Royce's Slow-Acting Diet for Geeks - the Dieting HOWTO

A number of years ago, there was a David Letterman Top Ten List of "books that didn't sell well". (One of them was Curious George and the Electric Fence, but that's not relevant to the task at hand). One of the books was something like Lose Weight Slowly Through Sensible Diet and Exercise.

If you don't see why this is funny, this diet is not for you.

With a few simple changes, you can lose weight gradually and healthily without feeling like you're starving to death. You don't have to actually be a geek for this diet to work, but the level of precision and reliance on the principle of RTFM makes it a good fit for most sysadmins and other people who have a little OCD on their resume.

First, some disclaimers:

Now on to the interesting bits.

NOTE: And here I thought that I had an original idea. Turns out that I was wrong. Very well-presented, and more than a decade ago. "Failure, Mr. Jones, is hardly original. Please sit down." -- Bloom County

Here are a few basic rules that I have found helpful. Remember that different things work for different people -- find ways to make the principles underlying these rules workable for you.

Part One: Make a Calorie Plan
(or, the "really psycho obsessive" bit)
The goal: incur a calorie deficit that will result in gentle weight loss but won't make your body go into "I'm-starving-and-must-save-as-much-fat-as-possible" mode.

The principles are simple:

Step 1: Calculate your BMI: |
Step 2: Calculate your exact age:
Step 3: Calculate your basal caloric rate:
Step 4: Get different opinions on your ideal weight:
Step 5: Decide on a weight goal.

Step 6: Calculate the average daily caloric intake necessary to meet your goal.

Part Two: Make a Food Policy
(or, the "OK, this part is pretty psycho, too" bit)
The idea here is to casually explore how you can alter your diet to include things you enjoy but that will also improve your health.

Step 1: Figure out what you're eating now.
Food log. Nutritional info on everything in your house. Nutritional info for the restaurants you go to.
Step 2: Learn about your healthy food choices.
Family and personal health history. Healthy foods that you like to eat.
Step 3: Replace some less-healthy foods with more-healthy foods.
Construct and incorporate a list of source foods that aren't part of your current diet.
Step 4: .

Part Three: Make an Activity Schedule
(or, the "Starting to see a pattern here, Mr. Crazy Man" bit)
This one has a lot of room for personalization. Some people clean house. Some people join a gym. Other people take the stairs and park far away from the door at work. Some people take up social dancing or go hiking alone up Crow Creek Pass with a big bear whistle. Some people bike to work and play with their kids in the yard. Every little bit helps.

Getting started can be hard, though -- especially if you've been in Sloth Land and not moving much. Starting slowly but predictably is the key.

Step 1: Assess your current activity level.
Step 2: Assess your Wallet Impact Tolerance.
Cheap ways to work out - see the Mayo Clinic workout page
Step 3: Assess your Time Impact Tolerance.
A little bit most days is better than a lot twice a week.
Step 4: Survey your interests.

Part Four: Regularly Monitor and Recalibrate
(or, the "hmm, getting less obsessive-compulsive, must wash hands again" bit)

Step 1: Weigh yourself weekly.
Step 2: Readjust your basal intake accordingly.

That's it!
Good luck. Remember to cut yourself a little slack -- but not a lot.

Neither blame nor indulge yourself. - Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon

The Transtheoretical Model of behavioral change
was last updated: 2016-10-15