Archive for October, 2010



I started phasing in the consolidation phase of The Dukan Diet after about week 10 (or two-and-a-half months) on The Cruise Phase during which I lost  about 18.5 kg in total.

Today, after about 14 weeks of Consolidation (around the three month mark probably),  I am happy to report that I have maintained the loss as my daily weight measurement remains between 77 and 78kg, my BMI is maintained under 26kg/m2

I am enjoying red wine, and speciality breads mainly.  Pasta — which used to be a mainstay,  is rare — and forget chips (they are yuk!).  The odd rice portion has proved to be acceptable. It is a clever diet in that I lost about a stone a month (as the old timers put it), quickly over the summer, and then stopped by increasing carbs and starches.  It is a low fat for life regime, but the trick is getting consolidation right; it is the cure.

One stays on consolidation for 11 days per kilo lost, so I will be on this phase for 7 months, meaning I am not half-way yet.

It is long — deliberately long to re-educate your mind and body.  I am finding my body is sorting itself out, skin is tightening and tone is coming and going (it’s pretty weird actually).  The most interesting aspect is mental — the relationship with food, the likes and dislikes, the idea of rewards being food, the concept of “cheating”, the notion of “comfort eating”.

I am glad the social aspect is back; we have always enjoyed eating out, attending parties and weddings and office party season is nigh!

It is extremely difficult to explain that after months of low carbohydrates, the re-introduction is not as disastrous nor fantastic as expected; I simply no longer fancy the same things anymore.  I find it difficult to force myself to eat “treats”, and I actually feel sick when I eat too much bread or pasta — or even a cake!

Anyway, the weight-loss quarter is a distant memory as I can eat pretty much anything I want once a week, I am allowed bread every day, things like rice and pasta and more besides. I am enjoying my food tremendously, my taste-buds are honed and my life (and shopping basket) has changed forever!




I was reminded today of a couple of ideas that had (and still have) a profound impact on my thinking, and my approach to life.

The two concepts are from the field of numbers — statistics, odds, likelihood, chance.  It’s nothing to be afraid of; it’s not mathematics — nor even arithmetic.

The first is Benford’s Law.

I love this.  It is also known as “The First Digit Law”. In lists of numbers from almost all real-life sources, the first digit is 1 almost a third of the time, and larger digits occur as the leading/ first digit with ever  lower frequency, until the point where nine occurs less than once time in twenty as the first digit.

Benford’s Law applies well to a wide variety of data sets, like electricity bills, street addresses, stocks and shares, population and death rates, lengths of rivers, physical and mathematical constants, and processes described by power laws (which are very common in nature).

Now, this is pretty amazing.  Well, it was to me anyway; it is somewhat counter-intuitive after all.  Yet it works. The first digit is likely to be the number “1” in over 30% of the cases, not because of mathematical theory, or classical ideas, but as a result of real-world evidence.  The real world is imperfect, and far from the purity of academia.

The second idea is Bayes’s Theorem.

What Tom Bayes did was link two things when it comes to probability.  This is somewhat important in that people are either innocent or guilty, something works or doesn’t, and so forth.  Bayes is often important for understanding gambles and gamblers.

The key idea is that the probability of an event A given an event B. And this is exactly the way the mind works —  in a coin toss (for example), there’s a 50 % chance of a head or tail result according to classical statistics, but the coin is not perfect and the bias becomes more evident with each toss, so the results are actually linked, and the odds change (and the bias becomes more obvious) with each result, until the outcome is predictable; nothing is pure and unbiased in the classical mathematical sense.

The notion that each piece of evidence in a court of law, has an effect on the jury’s verdict, that guilt or innocence depends on each and every witnesses’ testimony in turn, is amazing.  Human nature cannot wait until the end to decide on guilt, it works like Bayes’s, becoming more and more guilty or increasingly guilty depending on the evidence as it arrives.  So classical statistics suggests that each coin has a fifty per cent chance of turning up, while Bayes — like us — reckons it’s been tails too long, and it’s time for a heads!




Monkey news!A mate of mine put some mp3 files on my USB flash drive — they were free podcasts of Rickey Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington from 2006.

I had some some trips in the car coming up, so I copied them onto my phone so I could listen on the journeys.

During the Monkey News about the monkey going into space, I completely lost it, and had to pull over to the hard shoulder as I couldn’t drive for tears of laughter.  It took me some time to recover.

How could I have missed this? 2006? Good grief.

Oddly enough, I managed to catch an animation on TV the other day that seems to have been made from these old podcasts — and I tracked down the space Monkey News episode on YouTube:

[embedded videoclip from of Monkey News’ Space Chimp]


Merchant Pilkington GervaisI have to say that I found the audio-only very funny, and less-so for the animation, but I like what the animation brings (I wonder if I had seen/ heard the animation first, if I would have preferred that to sound-only).  There’s a very interesting and insightful article on the making of the cartoon at I must say the characters in the cartoon as superb!

There are signs up for “An Idiot Abroad”, so Karl Pilkington is a star in his own right, I guess.  Anyway, I have been working my way through these podcasts, and they are superb!  I always get a big laugh somewhere along the line, and time flashes by.  I recommend them to everyone who needs cheered up.




I have lost  about 18.5 kg in total after 21 weeks of weight loss on The Dukan Diet (I started phasing in the consolidation phase after about week 10).

  • I am happy to report that I have maintained the loss for 7 weeks now, and I record my weight as fluctuating between 77 and 78kg, my BMI is under 26kg/m2

This is the consolidation phase, so you are supposed to do 11 days of consolidation per kg lost, and I lost 18.6kg, so my consolidation is a period of 205 days, which is about 7 months, so I have a long way to go yet.