8-Bit Software
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Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only

Disc compatibility     : ADFS 1D00, CDFS 1D00, DFS 1D00


Instructions' Source   : 3


Review (Electron User - Double Review Of THE JOFFE PLAN and WATCH YOUR WEIGHT)

 - "If You've Got A Weighty Problem On Your Mind..."

When the Editor sent me these two packages, I thought he was trying to tell me something. Well, I've news for him - it's not me that's overweight! These two programs contrast greatly in their approach to the problems of weight-control. Acornsoft's WATCH YOUR WEIGHT is based upon creating a strict diet by accurately measuring calorie intake. Mirrorsoft's THE JOFFE PLAN, in contrast, emphasises the importance of exercise and changes to diet. Both pieces of software are well-constructed packages, accompanied by comprehensive manuals.


WATCH YOUR WEIGHT begins by presenting a graphical display of your weight and height that shows whether you are obese, very overweight, over-weight, desirable or below desirable. The same graph is used for men as women. Although a woman is likely to have a lighter body frame than a man, it is natural for her to have more body-fat without increasing the risk of weight-related diseases. This part of the program is not designed for youngsters under sixteen.


Some people may find themselves below the desirable weight range. The package gives useful advice even to the extent of helping you to put on weight.


For those within the desirable range, physical effort rather than calorie control is recommended, though no details of suitable exercises are discussed in this program.


Those people that fall into the very-overweight and obese ranges are advised not to use the program but to consult their own doctor.


Once the program has helped you decide whether you need to lose weight, and if so how much, it then helps you calculate the number of calories you should have each day. The computer estimates this from your weight, age and sex and the degree of physical activity in your life. The program then asks you if you want to start a diet.


Once you know roughly how many calories you need daily, it can estimate how long you will have to diet to lose the required amount. If you cut your estimated daily requirement down by 1000 calories a day for a week you should lose about two pounds of body-fat. That's about the optimum weight-loss for good dieting.


You've a choice in how quickly you want to lose weight, but the program is structured so that a dangerous diet is not recommended. It's at this stage that a recording of all your personal details and proposed diet is made on a blank cassette. You need to load this data back into the computer each time your

monitor your changes in weight.


It is characteristic of both packages that a cassette is used to keep a record of your details and progress. The manuals associated with each package also give a lot of very useful advice on diet and the best types of food to eat.


A major aspect of the Acorn program is the Calorie Calculator. This makes it easier for you to count calories, fibre and fat. Not only will it tell you what a certain food contains, but it also calculates a running total of everything you eat. This helps you work out exactly how much you've consumed during the

day, and tells you how many calories you have left.


The program contains a large database of foods called up as you enter your daily diet. At first you have to weigh exactly everything that you eat, but we are assured that with practice it is possible to guess the approximate amount, the computer automatically calculates the number of calories and then totals the values. The computer also says whether you are eating too much fat or not

enough fibre.


Another section of the program helps you to devise meals to meet your dietary needs. For example, if you have only 400 calorie left to eat but you are low on fibre, you can look up 400 calorie meals and select one with a relatively high fibre content.


The Monitoring Your Diet section uses the cassette recorded previously to show you how much progress you're making. It updates the details and enables you to make a new copy. It's suggested that this is not done more frequently than once a week.


The micro draws a graph to show your starting weight, your expected weight loss each week and the predicted duration of the diet to reach your goal weight. The graph also shows how well you're doing.


If you're successful in achieving your target the manual gives you advice on maintaining that weight-loss. On the other hand, if you fail to lose weight then it is suggested that you take the User Guide and a record of your last data cassette to your doctor. I cannot imagine the reaction of my doctor as I present him with my computer and data cassette...


We'll now turn to the JOFFE PLAN. Program One has two parts that are designed to set up your Personal Weight Control Plan. The first major input relates to your desires - how much weight you want to lose and how quickly you want to lose it.


The program won't allow you to enter figures that could be dangerous to your health, nor will it create a plan that would take more than six months to complete. You'll be asked to set a new and easier goal.


The second part of the program contains a series of brief questionnaires which inquire upon your personal eating habits. Nearly all the questions are multiple choice. The answers to the questionnaire are used by the micro to generate a

series of penalties. These penalties are imposed upon you if you're not reaching the targets you've set yourself in the first section.


The questions include:


- Do you have a breakfast every day?

- Do you eat with other people?

- Do you work while eating your lunch?

- Do you eat sitting down?


The computer then responds with two recommendations. Mine were:


- Eat a proper breakfast and stop work for lunch


Try telling my boss that!


The Electron then goes on to question your more personal habits:


- Do you take larger-than-average helpings?

- Do you eat the leftovers?

- Do you eat faster than most people?


From these the micro makes a list of changes and asks which you would be prepared to carry out. Finally the questionnaire deals with your relationship with the fattening foods. It asks you to identify those that you treasure the most.


With all the information gathered together, the program makes three proposals. The first is that you should take some mild but specific action towards losing weight. It then puts forward some Amber Zone penalties. If you begin to fall behind in progress then you will be asked to carry them out.


If you fall further behind and enter the Red Zone, then further penalties are enforced. In order to avoid these penalties it's possible to earn credits through taking extra physical activity.


The basis of THE JOFFE PLAN is to reduce your weight and increase your fitness by moderately changing your exercise and eating habits. Your individual plan is based upon what you eat now and how much you exercise now.


It doesn't presume you have a degree of fitness already, nor does it prevent a very fit person following the plan. You may be an over-eater or an under-eater. The program sets goals that are relevant to your individual situation.


The information the micro gains and the targets it has set you are then stored on a blank data cassette. Once this has been made, Program One is not used again - unless you wish to set up a new weight-control course.


Program Two checks your progress. It begins with a short menu asking you to "1. Report in, 2. Check progress, and 3. Check fitness." By choosing Option 1, you automatically check your progress and fitness; after entering your present weight, the micro asks you to take the fitness test.


You measure your pulse rate using the computer and carry out some physical exercise that makes you out of breath. Once breathing hard, you sit quietly in front of the computer for two minutes before taking your pulse again. The difference in the two readings is a measure of your fitness.


Another program is now loaded. It displays a graph of your progress, reminds you of the steps you are taking to lose weight, tells you how many days you have left to reach your target, and gives other useful advice. You are given an opportunity to tell the computer if you have done any extra exercise. This in turn will give you credits which are used to offset any penalties you have received because you're not losing weight fast enough. Finally, a new copy of your data cassette is made.


In comparing the two programs there are three major observations I think are important.


Firstly, the Acornsoft program is recommended for use once a week and no more frequently. THE JOFFE PLAN is best used every day or every other day.


Secondly, the Acornsoft system is contained within a single program. THE JOFFE PLAN has many programs that need to be loaded. Within Program Two a second file has to be loaded for Option 2.


Finally, the Acornsoft system considers only diet. It treats food in a very clinical manner, counting every calorie, balancing numbers and using weight-loss as the only measure of success. THE JOFFE PLAN uses your fitness as well as your weight as an indication of progress. It's not necessary to strictly measure the quantities of food you eat. You simply remember a few limitations that the micro imposes upon your eating habits.


I personally prefer THE JOFFE PLAN but my wife is in favour of WATCH YOUR WEIGHT. Both are worthwhile packages - it's a matter of personal choice which you buy. Certainly, I wouldn't lose weight worrying about it...

John Woollard, ELECTRON USER 3. 1