Why it is good to listen to your baby sister now and then: How I lost 8 kilos (17 pounds) in 2 months!

I know! This sounds just like some tacky add that promises big weight loss in no time. Believe me; I didn’t intend that to happen when, early last summer, my little sister (who has the audacity to be 5 cm or 2 inches taller than me!) told me about the changes she had made to her diet, based on Dr. Detlef Pape’s book “Schlank im Schlaf”. (It could be translated as ‘Slim in your sleep’ and addresses men and women. Dr. Pape is a German nutrition “guru” and the author of several books.) As many women, who have tried a few weight-loss programs before, I am most sceptical, when it comes to dieting. Actually, I don’t like the term DIET, because I associate negative feelings and words with it, like battle, hunger, frustration, crankiness, abstinence. I don’t believe in short-term diet programs, but in a holistic approach, meaning healthy eating habits, getting enough exercise as well as rest, and plenty of sleep. For the last few years I have been eating pretty healthy most of the time and doing some exercising, still, I ended up with a net weight gain that equalled the weight gain during my pregnancies! So when my sister first told me about separating her food and eating carbohydrates in the morning, mixed food for lunch, and protein for supper, with 5 hour breaks between meals, I thought, ‘well, I heard about that before, but just considered it being one of the many programs, that I never bothered to look into more closely’.

 Getting started

In the fall, when everything had calmed down after a busy summer, I read more about it and also about Dr. Detlef Pape and one of his co-authored books called “Die Hormon Formel” (≈ ‘The Hormone Formula’). This book is written specifically for women and is about how women really lose weight. Unfortunately, the book is available in German only. I had my sister buy it and send it over. Until I had the book, I was starting to do some food separation and went for my regular walks. But I have to admit that I did not always keep the 5 hour no-eating-periods between the meals. And didn’t nutritionists tell us for years, that you should rather have 5 or 6 small meals than three large ones? Nevertheless, I lost about 7 pounds in 3 to 4 weeks. After I read the book, I made some food adjustments according to my hormone type and stuck to them religiously, plus I did the recommended exercises, and lost another 10 pounds in the following 4-5 weeks. But even if one doesn’t want to get too obsessed (like I admittedly did), the results are still pretty amazing. My sister, who doesn’t do any exercising besides walking her dog twice a day, lost about 7 kilos (15 pounds) in 6 months. Some days she even had something sweet right after lunch or an occasional glass of wine in the evening. Being pretty lax over the holidays earned her a couple of pounds back, but after she had followed the program again for a bit, she easily lost them. This really seems to be a good program to keep your weight in check, too.

The book helps looking at the big picture

What I really like about Dr. Pape’s book is how he makes it comprehendable why eating (or drinking) carbohydrates in the evening prevents your body from burning fat during the night. In a nutshell: Carbohydrates make your body produce insulin. If you have that in your blood, the fat cells can’t open up and you won’t be able to burn any fat. That’s why this diet is also called “insulin food separation”. He also explains why it is so important to maintain a healthy weight. There is a section about yoga, cardio exercising and muscle building exercises. Obviously exercising in general is very important for the production of certain hormones which are necessary for the fat burning process. Also more muscle mass means you are burning more calories, even when you are resting. Dr. Pape also talks about relaxation and introduces some methods, as well as points out how stress and not getting enough sleep prevents you from loosing weight, or makes it difficult maintaining your current weight. There is a recipe section as well, which I personally don’t care too much about, but it’s nice when I am looking for ideas. What is helpful though, are the lists of foods that you can eat for each meal, because categorizing food into carbohydrate, protein and neutral – which can be combined with either – isn’t always easy to do on your own.

Fighting snacking

Altogether, this program really works for me, especially because I feel I am doing something for my overall health. Having a tendency to get impatient, the fast results are very encouraging and help me getting through unmotivated times. And I sure have them. There are days, when it seems so easy to wait 5 hours for the next meal, and days, when after 2 hours I wish it was time for supper already. (According to Dr. Pape this happens when you didn’t eat enough at the previous meal.) The most challenging time for me is in the evening, when I want to keep myself from snacking. I was so used to nibble on nuts and fruit, or some yogurt that every time I feel like putting something into my mouth, I grab my knitting needles and don’t let go until the urge passes. So while I am sticking to my personal strict version for a few more weeks, I will at least get some scarves done! Tonight I’ll finish # 3.

For anyone interested, here is a link to the publisher’s website. There is also a little video with Dr. Pape! (Sorry, only in German!)


I tried the library, book stores and the internet to find something comparable for non-German speaking folks, but without luck. Sorry! If you want to know more, I am more than happy to answer your questions!


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