DIETS STILL DON’T WORK  by Bob Schwartz, PhD, Breakthru Publishing, Houston, Texas, 202 pp, $9.95 © 1990, by Robert M. Schwartz, ISBN: 0-942540-04-2.

Review by Del Meyer, MD

The Really Bad News

Dr. Bob Schwartz summarizes a lot of his first book, Diets Don’t Work, (some thought this was a joke book) written in 1982 (with several subsequent editions), in the first chapter of the present book. He owned twenty-six health clubs in the west and southwest during his thirties. He had been on a hundred different diets during that ten-year period and was successful every time at reaching his weight-loss goal. But his weight always returned once he stopped dieting. He had lost more than 2000 pounds during that decade but ended up weighing more.

One day as he was looking through the monthly weight and measurement files in his health clubs, he ran across an old record of one of his members who had been dieting and exercising for 20 years. Comparing her present day records with those of 20 years earlier, he discovered that her present day weight and measurements were bigger than when she had first started dieting and exercising. An idea began to form in his head.

Some people go to a health club to gain weight. What would happen if he were to put underweight people on the same diet that overweight people were on to lose weight? Would they also gain weight?

The program was a hit. He found many volunteers and they all gained weight.


Doctor Schwartz discovered two basic reasons for this phenomenon. One is that diets lower your metabolism, or the rate at which your body burns food. When the amount of food that your body has been receiving drops drastically, your body figures that the planet has temporarily run out of food and your metabolism slows down in order to compensate. The problem is that when you go back to normal eating, your metabolism does not seem to pop right back up to where it started. It moves up very cautiously. Some people have dieted so often that they can actually starve and not lose any weight at all.

The other reason why diets don’t work, however, seems to be the more important. He discovered that ANYTHING THAT HUMAN BEINGS ARE DEPRIVED OF, THEY BECOME OBSESSIVE ABOUT. Diets are supposed to have you think less about food, but just the reverse happens. We begin to think about food all of the time. We even have dreams about eating.

Part Two of his first book, Diets Don’t Work, is on “Dismantling the Dysfunctional Diet Mentality.” After this book was published, Schwartz received countless letters from readers who were thrilled that they were losing weight without dieting. They were most grateful, however, because they had finally lost their obsession about food. They were amazed that this longtime problem had vanished.

The Secret of Naturally Thin People

Dr. Schwartz then started studying in greater depth the naturally thin people who had never had a weight problem. He found that some of them had a high metabolic rate. But they were young and he knew their metabolism would eventually slow down at which time they would probably have a weight problem.

Surprisingly he found that as these naturally thin people grew older and their metabolism slowed down, their eating slowed down. How did they do it?

He would ask these naturally thin people questions that every fat person knows the answers to, such as, “How many calories are in (whatever food they were eating)?” To Schwartz’ amazement, they had no clue. He finally saw the light. Only fat people knew about calories.

How did the naturally thin people avoid putting more food in their bodies than needed? That would be the secret to weight loss and keeping it off. The naturally thin people had different eating habits. Some ate well-balanced meals while others ate mostly fast foods. Some exercised regularly, but some did not exercise at all. Some ate three meals a day, some ate one, and some ate six times a day. What was the secret?

The Results of Schwartz’ Research

1.            For almost everyone, being thin is a natural state.

2.         It can be as easy and as natural to lose weight as it is to gain it.

3.            Naturally thin people do four simple things that fat people don’t, and they never diet. (See below)

4.         People gain and keep weight for specific reasons and there are specific ways to get and keep weight off.

5.         It’s not weight that’s the real problem—it’s the mentality behind it. Get rid of the mentality, and the weight comes off by itself, as quickly and as naturally as it was put on.

How Thin People Think and Eat: The Real Secret

Schwartz recognizes the ultimate secret sounds deceptively simple, but don’t be fooled. It may be the most difficult challenge you've ever faced. The fundamentals of naturally thin people are as follows:

1.         They don’t eat unless their body is HUNGRY.

2.         They eat EXACTLY what they want—EXACTLY what will satisfy them.

3.         They don’t eat unconsciously; they ENJOY every bit of what they are eating and they are aware of the effect the food is having on their bodies.

4.         They STOP eating when their bodies are no longer hungry.

Part Two gives more helps on how to dismantle the dysfunctional “Diet Mentality” with new material and much in a workbook fashion that one can use on a daily basis. There is a new Part Three on “Living the Naturally Thin Life” with further helps on making the transition and again much of it in a workbook outline for personal goals and recognition of accomplishments. These books are available used from for just a couple of dollars that anybody can obtain one for personal use. Truly a bargain compared to the other 26,000 diet books.

Schwartz had a goal of making America thin by the year 2000. Although he missed it for the reasons he himself outlined as difficult, he does give the sixty percent of Americans with a weight problem a glimmer of hope – and health. Conquering the obesity disease is not an attainable goal. But if we could get obesity moved from the upper end of the Bell Curve to the lower end, it would not only improve individual health, but also significantly reduce heath care costs. Reducing related metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, and many of the contingent diseases such as hypertension, strokes, coronary and other cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease, including gangrene with amputations, as well as diabetic kidney disease and diabetic peripheral neuropathy,  would improve the quality of living. That is an important and attainable goal for the twenty-first century.