05 December 2014

The No S Diet: 2 Month Review

Dear Lissy,

 Three of the five of us have been following the The No S Diet for the past couple of months.   I wanted to write you a letter for once you are out on your own to:
  1. Remind you of how simple and effective the No S diet is,
  2. Add in the few little tweaks that have made this a success for us, and
  3. Remind you that good health and good sense is nearly free.  Too many weight/health management programs are priced out of reach for the people most in need of it.

Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated in any way with Everyday Systems or The No S Diet.  My opinions are my own.  As always, consult a health care professional before making changes to your diet or exercise. 
The No S Diet:  "No Snacks, No Sweets, No Seconds except on Special Days."  The special days include Saturday, Sunday, family birthdays or major events, holidays, and sick days. That's it.  It's a "good enough" approach that is easy to follow and effective for long term weight loss and maintenance.  Our N.P approved it whole-heartedly for all three of us, even though two of you are still in growth periods.

My favorite part of the No S Diet is the sense of quiet power. I was hyperfocused on food for most of my life.  No S broke that tumultuous affair, and moved food back to it's rightful place in my heart and life.  

  No S Diet Observations
  • Buy the book.  Yes, all the information is on the website for free.  You don't have to buy anything.   But the book is worth every penny -- just sayin'.
  • Listen to the podcasts -- they're fun and encouraging.  They go in reverse order, so you have to start at the bottom of the page.  Everyday Systems is only partially about weight management, so some of the podcasts are for systems besides No S.
  • Join the Facebook group or No S message boards for daily inspiration and a great place to troubleshoot.
  • Don't fear hunger.  Give your body a chance to re-calibrate. 
  • Be prepared for people to be uber concerned that you're not snacking. 
  • Don't add restrictions from other diets.  You are free to eat one plate of anything but sweets three times a day.  Everything is fair game on weekends.
  • Know yourself -- you're free to eat whatever makes you feel great within the parameters.  I eat a low carb lunch so I can function all afternoon.  That's a choice made based on my knowledge of my own body, not a rule that's hard and fast.  I'm also free to hit Subway if we're driving all afternoon, skip lunch when I'm researching for a new book, or join my folks at Ramuntos for a couple of slices of za when they come to town for an oil change  I'm free.
  • Be prepared for slow loss:  we've each lost about 2% of our current body weight per month.  If a friend is starting or on another program at the same time, she'll probably be losing that much per week, and it can feel discouraging.  No S is for the long haul, not short term loss.  I love seeing the testimonials of folks that have been on No S for 5 or 6 years with a steady loss every year.
 A few observations on mealtime.  
The following practices aren't a part of the official No S plan, but we find them helpful.
  • Make up your single plate of food, and sit down at the table to eat.  Other diners are ideal, but no smart phone, book, or other distraction.
  • Every meal is accompanied by a large glass of water.
  • Watch your bite size.  The amount of food on the end of your fork should be about as much as a large grape. 
  • Take 3 breaths or a sip of water between every bite.  Retraining yourself to breathe or sip between bites will slow you down so that your full-o-meter works properly.
  • Stop eating when you are pleasantly full, even if there's food still on the plate.  Your body will cue you by reducing the flavor in the food.  Once the food tastes bland, stop eating.
  • Thoroughly clean your mouth after every meal as a signal to your brain that you. are. done. 
  • Consider making the same breakfast and lunch every day.  Reducing choice reduces stress and failure.  Eating close to the same thing every day helps your body adjust more quickly, too.
What about between meals?
Zip.  Nada. Nothing. OK...water.   That's part of what makes this diet easy to follow. I also find that minted green tea (plain, no sweetener or artificial sweetener) cuts cravings and hunger.  We don't chew gum because the artificial sweetener wreaks havoc on our system.

Those awesome S Days.
S Days are like a pressure release valve, and a lot has been written about dieters' Mardi-gras-ish tendencies during the first few weeks.  Once you've passed that stage, here are a few thoughts...
  • Think powerful thoughts.  You are absolutely free to eat anything and everything, but you are also now free to say, "Nah, not right now."  That is phenomenal.  Many people don't have that freedom.  If they see and want food, they either gobble it up, mourn that they can't, or obsess about it until they finally cave and eat twice as much.  Enjoy your newly minted superpower.
  • Don't add restrictions for the first 90 days.  I promise that S days normalize eventually.
  • Focus on your favorite S and make it extra special, downplay the other two.  I love having a sweet treat after a meal, so I make or purchase special sweet treats for the weekend.  I don't care as much about snacks or seconds, so I downplay those freedoms.  I won't have a snack or seconds unless I'm genuinely hungry.
  • Stay active.  Go for a walk around town, or take a bike ride with the fam. S days provide a couple of relaxed dieting days, not an excuse to forgo exercise.
Oh, yeah...exercise.  Is this the catch?
No catch, I promise!  We don't have room in this letter to discuss exercise at length, so I'll give you the short version:  exercise is vital for your health, but not a significant contributor to weight loss.   
  • A brisk daily walk or bike ride will keep you strong mentally, emotionally, and physically and make it easier to maintain an eating plan. 
  • Strengthening and stretching muscles will prevent injuries as you age.  
End of story.  Anything more is a hobby, not holiness, despite what anyone says. 
Two exercise programs -- Urban Ranger and Shovelglove -- accompany the No S diet.  They aren't part of the diet, but more of a companion to it. 
  • The core principle with Urban Ranger is to walk more.  Errands.  Lunch breaks.  A trip to the library.  Urban Ranger is not about working the treadmill or a taking a power walk around the track in stretchy neon clothing.  
  • Shovelglove strives to incorporate muscle strengthening exercise for 14 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  We opted for isometrics over sledge hammers, but the overall principle is the same.
I plan to stay with No S for the rest of my life.  It's a quiet way to manage my weight without the ups and downs of dieting.  I hope you'll be successful with it now and keep it going as you head out on your own.  If you ever lose your way, know I love you to the moon and back, and pray every day you'll have the health and energy to bloom where you've been planted.  I hope this letter reminds you that you don't have to do something painful, expensive, awkward or dangerous to maintain your weight.  Lose that frantic feeling, and relax into a sensible plan that gives long term success.

Love ya,


  1. This is the BEST review and helpful post about the No S Diet that i've read! Thanks so much. I'm starting tomorrow and I'll be referring to your post often!

  2. I agree. This is the best review of the No-S Diet I've ever seen, and I've written one. Excellent. Enjoy!

    1. Please feel free to post a link to your review here, Noël!