When it comes to losing weight there are many fads, gimmicks, and “miracle cures” available on the market to “help” you lose weight. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to managing one’s weight; the only way to achieve and maintain a healthful weight is by taking personal responsibility and making permanent lifestyle changes. Expecting a pill, drink, or grapefruit to magically melt off the pounds is unrealistic. Even if short term results are seen, in the long run, maintaining that diet could have dangerous health consequences and most often the weight that has been lost returns, commonly adding additional weight gain as well.
The Hacker’s Diet, developed in 1991 by John Walker, an engineer and computer programmer, is unlike most other diet programs on the market. There are no gimmicks, no quick fixes, no promises of success without hard work or dedication. Walker’s “The Hacker’s Diet: How to lose weight and hair through stress and poor nutrition” focuses on long-term goals, the important balance between calorie intake and energy output, and modifying lifestyle behaviors, including exercising for the health of it, not just to reach weight loss goals. His approach to weight loss doesn’t focus on eating or eliminating any type of food, and while supplements are recommended for those who are not reaching their daily recommended intake for certain nutrients, they are not considered essential, or even necessary, for success with the program.
Although his unique mechanical approach to weight loss may seem intimidating at first, the concepts, such as the “eat watch” and the “rubber bag,” are thoroughly explained using real life scenarios, experiences, and humor, making Walker’s book an easy and enjoyable read. He also offers many tools to help promote progress and increase motivation including: calorie intake records, energy expenditure records, weight loss and gain records, analytic reports, and a diet calculator. He includes strategies for all technologic comfort zones: those who are experienced with computers will find many helpful online tools and Excel spreadsheets, and those who prefer paper and pencil will learn valuable record keeping skills including how to keep a food journal and how to draw a graph and plot your progress.
The Hacker’s Diet doesn’t simply offer weight loss strategies, there are no exercise plans or recipes, but it is unique in its thorough education on how the body controls the intake and usage of energy and how it functions in different states of malnutrition. Walker provides an easy to understand foundation for developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime, not just a bikini season.
Achieving and maintaining a healthful weight is not a short-term goal, it is a life-long process that requires education on how the body functions, behavior modifications, and lifestyle changes and implementations that promote a lifetime of health and wellness. A weight loss program should not be something to be started and ended; it is a process that once started can lead to success in maintaining a healthful weight and achieving optimal physical fitness and health, extending life expectancy as well as quality of life.
The Hacker’s Diet. Walker, John. (2011). Retrieved May 3, 2012 from
Thompson, Janice and Manore, Melinda. Nutrition: An Applied Approach 2nd edition. (2009).