Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Walrus Diet

bathroom scalesIt's really very simple. If you can't get your hands on fresh walrus steak, you don't eat.

Why are you looking at me like that? It would work, wouldn't it?

Okay, maybe not. In all seriousness, I have decided to go against my principles and go on a diet. But my kind of diet. And I fully expect it to work.

Why are you looking at me like that? Yes, you heard me right. Dieting violates my principles. Primarily the principle of not banging my head against a cold, hard wall. Let's face it. 99% of the people I know and know of who go on diets, especially the ones who get spectacular results, pack it all back on in record time, with a few bonus pounds as a penalty for deluding themselves.

The reason for this is simple. They haven't learned to eat properly as a lifestyle. They have the discipline to deprive themselves for a time, but not enough to eat only what they need for the rest of their lives.

I, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. My weight has changed very little in the last twenty years. I'm really quite good at eating healthily and in reasonable amounts. What I'm really, really bad at is depriving myself long enough to take it off. Exercise isn't a good option for me because of my chronic fatigue. More than a certain amount of exertion and I am too tired to do anything else. And guess what? Then I tend to eat too much. So while I do try to get moderate amounts of exercise for other health reasons, I can't step it up enough to make a big difference in my weight. So what's a gal to do?

Enter the next important principle in why diets don't work. Dieters tend to plateau after about three weeks, even if they are following their diet religiously. The reason for this is simple too. The body gets the message that it's famine time and slows down the metabolism. You burn fewer calories and get kind of slow and stupid. The standard way around this - and it's a good way too - is to rev up the metabolism through exercise. Again, not a good choice for me.

But then I got to thinking. Another way to beat this problem would be to quit dieting before the three weeks are up. And to make very sure that I didn't gain the weight back. And to do this repeatedly. Diet a bit. Lose a little weight. Go back to normal eating.

Sounds like a plan to me. So for the first fifteen to twenty days of every month, I will diet. For the rest of the month dieting will be strictly verboten. So will putting the weight back on.

To implement this, I bought a decent scale. (Like the one in the picture, but round.) I'd been using my clothes to let me know if my weight was going up or down, but that's not very effective at monitoring day-to-day progress in increments smaller than 5-10 pounds. I needed mathematical accountability.

My diet plan? Well, it's very simple. I'm eating smaller amounts, less often. The small indulgences I normally permit myself are out, for the most part. I keep my mind busy with writing and the Internet (and I do them as far from the kitchen as possible) so I don't eat out of sheer distraction. I started a little late this month, but so far I've lost almost four pounds. (If you think I am going to tell you what the starting number was, you are out of your mind.) I'll take it up to the twentieth, and then I'll eat my normal way, keeping a daily eye on the scales to make sure I don't slide more than half a pound either way from my new weight. If I keep this up, a year from now I'll be forty to fifty pounds lighter.

If you want to try the Walrus Diet, any healthy dieting method at all should do the trick. Just don't go over twenty days at a time. If you do, let me know, and we'll do some commiserating.

I'll make the occasional update, either in the comment trail or in new posts so you can find out if the Walrus Diet actually works. And so I have the extra motivation of not making a fool of myself in public.

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Monday, 15 September 2008

The ultimate in political rants

Edward Willett, who is both an American and a Canadian, who moves in circles who insist on rotating in opposite directions, has penned a political rant for the current elections that is bound to please everybody, as well as tickling their funny bones. Click on over and take a look.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - a book review

Do Androids Dream of Electric SheepHemingway on acid. That's what this book felt like to me. And after I read Philip K. Dick's Wikipedia entry, I started to understand why.

The spare, clipped prose, the protagonist who is at once emotional and detached, the macho worldview, all these smack of Hemingway. The way Dick messes with your assumptions is pure Dick. The way the bottom falls out of reality altogether by the end of the book, that is pure acid.

For the first part of the book, Dick plays with very similar themes as Katerina Sedia's The Alchemy of Stone, those of marginality, defining human-ness, the way we deal with those perceived as "other." Dick takes it a step further, and challenges the new assumptions we have made by following along with his story, which I found delightful. And then he challenged so many assumptions, I was no longer sure which direction was up, leaving me both confused and intrigued.

It's this last word that is important. Usually books that confuse me that badly irritate me enough that I put the author on my "don't bother with" list. But I am almost certain to pick up another Philip K. Dick book, wondering if I won't be able to get it this time.

Having said all that, there are clumsy moments in this book. He is particularly fond of doing infodumps disguised as dialogue, which really should have been dealt with before the book went to print. Characters expounding to each other on things they all know, receptionists suddenly spouting the detailed technical specs on the latest model of android - I don't think so.

So the final word for me is that I will read Philip K. Dick again, not expecting to be awestruck, but challenged and intrigued.

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