Snack FAQs?

Will It Work for Everyone?

No. In one medical practice, some patients lose weight on this diet, but others never try it, which is puzzling since the approach is so simple and requires no purchase or study.

Perhaps some are comfortable with their weight, despite external pressure to diet, and if so, good for them—through the ages and across cultures, vastly different weights have been considered healthy and attractive, so above all, your weight is your own concern. Perhaps others were still hungry after the half hour pause and did not want to report failure. Some with anxiety, depression, or stress may be self-medicating with food. Perhaps a few are so insulted or jaded, after trying so many fad diets, that to them even a simple diet seems impossible. And one patient who did try the diet reported returning after the pause and promptly eating the second half of his food. He runs several miles per day, so perhaps that exercise is increasing his hunger and undermining his weight control effort.

Clearly, the diet will not work for everyone, but with three out of four Americans—250 million people—overweight, even if it helps only one in ten, that is 25 million people.

At times, we all self-medicate with food for anxiety, stress, and depression, and at times we all may lack willpower and be tempted by pricey dietary fixes. But perhaps we have overlooked something small but significant—something that acts slowly so that we do not associate the habit with the weight gain. It seems plausible that new habits surrounding changes in the timing of meals have undermined natural feedback. Patient experiences in one medical practice seem to support this conclusion. Perhaps others will post their experience, whether positive or negative, for all to consider.

Will It Help Me Lose Weight?

If you are eating because of anxiety, depression, or stress, then you should address those problems directly or find another outlet for them, and until you do, perhaps no diet will work for you. Nevertheless, among patients with neurologic conditions, the Half-Hour Diet has worked pretty well over the last year. It is unclear to what extent the success of those patients depends on the enthusiasm of the briefing physician, the strength of the physician-patient relationship, or the motivation of patients seeking help for active medical illnesses. Some patients never try the plan, and perhaps they represent a subgroup with co-morbid illnesses related to anxiety, depression, and stress or a weary subgroup that cannot bear one more “diet.”

Does Eating Till “Full” Cause Acid Reflux and GERD?

Yes. (There are also other causes.)

Can’t I Just Take a Pill?

Possibly, but a weight-loss pill will likely have to be taken daily and for the rest of your life, which will be a boon if eating till “full” is essential to your “lifestyle”: “Lifestyle marketing” has now extended to the promotion of many of the blockbuster “maintenance drugs” intended for daily, lifelong consumption, such as drugs for allergies, insomnia, … acid reflux. [And now, obesity.] in “Pharmaceutical Marketing and the Invention of the Medical Consumer“ But by accepting a brief period of hunger, on the Half Hour Diet, most people will be just as satisfied eating less.

Should I Exercise?

Sure, but consider this: A 1235-pound man has slimmed to 700 pounds without exercise. Many of us eat 1000 daily calories more than we need, yet an hour of exercise burns far fewer than 500 calories (typically less than 200 calories per hour) and may actually increase calorie intake. Quenching post-exercise thirst with a bottle of Snapple adds 250 calories. These numbers alone cast doubt that we can exercise our way to weight loss. Exercise is important for health, but a sustainable reduction in calorie intake is the key to long-term weight loss. Too often a physical impediment to vigorous exercise is offered as an explanation for inability to lose weight. And though exercise does offer benefits, unrealistic prescriptions for a daily hour dedicated to exercise provide another excuse for obesity. Fifty years ago, without complaining of hunger and without paying for fitness centers or home exercise equipment, most people stayed trim eating fewer calories and engaging in routine daily activity. Try parking farther from your destination so you walk a block (or more) each way. Wash your car with your kids instead of at the car wash. Mow your lawn. Take a flight of stairs instead of the elevator. Walk for a half hour with your family after dinner each day. Get up and change the channel by hand. Use your imagination to burn calories in everyday tasks. Challenge yourself. Have fun.

How Can I Lose Weight?

To lose weight you must eat fewer calories than you use, and because it is hard work to significantly increase calorie use, reducing intake is far more important. You should exercise for better health, but data suggests most of us are eating twice the calories we need. So, start by eating half a meal, pause, then make a small adjustment if you are still hungry. Once satiety replaces hunger, it takes less willpower to stop eating.

How Can I Lose Weight Fast?

Many programs bring quick weight loss, but the weight comes back when the effort ends. The goal is a sustainable approach without undue pain and expense. The Half-Hour Diet may not be as quick as others, but it can yield good results. Recent examples of weight loss on the Half-Hour Diet include an 18-year-old girl who lost 15 pounds in six weeks (partly by eating more regular meals and eliminating constant snacking), a 250 pound woman who dropped 12 pounds in one month, and the author, who set out only to end bloating but trimmed 17 pounds over ten months. All three lost weight without going to the gym, and all describe the Half Hour Diet as “painless.”

Are There Other Success Stories?

A year from the start of the Half Hour Diet, patients who have tried the strategy say it is easy and “painless,” and many are saving on food costs. A few recent stories: –A man lost 67 pounds over the year, came off 5 of 7 medicines, saves $150 per month in prescription copays, and has about 70 pounds more to lose. –A woman lost 30 pounds in 6 months and a total of 35 pounds at 9 months. –A woman lost 30 pounds over the year and has 30 pounds more to lose. –A man lost 15 pounds over 3 months. –Another man lost 17 pounds over 3 months and 27 pounds by 6 months, his diabetes and high blood pressure are under better control, and he takes much lower doses of medicines. Obstacles to success: Many patients directed to this website never access it, and of those who do, many never try the Half-Hour Diet even though the approach is so simple. But a simple strategy can only work for those who try it, which requires at least a little bit of willpower.

What Is the Best Weight Loss Program?

To weigh less for the rest of your life, the best weight loss program is one you can begin and then continue for a lifetime. The Half-Hour Diet is easy to begin—you already have all the equipment—and once you learn to expect satiety, it can help you moderate calorie intake for life. Try it at your next meal.

Is the Half Hour Diet Really a Diet?

No. It is a simple control-strategy that allows natural feedback to assist your own willpower. You eat your own culturally appropriate diet, but you eat less on the Half Hour Diet. You must have a little self-motivation, and you may need to reduce junk food (since poor food choices do matter), but for most of our patients, drastic change appears unnecessary, because most are simply eating too much of a good thing.

Are We Feeding a Potbelly?

“Our rule of thumb is never put in that last piece of wood.” in Controlling Heat From A Cabin Woodstove. A good analogy may be heating with a potbelly stove, where a delay between adding fuel and gaining heat risks a wasteful overshoot, above comfortable room temperature, akin to the rise in weight after eating too much. There are many strategies that increase heat loss, but a fundamental approach is to “never put in that last piece of [f]ood.”

Must I Eat Slowly and Chew Twenty Times?

No. If you are too busy to linger at the table, make meals even faster by cutting portion size and limiting calories. Then, while on your way, marvel as hunger gradually subsides. Eating too much, which we risk when eating fast, actually wastes time. In fifty years, fast meals and eating till full have brought endless diets, solitary workouts in the gym, and epidemic obesity, sleep apnea, and acid reflux. Good conversation over leisurely meals satisfied civilized people for thousands of years. Serve small portions from the kitchen, and take an after-meal stroll (or linger at the table) for a half hour conversation with family and friends. Less Food Is Fast(er) Food.

Must I Change What I Eat?

Maybe not. The body stores excess calories as fat. Because it is harder to exceed daily calorie requirements on diets high in vegetables, those diets are healthier, in part, because they reduce the problem of excess calorie storage. Eating fewer calories on any diet may have similar benefits. Around the world, people eat very different diets. Except for essential requirements (i.e. vitamins and certain minerals, fats, and protein), the body simply converts whatever is present in excess into whatever it lacks. Because diets of rich and poor nations are so different, we worry about what, as well as how much, we are eating. But the storage of markedly excessive calories, as fat, may be the major culprit in the western diet. Perhaps observations from rich countries with diets high in animal products and processed foods, predominantly reflect excess calories. Many people on the Half-Hour Diet are losing weight even though they have not changed what they eat, and some report significant improvement in their diabetes, hypertension, and sense of wellness. They describe this “diet” as an easy, simple way to reduce calories, requiring only a little willpower. Because of this, they believe they can continue the Half-Hour Diet forever. Do eat your vegetables and avoid junk food, but first limit calories.

Should I Buy New Dishes?

Smaller plates are only a visual aid to reduce portions, but they do not prevent taking seconds or thirds. When less food satisfies, after a half hour pause, you can simply adjust by covering less of your usual dinner plate. Don’t buy new plates. Don’t buy anything. Pause, then ask if you are still hungry. You already own all you need to lose weight.

How Much Will I Save on The Half-Hour Diet?

Some people are saving money on the Half-Hour Diet. One family cut their regular chicken dinner from three pieces to just one piece per family member, and another family cut from two pieces to one. A third family now ends the month with food stamps left over. One man recently stopped his wife from buying two pounds of fish for a dinner for three. Another man now eats half of his dinner the next day as a free lunch. Most participants describe the Half-Hour Diet as painless, noting the nearly complete lack of restrictions, which makes any savings even more satisfying. If half the overweight people, in the United States and around the world, could lose weight on the Half-Hour Diet (which can be applied in any culture), that could save all the energy to grow, harvest, transport, prepare, and serve that food. And if each of those people could also save on gym memberships, dietary supplements, and health costs, a negligible first investment could yield enormous savings. Eating till full may help spawn antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Perhaps if we ate half as much poultry and beef, we could stop feeding antibiotics to chicken and cattle to increase yields.

What Does the Brain Have To Do With Hunger?

People once heard hearts beating fast and stomachs growling and believed these organs created love and hunger, but we no longer follow our heart and should no longer serve our stomach. Love, hunger, and satisfaction come from the brain. (Hard to believe, but true.) Hunger dissipates only slowly after a meal—it takes about a half hour. Like most medicines, there is at least a half hour delay between swallowing and any response, which must wait for food and tablets to dissolve, be absorbed, and reach the target organ. Since food is the remedy for the brain’s hunger, failure to acknowledge a half hour delay can explain why we are all overdosing on calories. We don’t expect medicine to work immediately. Let’s apply that wisdom to food. As we fill our stomachs, average weight continues to rise. With three out of four Americans now overweight, the problem is not a failure of individuals. It is the brain that matters, and a small delay after a small meal may be all we need.

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