The Diet Fix

I recently read the book The Diet Fix, and it’s main points seem worth briefly summarizing. Basically, as I myself have written about, just about any reasonable-sounding diet you try will likely enable you to lose weight in the short run, but very few people manage to keep weight off in the long run. The basic thesis of The Diet Fix is that this happens because most people are miserable on their diets, which means they break them eventually, and the solution is for people to find diets they can be happy on, and only try to lose as much weight as they can lose without being miserable (because if losing the weight makes you miserable, you’ll probably gain it back).

The Diet Fix also claims that being able to consume fewer calories without feeling hungry comes down to two things: (1) timing of eating and (2) protein intake. Basically, to lose weight, you want to make sure you start your day by eating a breakfast that includes some kind of protein, make sure you get enough protein at lunch and dinner, and also eat small but high-protein snacks throughout the day. Other things the book advocates include:

  • Keeping careful track of everything you eat in a food diary.
  • Using a food scale to measure portions.
  • Avoiding eating out too much.
  • When you do eat out, erring on the high side when estimating calories/portion size, because restaurants have incentives to err on the side of large portions.
  • Exercise regularly, because exercise seems correlated with long-term weight loss, but don’t count on calories burned exercising for weight loss.

The protein hypothesis may explain why I’ve found that lentils are a great food in terms of actually making me fell full. The Diet Fix inspired me to go back to actually making lentils for myself on a regular basis, with some help from a rice cooker—I used to eat lentils a lot, but had fallen out of the habit because of difficulty finding time to cook. It also inspired me to get my hands on some vegan protein bars, which I think was a good decision.

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