A couple of weeks ago, I started the “Slow Carb” diet from Timothy Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Body. The key selling feature of the book is that the diet supposedly “hacks” the body, or more specifically, the metabolism. By following the simple rules of the diet, you can trick your body into shedding weight without any exercise. Busy people like me become overweight because of poor/excessive eating habits. Exercise can cover up these shortcomings, but it really just treats the symptoms instead of the disease, so to speak. I’ve never actually been on a diet before. Ever. This particular regimen seemed tailor-made for my lifestyle, so I’ve decided to follow it to the letter for two months and see how well it works. I want to lose about 30 pounds by June. Believe it or not, that’s supposedly within the range of this diet plan.
I want to get down to about 155 pounds, but I know I’ll inevitably gain 10-15 pounds of lean muscle by consuming so much protein and doing the minimal effective amount of exercise. So my goal is the equivalent of getting down to 140 pounds, which I haven’t been since my early years of college.
My five goals throughout this diet are:
- To learn how to properly monitor my nutrition
- To lose excess weight and keep it off
- To increase my energy level and outdoor activity
- To teach myself proper portion sizes
- To limit my alcohol intake
I’m starting this diet now because it dovetails nicely with the onset of spring and summer. I’m naturally more active when it’s warmer, there are no sports I follow on TV all weekend (besides the golf majors), and fresh produce should start popping up at my local farmers’ markets and my own backyard garden.
To prepare for the diet, I spent the last week of March buying high-protein ingredients. I made ten pounds of homemade (low-sodium) sausage and tested out some recipes for huevos rancheros and fritattas. I read and re-read the relevant chapters of the book and typed out a cheat sheet that’s taped to my refrigerator door. You can click on the image to the right to see and print the cheat sheet, but I’m going to reiterate that you need to buy the book. There’s a difference between knowing the rules and understanding the rules. There’s more information at Tim Ferriss’ website.
I’m a natural fit for this diet. I cook every day, so I have total control over what I eat. I’ve never liked sweets by nature, I gave up caffeine years ago when I quit smoking, and I’ve always enjoyed eating with a fork rather than a spoon at breakfast time. The things that have been hard for me to give up are cheese, cream sauces, potatoes, rice, and noodles. I used to eat a lot of pasta. But that’s what cheat day is for; on Sundays, I can eat as much pasta as I want.
The first few days I was on the diet, I felt like I was force-feeding myself. I’ve never been a big eater in the mornings and it was hard for me to put down 3-5 eggs along with extra ingredients. It was also difficult to eat beans over and over again, but I figured out a few ways to spice things up. I’m blogging some of these tips and recipes, so subscribe to get all of the updates (or click here to see a list of links).
When I started the diet, I weighed in at 189.5 pounds. In the two weeks since, I’ve lost around 7 pounds. That’s with no exercise that goes beyond my normal daily activity.
I wanted to see if the diet was working before I started exercising. I figured if I’m going to alter my eating schedule, I’m going to make sure I’m not crediting the diet for my workout results. I should add that I’m strictly following the diet regimen. And I didn’t cheat very much on either Sunday, so I didn’t see the weight increases that are typical for Mondays. Or, to be more specific, I ate like a glutton each weekend, but I ate diet-sanctioned meals like BBQ ribs and chicken carnitas. As you can see on the cheat sheet, I have my usual breakfast on Sundays, but I allow myself to cheat at lunch. Honestly, I’m so full after lunch that I don’t have much of a desire to gorge myself later anyway. I do, however, allow myself to drink some white wine.
I’ll update my results every two weeks through June.
I was talking with the wife about the benefits of the 4-Hour Body Diet (since I do most of the cooking, she’s also on it) and I thought I’d list them here.
Since I started this diet, I’ve felt a lot better, physically. Unexpectedly, I’m sleeping a lot better too. And I’ve only had to take my heartburn medicine twice; it used to be a daily occurance. My digestion is much less aberrant and I seem to have more energy. Some people describe having less energy on this diet, but that’s because they’re going heavy on the vegetables and not getting enough calories.
All in all, I think I’m going to adopt some aspects of this diet permanently. I’ve already drilled it into my head that “sugar in = sugar out” and “protein in = fat out.” Meaning, if I eat sugar, my body burns sugar first. It’s like an uncontrollable accounting scheme. But by simply minimizing sugar, my body will inevitably burn fat to create energy. Why wasn’t I informed about this earlier?
- Learning Proper Portion Sizes On The 4-Hour Body Diet
- 100 Days On The 4-Hour Body Diet
- The 7 eating habits that have helped me lose weight