Monday, February 23, 2009


I am at least 10 kilos overweight, and I want to get rid of that excess baggage. Unfortunately in the past few years I have developed the tendency to add weight instead of staying at about the same, and it's beginning to annoy me.

I read with envy one of Jeff Duntemann's postings a few weeks ago about how he was easily losing weight via diet. He certainly doesn't follow Jewish dietary law, and he also seems not to have any health problems which might dictate or at least influence what he eats. So his example, whilst encouraging, is not exactly useful for me.

My wife took me to a WeightWatchers meeting last week, which met in a rec hall in Bet Shemesh. There were maybe 30 people there, 27 of them women, and most of those were religious. There were even a few women from the kibbutz present. I heard the lecture but wasn't very impressed, especially the bits about nutrition. The lecturer's mantra seemed to be 'substitute protein for carbohydrate whenever possible, and if one must eat carbohydrate, let it have a low glycaemic index'.

I have tried to cut out as many carbohydrates as possible from my diet, but I notice that supper for the past few months has been two slices of brown bread toasted, along with a slice of low fat cheese. I also have a tendency to eat biscuits and cakes, and the only safe way I have found of avoiding this tendency is not to have biscuits or cakes in the house. As George Bush used to say, "Just say no".

The one proactive step which I have taken is to change my supper. Instead of toast, I concocted a mixture of tofu, tomato sauce, onion, bean sprouts and peppers, and cooked it all in the wok. This amount is enough for three meals. Tofu is supposed to be very nutritious whilst being a minimal source of calories, and so it would make sense to try and eat plenty of it. The only 'problem' is that tofu has no taste. This doesn't bother me very much as I prefer bland food anyway. I am also trying (and succeeding at the moment) to cut down all the little 'extras', which certainly add that little extra to my waistline.

After cutting down carbohydrates, the next target should be reducing the amount of fat. Even though I only use canola and olive oil, both of which are 'good' oils, they are still oils, and oils still produce more calories per gram than carbohydrates do. I use a little oil with the wok, but maybe some of this can be reduced. Otherwise, I'm not sure exactly where else I can reduce the amount of fat. The dairy produce which I eat (mainly yoghurt) is all low fat, so there aren't really any savings to be made there.

Doctors tend to talk more about exercise than diet, and I am trying to walk more with the dog and get the metabolism moving. Of course, I have many leg problems over the past year which have prevented me walking, but they all seem to have gone now, so no more excuses!

I weighed myself on Friday (and was appalled at the results), and I'll weigh myself again this Friday. Hopefully some weight will have been lost.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Increased production

Again, a few weeks of silence, which normally means that I've been working hard. During January there were a few personnel problems at work which cast a very dark shadow over my future. Fortunately these problems have been resolved, and the past few weeks have seen me developing programs and reports, creating work procedures, instructing people, and generally moving the company forward (or at least, lessening the backwardness which was present in certain circles).

It's hard to be specific about what I've been doing because it won't mean much to someone outside of the company (and sometimes won't mean much to someone inside the company), but basically I see it as an end to the Dark Ages!

A web site which I read frequently is called 'The Daily WTF', which tells of "curious perversions in Information Technology". Normally the pages consist of badly coded procedures and odd error screens, but the other day a column was posted which spoke very much to my heart. Although I found the entire column very pertinent, I'll just quote one snippet:

It’s not easy to reconcile the fact that the software we write each and every day is, for all intents and purposes, mind-numbingly boring. Magazine subscription management. Medical billing reports. Realty inventory management. This is not the type of software that changes the world. In fact, it probably won’t even put a smile on someone’s face. Its sole purpose is to add to the bottom line by making other workers be more productive.

That's always been my goal: to add to the bottom line by making other workers more productive. My work of the past few weeks has been to make them productive, and to help them produce more correct work.