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Book Review: The Healthy Programmer

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Books 461

benrothke writes "Diet books are literally a dime a dozen. They generally benefit only the author, publisher and Amazon, leaving the reader frustrated and bloated. With a failure rate of over 99%, diet books are the epitome of a sucker born every minute. One of the few diet books that can offer change you can believe in is The Healthy Programmer: Get Fit, Feel Better, and Keep Coding. Author Joe Kutner observes that nearly every popular diet fails and the reason is that they are based on the premise of a quick fix without focusing on the long-term core issues. It is inevitable that these diets will fail and the dieters at heart know that. It is simply that they are taking the wrong approach. This book is about the right approach; namely a slow one. With all of the failed diet books, Kutner is one of the few that has gotten it right." Keep reading for the rest of Ben's review.While the title of the book says it's for programmers, it is germane to anyone whose job requires them to be at a desk for extended amounts of time.

Kutner is himself a programmer who builds Ruby and Rails applications, and a former college athlete and Army Reserve physical fitness trainer.

The book focuses on two areas that require change: regular exercise and proper nutrition; and it details the steps necessary to create a balanced lifestyle.

While popular diet books require rapid and major lifestyle changes and promise quick weight-loss, the book notes that small changes to your habits can provide the long-term effects that can improve your health. The book focuses on incremental changes and sustainability, not about losing x pounds in x weeks.

The book is different (read: effective) as opposed to other diet and lifestyle books, in that its goal is to make your healthy lifestyle pragmatic, attainable, and fun. It is only with those aspects that long-term change be possible.

As to programmers, Kutner writes that programming requires intense concentration that often causes them to neglect other aspects of their lives; the most common of which is their health. People's bodies have not evolved to accommodate a lifestyle of sitting and there are many negative health effects from it.

The book takes a start small approach, rather than one of drastic changes. In chapter 2, it notes the myriad benefits of walking. It states that walking is a powerful activity that can stimulate creative thinking (a required trait for a good programmer) and is a great way to bootstrap your health. The chapter details the ways in which a few short walks during the day can have a dramatic positive effect on your life.

Chapter 3 is about the dangers of chairs and sitting for long periods of time. It details a number of ways to counter the dangers of sitting. It also notes that while sometimes you simply can't get away from your chair, and when that happens, you can make sitting less dangerous by forcing your muscles to contract without even getting up. It then details a number of different calisthenics to use to do this.

Chapter 4 – Agile Dieting — is perhaps the best part of the book. It details how to fight the real causes of weight gain and details proven solutions that work. That chapter repeatedly uses terms like iterative, sustainable, slow to show what it really takes to lose weight and achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Kutner notes that most of the popular fad diets are idiosyncratic and unbalanced. They will provide short-term benefits, but ultimately fail miserably. The chapter quotes research data on what needs to be in a balanced diet. It then notes that almost every fad diet violates those needs. Nutrition needs to be rounded and well-balanced and the fad diets for that reason will only work in the short term.

This book is everything the fad diet books are not and this is most manifest in chapter 4 where Kutner writes one should cut calories slowly. This is based on research which shows that quick drastic weight loss is counterproductive. While the fad diets talk about drastic caloric changes, Kutner suggests dropping your intake slower, about 100 calories every two weeks until you get you your targeted caloric intake level.

While much of the book is on fitness and nutrition, it takes a complete body approach. Chapter 5 details the importance of eye health. This is an important topic since the average programmer spends much of their week behind a monitor.

Kutner writes about computer vision syndrome (CVS); an eye condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a monitor for extended amounts of time. Symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, redness in the eyes, fatigue, eye strain, dry eyes, irritated eyes, double vision, vertigo/dizziness, polyopia, and difficulty refocusing the eyes. The book also details methods in which to minimize the effects of CVS, and how not to become a victim of it. Kutner writes that CVS is what most programmers refer to as life. But it does not have to be that way.

The rest of the book covers other physical ailments that plague programmers. This runs the gamut from headaches, backaches, wrist problem, carpel tunnel, head strain and much more. Most of these problems can be obviated if one follows proper ergonomics practices and employs some of the physical conditioning detailed in the book.

Another theme of the book is using goals as an impetus for change. The book lists 16 goals which can be used as a progressive framework to improve your health. These goals include buying a pedometer, finding your resting heart rate, getting a negative result on Reverse Phalens test and other lifestyle changes.

Given the preponderance of obesity, diabetes and other maladies associated with a sedentary lifestyle, this may be one of the most important non-programming books that every developer should read and take to heart.

The book has hundreds of bits of excellent advice and subtle lifestyle suggestions that over time can make a significant difference to your health.

The author has a web site and an iPhone app that can be referenced for additional help. The book is full of sage and pragmatic advice. It has no celebrity endorsement, no gimmicks or false claims; meaning it has a high chance of working.

The book concludes with the observation that programmers often say the hardest part of software development begins when a product is released. The real work, maintenance, continues on, much like your health. You must sustain a stat of wellness for the rest of your life, and you need to continue setting goals, iterating and making small improvements.

For many programmers, they love their job but not the lifestyle problems that come with it. For the programmer that wants the challenges of the professional and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, The Healthy Programmer: Get Fit, Feel Better, and Keep Coding, may be a life changing book, and should find its rightful place on every programmer's desk.

Reviewed by Ben Rothke.

You can purchase The Healthy Programmer: Get Fit, Feel Better, and Keep Coding from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews (sci-fi included) -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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461 comments

Lollerskates!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544335)

I put peanut butter on my taint and let my dog lick it off. Is this awesome?

Re:Lollerskates!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545089)

I donno, are you a chick or a dude?

Re:Lollerskates!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545147)

I've been both.

Rreasonable response (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544339)

Diet books are literally a dime a dozen. They generally benefit only the author, publisher and Amazon, leaving the reader frustrated and bloated. With a failure rate of over 99%, diet books are the epitome of a sucker born every minute. One of the few diet books that can offer change

That is where you should stop reading. When someone tells you nearly everything in a category is ineffective, then offers you something in that category as somehow worth your money, something stinks.

Re:Rreasonable response (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44544465)

That might be true for most things. But for diet books, it seems to ring very true.

Re:Rreasonable response (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544853)

For the most part, people don't need books on diet to know how to eat healthily. Intelligent people who have Internet access even less so. Another diet book is the last thing anybody needs.

   

Re:Rreasonable response (5, Informative)

AAWood (918613) | about a year ago | (#44545275)

I stopped after "literally a dime a dozen". Unless we're talking at a discount book shop closing sale or a car boot, the word is "figuratively".

Re:Rreasonable response (1)

Grax (529699) | about a year ago | (#44545393)

Here's a nickel. I'll take six. Does that include shipping?

Don't eat so goddamned much (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544371)

If more goes in your mouth hole than comes out your butt hole, you get fat.

I just saved you the cost of this book, app, and whatever special foods it's promoting.

It's really that simple. Why is this so hard for people?

Fat, lazy and stupid is no way to be.

Re:Don't eat so goddamned much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544519)

you've obviously never worked out AC.

Re:Don't eat so goddamned much (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544537)

Because most fat people are Americans(obese). and they...well are stupid. Why you got a -1, must because SlashJerk doesn't like reality.

Re:Don't eat so goddamned much (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544547)

If more goes in your mouth hole than comes out your butt hole, you get fat.

Oddly, no.

Carbohydrates used as an energy source are oxidized into carbon dioxide and water (vapor); these are exhausted by breathing them out your "mouth hole." Not all the calories input come out your "butt hole." So, you could have put it: "if more (caloric content) goes in via your mouth hole than you exhale via your mouth hole, the difference is incorporated into your body in the form of fat."

The amount oxidized is proportional to how many calories you expend in the form of metabolism and physical effort

Tell the PHB to stop the 80 hour work weeks then (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44544921)

Tell the PHB to stop the 80 hour work weeks then as well the working lunches

Re:Don't eat so goddamned much (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#44545193)

Personally I breath out some of the carbon from the foods I eat. You have a very strange respiratory system if that's coming out you butt hole. You may want to see a medical professional in fact.

Welcome to the publishing industry, newbie critic. (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year ago | (#44544385)

Let me fix that for you:

Books on (any subject) are literally a dime a dozen. They generally benefit only the author (as long as the author is using the book for publicity), publisher (financially) and Amazon (to drive traffic to competing or complementary products), leaving the reader frustrated and bloated (99% of time).

>> Diet books are literally a dime a dozen. They generally benefit only the author, publisher and Amazon, leaving the reader frustrated and bloated.

Welcome to the publishing industry, newbie critic.

Re:Welcome to the publishing industry, newbie crit (3, Informative)

AAWood (918613) | about a year ago | (#44545299)

As long as you're fixing thing, take "literally" out of there. It's literally the exact wrong way to use it.

Re:Welcome to the publishing industry, newbie crit (1)

emag (4640) | about a year ago | (#44545427)

Alas [merriam-webster.com] , we literally [reference.com] lost...

Re:Welcome to the publishing industry, newbie crit (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year ago | (#44545457)

>> As long as you're fixing thing, take

things

As Mark Twain said: (5, Funny)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44544387)

Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes away. :)

Re:As Mark Twain said: (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year ago | (#44545325)

Gee, thanks for making me GIS for Samuel Clemens... apparently there are more topless pics of him out there than I cared to see.

Re:As Mark Twain said: (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44545411)

GIS?

Hunger diet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544409)

Only eat when you are hungry. Too many people think 3 meals are mandatory. Too many people go out during lunch, eat a huge meal and come back bloated and tired. Stay hungry. Eat until you are satisfied. Stop eating when you feel nourished.

Try it. It works.

Re:Hunger diet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544489)

This is the sure way to possibly lose weight but not body fat giving you a higher body fat percentage and thus making you less healthy. Eating multiple small meals a day keeps your metabolism high and thus you burn more fat

Re:Hunger diet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544651)

Actually, the converse may be true. Checkout the warrior diet sometime. There is evidence to suggest that eating one large meal towards the end of the day will keep your hormone levels more optimal throughout the day (in a mild-fasting state). Also, during a fasting state, you are more mentally alert.

Re:Hunger diet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544727)

Both of you are idiots and numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown that for an equal amount of daily food intake, it makes no discernible difference whether you eat it in one large meal or twelve-plus smaller ones.

Re:Hunger diet (1)

infidel_heathen (2652993) | about a year ago | (#44545413)

[Citation needed] for all three of you ACs.

Re:Hunger diet (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#44545123)

This is the sure way to possibly lose weight but not body fat giving you a higher body fat percentage and thus making you less healthy. Eating multiple small meals a day keeps your metabolism high and thus you burn more fat

Despite the fact that almost every diet book parrots this point verbatim, I've yet to see anyone present any evidence showing this to be true.

Re:Hunger diet (3, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#44544771)

Well said.

I knew a physical education instructor and his rules were simple:

  1. If you're not hungry, don't eat
  2. If you're hungry, eat.
  3. When you're not hungry anymore, stop eating.

This sounds simple, but it can be difficult to practice. First, food is a social thing. We all get together and have lunch or dinner. So it's tough to tell the crowd, "You go ahead--I'm not hungry yet."

Also, if you're going out, the restaurant decides the portions and they do so based upon various factors that have nothing to do with your appetite. Yet, many of us were told to clean the plate because children are starving in Europe. [youtube.com] At the very least, it was considered rude to not finish your food--your mother spent some time cooking it so you'd better eat it. And that lives with us into our adult lives.

The other good point about this is time. My sister is quite overweight. She's done some things about it and she's losing the weight. But as an instructor pointed out, "You spent 20 years putting on that weight. It's not going to all come off in 20 days."

Re:Hunger diet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545263)

If this works for you, consider yourself lucky. Once my metabolism slowed down after getting into my late 20s, I started gaining weight. This is despite having a large incentive to stop eating when full or not eat when not hungry, as I cook the vast majority of my meals for myself. The less I eat at one meal, the more leftovers I have so I don't have to cook the next night. I had gained 20-30 lbs and it looked like I was continuing to gain more before I got into a routine to reverse that, which involved some drastic changes to some meals and more exercise. Even though I am on my feet most of the day, and my meals were already about a 25-25-50 ratio of meat to grain to veggie, I didn't really see any change until I completely removed grain from breakfast and lunch, and from some dinners, and regularly exercised (the diet change seemed to be the larger part, as after a leg injury, I continued to lose weight despite a month long break in exercise).

Re:Hunger diet (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44545493)

That works for some people, but not everyone. There are a lot of people out there who, by eating when hungry and stopping when they aren't hungry, will eat more than they burn and thus gain weight slowly.

Re:Hunger diet (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#44544787)

Staying hungry by eating only about 70% of the calories you should normally eat, is currently the only method known that will increase your lifespan (apart from stopping behaviours like smoking or running naked across snakepits, or trainsurfing). Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to focus on your daily life if you are consistently hungry. But going slightly hungry is pretty good for your health.

On the other hand, I had a standard fat percentage of 12% and when I started working out it dropped a few points. I can tell you that at 10%, I really don't feel too good anymore. YMMV but at 13% I feel much better.

Re:Hunger diet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544873)

Wait what?

If you replace your BMI fat with muscle you can get an amazingly low BMI. If all you're doing is cardio maybe that might make you feel worse cause your body can no longer fuel itself, but any trainer will tell you to replace fat with muscle, not just lose the weight.

Who knows, you might even be able to finish those oversized meals and burn through them without gaining a calorie with enough muscle.

Re:Hunger diet (4, Informative)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#44544789)

I have a better diet.

Eat less. Exercise more.

You're done here.

Re:Hunger diet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545153)

Stay hungry.

Eat until you are satisfied.

These are competing statements for most people. The thing people giving such advice forget is that the person has to know what satisfied is SUPPOSED TO mean. Then the above statements make sense. So maybe instead you should point out that full/bloated is not the same as satisfied?

Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544443)

Author Joe Kutner observes that nearly every popular diet fails and the reason is that they are based on the premise of a quick fix without focusing on the long-term core issues.

Nothing wrong with a quick fix, but the weight also needs to be maintained. Or you snap right back.

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545387)

Yup, that is my current trial. A few years or so I simply reduced the calories I was eating and dropped a good 25 pounds, but it took time to do. However, I was in a good place to do that. I didn't have ready access to food at work, and what there was of it, I had to pay through the nose for. Eat 2000 calories a day, and no more. No matter what.

Now, I'm at a new job where they are always feeding us free food and I'm across the street from a supermarket. I find myself unable to rely on simply allowing my surroundings to keep me from overeating and the weight isn't completely back, but I need to revise my strategy because it is going up again substantially.

My solution was not a quick fix, it took months to get all that weight off, but it does show that you have to really get yourself in the right frame of mind and in the right habits to make sure there is no temptation to overeat. And overeating is very, very easy to do if you like food. You have to take your failures with your successes and just keep on doing it. I have no doubt that I'll be back down where I want to be, but I know I'll need to take the time to do it.

What I would suggest are not "diet" books, but rather sources of information where you can determine what you can eat to get all the nutrition you need, and what a healthy weight/body fat index might be for your height/body type. I do find cookbooks that can give you tasty meal options with the right nutrients and portion sizes are useful. Certainly, no need for special "diet" food unless you have specific issues and are under medical care. I actually lost all of my 25 pounds drinking normal soda and eating just about whatever I wanted. I don't know if I would suggest that for everyone, but it is doable.

Poor western health happens for a reason (2)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44544449)

Dieting is problematic for one huge reason. People generally go about it in the most unhealthy of ways. Balance and portion control elude much of the West in this day and age. I know I'm certainly guilty of it, and I feel crappy healthwise.

Sitting is a huge problem too. Long commutes are similarly problematic. People often neglect to realize how much time they spend just sitting at the office, only to sit for 45 minutes or more both on the way to and from work, and then what little time is left is spent largely sitting at home.

Weather is also problematic, especially in climates where spending time outside is often impractical. The heat of Texas and the cold of some other region I've never lived in are made further difficult by the relative ease of Western life today. Gone are the days when outdoors is usually more pleasant than indoors in hot weather thanks to A/C, and modern heating soruces have all but eliminated the reason to be outside during cold winters except to get to and from heated vehicles. As a result, it's harder to handle the outside temperatures as one never acclimates to it.

calories consumed = calories needed (4, Informative)

_UnderTow_ (86073) | about a year ago | (#44544453)

There's an almost magic weight loss formula I've followed that just works. I was going to write a book about it, but as it turns out it would be more of a pamphlet or brochure in length.

Just make sure the following is true: calories consumed
I've been monitoring my calorie intake using a free app (My Fitness Pal) and it's been working great. I can scan barcode for just about anything that has one (it sometimes doesn't find odd things I might purchase in, say, an Asian Grocery). You punch in what your goal weight is, and how much you want to lose per week and it calculates your calorie intake and keeps track of how much of various nutrients you're getting (Sodium, Potassium, etc).

I told the app I wanted to lose 2 pounds per week, and over 15 weeks lost exactly 30 pounds. It takes a bit of discipline, but it helps develop the habits you'll need to keep the weight off.

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544649)

This generally works for a large swath of people. However, there are a lot of factors that can make understanding how many calories you need difficult. You need to know your basil metabolic rate to really do this. If you are changing your excersize habits at the same time, this metobolic rate will not be a static value by a long shot.

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44544827)

You need to know your basil metabolic rate to really do this.

That's no problem. I'll head to the greenhouse right away.

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#44545605)

It's actually very simple to calculate your metabolic rate at home. Weigh yourself daily, track your calories daily, continue doing so until you can pick an accurate starting and ending weight, keeping in mind that A) your body weight fluctuates up to 5lbs from day to day based on what you've had to eat or drink and B) just the act of writing down your calories is probably going to cause you to lose weight. Once you have a start and end weight, take the sum of all the calories you've eaten over that time period and subtract your weight delta (in lbs) times 3500 (approximate number of calories in 1lb of fat), then divide by the number of days. There, your average calorie burn over that time period, accurate to a couple percentage points unless you had radical weight change (gaining lots of muscle mass for instance).

Lets say weigh yourself at day 1 to be 190lbs and at day 30 to be 185, and you eat 2700 calories per day. You ate 81000 Calories (2700 * 30). You lost 17500 (5 * 3500) Calories worth of fat. Your metabolic rate is (81000 + 17500) / 30 days = 3283 Calories per day.

Then, you can say you want to lose 2lbs per week (about as fast as you want to lose weight if you don't want to be miserable). 2lbs means you need to cut 7k Calories per week, so 1k per day. You can eat ~2300 Calories per day. You continue tracking calories, continuing weighing yourself, and continue adjusting the Calorie intake accordingly to adjust for changes in metabolism along the way. And guess what? All the crap about what you eat and when and how it affects your metabolism? Doesn't matter, because it's all tailored directly and perfectly to you and your lifestyle. And besides, if you hold hard and fast to your daily Calorie targets you'll learn really quick that a cheeseburger and fries for lunch isn't worth being hungry the rest of the day.

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544653)

I was waiting for you to tell m how much money you made from home as well...

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544671)

There's an almost magic weight loss formula I've followed that just works. I was going to write a book about it, but as it turns out it would be more of a pamphlet or brochure in length.

Just make sure the following is true: calories consumed [crickets chirping]

Bahahaha. Yep, (calories.consumed) returns 1. I better start losing weight by the end of the day.

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544729)

For a lot of people, eating only what their body needs leaves them feeling hungry all the time. That feels different for everybody. I don't mind feeling hungry. I actually prefer it over feeling full. When my wife is hungry, she feels MISERABLE.

So the key to a lot of these diets is finding food that's bulky, slow to digest, yet still low in calories. A healthy low calorie dinner doesn't do her any good if she's starving two hours later.

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544757)

I was going to write a book about it, but as it turns out it would be more of a pamphlet or brochure in length.

You could still write it, and release it for free on Internet.

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (2)

ljw1004 (764174) | about a year ago | (#44545283)

I can scan barcode for just about anything that has one (it sometimes doesn't find odd things I might purchase in, say, an Asian Grocery).

How many people have diets that fit into this "scan barcode" thing? Doesn't it require that you fall into a "industrialized food" diet, full of prepackaged stuff? Here's my diet from yesterday. I haven't been able to find any app that makes it convenient to type in...

Most of the dishes we make from scratch, from items we bought in bulk, with things like butter and olive oil and salt added to taste. That means it's a pain to look everything up by name on the computer, a pain to weigh out the amounts of everything we make, a pain to type those amounts in, and a pain to figure out how much of each serving dish I took vs how much my wife took.

BREAKFAST: rolled oats cooked in a saucepan for the whole family, cooked with some mixture of milk and water by my wife, of which I take a portion size that seems right and add currants to taste. [I can find the calorie values for oats, water, currants, but don't have a clue how much I consumed]

LUNCH: my wife prepared a sandwich of rye bread with herring fillets from ikea and a bit of spreadable cheese, then a bag with chopped up carrots from our CSA-box (Community Supported Agriculture), and two unusually small pears, and a peach. [I can find calorie values for bread, but not for individual pieces of fish, and my wife didn't weigh out the cheese, and I have no idea how many carrots I ate].

DINNER: a bunch of swiss chard including stems, cooked in some olive oil, then flambe'd with whiskey, then adding more oil or vinegar or salt to taste, shared amongst the family where we don't all measure it. Some boiled rice which again I didn't weigh. A CSA lettuce with some cornichons and olives thrown in, mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, to taste, and divided amongst the family. A slice of the apple crumble that my wife cooked last night, not from recipe.

Re:calories consumed = calories needed (2)

cwarrior (2594465) | about a year ago | (#44545627)

I'll second the value of using myfitnespal. It's cross-platform and much of the data is contributed. Very powerful software that works surprisingly well. Don't have a source, but I've heard that people who journal their food intake are twice as likely to lose weight over those who do not journal. For many, just keeping a record of how much you consume helps keep it under control. Adding light to moderate exercise on top of it, and that's 90% of everything you need to know to effectively lose weight.

Good premise, but too much work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544457)

I'm lazy.

Didn't we just... (3, Insightful)

barlevg (2111272) | about a year ago | (#44544459)

Didn't we just have an article this morning (EST) about how Twinkies were the programmer's "Breakfast of Champions?" [slashdot.org]

Re: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544517)

Yes, apparently the trick is to swallow a twinkie eating tapeworm.

Re:Didn't we just... (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44544623)

Want to make the correlations? Sitting programmers, high carbs.no wonder diabetes is epidemic.

Slashdotted (1)

jonyen (2633919) | about a year ago | (#44544497)

Only one more paperback copy left in stock on Amazon! (as of this posting)

magnet please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544509)

Ok you convinced me, where do i download it from?
I hope you're not expecting me to pay for it

Re:magnet please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544605)

I hope you're not expecting me to pay for it

It does not matter anyway, as no one loses anything if you make a copy.

The Hacker's Diet (3, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44544511)

Well, as we are looking at the category of "diets tailored for programmers", I guess The Hacker's Diet [fourmilab.ch] is an obligatory mention. I guess most of you know that book already though. Tell me if you know any others.

Re:The Hacker's Diet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544603)

Where's the book for 'diets tailored for programs, how to reduce bloated code'

Balance exercise with diet (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44544521)

To clear my head and take my mind off the predicaments of coding I try to get regular exercise. I'm fortunate enough to live near several very large open space parks, state parks and county parks.

I hiked about 8 miles in the mountains on Sunday. You can't exert energy like that and then eat and drink garbage, your body knows what it needs and tells you by rather convincing means. Headaches, cramps, lethargy and such are symptomatic of eating poorly. A bag of chips and a soda after a 90 mile bike ride is guaranteed to make me utterly ill. Fruit and raw almonds after exertion along with water replace energy, protein and electrolytes which have been consumed in effort.

Sitting at the desk and slogging through code isn't much different than muscle exerting - the brain seeks it's own fuel, quite a bit of sugar, but I find processed sugar gives me sugar rushes and headaches, followed by lethargy. Fruit sugar works more effectively and goes into the blood quicker. Tea rather than overstrong coffee or soda (with its high fructose corn syrup) I try to avoid. Marathon development sessions go more smoothly when I resist the urge to eat fried foods, sugar glazed stuff, too much salt and beverages which overly stimulate me - I don't need no stinkin' "energy" drinks (instant ice tea and Tang are more effective anyway and way cheaper.)

Re:Balance exercise with diet (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year ago | (#44545437)

This.

Go find some exercise you enjoy, and set up a routine where you get to do it. Your body will adjust (over 6-12 months) to whatever shape you need to do that exercise more effectively.

Fad / deficiency / hunger / starvation diets just trigger your body to go into "hoarding mode", as you were evolved to do to get through a few months of winter scarcity. Keep your metabolism up by feeding yourself well and exercising well, and you'll train your body to just take what it needs and pass the rest.

I think most nerds are just too bored with most gyms and exercise routines. Hiking / biking / exploring is a great way to make exercise more cerebral. Also you might enjoy enrolling in some form of Martial Arts (though certainly shop around for good school that isn't too focused on sparring and beating people up [youtube.com] ) where you can concentrate on translating the wisdom of the ancients into modern physics and biomechanics hacks.

Not a new concept (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44544543)

The Hacker's Diet [fourmilab.ch] did this quite a while ago.

The concept is pretty simple: To lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn. To not gain weight, eat only as much as you burn. You can increase how much you burn with exercise, or you can decrease how much you eat, or both. Anything else as far as dieting is concerned is window dressing.

Re:Not a new concept (1)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44544607)

+1 mod up.

Re:Not a new concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545139)

But not the poster who said the same thing earlier, 3 comments up?

Re:Not a new concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544817)

You can also lose weight by laying in a bed 24/ and being tube feed like 700 calories a day. It's a really shitty thing to do to your body though and absolutely terrible for your health. Claiming that you can just 'eat less calories' and be healthy isn't entirely correct.

Re:Not a new concept (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44545065)

Anything else as far as dieting is concerned is window dressing.

Except how to do it sustainably.

Sure the easiest way to lose weight? Stop eating. Since your body needs 2000-2500 calories a day, you should magically lose a few bounds over the course of the week.

Of course, you'll feel terrible and look just awful and temptation gets to you pretty damn quick.

So while the magic is to eat less than you consume, the real trick is doing so in such a way that you don't feel hungry all the time, and to do it so once you've lost the weight, you don't put it back on again (most people who diet end up getting the weight back - it's called yo-yo dieting and no, it's not healthy).

And of course, to counter human psychology - so you're not constantly craving "what you cannot have".

That's the real trick to dieting - and it's not as simple as it might appear. All diets work the same way and have the same goals - but each one has attempted to find a way to ensure that you stick with the diet, that you don't feel hungry all the time (and end up snacking excessively), that you don't fall into temptation and pig out on your favorite food, etc. And of course, to do so in a healthy way.

That's why there are so many diet books - each one tries to solve it a different way.

Re:Not a new concept (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44545449)

In my experience, all the various diets run into the same problem: whatever you cut out of your diet, you crave, eventually eat, and then yo-yo right back to where you were. That makes complete sense from an evolutionary standpoint - someone who is obese can survive famines and still manage to reproduce despite their obesity-related medical problems, whereas someone who is starving can't manage to do that. Whatever you aren't eating is exactly what your body will start to crave in the hopes that you'll make the extra effort to find that particular nutrient.

Some things that have so far helped me stay disciplined:
- Shop for food immediately after eating a meal. By not being hungry, it's a lot easier to stay disciplined about it. Also, having a shopping list prevents impulse buying of junk.
- Make your own food, don't eat out or have it delivered.
- Take your time, and don't try to lose the weight too quickly. 1 pound a week is much more effective and sustainable loss rate than trying for 5 pounds in a week.
- Still eat the variety of non-junk food you ate when you weren't dieting. That prevents the cravings for particular kinds of food.
- Expect to screw up at least once. Go right back to doing what you were doing.
- For snacks, raw vegetables are the way to go. For example, 1 cookie has more calories than an entire cucumber. Also, not very much raw onion will stop your appetite right up.

Re:Not a new concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545245)

Simple. Except when it isn't.

Lack of exercise will compromise your ability to burn off fat even when you cut calories.
If you cut too much or too quickly, your body will compensate by becoming more efficient at using the calories you ingest to meet it's needs -- starvation mode -- resulting in hitting a weight-loss "plateau".
If you attempt to get around this by cutting even more calories, you'll force your body to lose fat but it will also burn large amounts of muscle tissue as it tries to hold on to as much fat as it can.
Loss of muscle tissue results in needing fewer daily calories perpetuating a vicious cycle.

So yeah, you can lose weight by eating fewer calories. You can also do it in the worst way possible and still be fat and feel terrible when you finally give up.

Re:Not a new concept (1)

Optimal Cynic (2886377) | about a year ago | (#44545471)

You didn't read the link, did you. The Hacker's Diet addresses those issues.

Re:Not a new concept (1)

epine (68316) | about a year ago | (#44545307)

The concept is pretty simple: To lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn. To not gain weight, eat only as much as you burn. You can increase how much you burn with exercise, or you can decrease how much you eat, or both. Anything else as far as dieting is concerned is window dressing.

This gets moderated insightful? Have you people lost your minds? Visit earth much?

Okay, sale at Macy's on thermodynamic bounding boxes. Dioxans, I hear, from the thin aliens on the squishy planet Dioxan Monohydride, eliminate long term weigth gain with a single dose. There's just this tiny issue with life expectancy and expectation of quality of living.

OMG! A system with two criteria that doesn't boil down to a pocket protector inscribed with the zeroth law of thermodynamics. But, as usual, we have a class of solutions to problems with living smug with living less. Not that your average geek would notice.

Let's see here. My cellphone battery only holds a charge for 15 minutes. What should I do? The math is simple. If electrons in exceed electrons out, the phone won't run out of juice. Basic electron caloried counting. Next question? I could do this all day. What, you don't want to plug your phone in every fifteen minutes? Sucks to be you. My fat metobolism works just fine. I'm young and stupid. You should have bought a Samsung. All problems in life are solved by correct brand allegience.

The actual problem with diets is that many people have disregulated fat metabolism. This is hard to fix once it happens. All arrows point to excess consumption of simple carbohydrates, especially in liquid form, and particularly the sugar fructose. Sound familiar?

Even the people who state categorically that HFCS is exactly the same as sucrose (they live in the same thermodynamic bounding box, after all) are ignoring the possibility of HFCS interacting hormonally with the intestinal wall.

Unfortunately, Gary Taubes is an idiot. For a while it was looking like a bandwagon with my name on it. But he just wants to take the debate way to far in the opposite direction, where he pretends that net caloric balance isn't even worth discussing. There's no room for that attitude in science, Gary. Try again.

Here's the real reason your cell phone battery won't hold a charge. It's because you charge it too often. Avoid rooms with wall outlets, and your problem will go away.

Re:Not a new concept (2, Informative)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44545423)

Fat accumulation isn't driven by caloric intake levels, it's driven by insulin.

If you consume calories which drive insulin up, you'll accumulate more fat. Consume calories which don't drive insulin up, and you won't accumulate more fat.

The concept is pretty simple: to lose weight, don't consume calories that cause fat accumulation. We call these "carbohydrates".

Re:Not a new concept (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545463)

This is not true.

What you eat and how you eat it will affect your weight independent of the calories consumed. For example any simple sugars (sugar, potatoes, white flour, etc.) will lead to more weight gain than, say, an equal amount of fresh vegetables (that is, not canned or frozen) and consuming food faster will always lead to a higher weight gain. This is tied into insulin.

Your body will also react differently depending on what you eat and how you eat it. For example, if you suddenly stop eating your body will lose less weight than if you gradually taper off by an equal amount.

Calories in and calories out is important, but your body isn't a black box steam engine---all kinds of things affect the manner in which your body reacts to what you put into it other than calories. Genetics of course comes into this. To say that calories is all that matter is pure, utter ignorance.

Dime a Dozen (5, Informative)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about a year ago | (#44544563)

Did I miss the special on Amazon where you get 12 books for 10 cents?

Words have meanings: literally has a meaning.

Re:Dime a Dozen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544691)

Literally does indeed have a meaning. Allow me to help you out.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/literally

4. in effect; in substance; very nearly; virtually.
Usage note
Since the early 20th century, literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning “actually, without exaggeration”: The senator was literally buried alive in the Iowa primaries. The parties were literally trading horses in an effort to reach a compromise. The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing.

The more you know.

Re:Dime a Dozen (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44544951)

Yeah but probably many people think that "literally" means "word-for-word". It's logical to think so. Wiktionary's page for literally [wiktionary.org] suggests that "figuratively" could be used instead.

Re:Dime a Dozen (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44545167)

This is not the NY Times review of books.

Re:Dime a Dozen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544739)

Indeed, words have meanings. A dictionary to help you know these meanings is a good resource to have. Check out Merriam-Webster's definition of literally [merriam-webster.com] :

1: in a literal sense or manner : actually <took the remark literally> <was literally insane>
2: in effect : virtually <will literally turn the world upside down to combat cruelty or injustice — Norman Cousins>

Re:Dime a Dozen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544761)

Most ebooks are free as in beer.

Re:Dime a Dozen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544799)

Some words have multiple meanings: literally has multiple meanings. One of the meanings of "literally" is "in effect; virtually", and it is used in hyperbole to provide emphasis.

Merriam-Webster: literally [merriam-webster.com]

(Also, obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com] .)

Re:Dime a Dozen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544925)

Did I miss the special on Amazon where you get 12 books for 10 cents?

Words have meanings: literally has a meaning.

That is literally the most insightful thing I've read in the last 30 seconds.

Re:Dime a Dozen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545045)

You can get many used books on amazon for a penny (plus shipping). 12 would be a stretch, but yes, technically, you can buy ten books for a dime.

Peanut m&m's and Diet Tab (4, Funny)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44544577)

Don't mess with tradition.

Only the long term maters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544593)

I wish I could find it, but I read about a long-term large-population study about diet and weight loss. They concluded that they only meaningful types of lifestyle changes, diet, exercise, weight loss happen on a very long term scale. Like 6 to 12months.

They found what you did on a day to day basis was largely irrelevant as long as the long-term calorie intake was less than long-term calorie usage. Dieting for a month is meaningless. You'll always rebound if you don't keep it up for a year.

Weight loss is long, hard, full of work and sacrifice. For a long, long time.

People are always bad at evaluating long term risk. This is why people are fat.

Or.... (1)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44544639)

An alternative, of course, is to instead write a book about it, then profit and pay a personal trainer to drop by the beach house once a week.

What? (3, Informative)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#44544647)

No digital version? No Kindle, epub, mobi, PDF versions? I find it odd to come across a book for programmers that isn't available in digital form.

+ $27, that feels a bit much for a diet book.

Here we go The Healthy Programmer: Get Fit, Feel Better, and Keep Coding DRM-free Format [pragprog.com]
Still awfully expensive for my tastes, I'll wait till it goes down in price before I check it out.

Re:What? (2)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44544795)

No digital version?

Let me guess... a real book is too heavy to lift...?

Re:What? (2)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#44545225)

=Let me guess... a real book is too heavy to lift...?

No, I'm nomadic, I don't have enough space in my backpack to be storing libraries.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544989)

No digital version? No Kindle, epub, mobi, PDF versions? I find it odd to come across a book for programmers that isn't available in digital form.

You probably mean electronic version. The printed book is digital too -- the information is in quantified form. :)

reddit.com/r/keto/ (3, Insightful)

Mister_Stoopid (1222674) | about a year ago | (#44544693)

All you have to do to lose weight is eat less calories than you burn. That's it. Simple, right?

It's dead simple as long as you enjoy feeling hungry and irritable all day, have a magical body that burns the same amount of energy regardless of food input, and don't mind losing a ton of muscle mass during your diet.

The real answer is to cut out most of the carbohydrates that you eat (or at least lose the grains, there's some debate about potatoes and such) and replace them with fats instead. After a brief adaptation period, you can just eat when you're hungry and, because fat is more satiating, you'll naturally consume only what you need. Because you're not shoving tons of sugar down your throat, you won't experience the insulin surge-crash cycle, you'll have more energy and be less hungry than you would on a traditional "diet". Because you're eating more protein you'll lose less muscle mass than you would on a typical weight loss diet.

It might seem "extreme" or "fad" at first, but there's a growing body of evidence that suggests cutting carb intake is actually a very healthy and sustainable long-term choice. I do it and I recommend it to everyone who is looking to make a long-term diet adjustment.

Keto FAQ:

Q:But won't eating more fat give me a heart attack?
A:No, the idea that saturated fats lead to heart disease was never more than speculation and has never had any scientific evidence behind it.

Q:It's too hard to eat that way in modern America/I don't have time to cook that much.
A:Get a crock pot.

Re:reddit.com/r/keto/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545199)

Also /r/loseit.

Re:reddit.com/r/keto/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545383)

@Moderator: The above post isn't "Off Topic".

It's about as On Topic as you can get.

It's also Insightful and Informative, for that matter.

Re:reddit.com/r/keto/ (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44545511)

I used to rant about malicious modding on /. but then noticed that the same thing is happening in much worse amounts at Reddit. :)

Re:reddit.com/r/keto/ (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44545403)

C'mon, mod parent up. It's *completely* on topic.

While overweight do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545079)

Eat healthy
Exercise
Done;

Ruby and Agile in a single diet book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44545209)

Keep up the good work, I probably just lost a good pound or two from all the vomiting I just did!

Re:Ruby and Agile in a single diet book (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44545529)

Hilarious! Thanks!

Nobody Needs a "Diet Book" (1)

hillbluffer (1684134) | about a year ago | (#44545267)

One sentence; eat less, exercise more. Simple.
I'm taking up competition horseshoe throwing; had a ball last tues night :)

Re:Nobody Needs a "Diet Book" (2, Informative)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44545389)

Imagine for a moment you were invited to a gourmet dinner, and your host said "bring your appetite". What might you do?

Maybe skip a meal? (eat less)

Maybe work up an appetite with a brisk walk? (exercise more)

Now, what makes you think advice that makes people *hungry* is going to help them lose weight?

Fat accumulation is driven by insulin, which is driven by blood sugar, which is driven by carbohydrate intake.

Stop eating carbohydrates. It's simple.

Another "moderation" fraud (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44545377)

Fat accumulation is driven by the hormone insulin. Undisputed biochemistry.

Insulin levels are driven by blood sugar levels. Undisputed biochemistry.

Blood sugar levels are driven by carbohydrate intake. Undisputed biochemistry.

Stop eating carbohydrates. It's simple.

Re:Another "moderation" fraud (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44545591)

Your post was 35 words. You said ‘Undisputed biochemistry’ 3x. And then jumped to the notion of stopping carbs. It is not that simple and avoiding carbs alone won’t work. That that is undisputed biology!!

Diet books DO help you lose weight (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#44545433)

Between the exercise of tearing the pages out and chewing them and the malnutrition from eating only processed dead trees, ink, and glue, you'll lose weight in no time.

Disclaimer: The Diet Book Diet can also significantly shorten life expectancy.

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