SLLM – The Say Little, Lose Much diet for life

The Say Little, Lose Much diet for life

It was late at night in 1969 and I was an insomniac nutritionist listening to PBS radio. Back then nutritionists were “unregistered”–and at the bottom of the medical pay scale–and unappreciated. The guest on the radio was an economist. His theory was that the loss of the graduated income tax in the U.S. would spell the doom of the middle class in the next 50 to 100 years. According to him, the history of the middle class was one of servitude to the upper classes, getting just enough to barely get by, always on the brink of bankruptcy. Financially lean and mean, and kept that way by the monied classes. He was very convincing. He pointed out that when the graduated income tax was instituted, corporations had to find a way to compensate the big boys and they gave them benefits, such as planes, and summer cottages, and other tax-free compensation. After all, the top 10% of wage earners were in the 90% tax bracket, so giving them more money just meant giving more to the government. But to keep the IRS off their backs, they also gave the middle class wage earners tax-free medical, dental, and pension benefits. It was a revolution for the middle class. They were no longer bankrupted by a major illness or even a series of minor catastrophes. I wasn’t quite convinced, but he got me thinking. Here was an economist making predictions that I could measure for myself. That impressed me.

In a way I came to see our plentiful availability of food as an economic benefit and a parallel to my own field, with differences of course. I grew accustomed to seeing doctors write books about dieting that sold in the millions, yet could not realistically predict anything but the short-term outcome of their dieting advice. I took a look at the statistics. 50% of all dieters weigh more after a year of dieting. 90% weigh more after two years. 99% weigh more after 5 years. I was not surprised. As a nutritionist I knew that our bodies respond to famine (which is what a diet is,) by becoming more efficient, that is, our metabolism decreases, we become better at getting along with less. It takes fewer calories to keep us going. So the more we starve ourselves, the less food we need to maintain our weight. I was haunted by the logic of the economist and his economic parallels to the nutritional ones.

Over the next decade I saw his economic predictions coming true as the tax laws eased up on the big income recipients. I also saw millions and millions of diet books being sold that served no other purpose than to make money for the authors and give false hope to all the overweight book buyers. The conclusion was inescapable, dieting is one way to insure that your rate of weight gain will increase. On the average, if you eat normally for 5 years you will have gained weight at rate X. Go on any of the popular diets and you will have gained weight at the rate of two times X. The weight gain after being on a diet is a universal phenomenon, just like the weight gain in a population that has suffered a real-life food famine. The famine survivors bounce back and store as much extra fat as they can in their bodies to get through the next famine.

I decided to find out what was wrong, or at least, what we could do to remedy the situation. I spoke to several doctors and they warned me that doing anything without the blessings of the medical profession would result in charges of practicing medicine without a license and possibly jail time. It was just enough to scare me out of the medical profession. I wasn’t making much money anyway, and had a family to support, so I became an accountant instead. But I didn’t lose my interest in dieting.

Eventually I put an ad in a Penny Saver type of circular explaining that I wanted to develop a real-world dieting program that would have the benefit of getting the weight off and keeping it off. I expected ten people might respond. Much to my surprise, I got 140 responses.

We met at the grandstand of our local little league baseball park and I explained what I wanted to do. I asked how many people had been on a diet. Everyone had been on a diet. I asked how many gained weight after being on a diet for 2 years. Everyone had gained weight. I told them I wanted to find out how to break the cycle of losing and gaining, losing and gaining, with each gain more than the previous loss. I also told them I did not have any idea of what was going to work, but what I wanted to do was try things that had never been done before and see what kept the weight off for years.

I asked them to pledge themselves to the program and we agreed to meet once a month for the next 100 months to develop strategies. The first thing we did was agree that everyone would keep an eating and weight diary so we could tell what was effective and what was counterproductive. 100 months is a long period–over 8 years, giving us time to try different approaches and establish a track record. We found that all the popular means of dieting, including the commercial programs were ok in the short run, but were ineffective for any length of time.

Now, I could go into all the trials and tribulations and the sad stories of those who dropped out, but it would serve no purpose except to provide ready-made excuses for those who want to leave the program when the going gets tough–so I am not going to do it. At the end of 5 years we had 90 people in the program and a majority of them weighed less than when the program began. It was time to examine the methods and find out what was so incredibly successful. (Of the 90, about half were from the original 140 who attended the first meeting.)

I gathered all the data from both the successful dieters and the less-successful. As an accountant, data analysis was my strong suit but it turned out that just by laying out the methods of those with the greatest wieght loss and going up to the those with the greatest gain, a very straightforward pattern emerged. It more than emerged, it screamed. And it lead to the creation of the three simple rules for dieting. By a unanimous vote, we all decided to adopt the three rules to see where they lead.

(Making a very long story short, I wish I could tell you that the three simple rules will be easy to implement and result in a weight loss for everyone who tries it. But that is not so. The actual methods are stringent and harsh. The bad news is about two-thirds of the people who adopted the program dropped out. The good news is that one-third kept the weight off for at least five years, and many for over 25 years. Now it is time to bite the bullet and lay out the rules that have proven to be successful for 99.9% of the people that stuck to them.)


(1) It is best to form a weight loss group and arrange to eat the evening meal with this group as often as possible. This may result in not eating with your family, which can cause monumental problems, so it may not be feasible in all situations. Also, it occasionally means that there are one or two people in a group who live alone and don’t mind having a lot of suppertime company for their evening meal and the group will tend to use those one or two homes for evening meals. It is more difficult to achieve weight loss outside the group, but it is by no means impossible. Men seem to find it much easier to do alone than women. Ads in PTA newsletters have proven to be the best way for forming female groups. Our group called ourselves SLLM (pronounced “slim”), standing for Say Little, Lose Much.

(2) Keep a diary of all you eat and drink, and weigh yourself every morning and evening. Average out the numbers once a week and it will show your individual trend. Do not be surprised to see seasonal variations or a month or two with no weight loss at all.

(3) Eat only what is on the diet and if you feel like you must have more, call or meet with other members of the group to get help. There is one exception to this rule. When you have reached your target weight, you may eat one non-diet family meal a week, perhaps the Sabbath meal or a Sunday brunch. Your target weight will change as time goes by. For example, if you weigh 180 lbs (82 kg) you may set your goal at 130 lbs (59 kg) at the rate of one lb (1/2 kg) a month. As long as you keep the weight loss going so you are losing a pound (1/2 kg) a month, you may eat that one family meal a week. If you gain weight by doing this, you can change to one meal every other week, or once a month if necessary. In drastic cases it could mean eating only diet items when dining with the family. (Many families, in support, also eat only the diet items at that shared meal.)

The above rules are for life. There is no end to the dieting. You will be on a perpetual diet. Now for the diet. The diet that works is plain but tolerable. Several theories have been advanced for this, but who knows why great, interesting food in small amounts doesn’t lead to weight loss over a long period. It seems that in order to truly keep weight off, eating must not be a thing unto itself. Eating must become something you do because you have to, not because it is enjoyable and a source of pleasure. It has to become a chore. Even to the point that you get sick of the diet food with its blandness and repetition. This was the only successful method that led to 90% weight loss after eight years of dieting. If tasty food is important to you, this diet is not for you. This diet is only for the person who wants to lose weight at the cost of enjoying food. The diet is the same every day, with few exceptions.

In this diet you get to eat six times a day, yes, six times a day. It is important not to skip any meals or snacks. Putting yourself into a deeper famine will only change your metabolism and it will become harder to lose weight over a long period of time. Faminizing can result in a sharp weight loss for a short time, but it will mean a larger weight gain over your lifetime.

The following is what you will eat every day for the rest of your life. Initially you may hate it, but after awhile you may get used to it and accept it as an ordinary part of life. Change it at your own risk, keeping in mind that those who did not keep to it, did not keep the weight off. If you are a woman in childbearing years it is advised that you take multiple vitamins with extra iron to avoid anemia. A one-a-day multiple vitamin is a good idea for anyone on a diet. Anyone even remotely at risk for osteoporosis is strongly advised to take calcium supplements. If you have any outstanding medical conditions, especially diabetes or pregnancy, before you start you should see your doctor to learn of any side effects of dieting on your condition.

My lawyer (solicitor) says that I must tell you that you must hold me harmless under any circumstances and for any reason.. If you do not accept these terms, you may not use any of the information contained herein. The information is copyrighted but may be copied and used by anyone for their individual, noncommercial use subject to the above. Excerpts may be put in print or other media as long as proper credit and the source email [email protected] is included.


4 to 5 small celery sticks or 2 to 3 large outer sticks
1 can of Campbell’s (or equiv) condensed chicken noodle soup prepared with 1/2 can of water.
6 Nabisco Premium (or equiv) crackers
1 or 2 cups of tea/coffee. One tablespoon of non-fat milk/lemon juice and one teaspoon of sugar per cup is optional.

One of the following three items may be taken at any time during the day or evening:
1 11.5 ounce (33 mL) can of V8 or tomato juice, or one 8 ounce (24 mL) glass of non-fat milk

Morning break
4 to 5 small celery sticks or 2 to 3 large outer sticks
6 Nabisco Premium (or equiv) crackers
1 or 2 cups of tea/coffee. One tablespoon of non-fat milk/lemon juice and one teaspoon of sugar per cup is optional.

4 to 5 small celery sticks or 2 to 3 large outer sticks
1 can of Campbell’s (or equiv) condensed tomato soup prepared with 1 can of water
6 Nabisco Premium (or equiv) crackers
1 or 2 cups of tea/coffee. One tablespoon of non-fat milk/lemon juice and one teaspoon of sugar per cup is optional.

Afternoon break
4 to 5 small celery sticks or 2 to 3 large outer sticks
6 Nabisco Premium (or equiv) crackers
1 or 2 cups of tea/coffee. One tablespoon of non-fat milk/lemon juice and one teaspoon of sugar per cup is optional.

4 to 5 small celery sticks or 2 to 3 large outer sticks
1 can of Campbell’s Italian Wedding Soup or equiv calorie-count soup
6 Nabisco Premium (or equiv) crackers
1 or 2 cups of tea/coffee. One tablespoon of non-fat milk/lemon juice and one teaspoon of sugar per cup is optional.

Evening snack
4 to 5 small celery sticks or 2 to 3 large outer sticks
6 Nabisco Premium (or equiv) crackers
(Optional) 1 or 2 cups of tea/coffee. One tablespoon of non-fat milk/lemon juice and one teaspoon of sugar per cup is optional.

To obtain a copy of this diet, send a blank email to [email protected] The diet will be returned automatically with the first request. Subsequent requests will not result in a copy being returned unless the subject line includes the line “Send the diet again.” Please feel free to email copies of the diet to all your friends and acquaintances.

Additional data for the serious dieter

1. Keep in mind that the success of this diet is based on sameness. Attempts to make the food more interesting by substituting (except for the dinner soup,) can dramatically lessen the chances of successful long term weight loss. Furthermore, every meal can be prepared in less than 5 minutes using a microwave. This short exposure to food preparation seems to be critical to staying on the diet.

2. Very important: no alcoholic nor any carbonated beverages are permitted at any time, not even with allowed family meals. (Besides the sweet taste, the allure of carbonated beverages is the full feeling it produces, keeping our stomachs stretched to full capacity–only a good thing if real-world famines like those in Ethiopia are a regular part of your life.) Beer is, of course, a double no-no.

3. We came to call ourselves Say Little, Lose Much for the reason that so many seemingly well-meaning friends and relatives made ongoing negative comments about dieting and were unsupportive. A typical scenario would include initial enthusiastic support, but after a time when the diet got tiring and discouraging, some friends and relatives would put pressure on the dieters to “take a break” and even bring high calorie foods, expressing great disappointment and even hostility when the food was refused. Almost all of us had someone close to us who fit this description, so it became easier to mention the diet only to those who absolutely had to know.

4. A one-quart (one liter) thermos bottle is a good way to carry morning snack/lunch beverages. Tea or coffee can be had hot or cold. Many dieters skip the evening snack drinks so they do not have to get up in the middle of the night for bathroom relief. Some of those that skip take the two teaspoons of sugar (which the diet allows at that time) and sprinkle it over the crackers, making an impromptu midnight sweet snack.

5. Many dieters experience a large weight loss in the first few weeks. This is due to their high metabolic rate. However, as their metabolism adjusts, the weight loss becomes smaller and smaller. This is perfectly normal and not cause for alarm. It it a natural survival tactic that we evolved in order to cope with sporadic famines.

6. A reasonable target for weight loss is 1/2 ounce (16 g) per day, which is about one pound (1/2 kg) per month. Initially you may lose up to 4 pounds (2 kg) in the first month, but don’t expect that rate of loss to continue. Keep in mind that this is a “maintenance” diet for adults only. It is not meant for children who need variety and nutrition to achieve adult stature. However, we have had great success with older teenagers who follow the diet but eat the main dinner meal prepared with lots of vegetables, small amounts of lean meats, and milk to drink.

7. Your metabolism will also change with physical activity and/or the seasons. The more calories you burn by being active or being cold, the more fat you will have to burn to provide that energy, and the more weight you will lose.

8. Some dieters have such a low metabolic rate that the diet does not produce a weight loss. In those cases success has been had by initially changing from 6 crackers per meal to 5 crackers per meal for a month and seeing what happens. If that does not produce a 1/2 ounce (16 g) loss per day, try going to 4 crackers per meal for a month and so on. It is not recommended that you go below 1 cracker per meal. Keep in mind that a diet, any diet, is really an appetite suppression procedure. If one particular diet helps you suppress your appetite and lower your caloric intake, then the diet is right for you. If it doesn’t, then try another diet. There is no such thing as a diet that is perfect for everyone.

9. The typical modern meal, even the packaged diet meals, are so delicious that they tempt the senses, producing a craving for more. This program removes those temptations. Popular diet plans are also a temptation, the Atkins diet in particular. I have received good reports from a group of dieters that tried substituting two, three and even four hamburger patties in place of each can of soup and reported a continued weight loss. This may prove to be a valuable modification, but in any case is worthy of consideration and trial. I would appreciate feedback from anyone who tries this, whether successful or not.

10. The methodology of this diet is two fold. First, it establishes what we call “behavior memory.” This means that your mind will grow accustomed to eating as a basic necessity, and not as a sensual gratification. Secondly, the diet establishes a metabolic base line. This is why it is important to eat all the meals and snacks. It is counterproductive to skip any meals and/or snacks because it lessens your chances of long-term success.

Notes: behavior memory is very similar to “muscle memory”, a technique used in sports to teach awkward or difficult actions. It is mindless, with repetition and duplication being the keys, with the result of the athlete being able to do the required action by automatic reflex. Behavior memory works in the same way. This is why foods that are sensually gratifying, such as butter, oils, beer, soda, and high-calorie desserts are strictly limited or forbidden. You will be learning a new way to feed the furnace that is in your body.

The benefits of weight loss are many. You will probably live longer. If you are at retirement age and fat, you might ask yourself if you want to die in two years or in four years. Weight loss can make that sort of difference because it is never too late to start.

Between 20 and 50? You can cut your chances of a fatal heart attack in half.

Do you use a cane or have difficulty walking, or a “bad back”? Weight loss has been known to make all those symptoms disappear.

This diet is dedicated to the four (nee) Fabbro sisters of Sicily/New Jersey who lost and kept off over 1000 lbs (466 kg) for over 20 years (and still counting) while constantly surrounded by gourmet food under the most tempting of circumstances.

Finally, if you found this diet to be of help and want to make a contribution to its distribution worldwide, you may make a credit card payment via PayPal at and use this email address [email protected] to make your donation. A suggested amount can be any amount you choose per pound lost using this diet. A euro, a pound, or a dollar, it all helps to get the diet to those who do not have access to a computer.

Refs: http://www.SLLMdiet.blogspot.com

This blog has been created by a successful dieter who was always a fat kid and was teased unmercifully. I went on tons of diets and wound up at 290 lbs at age 30. None of the diets I tried kept it off. This one did, not so much by the food, but that was a factor, but my the method of instant meals. I could start preparing a meal and be done eating all within 10 minutes. It made me mentally strong to get food out of my head as a thing or a ritual. You have to try it to believe it. It changes your attitude towards food. At this point when someone offers me food there is no temptation at all to eat it. And I still eat the allowed family meals with my mom, Of course she is worried that I am so skinny but I eat heartily. I tried the hamburger thing in item 9 above but I don’t care for it much. I do use it when I am active in sports, which means just some of the year and mostly on weekends. Then I enjoy gobbling down as many patties as I want, but usually it is just one or two, and I throw away the buns if I get them at a fast food place.

The developer of the diet, Michael Anchor, is going blind and deaf, so he does not do any e-promoting, but is active in getting the diet published in areas where computer access is limited. He asks for your donations to help that cause. He denies credit for the diet, saying that the credit belongs to the dieters that kept records to find out what the best methods were. He says he was just the organizer.

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.

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