South Beach Diet

When I was working for Microsoft, I managed to put on quite a bit of weight. In fact, I started gaining weight during my third year of college. At one time, I weighed 202 lbs (92 kg) and I’m just under 5’11”. When I first moved to Dubai I joined a gym and started getting back into shape…spending lots of time on the eliptical and exercise bike. I got down to about 191 (87 kg), but sort of got stuck at that weight. I finally decided that and adjustment in my diet was necessary.

I decided to try the South Beach Diet, though I can’t really remember why I picked it…seemed milder than the Atkins diet I think. The diet has three phases. The first phase last two weeks and is the strictest. You basically cut all of your carb and fat intake and should experience rapid weight loss. You then switch to the second phase which lasts as long as you would like. It is designed to move to more gradual weight loss (1-2 lbs per week) and reintroduces “good” carbs. The third phase is the rest of your life where you keep control on your diet and all that jazz.

Before I get into how this diet worked for me, I should probably say that everyone’s body is different and for some people diets like these work and for others they don’t. I had a lot of excess weight and my body fat percentage was pretty high. If you already have a low body fat percentage, you shouldn’t expect to loose as much. I lost about one pound per day during phase 1. During the first two weeks of phase 2, I lost another two pounds. I’ve now finished the diet and lost a total of 16 pounds (7.5 kg). During this period I did not exercise (was travelling a lot), drank plenty of liquids (you loose lots of water weight in the beginning), and took vitamins to make up for what I wasn’t eating. I followed the diet very strictly during phase 1 and did not cheat even once. It wasn’t easy, but I’m happy with the results. I’m working out again now and have been steady between 176-177 lbs (80 kg) for the past three weeks and feel great. As I start to do some weight training in the next few weeks I expect to put on a little weight, but hopefully reduce my body fat percentage further.

A lot of people have asked me for advice. My advice would be the following:

  • Buy a book and learn about the diet you choose, why it works, and any possible side effects.
  • Either do the diet religously, or don’t bother doing it. If you cheat, don’t be disappointed when you don’t loose much weight.
  • If you have any health problems, speak to your doctor first.
  • If your body fat percentage is below 25% already, don’t bother. Go to the gym and control your intake of fat and carbs and you’ll be fine. I have friends who are much thinner than me trying this diet and I can’t figure out why. No one thinks they are overweight, it’s all in their head.

Anyway, I’ll note my progress on this page if there are any major changes.

Mercedes G55 AMG Kompressor

Mercedes-Benz has launched an updated version of the G55 AMG featuring their Kompressor engine from the current E55. This vehicle has a total of 476HP, more than 100HP more than my G55 and costs only marginally more. I knew it was coming when I bought mine in September, but I couldn’t wait nine months for it. Should reach dealerships in late June or early July at a starting price of &#8364 93,000.

New iScan HD from DVDO

I’ve just ordered a new video processor from DVDO called the iScan HD. This device allows you to connect your various video sources (DVD player, Xbox, HTPC, VCR, Cable, etc.) to an HD display device that uses DVI (plasma, projector, etc.). It also switches digital audio sources and uses some algorithms and custom hardware to scale and process the video to get best results on your output device. I’ll report back with the results once I get it.

New blogging tool

I’ve finally gotten around to finding an alternative to Radio for my blog. I wanted something that didn’t require any software on my computer, was compatible with my current hosting service, and is platform agnostic. I’ve chosen to try Moveable Type from Six Apart, even though Omar nearly convinced me to dry dasBlog. The problem with dasBlog is that it works best when hosted on a Windows server, and though I have a few of those, I’m too lazy to maintain both the blog and the webserver.
Anyway, my new blog is now in beta and I’ll move it to my main site once I have some more content and figure out how to merge my old entries created with Radio into Moveable Type.

I picked up a Canon

I picked up a Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) to help me learn more about photography, one of my favorite hobbies. It’s the first digital SLR that’s been within my budget, and I’ve only just started to play with it. It is more difficult to use than my previous Canon S40 which was a point-and-shoot; but it offers much greater flexibility and higher quality images. Here’s one I took yesterday, with a little touch-up from Photoshop:
WARNING: Clicking the image will open a full resolution JPEG image (6.3 megapixel)!

This is a photo taken yesterday (Oct. 10th, 2003) of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. The picture itself was taken from the pool bar at the new Mina A’ Salam hotel which is part of the Madinat Jumeirah complex. Photoshop was used to increase contrast a little, run an unsharp mask filter, and add copyright text. You’re free to use this for non-commercial purposes.
I’m also working on a new on-line photo album and should have it ready in the near future.

I actually managed to sell

I actually managed to sell my G500 that was still in California while I was in Dubai. I used the Internet to advertise on various used car websites as well as place print classified ads in various SF Bay Area newspapers. I managed to find several interested people, and with the help of Dennis, show them the car and eventually sell it without having to physically be there. I was going to use a car dealer to sell it, but their terms seemed to change and they wanted a much larger commission than I was comfortable paying.
Having sold the G500, I have now purchased a new car in Dubai. The entire buying procedure was a little weird, and I won’t detail it here, but anyway I have a car now. Here are the details:
2004 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG

  • Exterior: designo Silver Metallic
  • Interior: designo Silver and Anthracite leather two-tone
  • Trim: designo Poplar Anthracite wood
  • Options: Too many to list, more than I wanted

Here are some pics:

I’ve been quite busy since

I’ve been quite busy since the last update to this site in July. I travelled to Bombay one more time, spent three weeks traveling in the US, bought a new car in Dubai, sold my old car in California (over the Internet!), and have graduated from a point-and-shoot digital camera to a digital SLR.
Since most people visit my page to learn about the new gear/gadgets that I’ve acquired rather than my life, I’ll focus on the new toys. 🙂

Well, it’s been another long

Well, it’s been another long gap between updates to this page. I moved my Radio install to a new machine and it didn’t like the fact that volume name had changed. It uses hard coded paths and I didn’t have the energy to try and find a way to fix something that clearly is a mistake on the part of the developers. Anyway, I finally decided to fix it and I found a script that does that.

The monsoon in Mumbai. I’m

The monsoon in Mumbai. I’m in Bombay (Mumbai) for a few days on a business trip. As expected this time of year, the monsoon rains come every day and the whole city is lush and green. It’s a nice change from the heat of Dubai, though it’s pretty humid here as well. Getting broadband Internet access is still non-trivial and I’m using a 128k ISDN line now.