Strong opinions, weakly held

The Line Diet, revisited

A year ago I wrote a long post about the Line Diet that turned out to be one of the most popular of the year. Not only did a lot of people respond to it, but several people gave it a try, and found that it worked for them. I actually heard from four different people who all lost over 30 pounds in 2010 after they read the post, so that’s kind of cool. I’ve been Line Dieting for about 16 months, and I’ve lost 55 pounds or so.

Oddly enough, I still don’t want to be in the diet advice business, other than to say what has worked for me personally. Here’s what I wrote last year about that, and I’m sticking with it:

People should be on the diet that enables them to manage their food consumption and achieve their goals. If it works for you, do it. If it doesn’t, do something else. Some people eat one or two meals a day and feel fine, other people need to eat five meals a day to keep from going around hungry all the time. The world is full of people who want to tell you that one way works better than others, but everybody is different. The only thing that matters is whether the way you’re eating is helping you get to where you want to be. On that same note, if you’re not really committed to managing how much you eat, no diet is going to work for you. Just skip it until you’re ready to commit, you’ll be happier.

I also still haven’t bothered with calorie counting in any form, which I consider a badge of honor. That said, it works very well for others. Matthew Yglesias lost 70 pounds in 10 months by carefully counting calories.

Beyond eating light when the scale says to, I’ve made a few other big changes to my eating habits that have helped a bunch:

  • Eating lunch out really sparingly. Lunches out were a killer for me.
  • Almost never having seconds at dinner. My wife is a great cook, and it’s very easy for me to eat a lot at dinner. I just don’t eat seconds any more.
  • Telling my wife to serve me what she’d serve herself. In other words, putting less food on my plate in general.
  • Almost never eating until I’m really full. I don’t miss the overstuffed feeling that I had all too often after eating before I started on the Line Diet.

I still haven’t cut anything out of my diet categorically, although I do eat a lot less of some things that I really love. I also started working out, but that’s a separate post.

I’m still using the Bang Bang Diet iPhone application. The only thing I wish it offered is a way to display a weighted average rather than the absolute weights for each day.


  1. I was one of the people who tried the Line Diet as a result of your writing and lost 40 lbs. as a result. Thanks so much for sharing this – it’s been a truly life-changing result.

    For me the beauty of the line diet is two things that resonate with my software development experience:

    1. Frequent feedback via daily weigh-ins – favor small course corrections vs. veering wildly about; also becoming aware of important trends vs. unimportant day to day jitters.
    2. Relatedly simply becoming conscious of the effects of certain foods and habits on weight trends.
  2. Having a clear metric for progress is huge. It’s very difficult to meet a goal if you don’t have a clear way of measuring your progress toward it, and “I should weigh X today” is a lot clearer than “I want to weigh 10 pounds less by Spring Break.” Everything beyond that is having the self discipline required to work toward the goal, and the amount of self discipline required to do so varies greatly from person to person.

  3. Your post last year inspired me, too. I started in January and lost 35 pounds by the end of July. This diet just made much more sense to me than any of those others that say you can’t eat certain types of food.

  4. Hey, I can say “I want to weigh 10 lbs less by New York” and follow the line diet to get there, thank you very much! 🙂

  5. I’ve been planning to start with this in 2011. The only drawback so far is that I’ve been so swamped catching up at work that I haven’t left early enough that I can pick up a new bathroom scale. That, at least, will be corrected by the weekend. It just means that, until then, every day is “Eat Light”.

  6. Does anyone know if there is an android app similar to Bang Bang Diet?

    I think I’ve been “eating heavy” a bit too often 🙁

  7. Congratulations on your success. I’ve read both posts; I understand your philosophy. I still think you owe it to yourself to spend a few hours reading science writer Gary Taube’s recently-published “Why We Get Fat.” He does a bang-up job of explaining and referencing the scientific literature with respect to what we know and don’t know about the relationship between nutrition and longterm health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2024 rc3.org

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑