John Kirk's Reviews > The Hacker's Diet: How to Lose Weight and Hair Through Stress and Poor Nutrition

The Hacker's Diet by John Walker
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's review
May 13, 2012

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Read from May 13 to 19, 2012 , read count: 1

There's a lot of good advice in this book, but it doesn't start offering direct instruction until p89 (out of 199), so it takes a few hours of reading to get to that point. By contrast, you can be up and running with WeightWatchers (online) in about 5 minutes.

I started reading this book on his website a few years ago, but never finished it; now that it's available in epub format, I've actually been able to stick with it, because I can read it on the train etc. On my Sony Reader, it works pretty well: the only problems are tables (e.g. his fitness ladder) and equations, which don't display properly.

The author talks about "true weight", but doesn't say how he calculated it. If he just made the figures up, then came up with a trend formula that matches his fictitious numbers, that's not particularly useful. I do actually believe him, but it would work better with some kind of neutral verification. E.g. "we used calipers and my Excel formula, and the results match, so you can use this as a simple alternative to invasive procedures".

Based on my own experience, I've found that his trend line (based on daily weight) is much better than the weekly weigh-in at WeightWatchers. My trend has consistently gone down over the past few months, whereas my weekly weight fluctuates, and I either get warnings that I'm losing weight too fast or condolences that I've been regaining weight.

I read the 4th edition, which still talks about saving Excel files to a floppy disk. He explains how to do all the calculations on paper, and also talks about the Excel files that you can download from his website; unfortunately those were designed for an older version, so they don't work in Excel 2010. The good news is that he now has online tools on his website, so you don't need to use Excel or pen and paper; it's just a pity that he only mentions this as a "by the way" section at the very end of the book. Since the book is free, I don't want to sound ungrateful, but it would benefit from a more thorough overhaul.

He advocates calorie counting, which is very similar to WeightWatchers. The main difference is that he considers all calories to be equal, whereas WW look at protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fibre.

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