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By TheophileEscargot (Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 10:35:52 AM EST) Reading, ODGF, Watching (all tags)
Reading: "Fool's Errand". Watching: "Die Hard 4.0". ODGF

What I'm Reading
Finished the fantasy novel Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb, which was given to me a while ago. More light reading: I seem to have run out of motivation for anything even remotely heavy. Maybe the new Harry Potter will cure me for a while.

Pretty decent fantasy novel, first in a trilogy. The universe has human-animal telepathy which is fairly common, and human-human telepathy that is rare: there is prejudice against the first group, who are witch-hunted if they reveal themselves.

Again, worth a look if you want some light reading. Plot goes a bit beyond the usual pick-up-the-magic-tokens, though it's stretched out quite a lot by comparison with Jim Butcher or George R.R. Martin. Characters fairly interesting. World fairly fantasy-standard.

Planned to try a few tasters of various things before continuing. Started TTC lecture "Great Ideas of Psychology" but not sure I'll continue: think I know enough about the basics that it would be mostly repetition.

What I'm Watching
Saw the latest Die Hard movie (Called "Die Hard 4.0" in UKia) at the cinema. Not unwatchably terrible, but fairly disappointing. Good points: there's one good stunt scene where they drive a car up a ramp into a helicopter, and manages to stay fairly pacey. It's a bit too long at 2 hours 10 minutes, though these days that probably counts as short. Most of the action scenes are fairly routine and familiar, and a couple of good setups are squandered. the car crash in the tunnel had a great setup and apocalyptic potential, but ended up like something out of the A-team with a miraculous lack of carnage.

I don't think I'm too fussy about suspension of disbelief, but couldn't really manage it for some of this, especially the jet fighter versus truck fight.

Overall, wouldn't bother with this one unless you're stuck for something to watch.

Operation Don't Get Fatter
So, I'd been trying the novel technique of losing weight by halving my alcohol intake. Had a break from that last week due to unexpected socialization, but it doesn't appear to be working. 1 week of abstinence and 2 weeks of half-rations should theoretically have lost me 2 pounds, but nothing's shown up on the scales at all: seem to be up if anything.

Might be that I was consuming less alcohol than I thought. My usual home whisky glass is pub-standard, but I don't tend to fill it to the brim.

Worse news, after stupidly spilling bleach on some trousers while cleaning the bathroom, I tried buying a new pair from Marks and Sparks, but couldn't fit in to my normal size despite trying three pairs. That also suggests that the last six months weight gain may not entirely be increased muscle mass.

So, it's back to cutting down on food. Still want to try something new so I bought some Slim-Fast® milk shake powder and meal replacement bars. I quite like the theory: you substitute a milkshake or bar for one or two meals per day, and eat the others normally. Appeals to me in a paleo-future meal-pill kind of way.

The milkshake seems to be fairly thick and filling. The power turns out to be mostly a mix of sugar and skimmed milk power. Each 250ml shake breaks down to:

224 kcal (137kcal from the Slim-Fast® powder)
14.1g protein (9.6g from the powder)
29.8g sugars (17.3g from the powder)

Surprised by how much sugar is there: would have expected sweeteners instead. Even so, it seems to check out in protein/calorie balance terms. If an adult male just consumed the milkshakes all day to get his 63g daily protein, he'd be consuming 1001 kcal, leaving a hefty 1500kcal deficit to play with.

GI diet fans might want give it a miss due to the sugar content, though it's slightly less than that in a can of coke.

Seems reasonably satisfying, tried them twice and didn't get hungry till about 4 hours later. However, after that I got pretty hungry for solid food. Don't think I could manage two meal substitutions in a row as recommended by the Slim-Fast® plan.

Poor people's diets same as everyone elses: booze and exercise make the health difference.

VoxEU: Why is inheritance tax decreasing at a time when people are worried about inequality? Has an interesting graph of the top 1% of people's share of wealth:

Proportion of wealth owned by richest 1 percent

Youtube: Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie etiquette. Driver's view of the Tube. 1970s public information film: Glasgow underground breakdown.

Be safe and smart on Metafilter!

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These Foolish Things. | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 hidden)
Hobb's oeuvre by dr k (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:11:25 AM EST
With Fool's Errand you are actually stepping into the first book in the third trilogy set in that world, and the second trilogy featuring those particular characters. You would be better off with either of the two previous trilogies, as Hobb's writing has become increasingly bloated and tiresome (what with all that pressure to keep writing so her books stay on bookstore shelves).

Or, given how radically opposite our reading tastes tend to be, you should pick up her latest exercise in world building, the Soldier Son Trilogy. Dull dull dull.

But the first two trilogies are very good.

:| :| :| :| :|

eh by alprazolam (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 01:20:12 PM EST
i hated the end to the first trilogy, but i suppose that's just personal preference.

as for drinking a can of sugar (or whatever) good luck losing weight like that. sucker.

[ Parent ]
It works out in calorie balance terms by TheophileEscargot (1.00 / 1) #11 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 10:17:35 PM EST
I was thinking of the GI diet fans who believe in the "sugar crash".
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
yea by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 07:12:13 AM EST
that's why i expect it to work about as well as eating 4 snickers bars a day. not only liquid calories, but sugary liquid. that's exactly what i consume after my workout so that i don't lose too much "weight".

[ Parent ]
I don't believe in the 'sugar crash' [nt] by TheophileEscargot (1.00 / 1) #19 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 08:06:26 AM EST

It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
not too sure what you mean but by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 12:01:30 PM EST
it's pretty proven that eating (or drinking) a huge amount of highly processed sugar increases the levels of insulin in your blood.

[ Parent ]
Yes by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 09:15:09 PM EST
But there's no evidence that that has any effect on a healthy human being.

"There's no evidence to support the idea that midafternoon tiredness is caused by hypoglycemia, or that healthy people feel normal fluctuations in blood sugar," says Phillip Cryer, M.D., professor of endocrinology and metabolism at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "The threshold for symptoms of low blood sugar is 50 to 55 milligrams (mg) of glucose per deciliter of blood, and it's very, very rare for a healthy person to get to those levels."

It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
there's evidence that it leads to fat gain by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 04:04:16 AM EST
i'm not too concerned about meaningless things like "midafternoon tiredness" although i have experienced the feeling of too much sugar too quickly. that is probably due to the fact that i really don't eat any processed sugar.

[ Parent ]
As far as I'm aware by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #26 Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 08:25:12 AM EST
Sugar only leads to weight gain because of the calories involved. So if as with the Slim-Fast milkshakes the calories aren't too many, it should be OK.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
insulin by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 12:23:36 PM EST
my understanding is that high insulin levels both lead to increased storage of calories as adipose fat, and block the ability of the body to break down fat for energy. so if you suck down a can of coke, it is more likely to be stored as fat than an equivalent amount of milk. but you seem disinclined to believe that and i'm not really interested in proving it to you. i thought that was fairly commonly accepted, but maybe not.

[ Parent ]
hobbing by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 09:42:33 PM EST
First two trilogies are among the best of their kind. Third, meh, amiable enough. The new set, I'm not sure I can be bothered to read the second one.

[ Parent ]
slim-fast shake stuff by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:16:39 AM EST
I did that for a few months back when. Lost about 5 lbs. It was good when I was otherwise stuck in a similar "weight rut."

When I'm imprisoned as an enemy combatant, will you blog about it?

Die Hard: It is what it is by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:55:13 AM EST
I certainly don't expect grounded realism of course, but even for a Die Hard this one seemed over the top. Even ignoring the fact that this movie instantly ranks up there with Swordfish and Mission Impossible on the "Worst Computer Tech in Movies Evar" list (spoilers, but trust me you shouldn't care):

Also by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:05:26 PM EST
Pressing a few buttons on a normal cellphone turns it into a satellite phone.

Ultra genius bad guy points gun through victim at himself.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Even so by Greener (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:20:03 PM EST
It was a much more entertaining movie than Transformers.

[ Parent ]
I really should have weighed myself by R343L (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 03:56:48 PM EST
Before OSH started. Or rather before I started the "bike riding as transportation" exercise plan. I probably weighed at least 15 pounds more than I do now, guessing on the last time I actually weighed myself (no scale in house). But have no real idea. I at least weigh less than $UnnamedFigure now which was always the value that depressed me when I thought about my physical state. And no, the figure shall remain unnamed. :P

The nice part is that I am already finding certain formerly, um, snug clothing is loosening up a bit in places, which is my preferred method to judge these things. When I have to buy new pants I will be even happier.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

random comments by lm (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 06:49:45 PM EST
If most of your alcohol consumption is hard liquor, it has few calories. Cutting alcohol consumption mostly helps when the alcohol is in the form of beer. It can also help if you drink with your meals as alcohol is supposed to slow your metabolism which should increase the conversion of calories to fat.

The best thing I've heard about Live Free or Die Hard is that it is the best film in the franchise since the original. That is damning with faint praise, indeed.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
ODGF by hulver (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 09:14:16 PM EST
Since starting to ride my bike I've lost precisely 2 pounds. I don't know how much of that is varience due to the scales.

I have lost some of my love handles, so I've definitely lost a bit of fat.

Time to start on reducing food I think.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

Not sure about those milkshakes by nebbish (4.00 / 3) #12 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 12:18:33 AM EST
They might help you lose weight but they don't sound particularly healthy. Also, I think I'd crave solid food and end up binging.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Wouldn't do the shakes . . . by slozo (4.00 / 2) #13 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 02:48:55 AM EST
. . . sugar, I have come to realise, is the #1 enemy of the western diet. Hell, when I was working out more, I used to bulk up with those shakes!

Rice, not potatoes. Steam, or bake - don't fry. Eat fruit for breakfast. Don't eat past 9am. No snacking, period. Exercise.

Do the above, you will rapidly lose weight. And feel amazing.

I'm with you by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 04:56:03 AM EST
The key to losing weight is subtle lifestyle change, not dieting.

Not that I seem to be able to manage either...

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Well, don't get me wrong . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 06:03:52 AM EST
. . . subtle though it may seem at first, it is difficult. Habits are VERY difficult to break, and it isn't easy to be good to yourself in a world with coffee and cream ice-cream on sale 24/7 at the local store. You must be determined, you must be mentally strong.

Take baby steps. Introduce little "rules" little by little. Start off with no eating/snacking past 9/10pm (depending on how early/late you retire). Get into that habit. Then add another habit. Then another.

When the mind is willing, the body will follow.

[ Parent ]
No food past 9am? by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 02:49:40 AM EST
Don't think I could manage that one, and I'm hardly a binger...

This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but as I mentioned . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:02:10 AM EST
. . . the time varies with when you wake up - I wake up damn early now (5-5:30am), so I applied an earlier time. If I remember correctly, when I was on a strict self administered program, it was 10pm.

But really, even 9pm isn't that strict - it's just that you may have formed a strong habit of late night snacking (or worse, dining), and have put up mental barriers to change.

[ Parent ]
Ignore me by Cloaked User (4.00 / 1) #30 Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:56:27 AM EST
I was being pedantic and trying to be funny with it - your original post says 9am, not pm...

This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
milkshakes by Merekat (3.33 / 3) #14 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 03:57:45 AM EST
They sound gross. If you want faddy meal substitutes, I think the Weightwatchers 'no points soup' recipe is probably tastier, healthier and more nutritious per portion since it contains things actually recognisable as food.

Those shakes by hulver (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 04:29:35 AM EST
There's a guy at work who's a big lad (28 stones of big) who's talked to his mate the nurse and decided the best thing to do to lose weight is to stop eating, and replace it with those shakes.

I've told him that this is likely to be a very bad idea, but his mate is a nurse so it's bound to be OK.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

Hmmm by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 04:39:13 AM EST
You're supposed to still have one normal meal a day, so that's not recommended.

It might not be that harmful though. It's OK in protein terms, so he shouldn't lose too much muscle mass. It has added vitamins and minerals so there shouldn't be any deficiencies there. And the sugar means it has some carbs.

He might be somewhat below the limit on fibre: say 16g if he has 4 shakes instead of the recommended 20-25g. You might not need that much if you're not eating anything solid though.

I suspect he will get bored of the monotony and give up long before any health consequences start to show up.

[ Parent ]
Not too bad then. by hulver (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 05:43:33 AM EST
Having fasted for a few days myself (although without the milkshakes) I can say that when I was able to eat food again I didn't stop eating.

Up until that point I was doing quite well on my diet, but once I was able to eat again I ate and ate and ate. Couldn't help myself.

Very weird feeling.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

[ Parent ]
It's funny how everyone's a weightloss expert. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 05:35:33 PM EST
when it's not clear that the scientist are sure about what they're doing.

relatively recently I saw that a diet alone study showed that over the long term, there was no significant weightloss for dietting for a time.

These Foolish Things. | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 hidden)