Monthly Archives: January 2012

Confessions of a Fad Diet

Ok, first I have to say that I’m not a doctor, dietician, or expert in any way. My results are my own and I’m not suggesting anyone else following in my footsteps. I don’t believe this is the type of diet that you do and go back to old habits either. My plan is to start a daily exercise regimen after I am done.

That being said I recently decided that I’d had enough and something needed to be done about my weight. It wasn’t that I was extremely obese, 5’8″ 171lbs, but it was the fact that over the last few physicals at the doctor I was proceeding into “borderline territory” as she called it. Looking at the charts I definitely was in the “overweight” category for my size. I tried to get on an exercise program, but was feeling tired all the time.

My boss at work and my wife had done this diet, lost, and has kept those pounds off (and lost more after). I figured I’d give it a shot.

The diet in question is called the HCG diet. The premise consists of two gorge days (eating as much as you can), then 21 days of 500 calories (per day) plus the HCG drops 3 times a day (not the Wal-Mart kind).

Meals consist of 100 grams of Fish, Chicken, or Beef, a vegetable (like a tomato), and two small Melba rounds. You can drink as much water, tea, or coffee as you want (yay coffee).

No-no’s are sugar, dairy, juices, etc.

I currently have 4 more days of Phase 2 and have lost 17lbs. I am now almost to the middle of the “healthy weight” end of the scale.

Eating 500 calories a day has been interesting. I definitely cannot exert myself too much as I get light headed.

Although I am eating meager portions somehow I’m not hungry, but the craving is there (if that makes sense).

My energy level has spiked which is the weirdest part of the whole thing. Mentally I am sharper and more focused. This diet really is a mental game.

The next phase is the maintenance phase where you attempt to lock in your weight. This part has me fearful that all of this has been for naught. In this phase you go back to your normal calorie intake minus starches and sugars. Once this phase is complete I will be done and start my planned exercise regimen.

Again, this diet isn’t for everyone. I don’t know if the HCG drops really work as an appetite suppressant or fat targeter.

All I know is I’ve lost 17lbs since Jan 3rd, was not as hungry as I thought I would be, had more energy than I thought I’d have, and I feel great.

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Don’t Bash Users, Bash Problems

Edward Tufte once said “Only two industries refer to their customers as ‘users': computer design and drug dealing.”

I find the comparison interesting for the fact that “users” need I.T. professionals in a similar way (sans the addiction part). It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about grandma needing help setting up her e-mail, or the CEO needing a network connection. More and more everyone needs an I.T. person in their life.

The thing I find strange with many I.T. people I’ve met (or work with) is the amount of judgment that can go on behind the scenes. I myself have even fallen into the trap of the “that guy’s an idiot” mentality.

And let’s be honest, some people ARE idiots. But, I think the number is far less than we would like to attribute.

If Alma Alwaysforgetsherpassword knew as much about computers as you do you really think you’d have a job?

This is really the crux. Without “dumb” users we’d be out of work. If users could fix their own problems or <shudder> manage their own servers we’d be out on the street.

Really most users are simply trying to just go about their day plugging away at that big pile of work. They don’t have a clue how what “cardinality” is or why their computer has 10 toolbars sitting in their browser and quite honestly they shouldn’t have to. That is our job. It’s what they pay us for.

Our jobs are very much like parenting. Babysitting, hand-holding, teaching, and having to constantly be aware so users don’t hurt themselves.

Maybe this is where the superiority complex comes in to play?

So why this post? What’s the point?
Well, it’s really more for me than any of you out there frankly (sorry). Dealing better with the users is something I need to get back to.
Of late all the rhetoric going around the office has hit me like a virus. I’ve kind of inched into the fringes of the user-basher crowd.

Not a good mindset to have and it’s needless stress. I should really care less whether Umberto Useshiscdlikeacupholder can’t figure out how open a PDF.

I should just help.

So I’ve come up with some guidelines and mental notes I will be using to get myself back on track:

  1. 90% of the time users aren’t idiots. Help, smile, and nod for the other 10%.
  2. If users could do your job then you would be out of one.
  3. Don’t bash users, bash problems.
  4. Protect the users from themselves.
  5. Educate.
  6. Make it simple.
  7. Follow up.

There may be more to add to this list, but I think it’s a good start.

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