Does The Four Hour Body Slow Carb Diet Suck?

by Stephen

Do I Suck?

I realized today when I sat down with a patient and reviewed her chart that I had began using the slow carb diet with my patients over 7 months ago.

This was a revelation to me, and unfortunately to my patient as well. Who over the last 7 months, despite her best efforts at carbohydrate restriction, has actually experienced a weight gain of about 5 lbs.

A curious phenomenon of the slow carb diet that I am about to touch upon.

I was fortunate yesterday to also have the opposite occur.  A 42 year old female who on our last visit had a fasting blood sugar of 118, a triglyceride level of 246, and a resting blood pressure of 150/92.

With her strong family history of type 2 diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes 9 years prior, and a 30 lb. weight gain over the last 5 years (a side effect of 3 pregnancies), I would have normally recommended we initiate a treatment protocol that focused on Metformin (a medication to lower blood sugars), a calorically restrictive diet and “more exercise”.

Instead after my 7 years of primary care medicine and extremely poor results in curbing the obesity epidemic using “conventional” medical wisdom, I decided to focus on the real solution:  A return to the belief in people to make positive long lasting changes in their own lives.

She was given the option of lifestyle redesign (using the principles of the slow carb diet) or begin the medication for life routine.

She chose the first option.

She was given a single copy of Tim’s slow carb diet protocol, a prescription for vitamin D3, Liquid Cod Liver Oil Does The Four Hour Body Slow Carb Diet Suck?, Alpha Lipoic Acid three times a day,  a call back by my medical assistant 2 weeks in, and told “DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF” for 30 days.

Results just 30 days later:

12 lb. weight loss, a new shirt, and the biggest smile on her face to date.

This was actually the same process I used in our first patient. The one who had the 5 lb. weight gain. A women of roughly the same body type and demographics but with 30 lbs. more to loose.  Except with different lab values.

She had a normal fasting blood glucose, normal triglycerides, slightly elevated blood pressures and what appeared to be an equal dedication towards lifestyle modifications.

What differentiates these two patient outcomes?

This is a repeatable result, time and time again. Not just with this diet but with all diets. Why do some people succeed and others fail miserably?

They all say the same thing “Steve as God is my witness I followed this diet to the tee. How come I did not loose weight?”

Or possibly: “My husband is dropping pounds and is doing nothing, this isn’t fair!” (a topic for another blog post).

Our initial response is to perceive this person as “fat and lazy”,  addicted to food, someone who lacks willpower, or is either lying to themselves or to others.

Or even worse, through the use of powerful convincing statements you may begin to believe this about yourself:

“If the founding fathers could sum up our government in a six-page constitution, the above (referring to the five rules) is all we need to summarize rapid fat-loss for 99.99% of the population. Followed to the letter, I’ve never seen it fail. Never.”

Ferriss, Timothy (2010). The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Kindle Locations 1739-1741). Crown Archetype. Kindle Edition.

Are you that 0.01%?

Nutritional Genomics

Nutritional genomics or nutrigenomics, is the study of how foods affect the expression of genetic information in an individual and how an individual’s genetic makeup metabolizes and responds to nutrients and bioactives.

Not all individuals respond similarly to food.

This is a key concept that was crystalized by Galen about 1800 years ago:

“No cause can be efficient without an aptitude of the body”

In post-genome terminology:

“Individuals inherit unique responses to food and , since food influences health, unique susceptibilities to chronic diseases.”

Differences in susceptibilities are caused by the same genetic variations that drive evolution. That food alters expression of genetic information and that genotypic differences result in different metabolic profiles are concepts central to the idea of nutritional genomics.

This indeed is what provides the critical link between diet and health.

The reciprocal interaction between genes and environments has been obvious for at least 2,400 years. Hippocrates’ maxim that:

“food be your medicine and medicine be your food”

all but foretold the increased incidence in obesity, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and indeed, almost every chronic disease caused by overconsumption of calories and certain nutrients.

Hence the impact of nutritional genomics on society-from science to medicine to agricultural and dietary practices to social and public policies- is likely one day in the future to exceed that of even the human genome project.

Chronic diseases may be preventable, or at least delayed, by balanced, sensible diets, and knowledge gained from comparative nutrigenomic studies in different populations may provide information needed to address the larger problem of global malnutrition and disease.

You Don’t Suck

Reject the one diet fits all theory.

You don’t suck, neither does your diet, but the diet you are using may not be the right one for you! Click to Tweet

If you have made it this far you may foresee this:

A future where a visit to your medical provider will include genotyping. A process that will not only predict your risks for various common illnesses including cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease.  But one which will also include an analysis of your genes and the relationship between your genes and your diet.

The concept  of genetic uniqueness was solidified by sequencing the human genome. That achievement formed the foundation for one of science’s most significant contributions to humankind-an evidence  based understanding that while humans are genetically similar, each individual retains a unique genetic identity that explains the wide array of biochemical, physiological, and morphological phenotypes observed in human populations.

Since dietary recommendations and recommended daily allowances (RDA’s)  are developed through epidemiological analyses of populations, RDAs may not be optimal for any one individual.

To put this in lay terms we can all understand:  The Tim Ferriss Slow Carbohydrate diet may be a God send for one person. But suck for another.

I no longer believe that the slow carb diet cheat day method will work for 99.99% of the population, nor should you.

I do strongly believe that it is a valid and wonderful solution for many, and is a great way to induce rapid fat loss that needs work and due diligence by the user to be maintained.

I believe that generalized statements about a certain diet and it’s efficacy in the general population without large population long term studies is not good and can be a source of significant frustration for many people.

Frustration that can cause people to throw in the towel prematurely. People who have good intentions to loose weight and change their lives.

Conclusion: Nobody Sucks

Obesity results from the interplay between genes and environment; their contributions vary with each person. It is therefore reasonable to suspect that different types of diets (e.g., low-carbohydrate, slow carbohydrate,  low-fat, very low-fat) may be of varying benefit in different persons. Part of the solution is to avoid generalized statements, and  pair the most appropriate diet based on eating habits, patterns, and desires.

Food For Thought:

Did you know that Jenny Craig has been ranked the best diet by consumer reports. Is it because it is better than the slow carb diet? I would love to hear your opinion.

How about metabolic typing? What is your type find out here. Fact Fun or Fiction?

Could someday we see a chart like this? Could diet be personalize and results predicted based on lab values and a detailed medical/personal history?

LDL HDL Trig BMI B/P HR Age Sex Blood
Type
Family History Fasting
Insulin
Sleep
Pattern
4 Hour Body diet
Atkins
Jenny Craig
Weight Watchers
Slim Fast
Ornish
The Zone
Paleo
Vegan
Vegetarian

 


 

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Taylor July 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

Sounds pretty vague to me. I personally use a combination of 4Hour Body and Low-Glycemic Eating. There are certain keys to the whole thing, but the main focus must be in investigation, cynicism and outright skepticism. I say that canned food is bad because it contains Bisphenol-A plastic lining. I say that highly refined AND over-processed food is bad because it spikes the Blood Glucose. I say that the more ingredients in a product, the worse that product is. I say that if you eat a product that has a horrible list of chemicals in it, you are self-defeating. Big Food and Big Pharma can suck it. That’s who sucks.

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Stephen July 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Amen Andy!!!

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Joiedevivre July 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I have previously lost 30lbs on Atkins (for life), and have been doing Atkins for 15 years. After 4 pregnancies, I’m a little more chubby than I’d like to be and thought the 4HB may just boost my metabolism (maybe my body had adjusted to Atkins or low leptin levels- the binge day theory made sense.) I have been on SCD and 4HB kettlebell routine (flying dogs, glute activators, myotatic crunch and cat vomit) 3x/week, and have gained 7 lbs since 5/17. Not muscle I don’t think. My pants are tighter, measurements have not changed for the better, and BF% not changing (granted I am doing it on a scale which isn’t necessarily accurate, but when BF is at 35%, I am sure a 0.5% isn’t going to make a difference!) I am going to keep going, but no beach body for this year’s summer vacation, I’m afraid…
(Lipids, FBS, TSH are all excellent…)

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Joiedevivre July 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I think maybe my genes and my body suck!

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Stephen July 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Joiedevivre, I love this comment and I hope other people read this because this is more of the rule I believe than the exception. In fact I was accompanying my sister in spin class last night and now that she has lost 60lbs she is in a stalemate with her body. She talked about this in her post http://fourhourbodyversusbeachbody.com/?p=464 . We did our measurements last month and I could sense her frustration. But there she was in spin class pushing on that bike sweat pouring down her face it made me work twice as hard.

I have have been reading a lot about the effect of exercise on fat loss and I think it is amazing (as you pointed too) that the metabolism can actually down-regulate itself. The fact that there appears to be a caloric threshold for exercise to improve the rate of fat loss is intriguing. And I think you are right, the idea of a binge day makes a lot of sense here.

In fact this I believe is a problem with the Biggest Looser and one of the reasons many contestants on the show gain the weight back. The fact that excess exercise will increase the drop in metabolic rate when coupled with very large calorie deficits.

Thanks again for the wonderful comments. Here is a fascinating article on The Role of Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis in Resistance to Fat Gain in Humans, I think you will find it interesting. http://goo.gl/EXVcb

P.S: Didn’t you read the conclusion Nobody Sucks! :) Well except my darn skinny leg gene.

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Meredith July 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I agree with you. While this diet is WONDERFUL for many of us, it’s not the best diet for everyone. It works wonders for me — and I’m guessing for many past 50 people who put on fat in middle age and have had a terrible time losing it. But our bodies are all different…so we need to find what works for US.

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Stephen July 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Meredith it’s great to see you having such wonderful results. I appreciate you leaving the link for your website, extremely informative! Honestly one of the best blogs | sites I have seen about slow carbohydrate diets http://www.slowcarbhq.com/

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Murphy David Sharpe July 29, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I totally feel you on this one. I was a huge proponent when I found the SCD but after implementing it I found myself bloated and uncomfortable 23 out of 24 hours of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love TF and reading his book has done wonders for me in so many different ways but it was more of a springboard than gospel. It caused me to do a ton of research that eventually led me to Robb Wolf & the paleo diet (which IMHO is one of the best diets ever) then finding Intermittent Fasting has been a complete Godsend. So really, do a lot of research, try different things, keep what works and discard what doesn’t! Great post! Thx!

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Stephen July 29, 2011 at 8:29 pm

You really hit the nail on the head. I feel like in many ways the 4 Hour Body may be designed for this purpose “to be more of a springboard than gospel”. Even the way the book has been assembled. I would have to agree that this particular book has spawned more research, self explorations and deep thought on the areas of fitness, health, nutrition etc. etc. than really any other book I have read in a long time. Now it has been like going down a rabbit hole one that just keeps on opening new doors and new ideas! I am not sure if it was a product of my love of his previous book or it just came at the right time and I was ready. Either way thank you for your comment. I have not yet read Robb Wolf’s book but I know many in the 4HB community are big fans and this relates to the above post and the idea of Nutritional Genomics. I have also yet to try Intermittent Fasting but the information behind it is solid and also has me intrigued. You may have just inspired me. Great comment! Thx as well!

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michelle August 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I agree with this post wholeheartedly. I’m a 38 yo hourglass with a tendency to pear up when the scale goes up. I was dieting on my own, just eating whatever my body told me to, as far as whole foods and whole grains, etc, mostly whatever comes out of the produce section and organic meat and dairy. no alcohol during the week, and whatever I wanted, really anything, on weekends. exercising about 2 hrs/day 5 days/wk with tracy anderson method calesthenics and cardio. was losing about 3.5/4lbs a week for a loss to date of 15lbs (goal to lose about 40lbs total) and got a bug to try a “real” diet 10 days ago. went on the south beach diet 8 days ago with heavily restricted carbs on phase 1 – 2 weeks with no grains, fruit of any kind, corn, carrots, beets, etc… I am quitting it today. even though I have lost more weight, the size/shape of my hips/thighs is starting to plump back up… and they *had been* slimmer before south beach than I had ever seen in my whole life. more importantly, I felt like total crap for the entire 8 days, none of the happy, bouncy, spontaneously dancing energy I had when I was just following my instincts along with the exercise. so I didn’t lose any more, I suffered, and I got fatty ass again. what’s for dinner tonight? fruit salad and salt-free cottage cheese, and I couldn’t be happier about it! I expect to get rid of these saddlebags in a week or so… hopefully it won’t take longer to make them go than it did to make them arrive! thanks for the post because it really helped me finalize my gut decision to quit doing restricted carbs… it just doesn’t work for me! and thanks for the link to the metabolic types – very interesting!

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Stephen August 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Michelle, I am sure your comment resonates with many people. Also, I think you realized something that is extremely important. The best “diet” is not really a “diet” at all….. it is a way of life. Living healthy, intentionally and with passion. This is as important in your food choices as in all choices we make in life.

I especially love your comment:

“I felt like total crap for the entire 8 days, none of the happy, bouncy, spontaneously dancing energy I had when I was just following my instincts along with the exercise”

Thank you for sharing your journey here. It will help many a dieter who are walking in your same shoes. Good luck, I am sure without a doubt you will reach your goals in no time, and with all the happy, bouncy, spontaneously dancing energy you can muster up!

Stephen

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Elizabeth August 8, 2011 at 5:58 am

My husband’s had good success on low carb diets, but I’ve always been skeptical. Last week, after zipping through all 500 pages of 4HB, I started slow carb, though I’m still eating dairy and very small amounts of fruit.

I’m a runner – averaging 12-15 miles per week – and am currently doing a modified P90X routine. Before slow carb, I was exercising 30-75 minutes 6 days per week. For the last week, even on my cheat day, I have been incredibly fatigued, unable to muster exercise 3 out of 7 days, lots of headaches and backaches, despite feeling really good and satiated by food.

I wish that Ferriss had done a better job of discussing the side effects of adopting slow carb – that there may be an adjustment period, that you’re probably going to be constipated, etc. With Atkins, South Beach, etc, this fatigue period is supposed to go away. I’m hopeful that will happen for me, as I think this diet will help me kick some cravings even if it doesn’t dramatically affect my weight. It’s helpful to have a reminder that this isn’t for everyone.

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Stephen August 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Elizabeth,

I think your feelings mirror many others on the slow carb diet, as I have received many comments and e-mails of people saying the same. I personally believe (as a runner myself) that a small carbohydrate rich meal is needed to be timed around long runs or even short interval training for that matter. Also, you are doing a p90x. This would lead me to believe that you may be completely exhausting your body’s ability to replenish it’s glycogen stores needed to complete such activity and not “bonk”. I think you could safely do this and still loose weight. You could even consider changing your cheat day and add two cheat days. According to many this does not seem to effect weight loss and may help you to feel better… just a thought.

Either way I think the first 2 weeks is an adjustment period for everyone. But, in your case since you are extremely active I think some form of targeted carbohydrates 30-60 minutes before strenuous exercise may be just what your body needs. I would aim for 25-50 grams of quickly digesting carbs. I find that a piece of fruit is very good, and if you are on a long run aim for another small amount of carbs about an hour in. Make sure you hydrate!!!

Stephen

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Fran August 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I’ve been doing the 4th slow carb for 3weeks. I feel great and not looking for food at all in-between meals. I don’t even have a problem not eating while preparing my families meals. But, I haven’t lost any weight nor have I gained any weight. Next week I plan on omitting beef for fish and see if this will make the difference. Has anyone found this to have been their results also?
Fran

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Stephen August 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Fran, you are not alone. Many people experience little to no weight loss in the first three weeks, and there are so many factors that could be attributing to this result. I do not think you need to cut out beef or fish. You may consider cutting out the scale though. I have noticed (at least in my patients) that the ones who stepped away from the scale for the first 4-6 weeks had some of the most significant weight loss. This of course is a hard thing to do but maybe it works because it can help redirect your focus. My advice… stay the course, be in it for the long haul, it sounds like you are doing well with the diet, something many have trouble with. I think if you commit for the next 4-6 months you will start to see some real changes! Make sure you come back and let us know!

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Fran September 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

Thank you for your help – you have really calmed me down. For me this is a great eating plan, I enjoy not being hungry. I guess I should have included that I am sixty something and been prior on Nutrisystem and lost 15 lbs. So I went from one program right to another. I am just amazed that I don’t find a need to cheat since I can eat until I am satisfied. I will stay with it as I find this with a great variety of food to mix and combine and I’m grateful just to find a way to eat and not gain weight – to be able to eat and not feel guilty all the time about how much I ate.
Your comments are so important to me. Fran

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Krishna August 29, 2011 at 10:25 am

Hi Fran,

Thanks for your post. I’m a 40 yr old male, on week 7, and seem to have very poor results when measured in lbs or inches : have lost ~3lbs and about 2 inches around my waist. But, i’m not hungry in between meals at all and have generally been feeling pretty good. I also find that while i do go crazy on cheat day i actually find my non cheat day meals to be tastier – lentils/beans, veggies, grilled chicken.

I think it might be the carrots and corn that i’ve been eating as part of the vegetables with my lunch and dinner. Or it might just be me. Rather than get depressed over my lack of progress ( i do sometimes ), i’m trying to focus on the huge lifestyle change eating healthy has been for me and how easy it’s been so far. TF did mention some people over 40 get results only after 4-6 weeks so i’m hoping my results will improve around about now!

As Stephen said in response to your comment : i think i will commit to the diet for at least 90 days and see how i feel about it then. This is the first time i have ever attempted a diet and am pleasantly surprised at how well i’m doing ( i have ZERO self-control ).

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Pete August 29, 2012 at 12:20 am

Corn is not allowed on the slow carb diet

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Katie September 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Hi ! I was hoping to find some additional information on “side effects” (well, more like body reactions) to adopting the slow-carb diet. Has anyone developed acne out of the blue? I’m wondering if the flushing out of the kidneys or the liver by eating a more fiber rich, ‘cleaner’ diet has anything to do with it. I’m 40 and haven’t had breakouts like this since high school.
I have only been doing slow-carb for a week and a half, haven’t had much results with either weight loss or inches, so it’s good to see the reminder that people over 40 get results only after 4 -6 weeks so I don’t feel discouraged. I definitely feel fuller at meals, look forward to the cheat day so that I don’t feel discouraged “ugh – there’s nothing to look forward to but more BEANS.” Great site, thanks for all the information and for the acknowledgement that everyone’s body is different : )
Keep up the good work!
Katie

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Stephen September 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm

You know Katie, this is really a wonderful question. I was sitting here thinking about what could be causing your acne and I guess another question would be besides your diet have you had any other changes in your daily routine? Have you changed your exercise regimen? Added supplements (for example Omega 3 fatty acids which often cause acne)? Stress? Sleep changes? Medications? Menstrual changes? The addition or subtraction of birth control or other hormones?

If everything else has been constant yet you have had an increase in acne it makes me think that it is not the fiber, but possibly an increase in protein/cholesterol (as in eggs) in your diet that could cause a subsequent elevation in free testosterone which could result in acne. This is just a theory though.

New research has interestingly placed carbohydrates under the spotlight as a potential cause of systemic “inflammation” that may result in acne.

Obviously the 4-Hour Body diet is not high in carbohydrates.

Anyway, I may need a little more info here to better answer your question, or if you found the culprit come back and let us know. As always I am sure you are not alone with this.

Best of luck,

Stephen

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Kelly September 7, 2011 at 8:03 am

Hi Katie, I’m 30 and have only been on SCD for about two weeks, but have noticed a change in my skin. I have always been acne prone, but have noticed an increase in my breakouts/cystic type acne since the diet began. Not sure what that’s about. I imagine you put your body under some stress when you change habits.

By the way, have not noticed any change in weight just yet. I wondered if anyone had advice since I am coming up on vacation and want to let loose a little. Do you think it’s possible to do that w/o doing too much damage?

Kelly

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Stephen September 11, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Absolutely Kelly,

Vacation and letting loose are as important as any diet. I think diet is a bit like the 80/20 principle. As long as 80% of the time you are good to your body, that 20% is the part that allows for the pure culinary delights of the world in which we live. So have a lot of fun and when you get back, you can focus on damage control. At least this is usually my strategy, with some self control while on vacation mixed in.

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Mariel September 30, 2011 at 8:20 am

End of week 2 – no weight loss, no inch loss and I feel terrible. I’m not hungry, but I’m tired all the time and I *really* miss cheese and fruit. I have been an extremely healthy eater for some time now – this diet just removed many of the “healthy” carbs I was eating regularly (steel cut oats, fresh fruits, Greek yogurt – miss them sorely) and I’ve added in beans (which I don’t mind). I’m not really looking for weight loss – mostly just fat loss and muscle gain (haven’t seen that either, and I’m SO weak at the gym now – sigh) – so I guess the only thing I’m losing is motivation.

The concept seems right on with feeling full all the time (so my caloric intake is down) but I feel terrible, miss my favorite “healthy” foods, come off as a total weirdo around my friends (b/c I can’t eat cheese & crackers, grapes/fruit or anything they would put out for a party) and am not seeing much in the way of results. So my week 3 question….is it worth it to continue on? Is it possible to be successful with a modified version? What do you guys think?

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Stephen October 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

Some people say it takes only 21 days to develop a habit.

I say it takes about 8 weeks to see real results from almost any change we make to our lives/routines. Diet or otherwise.

Take a good look at your goals and see if this “diet” is in line with them. Remember it should be fun. It sounds like your goal is to loose that fat and gain some muscle along the way. You can definitely accomplish this goal with this diet but you can also do it without this diet. As they say “there is more than one way to skin a cat”. (I would love to know the history behind that quote)

Regardless, if you started this journey I think you should try it out for 8 weeks. You may surprised at what you learn along the way.

Can you modify this diet and still have the same results? This would depend of course on what part you modified. But yes, I am sure you could, this is the “fun” experimentation part.

Look at your goals, see if your actions are line with those goals and then choose one path and commit to it…. that would be my advice! Best of luck… and hang in there!

Stephen

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Doug December 31, 2011 at 7:01 am

I had great success with the slow carb diet. Its really powerful with a few tweaks, although there are side effects to watch out for too. One week i didnt go to the loo for six days!

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Stephen December 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Surely Doug, this could definitely be added to the reasons why the slow carb diet sucks! I hope your pipes have finally cleared :)

Best of luck!

Steve

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heidi February 17, 2012 at 7:00 am

You should check out Tom Venuto’s BURN THE FAT FEED THE MUSCLE, which is now called THE BODY FAT SOLUTION. I think his nutritional teaching shows a way to live, rather than the four hour body. You can incorporate four hour body principles into your life, but how many people will really stick to something so restrictive? Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle uses the same principles as the four hour body, but you don’t have to lose dairy, oats, or fruit. Four Hour Body got the attention because Ferriss is a good marketer, but I wish Tom Venuto got more credit. He was teaching great principles way before Tim.

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Stephen February 17, 2012 at 7:58 am

Hi Heidi,

Using a “nuclear option” and eliminating dairy, oats and fruits eliminates some of the confusion that many have with a new weight loss plan and implementing a cheat day gives people a way to let loose. Is it a good way to live life forever? I don’t really think so, but it is a springboard and will lead many down the road to finding books like the one you mentioned above. Also, as you mentioned these types of diets aren’t knew, they have been around for over 200 years. But I like the way Tim included more than just diet, a little bit of everything.

And yes Tim is a good marketer, relentless actually, but just like the 4HWW his tools can be used to improve aspects of your life, start the learning process, changing the way you look at things.

I will have to check our BURN THE FAT FEED THE MUSCLE, I loved Gary Taubes’ book: Why We Get Fat. Again, he was lacking was a good LONG TERM solution, but a good explanation of the biochemistry behind what we eat is important and quite helpful.

Stephen

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Sherm July 15, 2012 at 7:27 am

I just found this blog while looking for a comparison of South Beach vs. 4HB. I’m 53 year old man, 5’4″ and was 209lb when my MD said I should lose some weight (really?). Anyway, he recommended SB diet. I stumbled upon 4HB and downloaded the eBook and the audio book so I could listen and/or read it on the road. I’m a huge Tim Ferriss fan after reading FHWW, so I thought I would investigate.

I should also mention that I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 28 and suffered a very active disease for about 10 years. Although I’m not currently experiencing any symptons of RA, it did a lot of damage in my lower extremities (mostly ankles), limiting the amount of time I can walk or stand.

I started Slow Carb June 25 2012, about 10 days after my doctor visit. I should point out that I had lost about 10lb from April (orig doctor visit) to June just by cutting out regular soda and beer, and trying to eat more salads and fresh fruit. I was at 199 on June 15. I don’t have a method to measure body fat % or any of the tests TF suggests in the book, but I have been taking regular measurements and weighing in on binge day. Using an online body fat calculator (http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/body-fat-percentage-calculator) I guessed that I was at about 33% body fat. Obese.

As of yesterday (July 14) my weight was 187. I’m losing about 1/2 lb per day on SCD. I’d say it’s working for me, and working VERY WELL.

Besides the diet, I use some of TF’s other techniques for burning fat.

Remember the chapter on temperature? Upon awakening every morning, I drink a 500ml bottle of COLD water (more if I have time) before I start drinking coffee or eating. I end my shower every morning with at least a minute of pure cold water running down my neck and across my shoulders, longer if I have time. I’ve also been swimming for about an hour a day for the last 4-5 days.

I haven’t done any appreciable exercise, and I lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle as a web developer. Last week I started swimming almost daily with my teen daughter, and I’m starting to feel some real strength returning to my arms (I’m a lousy swimmer, so I appreciate the chapter on swimming in FHB).

I think I would be losing weight faster if I added some of the TF exercise routines, but I also think I am building muscle that makes it seem as if I’m dropping pounds slower. I’ve lost about an inch off my waist, and a bit off the hips and thighs.

I do use canned products for the convenience, but I always rinse off the nasty sauce or juice or whatever is included in canned beans. I eat a LOT of whole eggs: breakfast is usually a 3-egg omelet with roast beef, spinach, celery, mushrooms, and a side of black or pinto beans. Breakfast has always been my fav meal, so this really works for me.

For lunch, if I’m at my home office or working where I can carry, I have a huge salad with mixed lettuce (romaine & iceberg), cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, some sort of meat (turkey, roast beef, ham, turkey bacon… whatever’s in the fridge) and 2 hard boiled eggs. I hardboil eggs six at a time so they’re in the fridge for just these types of meals. For dressing I use lite italian or something similar.

If I have to eat out, I look for a Chipotle and have a steak bowl with black and pinto beans, veggies, salsa, guacamole, topped with med salsa and lettuce and sprinkled with Tobasco. If there isn’t a mexican restaurant nearby, I rely on Wendy’s chili (with added hot sauce), and a side salad.

I drink unsweetened tea (I did before the diet) and occasionally have a diet soda.

I forgot to mention I douse almost everything with pepper, a little salt, and garlic powder. I LOVE garlic. Remember the chapter in FHB where Tim talks about the homeless dude talking to his short, stout dad about losing 100lb just by taking a lot of garlic?

I’m planning to add AGG/PAGG in the next week, and start the Occam’s Protocol exercise routine. I LOVE the idea of working until failure (I used to weight lift before RA, and a little after), then 3 days rest. Makes great sense.

On binge day, surprisingly I don’t feel like eating some of the things I used to eat. I had my normal omelet for breakfast, salad for lunch, and we went out for dinner — I had a 1/2 rack of baby back ribs with broccoli, fries (I did enjoy those) and a couple of beers. I felt like I had a cold this morning. Weird.

I’m hoping to take 10 years off my life with the diet and workout regimen. The diet is a natural for me, because I already like and eat those types of foods, so I’m not worried about keeping it up for a long time.

I should mention that I’m feeling stronger in my ankles and legs. I’m not sure if it’s a result of losing weight (less pressure) or building more muscle, or both! I taught a training class last Tuesday and had to stand ALL DAY in dress shoes (usually crippling me for a day or two) and I suffered no ill effects. For me, AMAZING, since I’ve been living with this for so long. (I remember playing racquetball in my late 20′s, and feeling like both my ankles were sprained after I was done playing. I also could barely walk after playing software in my 30′s & 40′s. A month ago, I walked a 5k walk for cancer for a good friend’s daughter who has leukemia — I figured if she could endure chemo, I could stand a little pain to raise some money. I was literally ready to shoot myself after that! Very long night.)

For those of you not getting the results, try adding more garlic to your diet, add the temperature thing, and drinking more water. I noticed I get a bad headache on days I don’t drink massive amounts of water (I usually drink at least 5-6 500ml bottles per day). In spite of what Stephen says, if something isn’t working there must be a variable that you have forgotten? Just guessing.

I’m know I’m happy it’s working for me. Good luck everyone!

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Stephen July 16, 2012 at 11:49 am

Sherm, thank you so much for telling your story. I can’t tell you how much I loved reading about it… What a journey!!! I would like to feature your story in my next blog post? I think many people would benefit from hearing this including your long battle with RA and your dedication to the process (including the cold showers)!

I was happy to hear I was not the only person to buy both the audio and ebook forms of the 4 hour body. I found the audio version very motivating and still listen to it from time to time on my drives.

I am so happy for you… Keep up the great work I am rooting for you!!!!

Stephen

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Sherm July 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

I meant playing softBALL not softWARE. Yikes!

Just to add how well my ankles are doing — my daughter and I went to go to rec center to swim, and pool opening was delayed because of lightning, so we walked the track for a mile, something that might have laid me up for the rest of the day. After walking, we swam for half an hour. No ill effects whatsoever.

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Stephen July 16, 2012 at 11:51 am

Sherm, thank you so much for telling your story.  I can’t tell you how much I loved reading about it… What a journey!!!  I would like to feature your story in my next blog post?  I think many people would benefit from hearing this including your long battle with RA and your dedication to the process (including the cold showers)!

I was happy to hear I was not the only person to buy both the audio and ebook forms of the 4 hour body. I found the audio version very motivating and still listen to it from time to time on my drives.

I am so happy for you… Keep up the great work I am rooting for you!!!! 

Stephen

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Diane September 29, 2012 at 6:29 am

I have been doing the slow carb diet faithfully since July 30 with the hope of losing 10 pounds. The first week I lost 3 pounds and was so motivated. That is all I have lost!! I made the mistake of not taking my measurements, but my clothes are not fitting much better, and I usually use my pants as my marker. I have been working out three days a week with a personal trainer for over 6 years and run three days a week. I am a very physically active person. I am a 57 year old female who takes bio identical progesterone cream and testosterone cream to help with post-menopausal symptoms. Could the hormones be a stumbling block for me?

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Stephen October 5, 2012 at 8:06 am

Hi Diane, I answered your comment in a post… http://www.4hourlife.com/2012/10/01/what-to-do-if-you-are-not-having-success-on-the-slow-carb-diet/

I hope this helps… Best of luck!

Stephen

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Reuben February 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I am really fascinated by your article here, i have a facebook group of pretty much same category, i was wodering if i can post your stuff there in my facebook group by your permission, ofcourse.

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contact process February 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many
months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions
to prevent hackers?

Reply

Stephen February 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Absolutely, over the last year my site has been under a constant “brute force attack”. I use the standard WordPress security plugins and make sure to change my password constantly along with using a password generator. I pay a bit extra to my hosting company to make sure the site is properly backed up. Here is a good article on security plugins. http://wpmu.org/best-security-plugins-for-wordpress/. Do you have any recommendations?

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Jeannie April 6, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Hi Stephen:

I am new to the 4HB and have really enjoyed your site and all the posts. I have been battling a 30 lb weight gain the past 5 years. I am 53. My previous weight loss success was when I had the time to work out 2 hrs/day and restricted my calorie intake to 1500 calories. I am on day 6 of 4HB and have been diligent in following Tim’s food guidelines. I am ecstatic to say I have lost 7 lbs as of today. I have had some sluggish mornings but keep reading and researching to learn more. As my weight loss slows I plan to incorporate more ideas in the book, as well as exercise.

For breakfast I have sautéed onion and mushroom in a little olive oil, throw in a 1/4 to 1/2 C lentils and a cup of spinach and then put that in a 2 egg omlet. It makes a very tasty and filling breakfast. What I am concerned about is eating meat and wonder if there is a down-side to eating lean beef, or pork. Is there a place I can find information on that? Also, I have found steaming cauliflower and carrots and then mashing them and adding crushed garlic, salt, pepper and a small amount of butter is a real treat. I had read butter was ok to use but am concerned about that as well. I appreciate any suggestions you may have.

Thanks for letting me share!

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Stephen April 7, 2013 at 12:52 am

Hi Jeannie,

I understand your worries. This diet and most high protein high fat diets go against what we were taught by our doctors, nutritionists and parents. But the truth is eating lean meat and healthy fats are not only not bad for you, but appear to be quite good! Especially if you are worried about your cholesterol or heart dz. Every patient I have placed on this diet (including myself) has not only normalized their cholesterol, but blown me away by increasing their HDL while having a drastic impact on both triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

Olive oil is my personal favorite, but I use butter as you mentioned above “in moderation” and I think this is just fine. Many of the paleo types recommend bacon grease or lard. I don’t do this much as we don’t eat much bacon and I have never bought lard.

One of my personal favorite books that addresses this in a good amount of reader friendly detail is “why we get fat by Gary Taubes”. He wrote another book called good calories bad calories but it is less condensed and in some ways too much information. Loren Cordain the founder of the Paleo movement wrote “The Paleo Diet” which is a good read as well. Dr. Robert Maki of the Dr. Rob Show has a great podcast as does Chris Kresser who I would listen to in double speed as he gets a bit wordy. Chris has a wonderful website.

Other than this seems like you are off to a rocking good start!!! Congrats, stick with it, and make sure to stop by and give me an update later on! If you need any other help feel free to drop me a line.

Stephen

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Jeannie April 10, 2013 at 10:38 am

Stephen:

Thanks so much for your quick reply. I forgot to reply back to thank you and I will definitely look into the references you suggested. I am really enjoying my second week and looking forward to this new journey. I had sardines and eggs for breakfast this morning and that might sound extreme to some but it actually made for a good breakfast. Thanks again for your suggestions. I’m sure I will be in touch. Have a great day!

Jeannie

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Susan, MPH April 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Amen!
You know, your patients are so lucky to have a caregiver that actually beleives in them!
I have a family history of diabetes and obesity, and have always struggled with my weight. I have food allergies and suffer from IBS, so the heavy soy protein and processed foods in shake or pre-made foods diets like Jenny Craig don’t work for me.
For my mom, however, it’s very successful. Go figure.
I’ve lost ten pounds on the “slow carb”, then stalled. I have shed pounds if I stick to the slow carb without beans, though. But I get so hungry!!
I am going to take your advice and try cod liver oil, alpha lipioc, vitamin D and green tea at each meal, AND start doing some portion control on my beans (1/2 cup per meal is 3 pts weight watchers!). We’ll see.

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Stephen April 19, 2013 at 8:58 am

Hi Susan, would love an update on how you have been doing with the added cod liver oil, ALA and D…

Adding in a bit of very light weight or HIIT (training) can also get you over the stall. I just recently started using the kettlebell and doing a standard swing of about 70 swings 3 times a week prior to meals (or sometimes just randomly). According to Tim in his damage control section it is the stimulation of our “glut-4″ receptors that changes the way we absorb our calories. I am not sure if this is the case, but I have noticed a difference. Especially in core strength which has translated into some weight loss and better performance overall. K-bells are kind of intimidating at first, but if you find a light weight and start slowly they can be a great addition.

Stephen

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Ed November 30, 2013 at 8:02 am

I’m not surprised by people having issues with the diet when they eat fruit, maize (it’s called “corn” because it’s the seed of a grass just like wheat, rice, barley and any other “fast-carb” plant), and dairy, which Ferriss explicitly forbids. You can’t complain about a diet that you’re not following. It’s strict for a reason.

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Stephen November 30, 2013 at 8:06 am

Yes Ed, it is “strict” for a reason. Many people even when they feel better with a certain type of restriction are not able to maintain it (myself included). It comes down to how bad you feel I guess and how bad you want a particular result. The evidence is in the result.

Stephen

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