil method instead of the sugar method.

The Shangri-la diet is practically a gift from the Almighty. It works with even less effort than your simple diet plan.

Gabriel writes:

But food is expensive!

DJH writes:

In other news, Bryan Caplan has dramatically lowered his daily eating pleasure while maintaining the same level of expenditure.

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