Success Stories

As I prepared to write The Shangri-La Diet, I gathered success stories from my friends. After the Freakonomics column about the diet, however, my collection of stories was swamped by a much larger number of success stories posted on the Web. This page provides a sampling. In the forums over 100 people are posting their progress.

Ann & Co.

After Ann Hendricks started her blog, about a dozen people regularly reported their progress. Almost all were successful – so much so that Ann asked people to post failures. She didn’t get many.


After CalorieLab posted a long article about the diet, comments poured in, many contradicting the article’s skeptical tone with their own experience of success.


Michael, before the diet

Michael, after the diet

When Michael was forty-eight, he weighed 254 pounds. He is six feet tall. He had been heavy since grade school. Quite apart from health issues – his knees hurt, for example – his weight was a problem because it caused people to treat him poorly. . . . continues — Michael, undisclosed location

Lily M.

“I started the Shangri-La diet the same day I read the Freakonomics column about it in the New York Times Magazine. I swallowed a spoonful of canola oil, and my appetite disappeared almost immediately. . . .” continues — Lily M., Los Angeles, California


Sarah’s problem with her weight began when she was young. “When I was nine, I weighed 109,” she said. Growing up, she always weighed more than she wanted to. In her forties, she tried Weight Watchers, which worked for a while. . . . continues — Sarah, Bay Area, California


“I started at 184 lbs (I’m 6 foot 1 inch) and, using Seth Roberts’s “Shangri-La” approach, lost 11% of my body weight (20.5 lbs or about 1.4 lbs per week) over 15 weeks . . .” continues — Sean, Highland Ranch, Colorado

Stephen G.

When Stephen started the Shangri-La Diet, he weighed 203 pounds. His body mass index (BMI) was 29, which is considered overweight. The diet was worth a try, he thought. . . . continues — Stephen G., Bay Area, California

Stephen M.

Stephen M. Before SLD

Stephen M. While on SLD

“In 1992 my world fell apart. My eldest child became sick. In the next five years I would bury three children and gain almost sixty pounds. By the time the world was stable under my feet again, I was about 240 pounds and unable to lose weight . . .” continuesStephen Marsh, a lawyer in Texas, who blogs at

Stephen M's Progress

Stephen M’s progress

The Author

My story is here — see the second half of the paper.