Friday, February 18, 2011

On The Four Hour Body Diet

I have a bad habit.  When I'm in a relationship, I tend to gain weight and get lethargic.

Or rather, I used to have this bad habit.  A couple years ago, I started started reading about everything i ate regularly and realized how much I really don't know.  And the same with exercise.  While I was far healthier than many people on both fronts (diet and exercise), I'm probably an order of magnitude better off now than I was a couple years ago.  All through a lot of 1) slowly reading and 2) slowly changing things.  

This is about diet.  Exercise is for another day.  Slow change is for a third day.

I have been reading Tim Ferris' "The Four Hour Body", and after reading the section on dieting, I realized it was pretty close to how I was already eating.  The key difference is that he advocates 1) cutting carbs like bread/cereal/pasta/rice/etc out and dairy like cheese/milk 2) having a binge day, once a week, where anything goes.  So I made these two changes out of curiosity.

I'm not advocating this or describing it here, but wanted to make some observations.  

Three days after I started it, my girlfriend told me I lost weight.  

Now i really haven't lost weight, but I have been losing body fat, because i'm still weight training on a fairly regular basis.  Here's my observations on the diet:

1) No milk in coffee is hard.  I ignore this every other day.
2) I energy crashed the first two weeks.  I then moved my anything-goes day from Saturday (when I'm usually with my girlfriend, and well, this isn't her diet) to Friday (when I'm at work with easy access to a lot of free/cheap high calorie food.  
3) I've fallen into the habit of stocking up on things I have cravings for and then eat them all on friday.  Even if i don't want to.  Just to get rid of the craving.  
4) Overdoing Friday has gotten rid of the energy crash
5) Making sure I had everything i craved during the week and making a point to eat it all in a single day is making me dislike these things--i.e. i have no temptation to eat them for the next week.
5) On weight training days, I still have pasta (whole wheat), milk, and something with sugar, and I usually eat potatoes with breakfast to keep sustained workout recovery going.  
6) When someone brings homemade bakery to work, I indulge.  Out of respect, yeah, that's it.

Today is friday.  On the menu:  two eggs--over easy, bacon, sausage, potatoes (breakfast), a quart of chocolate almond milk, an odwalla juice, a chicken sandwich with fries (lunch), half a container of trader joes chocolate covered peanut butter cups, bread and cheese, two bananas, a deep dish pepperoni pizza (dinner), a ben and jerry's ice cream pint, and a cupcake.  A rough estimate is 6-7k.  Because, well, you can't just have a bowl of ben and jerry's...

I don't even want to know how many calories that is, but it's less than I've had the last couple Fridays, and 
1) I'm still losing body fat.
2) I have far more consistent energy (physical and mental) from day to day.
3) My junk food cravings are dropping to almost nothing.  

I kind of dread fridays now, because I'm starting to dislike a lot of things I used to try (unsuccessfully) not to eat.  I'd consider dropping the friday thing, except for the fact that it avoids my having an energy crash.  

For the record, exercise levels during the month I've done this have been 10k running, one hour cross training, two p90x strength training workouts, 2-3 p90x abs workouts, and 3-4 hours of other outdoor things like hiking or kayaking, per week.