04 April 2009

The Don't Go Hungry Diet

Image: fab4chiky

Update: Hi to everyone who's come on over from Dr Amanda's newsletter, welcome to my blog, take a look around, stay for a chat, there's lots of fun to be had, as well as support and info on weight loss and healthy living. For my latest update on The Don't Go Hungry Diet have a look over here.

Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis has a story we can all relate to. As a healthy vibrant teen she thinks she could do with losing a few kilos and takes her first ride on the diet funship. As the years pass by her weight steadily increases until she can take it no longer.

So what does she do? Does she throw herself headlong into a binge that will surpass all binges? Does she join the gym? Start another diet, the one that promises she'll lose 20kgs in one month? Does she give-up and think well nothing works, why bother? No she does not. This is where Dr Amanda's story gets really interesting, she decides to start a career in medical research, so she can really, really understand what is going on with her body.

What follows in her tale is a close to 30kg (66 lbs) weight loss that she has kept off with ease and joy for 9 years. Not to mention an enviable career as a weight regulation expert, researcher, lecturer and author of the fabulous book The Don't Go Hungry Diet

Last week I had the pleasure of attending one of Dr Amanda's advanced weight loss workshop's. Amanda is extremely positive and encouraging, she brings alive the overwhelmingly large body of research that is being done on weight management. One of the most compelling little factoids that I came away with was that:

The average weight loss experienced by participants of clinical trials, with support, scientifically designed diets and exercise programs, is 12kgs (26.4 lbs) per year.

This amazes me. So many times I've given up, feeling like a failure because I've only lost a couple of hundred grams, when all along this has been a healthy sustainable weight loss. These figures rock my world! Sure you can lose weight faster, other factors, such as motivation, consistency, exercise, all play a part, but the bottom line is Biggest Loser style loss is near impossible to replicate, even in controlled studies.

The joy of Dr Amanda's research and the way she presents it, both in her book and during her workshop, is that it's simple. It does not rely on counting points or calories or excluding any food groups, and is all about getting back in touch with the wisdom of our own bodies, they know what they are doing people, all we have to do is pay attention.

The two main concepts in The Don't Go Hungry Diet are the Famine Reaction and the Fat Brake.

The Famine Reaction
The famine reaction is the body's way of protecting us from life threatening weight loss. It's what we encounter when we reach that much beloved state, the plateau. We get HUNGRY beyond belief and we stop losing weight. Some of us push through, being more restrictive and deprived, others give in to our body's survival instincts and we eat and eat and eat and gain that weight right back. Neither response usually results in healthy sustainable weight loss.

The Fat Brake
The fat brake is the body's way of protecting us from life threatening weight gain. It increases our metabolism and decreases our appetite in an attempt to regulate our weight and get us back to the weight most suited to our body. You might have felt, after all the holiday indulgences, that you just aren't as hungry as usual, or you feel a bit restless and want to get moving. That's your body saying..... wooooah nelly, that roast chicken with gravy, that pudding with cream, that chocolate for breakfast and that glass *cough* or two of wine was waaaaay to much, put on the fat brake lady time to get lean.

So what do we do to use these natural weight managers we have sitting inside us, trying so desperately to do what they can to keep us lean and healthy?


Deep down inside, behind what the peddlers of the diet machine have convinced you of, your body is saying something, and it may be the most important thing you will ever hear.

Eat when you are hungry, until you are satisfied, not left wanting, not overstuffed, satisfied. It's that simple. The tricky thing is getting back in touch with that old friend, hunger. After years and years of dieting, I've found that feeling of hunger as well as satiety quite elusive. But it is a work in progress and what better thing to strive for than to be able to eat when I'm hungry!!

I could go on and on and on about the research and the implications, but I'll leave that to the book, it couldn't be said better.

If you want to get off the rollercoaster, give up on the yo-yo, stop counting points and calories, and get back to living life in harmony with your body, this may be for you. I'm in. It sits pretty well with my current plan and I want to trust myself, to know that no matter what the situation I can rely on me, and it will all be alright.

You can read more about Dr Amanda, her story, the book and her coaching sessions here.

Any thoughts? Got all this worked out already? Questions? Fire away below in the comments.

"Free your mind and your ass will follow"
George Clinton, Funkadelic


  1. Dear Berni,

    What can I say?

    Your heart-felt review of my book gives me goose pimples and brings tears to my eyes....all those years of research and writing and translating my insights into practical steps for people who are struggling with their weight....it is all worth it when I see the difference that my work has made to your life! Keep going, Berni, your freedom is just around the corner.

    Thank you so much for reviewing my work for your readers. Let's continue our crusade to help people out of that awful, dark yo-yo diet trap.

    With love and best wishes from Amanda

    Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis

  2. Berni and Amanda!

    Totally inspiring. At this point, where the thought of another diet, another crusade, another year of deprivation and disappointment, I think of anything better than really getting to the bottom of this diet industry and socially accepted damaging brain washing. I can't wait to read Amanda's book and thank you Berni for finding and sharing so much good material!!!

    xo Lisa

  3. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Oh I'm so pleased to hear about such a sensible weight loss plan.

    Thank you so much Berni for leading me to such a great resource and thank you Amanda for being so damn gutsy to go after things with such vigour and dedication, instead of sitting on the couch with a tub of icecream crying about weight gain with the rest of us.

    I'm looking forward to reading Dr Amanda's book, and thank you to both of you, once again.

  4. Aloha!
    Thank you so much for sharing your resources and insights. You are really on track and incredibly in-tune with your self!
    I am enjoying your writing as well as your journey and look forward to keeping in contact.
    Be well and much Aloha!

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