Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Hacker's Diet

This is one of the few diet books I've seen that makes sense, combining both the engineering aspects of weight control (e.g. how much exercise will burn 1 kcal of fuel; how much fuel is available from various foods), and diet management (how to successfully apply the knowledge one has about exercise and food). Don't be put off by the facetious subtitle (How to Lose Weight and Hair Through Stress and Poor Nutrition).

Here's an excerpt:

Weight: what's the connection?

Management in isolation struggles with constraints that can frequently be eliminated. Engineering in isolation seeks permanent fixes which sometimes don't exist and, even when found, often require an ongoing effort to put into place and maintain. Each needs the other to truly solve a problem. So it is with controlling your weight. First, you must fix the problem of not knowing when and how much to eat. As long as you lack that essential information, you'll never get anywhere. Then, you have to use that information to permanently manage your weight.
Diet books reflect the division between engineers and managers. When they focus on a ``magic diet,'' they're seeking a quick fix. When they preach about ``changing your whole lifestyle,'' they're counseling endless coping with a broken system. This book presents an engineering fix to the underlying problem, then builds a management program upon it to truly solve the problem of being overweight.


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