Back on July 11th I started following John Walker’s Hacker’s Diet and using the Palm software which accompanies it in order to track my weight.
The principle of the Hacker’s Diet is simple: eat less than you burn and you will lose weight; eat more than you burn and you will gain.
The hard part of dieting is dealing with day-to-day fluctuation in your weight and not being depressed or over-encouraged by it. You need to understand that even with a stable diet your weight will vary somewhat due to other factors such as water consumption and retention. What matters is the weight trend over time. That’s what the software (or a mathematical formula, for the pen & paper inclined) gives you.
One thing I particularly like about the diet is it doesn’t require you to change what you eat, just how much of it. It doesn’t require you to miss out on wedding receptions and dinners with friends. Once again, it’s the trend that matters. If most of the time you’re eating less than you burn and if you eat enough less than you burn to make up for the times when you don’t, you will lose weight.
I’ve been on the diet for 45 days. I have considered myself “off diet” for 17 of those. I have lost about 7 pounds. That’s about a pound a week which as aggressive a pattern of weight loss as is advisable for most people.
I recommend this approach to weight loss.
“Yeah, but what are the on diet days like?” I hear you ask. Here’s a typical one:
breakfast (8am or so): 1 Luna bar (180 cal) and a strong & interesting herbal tea (0 cal)
second breakfast (11am or so): mug of McCann’s instant oatmeal (2 packets) from Trader Joe’s (260-320 cal depending on flavor chosen)
lunch (afternoon sometime, usually between 1 and 4pm): Tasty Bites boxed lunch, e.g. Sprouts & Curry or Basmati Vegetables with rice (320-365 cal) with water or herbal tea
dinner (around 8pm): 3 or 4 sliced shiitake mushrooms slowly sauteed in broth, small zucchini sliced and sauteed with just a teeny bit of butter, slices of daikon radish, salad of 1 cup fresh red cabbage (approx. 300 cal) with water or herbal tea
dessert: small bit of extremely high-quality chocolate e.g. Scharffen-Berger Bittersweet (20 cal)
Throughout the day I’ll also have half a dozen Altoids or so and teas of various kinds to satisfy me when my mouth gets bored. That adds up to another 20 cal, say.
Note that that’s based on a guess that my neutral point – eating about what I burn – would be something like 1670 calories and I’m trying to lose a pound a week so I eat 500 calories less than that a day.