On losing weight with the Shangri-La diet

I am an expert at losing weight. As of 2012 I’ve lost and then regained hundreds of pounds and although I’ve had periods of normal body mass, large periods of my life have been spent struggling to keep my waistline under control.

 It just so happens that I like real ales, so much so that in the mid 2000’s I learned to brew beer then ditched my job as an IT consultant and started the Adur Brewery. There are many advantages to the brewer’s lifestyle but you can certainly pile on the pounds if you are not careful. Since I already had a tendency to become overweight my fate was probably pre-ordained. This time however, I had been keeping up with the latest discoveries and I was able to do something effective about the problem.

 Anyone (and there are a lot of us, more every day) who’s ever been in the position of being seriously overweight will be aware of the negatives. The health problems are well known, and scarcely a day without various health nazis, TV programs, papers, and magazines underlining them. However, these are probably not the hardest issue to deal with. The main daily problem is the severe and unwarranted reaction of many others that we have to deal with on a daily basis.

 During my heavy periods I’ve been ridiculed, treated as a figure of fun, or even as a living offence against humanity by some of the less thoughtful people I’ve encountered. It’s true that being overweight can evoke an almost visceral sense of disgust in some – and they’ve not been shy about telling us either. I believe that many of the health impacts can be placed at the feet of the social stress that obesity places us under.

 The usual excuse for society’s reaction is that someone who is overweight is obviously greedy. If you are carrying some extra pounds as you read this you’ll be well aware that this simply isn’t true. Greedy eating is eating more than your fair share – meaningless if you buy and prepare your food yourself.

The fact that the majority of people are not overweight in today’s calorie rich environment, shows finely balanced the natural appetite controlling mechanism is. It’s galling to admit it but for many normally weighted people, maintaining a normal body weight is a easy and natural as breathing. The rest of us face a problem.

Its widely acknowledged that calorie restriction diets usually fail and for decades the search has been on for a pharmaceutical solution to the ‘growing epidemic of obesity’. In the eighties a drug combination called Fenfluramine/phentermine, fenphen for short, was available in the United States. It had some success but it had some dangerous side effects in some individuals. It was withdrawn in 1997.

About a decade ago, another drug became available – Sibutramine, marketed as Reductil, was one that I have had some personal experience with. At the time I weighed over 17 stone which does not sit well on a 5”9′ frame. Sibutramine had a list of potential side effects, but the main one you had to watch out for was an increase in blood pressure.

 In my case the main side effects were a tendency towards irritability. Gloriously, I lost weight – a lot of weight. I got down to 12 stone and managed to keep that off for 5 very happy years with two very short courses during that period when things started going literally pear shaped. There’s no doubt that I got my money’s worth from the drug. Sadly however, the blood pressure issue has also lead to the drug’s withdrawal throughout Europe. There are internet pharmacies that say they can supply the drug, but personally, in a world where drugs are routinely faked I’d be extremely wary of such a method of obtaining it.

 There are several other drugs that reduce appetite, including nicotine from cigarettes, but the real problem with a pharmaceutical solution is that you have to take the drug on a long term basis and its a rare drug that doesn’t have unwanted side effects of one kind or another. Cigarettes are particularly notorious in this regard given that one possible side effect is lung cancer.

 But it turns out that there is an alternative and natural way to lose weight that takes advantage of a discovery by Seth Roberts PhD. in 2006. He wrote a book on the subject called the ‘Shangri-La Diet’ that is still available and that I recommend. He was able to produce evidence that our weight is controlled by a set point mechanism, and he has been able to show that the set point can be changed by the sensory nature of the food we eat.

I found that the basic idea worked but it relies partly on timing and that my experience was improved with the help of a computer program, a little knowledge of the types of food we eat, and some basic psychological tricks. Since we can all carry computers around with us in the the form of iPhones and iPads I’ve created a tool that is destined to become App on the Apple App Store. It’s currently being tested, but once that’s complete and assuming Apple allow it, it will be available on the Apple App Store for free.

 Using the methods embodied in the diet and App I lost 40 pounds over 9 months pretty much painlessly. I’ve been able to keep the weight off ever since.

 There have been lots of diets publicized in the last 40 years, Scarsdale, F-Plan, Pritkin, Atkins, and the Hacker Diet, to name just a few – and I must have tried a most of them. The reason I’m writing about this one, is that for me, it worked. I didn’t feel hungry, I lost an enormous amount of weight, and I kept it off. As an ex-fatty I offer it to you I the hope that it may help. Losing weight is always a challenge, but the techniques outlined here make it a challenge you can overcome rather than an impossible one.

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