A little over a year ago I wrote about Eyetoy:Kinetic and how I was digging that as a fitness routine. I have to admit a few months after that I fell off the wagon. A few things went wrong. One problem was that it was just a pain to set up. I had to verify the camera hadn't moved, set up a special lamp, move the coffee table and so forth. The other was it was pretty inflexible in scheduling. It would want a workout on Thursday and there was no way to say "Thursday is a mess, I'd rather work out on Wednesday", so then I started messing with the PS2 clock and that's just annoying. The last thing was as the difficulty ramped up the motion tracking errors got worse and worse. It reached a point where one glitch would ruin the score for the day and then the trainer would yell at me. (sigh)

For the rest of 2006 I just spottily did my Tai Chi, and my fitness level slowly decayed. Finally towards the end of the year I decided something else had to be done. It occurred to me that I spend time and effort worrying about everything I use to earn a living except my actual physical health. My body should get at least as much attention as my computer for crying out loud! And then to prove the point I promptly got sick through most of December and even skipped the Tai Chi. So when January rolled around even my Tai Chi was difficult. But in February I started on my new program, and I've done it for two months now. That program was to A) continue doing my Tai Chi and to B) add on the exercise program from The Hacker's Diet.

I should be very clear here - I'm not actually doing the diet portion. The book is a good read and I recommend it, but I'm not actually practicing it. If nothing else it has an excellent explanation of how to reasonably monitor your weight and comes with Excel sheets to do the math for you - so you can track your weight trend and not watch the actual numbers of the scale, which yank around in an almost random fashion. But I started the exercise portion and decided to track my weight just so I could see what was happening a bit more quantitively.

I've changed my eating habits a bit - just focusing on reducing portions a bit and substituting snacks. Some cheese and fruit instead of potato chips, that sort of thing. The only really big change I've made is some days now I don't eat lunch - if I have a late breakfast I'll probably only just have a snack around 2-3 PM and then dinner when Karin gets home. But this isn't a hardship - I do that if I'm just not that hungry at lunchtime. I'm certainly not dieting - I still drink beer, I had a birthday cake and a huge steak dinner with scalloped potatoes for my birthday. This week I cooked spaghetti bolognese and made homemade garlic bread to go alongside (and a salad for veggies). In short, don't cry for the state of my diet - I'm getting plenty of good stuff :-)

Why The Hacker's Diet exercise? Well, just look at the goals for the program:

  • Minimum time per day.

  • Time spent doesn’t increase as you progress.

  • Easy to start, regardless of the shape you’re in.

  • No pain.

  • Progress at your own pace.

  • No equipment needed. Exercise anywhere, in private if you like.

That's a slate I can endorse. The program only takes 10-15 minutes every morning. I do both it and Tai Chi in under half an hour.

Since it's the end of the month I just did my Excel munging. According to the trend line I've lost about three pounds since starting, and I lost half a pound per week in March. The actual weight numbers are bigger than that - today and yesterday came in about five pounds under my starting weight, but you have to figure if I ignore the weight numbers in favor of the trend line when I yo-yo up then I should use the same logic when the weight numbers are low. (And if I look at the numbers the math is right - the odds are good that tomorrow or Monday I'll bounce back up a half-pound or more.)  Given that I'm not really trying very hard to lose weight I can take a half-pound per week though. Heck I'd take a half-pound per month if I still get to have the ocassional beer and l have cookies for dessert. :-)

So anyway, if you want an exercise program but don't have the time I'd suggest trying it out. It's a lot easier to force yourself to do the right thing for ten minutes than for an hour. I'm sure it's not as good as spending a lot of time on the stationary bike, or jogging or whatever. But it's better than expanding to fit the shape of my office chair and feeling bad about it! And the no pain thing is mostly true. The only soreness I've had from doing this is one muscle that pulls my left arm back (used in a push-up exercise) was twingy-sore for two weeks but it was never very bad. When I first started doing Eyetoy:Kinetic there was a week or so where I couldn't raise my right arm above shoulder level without wincing.

Check back with me in another year :-)

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