Death to Diets!

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The comments section on “Weight Watchers Fail” is really inspiring.  Inspiring enough to make this official…

I, Matt Stone, am an anti-diet crusader.

Like I’ve said, if I find a way that truly allows us all to be lean without sacrificing our health and sanity, you’ll be the first to know. For now, we’re all going to shove a collective fist up the entire dieting and weight loss industry’s arse – perhaps extend a middle finger while we’re there. This will only be radically reinforced as I weave my way through Ancel Keys’s legendary 1300 page low-calorie manual… The Biology of Human Starvation, which I just received from my local library yesterday afternoon.

I’m also going to start today on a major overhaul of 180 Degree Metabolism: The Smart Strategy for Fat Loss. This will serve, I hope, as an anti-diet manual and primer. Sure, I say not to “diet” in the book, but it is still a low-carb, high-fat manual that is lacking. It is a diet, and I make the same foolish mistake that many diet authors make – I restrict a macronutrient group (although to a much lesser degree than other popular low-carb Bibles). So if you were thinking of buying it, wait. What I’ll be coming out with in March, 180 Metabolism (2nd Edition), is going to wrap up the concepts here, eviscerate the dieting industry including the low-carb scene, and hopefully give its readers the same sense of life-changing freedom that the evolution of this blog has led to.

For now, listen to my latest podcast, Death to Diets! 



  1. Reading the Weight Watchers fail post was moving to me. I started doing some looking around on message boards for people who had unhappy experiences with WW. A lot of people who were posting were pre-teen! Part of the problem with having an online program is that anyone can do it, and all they have to do is click a box saying they are 18.

    This is especially important to me as my mom who has managed to remain free and clear of diets her whole life is suddenly talking about doing WW at age 66! What the? All this because a bunch of her friends are doing it. It's like a cult or something. All I can try and do is relate my experiences. The porblem is they all remember how I lost 20 pounds on the plan. That's all that computes to them. They see me weighing more now than when I started WW as some kind of willpower failure on my part (which I assure you it is not. I ran a half marathon on 1800 fricken calories a day, you can take your will power and put it between your knees and…) I tried to explain that every attempt to go back on ww was harder and harder to loose weight until it eventually didn't work at all.

  2. Reserve a copy of the new 180 Metabolism for me. I was about to spring for a copy anyway, but I guess I can wait till March.

    There is a definite need for an anti-diet movement. Diet scams are so tempting in today's society, but every diet attempt simply pushes you deeper into a damaged metabolism.

    Jennythenipper, it's so funny you mention that. I recall my 70-yr-old grandmother talking about her Curves classes and eating low-carb ice cream. A dieting trend among the elderly… it's a little creepy.

  3. The 180 Revamp will be great. Just bought it 2 days ago, any chance of a discount when the new one comes out?

    Matt keep up the great work, your helping a lot of people find freedom and happiness in life again!

  4. the thing is the,gurus have all stopped calling them "diets", it is now a WOE in other words some lifelong form of restriction. "Deting" has almost become a dirty word.

  5. Chris-
    All of those that purchased the original 180 Metabolism will receive a free copy. At least, that's what I intend to do. There will certainly be a discount if I can't manage to pull that off.

    It's not just friends and family members that see the 20 lost pounds and cannot compute anything that happens otherwise. That includes doctors, researchers, dieticians, and well… just about everybody.

    That's why I usually refer to diets as "restricted diets." It may not be a "diet," but if it restricts a certain macronutrient or even more oppressive – calories, it is a restricted diet.
    180 may have certain quality guidelines, but it sure isn't restricted in any of those areas.

  6. Jedi:

    Exactly. WW's motto: Stop Dieting, Start Living.

  7. what i find most interesting, at least so far, is that there has been very little if any comments challenging the 180. either matt is right on and they know it, or they just haven't found this blog, lol.

  8. People are probably just too shocked to even know where to begin commenting. How few people have ever tried anything like this?

    There are some people finding us though. 1,500 pageviews per day right now on average.

  9. After my post making fun of the Burn the Fat program, I noticed we had a few weightlifters turning up in the comments? Coincidence? I wonder. I found Matt through such a series of random chances its almost hard to believe it (I read Matt's comments on Joel Furhman's DiseaseProof blog). If you keep beating up on WW though, gradually some people will filter in, though likely they are going to be people who've fallen off the weight watchers bandwagon or are skeptical to begin with. Let's hope that when people type the words Weight Watchers and fail into Google, that Matt's blog is the first thing that turns up.

  10. Brace yourself Jenny. Brock Cusick has come up with a 180 points system like Weight Watchers. It's so funny. Gonna post it in a half hour or less.

  11. i can not weight! Ha, you see what I did there with the spelling and the wacky….wah!

  12. "I found Matt through such a series of random chances its almost hard to believe it (I read Matt's comments on Joel Furhman's DiseaseProof blog)."

    I think that's exactly Matt's strategy. Pretty much commenting on every health website there is, mostly stating the exact opposite of what is recommended in the articles and thus attracting some curious readers who want to know what this stuff is all about.

    I know exactly what you're up to, Matt. ;-)
    Not that it's a bad thing though.

  13. Damnit Madmuhh. My secret is out. In Jenny's case, I was throwing a lifeline to the nutritarians.

    Don't get jealous. You are funnier than Brock. I mean look that that "weight" thing you just wrote. Wacka Wacka Wacka!!!

    Speaking of lifelines. Any help I can get here today would be greatly appreciated.

  14. Exactly! I found him from some Weston Price folks. I was reading a bunch of that stuff and had just finished Nourishing Traditions and Sally Fallons diet book. But all that sprouting, soaking, fermenting stuff had me really feeling defeated. Then Matt pops in with with this sorta irreverent comment, so I followed him here and now I'm a 180 junkie.

    Don't get me wrong I'm not anti-NT. There's some good people asking many of the same questions we are. But Matt's approach is a lot more doable and I'm not spending my life brewing kombucha!

  15. I found Matt through a comment he left on Mercola's website. It was right after Halloween and he had included a link to see him in his
    H1N1 Flu costume. I just had to see that so I clicked on it, started reading his stuff and the rest is history.

  16. Ha ha! Great to have you guys. Love to hear what it was that caught your eye too. Hope I don't disappoint you guys, sending you on a B-line for Nutrisystem, Kombucha and sauerkraut fasts, or low-Carbcatraz.

  17. I found Matt when I was googling McCarrison, after being blown away by Price and looking for more old good studies. I've been passing your link around…

  18. I make Kombucha on occasion…what do you have against it? I put ginger in each bottle and we enjoy the nice effervescence. I would usually just drink about 4 oz in the morning…as a tonic.

    I want to make ginger water kefir soon and see how we like that. I have both kinds of kefir grains.

    Also, I make sourdough bread and we prefer it with half unbleached white flour and half fresh ground rye flour…maybe some fresh ground whole wheat flour too. It that an absolute no no? Whole rye flour is just to dang dense…


  19. Nothing against Kombucha really, it's just a jab at the WAPF for having a fetish with fermented foods, when I think that has no real business being part of the big picture of health.

    I have no qualms about eating wheat myself. I don't do it everyday, but I don't have an irrational phobia about it (see McCarrison!).

    I do nerdy fermentation too, but it's not a religion. I grind rye and wheat berries fresh for fermentation. Cracked rye without pre-ground flours as a sourdough bread is not a disappointment. I've never had better bread anywhere in my life.

  20. I found Matt by reading a discussion over at one of the low carb message boards, don't remember exactly which one. I was feeling very defeated after my last low carb disaster and looking for alternatives. The folks over there were not on board with Matt at all, but my curious mind had to know more, and I have been here ever since.

    I was immediately drawn in by Matt's ideas because I am very familiar with Kathleen DesMaisons work, as well as another woman, Dana Thornock, who put out an infomercial in the early 90's called Lean and Free 2000 Plus. The whole premise of her approach was that everyone needs AT LEAST 2000 cals a day. This woman ate 3000-4000 a day and was very lean and healthy. She was way ahead of her time imo. She talked about:

    1. The lose-maintain-gain cycle of dieting vs the gain-maintain-lose cycle of upping calories.

    2. The five "fingers" of balance: water, veggie, grain, protein, fruit at every meal.

    3. The 12 fat storing stressors, including too much or too little of any macronutrient, stress, dehydration or hating you body, for example.

    The program she came up with was very thorough, including tons of references and a way to track your food. She did advocate lower fat (10-30% of cals) that was the rage back then, but still I think she had a lot of great ideas. They still sell her book on amazon.

    Her method of weight loss was termed "acceleration". After you convert your body to fat-burning mode instead of fat-storing mode by eating high calorie nutritious food, you lose weight by slightly lowering calories for 3-5 days until you feel a slight drop in energy. Then you go back up to your normal amount of calories. It is important not to cut more than 500 cals a day, so that you don't trigger response by your body to store fat. So for someone my height (5'2") I would go from eating 2800 cals a day to 2300 cals a day. The trick for me now is to get to the point of eating 2800-3000 cals a day without gaining. I think by cutting out sugar and processed food and exercising moderately (ie. walking) this can be done. I am definitely going to try this once I get myself weight stable at a high intake. I am still working on it.

    The wierd part is that I had pulled her book out after getting frustrated with low carb and found Matt at the same time. I wish I would have stuck with her plan, because I wasn't even that overweight then. But in 1999 I found atkins and lost about 25 pounds. I also started drinking heavily. When I quit that in 2002, along with smoking, I ballooned up 50 pounds and here I am still struggling to get it off.

    Sorry to ramble on and on. I am so excited to have found Matt and this group! It helps me not feel crazy when I disagree with all the crap they put out about weight and health.

  21. I'm a big fan of Nourishing Traditions (as you can see from my profile pic), but I totally understand where people are coming from when they get overwhelmed by it. I like to encourage people to do what they can, but not to get obsessed with soaking and sprouting and whatnot.

    We make crispy pecans every week, and I also make water kefir. I tried milk kefir for a few months but in the end I really just didn't enjoy it so I stick to water kefir which fits really well into my lifestyle. If we have beans, I soak them for 24 hours. I make sauerkraut sometimes, too, but I don't eat a lot of it so I don't make it often.

    But the point is I never do anything that is going to stress me out. I enjoy making the things I mentioned above. What I never enjoyed was making homemade breads and cereals, so I just stopped. Not because the food was wrong, but just because it didn't fit into my life.

    Some people promoting the WAPF message do tend to come off as condescending and dogmatic. That is the exact opposite of the approach I want to have. Nobody benefits if you're pulling your hair out trying to soak and ferment everything that passes through your lips. Stress kills way more than unsoaked grains. Plus, if you give up everything because it was too hard to try and do it all, then you lose whatever benefits you would have reaped from doing just a little.

    It's all about balance. Obsessing over properly prepared foods is not balanced.

  22. Same here Elizabeth, when I first started reading WAPF and NT, I was like oh man, making food has just become alot more time consuming. But I know better now.

    So looks like HED is helping with my gluten sensitivities as well, made fresh crack wheat pancakes this morning, tasted awesome and 4hrs later, no bloating, indigestion. I haven't had gluten in over 1yr.

    1 cup freshly ground wheat berries
    1 cup raw milk
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 egg
    2 TBsp maple syrup in the batter

    Served with scrambled eggs and lots of butter!

    My 2.5yr daughter chowed down big time!

  23. This is going to be a really long post and I apologize in advance.
    I cannot even begin to tell you guys how much WAPF has changed my life and my family's life. I started reading many years ago. At this time I was doing what I thought to be healthy, such as eating low cal, low fat and very minimal saturated fat, eating soy burgers and drinking soy milk. WAPF actually introduced me to real food…so soy burgers are not real food? Who knew? I sure as hell didn't, I just thought they were healthy because the box they came in said they were.
    WAPF also got rid of my fear of cholesterol. I read the recommended The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, which was totally life changing. Not just on the issue of cholesterol, but on everything, what if everything is a complete lie or what if we are only being shown half the picture?
    WAPF is where I also read my first article on vaccines, which came at a perfect time since I was pregnant with my first child. This led me to other research, at first I thought "mashed up monkey kidneys and monkey viruses in vaccines? This must be a joke, no wonder everyone thinks the anti-vaccine crowd is crazy." But it is true! From there I have done probably close to 1000 hours of research on the subject, especially thanks to a yahoo vaccine group. My now almost 3 year old son is unvaccinated and has never had an ear infection or anything really, has never had an antibiotic or any other drug; he is happy, intelligent, and the healthiest child I have ever known.
    I had problems breast feeding and had to start my son on Similac at 3 months. It was a nightmare, my poor little baby screaming and crying day and night from the horrible colic and suffocating til he would turn blue from reflux and there was nothing I could do…I had to feed him. But thanks to Sally Fallon and NT I started him on the raw milk formula and ALL his colic and reflux disappeared, he was like a different baby. He is still drinking raw milk.
    NT is the best cook book out there. Not that the recipes are incredible, but the recipes are real food based. Pick up any cookbook today and you will find it full of corn oil, low fat this and low fat that,lean meats only, and tons of garbage. Even cookbooks with traditional cuisines are being changed to fit today's "healthy" lifestyle. You can't even buy whole milk yogurt or cottage cheese in the stores anymore…and I'm in Memphis, where many people are fat. So how are they getting fat?
    About soaking and fermenting. It is not hard to soak beans or grains the night before you cook them. You can find sprouted grain cereals and breads today so why bother to make them yourself. Fermented veggies are easy to make and awesome, I love kimchi, goes perfect with the Korean beef recipe she has in the book. Some things are a little extreme, but overall it is a great book.
    Ok, again, sorry this is so long, but just wanted to say how much I appreciate WAPF.

  24. undertow, have u tried buttermilk instead of the raw milk?

  25. Those pancakes sound delicious, undertow!

    Great comment, Vida. I completely agree. I was already comfortable consuming more fat and cholesterol when I read Nourishing Traditions, but after NT I was totally convinced to never buy a low-fat product again in my life. I also learned to have a great appreciation for animal foods. And I threw those vegetable oil out – yuck!

    Now I also really enjoy the idea of eating closer to the way my ancestors ate. There's something really satisfying about that.

    But sometimes I just want to go out to eat and not worry if there's something like soy lecithin lurking in my food. I love eating healthy, real food but I also like being able to enjoy food/life without getting my feathers ruffled about every little thing.

  26. kirk, not yet but I plan to make a batch of buttermilk soon. Stores around here carry buttermilk, but they are full of fillers and crud.

    great post vida, I still do soak our lentils and our steel cut oats, its just easy to pour them in bowl with water and let them sit for 24/48hrs, cook em up and freeze unused portions. I think I might try soaking brown rice like Stephen at whole health source, and see how it is after 24hrs. I find brown rice still hard to digest, but I still keep eating tons to strengthen up the ole intestines!

  27. Sarah-
    Ramble on? Watchyou talkin' about? That was all very relevant. Liked your Atkins story too. So true. Like most diets, it depends on lifelong follwership. But even that wears off after a while and results in feeling horrible and gaining weight on a low-calorie low-carb diet (hope to remind Jimmy Moore of this on Tuesday :)

    I'll be experimenting a lot in the future as well. It may just be that a diet lower in fat by proportion, or lower in protein by proportion gets the most metabolic bang for the buck. Not talking about hardcore restriction, just minor tweaks. I be playin' wid it.

    Undertow and Elizabeth-
    You got my point exactly. I'm a total food nerd. I make my own curry paste. I ferment rye and wheat berries that are freshly-ground. I like kitchen projects. But that need not be the focus for someone to be healthy. I'm trying to create a health source that is accessible, because it need not be overwhelming. You don't have to eat wierd foods, ferment things, and spend 3 hours per day in the kitchen to be healthy. You don't even have to obsess about organics to improve your health. I strive to keep it as simple as I can for people. Kitchen projects should only be pursued if they are fun.

    We've all gone through those phases ourselves. Quite invigorating and empowering. I like to think that the natural evolution of following that string of information leads to low-carb, paleo nutrition, all kinds of related bloggers, health gurus, etc….

    and then 180degreehealth :)

    hee hee

  28. Matt:

    Sometimes I feel so betrayed by low carb. The first time I did it I felt ok and it worked, but I often wonder if it started off a downward (or should I say UPWARD [weight] spiral) for me. My energy was always low! I never got the promised burst of energy you are supposed to get after you slog through "atkins flu". When I first went on it in '99, nothing was even out there about how horrible you might feel at the beginning.

    I believe it led me into more drinking because it triggered depression and low energy in me. That could have been merely from not getting enough food because I had no appetite. I hung on to it, though, because I was thin! Then when I finally wised up and quit the drinking, my metabolism was so shot my weight spiraled out of control because I turned back to sugar for energy.

    I would periodically get sucked back into low carb by a good friend whom it seems to work for. And each time the same sad story of low energy, depression, and ultimately giving up because on top of all that, I couldn't even lose weight on it anymore.

    At this point, I truly believe that I would be much better off today if I had not found low carb at all.

    I am also experimenting as well. Will definitely keep you posted on how things are going. I can say that I am loving the abundance of food I am allowing myself to have, and I am not afraid of any real food like fat or carbs(only the fake stuff).

  29. Sarah-
    Today you may be worse off than if you ever heard of Atkins. But in a couple years from now you won't think that. We have to go through this exploratory process to really figure this whole health thing out. There's hardly a person on this blog who hasn't, at some point, tried low-carb.

    But like anything, it's a head fake. Short-term appearance of improvement with consequence and a general weakening overall. I can't say what a number might be, percentage wise, of people who are net-negatively affected by low-carb as a whole, but it's more than 50%. And that's coming from someone who, on about 100 grams of carbs per day, had an amazing health experience that just… wore off and reversed itself.

    Your experiences can probably be filed under Schwarzbein's list of negative low-carb side effects if you will:

    1) problems with energy
    2) Failure to make neurotransmitters

  30. Sorry y'all. I wasn't bashing NT or the WAPF folks. I refer to my NT cookbook and frequently check out the WAPF site. I have always been what we call in the south a "from scratch" cook so food prep usually doesn't overwhelm me but I have to say I was a little overwhelmed by some of the soaking, brining, sprouting stuff. I just couldn't work up the zeal to go all out. After a couple of years of fanatic low carb I was just too worn out to even try. I intuitively knew I needed to heal myself with food and I still think many of their ideas are on target. Anyway Matt's approach doesn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  31. Whoops, that anon was me, Susan.


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