I’m not going to eat between meals and I’m not going to take seconds. Just today. And I’m going to try this for a year to see what happens.
I just stumbled across a document that I thought was a joke. And who could blame me? It’s called, The Hacker’s Diet – How to lose weight and hair through stress and poor nutrition, by John Walker. And it sounds like one of those Internet Joke sites. But I was wrong and it seems I’ve found my soulmate:
From the Hacker’s Diet:
I’m an engineer by training, a computer programmer by avocation, and an businessman through lack of alternatives. From grade school in the 1950′s until 1988 I was fat—anywhere from 30 to 80 pounds overweight. This is a diet book by somebody who spent most of his life fat.
The absurdity of my situation finally struck home in 1987. “Look,” I said to myself, “you founded one of the five biggest software companies in the world, Autodesk. You wrote large pieces of AutoCAD, the world standard for computer aided design. You’ve made in excess of fifty million dollars without dropping dead, going crazy, or winding up in jail. You’ve succeeded at some pretty difficult things, and you can’t control your flippin’ weight?”
Through all the years of struggling with my weight, the fad diets, the tedious and depressing history most fat people share, I had never, even once, approached controlling my weight the way I’d work on any other problem: a malfunctioning circuit, a buggy program, an ineffective department in my company.
As an engineer, I was trained to solve problems. As a software developer, I designed tools to help others solve their problems. As a businessman I survived and succeeded by managing problems. And yet, all that time, I hadn’t looked at my own health as something to be investigated, managed, and eventually solved in the same way. I decided to do just that.
This book is a compilation of what I learned. Six months after I decided being fat was a problem to be solved, not a burden to be endured, I was no longer overweight. Since then, my weight hasn’t varied by more than a few pounds. I’m hungry less often at 145 pounds than I was at 215. I look better, feel great, and have more energy for the things I enjoy. I spend only a few minutes a day maintaining this happy situation. And I know I’ll be able to control my weight from now on, because I have the tools I need, the will to use them, and the experience to know they work.
Regaining: the problem and the cause
The statistics are depressing. The vast majority of people who lose weight end up, in relatively short order, gaining back every pound they lost. Perhaps it’s happened to you; it happened repeatedly to me. Seemingly, at the very moment of triumph, the seeds of its undoing are sown. After a few cycles of depressing, uncontrollable weight gain and painful dieting, it’s tempting to just give up; to assume you were never meant to be thin. Well, right now you are thin, whether for the first time or the twentieth. How can you evade the fate of most dieters and avoid regaining the weight you’ve lost? By relying on the same feedback you used to lose weight.
Let’s try to understand why so many people fail to keep weight off after struggling to lose it. The rubber bag tells us that weight gain stems from a very simple cause: eating more food than the body burns. Feedback explains why: people prone to overweight lack a built-in feedback system to balance the calories they eat against what they burn; their appetite doesn’t tell them to stop eating when enough calories have gone in.
A person with a broken feedback system will always tend to gain or lose weight. In the Food and Feedback chapter we’ve seen how Oscar and Buster, victims of incorrect feedback, gain weight simply by heeding the deceptive message of appetite. When Oscar or Buster go on a diet, the diet tells them what to eat and when. And, for reasons we now understand, it works! As long as they follow the diet and don’t cheat, they lose weight as rapidly as promised and arrive at the end of the diet thin, happy, and feeling in command of their weight.
Then they put the diet away and rely, once again, on their built-in feedback system to tell them how much to eat. But it’s still broken! Sure enough, their weight starts to creep upward and before long all the progress of the diet is erased. People with a tendency to gain weight need continual guidance about how much to eat. Withdrawing this guidance at the end of a diet, or couching the need for ongoing feedback in a manner that implies, “You’re a fatty, and to be slim you’ll have to spend the rest of your life on a diet” is as deplorable as lending a pair of glasses to a nearsighted person for six weeks, then removing them and saying, “OK. You’re on your own.”
If your eyes don’t focus, you need optical correction to live a normal life, and you need it all life long. The fix that lets you see as well as a person born with perfect vision needn’t be obtrusive nor prevent you from doing anything you wish, but you have to continue using it. If you happen, instead, to lack a built-in eat watch, you shouldn’t feel any more guilty about technologically overcoming that limitation than your friends do about wearing glasses. Gotta problem? Quit whining, fix it, and get on with yer’ life!
These a just a few introductory paragraphs from a very detailed document. I naturally skipped to the chapter called “Perfect Weight Forever” and most of what I’ve quoted here is the introduction to that chapter. I did have time to read part of that chapter and it expands on that idea that if you want to keep weight off, you should weigh yourself every day.
So far, I love this plan for keeping the perfect weight forever. I hope you have time to read it for yourself. I have a feeling we’ll be talking about it a lot for the rest of the week. (read more about The Hacker’s Diet)