Posted by Nareed
Jan 09, 2011

My diet and weight loss tracker

I should open up a blog of my own, I mean off site, but I lack the time to do it properly. Besides, hopefully I'll be done with this sometimes next year.

I'm doing my own diet, based on what I know about nutrition and advice I've gotten from professionals in the area. here goes:

Breakfast: At least six times per week either cereal or oatmeal with skim milk, plus one piece of fruit or one glass of juice, plus coffee. Once per week I may have a sandwich made with turkey or chicken processed meats, mustard, onions and salsa (no mayo or ketchup).

Mid-day meal (this is the big meal of the day): any soup that's not a cream or contains milk (vegetable broths, chicken broth, lentil soup, etc). Four times a week I have chicken or turkey, preferably grilled. When eating roasted chicken, I skip the skin. Twice a week no meat at all; this means stuff like pasta or cooked veggies, sometimes both (pasta only with plain tomato sauce; nothing like pesto, butter or meat sauce, and no grated Parmesan cheese on top), or veggie, grilled quesadillas. Once a week red meat of any kind (pork, veal, beef, etc). For a side dish salad, boiled or steamed rice, any kind of veggies, baked beans (never fried), or small helping of pasta.

Dinner: some kind of salad or veggie mixture. I like something quite local to Mexico, which is jicama (I've no idea what to call it in English, sorry; it's a fat root with the texture of a soft carrot, it's white with a thin brown skin), carrots, a little radish and onions, dressed with lime, salt substitute and a thick kind of sweet salsa you can only get here (that I know of). Sometimes lettuce or raw spinach with onions, carrots and cabbage, dressed with balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and a little bit of olive or sesame seed oil.

I allow myself one desert daily in the form of a cereal bar under 100 calories and low fat or fat free. If I get too hungry during the day, I can have a piece of fruit, carrot or celery, cucumber or jicama as a snack. I also allow myself to have either a more substantial desert, like cake or pie, or a small bag of chips or other salty snack once a month. Throughout the day I can drink either coffee, tea, diet soda or water freely.

I've given up eggs, dairy (except for skim milk), margarine, cooking oil, chocolate, sweets, fried foods, bread and tortillas as meal complements, tacos and other things containing high amounts of fat and/or sugar (I've been watching my sugar for months). This means I no longer add cream to my coffee.

In addition I've begun to work out. I'm still figuring out a schedule, which is not easy given the odd hours I get to work. For now I'm starting with 10 minute sessions on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I'll try to add Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning as well, though that means getting up a half hour earlier (and how do I work that when I get home at 11pm or 12 am?). Gradually I'll increase the workout time to 30 minutes per session. Right now I can barely take 10 minutes of an aerobic exercise plus a few crunches and leg extensions. Yesterday I fairly rolled off the workout bench, that's how exhausted I was :) But I know from past experience it gets a bit easier given time and practice.

I haven't weighed myself. I don't want to know how badly off I am right now! So I'm tracking progress through waist size. Thus far my panties feel a little looser. I'll begin tracking weight by February.

Back to food, this diet was meant, lo these many years ago, to reduce my intake of cholesterol. As it happens foods high in that fatty substance are -surprise!- high in other fats as well. So reducing one reduces the other. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, whereas carbohydrates and proteins contain 4 calories per gram. Simple math tells me that's a substantial calorie reduction. Of course, I'm so overweight right now, any caloric reduction will result in weight loss.

BTW I did not give up other notoriously high-cholesterol foods like shrimp, seafood in general, animal entrails (like liver or brains), or fatty things like avocado, because I didn't eat them to begin with.

I'll end with a joke:

A doctor told me about a man who ate a lot and never gained any weight.The man would have four glasses of whole milk, a big stack of pancakes, three pastries, two muffins, a five-egg omelet, a thick, bacon-wrapped steak and a pile of hash browns every day; and that was just breakfast.

And he doesn't gain any weight. None at all. He's still the same 350 pounds he was 20 years ago.


EvenBob Jan 10, 2011

You're 46, are you fat? Is that why you need to lose weight?

Nareed Jan 13, 2011

I left out one thing: I try to eat only at meal times.

Posted by Nareed
Aug 11, 2010

Nareed's Las Vegas Laws (Tourist Edition)

Here they are in order. All 29 of them

1) Concerning development, especially on the Strip, post 2007: Whatever happens, nothing happens (Shamelessly taken from Asimov's Laws of Hollywood).

2) Sucker bets were not devised by suckers.

3) The time you spend in line to get cheaper show tickets is directly proportional to the square of the money saved (at least).

4) You omit tipping the dealer at your own risk (especially in craps).

5) Ignore the Wizard's Commandments at your own peril

6) Buildings and/or landmarks in Vegas do NOT get farther away the more you walk towards them, but it sure seems that way. Even so, your journey won't be shorter if you walk backwards.

7) The best way to enjoy a Vegas buffet is to lower your expectations (The IP exception: no lowering of expectations will work for the Emperor's Buffet; it needs to improve considerably before it can be classified as "bad").

8) There's a reason why slot machines are called one-armed bandits (of course since most don't have levers anymore, the reason no longer is obvious. But calling them plain "bandits" is insipid and uninspired). This reason does not necessarily apply to VP machines with good pay tables.

9) Pay attention at all times while gambling. It's better to prevent a controversy than to win one.

10) "System" is not equivalent to "Strategy."

11) Do not bet even a penny without getting a player card first. It won't hurt and it might help.

12) There's no such thing as luck.

14) Despite law 12, it's good manners to wish good luck to other players. It's especially good manners to wish the dealer good luck when you place a bet for him.

15) Don't ever play for comps.

16) Bet for the dealers the same kind of bets you place for yourself. Otherwise you make it seem as though you're throwing their tip money away. Exception if the dealer asks politely for a specific bet you don't care to make.

17) Do not ever offer unsolicited advice to other players. Even if someone is betting $5 on the pass line, no odds and $1,000 on hard 12, refrain from saying anything. You'll be blamed for any and all losses.

18) Be wary of offering solicited advice. Add disclaimers if you do, and remind the person asking for advice that the best bets are those least likely to lose.

19) You're not responsible of correcting a dealer error in your favor. You may do so, and it may even be the honest thing to do, but ultimately it's your choice.

20) Do not EVER correct a dealer's mistake in favor of another player. You'll infuriate the player, and you won't get more than a nod from the casino (if that much). This law is null if you're attracted to the dealer and keep your brains and your gametes in the same body part.

21) You're responsible for correcting dealer errors against you, but not against other players. Exception if the other player is your spouse, friend or relative. This law is null if you're attracted to the player and keep your brains and your gametes in the same body part.

22) The slowest means of transportation is the one you're on. Exceptions from time to time on foot.

23) The most congested route is the one you're on.

(the two laws above are borrowed from Nareed's Laws of Traffic (Universal Edition)).

24) Anyone can talk card counting. Real card counters don't. (Hat tip to PapaChubby)

25) The House Advantage is always zero when you don't play.

26) Don't get attached to anything. Everything in Las Vegas is ultimately ephemeral.

[UPDATE Jan 11th 2011]
I've discovered a new Law. Hat-tip to everyone who posted in the recent discussions about cheating, hole-carding and being overpaid at the table, especially to Math Extremist for driving such threads.

Nareed's 26th Las Vegas Law (Tourist Edition):

27) Players will tend to take advantage of any casino or dealer errors regardless of whatever personal ethics they may profess.

[UPDATE Jan 17th 2011]
Hat-tip to teddys

Nareed's 27th law yadda yadda yadda:

28) Quit while you're ahead.

[UPDATE August 6th 2011]
Hat-tip to the Wizard

Nareed's 28th law yadda yadda yadda:

29) For your sake, consider a bet made as soon as you put chips on the table.

[UPDATE c. January 2012]
Hat-tip to Paigowdan

30) The Paigowdan Principle: The probability that a discussion of 3CP or advantage play on WoV will eventually degenerate into a flame war about hole-carding is proportional to the length of the thread.

[UPDATE June 2013]

31) If you gamble long enough, you'll see (almost) everything: long winning streaks, long losing streaks, two royal flushes in a row, etc. NOTE: You won't necessarily see any of it happen to you.

[UPDATE June 2nd 2014]

32) There's no way to beat a negative expectation game without using some sort of edge (ie card-counting, edge sorting, cheating, etc). But craps has so many bets and they can be combined in so many ways, the temptation to come up with a "system" to beat the game without an edge becomes overwhelming from time to time.


teddys Aug 12, 2010

This is good. Thank you for this.

odiousgambit Aug 12, 2010

very good; and good to put it in a blog post.

AZDuffman Aug 12, 2010

I like it!

Nareed Aug 12, 2010

Thanks everyone. Glad you liked it.

Look for my collected traffic laws over the weekend.

Ibeatyouraces Jan 10, 2011

24) Anyone can talk card counting. Real card counters don't. (Hat tip to PapaChubby)

We do, just not in casinos or with our real names.

NandB Jun 23, 2011

I would like to add this to the 27th law... "especially if ahead by 30% of table stakes or more". (the Gambler's Share axiom)


Posted by Nareed
Apr 09, 2010


When I say "planning" in connection witha trip I mean "get your round-trip tickets, hotel reservations or bookings, and rental car (if any)." That's it.

I'm that kind of traveler. I like to know I'll get there and back, and that I'll have a place to stay and the means to move around. I do this even for business trips on very short notice (especially on short notice).

I do enjoy browsing through airline, hotel and travel agency websites, lucky me. These days that's one good way of arranging one's trip. A professional travel agent might get you better rates, but I doubt it. A pro charges a fee (or includes it in your total at any rate).

What I do is go on Expedia (I find it easiest to use, and it has some readily available features I appreciate) and look up a package deal of hotel and plane trip; with travel agencies this gives you the lowest rates.

This isn't necessarily the best you can get, just your benchmark. Next you calculate the trip buying the airfare and booking the hotel separately (some airlines offer packages, too). You can of course also shop around otehr agencies like Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.

Whi'll give you the best deal? It depends on the time fo year, the specifics of your trip and ltos of other things. I begin to shop months before, and almost always book a few weeks before my departure date. It does help to keep flexible dates and to look around.

Four years ago the direct flight Mexico to Orlando via Aeromexico was priced at around $600 (yes, that's too high). I'd settled on a stopover in Houston, when suddenly Delta started offering the Aeromexico trip at $350 (Delta and Aeromexico share codes for trips originating or terminating in Mexico, American Airlines does the same with Mexicana).

One last thing: once you've bought your trip stop looking. Otherwise you may find something even better and get angry.


boymimbo Apr 14, 2010

I used to work for one of the big travel websites. Hotels these days offer a lowest guaranteed rate. It the hotel is participating with the travel website (and most of them do), they will load their published rate to the site as well as the rate that is charged to the travel company when they sell the room. That rate difference is what the agent gets to play with. The rule usually is that the hotel rate alone has to match the hotel's lowest rate (otherwise the hotel loses the guarantee). So, when the website offers a hotel + airfare package, the airline does not charge any less for their flight -- all of the savings comes on the hotel side in the difference between what the hotel charges the travel agency and the actual room rate.

The only exception to this is Southwest, who takes some kind of discount off of their airfare when booking a package and I think this ONLY applies to Las Vegas (where Southwest have about 5 times the traffic of any other airline). This gives them the advantage of being able to offer cheaper packages than anyone. They are able to do this because you can only book packages and Southwest travel on

The hotel directly also has the ability to give you a rate below the published rate, but only on the phone or through your player's card. is an excellent search engine for looking for hotels and airfare as it looks at all of the major sites for the best deal.

Posted by Nareed
Apr 03, 2010

Research first.

When traveling research is paramount. It begins when choosing where to go, but it continues once you've decided. These days the internet makes it easy. For example, when deciding whether or not to rent a car, you can look up public transport options. In Vegas you can get around cheaply to a lot of places without a rental car. In Orlando you can't.

There's a lot more you can find out online, just about everything from hotel rates, to show times, to traveling tips, to game guides, etc. But according to Larry Niven's Law: no method works if it's not used. For example, it occured to me to look up how to play craps after I got back from Vegas the first time, not before (duh!)

Regarding vegas in particular, the wealth of free information is amazing. There's this stie, for one, and the Wizard's other sites, for a comprehensive, in-depth overview of most games played in a casino (I dare say all games), including not just the House edge, but strategies of varying degrees and pointers to other sources. I also recommend the following sites (look them up in Google):

Cheapo Vegas for an excelent quick summary of lots of Strip, Downtown and off-Strip hotels and casinos
Las Vegas Advisor is a good general guide
Trip Advisor is a good general hotel guide (look up Seat Guru, too, if you enjoy flying)
Visit Vegas is a great, big general guide to all things Vegas
the RTC homepage for bus schedules and rates, along with the Vegas monorail site

And many of this sites will direct you to the homepages of attractions, hotels, casinos, restaurants and more.

Then there's planning, which overlaps with research. more on that later.


teddys Apr 03, 2010

How many times have you done Vegas without a car? I am planning to do it without on a car on my next trip for the first time. I know it's possible from the information provided on this site and elsewhere. But I may give in and rent a car if the prices are low enough. Would prefer not too, though.


I'm staying at the Palms.

Nareed Apr 05, 2010

I've done Vegas twice, both without a car.

First time I stayed at the Sahara and moved arond int he monorail. it's oke, but you're confined to the Strip. As ti was my first trip, that was plenty.

Second trip I stayed at IP and used the Deuce. It lets you get to more places than the monorail, such as the farnorth of the strip and Downtown, but it's slower due to traffic and people buying tickets as they get on. I think the latter problem's been done away with in the ACE line, though.

Next trip, early May, I plan on staying on a Strip hotel again and using the bus system. Note, I'm satisfied with the Strip, Downtown and a few side trips. I don't go too far beyond that. If you're staying at the Palms you may need a car just to reach the Strip.

teddys Apr 05, 2010

When is your may trip? I'm 8-11. Maybe we can organize a wizard coffee.

Nareed Apr 06, 2010

Assuming no problems, I should be there 9th through 14th.

Posted by Nareed
Apr 01, 2010

Mexico to Vegas

There were at one time five airlines flying to Vegas: Mexicana, Aeromexico, Viva Aerobus Aviacsa and Aladia. Only the first three remain. Aladia, largely a charter operation, went broke. Aviacsa has been grounded for months due to debts owed to Mexican aeronautical agencies.

Mexicana has two flights from Mex City to Vegas daily, plus one flight from Guadalajara. Aeromexico flies Mex to LAS on Thursdays and Sundays, but starting this month they're adding a daily from Monterrey to LAS. Viva Aerobus is a low cost operation which flies mostly in the north of Mexico (they don't fly to Mex City). To Vegas it flies only to and from Monterrey (that's a big industrial city about 550 miles north of Mex City); BTW Aviacsa also flew from Monterrey but had connecting flights to Mexico City.

Years ago Aerocalifornia flew to Vegas as well. It went broke and vanished about three years ago.

There are sporadic commercials on TV, mostly on cable, promoting Las Vegas. There's a Spanish version of the Visit Las Vegas website, too. In the travel sections in the paper there are frequent offers for Vegas. It's a popular destination.

As to Rio, I've been there only once to see the Penn & Teller show (great show, BTW). The guy tending to the Box Office was Latino and spoke Spanish.

Gaming in Mexico should be legal. There's been a national lottery for decades, as well lotto, horse and dog races and sports gambling. For the past decade there have been sports books, bingo halls and some limited slot casinos. I can't see why adding real table games and real slots would change anything. We even have organized crime already as well.