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Why the 4-Hour Body diet is only a 4-Hour Lifestyle Change

June 25, 2012

Last year when I started looking at making some changes to how I eat, several of my colleagues were doing the 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. Now while I haven’t read the book in full, I’ve learned a lot about the diet portion of the book, and I’m not really a fan. The principles are great for a short-term change, but not for anything sustainable, and seem like they are aimed mainly at single men (like the author).

Let’s take a look at his rules for the 4HB diet:

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you’re just picking new default meals.
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night is allowed.
Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more bodyfat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.
Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday.

Let’s take a further look at each rule.

Rule #1: Avoid white starchy carbohydrates. This is something I would say I’ve adopted at 60%, mainly because I’m trying to eat foods which have been processed the least, leading to whole grains and flours. I’ve given up many white carbohydrates I don’t enjoy and I eat others, like the occasional oven potatoes (one of my favorite foods of all time), some sushi, quinoa/farro, and of course my weekly pizza.

Probably the most off-putting (and unimaginative in my opinion) is Rule #2. Eat the same few meals over and over again? Sure, it’s a great way to jump into something with little planning, but it sounds like the definition of hell to me. Coming from someone who is a food blogger and loves food, this sounds like the worst idea ever. It sounds like to me: “make short-term, repetitive, and unrealistic changes, so then when you get fed up with them, you’ll want out and break the plan completely.”

As Penelope Trunk says regarding the 4HB diet: “But how do you do this with a family? What do you tell your kids when you’re eating like a crazy person?” I absolutely agree. If you have a “diet” that doesn’t allow for flexibility and interacting and eating with others, it’s not a long-term solution. To me, nothing says “single guy diet” more than this rule.

This is why I think plans which give you all your meals, like Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig, fail in the long-term. As long as you follow exact instructions (and don’t deviate from the plan), you’re ok. But deviate from them, be left on your own to make choices in restaurants, get invited to someone’s house for a meal, have to shop and cook healthy meals yourself…then what? Cart your packaged meals with you everywhere you go for the rest of your life? I don’t think so. How do you teach your children to make healthy choices when you’re eating out of a microwave box everyday? I’ve been a fan of the WeightWatchers diet mentality for some time, mainly because they really push their members to learn how to cook healthy, make choices, and balance everything out in the long-term (note: I briefly did WW online & stopped, and I’ve never joined WW, but have very close friends and family who have succeeded with WW).

How long is the 4HB diet sustainable? A few weeks? A few months? Hard to say, and each person has their own tolerance level, but I would suggest having a good transition plan/diet in mind after month 1 so you can live with your lifestyle changes long-term.

Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Completely agree – this is something I believed in when I gave up Coke in college, and then Diet Coke a few years later. Why waste calories in a drink? I’d rather eat them 🙂 I drink almost exclusively water, and alcohol once or twice a week (on a normal week). The post-workout shakes I drink are considered more meals than drinks and figure into my daily calories.

Rule #4: No way. Fruit is important to me, and I’ll continue to eat it. Sugar is something I’m constantly learning more about, but fresh fruit has a lot of nutrients and vitamins which make it one of the best sugars to eat.

Rule #5, often called the Cheat Day, was the easiest idea to adopt (who wouldn’t want to be able to eat everything they want while on a diet?), but also one of the first concepts I discarded. One, because I don’t want to see food as a reward for eating healthy; two, because I don’t really believe there is value in gorging yourself on “bad” things; and three, I don’t think that you should be able to eat things you “like” only once a week.

What do you think of the 4-Hour Body diet? 

PS: I’m loving the commentary and I appreciate everyone sharing their experiences with the 4-Hour Body diet. I’m not saying it won’t work for someone, but it definitely won’t work for me.

112 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2012 7:20 pm

    I keep considering reading that book, but something keeps stopping me. Thanks for the clear break-down of the eating plan…and its fallacies. I totally agree with your perspective here!

  2. June 25, 2012 8:03 pm

    As someone who followed the 4HB diet for 3 months, it does work, but like you, I have some issues with it. For the record, I now follow a Paleo diet 80-90% of the time, which is coming up on 8 months.

    I couldn’t agree more with rule #1. Grains are terrible for the gut and pack very little nutritional value. Every person I’ve known that has cut them out of their diet has had body fat melt away faster than you can believe, no longer gets the bloated feeling after eating meals, and loses the cravings for them within a week or two.

    Rule #2 is aimed at making it easier to change your eating lifestyle at home. If you have to find new recipes each day, it’s a chore for most of us. I no longer follow 4HB, but I follow this rule because it makes life so much easier. I don’t have an hour or two to spend each day cooking my meals. I cook 3-4 times a week, sometimes with a lot of cooking on Sunday for the week ahead. When I cook, I make enough food so that I have leftovers for at least 2-3 meals and sometimes I even cook enough to freeze single serving meals. I use those frozen meals on days when I don’t have leftovers in the fridge and don’t have time or feel like cooking. Yes, I’m a single guy, but I don’t see why single women, couples, or families can’t enjoy these same benefits. If you are eating foods that you find unimaginable to eat 2 or 3 meals in a row, how much do you really enjoy those foods? Variety is the spice of life, but with our busy schedules in today’s world, there is something to be said about simplicity and convenience.

    I think Tim included Rule #4 because it would produce faster results. He’s writing a book to give you the best results in the fastest time. If you cut out fruit you don’t get that extra sugar and we all know sugar is bad. I was talking to my Dad the other day who has recently gone Paleo and lost a good chunk of weight, but eats a lot of fruit. Eating a piece of fruit is much better than eating a snickers and really helps to curb your cravings. Fruits also make a great desert! Could he be losing weight faster if he cut out the fruit? Yes, if he would keep on the diet, but without the fruit his chances of staying on the diet would be drastically reduced.

    As far as cheat day, it’s meant to make you not feel guilty about falling off the wagon on your diet if you do happen to eat something bad for you. With a built in day for this, it helps a lot of people that might otherwise have a small cheat each day. Like you though, I don’t believe going so crazy for an entire day is good for you. I’d much rather take a cheat meal as needed once or twice a week in case there is an unplanned dinner with friends, a party, or any other social activity that might come up. Some weeks I don’t eat anything bad at all.

    • June 25, 2012 9:35 pm

      Thanks for weighing in Nick, I know you have the most feedback on it 🙂

      For rule #1, I just don’t think I could cut grains out of my diet for the rest of my life…who knows, we’ll see 🙂 For now I’m eating them sparingly but deliberately.

      As for cooking and freezing, I see the wisdom in that but since I moved to Italy I rarely make meals for larger than one sitting…it’s just custom and habit, but most of all, I like to vary things up every day, even if the base ingredients are the same. Salads, for instance – it’s my go-to lunch, but I can vary them up by the ingredients/topping, and in the winter I heat up the beans / eggs so I get that “warm” fix I need, too. I just felt Tim’s “meals” were pretty narrow in scope and boring, and that’s sad for couples and families to slog through to lose weight…for a time. Also, while I eat a majority of my meals at home, your diet has to travel with you, and the more restrictions you have the harder it is to adapt them out of the house.

    • June ellis permalink
      February 6, 2013 10:28 pm

      For me, the fruit triggers a blood sugar response and makes me more hungry. The more hungry I feel the more likely I am to reach for the snickers. So for me none is better…

      • MeMe permalink
        March 31, 2013 3:21 am

        Absolutely! I love fruit but it also increases my appetite. I used to eat berries every morning for maybe 15 or 20 years. I now eat them occasionally but cut them out for almost 2 years while on the diet.

    • Samantha permalink
      April 11, 2013 5:43 pm

      I agree with you here, Nick. For one, the book is very clear that this isn’t fun, and is to help someone cut down their weight. I don’t think this is intended to be a complete lifestyle change. I personally am a advocate of eating healthy and exercising to lose weight, but sometimes you not hitting your goals so it’s not to try something for a limited time to get back to where you want to be. And that is personally what I think this book is intended. I am not single, nor a male, and actually have 2 small children. Pop, fast food, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrups, etc…are not allowed in our lives. I think this diet isn’t a bad thing at all, and in fact think it can help people to stop consuming empty calories and chemically induced junk. Granted they should have hopefully already have, or start to see that weight-loss truly isn’t about crashing dieting, it’s a completely lifestyle change.

      Anyway, I know this is a year late, but I stumbled upon it this morning and wanted to weight in.

      Thanks for the blog, it’s fun!

  3. June 25, 2012 8:45 pm

    I agree with you, I am also not a fan. I think the key to diet is regulation. Since moving to Italy I have moderated what I eat and I’ve never been healthier. I eat pasta, bread, cheese, but I also eat more fresh fruit and veggies. I reward myself with little treats each day but don’t over-do it. I hate diets designed like this, it takes the fun out of eating. It’s all about control.

    • June 25, 2012 9:42 pm

      Jennifer – definitely. I think we need both the treats and the control to make something work in the long run…

  4. June 25, 2012 9:07 pm

    The whole white carbs thing gets me… I mean, I too try to eat whole grains and also switch my grains around (aka, not only eat wheat, but spelt, kamut, etc…), but I feel sorry for the poor potato which is actually extremely healthy. I just can’t subscribe to a diet that limits an entire “food group” – it’s the kind of diet that last….4 hours! (So at least the title of his book is accurate!)

    • June 25, 2012 9:08 pm

      last = lasts*

    • June 25, 2012 9:44 pm

      Darn that juicy, delicious potato smothered in olive oil, garnished with rosemary, and sprinkled with sea salt before being put into an oven. Sorry, got distracted. I do think we eat too much white carbohydrates in a “normal” diet but it’s definitely something I don’t think I will ever eliminate completely.

  5. June 26, 2012 1:47 am

    I read parts of that book. I don’t have an opinion on the diet but I think it has great sex tips 🙂

  6. June 26, 2012 11:20 am

    Totally agree. I think diet plans tat villanize major groups of food are shortsighted. Most food has some nutritional value.

    And variety isn’t just important for keeping meals interesting, it’s the best way to be sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

    BTW, my dietician is totally okay with me having ice cream for breakfast sometimes: fat, protein, calcium, adequate calories.

  7. July 3, 2012 4:47 am

    Just curious, why is it called a 4-hour body? I like the idea of Rule #2, especially for a lazy cook like me haha!

    • July 5, 2012 2:08 pm

      Mainly because the author had another successful book prior “4-Hour Workweek”

  8. July 17, 2012 2:06 pm

    This book is only riding the success of his previous I think..
    4hr work week was inspirational to alot off people!!

    I dont think this will do the same x

    • July 17, 2012 2:08 pm

      Sara you should take a look at that book if you havnt done so.

      Great ideas for outsourcing your day to day things like blog work etc

    • Molly permalink
      February 20, 2013 3:03 am

      The book and diet are actually amazing. It’s not to say that it is not easy at times but you feel great. The legumes, veggies and proteins don’t make me feel loopy. I workout a lot and this is important to me. I have switched to not so much running and added his kettle bell workout 2-3 times per week. I also do bikram yoga. In 3 weeks I have lost 5lbs but it’s more about the inches that I notice. I want to lose 10-12lbs total. I think you will notice on cheat days you don’t go as crazy as you would think because those foods make you feel bad. I am only into week 4 though…

      • MeMe permalink
        March 31, 2013 3:24 am

        The diet worked great for me. 75 pounds off and I started two years ago. I didn’t love the beans – in fact I hated them; and I modified many of the ideas, but essentially it is a strong diet that has worked well for me.

  9. Eric G permalink
    July 27, 2012 7:24 am

    “What do you tell your kids when you’re eating like a crazy person?”

    What did you tell them before when you were eating all the junk in the first place that made you fat?

    I’ve seen similar quotes on other sites, and if you’re worried about what other people will say about your ‘strange’ diet, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

    And if you are overly concerned about what other people think, then consider what they think about your overweight, out of shape body.

  10. July 28, 2012 6:52 pm

    Good post.
    Differenty diets fo suit different people.
    But just a cut down and balanced diet works best

  11. Dave permalink
    August 9, 2012 3:33 am

    On my 4th day of this diet and finding it very hard to maintain. Constantly feel mildly ill and the thought of eating makes me feel worse. Lunch seems to be the worst to get through for some reason even if its a tasty meal (And there are very tasty meal options you can do)
    I am now looking at what I can take from this to make a more long term sustainable diet that could work. Things like avoiding those carbs at night instead of all the time, not drinking carlories etc. Just generally smarter choices with eating. I was really hoping to use this diet to springboard into something a bit more maintainable and to kick me out of my current eating habits. So in that hopefully it will have worked. But long term I dont see how people do it.
    I will most probably stick with the cheat day as the only day I can eat certain things, but thats more to limit my intake of those things then as a reward.

    • June Ellis permalink
      January 17, 2013 9:23 pm

      I eat several meals a day and never feel out of control.
      i have a protein shake for breakfast. already prepared and ready to grab and go
      i have a soup/chili for lunch about 11 am
      1 have another protein shake about 3pm so i am not starving when i get home fm work
      i have dinner about 6ish
      and i have a think thin bar about 9pm

      this is working for me but i do look forward to cheat day when i can party with friends etc

      • Molly permalink
        January 30, 2013 10:17 pm

        June-are the thin bars allowed? They say no sugar but then it says it has 11g alcohol sugar and milk products which are not allowed on the slow carb. Just wondering because if do it would be great. Molly

    • MeMe permalink
      March 31, 2013 3:27 am

      The diet shouldn’t make you feel ill. It should actually make you feel stronger and less weighted down. Try to figure out when you feel ill – is it after eating one particular food? Perhaps you have food sensitivities. Eating beans can really throw off the gut for example. I had to give them up as I’m a teacher and couldn’t be passing gas in class 🙂

  12. premkala permalink
    September 3, 2012 8:21 am

    I tried this diet for 2 months at the start of the new year and lost 15 pounds in a month. I am sure some of it was water weight but I also went from a size 8 to a comfortable size 6. The most loss was from my middle and “love handles” . I am 47, single mom of two young kids and work at least 3-4 days a week in a fast paced nursing job. What I liked about the diet is I did feel way better dropping ” white foods” and had more sustained energy and less ups and downs. I felt more stable with my emotions as well with less afternoon hungry grumps. Being a busy mom I did like the idea that I could eat pretty much the same things easily over and over with just a little variety. For example I would cook several chicken breasts then cut them up to put on salad or into a stir fry. The one thing I didn’t skimp on was flavor. I ate a lot of salsa, herb spices, guacamole or teriyaki sauce to add variety of flavor. I actually looked forward to eating simply each day without the added stress of overly organized meal planning.
    The drawbacks were: Sometimes having to cook two different meals so the kids could have more variety.
    Eating out was tough.
    After 2 weeks I stopped doing the binge day because I felt like it messed with my blood sugar too much and just made me feel crappy the next day. I almost felt like I was starting over each week.
    It was a hard diet to keep up after a couple months as my life got busier and the diet became a bit boring so old habits worked their way in.
    I think for me it was a good spring kick off to weight loss and I am planning on starting it again now that school is going back into session.

  13. Pete N. permalink
    September 25, 2012 6:17 pm

    I am a male, over 50 with a family. Found the 4 hour body approach perfectly suited to my personality. The reason – the rules are simple, easy to follow and do not require a lot of measuring, analysis or moderation.

    Have been on this 9 months now and have lost 8 inches in waist, 2.5 collar sizes and am very pleased with the results. [don’t know for sure about weight because I didn’t get a baseline weight and don’t have bathroom scales] Originally, my primary concern was a transition plan off this dietary approach. However, the attendant and unexpected health benefits [dramatic reduciton in blood pressure, vast improvement in what had been chronic allergies, and increased energy] have me convinced I’ll likely look for a variation of this approach as a long term life choice. [Perhaps trying a cheat weekend and stay on diet during the week]

    Have met my weight loss goals already. Currently in my 3rd week of a new fitness regimen adding exercise to the equation 5 days a week.

    The only detriments I have noticed for me personally are two: The day after my cheat day I feel a little overwhelmed from the schock of the cheat day food … to the point my appetite is low. Also, less regular from a standpoint irregularity, experiencing consitipation during the week until cheat day and the day after where the problem resolves itself. [I assume because my meal choices aren’t incorporating enough fiber.

    Bottom line is that I am a big fan. I understand perfectly, though, that it is not for everyone. My wife hated it and gave it up after a week and a half.

    • Rick permalink
      December 22, 2012 4:47 am

      More water. Tacos in the morning, fruit for snack, pizza for lunch, fruit for snack, seafood pasta for dinner(with a glass of wine and bread). That’s not a bad cheat day. If you combine this with exercise the next day won’t be so bad.

    • MeMe permalink
      March 31, 2013 3:28 am

      I was getting the constipation and my cholesterol was going up as a result of irregularity. So I had to switch off eggs for breakfast and now eat oatmeal which is a protein but is soluble fibre.

  14. Paige permalink
    September 26, 2012 7:12 pm

    No fruit?? What kind of diet does not allow you to eat fruit when it has all these positive effects to your life. I have been following fullbar for over a year now and it allows me eat fruit and change what I eat day to day. The only exception is eating a fullbar with water before lunch and dinner but that just allows me to eat less of my meal and notice when I am getting full. I suggest Fullbar to anyone looking to lose weight in a healthy way!

    • Bob permalink
      January 23, 2013 5:30 am

      The “no fruit” rule is just for the rapid weight loss regime.

      However, fruit isn’t all that healthy when one considers the amount of sugar that comes wiith the nutritional benefits. Before someone jumps in and exclaims “but fructose from fruit is different”…. get yourself a blood glucose meter and do the comparisons

      (or course, spaced over many hours or on different days)

      Same carb calorie loads
      1. sucrose dissolved in water
      2. apple juice
      3. soda

      I’ve done the experiment, they all spiked my blood sugar similarly

      Yeah, whole fruit is better than juice but slow carb veggies are better still.

      • MeMe permalink
        March 31, 2013 3:30 am

        One doesn’t need to be a puritan to follow this diet after a while. Been on it two years, go the weight down, and now do what feels right. If I want berries for breakfast, I eat them! Berries are good for you, even though they’re not on the diet.

    • scott permalink
      April 13, 2013 6:13 am

      Try reading a book called “Sweet Poison” by David Gilespie and you will understand what the “No Fruit” is about. Fruit has the sugar Fructose in it.The “Really Bad” sugar. The fibre in whole friut does negate its effects somewhat though. Hence it is recommended that you only eat 2 serves of whole fruit per day.

      • April 13, 2013 9:36 am

        I think 2 servings of a fruit a day is great and it’s definitely not the “fruit is evil, avoid it completely” idea that many get when they hear fructose is bad. Also, fiber isn’t the only nutrient you get from fruit – there are a lot of other vitamins and nutrients that make fruit a healthy snack.

        What people need to stop doing is drinking juice. That small glass of OJ has the juice of 3 oranges in it! Just eat the oranges 🙂

  15. October 6, 2012 10:17 pm

    I find it a bit shallow that you review a book that you haven’t even fully read. Furthermore, you don’t even address the fundamental mechanics of WHY the diet burns fat and works. Instead you choose to react to the main pints of the diet on a surface level emotional reactionary level. Yes, it can be inconvenient at times. Yes it requires effort. But what diet isn’t, and doesn’t?

    • October 9, 2012 6:57 pm

      @tobias – I haven’t read the whole book because the diet isn’t 100% of the book – he talks about many other things in the book that I wasn’t addressing in this article nor was I interested in.

      • Rick permalink
        December 22, 2012 4:52 am

        You should at least find out why the book is called “The 4-Hour Body”. The title has to do with the workout in the book.

  16. Dave permalink
    October 16, 2012 11:34 pm

    I have been on the 4HB diet for 1 year and 8 months. I have a list of 9 dinners from which I pick 6 each week. For Sun – Fri, I only eat meat, eggs, and vegetables. I drink coffee, water and red wine. A sample breakfast might be a 2-egg omlet with sausage, onion, peppers, tomato, and mushrooms; half a bag of spinach, a small bowl of fiesta black bean mix, 1.5 liters of water, and a protein shake. Lunch is a chicken breast with 2 veggies + another protein shake. Dinner is a salad (with olive oil based dressing) + 1 lb of chicken or beef + 2 vegetables + tons more water. Height is 5-11. Weight cut from 205 to 175. Age 50. Bench Press 285. 26 consective chin-ups. Squat 405.

    • November 9, 2012 4:09 pm

      I am a 54 year-old, aging female athlete with injury issues. Four months of the year I am a ski instructor (physical work in the cold, low Oxygen environment for 5 hours a day, 6 days a week) who can eat anything she wants to without gaining weight. The kicker? After a physical day, I am not hungry, I just want soups and liquids.

      I thought this diet would help me the rest of the year, when I live on a warm, sea-level beach, with a “real” job and a family that limits my time and energy for exercise. I always eat healthy, but finally realized I need a drastic change to lose the 10+ pounds of weight I put on during this part of the year.

      This diet is not sustainable for me.

      One, I have no energy for morning workouts. I need a little carb fix to burn that protein.

      Two, a glass of red wine is nice, but aggravates hot flashes. Yeah, that older, female issue. Why can’t I have a nice pear instead?

      Three, I loved the “binge day,” but indeed felt worse afterwards. Instead of a binge, I plan to add one “guilt-free” day and “carb Wednesdays” with oatmeal and pizza or pasta. The best thing about the binge day is not feeling guilty about treats I love (another older, female thing).

      Four, I did NOT lose fat! Ferriss’ answer to other people who say this is: we not measuring our fat content in the precise, expensive ways he demands.

      I’ve been using my bio-impedance scale for years, without drinking 1.5 liters of water before hand (which can be very dangerous, especially if you are smaller than 200 pounds), and my scale is an accurate depiction of my body trends and how I look and feel. My result in 2 weeks: I dropped several pounds and lost significant MUSCLE.

      Discouraged, I read Ferriss’ chapter on losing those last 10-15 pounds. His recommendation is a very stringent diet and strength training coupled with pharmaceuticals. Goodbye!

      Like all diets, if you are significantly overweight and don’t workout already, this will even work for post-menapausal women.

      If you are just barely overweight (24% fat), and already workout intelligently, have a woman’s typical family obligations, this diet is no more effective than other stringent diets.

      But you gotta love a “guilt-free” day.

      • November 9, 2012 4:15 pm

        Uh, Dave, I forgot to add that YOUR modifications sound like a much more sustainable plan to me, except that I would still gain weight on it. My new plan: Your plan but with homemade shakes including tofu or greek yogurt and blueberries or cantaloupe (superfruits), smaller portions than is on your plan, an 80 calorie carb in the mornings before workout, “Carb Wednesdays,” “guilt-free Sundays,” and an apple or pear for dessert.

      • Bob permalink
        January 19, 2013 6:22 am


        Dave’s “modifications” are not modifications… they are the plan.

        The “don’t drink your calories” is shorthand for “avoid calorie dense / fiber reduced liquids”.. ie juices. Soups with veggies, beans & meat without noodles or potatoes should be fine. The concept is…. reduced insulin response.

        I’ve been eating slow carb for several months… I’ve lost a lot of fat (lbs & inches) & gained some muscle as well.

        I started with Seth Roberts “flavorless calories” appetite control back in July. I’ve used his techniques to drop significant weight (like 25 lbs) in 2005 & again in 2008.

        I’m 6′ even & was 219. By Thanksgiving I was down to 205, having switched to slow carb, no wheat, rice, potatoes or pasta in about September. (ala Dr Mark Hyman, Blood Sugar Solution). Just before Xmas I started 4HB. I was kinda doing it all along but was just not aware of the nuances.

        I had dropped to ~195 but then started to do some of the 4HB minimal “exercise”. I’ve gained some weight but lost more inches. My waist to height ratio is much better & my pants are loose. My muscle tone & strength have improved. I skied two full days back to back last weekend … something I haven’t done in a number for years.

        You’re allowed to have wine….you don’t have to have wine.
        btw the limit for women is 1 drink per day. 😦

        The 4HB plan has worked for other women…
        I’m at a loss as to why it didn’t work for you.

        Maybe you weren’t getting enough slow carb calories (ie legumes)
        and your body scavenged muscle for food?

        My experience mirrors Dave’s as do my meals (less the protein shakes).
        I’ve got another 10 lbs to lose… my target is ~190.

        Actually, my target is a 33 / 34″ waist, something I haven’t had in 23 years…back in 1990 when I was doing 2+ hr workouts, bike & weights.

        I don’t think 4HB is at all a “stringent diet”, the food is tasty & healthful with plenty of variety.

      • MeMe permalink
        March 31, 2013 3:34 am

        I am also a former athlete and now have myself in top shape. At 56, I easily look 15 years younger. Have followed this diet quite thoroughly but made some modifications. I don’t miss potatoes, rice, breads, etc. as these are really sugars. I enjoy everything on my cheat day and don’t feel deprived. When you’ve had a weight problem, it’s nice to find something that works.

    • Mike permalink
      March 25, 2013 10:36 pm

      Dave I’d love to here your 9 meals, that sounds like a brilliant way to make life easier.

  17. janey dowe permalink
    December 2, 2012 10:43 pm

    I’ve done every diet under the sun, believe me, and I’ve lost and kept off a significant amount of weight for the past 3 years (as in, 80 lbs). I actually lost weight through a couple of plans primarily, though, and they were Weight Watchers and Medifast. I’ve kept it off through awareness of what I eat (that’s it, that’s all) plus exercise (Bikram’s yoga 3-4 times a week). I still have 30 or so stubborn ones to go, and I’m going to give this a try for a few reasons. First, a prepackaged and/or very strict diet aka ketogenic diets (Stillman’s from back in the day, Medifast, Bernstein Diet Centers — not the Dr. Bernstein who deals with diabetic issues, Atkins…) is impossible to follow long term. This diet is NOT a ketogenic diet, and the author clearly states that. Second, Weight Watchers is maintainable but triggers in me (and alot of its followers) a near pathological obsession with food and food amounts PLUS allows one to eat crap as long as it is within their daily WW limits.
    SO, this appeals to because one is not obsessing about amounts and caloric intake: one is trying to adapt diet to powerful biological/physiological processes in the body. This is maybe the hardest thing to wrap my head around — calories don’t count: the type of food and timing of eating and supplementing to maximized natural physiological processes DOES. This is counter-intuitive to everything I know.
    I don’t feel the diet is overly restrictive, either — legumes, protein, and vegetables during a weight loss phase gives plenty of options, allows adequate carb intake without over-carbing, and the foundation can be followed forever. Note that I said the foundation, not the diet. After all, I didn’t get this way by eating properly — a little discipline and acknowledgement that I have to switch things is essential. Weight Watcher’s even has the saying “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got”, and for me, that’s 30 lbs on my butt! Wish me luck — I confess I AM skeptical but will give it a 100 percent try for 4 months. What do I have to lose except 30 lbs? 🙂

    • June ellis permalink
      February 6, 2013 10:49 pm

      How are you doing Janey? I am amxious to hear your progress. I too have been on evvery diet known to man and I love this becaue I dont really have to think about it. I make chili/soup in quantity for my lunches and the protein shakes for breakfasts and dinner is meat and veggies and sometimes beans depending on what i am having. i do stock think thin bars for emergency but really my blood sugar is stable and has been for a while. I think this is doable for a lifetime. On saturdays, I can party with friends without having to count how my pretzels I may have at a party or whatever and best of all I can have dessert of rootbeer and cream which is the finally to my day.

      • May 12, 2013 2:07 am

        I think this blog is great. I have been doing the diet for 4 weeks and although I haven,t lost 10 – 20 lbs I have lost inches from my thighs 🙂 (i have lost 6lbs in 4 weeks) Previously i have tried every diet under the sun and I have never been able to lose it off my legs. i didnt prepare my meals so i didnt stick to the diet 100 percent this week but I have had an excellently cheat day today and I am in the mind set to stick to the diet for another 2 weeks and see if I can lose more inches off my legs. It is an amazing feeling finally finding a diet that actually works and you lose the weight from where you want to lose it. I find that I enjoy the meals that I eat I don’t have to worry about counting calories and weighing out food and I love the cheat day. I know if I stopped this diet I would put all the weight back on that I have lost so I have to look at this diet as a life long programme

  18. Pete permalink
    December 7, 2012 5:35 pm

    I think the author said the purpose of the break day is to keep the body from slowing down the metabolism (starvation mode), reducing conversion of T4 to T3 etc. To succeed on this diet the break day is extremely important.

  19. Elyse N. permalink
    December 18, 2012 4:32 pm

    Having read the book, I think he does a good job of telling you how to follow the diet, but he also does a good job of telling you how to make some modifications, taking it slow. If you follow his diet to a T you will lose a lot of weight quickly. However, if you make some small modifications, which he mentions are perfectly okay depending on what your personal goals are, then you will still lose weight just not as fast. He is never says his weight plan is the end-all-be-all but an effective way to lose weight. . . Having just started the diet, I find that I have cooked all the same meals that I would normally cook (and I have a family) but I do not serve myself any of the carbs. For time management I have double the amount I make at night, and for breakfast I eat the same protein from the night before, and add an egg or two. I have also used the leftover protein to make quick soups.

    As for a long-term solution, he doesn’t intend you to continue to diet this way forever. because you do not want to continue to lose weight forever, once you reach your goal weight it is about maintaining that weight. . . which would mean making modifications but sticking to the foundation you learned from dieting in this manner. . . again this is not the only diet which works. . . diets are all about personal preference. . . do what works best for you. . . All I can say is that this diet works, and for those willing to do, it’s obviously worth the sacrifices being made. . . .

    • December 18, 2012 5:17 pm

      Thanks for your insight!

    • Charlie permalink
      December 22, 2012 10:01 pm

      Thank you Elyse for actually reading the book. I read the book too and agree 100% with your insights. As a male about to turn 50 and in o.k. physical condition, I found this diet to be extremely helpful in losing inches where you don’t want them. It helped reshape my body and some of the exercises were very helpful. I never experienced a lack of energy because slow carbs were a part of my diet as the book suggested. I’m able to do more now then most men over 20 years younger than myself. I’ve lost 15% body fat (yes, I was obese, but not anymore). When I go through the airport and show my license, the first thing they will say is “you lost some weight” I smile big and say “yes I have.” If you have a chance to incorporate the kettlebell exercise into your regime, then I highly recommend it. The biggest challenge is to get the proper amount of protein without over loading on meat. My weight loss has slowed some, but my lean muscle mass has gained. I’m o.k. with that.

      • Bob permalink
        January 23, 2013 5:36 am

        Way to go Charlie! I think 4HB is great. I’ve been do slow carb for about 6 months & 4HB since between Thanksgiving & Xmas. I’m down about 25 lbs body fat & up ~5 lbs muscle. I shooting for waist to height ratio of less than 50%.

      • May 12, 2013 2:11 am

        Hi Charlie. I love using kettle bells. How many times a week do you exercise with kettle bell?

  20. Aravind permalink
    December 20, 2012 9:58 am

    Found out about the 4HB diet just last night, and came across your blog while searching for reviews – thanks for that useful info. Haven’t started the diet yet, but something tells me that completely cutting out grains isn’t going to be a long term solution. Having said that, and having gone through the various comments posted here, wouldn’t it be possible to use the 4HB diet to reach your target weight – and then start eating everything, but in moderation and combined with exercise? Or has it been proved otherwise?

  21. December 20, 2012 7:57 pm

    The purpose of 4-Hour Body (as well as Ferriss’ other two books) is to simplify things through a reductionist philosophy. His slow-carb diet is the epitome of that philosophy.

    The basis of the diet is to target foods with a very low glycemic index (which means the carbs in them convert to glucose very slowly–hence the term “slow-carb”), which leads to reduced blood sugar and insulin spikes. This in turn keeps the body from storing excess sugars as body fat. Of course, looking up a food’s glycemic index every time you want to eat is inconvenient and generally unsustainable, so Tim reduces the diet to really simple rules that make picking low-GI foods more automatic. White potatoes, as with grains, don’t fit that bill. Yams, on the other hand, do. Replacing the baked potatoes you love with baked yams is an easy way to follow the diet without making as drastic of a change as the basic instructions indicate. It just means doing additional research to find specific foods that work for the diet, which then makes it more complicated. Super-simple rules simply help the beginners to succeed.

    As for eating the same meals over and over, Tim points out that we have far less variety in our diets than we generally think we do. We often cycle through a fairly limited number of choices over and over again without realizing it. Even what variety we get is often due to variations on a very small number of staple foods. Pasta is often simply served with a different sauce, meats are cooked with different seasonings, or the main course is served with a different side. The idea is not to literally pick a small handful of meals and limit yourself to them, but rather to make the diet easier to follow by putting together a base of go-to meals that you love, and to keep you from running yourself ragged trying to come up with a new meal every night when you are faced with limitations that you didn’t have before. Eventually, you can utilize the slow-carb mindset to develop just as much variety in your cooking as you had before switching. It just helps to follow a reductionist mindset when you start out to keep from getting frustrated with trying to fully replace your old cooking repertoire all at once.

    • December 20, 2012 8:59 pm

      @Cory – thanks for further insight on this. The comments of this post are turning into a treasure of knowledge 🙂

    • Bob permalink
      January 23, 2013 5:38 am


      Great explanation!
      I send people the link to this page & tell them to read your post so they can get 4HB in a nutshell.

    • MeMe permalink
      March 31, 2013 3:36 am

      I actually enjoy eating the same foods everyday. My body gets used to it, I stay regular, and I know I can always indulge on the cheat day.

  22. Shana Ratnam permalink
    January 3, 2013 3:40 am

    I’ve tried this diet before, i never followed it to a T and i found that i lost a sustained 2 lbs a week and kept it off surprisingly. The first week was absolute hell but it made me realise how much food (good) i’ve never considered.

    Staples of carbs are boring as ever but we eat them every what way possible. The 4HB is essentially the same concept of rotating slow digesting carbs. So the legumes, beans, chickpeas……..EAT EAT EAT. seriously!!!

    My typical morning breakfast? 2 eggs with mushrooms, a small slice of bell pepper in different colors, onions, tomato and spinach all tossed together and a cup of light red tea no sugar. Lunch is a salad with tuna, chickpeas and black beans and a cup of miso soup or you can make your own soup, tofu, broth you get it. Dinner is by far my favorite meal, being indian one of our staples is Dhaal…..YAY!! a big bowl of that, lots of other green veggies switched up such as mustard greens or kale, chinese cabbage, it doesnt matter, the options are endless. a few raw veggies such as cucumbers, carrots. your plate does load up every single time, i stay consistently full without the crash and yes lots of water. Hydrating is key in any way you choose to lose weight. to skip boring i just squeeze a little lemon into my water or drink jasmine tea (no sugar).

    SNACKS!!!! just to mention, i have to snack, i found one of my most favourite snacks now is hummus…..they make it with edamame to, if you can skip store bought and make it at home all the better. i cut up celery sticks, bell peppers, it doesnt matter, just dip and crunch.

    Cheat days are awesome!!!!! really!!! and i found my first week i hated my cheat foods, they made me feel incredibly sick. the second week i kept my diet but added toast in the morning, quinoa with the fixings and a smaller salad( because he does say you must have a veggie in each meal) and dinner could be anything i want, from pastas to rice dishes as long as i have very little carbs because quite frankly my body cannot tolerate carbs atleast not the white carbs. I also found being on this diet i’ve cut my cravings for constant snacking and deserts. A word about people with a sweet tooth, this diet is possible, once you commit it’ll make that sweet treat all the more satisfying the one day you eat it and you dont crave it again.

    Overall you get used to the diet and yes you’ll consistently lose weight if you do the right things. i also follow through with toning at home, nothing major just 5 lb dumbells a few crunches here, lunges there, we’re all good! I’m also addicted to zumba, so that helps me keep my diet working better. Again people often ask me how i manage to keep my energy up i just eat alot of Chickpeas, Almonds etc for energy especially after a workout and just add a bit more food to my meals.

    The weight seriously melts off and if you start modifying the diet while controlling portions and training its something thats sustainable.

    To sum it up, please research for your own safety if you can handle this diet. Its your body and its the greatest investment you can make for your health so definately try new foods and make note of what you really like and what you dont, using that strategy you’ll constantly be able to make newer meals instead of the same ones he recommends and you’ll never have to cheat in order to enjoy your diet. You’ll find yourself doing the same if you go out to eat, so have fun with it because it works quite safely.

    • January 15, 2013 12:53 pm

      Thanks Shana!

    • June Ellis permalink
      January 17, 2013 9:17 pm

      If i need a snack I have a think thin bar. they are 250 calories and gluten and sugar free. so far they havent stopped weight loss.

      • Bob permalink
        January 20, 2013 9:12 pm


        I switched from “Think Thin” bars which have good protein levels & low “sugar” but they have sugar alcohol that probably are the greatest.

        I now eat “Power Crunch” bars as does my wife. They’re kinda link a Twix, the 3x chocolate & peanut butter fudge are the best.

        Available at Trader Joes & online (amazon). They’re the best protein bars I’ve found so far but they have wheat & dairy. 😦

        I’m still looking for a protein bar that is non-dairy, no wheat, low sugars, low carb & no sugar alcohol at reasonable cost.

  23. Shelley permalink
    January 14, 2013 4:21 pm

    Being paleo for 9 months before reading the book, I also wasn’t crazy about the binge day idea. While I don’t see value in eating crap like crazy, I thought it was very interesting that he suggests eating significantly more than usual will keep your metabolism from slowing down. I’m noticed that when I eat significantly more of my paleo foods (no junk!) on one day of the week it does keep my metabolism up and the rest of the week I burn more fat.

    Another thing he mentions in the book that you don’t cover is that he doesn’t say you have to follow the diet exactly. He says that just following a little piece of the diet will start getting you results. For example if you just started eating protein first thing when waking up he says he’s seen a lot of results.

    It’s actually an interesting read for anyone interested in alternative ways of eating.

  24. courtney permalink
    January 15, 2013 5:41 am

    I did read the book at the recommendation of my doctors office. Because I am hypoglycemic, they said ir is very good for maintaining even blood sugar, hence good for hypoglycemics and diabetics. Tim goes to the trouble of sticking himself and reading his blood sugar levels multiple times a day on different diets. Then plotting a visual graph of each. His planning and execution of this is quite meticulous, which I appreciated. The 4 hour body diet produced a FLAT line. No carb-sugar highs, no lows. That is a beautiful thing to someone like me. He continues his research regarding what frutose and lactose do to your blood sugar. Orange juice is undiscernable from Coke. Yes, there are nutrients, but at what cost when I can get them from vegetable juice. I started the diet with no goal but to experience what steady blood sugar feels like. I cook meals and find recipes that fit the diet because I like variety, cooking and eating. His foods are a guide, but you can eat almost any vegetable you please. If you read the book you’ll see details beyond the rules that matter a great deal. When, and what combination of protein to fat to carbs you eat for breakfast-is a linchpin to feeling better and setting up your metabolism for weight loss. This alone changed my life. Ten months later, I’ve lost 19 lbs, without ever intending to-just as a by-product of feeling energized but calm, free of bloat, pain, post meal highs and consequential lows. It has become a lifestyle. I don’t do binge days, but eat foods not on the list occasionally. You can have fruit, just lower-glycemic fruits like blackberries. (And not at breakfast) I lost 20 on weight watchers once, and was beyond miserable and always hungry. I recommend you read all of Tim’s science behind his guidelines and modify to fit your lifestyle. I hate Weigh Watchers branded foods which are full of preservatives and sugar, and didn’t use them. You state you care about such things as preservatives and added sugar so I assume you didn’t eat them all either. That’s a modification. Better to try a diet, attempting it’s basic tenets, with modifications to fit your life, before you criticize it. Especially in blog form.

    • January 15, 2013 9:11 am

      Yes, I definitely don’t eat WW-branded foods – they aren’t even available in Italy 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your viewpoint – I think people will appreciate hearing it. Feel free to take some time to read more about me and my site so you can understand where I’m coming from (i.e., I don’t do diets…) – one post probably isn’t enough to give a clear picture 🙂

  25. January 17, 2013 6:40 pm

    I actually have lost about 18 pounds using Tim’s “slow carb” principals. Overall, my goal is to be healthy. Fruit was the hardest thing for me to cut out. I already ate and loved fresh veggies, and they comprised a majority of my diet. I eat lean proteins like turkey, chicken, fish, and occasionally bacon. I would argue that this diet is good to achieve and maintain a healthy life-style and weight goals, but I am not a nutritionist. I am also very aware of the benefits of healthy, whole grains and fruits high in antioxidants and reducing animal fats in terms of preventing cancer. My mom died of cancer, so I feel that I will probably not stay on the slow-carb diet indefinitely. It’s more important to me to be the healthiest I can be, overall. I have friends that are nutritionists who have explained to me that as a society, we eat way more protein than our body really needs. There are so many differing scientific and health-based opinions on the whole healthy whole grains, vegetarian (or just cutting back on meats) diet versus the no or slow-carb, meat and veggie diet. I feel like the healthiest bet would be to just have a good balance, indulge occasionally, and use common sense to eat healthy! I love, love, love food and not being able to eat fresh pasta and bread is occasionally difficult. I do appreciate the energy I have now that my blood sugar level is noticeably lower and steady. I’m not as puffy and bloated and have so much more muscle tone and definition! I’ve also gone off the diet for months at a time while traveling in places like Asia and Africa where it was impossible to stick to. I always gain about 5 pounds, then I loose it when I return to the diet. I think once I reach my “weight goal”- I may be less strict about the slow carbs and incorporate more oatmeal and quinoa, etc. and even indulge more on the pasta and breads. It’s basically a trade off. It pays (physically) to be disciplined, but then it’s so much fun to go out and eat a delicious home made Italian meal or yummy Thai food like Pad Thai or green curry (my favorite). All in all, i love to cook and have found all sorts of creative ways to cook delicious meals that follow Tim’s slow-carb diet (lots of bean and veggie soups, I use cumin and cinnamon in almost everything! and Greek yoghurt is now a staple). But there is no substitute for delicious pasta, noodles or fresh bread. I don’t crave it often, but when I do, I let myself have it. Especially deep dish pizza from our favorite local pizzeria!!

  26. June Ellis permalink
    January 17, 2013 9:10 pm

    I began this diet because I felt it was a diet I could stick to forever. I dont mind the repetition of meals because most of the time they are replicated anyway. I have a protein shake for breakfast because I am lazy and dont want the food hassle. I make a crockpot of chili or soup and make many portions of that for my lunches and for dinner I have meat and veggies and legumes. I love the day I can go out and not worry but even the other days I can go out to dinner to a mexican food place and have fajitas with beans a guacamole with lots of salsa.

  27. Bob permalink
    January 18, 2013 6:13 am

    I’m so glad that Cory, Shana, Shelley, Charlie & Courtney actually read 4HB, tried it and gave positive reviews of their experiences with 4HB. Naysayers who haven’t tried it & say it cannot work are being close minded.
    Hard to keep my comments short. I was toying with slow carb eating (Dr Hyman – The Blood Sugar Solution) way before finding 4HB. I even bought a bought sugar meter “just for fun”.
    I did a lot the same experimentation on the effects of food on my blood sugar as Tim.
    Yes, fruit juice & Coke hit me just the same.
    Even steel cut oats, a splash of milk & a bit of maple syrup spike my blood sugar to ~180.

    Green salad w/ tomato, onion & cuc with green beans and a couple small lamb chops ~115.

    I was already losing weight but using 4HB “simple 5 rules”, I dropped another 10 lbs in a few weeks….effortlessly.

    I added his simple / minimal “exercise” techniques & I plateaued on “weight loss” but I was still losing inches & gaining muscle.

    Higher protein meal in the AM with the slow carb (green leafy & legumes) make for good energy and a clear head.

    As for eating out? He gives great tips and there’s always Chipotle (no rice or chips) or an equivalent. GIve it try, it’s simple & effective. Shabu shabu works too, order extra veggie plate & pass on the rice… consider any extra cost as the price to avoid diabetes and

    My internist was so impressed, she asked me if I could drop another 5 lbs…. I told her I planned on another 15!

    I’m no longer fixated on weight. I’m aiming to lose a couple more inches and get to a 47% waist to height ratio. By the time I done “losing weight”.. really, body “recomposition”, I’ll have lost 35 lbs of fat & added 10 lbs of muscle.

  28. Bob permalink
    January 20, 2013 9:04 pm

    Dear Sara-

    I’ve posted a couple comments wrt 4HB concepts, techniques & personal results.
    The posts have not appeared. I posted in good faith to share my knowlegde & experinces.

    I hope the posts were not lost / deleted…. I spent some time on them.

    What’s the deal?


    PS.. when I post I get the “post successful” notice

  29. Bob permalink
    January 20, 2013 9:05 pm

    Hmmm…. I wonder what happened to my other posts. Silly me, I should have “saved” them by other means. 😦

    • January 20, 2013 9:45 pm

      Looks like they were going into spam – perhaps the length triggered something. I’ve approved them now! Thanks for stopping by.

      • Bob permalink
        January 21, 2013 3:37 am


        Thanks for “saving” my posts!

        If you’re interested in losing fat & gaining muscle without a huge amount of work….give 4HB another look.

        I’ve been refined / fast carb free since before Thanksgiving 2012.

        I really don’t miss them. It’s all about ‘habit’.


  30. susan permalink
    January 21, 2013 3:37 pm

    wow… i been doing this for 2 years… i have lost and kept off 48 pounds… i am a 54 year old female…. so yes it works and the changes i have made are permanent…

  31. Aldo permalink
    January 25, 2013 3:36 am

    Wow. This “Bob” guy sure is a fan of the 4HB. I mean… coming back to this page several days in a row, just to reassure us that the 4HB is good… to me that’s kind of suspicious.

    Also, all the commenters who come and write in the same style… hm.

    I’ll tell you how it goes with me, Sara.

    • Bob permalink
      January 25, 2013 6:24 am


      Perhaps you’re “projecting” or perhaps you’re unduly suspicious?

      Try re-reading ALL of my posts.

      I started with the low sugar / slow carb thing as recommend by Dr. Mark Hyman (The Blood Sugar Solution and The Ultra SImple Diet) back around Sept / Oct 2012. I even bought a blood sugar meter on ebay to measure my blood sugar response.

      Previously, I had lost weight very easily using the techniques invented by Dr. Seth Roberts (UC – Berkeley). His diet technique is “flavorless calories” as described in,, and

      Dr. Roberts also touched on slow carbs as helping with weight loss.

      Don’t be skeptical….research, read

      I used it twice before….to lose 30 pounds in 2005 / 2006. Again in 2008 to lose weight I gained from overeating. 😦

      I went back on it in July 2012 after fa riend said “Bob, you’re not pudgy…you’re fat!”.

      I am 72″ (1.84 m) and was 219 lbs (15.6 stone, 100 kilo) and I was kinda fat.

      I stopped The_Shangri-La_Diet and switched to the types of foods that Dr. Hyman suggested.

      Around Nov 2012 I was discussing slow carb diet with a young engineer at work who said “Hey that sounds like 4HB”. To which I asked “What’s that?”. He had purchased the book but never read it. He loaned it to me. I only read the ~100 pages associated with fat loss.

      The truth of the matter is…. 4HB, Dr. Hyman, Dr Roberts, Paleo Diet…. their concepts all somewhat overlap / dance around the idea of reduced insulin response.

      Perhaps all the positive posts seem similar because they were written by open minded, curious, logical people who have had good results with a technique that works?

      Since JUly 2012 I’m down from 219 to 195 and I’ve lost more than a few inches off my waist.

      Why have I posted so many posts?
      I don’t have a hobby?
      TV alone cannot hold my interest?

      I’ve been wildly successful in losing fat & inches and gaining muscle and I want to share my experience so that others might benefit? 🙂

      I’ve been an engineer for nearly 40 year… R&D for nearly 30. I’m used to experiments, data & new ideas.

      Don’t be suspicious, be happy.

      Good luck.

      btw Aldo… I’m not Susan, Charlie, June, Shana or any of the others.


      PS If you want to “geek out” and read technical stuff give this a try
      This site has many additional applicable papers.

      • Bob permalink
        January 28, 2013 4:13 am


        Check in SPAM… I composed a reply to Aldo’s remark that my posts seemed “suspicious”,as did, in his opinion, the other posts celebrating 4HB user success.
        My very detailed comment may have been diverted to SPAM?

        Feel free to delete this post… or my others if you feel so inclined.

        I’m not a spammer, use my signup email address to do a Google search.


      • January 28, 2013 9:34 am

        @Bob – it was indeed in Spam – please note that I won’t always be able to check and approve comments immediately. I’m not sure what you mean re: “This seems to contradict Agreement 3a & 3b.”

        I also suggest you think about starting a site of your own – many of these comments should probably be blog posts you can publish and share on your own site without worrying about spam and approved comments 🙂

      • Aldo permalink
        January 28, 2013 6:12 pm

        Thanks for the info, Bob. Have a good day!

    • January 28, 2013 4:01 am

      I agree with you Aldo!

      • Bob permalink
        January 28, 2013 5:23 am

        Major Ann-

        Aldo has made some assumptions….and it appears that you agree with him.

        This seems to contradict Agreement 3a & 3b. 😦

        Hopefully, Sara will “release” my rather long response to Aldo, complete with links & cites.


    • January 28, 2013 10:02 am

      Also, let’s please keep this constructive – I have no desire to have my comments degenerate and will delete if necessary. 🙂

      • January 30, 2013 1:20 am

        I felt that Bob was getting too insistent that 4HB should work for everyone — even slender, older women who work out vigourously as often as I do. Here is a video from Sealfit that explains how different people need different diets:

  32. huxley permalink
    January 29, 2013 6:04 pm

    Sara: I’m glad to see you have pulled back in your comments to a more moderate position on 4HB.

    I’ve only been on 4HB a couple weeks. I’m losing weight and we’ll see how that goes after a few more months. However, I do want to address your concerns that this diet can’t work with a family or long-term.

    I don’t see how Ferriss asks anyone to eat “like a crazy person.” There is nothing peculiar about bacon and eggs or an omelet for breakfast. The regular American dinner of meat and two veg is perfect 4HB fare once you add a side of legumes, and leave the bread and potatoes to the others.

    As a few commenters mentioned, you don’t have to eat the exact same meals every day. Ferriss’s point is that most people’s meal choices aren’t all that varied to begin with, and for those who don’t cook or don’t want to think about each meal, it can be simpler to stick with a just a few meals prepared ahead of time.

    Speaking for myself, I’m a decent cook and it’s no biggie to cook meals as varied as I did before the diet. I just stick with the protein, legume, and vegetable format according to whatever is in the fridge. The only difference for me is making sure I have beans available from a can or from a recent pot I made.

    • Bob permalink
      January 30, 2013 1:41 am


      My apologies if I seemed too “insistent”.

      I have had amazing success with all variants of slow carb diets,
      as have the people to whom I suggestion “slow carb”.
      I was eager to share that experience because I seen so many people struggle with difficult diets that do not yield good or permanent results.

      If you read my original reply to your post..

      “The 4HB plan has worked for other women…
      I’m at a loss as to why it didn’t work for you.”

      I was questioning why it wasn’t working….
      the engineer in me thinks “there’s gotta be a reason”.

      I have read the entire 4HB book once & the fat loss section many times.
      I think he posits the concept that too much exercise & too little fat / protein can retard weight loss.
      Of course… YMMV.

      You’re clearly beyond a “3 sigma case”. 🙂
      Career female USAF officer, first graduating class from USAFA & a ski instructor!

      Any chance you knew a F111 pilot named Briggs?…
      I went to HS & college with him.


      • Bob permalink
        January 30, 2013 1:51 am


        Great video…

        Yes I agree, a diet needs to be tailored to an individual’s current body condtion & activity.

        Note that SealFit presenter talked about the 80 / 20 rule…. also mentioned in 4HB and encourage by “the cheat day”.

        I believe that energy demands can be handled on 4HB by boosting consumption of legumes & good fats. I also incorporate limited dairy.


  33. huxley permalink
    January 30, 2013 5:15 pm

    Similar to Bob, I’ve been feeling somewhat evangelistic about low-carb. (I started with Atkins before phasing into 4HB.) I had picked up the usual middle-age spread and then some as my metabolism slowed and it became harder to exercise vigorously. I was afraid I was stuck with my weight because I remembered how hard the low-fat dieting I had tried before was.

    Sure, I can diet low-fat. I’ve done it — pull the sugar and fat out of my diet and reduce portions. It works. I lose weight, although barely a lb. a week. But I grind my teeth and count the minutes to the next small, untasty meal. Then, inevitably, I lose my mind and binge for a while, gain most of the weight back and give up.

    However, low-carb dieting is an entirely different experience. I don’t feel hungry, my mood is more stable, and I enjoy my meals as much as before. Everyone knows fat is where the flavor is and giving up sugar makes even vegetables taste sweet. I remember how moody I was, as my blood sugar yoyoed up and down from the sugar, starch, and breads. I don’t want to go back to my old way of eating.

    Furthermore, to speak of wonders, I lose weight more quickly. I can’t report the amazing losses Tim reports of 4-5 lbs per week. With me it’s “only” 2 lbs, but that’s plenty good enough to make my goals achievable in four or five months as opposed to eight months to a year.

    So, yes, I find low-carb dieting exciting, especially since the conventional diet wisdom these days, recommended by doctors and the government. is the crazy food pyramid based on grains and rice, while fats are as verboten as candy bars. People can lose weight that way, but for many people like myself, it’s so slow and painful, it’s not a solution.

    • molly permalink
      February 26, 2013 9:28 pm

      I just wanted to throw out the questiona about realistic pounds lost. I have had comments say to just throw away the scale. I admit that I get a bit discouraged because I am going into my 5 week and I am down only 4-5lbs. Seems like a little for someone who is not cheating AND working out. Over exercising was one of my problems in the past (created the starving feeling and led to overeating as Tim suggests) but I have scaled it back but do the following usually each week. Bikram (3 times), soul cycle (2 times per week), run (2-3) and Tim’s kettlebell workout 1-2 times per week. Generally I am not hungry so I am getting the beans, veggies and protein. I would like to see a loss of around 8 more. Maybe it is just slower for me because I was already fit and it will take a few months?????

      • February 27, 2013 3:12 pm

        Molly, as Tim says, measure your loss by how you look (compare to photos in his book), your tape measure and various other methods of measuring body fat that you have been using long enough that they can measure a trend. That said, I do not think his diet works well for female athletes who only have a few percentage of fat or a few pounds to lose. Your post workout diet must include a small amount of simple carbohydrate (ie sugar) combined with protein to restore muscles. To see how hard it is to lose the last ten pounds, read the extraordinary methods Tim went to in his chapter; and that was for bodybuilding, not for performance athletes. You might want to view the seal fit video I posted earlier, or read Thomas and Lim’s “The Feed Zone Cookbook” about cooking for Tour de France athletes. And yes, whichever diet works for you, losing the last few percentages of fat seems to take me forever–and they come back quickly if you take a few months off. But then, that is what periodic training is based on.

  34. James Jones permalink
    February 1, 2013 7:05 am

    I don’t really understand the deal here. I’ve tried the 4HB diet before and it worked fine for me. I substituted a big (healthy) carb day with sweet potatoes since I abhor sugar. The diet works but like any diet that is designed to work, it requires some effort on your part. Having been a big advocate of the Warrior Diet and the CKD diet in the past, the 4hb diet was no sweat. I personally don’t get my kicks out of eating exotic food, I like the way I look and feel being in shape, which is worth more to me than a box of doughnuts but teach to their own.

    • James Jones permalink
      February 1, 2013 7:05 am

      correction “to each” their own.

  35. Connie permalink
    February 1, 2013 10:36 pm

    I’ve only been following 4HB for about 9 days, but it’s not been hard to follow (I ate butter and eggs and roast pork and overall quite delicious, and very filling meals), and I’ve lost 6 pounds and several inches off my waist (in 8 days!), so I can’t complain about the results.

    A few comments regarding your thoughts above –

    #1 – cutting out starchy everything is tough, yes, but I know from previous diet experience that what really worked for me in the past was cutting out wheat and dairy. This is taking it even farther and I have a feeling I will add quinoa and such back in as a more permanent plan, but the bottom line is that it gets results. The other cool thing about it is that i never cooked lentils at home before and this made me try new things. And a big pot of super spicy lentils in the fridge is an easy way to add protein, fiber, etc. to my diet. Without this rule, I probably wouldn’t have bothered figuring out how to cook lentils.

    #2- I basically ignore this rule. I think it’s great for people who don’t cook or just enjoy repetition or something, but I look at it as finding a list of things that I CAN eat regularly in a pinch if I haven’t thought through any more interesting options, but I don’t see that as a key to success for the diet overall, even if he does. It’s a key to success if you like the “ease” of not thinking about food, and it probably helps save $$$ too. For those of us always thinking about food – well, that’s just stupid. But I don’t mind in the least eating sashimi instead of sushi or green chile with just beans and no rice, or things like that and I do think you can make this work in most restaurants. I went out to my favorite Italian restaurant and had a salad with chicken. He’s not restricting you to eating specific meals, just saying that if your life is easier not thinking about what to eat, you can stick with the same meal over and over again. Apparently that’s how a lot of people function anyway, so it probably helps the majority.

    #3 – Hard to argue with not drinking calories. I went on this diet because I gained weight from drinking coconut water and kombucha and all these “healthy” drinks that I love but don’t need. It was good to have a “rule” in place to drop them.

    #4 – the fruit is hard. I started the diet and had half a dozen beautiful blood oranges on my counter, but I waited until my cheat day and ate them all then. But, I will also say that when I eat fruit normally, it tends to be a snack and a spike in my blood sugar and instead of satiating cravings, is more of a trigger to making me want more and more sugar. Maybe that’s just me. I do think that if you’re, say, throwing some blueberries in a protein smoothie, I doubt it would hurt anything.

    #5 – I totally think the cheat day is key. I know from past experiments in weight loss that when I cycled calories, I lost more weight. It works as far as preventing your metabolism from becoming more efficient. That is for sure. The problem was, my higher calorie cycle days were still a set number of calories above normal and I still felt like I was on a serious diet. I still felt like i needed to eat clean, etc. The cheat day here – it’s permission to really do whatever you want. I sat down with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and didn’t eat as much as I thought I would but noticed immediately that it didn’t make me feel good. I think the key is to really let yourself eat whatever looks appealing to you, and the resulting overeating feeling/sugar rush actually helped me through the rest of the week with thinking huh – I don’t think I really want that anyway.

    I guess personally I just don’t have much (any) success in eating junk that I “like” in moderation. If I could have a spoonful of dessert and then put it away, that would be great. But I don’t. When my husband makes fresh garlic bread and puts a loaf of warm buttered bread on the counter – I can manage to eat none, but eating one slice? Ha. That first bite is a guarantee that I will eat way too much, even though I know there is basically no nutritional value in it at all. I realize not everyone is like that, but I know myself…

    • June ellis permalink
      February 6, 2013 10:25 pm

      For those of you like myself that feel like dessert is a necessry thing I have been using the 1/8 cup cream that is allowed for coffee and putting it in a diet rootbeer for my dessert and it is yummy and satisfying and most of all allowed :):):)

  36. Kate permalink
    February 9, 2013 5:55 pm

    My husband and I have done “the bean diet” on and off for 3 years. (I took off during my third pregnancy.) We have suggested it to family members and friends. It has worked for every single person! We have three children and they are easy to fit in to our diet restrictions. Instead of legumes, they get a pasta or rice at meal time. We all eat the same veggies and lean protein. Nothing difficult about one more pot on the stove at dinner time.

    Yes, the first week or two is difficult as your body goes through detox, but it’s manageable. I do miss dairy and fruit so I overload on those items on my “cheat day.” It has actually helped my children to understand that whole, natural foods are a healthy way to eat. As we age, our bodies don’t metabolize food the same way and we can’t afford to eat like children. They know that Mom and Dad eat healthy 6 days a week and, if we stick to the diet all week, we are rewarded with a binge day. Don’t get me wrong, they eat healthy also, but they are extremely active in sports and outdoor playtime so their little bodies need the extra carbohydrates that most adults don’t.

    For all those who are commenting without experiencing the diet, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on a few rules. All diets have rules, that’s what makes them work. I feel energetic, clear-headed and lean when on this diet. Our bodies are made to function as machines. If you “feed” them correctly, they will function correctly. We weren’t made to eat out of bags and boxes.

    Give the diet a fair try and you’ll be surprised at how effective it actually is!

  37. Basti permalink
    February 11, 2013 5:09 pm

    Hey Everybody, i have a big question on the 4 hour body diet – low carb.
    Is it allowed to normaly eat goatcheese or coconutmilk within meals and salats? I love those two things.
    Thanks for advice


    • molly c permalink
      February 11, 2013 5:17 pm

      I would say no to both items. Goat cheese is dairy and no dairy is allowed except for a bit of cream for coffee/Tim prefers people use cinnamon. As for coconut milk-no there too. Don’t drink your calories. Write both items down and use them on your cheat day. Molly C

    • June permalink
      February 11, 2013 5:52 pm

      I agree with molly C….

  38. Ted permalink
    February 19, 2013 6:55 pm

    Mixed feelings on the diet. I started it last may at around 233 lbs. I stayed mostly strict with it and by early November was down to 183. I didn’t exercise really at all. So it does work for me.

    I did get off of it for the holidays, as ours are very food centered and to be honest I didn’t feel like dealing with it. In three months I was back over 200 from all the crap I went back to. It’s been tough to get back on the wagon this time around.

    For me, lunches were the hardest. For quick, easy, and portable almost all my lunches in the past have involved breads. If I don’t have leftovers I can heat up I find it a challenge.

    • June permalink
      February 19, 2013 10:33 pm

      I dont find lunch a challenge at all even traveling. I make chili by the crockpot full so i can put in individual containers for the grab and go approach but if that isnt working like if I am going to be on an airplane, I cut an avocado in half and fill it with chicken salad or shrimp salad. Or, I make the chicken salad and eat it using celery as a spoon. Also if I am going to a fast food i always request mexican like del taco or tco bell and ask for 3 tacos without the cheese and shell and extra tomatoes with a side of guacamole….

  39. MeMe permalink
    March 31, 2013 3:18 am

    I started the 4-hour body diet two years ago and lost 75 pounds quite quickly. I supplemented it with exercise. I am a former personal trainer who gained weight so I knew how to exercise it off. But the exercise alone didn’t work so I adopted the diet as well.

    It worked well for me at the start but I adapted the diet to my lifestyle and needs. I need grains for example. Eating eggs everyday for breakfast didn’t work for me. I need roughage for breakfast for obvious reasons but also because roughage helps reduce cholesterol. If you don’t poop, your cholesterol will go up.

    I also eat nuts regularly. The cheat day works well because not only does it get the urges out, it is something to look forward to, and you feel like eating properly the day after. It is a great psychological motivator.

  40. Connie permalink
    May 21, 2013 11:33 pm

    Just starting this program and wanted to know what someone typical meals would be ??
    as this morning i had two eggs and 4 small tomatoes
    lunch chicken with broccoli .
    am i eating enough ??
    good luck to everyone on the program

    • Bob permalink
      May 22, 2013 9:24 am

      Dear Connie-

      “Just starting this program”… I assume you mean 4 Hour Body?

      If so, it would be helpful to read sections of the book relevant to your objective. There’s no need to read the entire book to get what you need… in fact, the author suggests not reading the whole thing at once. On Amazon you can get used copies for less and there is a great small companion paperback of a blog that relates to 4HB. Everything depends an your starting point, objective & activity level.

      Take a look at this link …it can help you get an estiamte of your caloirc needs

      If you stay away from the no-no foods and have a fair amount of fat to loose your hunger & energy levels will tell you if you’re eating enough. Once you’ve lost the “easy portion” of your fat, you have to be a bit more careful.

      I lost weight effortlessly (at the beginning)…. I’m 6′ and I went from 219 to ~200 easily and with minimal exercise. To get from 200 to 190, I had to stop “abusing” good food… too many nuts stalled my fat loss.

      I went from 219 to 192 in about 6 months… I’m more or less stable at 190 /193. If I want to lose more fat I’ll just have to be a bit more careful but I think I’m too lazy to do the minimal amount of work required. I’m never hungry & I have good energy level plus I’ve dropped a size in jeans.


  41. Connie permalink
    May 22, 2013 9:28 pm

    Hi Bob
    Thank you for the information ….will check it out …it was my doctor that suggested this book and program so will give a go…as I need to try a meal plan that I can stick to , eating snacks all the time.,and bad ones to boot, and my downfall is sweets.
    Congratulations on your weight loss, you must be motivated now ..

    Good luck and keep me posted of your success


    Glad you suggested I don’t read the whole book , very overwhelming .

  42. Author is weak permalink
    June 9, 2013 5:24 pm

    Ummm…….I think that you you just have to man up.

  43. dl1606 permalink
    March 10, 2014 4:07 pm

    I’m following the diet for 2 months now and i love it and hate it. It’s great that this is the only diet i tried until today, that burns so much fat away in such a short time. And i like that. But i haven’t found a good alternative to the breakfast because i love my cereals and i won’t give them up. That’s my bad thing, according to the diet.

    Does anybody have a suggestion in what to do ?


    • March 11, 2014 3:11 am

      Daniel, that’s a part I did not like either, because I have a very athletic job (ski instructor) and without some carbs to help fuel my muscles and burn the fat in the morning, I really drag. Have 9 to 15 grams of protein for breakfast, but go ahead and include 80 to 160 calories of carb. That is plenty of calories for a small bowl of cereal or a small bagel or some biscotti. It won’t undo the rest of the diet, and if you are working out, you’ll probably find increased energy and better performance.

    • Bob permalink
      March 11, 2014 3:50 am


      Dinner leftovers for breakfast. I submitted a hugely long post with references hope it doesn’t go to spam folder. What’s your objective with 4HB? Got a lot or only a little of weight to lose? I shed 30 lbs with zero effort by following 4HB & other similar eating plans.

      I at this point I’ve progressed beyond 4HB to Primal Blueprint & finally Paleo. I find i’m not really hungry in the AM and I tend to IF (intermittent fast)…. only eating in the noon to 8 pm window. I almost never eat grains & never wheat.

  44. Bob permalink
    March 12, 2014 7:24 am

    Ms Rosso-

    Please get spam folder for a long response I composed for Daniel & Ann.


  45. March 12, 2014 2:17 pm

    Bob, the other thing that author Ferriss endorses is self-experimentation and record-keeping to see what works for each individual. Cheers,

    • Bob permalink
      March 12, 2014 4:10 pm


      I wrote a super long response to you & Daniel a few days ago but it looks like Ms Russo didnt allow it to post or it’s so long that it’s stuck in the spam filter.

      Any way… the short version, through continued reading I found that select groups of people ‘earn’ their carbs by operating at high VOmax % a lot. That is something I dont do anymore. You still do & thus need your carbs. Graeme Thomas (UK trainer) blogs about this as does Dr Peter Attia. He is very science driven (ME turned MD plus endurance athelte)

      • March 13, 2014 1:21 am

        Interesting — I do certainly earn my carbs! I’ll have to look your references up. Thank you for the short version.

  46. Raquel permalink
    August 18, 2017 11:29 pm

    I don’t really know the diet but i agree 100% with everything you said. I’m losing weight on my own, i’m sick of “advice”, so here’s what i do. I chose a healthy ideal calorie breakfast (soy milk, berries, flax, 1/2 banana, sometimes oatmeal) and the afternoon snacks (nuts, fruit, shake). On the main meal i eat first half a soup, then half a plate raw crunchy salad, 1/4 legumes and animal protein, 1/8 veggies 1/8 rice, potato, pasta whatever and some nuts, olives if there’s no fat added in the cooking. This is my plate, but you might need a different proportion. I eat also a piece of fruit. Once you tweak your portions you can eat anywhere easy making the necessary substitutions. And if you eat like this at home you can eat worse when out… Good luck…😉

  47. Pam permalink
    January 11, 2018 9:19 pm

    Agreed! I did 4hb for about 3 months, lost 10lbs, holidays came and gained back 4lbs, not terrible considering how I cheated everyday with all of the sweets around, but now I’m trying to modify 4hb to be sustainable. I also love food, so eating the same things over and over again for an extended period of time is not going to work! I also wonder about all of these beans… bloated and gassy is not me at my best. I’ve seen grains and other vegetables listed as slow burning carbs on other lists and wonder why they’re not allowed on 4hb. I’m going to experiment with them as well as tofu, another no no. I’m pescatarian, but prefer to only eat fish occasionally, so 4hb just isn’t a good lifestyle fit for me. Anyone have modifications to 4hb that work well?

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