Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

08 Feb 2007, 17:36 p.m.

Weight And Delay

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2007 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I've lost a few pounds recently, with no change in my exercise habits, following Michael Pollan's recent advice in the New York Times summing up his recent book The Omnivore's Dilemma. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." By food, he means real food, not processed food product that people wouldn't recognize as food a hundred years ago.

So, for example, I'll allow myself real sweets, made by Leonard, but not mass-produced candy. And I am reducing my portions, reminding myself that it's fine to be a little bit hungry just as I finish eating. Sometimes I feel full a few minutes later, once my stomach's gotten all the food in.

By "my exercise habits," I mean my relatively sedentary life of walking to and from the subway and pacing on the phone. Workout shows pile up on the TiVo unwatched. I am ashamed.

My pattern in exercise is that I make a prediction/promise about my future actions and keep being surprised by the same pattern over and over. Why is this a surprise? A similar phenomenon I witnessed recently; don't forget that software engineering isn't just typing. It's the creative design doodling, yes, and it's integration, administering your development box, and all the miscellaneous petty stuff too. If it takes you twenty minutes of typing and three days of menial OS problems to get your deliverable to the end user, then the end user still had to wait three days, not just "your" twenty minutes. It's all yours. Especially if you made promises based on the typing time.

So: I should be realistic, and take into account my own stresses and foibles and time constraints. Eating more healthfully doesn't take any more time, so it's easy for me to do.

In fact, it just saved me a few minutes. I was thinking of indulging in a Jell-O "chocolate" pudding cup from the Fog Creek fridge, but looked back and saw that, out of tens of tries, never has a Jell-O pudding cup ever made me feel better. So I didn't. Incremental improvement.