« Indulgences for the Overweight | Main | The Return of the Atkins Diet »

March 5, 2007

The Hacker's Diet

It's probably not a surprise to our readers that computer geeks tend to more sedentary and overweight than the average population. So what are they we doing about it? Check out Diet hacking: Internet entrepreneurs seek weight-loss solutions for an interesting view of the approaches computer nerds are using to fight the battle of the bulge.

One of the most geeky approaches is the the Hacker's Diet, which is really a set of tools and a manual that enables weight loss to be controlled through an engineering and management approach. The body, the "rubber bag", is viewed as a control system with weight as an output and diet and exercises as an input.

dietman.GIFThe general philosophy is:

If people didn't eat except when their bodies needed food, nobody would be overweight. What a wonderful world it would be!
Hunger is supposed to tell us when it's time to eat, but in the modern world, we rarely rely on this message from our bodies. We eat certain meals on a given schedule, with family and friends. And, while hunger tells us when to eat, there isn't a corresponding signal that says we've had enough. Only when the scale begins to rack up extra pounds and the belt seems to need another notch do we realise the cumulative effect of a little too much food every day.
But here's the key:
To control your weight, you need only eat the right amount. To eat the right amount, not just this month or next month, but for the rest of your life, you need not only the information--the display on the face of the eat watch--to know what's the ``right amount''; you need an incentive to follow that guidance. Wearing a watch doesn't make you a punctual person, but it provides the information you need to be one, if that's your wish.

However, information must be coupled with motivation:

This incentive is the ``motivation to control your weight,'' often simplistically deemed ``will power.'' Where can you find this motivation, especially if you've tried diet after diet and failed time after time? This book will help you to find the motivation in the only place it can be found, within yourself, by laying out a program that makes the steps to success easy and the thought of failure or backsliding difficult to contemplate.
What about exercise? Do I have to?blockquote>There's a lot of nonsense floating around regarding exercise and weight control. The only way to lose weight is to eat less than your body burns. Period. Exercising causes your body to burn more, but few people have the time or inclination to exercise enough to make a big difference. An hour of jogging is worth about one Cheese Whopper. Now, are you going to really spend an hour on the road every day just to burn off that extra burger?

You don't exercise to lose weight (although it certainly helps). You exercise because you'll live longer and you'll feel better. When I started to control my weight, I had no intention of getting into exercise at all. As the pounds peeled off and I felt better and better, I decided to design an exercise plan built on the same principles that made the diet plan succeed. The bottom-line:

If, over a period of time, the calories in the food you eat exceed the calories you burn by 3500, you'll put on about a pound. Conversely, if you reduce your food intake so that you burn 3500 calories more than you eat, you'll lose about a pound.
The approach is interesting and involves intensive management. However, there are cool tools to be used that might appeal to the technically savvy.

Posted by Diabetologica at March 5, 2007 12:19 PM