Creeping Obesity

This wonderful term was coined by EllingtonDarden, director of Nautilus Sports Medicine, and author of many excellent books on exercise and fitness.

CreepingObesity is a phenomenon that occurs to many people as they age from their mid-thirties through their fifties. You gain about a pound a year - so little you can't see it... But you're 20 lbs heavier at 55 than you were at 35, and you never noticed until it's too late.

I think he talks about this in a book called FitnessOverForty?.

-- AnthonyLander

NewScientist published a study a few months back of about 12,000 British males that backs this up. They found that, no matter what lifestyle was followed, body weight steadily increased. Of course this is worse for some than for others - see LowCarb? and Calorie Restriction for some strategies to use to fight it. -- PeterMerel

Actually, it's worse than that. Degeneration in the typical male starts around 25 or so. What happens for the first ten years is that lean meat turns into prime rib (i.e. your muscles become marbled with fat. It's not that you gain weight, it's that muscle mass decreases while muscle volume stays the same).

The result? At 35, many men are in horrible shape, yet look (approximately) the same as when they did at 25. Then the kicker happens--because muscle has a higher resting metabolic rate than fat, their body needs fewer calories. So, unless they adjust their diet, they now begin to gain weight.

Nasty, eh?

-- WilliamGrosso

You guys are really bumming me out! -- RonJeffries

It's funny that with labour saving devices have developed hand in hand with "labour making devices" things like exercise bikes, rowing machines etc. Are these really more enjoyable than walking or biking to your destination rather than taking the car? And the market for "reduced fat" foods has grown alongside the junk food market. Have you ever wondered where the fat from the reduced fat food goes? It isn't thrown away! The vitamin industry has appeared to sell us vitamin pills and bran and other things that aren't in our food any more, and the more we buy the worse our food gets - Pignut.

Are these really more enjoyable than walking to your destination rather than taking the car?

Why would you ruin a perfectly good walk by having a destination?

More seriously, when I was in college, I would take a few-mile walk every couple of days. Somehow, I don't have time for that now (see, there were twenty-six hours in a day back then, and...). I have never exactly been fit, but I've been drifting further away each year. Maybe it's time to just start wandering around again.

Being a perfect example of this 'disease', I'm bummed out too! -- K Thomas

I bumped into the term Dunlap Disease recently:

I bumped into "The Hacker's Diet / How to lose weight and hair through stress and poor nutrition" by JohnWalker some time ago, it is amusing to read and sounds sensible. Not sure why I read all of it, I'm still skinny. Maybe I can reapply the ideas for TimeManagement?

One word: RollerBlades

-- WilliamGrosso

Got 'em, use 'em. Still fat. Imagine if i hadn't and didn't! -- rj

One word - Pilates

Three words: BikeToWork

Four words: BO = pink slip

As a former perfect example of this disease, let me add a bit more: I've been involved in exercise and fitness for 11 years, which is actually slightly longer than I've been programming in Smalltalk...though I can't really remember a time when I didn't do either of them (good sign?).

In a nutshell, here's what I know: -- AnthonyLander


Getting started on RegularExercise? can be difficult, but in my experience once I did it I started to realize how lousy I was feeling when I didn't exercise. Your body is engineered to go through a certain amount of physical strain, and if you have an extremely sedentary lifestyle -- hello computer programmers -- things start to work wrong. My office situation is ideal when I can work long days interrupted by a 2-hour session either doing weights or in yoga class ... My mind is always much clearer when I come back from the gym, and my code goes much more smoothly. -- francis

And now for some CodeObesity?:

I'm currently working on a largish C++ Windows project. If I change one line of code it takes about 6 minutes to recompile/relink. If I change a commonly used header it takes about 2 hours.

I would guess this is fairly typical for a large Windows application. The tools must take some of the blame (Microsoft VC++ with MFC, pre-compiled headers, incremental linking etc). There are around 750k LOC, with support for OLE2, drag&drop and the other Windows guff. It's had some refactoring along the way - eg it's broken up into DLLs and LIBs, but it's obviously not XP and it's not even up to conventional "best practise". (E.g. there are about 1000 warning messages from a full compile.)

I imagine it got into this state gradually.

-- DaveHarris

Sounds like BigBallOfMud. It seems that there are two problems: size and suppleness. A project can be big and supple or big and unwieldy. Has to do with the presence of structure which allows things to move well independently of each other.. dependency management. For people, there is exercise that is aimed at weight loss and exercise which is aimed at flexibility.

I have this model of fitness and age that one could call StrainerModelOfFitness?. You have seen the conical metal strainers (don't see them much any more) that are mostly metal with holes punched in them? Staying fit is like pouring water into it and trying to keep the water level at the same place. The more fit you want to be, the faster you have to pour water in to keep the level at the same place.

And as you get older, the holes start getting bigger... -- AlistairCockburn

Really? Not that I ever doubt what you say, but it seems to me that this is more true for the occasional exerciser (and less true for the dedicated exerciser).

Over the past two years, as I've exercised more and more, I've noticed that exercise is easier. And that, to a certain degree, the holes have gotten smaller.

On the other hand, the dedicated exerciser runs into another problem: there is no such thing as fitness. I tried the advanced step class at the local gym the other day and man ....

Every time I think "I'm in pretty good shape", I run into something that tells me "No. You're in pretty good shape for a software developer." Which is not the same thing at all.

This is, of course, analagous to the way in which the first UnitTests on a legacy piece of code are the hardest to write. But once you've got the unit tests in place, maintenance is easy.

-- WilliamGrosso
Nagging and self-discipline cannot be the final answer. Dieting and exercise are like a job that pays 25-cents an hour: a lot of effort for barely noticeable pay-offs. The lady who just won our office dieting contest doesn't look much different to me. If you are a movie star whose job is to look good, then you can spend all day psyching yourself out to be slim. That's your job. But that doesn't scale to regular people very well. Sure, you live longer if you eat cardboard-flavored food and exercise an hour a day. But that's not a pleasant life, and that hour a day may cancel out the longer life when you do the time-math on spare time available. The corpse who just ate a Big-Mac before kicking over is more likely to be smiling.

The scientific trick is to break all the back-up systems that keep the body chubby. Evolution put in a lot of redundancy to make sure the body stores food, and each and every redundancy mechanism has to be discovered and short-circuited.

The big payoff for diet and exercise is that your wife will stop gagging every time she sees you naked.


Remove all light-bulbs.

Or, get her chubby also.
Chubby people will have the last laugh when only they survive Armageddon because of stored calories.

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