Odds And Ends

      98 Comments on Odds And Ends

Random stuff not worthy of a full post:

The Garmin Forerunner

Awhile back, I mentioned that I had to send back my FitBit because the heart monitor was way off.  I went with a Garmin Forerunner instead. A reader emailed this week to ask if I like the Forerunner, since I never mentioned it again.

Yes, I do like it. I’ve compared the heart-rate reading to a manual reading several times, both before and during workouts. It’s always spot-on. I also like how I can press one of the buttons a few times and see my heart rate for a moment without leaving the watch mode. So I guess it’s a case of getting what you pay for. The FitBit was cheaper, but not up to snuff.

My plan was to monitor my heart rate during aerobic sessions on the bike.  I’ve been using the bike to do sprints a few mornings per week, but haven’t had much time to do those longer aerobic sessions because …

Tighter schedule – yeah, I like I needed that

For a few years, programmers at the contracting job were encourage to share a cubicle.  Half the week at home, half in the office. I worked at home Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings. It was great. No commute time at all for the firs two days of the week. I’d sleep until 8:00, wake up slowly with a cup of coffee, work until 5:30 or so, then turn my attention to the book. On Wednesdays, I’d put in a few hours at home, then stop at the gym for my workout on the way to the office.

Ahhh, the good old days. They’re gone. Someone high up the totem pole decided earlier this year that programmers need to work in the office every day.  Why?  Yeah, we asked that too.  The only explanation I heard is that a few people abused the work-at-home days — as in not really working much at home.

Now, if I were in management, I’d handle that problem by requiring the bad apples to work in the office every day and let those who didn’t abuse the system continue spending half the week at home. But I’m not in management. So now I’ve got the long commute five days per week. I’m up early every day so I can be at my desk by 9:30.  I’m up earlier if I want to squeeze in a workout at the gym.  No more waking up slowly with the big cup of coffee.

It’s pointless to leave downtown Nashville at 5:30 PM. That just means sitting in rush-hour traffic. So now I put in my programming time, eat a quick dinner, then stay at the office for another couple of hours to write. It’s the only way I’ll get the book done on schedule.  It’s also affected my eating habits …

Commuter food

Chareva’s every bit as busy as I am. Chickens, dogs, the cat, the girls with their gymnastics classes and school activities … all those mommy chores add up. Meanwhile, she’s working through tutorials on InDesign so she can lay out the book. Oh, and there are all those cartoons and graphics yet to produce.

Once I had to start working downtown every weekday, I told her to forget about making me a lunch and a dinner to pack every day. She doesn’t need the extra workload. So I started taking – egads! – packaged food to the office for dinner some days.

I’m a big believer in not letting perfect become the enemy of good. There are no perfect meals-to-go in grocery stores, at least not that I can find. But I found that many of the Atkins dinners are at least good. They are (duh) low in carbs and reasonably high in protein. A lot of the other “diet” meals out there consist of pasta, a bit of protein, and a bit of fat.

When I check the ingredients for higher-protein meals from most other brands, textured soy protein always seems to be high on the list. The Atkins dinners at least use meat instead of meat substitutes. There are bits of other ingredients in there you wouldn’t use at home (what the heck is corn protein, anyway?) but overall, I think I can eat these things without trashing my body. That’s the hope, anyway.

My main complaint — with all brands — is the portion size.  They actually brag on the boxes, Only 330 calories!  To which I’d reply, What adult male is going to be satisfied with a 330-calorie dinner?!   So I always end up eating two of them.

Nutty bars

The dinners aren’t real-food perfect, but I found a real-food snack bar that doesn’t have soy protein, or corn protein, or any other fake-food nonsense. Well, I didn’t find it.  It found me.  The owner of Nutty Crunch bars (who is also personal trainer and fitness buff) sent an assortment for the family to try.

I liked them. Chareva liked them. The girls liked them. The bars are crunchy and tasty. They’re low in carbs too, despite a bit of sweet taste. Here’s the list of ingredients, which varies only slightly among the different flavors:

Coconut chips, almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, organic coconut oil, organic raw honey, egg whites, organic molasses, Celtic sea salt, Madagascar vanilla or cinnamon.

That’s it. No chemical names. There are seven carbs in a bar, but three of those are fiber. Six grams of protein as an added bonus.

I’m not in business with the guy or anything. I don’t make advertising or profit-sharing deals for any of the products I mention on the blog. So if I say I like something, it’s because I like it and think it’s worth sharing.

A quote about doctors

A reader emailed to share some quotes from a 1988 book titled What Every Engineer Should Know About Artificial Intelligence. The first quote is from a chapter on expert systems:

Rule-based expert systems are purely empirical in that the expert system knows nothing of any underlying causality. Rules encode experiential observations, such as “This disease is associated with fever,” “That disease is accompanied by certain chemicals in the urine,” or “Watch hydraulic pressure for a few hours after the pump is adjusted,” without including any information about why these rules work. Such systems are called “shallow systems” and are said to use “shallow reasoning.” Rule-based expert systems are common in medicine because doctors are not taught much about disease mechanisms.

Right. They’re taught which drugs to prescribe when the body breaks down, not how to prevent it from breaking down. The second quote is a footnote to the first:

There is so much purely diagnostic information taught in medical school that there is little time to explain the underlying mechanisms of disease. Doctors seem not to need to know much about the causes of disease to make successful diagnoses; tracking down causes is left for epidemiologists. Medical school has been described as a place where students learn correlations and ignore causation. A student may be taught to treat gall bladder cancer with a certain drug. They are not taught that the drug is a metabolic poison that damages rapidly growing cancer cells more than it harms normal cells. This explains side effects such as hair loss because hair cells grow rapidly, but there are so many rules to learn that there is no time for such deeper details. Medical training is based on memorization of shallow rules.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I believe the rush-hour traffic has subsided. Time to make that commute home – just like on every other friggin’ weekday now.

I sure hope that book sells a million copies. Then I’ll only commute the kitchen and back.

Share

98 thoughts on “Odds And Ends

  1. Stephen Richardson

    I can now commiserate with your situation. I have been a telecommuter for the last five years and I just found out today that someone in management thinks that I and all my peers need to be working out of the office. Goodbye 30 second commute from my bedroom to the office. Hello dashboard time. I thought working virtually was the wave of the future but apparently not.

    Reply
  2. j

    Commuter food..

    Might have to start eating some McDoubles..theyre currently 2 for 2, and about 250 calories each sans buns…stick in half an avocado and it’s a meal..
    Or make a week’s worth of food and freeze til needed..maybe some fathead pizza..

    Reply
  3. Tom Welsh

    Of course I’m thinking of the “Spanish theory of management” described in that marvellous book “Peopleware”. I take it I can assume you have read that (perhaps over and over)? And also “Slack”?

    Reply
  4. Stephen Richardson

    I can now commiserate with your situation. I have been a telecommuter for the last five years and I just found out today that someone in management thinks that I and all my peers need to be working out of the office. Goodbye 30 second commute from my bedroom to the office. Hello dashboard time. I thought working virtually was the wave of the future but apparently not.

    Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          No, the word went out that programmers must be in the office every weekday. I can time shift (and do) but only to the extent that I can still make the 9:30 project meeting.

          Reply
  5. j

    Commuter food..

    Might have to start eating some McDoubles..theyre currently 2 for 2, and about 250 calories each sans buns…stick in half an avocado and it’s a meal..
    Or make a week’s worth of food and freeze til needed..maybe some fathead pizza..

    Reply
  6. Bruce

    I had tried to work from home at the place I finally retired from. A lot of my job was phone and computer work. Working from home was not part of the large corporations mindset. I think they figured if you worked from home, you weren’t working, and like what happened to you, they did not want to “deal” with the bad apples.

    Then I had foot surgery. THEN it was okay to work from home instead of taking off for 3 months (I couldn’t drive) on short term disability. Got all of my work done, and didn’t have to commute an hour each way everyday. I loved it. I tried to convince them I could still do that at least 2 to 3 days a week after I healed up. That was a no go.

    Reply
  7. Mats the swede

    Hi Tom,
    Sorry to hear of your cancelled perks at work. I have been in the exact same position and experienced the same. And my managers explanation is that some people cannot handle the “freedom” and doesnt perfom their work as expected so instead of denying the people who doesnt do their work they punish everyone as not to “point” any one out.
    Imho that is weak leadership.
    Anyway, now it is friday and as because of that, we are allowed a celebratory dram of whisky to celebrate that we again manage to survive the week.
    So cheers and I wish you a plesent weekend!
    /Mats the swed

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thank you. As a consolation, they’re now having free pizzas delivered to the office on Fridays. Fat lot of good that does me, since I eat pizza 2-3 times per year.

      Reply
      1. Rae

        I recently found a fast, lazy, low-carb way to fix my pizza cravings. I used to try to make low carb crusts when I craved pizza, but now I just layer pizza sauce, sliced mozzarella/provolone, and pepperoni several times in a bowl. Nuke til melty and eat with a spoon!

        Reply
  8. Desmond

    I am sure that no-telework policy will still be in effect even after those who abused it are not with the company anymore. I am a firm believer that you should not treat people equally — you should treat them appropriately. As you can guess, I am not in management either.

    Reply
  9. Linda

    Well, I have to say I’m disappointed that now you’ll be having to commute five days a week! My condolences! I’ve done it and it’s not fun ever!

    As for the Atkins meals, you’re right- they’re not perfect, and even for a female, a couple I’ve tried really didn’t have enough food for someone who eats like I do. Usually I have a big breakfast because it’s when I’m hungry and then a second meal sometime before bedtime, again whenever I’m hungry. One of the joys of being retired from the nursing floor of a hospital- I eat only when I’m hungry, because I can. I usually keep a couple of Atkins meals around for “emergencies,” like when I’m too lazy to make real food and don’t want to eat total junk.

    It has long been a known fact that doctors mostly only treat the “numbers” (lab values, etc.) and not the human patient. That’s what they were taught in medical school. I think it was a real revelation to my doctor one day when she said my total cholesterol number was a little higher than recommended, but I “looked” really good! Was that the first time it occurred to her to look at me and not my numbers? I still haven’t taught her that I don’t give a flip about that total cholesterol number anyway. Sigh….

    I hope we’ll still continue to see your posts. They are definitely one of the highlights of my week and I wait for them and pass them on to others!

    Reply
  10. Bob Niland

    You might apply at Toptal, where pretty much everyone works at home (my nearest neighbor does, out here in rural Kansas). It’s a tough interview, but if you’re interested, I can put you in touch with the neighbor, who can tell you about how it works.

    On packaged food-like substances, when you rule out the items that contain grains, sugars and are heavy in Omega 6 PUFAs high in linoleic acid, it doesn’t leave many that then need inspection of the rest of the chemistry set.

    Eric Westman’s Adapt brand bars, which appear to be full ketogenic, are now available in the US. I’ve not yet tried them.

    Mark Sisson’s Primal Kitchen bars might be choice#2.

    When I was last commuting, I used an insulated lunch pail, and brought from home, and kept some Quest bars in the desk. Quest has reformulated since, and I can no longer recommend them.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Exactly … conducted on mice eating laboratory chow. It has no relevance to us. You’ve got to laugh at the article’s conclusion: look, we fed mice a high-fat laboratory chow, so that proves a paleo diet will make humans gain weight. That would be news to the countless people who lost weight after going paleo.

      Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        But the thing is to keep the ignorant people ignorant. Just think of how much of the economy is supported by heath (actually sick care) industries. Insulin, hospitals, junk “foods” of all kinds, wheel chairs, dentistry etcetera.

        Reply
  11. Tom Welsh

    “But I’m not in management. So now I’ve got the long commute five days per week”.

    No doubt management is hugging itself (yes, I know, ewwww) at the thought that all those hours of commuting are done on YOUR time, not theirs. Like managers everywhere, they are half-smart (quarter-smart? one-eighth-smart?) Because of course a tired programmer is a less efficient, productive programmer. In the long run, they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. But then, to management the long run means next week.

    Reply
  12. Tom Welsh

    Of course I’m thinking of the “Spanish theory of management” described in that marvellous book “Peopleware”. I take it I can assume you have read that (perhaps over and over)? And also “Slack”?

    Reply
  13. tw

    You might want to look at an HRV app as well (heart rate variability). Have used this in addition to hr monitor for several months. Shows impact of exercise stress etc. very interesting. I use Ithlete but there are several others.

    Reply
  14. Lisa

    If you really have contractor status, I don’t think they can require you to work in the office. You would be considered an employee and entitled to benefits, etc. – which they are trying to avoid by using contractors.

    Reply
  15. Mark B

    Hi Tom. First I just want to say I saw Fat Head last year and I loved it.

    To your problem. Is working 7am – 3pm an option for you? I personally love working these hours since I get to avoid all the rush hour traffic both morning and afternoon. I also feel like I can accomplish more since I am home from work almost 2 hours earlier than my old late shift (8:30-4:30). It’s something to think about if you can get yourself up early enough.

    Reply
  16. Walter Bushell

    In Reality as such there are no side effects, just effects. It’s only our subjective point of view and intent that differentiate some effects as side effects. No doubt that the same drug may be proscribed for different symptom cluster where side effects from the first cluster may be desired effects in the second and vice versa.

    What you are describing is to real medicine as paint by number paint sets are to real painting.

    As for everybody being required to be in the office, one line in George Orwell’s 1984 (which should be thought of as 1948), ‘You don’t know you have power unless you can make people suffer.’ (Single quotes for inexact quotation.)

    Reply
  17. Bruce

    I had tried to work from home at the place I finally retired from. A lot of my job was phone and computer work. Working from home was not part of the large corporations mindset. I think they figured if you worked from home, you weren’t working, and like what happened to you, they did not want to “deal” with the bad apples.

    Then I had foot surgery. THEN it was okay to work from home instead of taking off for 3 months (I couldn’t drive) on short term disability. Got all of my work done, and didn’t have to commute an hour each way everyday. I loved it. I tried to convince them I could still do that at least 2 to 3 days a week after I healed up. That was a no go.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Here’s what’s strange: they have work being done by people in India, who clearly aren’t in the office. I was hoping to create an “Indian” alter-ego who worked remotely, but someone pointed out I’d probably take quite a pay cut.

      Reply
  18. Tom S

    Here’s what I do for a low carb lunch;
    Monday split a head of lettuce into four toppers and refrigerate.
    Before going to work add sprinkle cheese, (frozen) shrimp and dressing
    Fill a baggie with a mix of peanuts from a big container.
    Throw in package of pre-cooked/frozen breakfast sausage and some slices of sandwich cheese.

    Actually it’s easier than that as I keep a stockpile of sandwich cheese, sausage, and dressing in the refrigerator at work.

    Reply
  19. Paul B.

    Ah yes… doctors.
    Einstein is credited to have said “If I had one hour to save the world I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.”

    I have been in pain (hip) since April of 2015. I’ve seen two different doctors and one physical therapist, and since I have socialized US Military health”care,” the best I get are “solutions” (a drug or an “exercise”) without a definition of what is actually wrong with me.

    http://startingstrength.com/site/training_log/doctors_and_exercise_advice#.VsdRmVJM5ew

    The link is a short article by one of my favorite strength training writers, Mark Rippetoe. Relevant to the close of Tom’s post, Coach Rip closes strongly:
    “Unless the doctor is also a lifter who has coached other lifters for years, the doctor should practice medicine and leave me to practice strength coaching. If I need his help, I’ll ask for it. And maybe someday he’ll learn to ask for mine.”

    Reply
  20. Susan

    Or… ask Chareva to cook a couple of extra servings of protein and vegies for dinner, then eat the leftovers for breakfast and lunch. (I’ve been doing that since September and I’m now down 43#. Woohoo!)

    Reply
  21. Desmond

    I am sure that no-telework policy will still be in effect even after those who abused it are not with the company anymore. I am a firm believer that you should not treat people equally — you should treat them appropriately. As you can guess, I am not in management either.

    Reply
      1. Paul B.

        I’m too lazy to RTFA but wonder about the exact macronutrient ratio. A lot of studies I have seen will bask a “low carb” diet and not only is the diet in the study full of fake food, often it really isn’t that low in carbs (e.g. 35 or 40% of calories from carbs).

        To be fair, it’s the same thing with low fat diets. I do best with low carbs and moderate fat, for lots of reasons, but acknowledge that a low fat diet will work for some people if it is properly implemented. Studies which study “low fat” diets with say 25 or 30% of calories aren’t really looking at a low fat diet.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Yup, that’s a fair point. Denise Minger wrote a long post about low-fat diets that actually worked … but only if fat was kept below 10%.

          Reply
            1. Walter Bushell

              It’s unlikely that anyone who is happy on a palo diet would be happy on a >10% fat diet and certainly they switch from a diet that is known to work for a trial diet just doesn’t make sense.

              Gamble with your health for what?!

              IIRC those diet need tons of supplements and probably a doctor’s supervision.

      2. gollum

        Whatever you do, don’t make almost half of your food intake* pure sugar, and drink the PUFAid on top.

        *By nutritient weight – that number sounds more exciting than 20% by calories.

        As to the Low carb on the go, there are peanuts, shelled almonds, cheese bars.. Preparation: Open fridge/closet, take item. I usually subsisted on nothing and a few pieces of dark chocolate. Didn’t mind the carbs as I counted on burning them.

        Reply
        1. gollum


          The Paleo mice, then, essentially increased their fats from just 3 percent to 60 percent, while their carbs dipped to just 20 percent.

          http://www.medicaldaily.com/paleo-diet-rapid-weight-gain-diabetes-symptoms-374179

          Now the rest of the article is the same MSM.. uh.. product (for instance, NZO freak mice are described as “two groups of overweight mice with pre-diabetes symptoms”) , so you can put it down to sloppy reporting maybe. Still it should be curious that two people (me and the MSM quoted above) should have misread the study with the same mistake (20% carbs). Are we talking about the same study here? The link he gives goes to a study with 80% fat and 10%(by weight – probably 6%) sucrose. Currently.

          Reply
        2. gollum


          The mice were switched from a three per cent fat diet to a 60 per cent fat diet. Their carbs were reduced to only 20 per cent.

          http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/uom-dew021816.php


          The mice in one group consumed an LCHF diet for 8 weeks, 60% of which was fat, compared with their usual 3% fat intake. Carbohydrates made up 20%.

          http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306816.php

          Curious for all these experts in nutrition journalism to make the same mistake, huh?

          “There is a very important public health message here. You need to be very careful with fad diets, always seek professional advice for weight management and always aim for diets backed by evidence.”

          http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/uom-dew021816.php

          Yes, I would definitely aim for a diet backed by evidence. It would be a nice first step to measure fat content in diets more exactly than with a 20% error bar, for instance.
          Tom’s “irrelevant” approach may not be scientific, but looks more and more wise.

          Reply
    1. Bob Niland

      re: The scientists’ found that a LCHFD caused the LFHFD rodents to gain weight. After reading Dr Davis WB etc I’m thinking it might have been the inclusion of 6% sucrose in the LCHFD rats diet causing them to gain weight.

      The sucrose probably sufficed to prevent the diet from being ketogenic, but the real problem is more likely the fats. Compare the Nature diet data (found in a supplementary .doc) to the diet that Dominic D’Agostino uses:
      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0075713
      (D’Agostino later used this to shrink tumors in mice genetically engineered to spontaneously express metastatic cancer.)

      By comparison, the Nature diet is high in Omega 9 and Omega 6, and deficient in Omega 3 (all of which is ALA, but the lack of DHA&EPA may not be a big deal for rodents). Ratios aside, some n6 fats are obesogenic (like the LA in canola). If you want to sabotage an HF metabolic trial, rodent or human, fat choice does the trick, but nutritional dogma/ignorance is another explanation.

      The very presence of canola in the formula is a red flag. This is a modern mutant rape seed, very likely GMO as well, and tosses a bit of erucic acid in as another confounder.

      Reply
      1. gollum

        I disagree, and I disagree with Tom’s conclusion that the study is totally meaningless.

        To a zeroth approximation, all “LC” studies so far were Find the bogus science exercises. Thus dismissing them has some merit, and I should not even have looked into the study (sorry I even misread it on the first, it has non-fats, not sugar, of 20%, including protein).

        But that’s a practical, not a scientific argument. We should not emulate
        What this study teaches us if they worked correctly (the mice numbers are a bit small) is that fat deprivation and carbosis actually slows obesity, if you are a NZO freak mutant mouse. Guess they can’t lipogenese fast enough. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy, some parameters did improve in LC mice.
        NZ obesity mice are from a special strain of defective mice whose existence I only recently learned of – it’s not even trivial to find out what exactly is wrong with them. Also note they were quite young and still growing I guess.

        I don’t think it’s the canola – canola has some O3 and is touted as healthy even by low fat advocates, so they were perhaps well meaning – maybe it’s a bit too much PUFA, but still.

        If there is anything wrong with the diet I would point at the 20% casein. That’s very insulinogenic, and it’s not complete protein, so lots of it will go to GNG.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I believe it’s meaningless to 1) People whose 2) “paleo” diet doesn’t include isolated casein, canola oil, etc.

          Reply
          1. gollum

            Some helpful reddit commenter claims NZO freak mice have a defect in their yaddaphosphate wazongis so they can’t tech their fats into the mitochondria. The details are certainly fascinating but the bottom line is they are even worse at burning fat than a victim of Standard American Diabetes eating. Now who could POSSIBLY see that coming. The people who know what a freaking NZO mouse IS, because they ordered them from the supplier, perhaps?

            I still think this brings out the unscience in people. How dare he use mice, how dare he feeding them fat! Well, if people feed mice O6 PUFAs and this fattens them, we smirk gleefully and accept the new scientific findings.

            Reply
            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              I put little faith in mouse studies except in limited circumstances, which I’ll explain in tonight’s post.

  22. Linda

    Well, I have to say I’m disappointed that now you’ll be having to commute five days a week! My condolences! I’ve done it and it’s not fun ever!

    As for the Atkins meals, you’re right- they’re not perfect, and even for a female, a couple I’ve tried really didn’t have enough food for someone who eats like I do. Usually I have a big breakfast because it’s when I’m hungry and then a second meal sometime before bedtime, again whenever I’m hungry. One of the joys of being retired from the nursing floor of a hospital- I eat only when I’m hungry, because I can. I usually keep a couple of Atkins meals around for “emergencies,” like when I’m too lazy to make real food and don’t want to eat total junk.

    It has long been a known fact that doctors mostly only treat the “numbers” (lab values, etc.) and not the human patient. That’s what they were taught in medical school. I think it was a real revelation to my doctor one day when she said my total cholesterol number was a little higher than recommended, but I “looked” really good! Was that the first time it occurred to her to look at me and not my numbers? I still haven’t taught her that I don’t give a flip about that total cholesterol number anyway. Sigh….

    I hope we’ll still continue to see your posts. They are definitely one of the highlights of my week and I wait for them and pass them on to others!

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’ll continue posting. I often stayed at the office to write my Thursday posts anyway. If I go home, it’s too easy to get distracted.

      Reply
  23. Bob Niland

    You might apply at Toptal, where pretty much everyone works at home (my nearest neighbor does, out here in rural Kansas). It’s a tough interview, but if you’re interested, I can put you in touch with the neighbor, who can tell you about how it works.

    On packaged food-like substances, when you rule out the items that contain grains, sugars and are heavy in Omega 6 PUFAs high in linoleic acid, it doesn’t leave many that then need inspection of the rest of the chemistry set.

    Eric Westman’s Adapt brand bars, which appear to be full ketogenic, are now available in the US. I’ve not yet tried them.

    Mark Sisson’s Primal Kitchen bars might be choice#2.

    When I was last commuting, I used an insulated lunch pail, and brought from home, and kept some Quest bars in the desk. Quest has reformulated since, and I can no longer recommend them.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      My goal, of course, is to finish the book, then the film version, then retire from programming on the proceeds. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll re-evaluate.

      Reply
  24. tw

    You might want to look at an HRV app as well (heart rate variability). Have used this in addition to hr monitor for several months. Shows impact of exercise stress etc. very interesting. I use Ithlete but there are several others.

    Reply
  25. Lisa

    If you really have contractor status, I don’t think they can require you to work in the office. You would be considered an employee and entitled to benefits, etc. – which they are trying to avoid by using contractors.

    Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        Yes, but there are problems for them with that. Contractor status can be retroactively withdrawn with major penalties to the corporation. For this reason most corps hire contractors through agencies which pay the workers and pay social security and other mandated expenses, so that you are legally an employee of the agency. The agency is happy off their client is.

        Reply
  26. Mark B

    Hi Tom. First I just want to say I saw Fat Head last year and I loved it.

    To your problem. Is working 7am – 3pm an option for you? I personally love working these hours since I get to avoid all the rush hour traffic both morning and afternoon. I also feel like I can accomplish more since I am home from work almost 2 hours earlier than my old late shift (8:30-4:30). It’s something to think about if you can get yourself up early enough.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s an option and some people around here do it. But I’m not a morning person and never will be. The one year of my adult life I had to get up every morning at 5:45 AM every weekday to get to my job, I was foggy and exhausted by Thursday.

      Reply
      1. TomH

        As another non-morning person, you have my empathy.

        You’ve probably thought of this, but would they let you do it the other way – 11 am to 7 pm? Still miss rush hour, no early-early mornings.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          That would almost work, but there’s a morning project meeting at 9:30.

          It’s my nature to look on the bright side or at least figure out how to make the best of a situation. So I’m treating 5:30-7:00 as mandatory writing time.

          Reply
  27. CrysB

    My husband is a truck driver and only home on the weekends. I make a few big meals during the weekend and package the left overs and he takes them on the road (he has a fridge in his truck). Also for his lunch I make 5 big salads with a protein. If I didn’t do this he would eat nothing but fast food all week. Although I have told him how he could even make fast food choices better, he won’t. I am sure it gets boring for him to eat the same few meals for the entire week, but it’s better than the alternative and it’s not that hard on me to just up the servings for the weekend meals.

    Reply
  28. Walter Bushell

    In Reality as such there are no side effects, just effects. It’s only our subjective point of view and intent that differentiate some effects as side effects. No doubt that the same drug may be proscribed for different symptom cluster where side effects from the first cluster may be desired effects in the second and vice versa.

    What you are describing is to real medicine as paint by number paint sets are to real painting.

    As for everybody being required to be in the office, one line in George Orwell’s 1984 (which should be thought of as 1948), ‘You don’t know you have power unless you can make people suffer.’ (Single quotes for inexact quotation.)

    Reply
  29. Tom S

    Here’s what I do for a low carb lunch;
    Monday split a head of lettuce into four toppers and refrigerate.
    Before going to work add sprinkle cheese, (frozen) shrimp and dressing
    Fill a baggie with a mix of peanuts from a big container.
    Throw in package of pre-cooked/frozen breakfast sausage and some slices of sandwich cheese.

    Actually it’s easier than that as I keep a stockpile of sandwich cheese, sausage, and dressing in the refrigerator at work.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I won’t be taking the time on Monday mornings to do any preparation, but I may have to see about making some meals on Sunday. Either way, this new policy is cutting into my time.

      Reply
      1. Paul B.

        Yeah, when you are unable to prepare your own meals and you have to eat on the road, there are usually no “great” options but some acceptable ones.

        Most fast food places sell salads. I will get a salad, throw away the croutons, use an absolute minimum of dressing (which has sugar and vegetable oils), and get a grilled chicken sandwich, throw away the bun, and put the chicken on the salad.

        Most grocery stores sell rotisserie chickens. Take along a little fruit from home and that makes a decent meal.

        Worst case scenario is a gas station if no other food is available, but I’ve noticed lately that many gas stations (esp. chain ones) at least have beef jerky, which is one way to get quite a bit of protein without a lot of carbs.

        Like you said, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. No good reason to pig out on carbs, just do the best you can.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          That’s why even though the Atkins meals aren’t perfect, I’m glad they’re available. Low-carb, and I’ve noticed they pretty much always put some vegetables in there.

          Reply
  30. Paul B.

    Ah yes… doctors.
    Einstein is credited to have said “If I had one hour to save the world I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.”

    I have been in pain (hip) since April of 2015. I’ve seen two different doctors and one physical therapist, and since I have socialized US Military health”care,” the best I get are “solutions” (a drug or an “exercise”) without a definition of what is actually wrong with me.

    http://startingstrength.com/site/training_log/doctors_and_exercise_advice#.VsdRmVJM5ew

    The link is a short article by one of my favorite strength training writers, Mark Rippetoe. Relevant to the close of Tom’s post, Coach Rip closes strongly:
    “Unless the doctor is also a lifter who has coached other lifters for years, the doctor should practice medicine and leave me to practice strength coaching. If I need his help, I’ll ask for it. And maybe someday he’ll learn to ask for mine.”

    Reply
  31. Susan

    Or… ask Chareva to cook a couple of extra servings of protein and vegies for dinner, then eat the leftovers for breakfast and lunch. (I’ve been doing that since September and I’m now down 43#. Woohoo!)

    Reply
  32. CrysB

    My husband is a truck driver and only home on the weekends. I make a few big meals during the weekend and package the left overs and he takes them on the road (he has a fridge in his truck). Also for his lunch I make 5 big salads with a protein. If I didn’t do this he would eat nothing but fast food all week. Although I have told him how he could even make fast food choices better, he won’t. I am sure it gets boring for him to eat the same few meals for the entire week, but it’s better than the alternative and it’s not that hard on me to just up the servings for the weekend meals.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’ve noticed that if people don’t pack a lunch, they end up eating the same few meals anyway … only the meals are junk.

      Reply
  33. Beatrix Willius

    A day is so much nicer without commuting. My company slowly is getting better in this regard. But they have the usual 2 conflicting goals: flexibility AND control.

    Love the quotes from the book on AI. This explains so much. I’ve always observed that they have very simple rules. Got a cold, here is an antibiotic. Got a stomach ache, here is the acid blocker.

    Reply
  34. Andrea

    Oh, that sucks! I hate the corporate (and government) policy of hurting EVERYONE instead of just punishing the people who bleeped up.

    I have a pretty long commute, too, and my solution has been to batch-cook enough food for the week over the weekend and pre-pack it. I make a lot of stews in the slow cooker so it’s low effort. I pack them in microwave-safe bowls with screw-top lids, and keep a reusable set of plastic cutlery at work.

    Reply
  35. Beatrix Willius

    A day is so much nicer without commuting. My company slowly is getting better in this regard. But they have the usual 2 conflicting goals: flexibility AND control.

    Love the quotes from the book on AI. This explains so much. I’ve always observed that they have very simple rules. Got a cold, here is an antibiotic. Got a stomach ache, here is the acid blocker.

    Reply
  36. Andrea

    Oh, that sucks! I hate the corporate (and government) policy of hurting EVERYONE instead of just punishing the people who bleeped up.

    I have a pretty long commute, too, and my solution has been to batch-cook enough food for the week over the weekend and pre-pack it. I make a lot of stews in the slow cooker so it’s low effort. I pack them in microwave-safe bowls with screw-top lids, and keep a reusable set of plastic cutlery at work.

    Reply
  37. tony

    I had the same issue at m place of employment. According to my sources, it was not slacking employees that prompted the move. It was management that was becoming nervous they didn’t have anyone to manage day to day and feared they would be downsized/eliminated.

    Reply
  38. Desmond

    What version of the Forerunner do you use? Do you just use it for workouts, or do you wear it day and night?

    Also, had you looked at Garmin’s Vivofit or Vivosmart devices?

    I considering getting something like these in the near future.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      It’s a Garmin Forerunner 220. I wear it most of the time now. Sometimes I check my pulse when I’m not working out, just out curiosity.

      Reply
  39. Jimbo

    Here’s a few things I like to take to work that aren’t too processed and you don’t have to prepare them at home;
    – Nuts (macadamias, almonds & pistachios are my faves)
    – Jerky (Bacon!)
    – Those little “Wholly Avocado” packs, no preservatives, keep well for a while. They’re awesome.
    – 85% Dark chocolate (of course!)

    Reply
  40. Desmond

    What version of the Forerunner do you use? Do you just use it for workouts, or do you wear it day and night?

    Also, had you looked at Garmin’s Vivofit or Vivosmart devices?

    I considering getting something like these in the near future.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s a Garmin Forerunner 220. I wear it most of the time now. Sometimes I check my pulse when I’m not working out, just out curiosity.

      Reply
  41. Mike

    I work at home rarely, usually the result of a weather event. I appreciate the short commute, but I miss being able to confer with a colleague by walking 15 feet, and don’t have access to my lab instruments.

    My lunch solution is to grab a take-out container and add meat, a veggie, and some fat, and put it in my lunch box with a cold pack. I make it the night before and microwave it at work. I guess you would have to make the cold pack last longer, or use a real fridge when you get in.

    Today it was tinned, pulled pork from Costco, mashed cauliflower that I made on Sunday, and some butter. Costco also has a big bag ‘o broccoli, and a big bag ‘o string beans. It’s really open can, drain water, dump can in container. Grab handful of broccoli, dump in container. Toss in some coconut oil. Add salt and pepper. Seal container. The hardest part is getting the coconut oil to behave.

    Reply
  42. Mike

    I work at home rarely, usually the result of a weather event. I appreciate the short commute, but I miss being able to confer with a colleague by walking 15 feet, and don’t have access to my lab instruments.

    My lunch solution is to grab a take-out container and add meat, a veggie, and some fat, and put it in my lunch box with a cold pack. I make it the night before and microwave it at work. I guess you would have to make the cold pack last longer, or use a real fridge when you get in.

    Today it was tinned, pulled pork from Costco, mashed cauliflower that I made on Sunday, and some butter. Costco also has a big bag ‘o broccoli, and a big bag ‘o string beans. It’s really open can, drain water, dump can in container. Grab handful of broccoli, dump in container. Toss in some coconut oil. Add salt and pepper. Seal container. The hardest part is getting the coconut oil to behave.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Lisa Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.