Monday, 29 September 2008

Statins 'prevent artery ageing'

Statins are now very widely used by the NHS
Drugs given to heart patients to lower cholesterol may have an additional benefit - keeping their blood vessels feeling younger.
Advanced heart disease patients have arteries which have effectively aged faster than the rest of their bodies.
University of Cambridge scientists, writing in the journal Circulation Research, say statins may be able to hold back this process.
They hinted the same drugs might also prevent damage elsewhere in the body.

It's an exciting breakthrough to find that statins not only lower cholesterol but also rev up the cells' own DNA repair kit
Professor Martin Bennett
Cambridge University
Statins are seen as a key tool in the fight against heart disease, and in low doses have been made available "over-the-counter" at pharmacies.
While it has been known for some time that they can lower cholesterol levels, this did not fully account for the benefits experienced by some patients, and evidence is growing that they can boost the function of the cells lining the heart arteries.
The Cambridge study adds to this evidence, and may shed light on how statins do this.
Cells in the body can only divide a limited number of times, and in patients with heart disease, the rate of division in these arterial cells is greatly accelerated - dividing between seven and 13 times more often than normal.
As the cells "run out of " divisions, they can suffer DNA damage, and do not work as well.
One of the important roles of these cells is to keep the artery clear of fatty "plaques" which can expand and block them, causing angina or heart attack.
Cancer clue
The research found that statins appear to increase levels of a protein called NBS-1, which is involved in the repair of DNA within cells. This means they may be able to hold off the effects of old age in the artery wall for a little longer.
Professor Martin Bennett, who led the research, said: "It's an exciting breakthrough to find that statins not only lower cholesterol but also rev up the cells' own DNA repair kit, slowing the ageing process of the diseased artery.
"If statins can do this to other cells, they may protect normal tissues from DNA damage that occurs as part of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer, potentially reducing the side-effects."
Professor Peter Weissberg, the British Heart Foundation's medical director, added: "Too much cholesterol in the blood induces a repeated cycle of damage and repair in the blood vessel wall which results in a heart attack if the repair mechanism is inadequate.
"Statins protect against heart attacks by reducing cholesterol levels and subsequent damage to the vessel wall - this research has shown they may also enhance the blood vessels' natural repair mechanisms."

Sunday, 28 September 2008

11 mile run - 200 minutes

my longest run for a couple of years (at least). 11 miles in 200 minutes (18 mins /mile or 3.33 miles / hour) from Boscombe Pier (parked at Fishermans Walk) around Hengistbury Head to opp. Mudeford and back. Terrain was along the beach. With Jazzie. Calories: 90 x 11 miles = ~1000 calories which is 1000 / 3600 = 0.27 pound fat. A quarter pound of fat is a quarter of my weeks targeted weight loss!

(Sharon in Bath with Beryl, Lisa and Sophie for B 70th).

Shame it wasn't a half marathon - 13 miles! Another day. cf. Bournemouth (not Boscombe) Pier to around Hengistbury Head is 13.8 miles.

A very nice pot of tea at Bistro on the Beach, Southbourne (30 mins, excluded from timings).

Bit disappointed with the speed 3.33 miles is barely a fast walk! I guess 85% was running, 15% walking - so equivalent to 4 mph run. Whatever, 11 mile run .. its a fantastic distance ... for me .. at 52! At this rate I could run a half marathon in 4 hours (double Jane F 1 hr 57 min!). Slow!!

Prof. James Barany story of weight loss

Very moving story of James Barany, an Associate Professor (Milwaukee Institute Art & Design) journey to lose weight.
Source: Good Foods, Good Life.

Failure? After 185 days (26 weeks) James has lost 63 pounds (2.4 pounds/week) but is still morbidly obese (BMI 40-49.9 kg/m2) at Feb 2005.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Strategy for weight loss

Achieve 'normal' Weight
1) plot weight daily with Hacker's Diet and
2) target 1 pound weight loss per week (3600 cals/week or 515 cals/day) by
3) 75% by diet: 2700 cals /week (385 cals/day);
4) 25% by exercise: 900 cals/week (130 cals/day)
75% weight loss by diet: reduce by 2700 cals/wk or 385 cals/day
RMR (resting metabolic rate) is 1603 cals or Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) 2204 cals per day.
So target 2204-385 = 1819 cals
Breakfast: 200 cals eg 50g (175 cals) Alpen High fruit+ 50g (25cals) semi skimmed milk
Lunch : Banana (170g, 162 cals) or takeaway lunch eg S&K pie or AllDayBreakfast (depending on whether over or under Hacker's diet yellow line target weight loss)
Dinner: half - three quarters normal dinner
Coffee / Tea - 6 cups per day (72-96 cals): 33g (12 - 16 cals) skimmed/semi skimmed milk per cup
OTHER: to 1819 cals/day (adjusted to be below Hacker's Diet yellow line target 1 pound / week)

25% of weight loss by exercise: reduce by 900 cals/week or 130 cals/day
eg. 90 mins running at 5 mph (10 cals/min, 600 cals/hr)

Maintain 'normal' Weight ... for Life
1) plot weight daily (for life) with Hacker's Diet or Excel (exponentially smoothed moving average total)
2) stabilise at normal weight: 19-25 BMI (5'7" crabsallover: 8st 10 pounds - 11st 6 pounds) , maybe BMI 21 (9st 8 pounds).
3) maintain target normal weight +/- 5 pounds .. for life! (well that''s the plan at least!)

Hacker's Diet - 270908

Since I discovered The Hacker's Diet on 13th September (thanks: Jason Coleman) I've set a target (yellow line) of one pound per week. To date I've achieved 1.03 pounds per week.

The yellow weights are 'flag' days when I've run for 30 minutes or more.

Right scale is a 1-48 Rungs fitness exercise. I started at Rung 1 - the blue line on 22nd September.

From 1-12th September (no yellow line) I gained 0.17 pounds per week. Overall between 1-27th September I've lost 0.49 pounds per week.

I no longer plot Google 15. Its only 'advantage' over Hacker's Diet is that it tells how many pounds that you must lose until you reach your target weight. A rather dispiriting figure!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Basal Metabolic Rate

from Wikipedia

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest. BMR is measured under very restrictive circumstances when a person is awake, but at complete rest.

A more common and closely related measurement, used under less strict conditions, is resting metabolic rate (RMR).

About 70% of a human's total energy expenditure is due to the basal life processes within the organs of the body. About 20% of one's energy expenditure comes from physical activity and another 10% from thermogenesis, or digestion of food.

MD Mifflin and ST St Jeor in 1990 created the Mufflin equation for RMR:

  • For men: (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) - (5 x a) + 5
  • For women: (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) - (5 x a) - 161


w = weight in kg
h = height in cm
a = age
Example: crabsallover w=79.6kg (175.6 pounds/2.204 kg); h = 170cm (5'7"); a = 52. Hence RMR = (10 x 79.6) + (6.25 x 170) - (5 x 52) + 5
= 1603 (or 67 calories per hour)
Calculate your RMR.
The results of crabsallover calculations using the calculator are: BMR 1,661 RMR 1,605 (calories)
Factor Category Definition BMR RMR
1.2SedentaryLittle or no exercise and desk1,9931,926


1.375Lightly ActiveLight exercise or sports 1-32,2842,207

days a week

1.55Moderately ActiveModerate exercise or sports2,5752,488

3-5 days a week

1.725Very ActiveHard exercise or sports 6-72,8652,769

days a week

1.9Extremely ActiveHard daily exercise or sports3,1563,050

and physical job

For Crabsallover 1603 (RMR) x 1.375 = 2204 calories

Total Energy Expenditure (TEE)

So for a woman with a 1725 calories TEE, BMR would be 1208 (70%), Physical Activity 345 calories (20%) and 172 calories (10%) via thermogenesis.

From Caloriesperhour:-
  • When your age goes up, your BMR and RMR go down.
  • When your height goes down, your BMR and RMR go down.
  • When your weight goes down, your BMR and RMR go down.

This means that as you get older, shorter, and lose weight, your BMR and RMR will go down and you will need to eat less or exercise more to maintain your current weight. Oh my, it's tough getting old. At least as we get older we get wiser. Well, hopefully.

Using the Calculations

As BMR and RMR only represent resting energy expenditure, an adjustment must be made to reflect your activity level. This is done by multiplying your BMR or RMR by an activity factor (McArdle et al 1996). Note that the following activity factors also take into account The Thermic Effect of Food:

Activity Factor Category Definition
1.2 Sedentary Little or no exercise and desk job
1.375 Lightly Active Light exercise or sports 1-3 days a week
1.55 Moderately Active Moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week
1.725 Very Active Hard exercise or sports 6-7 days a week4
1.9 Extremely Active Hard daily exercise or sports and physical job

Use of these activity factors produces a very rough estimate, and there are many different opinions on what these activity factors should be. So again, we suggest that you calculate the actual activities that you perform as described in Calculating Daily Calorie Needs.

And when you do, note that calculations made with the Activity Calculator reflect the total number of calories burned during the period of time calculated. Therefore when calculating how many calories you need or burn in a day, do not add your BMR or RMR.

The PhysicsDiet by Richard Muller

Richard Mullers says in this article:-

... Most dieters are so concerned about second-order effects, such as daily fluctuations in weight and changes in metabolism, that they lose track of the first law of thermodynamics: conservation of energy.

Want to lose a pound of fat? You can work it off by hiking to the top of a 2,500-story building. Or by running 60 miles.

Exercise is a very difficult way to lose weight. Here's a rule of thumb: exercise very hard for one hour (swimming, running, or racquetball) and you'll lose about one ounce of fat. Light exercise for an hour (gardening, baseball, or golf) will lose you a third of an ounce. That number is small because fat is a very energy-dense substance: it packs about 4,000 food calories per pound, the same as gasoline, and 15 times as much as in TNT.

There is a much easier way to lose weight, as we can learn from the first law of thermodynamics. Eat less.

A reasonable daily diet for an adult is 2,000 food calories. That's 8.36 megajoules per day, or about 100 joules per second-in other words, 100 watts. Most of that ends up as heat, so you warm a room as much as a bright light bulb. Cut your consumption by 600 calories per day and you'll lose a pound of fat every week. Most diet experts consider that a reasonable goal. Don't drop below 1,000 calories per day, or you might get lethargic. But at 1,400 calories per day, you can easily maintain an active life.

Of course, there is a catch. You'll be hungry.

It's not real hungernot like the painful hunger of starving people in impoverished countries. It's more of a mild ache, or an itch that you mustn't scratch. To be popular, a diet must somehow cope with this hunger. Weight Watchers does it with peer support. The food pyramid does it by encouraging you to eat unlimited celery. Some high-fat diets satisfy all your old cravings-and figure you'll eventually cut back the butter you put on your bacon.

How to cope with the hunger? I attempted to enjoy it. I thought of the movie Lawrence of Arabia, in which T.E. Lawrence says, "The trickis not minding that it hurts." I told myself that the mild ache was only the sensation of evaporating fat. That interpretation has some basis in physics. When you lose weight, most of your fat is converted to the gases carbon dioxide and water vapor, and so you get rid of fat by breathing it out of your body.

... My Zen-like approach to hunger also worked; I found myself declining offers of chocolate cake because I didn't want to lose the sensation of evaporation. I didn't change my level of activity...

A key innovation: I kept up the social aspects of lunch, without eating. I watched others gobbling cheeseburgers, while I sipped diet cola. It really wasn't that hard to do. And the mild afternoon discomfort was compensated by several positive developments. Dinner became truly wonderful. I hadn't had pre-dinner hunger for decades. A sharp appetite turns a meal into a feast. No more cheese "appetizers" for me.

Food is instant gratification. And fast-food chains and gourmet restaurants serve tasty food at remarkably low cost. It is a situation unprecedented in history and unanticipated by our genes. No wonder we are overweight.

Anybody can lose weight. Energy is conserved. Just stop scratching that itch. Of course, you'll have to sacrifice instant gratification. Is it worth it? You decide. Food is delicious and cheap. You might reasonably choose to take advantage of this unique historical circumstance, and decide to be fat.

Based on Richard Muller's arguement that one hour running can lose an ounce of fat this is 4000 calories /16 ozs = 250 calories.

But running typically uses double these calories according to NutriStrategy. eg Running, 5 mph (12 min mile) uses 563 calories per hour if you are 155lbs.

563 calories /4000 calories = 2.25 ozs or 1/8 pound. However the principle is the same - you don't loose much weight from exercising!

Walking the dog at moderate 3.0 mph pace does lose 246 calories per hour (if you are 155 pounds) - which is an ounce an hour.

The PhysicsDiet

Based on The Hacker's Diet (THD), the PhysicsDiet (PD) has a community forum and a few tools to measure other parameters such as Body Fat %.

Unlike THD, PD has a plethora of Google ads etc.

For Active Activity Level:
Based on the information in your Profile crabsallover Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is 1648 calories per day. Crabsallover Adjusted Metabolic Rate (AMR) is 2307 calories per day.

For Sedentary Activity Level:
Based on the information in your Profile crabsallover Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is 1648 calories per day. crabsallover Adjusted Metabolic Rate (AMR) is 2143 calories per day.

These figures are based on the

When should I weigh myself?

What Should I Eat?

How many calories does my body burn?

Recommended Books, Articles, and Sites

How the term 'The Physics Diet' was invented

Want to lose weight? Easy! Just remember the first law of thermodynamics: conservation of energy. Oh, and you'll have to not mind being hungry. By Richard A. Muller

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Google 15 and Hackers Diet - 20th Sept

Read graphics in reverse order.

Google 15 Moving Average Weight Change one week ago: -1.4 pounds

Hackers 1 week: -1.00 pounds

Rest of graphics shows how to patch process images in Macromedia / Adobe Fireworks using Clipmate to copy screen images.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Jeremy Zawodny on The Hackers Diet

reposted from:

found this via google "hackers diet".

I particularly like Habit #3 is about resetting your notion of when to eat (or stop eating). The easiest way to say it is "eat when you're hungry, stop when you're not." Notice that this says nothing about feeling full.

jeremy.zawodny says:-

Yesterday I mentioned that you'd need three new habits, one of which would be difficult. Here they are...

Eat Fewer Calories and Monitor Your Intake

I hate to make this sound simple but it is. There are 3,500 calories in every pound of fat. So if you eat an "extra" 250 calories every day (meaning 250 more than you use), you'll gain 2 pounds every month. That's 20 pounds a year. If you eat an extra 125 calories every day (a large banana or apple), that's 10 pounds per year. If you eat an extra 50 calories per day (half a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter), that's still 5 pounds you'll gain in a year.

Like I said yesterday, small changes have a big impact over time.

You can, as many people do, exercise to combat the effect of extra calories. But, honestly, that's a lot of work and takes a lot of time. For example, you'd need to spend an hour walking to burn off those 250 calories. Every day.

I'm not arguing against walking (I do it myself in the morning), but consider how much easier it is to simply not eat the ice cream bar in the first place. Spend a minute or two looking at the list of calories in various foods from the Hacker's Diet. Just give yourself an idea of how easy it is gobble down a bit too many.

Habit #1 is to record what you eat every day. For each meal, jot down the foods and their calorie counts. Then total them at the end of the day. Bonus points for keeping a running total throughout the day. We'll use this both for historical purposes and to help develop your sense of how much to eat every day.

In addition to reading your food packaging (pay special attention to the serving sizes), you can use any number of web sites to figure how roughly how many calories are in various foods. I've found that Calorie King is the best. You simply type the name of the food into their search box and click on the result that best matches. Then pick the quantity and they'll tell you how many calories you ate.

Record everything you eat. Even the little snacks and scraps. It all counts.

After you're comfortable doing this, it'll take you less than five minutes per day. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll know what your daily intake is.

More on that tomorrow.

Weigh Yourself Daily but Don't Obsess Over It

The other thing you need to do is weigh yourself every day. It's best to do this using the same scale and at the same time of day. I do it first thing in the morning, after I roll out of bed and hit the restroom.

You need to record this in the spreadsheet too. This is habit #2 and takes about 1 minute per day. We'll look at how to set this up tomorrow, but there is one important thing you need to know early on:

You must not judge your weight from day to day. Don't worry if it's a bit higher than yesterday, and don't get too excited of it's gone down by two pounds. The reality is that your weight will fluctuate by as much as 2-3 pounds from day to day for various reasons. We'll factor that out mathematically and focus on the long-term trend: loss, gain, or neutral.

Again, we'll look at the spreadsheet tomorrow. I'll provide a copy of mine from early on in my weight loss cycle.

Learn the Difference Between "Not Hungry" and "Full"

After thinking about why I always ate a bit too much, I finally realized it was a problem with my physiological empty/full gauge. If I eat until I feel "full" I've probably eaten too much. And, worse yet, I end up feeling sluggish for an hour or so after eating. You know, the "food coma."

Habit #3 is about resetting your notion of when to eat (or stop eating). The easiest way to say it is "eat when you're hungry, stop when you're not." Notice that this says nothing about feeling full.

This is the single most difficult thing to do. If you're like me, it means breaking 30 years worth of training your body. But after the first few weeks, you'll start to find that the "not hungry and not full" feeling starts to seem normal. If you keep a running tally of your food intake during the day (habit #1), that'll make it a lot easier to know when you should stop.

Once it starts to take hold, you'll be amazed at how powerful this is. You'll be able to look at the ice cream bar and say to yourself "that looks good, but I'm not hungry and... heck, it'd take over an hour of exercise to burn it off. It's just not worth it."

Closing Thoughts

Note that there's nothing in here about eating healthy. It's not necessary at all. You can get 1/4 of your daily calories from "junk food" if you'd like, but it will probably make this harder for a variety of reasons.

The first thing to focus on is how much you eat, not what you eat. Trying to change too many things at once is a recipe for failure. Once you have a handle on that, you can worry about tweaking what you eat. It can wait.

Another thing you'll find (as I did) is that the mere act of tracking what you eat and how much you weigh each day will make you much more aware of your eating habits. That alone will put you on the right track. You'll be far more conscious of those extra snacks you grab when you're not really hungry.

Once you've done it long enough, much of this becomes intuitive--especially the act of figuring out how many calories are in a meal. You'll find that you can glance at a plate of food and guesstimate to within 10% or so much of the time. That's a skill that'll serve you well when you go out to eat.

Next Up


Posted by jzawodn at June 05, 2006 07:46 AM

a bit More....

small pee - half a pound, large pee - 2 pounds

Today my pee was 2 pounds. Weigh after pee when recording weight for diet exponentially smoothed moving average trend analysis.The eleven pounds of water is lost mostly by water vapour in breath but also via pee.

Source: The Hackers Diet by John Walker

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Change of plan

As per Hackers Diet, a bang-bang approach to dieting is inferior to a Proportional approach.

When I know I will have a large dinner I will have a small lunch and vica versa. Approach July-September has been to guage on the day after I've reached a one pound per week and 0.2 pound over previous day.

  • I'm going to ignor the previous day moving average figure, focus on the moving weekly total exclusively
  • MWT 1.5 pounds loss per week target
  • Hackers Diet online charting

Since I can control my breakfasts and lunch completely but Sharon makes dinner I will plan meals:

Breakfast: bowl Alpen & milk (200 cals)
Lunch: Banana (100 cals) - NOT All Day Breakfast / Lasagne (600 cals) - 500 cals difference
Coffee with milk: x6 (200 cals)
Dinner: 600 cals (NOT 900 cals) - difference 300 cals
Wine: half glass (100 cals)
Total: 1200 cals (normally 2000 cals)
Total Difference: 800 cals

Assuming 2000 cals usage, 1200 cals represents a 800 calorie per day deficit or 800 x 7 days = 5600 cals deficit / 3500 = 1.6 pounds per week loss.

Main changes
  • banana every day for lunch
  • half glass wine with dinner
  • dinner portions two thirds normal size
  • no pinching family food

The Hackers Diet - Signal and Noise

reposted from:

Take a look here for explanations.

The Hackers Diet - Feedback and Control

reposted from:

Hackers Diet discusses feedback (positive and negative) and control (bang-bang and proportioanal).

The problem isn't losing weight, it's gaining weight. If you hadn't already gained more weight than you're happy toting around, you wouldn't be reading a diet book. Anybody can lose weight…for a while. Many of us have lost weight on numerous occasions, only to put it right back on within a short time. The problem isn't weight loss, it's weight control, and the insights into feedback and control from the thermostat were necessary to allow us, finally, get a handle on our problems with weight.

Rather than temperature, what's being controlled is the number of calories of food eaten. Rather than switching on a furnace or air conditioner, control is accomplished through a signal called appetite. The effect is the same.

It isn't necessary to exactly balance calories eaten with calories burned. If you eat a little too much, the body cranks up the burn rate a little: you feel warmer and more inclined to run up a flight of stairs rather than walk. If you eat a tad less than ideal, you may feel chilly and inclined to curl up with a book under the blankets and get a little extra sleep.

This is the lowest level of proportional weight control, and it works for all of us. It means that there's no need to become obsessed with matching calories eaten and burned; it's only when the balance shifts decisively and consistently to one side or the other of the ideal calorie intake that we get into trouble.

Staying the same weight requires proportional negative feedback control.

But if the proportional appetite control is 'out' a little a life time of dieting is the result.

If the 'i'm stuffed signal is weak then you get really obese.

Fun with feedback

The temperature charts used as illustrations in this chapter were made with a mathematical model of the thermostat system implemented in Excel. Playing around with this model, entering different values that control the feedback, will give you an excellent feel for the kinds of behaviour a system exhibits in the presence of various kinds of feedback.

To experiment with this model, load the Excel worksheet FEEDLAB.XLS.

The Hackers Diet - Calories burned

reposted from:

The Hackers Diet describes how the body is essentially just a rubber bag.

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.

At 5' 7" I'm using 1700 - 2417 depending on how my frame is defined. I suppose I'm medium frame (i need to check how this is defined), if so, the I use 1796 - 2245 calories a day.

Suppose you start putting in an extra 250 calories a day. That sounds like a lot, but consider the following:

Savoury Snack Calories
Ice cream cone 220
Doughnut, glazed 225
Oreo cookies, 5 250
Beer, 2 cans 300
Chocolate shake 375
Pecan pie (1/6 pie) 550

These little compensations for life's vicissitudes can add up. Indeed they do…to the tune of an extra 1750 calories per week based on a daily excess of 250 calories (250x7=1750). The weekly surplus of 1750 calories equals half the calories in a pound of fat (3500/2=1750). As week gives way to week, you'll find you're gaining about half a pound a week. Two pounds per month. About 25 pounds a year, by which time none of your clothes will fit, you'll look awful, be depressed about the situation, and feel unable to get a handle on it unless you've grasped the simple arithmetic at the heart of the problem.

But consider the flip side of this calculation. Passing by any of the treats listed above, or its equivalent in other foods, hardly constitutes starvation or survival rations. And yet, simply by eating that little bit less every day for a year, you can subtract 25 pounds from your weight in the space of a single year (assuming you weren't gaining weight before).

I know this. But I bet the vast majority don't! Actually I marvel at the weigh the body can control weight .. more or less. In the last year (May 2007-June 2008) I've put ONLY about 18 pounds. That's 1.5 pounds a month or an excess of 3500 x 1.5 calories or 5250 calories per month or 175 calories a day. If I'm using up 2000 calories a day the body is controlling my weight to within 175/2000 or 9%. Thats not bad but its just not good enough! After a decade I'd be 12 stone heavier!! Rather than putting on 18 pounds and going on a diet I'd rather control my weight so that I'm never heavier than 5 pounds from my ideal weight.

Assuming my ideal weight is BMI 21 (there is some evidence for this that I discussed in an earlier blog) then I need to get down to 9st 8 pounds - the weight I was nearly in Corfu 20 years ago (9st 13 pounds). My tactics are to lose a pound a every week, in total 20 pounds to get down to 11st 1 pound (BMI 24.9, 155 pounds) by February 2009. Then set myself another target of losing another 20 pounds (9st 8 pounds - 134 pounds, BMI 21) by autumn 2009. Then stick at that weight (or at least within plus/minus 5 pounds as advocated in The Hackers Diet) ... for life!!

The Hackers Diet:-

The stark reality is that permanent weight control requires permanent attention to what you eat. Life long, permanent attention. The monumental pile of nonsense, mysticism, and bad advice associated with dieting stems from the all-too-human tendency to deny this simple fact. But fact it is, and like most unpleasant facts, it's best faced squarely and treated as a challenge to be overcome.

Another unpleasant fact of dieting it's worth facing up front is that while you don't need to go hungry to maintain your weight, you will need to go hungry in order to lose it. It's the rubber bag again. The only way those fat cells are going to be persuaded to dig into their reserves and start dumping them back into the bloodstream is by eating less food than's needed to fill the bloodstream with nutrients. When you do that the hunger alarm is going to go off: “Hey! Up there! Not enough food down here! How about sending down some pizza?”

This is not at all pleasant, but it needn't be incapacitating. Further, you only have to put up with it for a limited amount of time and, with this plan, you'll be able to watch your progress, know how long you'll have to spend to achieve your ideal weight, and build ever-growing confidence in your ability to control your weight as you wish.

Many things in life are unpleasant. Most are far more irritating than the day to day process of losing weight, and few yield comparable benefits. Controlling your weight holds the key to a reward no amount of money, no degree of knowledge, no position of power or influence can bring: a longer life and better health to enjoy it more.

And as with many challenges, you can turn the discomfort of dieting into an advantage once you've succeeded. For what better motivation is there to maintain your weight than recalling how awful you felt when overweight and what you went through to shed that excess poundage?

This isn't to imply that losing weight, even many pounds in a relatively short time, is akin to a stint in the Siberian Gulag. Cutting your food intake by 250 calories a day, the equivalent of foregoing french fries with your lunchtime burger or passing up your mid-afternoon “pick me up” candy bar, is enough to tilt the balance so you'll lose two pounds a month. Weighing the prospect of being 25 pounds lighter in a year against that little morsel of food each day shows how effectively you can manage major changes in your weight once you master the tools that allow you to make such decisions intelligently.

Water flow is a major component of weight gain or loss.

Most of the changes in weight you see have nothing to do with how many calories you're eating or burning. Instead, all you're seeing is how many pounds of water happen to be inside the rubber bag at the moment. How many bleak mornings of dark despair endured by forlorn dieters who indulged in a bowl of salted popcorn at midnight then slaked their thirst with a large glass of water in the middle of the night, would have been taken in stride had only the implications of human being as water pump been fully comprehended?

From an engineering standpoint this is a simple system. We have virtually no control of what comes out; that's just the waste products of the factory. We have little effective control over what we burn: in theory our bodies are at our command but the constraints of modern life sorely limit the extent we can exercise.

Consequently, the only real control we have is over what goes in: what, when, and how much we eat.

Weight control can be reduced to a very simple matter of arithmetic.
Total the number of calories in the food you eat per day, averaged over a period of time. Take the number of calories you burn per day, roughly the same for everybody of your sex, height, build, and level of activity. Subtracting the calories burned from the calories eaten gives excess calories per day. This number times thirty is excess calories per month. A pound of fat is equivalent to about 3500 calories. If you eat 3500 calories more in a month than you burn, you'll gain a pound that month. If you burn 3500 calories more than you eat, you'll lose a pound. All the weight you gain or lose is the consequence of these simple numbers.

The most advanced racing engine is, basically, an air pump. Humans, notwithstanding our pretensions of transcendence are, at a comparable level, water pumps. Every day, the quantity of water we take in and dispose of dwarfs the other physical interactions with our environment. This means that

day to day weight figures primarily measure only how much water happens to be inside the rubber bag at the moment.
They're of no use in managing one's health. Instead, it's necessary to extract the signal from the noise, the reality from the raw data. Learning how to do this and applying that information to controlling your weight will be discussed in the Signal and Noise chapter.

The Hackers Diet - The Eat Watch

John Walker in The Hackers Diet says:
Wouldn't it be great if you could visit your local purveyor of electronic marvels and purchase one of these?

You strap it on your wrist, set it for the weight you want to be, then rely on it to tell you when to eat and when to stop. As long as you heeded the Eat Watch, you'd attain and maintain whatever weight you set it to.

You can't buy an eat watch in the store, at least not yet. But you can make one that works every bit as well. It isn't a gadget you wear on your wrist; it's a simple technique you can work with pencil and paper or with a personal computer. It tells you same thing: when to eat and when to stop eating. The eat watch you'll discover in this book is simple to work, easy to use, and highly effective in permanently controlling your weight.

The Eat Watch, The Hackers Diet and Google 15 are all tools to help you to lose weight then maintain a normal weight.