The Hacker’s Diet Summary

  • Last updated on March 25, 2021

The Hacker's Diet

How to lose weight and hair through stress and poor nutrition

by John Walker

full version available online at The Hacker's Diet

Temporary Summary

  • Despite fad diets and all the mumbo-jumbo associated with weight control, it is a simple matter subject to deterministic principles.
  • The only thing that matters in weight control is the number of Calories you consume and the number of Calories you burn.
  • Eating "healthy" is not relevant to weight control, though it probably is relevant to living healthier and longer.
  • It is basically impossible to lose weight through exercising if you have anything resembling a busy life.
  • Thus, eating less as measured by Calories is the only thing relevant to weight control!
  • To eat less, you must accurately and quantitatively know how many Calories you are consuming.
  • You must also accurately and quantitatively know your weight, which will let you calculate how much you are burning.
  • Simply measuring your weight is not enough. That measurement is full of noise, a common occurrence in engineering.
  • Using an exponentially smoothed moving average, you can have nearly perfect information about your weight.
  • With accurate measurements and control of your intake, you can achieve conscious control over your weight. You can have perfect weight forever.

(above copied from - to be replaced)


John Walker spent most of his life fat. He is an engineer, and approached controlling weight like a software developer solving a bug in a computer program. He now looks better, feels great, and has more energy. You can too.

About losing weight

"How can I lose weight?" Simple, eat less food than your body burns. "How can I learn to do that?" Read this book.

About this book

This is a how-to book. This book will help you find a diet plan that works for you.

About you

This book is written for successful, intelligent, and motivated people who happen to be overweight, but not for those who are or wish to become obsessed with their health.

About me

John Walker was overweight most of his life, wildly successful in everything else except weight.

He is an engineer, head of the very successful Autodesk company, makers of AutoCAD. He decided to approach weight loss as an engineering problem. He studied the human body the way he would tackle a misbehaving electronic circuit or computer program: develop a model of how it works, identify the controls that affect it, and finally adjust those controls to set things aright.

It worked.


The Eat Watch

Some people are born with a natural, built-in eat watch, that tells them when to eat, and when to stop eating, to keep them at the perfect weight. For those of us who do not have a built-in one, we can make our own.

Food and Feedback

Some people have trouble controlling their weight because there is a broken feedback circuit between the food they eat and how hungry they feel. The Eat Watch gives that feedback.

Motivation and manipulation

This book will help you to find the motivation in the only place it can be found, within yourself, by laying out a program that makes the steps to success easy and the thought of failure or backsliding difficult to contemplate.

Programmer, hack thyself

This book is about "hacking" around the limitations of your own body, and getting control of your weight and health.

Problems: managing, fixing, and solving

It's important to distinguish managing a problem from fixing it, for these are very different acts: one is a process, the other an event. Solving a problem often requires a bit of both. This book does both, for the problem of being overweight.

What, me exercise?

You don't exercise to lose weight (although it certainly helps). You exercise because you'll live longer and you'll feel better.

The Rubber Bag

When it comes to gaining and losing weight, the human body is like a rubber bag. If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight; if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight.

What goes in

What goes in is everything you eat and drink. The essential thing you need to know about what goes in is the total number of calories you eat in a day. All the rest are minor details.

What you burn

What you burn is the number of calories your body uses to provide the energy for everything you do.

For men this is about 2,240, plus or minus 800 or so. For women this is about 1,910, plus or minus 740 or so. The actual amount you burn depends on your height and frame.

Inside the rubber bag

Regrettably, many of us have spent most of our lives oscillating between the following two situations.
  • Too much goes in - the rubber band expands, and you gain weight
  • Too little goes in - the rubber band contracts, and you lose weight

to be completed...

Food and Feedback

Signal and Noise

What, Me Exercise?


Weight Monitoring

Planning Meals

Losing Weight

Perfect Weight Forever


Computer Tools

Pencil and Paper

Units and Conversion Factors

Calories in Various Foods

Hacker's Diet, The

Hacker's Diet, The

Hacker's Diet, The

Categories: Self Help