DIETS STILL DON’T WORK by Bob Schwartz, PhD, Breakthru Publishing, Houston, Texas, 202 pp, $9.95 © 1990, by Robert M. Schwartz, ISBN: 0-942540-04-2.
Review by Del Meyer, MD
The Really Bad News
Dr. Bob Schwartz summarizes a lot of his first book, Diets
Don’t Work, (some thought this was a joke book) written in 1982 (with several
subsequent editions), in the first chapter of the present book. He owned twenty-six
health clubs in the west and southwest during his thirties. He had been on a hundred
different diets during that ten-year period and was successful every time at reaching
his weight-loss goal. But his weight always returned once he stopped dieting. He had
lost more than 2000 pounds during that decade but ended up weighing more.
One day as he was looking through the monthly weight
and measurement files in his health clubs, he ran across an old record of one of his
members who had been dieting and exercising for 20 years. Comparing her present day
records with those of 20 years earlier, he discovered that her present day weight and
measurements were bigger than when she had first started dieting and exercising. An
idea began to form in his head.
Some people go to a health club to gain weight. What
would happen if he were to put underweight people on the same diet that overweight
people were on to lose weight? Would they also gain weight?
The program was a hit. He found many volunteers and
they all gained weight.
Doctor Schwartz discovered two basic reasons for this
phenomenon. One is that diets lower your metabolism, or the rate at which your body
burns food. When the amount of food that your body has been receiving drops
drastically, your body figures that the planet has temporarily run out of food and
your metabolism slows down in order to compensate. The problem is that when you go
back to normal eating, your metabolism does not seem to pop right back up to where it
started. It moves up very cautiously. Some people have dieted so often that they can
actually starve and not lose any weight at all.
The other reason why diets don’t work, however,
seems to be the more important. He discovered that ANYTHING THAT HUMAN BEINGS ARE
DEPRIVED OF, THEY BECOME OBSESSIVE ABOUT. Diets are supposed to have you think less
about food, but just the reverse happens. We begin to think about food all of the
time. We even have dreams about eating.
Part Two of his first book, Diets Don’t Work,
is on “Dismantling the Dysfunctional Diet Mentality.” After this book was
published, Schwartz received countless letters from readers who were thrilled that
they were losing weight without dieting. They were most grateful, however, because
they had finally lost their obsession about food. They were amazed that this longtime
problem had vanished.
The Secret of Naturally Thin People
Dr. Schwartz then started studying in greater depth
the naturally thin people who had never had a weight problem. He found that some of
them had a high metabolic rate. But they were young and he knew their metabolism
would eventually slow down at which time they would probably have a weight problem.
Surprisingly he found that as these naturally thin
people grew older and their metabolism slowed down, their eating slowed down. How did
they do it?
He would ask these naturally thin people questions
that every fat person knows the answers to, such as, “How many calories are in
(whatever food they were eating)?” To Schwartz’ amazement, they had no clue. He
finally saw the light. Only fat people knew about calories.
How did the naturally thin people avoid putting more
food in their bodies than needed? That would be the secret to weight loss and keeping
it off. The naturally thin people had different eating habits. Some ate well-balanced
meals while others ate mostly fast foods. Some exercised regularly, but some did not
exercise at all. Some ate three meals a day, some ate one, and some ate six times a
day. What was the secret?
The Results of Schwartz’ Research
For almost everyone, being thin is a natural state.
It can be as easy and as natural to lose weight as it is to gain it.
Naturally thin people do four simple things that fat people don’t, and they
never diet. (See below)
People gain and keep weight for specific reasons and there are specific ways
to get and keep weight off.
It’s not weight that’s the real problem—it’s the mentality behind it.
Get rid of the mentality, and the weight comes off by itself, as quickly and as
naturally as it was put on.
How Thin People Think and Eat: The Real Secret
Schwartz recognizes the ultimate secret sounds
deceptively simple, but don’t be fooled. It may be the most difficult challenge
you've ever faced. The fundamentals of naturally thin people are as follows:
They don’t eat unless their body is HUNGRY.
They eat EXACTLY what they want—EXACTLY what will satisfy them.
They don’t eat unconsciously; they ENJOY every bit of what they are eating
and they are aware of the effect the food is having on their bodies.
They STOP eating when their bodies are no longer hungry.
Part Two gives more helps on how to dismantle the
dysfunctional “Diet Mentality” with new material and much in a workbook fashion
that one can use on a daily basis. There is a new Part Three on “Living the
Naturally Thin Life” with further helps on making the transition and again much of
it in a workbook outline for personal goals and recognition of accomplishments. These
books are available used from Amazon.com for just a couple of dollars that anybody
can obtain one for personal use. Truly a bargain compared to the other 26,000 diet
Schwartz had a goal of making America thin by the
year 2000. Although he missed it for the reasons he himself outlined as difficult, he
does give the sixty percent of Americans with a weight problem a glimmer of hope –
and health. Conquering the obesity disease is not an attainable goal. But if we could
get obesity moved from the upper end of the Bell Curve to the lower end, it would not
only improve individual health, but also significantly reduce heath care costs.
Reducing related metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, and many of the
contingent diseases such as hypertension, strokes, coronary and other cardiovascular
and peripheral vascular disease, including gangrene with amputations, as well as
diabetic kidney disease and diabetic peripheral neuropathy, would improve the quality of living. That is
an important and attainable goal for the twenty-first century.