DIETS DON’T WORK  by Bob Schwartz, PhD, Breakthru Publishing, Houston, Texas, Third Revised Edition, 149 pp, $12.95 © 1996, by Bob Schwartz, PhD, ISBN: 0-942540-16-6.

Review by Del Meyer, MD

Diets and Exercise

For twenty years, Dr. Schwartz owned a chain of health clubs across the United States. A large percentage of the people who came to his clubs wanted to lose weight, and at the time, the answer seemed simple—just exercise and stick to a diet plan and the pounds will roll off. As he studied his clientele, he saw that many who went on diets and started an exercise program in his clubs did not lose all the weight they intended. Almost all of the ones who did lose, gained it right back—plus some.

Schwartz says that he personally never had a weight problem, until he decided to experiment with his own weight and diets to understand his clientele. Thereafter, the weight problem developed.

He tried one of the popular diets of the day. Losing weight was easy initially. With his first diet, he felt as though his body told him it didn’t like what was happening. But after one week, he had lost eleven pounds. When he went off the diet, he regained the weight he had lost. So he had an excuse to try another of the 26,000 diets floating around.

Diets Don’t Work

But with every successive diet, it took longer to get the weight off. After every diet, the weight came back quicker and quicker. Thus, he surmised that people couldn’t wait to get off of their diets and resume normal eating. Consequently, they regained their weight. Schwartz tells how between the ages of thirty and forty, he personally lost over 2,000 pounds using successive diets. But he also regained 2,001 pounds. Keeping it off wasn’t easy. So he concluded that Diets Don’t Work.

He found that statistics bore this out. Out of every 200 people who go on any diet, only ten lose all the weight they set out to lose. And of those ten dieters, only one keeps it off for any reasonable length of time—a failure rate of 99.5 percent.

One morning when he couldn’t find a pair of pants he could button, he became desperate. He noticed that joggers were thin. That must be the answer. “If you jog, you get thin.” He considered buying a jogging outfit and jogging shoes and start jogging east, like Forrest Gump. Surely, by the time he reached New York he would be thin. Maybe he would already be thin by the time he jogged through Kansas. He would then catch the next plane home. But as he considered this option, he decided, “Jogging wasn’t the answer.”

Schwartz studied every kind of diet and weight-loss plan imaginable—including behavior modification, drinking light beer and diet sodas, and eating diet foods. He talked with people who had gone to extreme measures, including popping diet pills, taking shots and drinking liquid protein. [One diet recommended shots of pregnant women’s urine. The AMA advised him not to sponsor that one.] They had meditated, been hypnotized, fussed over, pleaded with, prayed for and starved. Some even had their teeth wired together and staples put into their ears and stomachs. Nothing had worked.

No one had the answer to the problem of how to permanently lose weight. Doctors didn’t have it. Diet experts didn’t have it. Psychologists didn’t have it. Members of the clergy didn’t have it. Politicians didn’t have it.

There are lots of psychologists, doctors, diet experts, and diet business owners and employees—the Diet Industry—who are wondering what they’d do with their time if someone let out the secret that diets don’t work.

Diets Do Work

He then noted that a number of his club members were thin and wanted to gain weight. As they exercised and increased their appetite, they still weren’t gaining weight. He decided to experiment using his own experience. He was thin until he experimented with diets.

He found a number of volunteers who swore that nothing mattered except gaining weight. They promised to follow his eating program exactly and report any problems. After the first day, the participants in the weight-gaining program came in complaining of headaches, weakness and an inability to concentrate. Dr. Schwartz told them, “Good. That means the program is working.” The second and third day they would stagger in and say, “I really feel rotten today! It must really be working, huh?” On the fourth day, Dr. Schwartz allowed them to get on the scale for the first time since the diet started. Guess what happened? Yes, they had lost weight. The average weight loss was anywhere from two to seven pounds. This was a surprise to them and they were irate.

He calmed them down and explained the initial loss was expected and they should now simply return to eating the way they had before starting the diet.

What happened to them is what happens to overweight people. These underweight people not only gained back the weight they had lost, but also put on a couple of extra pounds. They were thrilled. He then placed them right back on the same diet for another three days. They again lost weight and when resuming normal eating, they regained the same weight plus some.

As he repeated this experiment, they lost less and less during the three days and some lost no weight, but they all gained additional weight when they went off the diet. He kept repeating this until they all gained the weight they wanted.

Schwartz then came to the realization that diets do work. They work in reverse. Weight-loss diets make most people gain weight in the long run. They’re the best method for gaining weight ever discovered. Just ask people who have dieted over a long period if they don’t weigh more today than they did the day that they went on their very first diet. Most will say yes.

The Revelation

Schwartz then made his third discovery with what was wrong with his twenty years of studying fat people trying to find out how to make them thin. The answer was so simple that he couldn’t believe that he hadn’t thought of it before.

If I wanted to be rich, I wouldn’t study poor people, I would study rich people. If I wanted to be thin, I shouldn’t study fat people, I should study thin people.

Thin people were the ones with the answers. Thin people were the ones who were successful at what we were trying to do—the naturally thin people who never gave a thought to their weight. Those lucky souls who could eat anything they wanted and stay thin without the slightest effort. What secrets did they know?

He found this to be tough going. Naturally thin people didn’t have the slightest clue as to what they did. When asked, they looked at Dr. Schwartz as if he were crazy. They came up with dumb answers like, “I probably eat less”; or, “I exercise some times.”

“Diet veterans” can go to a smorgasbord and tell you exactly how many calories and fat grams are in everything there. They can compare the pie with the cake, the fish with the meat and the salad with the soup. Some of them even know how many calories are in a single leaf of lettuce or one tablespoon of cottage cheese. Diet veterans are convinced that this information is necessary for successful weight loss.

Naturally thin people are ignorant of such things. Naturally thin people never think of how many calories they burn off by running around the block—they don’t care. Naturally thin people were not able to tell Schwartz anything about being thin or how they stayed that way.

The Secret

Schwartz discovered that the secret to being naturally thin is amazing in its simplicity. He outlines his discoveries:

·        In studying over 10,000 people in the last 38 years—I found that being naturally thin is a natural state for everyone.

·        Losing weight can be as easy and as natural as gaining it.

·        Naturally thin people do four simple things that overweight people don’t—and they never diet. *

·        There are reasons that diet veterans gain weight and can’t lose it.

·        Without effort or struggle, anyone can become thin naturally and have fun in the process.

·        Weight is not the problem—it’s the mentality behind it. Get rid of the Diet Mentality and the weight will come off by itself, as quickly and as naturally as you gained it.

The Rest of the Book

This first chapter gives the overview necessary for the first step in Schwartz’ Diets Don’t Work plans. Chapter two goes into the details of The Diet Mentality and the third chapter solves your weight loss problem—allegedly forever.

During one of his Seminars, he met a very special woman named Leah who lost 40 pounds. Schwartz fell in love with Leah and married her. She has stayed naturally thin for the last 18 years. (This must now be more like 30 years looking at the copyright year.) Looks like his Diets Don’t Work seminars are beneficial in more ways than one.

Part Two, the next six chapters, goes into Dismantling the Diet Mentality to understand the fat mentality: Fat and Unhappy; Fat and Power; Fat and Sex; Fat and Success; Parents and Fat, Bake Someone Happy, and the Fat Person’s Trump Card.

Chapter six, What “Naturally Thin” People Think and Do, gives the answer to the four secrets: *

A naturally thin person eats only when their body is hungry.
A naturally thin person eats exactly what they want to eat.
A naturally thin person enjoys every bite of food they put in their mouth.
A naturally thin person stops eating when their body is no longer hungry.

I first listened to the Audio Tapes of this book about twenty or more years ago. Since I was unable to locate these tapes, I checked with Amazon and they had a number of used books starting at $1.65 (plus $3.99 shipping). The third edition seems to have much more data than the 1982 edition, as I recall. This makes it all the more powerful. It is certainly an effective alternative to the 26,000 diet books out there. Since 60 percent of our population is overweight, make them happy—and thin. Give a copy of the book or this review to all your friends, relatives, clients and patients. Maybe your doctor could also use this.