The Hacker’s Diet isn’t really a diet, but rather, it’s a set of tools to allow anyone to manage their diet. The core of it are a set of spreadsheet tools that calculate a weighted average of your weighings and then do trend analysis to figure out how much weight you’re actually losing. To simplify, your weight can fluctuate by as much as 6 pounds over a couple days, due to eating, taking in and losing water, etc. It’s hard to see any weight loss in all the fluctuations, especially if your weight loss goals are modest. The author, John Walker, founded Autodesk, and helped to write AutoCAD, the popular drafting software. The tools he’s presenting are the tools he used to lose weight himself.
As time has gone on he’s created a web based online suite of tools. These eliminate the spreadsheet and allow people to manage their weight using only a browser. I took one look at it and decided, no, too public. And I didn’t want to play with Excel or use a PDA to manage my weight. To note, a fellow named Jon Thysell has released a version of the Hacker’s Diet spreadsheet for the open source office suite OpenOffice.org. He calls it Weight Tracker ODS, and yes, I’ve downloaded this and will fill out the spreadsheet and will track weight loss over time.
For those with a bent to using WordPress, there is also a Hacker’s diet plugin for WordPress. This little tool was written by Keith Thornhill and is available here. Another spreadsheet oriented weight loss tool is that of Jeremy Zawodny. Again, there is a spreadsheet to track weight loss but other tools to track input. And yet another hacker, Matt Griffith, developed a set of online tools after exposure to the Hacker’s Diet suite. He calls his online dieting tools physicsdiet.com.
Update: A Hacker’s Diet style application for the iPhone is the product True Weight, by the software house Made Up Software.