Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

DietHacking

Posted by Trixter on May 6, 2009


“You have an unhealthy relationship with food,” Jason remarked, somewhat casually, after witnessing the satisfaction I got from eating a particularly crisp batch of crinkle-cut french fries.  And he was right.  But, just like an addict, I have everything under control.  No, really, I do.

As John Walker hammers home 2^37 times in The Hacker’s Diet, weight loss is incredibly easy.  Just consume less energy than your body requires to function, and your body will take what it needs from your fat stores.  It really is that easy — it’s staying on track that’s the tough part.  The longer I stay on Weight Watchers, the more weight I lose (down to 213 — only 2 more pounds to my 10% goal), but I’ve had to resort to some mental hacking to keep things interesting.

For one thing, the Weight Watchers “points” values are a slightly skewed calculation of (calories/50)=number of “points”.  The actual formula, which somehow inexplicably got patented, is this:

weight-watchers-points-form

In the above, r represents fiber.  So up to 4 grams of dietary fiber are subtracted from the calculation.  What does this mean?  It means that you can essentially stuff your gaping maw with Fiber One cereal every hour of the day and, unless your stomach is the size of a large pumpkin, will never hit your points for the day.

More fun can be had by skipping a meal — yes, exactly what they tell you not to do.  I find that I can have a single yogurt for breakfast, then a lean lunch of grilled chicken and steamed veggies, and then I can eat pretty much whatever the hell I want for dinner.  This is not recommended and certainly not the most healthy way to diet.  It is, however, the most fun.  By front-loading all of my points toward a single meal, I get to revisit my young adulthood by making the trek to the best burger/dog joint in the entire world:  Superdawg.  Unhealthy front-loading means I get to enjoy a Supercheesie with a chocolate malt and still be under my points for the day:

Supercheesie and Chocolate Malt

Remember kids, it’s not a true Supercheesie unless the relish is NEON GREEN:

Inside a Supercheesie

In addition to being one of the worst ways you can eat, front-loading is also the hardest to stay focused on.  I find that if I’m hungry — not a “I need food to live” hungry, but rather an “I’m anxious and want to calm myself down with food” hungry — I can just chug diet cokes until that feeling goes away.  No, I’m not a role model.

“You have an unhealthy relationship with food.” Yeah, well, I have no other vices. Maybe if I take up drinking, smoking, or drugs, I’ll stop coveting guilty-pleasure-food.

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7 Responses to “DietHacking”

  1. nine said

    hint: exercise more and you can fill your giant meatbag with as much polony as you like.

    • Trixter said

      I usually play DDR every night, which burns about 200 calories. But I can “burn” much more than 200 calories by simply not eating a donut.

  2. Doug said

    Hilarious read. I was cracking up when I saw the superdawg photos.

    I lost quite a bit of weight (15 pounds in ~1.5 months) myself just by skipping breakfast and eating a -normal- sized lunch. The diet coke/coke zero thing took the edge off in the morning and afternoon. I also find that sitting in front of a desk 40+ hours a week lends itself well to these types of diets.

    Congrats on finding a fun way to reach your goal. I know it goes against what the books say but I think weight control (or really any vice for that matter) is a personal experience. If front loading is getting you to your goal then it’s working.

  3. Your unhealthy relationship with food is eclipsed by your unhealthy relationship with math.

  4. This is comical. I wonder if Weight Watchers ever counted on an engineering/hacker mind to participate in the program? You know, someone who could “crack the code”, so to speak, and find a way to game the system. Hey, create a system with easily quantifiable points and just try to stop people like us from running the numbers!

    @Nine: It’s not at all true that you can stuff your piehole with anything if you exercise a lot. If that were true, I would be the thinnest person I know. :-) I can attest that proper diet does play a role.

  5. Optimus said

    It’s all too hard for my case when all that food is to me is some kind of overstimulation. I just enjoy food. I am eating when I am not really hungry. I am eating when I am anxious. Food as pleasure.

    Sometimes I try a diet but it’s not the method if it’s just me. And then I loose interest. Maybe waking up and thinking more about it would make me spend more time with it and maybe there is the solution somehow. But it is in me, not in any technique. I wish it was so easy to stop eating as a pleasure. At least I don’t smoke at all and I don’t like drinking so much.

    Overeating as stimulation. Something I cannot escape from..

    Maybe I would take a look at the hacker’s diet. Maybe I can find something in there.

  6. john l said

    when did you go to superdawg? i went a few weeks ago and was so dissapointed – they are about the 10th down the list in taste, maybe the snazziest presentation but the food stinks

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