Update Jan, 14, 2013. I've now been No S-ing for three years. I lost another 7% of my original weight over this last year, for a total of 18% down. I am fitting into a size of pants I haven't been able to wear for more than 15 years. This is with no regular exercise (maybe this year!), still slipping at times, and after menopause. I still can't imagine having stuck to anything else this long. My appetite has continued to diminish. It's surprising how small my meals can be and still be enough. This is now my normal way of eating.
Update Dec. 20, 2011 I wanted to update this review because of the reality of most dieting efforts: 97% of those who reach goal gain most, all, or even more weight back; of those who do not right away, only 25% have kept the weight off after 5 years. I'm here after committing to at least a year of No S on Jan. 1 of 2010. After a year, I had no desire to ever return to traditional dieting. Thus it is nearly two years later. Is it bad news that I have not reached a low weight? It will be to some, but the wise will see that being able to sustain an 11% weight loss with no consistent added exercise and only 85% compliance is a real-life victory. (Did you know that a 5-10% sustained loss that leaves most obese patients still obese is considered great success in the anti-obesity medical industry? It's true. Check google scholar, not the average websites.) People tell me I look good and are surprised that I'm still a bit overweight by BMI standards. I'm happy to report that though there have been ups and downs, they have been much milder than anything in my previous 40 years of attempts at weight loss, and it's getting easier all the time! I rarely crave junk, I actually prefer savory meals over sweet desserts most of the time, and I love getting hungry! I do not fear food! I also feel I look better than I thought I did in my 20's, though I'm heavier now. Maybe that's a function of age and resignation, but it really feels a lot more like the result of hundreds of delicious meals savored and hundreds of sufficient gaps between those meals to engender enjoyment and the realization that the greater stringency to get skinny would not likely be sustainable. I'm sure there are chemical reasons for these successes; I do look at the literature on such at times and find that much of what Reinhard suggests is backed by science; the astonishing fact is that he gleaned this without spending his time on the science, but more on 1) examining the habits of generations here and in other cultures, as well as those before us who attempted the fulfilled life and 2) using their precepts to live it himself, looking for a way to avoid the food and exercise obsessions of so many to that he could turn his attention to so much more that matters in life; his profession, his wife and children (I hope they feel his loving attention), and the great minds of civilization. At least those are the ones he is public about. He is unfailing kind to all except the purveyors of false hope, and his program is a reflection of that humous kindness. But you don't have to admire the heck out of Reinhard to get benefit from the program.
I've been on the No S boards long enough now to see many who ran from the everyday pragmatics of the program to the arms of the traditional diet industry return ready to surrender after more failure and weight gain. Like the father of the prodigal son, we rejoice and open our arms with no approbation. Come and live sanity and peace with food, the new prosperity of 21st century modern life.
If you're looking for a way to return to or experience long-term sanity with regard to food this new year, please give No S a real college try. Even if it's not perfect for you, I doubt it will do the damage most programs do, though everyone handles failure in his/her own way. Dec. 20, 2011
This is from my original review so long ago. I've actually rarely followed traditonal diet books that dictated exactly what to eat when. I learned early of the idea of de-criminalizing food and of the difference between hunger and the desire to eat. However, I still ate too much and gained weight. I couldn't find a way to be disciplined about how much and when to eat. I also spent a few years trying to follow the eat-5-to-6 times a day advice of the bodybuilder crowd, assuming that they were THE experts in fat loss, and that fat loss was the holy grail of weight loss. Trouble was, my real goal was not to get to an extremely low bodyfat-a dubious goal, in my opinion- but to learn to eat in accordance with my body's real needs AND live in the real world. In short, to make peace with food, my body, and my work/social life .
Reinhard is the first to say that even this "diet" program is a work in progress, but, for me, 55 and counting, this is the best of many worlds when it comes to trying to live peaceably with food and reach a healthy weight.
No one said that you don't need a calorie deficit to lose weight. What is said is that there are other ways to limit calories and that psychological elements combined with greater attunement with the body's true needs are what really help people make long-term changes in their eating habits. Many people who maintain their weight and have very good health profiles eat three meals a day. Naturally slim people never count calories. How is it that they maintain the same weight, often for years, without figuring out their intake and expenditures? The answer is that the body already knows! What has to be removed are the screens that cover up the body's feedback and the impetus to eat according to its needs. The fact that this has been hard to do for many overeaters doesn't mean it isn't true. It also doesn't mean you become a slave to your hunger, as many of the programs that advocate eating only when hungry and stopping before you are full make you, any more than you want to remain a slave to your impulses to overeat. Over a period of time, the "diet" is giving me a chance to learn how to balance this eating machine within the parameters of human culture, i.e., to eat reasonably and moderately and still enjoy the social and entertainment aspects of food. I thought at first that free eating on the weekends would carry over into the week, but it's been true that the five days in a row of three meals a day without a lot of restrictions besides no sweets, as well as the liberating sense that I have not failed by eating a little too much on the weekends, has really helped dull the desire to keep going on the chocolate after Sunday.
If you have real health problems that absolutely dictate that you eliminate certain foods and eat at more frequent intervals, Reinhard would be the first to tell you to listen to your doctor and do what she says! But most overweight people are not in that category. Do yourself a favor, give up the belief that some diet that recommends many restrictions to start--promoting speed at the expense of a real solution--, get this book, and commit to ending the cycle of optimistic curtailment, failure, and discouragement. It doesn't mean you will get this first try, but you when you do, you'll feel that it really will get easier and that you can do this...forever.