Monday, January 24, 2011

The 4-hour Body: A Review

No makeup today.  I've had some stuff going on at home and on the days when I did wear wasn't anything that I was particularly proud of or thought was really worth posting.

Instead of make-up, I want to talk about diets and books.  Or, specifically, a book about a diet.

When Alex gave me my Kindle for Christmas, he also included a gift card so that I could buy some books.  (Although I'm completely floored by the amount of books that are available for free...but that's a different story altogether)  I started wandering around Amazon looking at e-books and I got sidetracked by the book "The 4-hour Body" by Tim Ferriss.  It sounded interesting to it became my first Kindle purchase.

I have NEVER bought a diet book before.  But obviously if you've seen photos of me...I do indeed have a weight issue.  I found myself intrigued by the concept of the book.

From the book's official website:

The 4-Hour Body is the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the human body. It contains the collective wisdom of hundreds of elite athletes, dozens of MDs, and thousands of hours of jaw-dropping personal experimentation. From Olympic training centers to black-market laboratories, from Silicon Valley to South Africa, Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, fixated on one life-changing question:

For all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results?

Thousands of tests later, this book contains the answers for both men and women.

From the gym to the bedroom, it's all here, and it all works.

My first reaction was that this all sounded completely too good to be true.  But the book was cheap and I'd at least have something to read :)

The book is designed to be a handbook of sorts with the general idea being that one does not need to read the entire book.  Only read the parts that you need. There are sections on diet, sleep, working out, and sex.  From reading the book, my general impression is that the author is a bit looney.  He seems downright obsessed with his body and has subjected himself to insane amounts of medical testing, supplements, training and physical experiments (such as soaking in ice baths in order to increase weight loss).  I did read the entire book and I found myself shaking my head most of the time and thinking to myself that this guy was completely off his rocker.

For example, he offers advice on how to live on two hours of sleep a day.  Are you kidding me?  Who wants to do that??? I LOVE sleep...thanks but no thanks!

But anyway...on to the diet.

Ferriss claims that you can lose up to 20lbs in one month if you follow his diet exactly as written.  It's not really his diet per se.  From what I've read, his diet is also the basis of other diets that are currently floating around (I can't confirm this fact as this is the first diet book that I've ever purchased).  Twenty pounds is a mighty claim, however, and I was up for the challenge.

Six days a week every meal must include a protein (meat), legumes (beans, lentils), and a vegetable
No white foods or any food that can be white (no pasta, rice, bread etc) can eat cauliflower as it is a vegetable.
No milk
No fruit
No high fructose corn syrup
No sugar.
Only up to 16oz of any beverage that contains artificial sweetener.
Drink plenty of water
Coffee, if consumed, can only have up to 2Tbsp of cream
Take advantage of super foods like spinach and sauerkraut
Eat four meals a day...the first MUST be within an hour of waking (ideally a half hour)
On the 7th day, it's cheat day and you can eat every forbidden food that you've been denying yourself.
There is no counting calories, or controlling of portion size according to the book

I find that he contradicts himself repeatedly in this book.  First he tells you that you don't need to count calories or control portions but then he tells you that chickpeas can't be eaten in excess because they have too many calories and should be eaten in moderation.  The same goes for almonds.  Either we don't need to count calories OR we do.  You can't have it both ways.  You can't make a claim and then come up with a bunch of exceptions to it. 

Also he says that you should eat until you're full. I can't speak for every seriously obese person in the world but I KNOW that I often eat until I'm overfull.  Years of eating whatever, whenever have rendered my "full mechanism" a little wonky.  He also doesn't address emotional or social eating as he doesn't suffer from either of these problems.  He refers readers to Dr. Phil's book about those concerns.  I pretty much felt like I was on my own with these two obstacles.  Lucky for me, Jeff and Alex were also up for the challenge and we've been a constant source of support to each other while trying to lose weight.

All that being said.....
The three of us started this diet on January 4th.  We've done everything exactly as it's laid out in the book.  The first thing that we began to notice was how good we felt.  Not only did we feel physically better but we felt good about ourselves because we weren't putting anything artificial or processed into our bodies (except on cheat day).  We felt lighter, we had more energy and Alex, who previously lived on Mountain Dew, found himself getting better sleep because he hasn't been all strung out on the Dew.

Waiting for cheat day to eat all the yummies has made me more appreciative of those foods.  I carefully plan out what I'm going to eat on that day and savor every bite because I'm not getting any more for a week :)

And...I've actually had results!! On January 4th, I weighed in at 333lbs.  A week later, I was hovering around 325.  As of this past Sunday, I was 311lbs!!!  I put on my "I'm too fat for these pants but I save them just in case I ever lose weight but I probably won't" pants for the first time in about a year or so and I didn't have to wrestle with them laying down on the bed!  I'm looking forward to more results and I'm going to start adding some exercise into my routine. 

You don't really need to buy this book to use this diet.  You could google "slow-carb diet" and get enough information to try it on your own. The diet does seem to be working though...or it least it is for me (Jeff and Alex too).  But it's pretty much common sense that it would work...I've cut my portion sizes considerably and I'm eating way more healthy food then I ever have.

The majority of the book's claims strike me as too extreme.  But, I did find the book interesting to read...even if I did think most of it was a bunch of hooey! :)

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