The day 4 Hour Body came out I downloaded it to my iPad and started reading it. I think I stayed in bed until about noon that day plowing through the book and immediately started implementing the principles that Tim Ferris laid out in the book.
One thing you need to know about me is I love junk food. Candy bars, ice cream, cupcakes, cookies, fast food, you name it and I ate a lot of it and have a hard time saying no. I have been this way since I was a teenager. When I was in high school it was a rare day when you got in my car and there was not a box of Devil Dogs in my glove box or on my front passenger floor. Ahhhhhh, the good old days when you were a youngster and could eat all that junk and still not gain half a pound.
Between 2006 and 2010 I put on a lot of weight, probably a good 40 pounds. Adding all that weight was having a horrible impact on my life. I noticed as I gained weight my energy level went down, the amount of sleep I required went way up and my productivity fell way off. After starting to read 4 Hour Body I decided this was how I was going to start taking the weight off and taking my life back.
One thing I know is diets don’t work. A diet is a temporary change in your eating habits to take weight off. The only way to keep weight off is with a lifestyle change. I knew I ate way too many carbs and way too much sugar. It was time for a lifestyle change and after reading 4 Hour Body I thought I had found the solution.
The first month of being on the slow carb / low carb diet that is laid out in the 4 Hour Body I had huge success and could easily see myself doing this for a long time. One of my favorite parts of the book was I could eat the low carb diet six days a week, but then on the 7th day, I got a cheat day. Cheat days were great because you could eat whatever you wanted and I would pig out on my sweets to the point where I wouldn’t want to see another sweet for a week.
Usually my cheat day fell on a Saturday. By the time Tuesday or Wednesday started rolling around I would start getting cravings. I tried to stay out of convenience stores because I knew seeing those Rolo’s or donuts, my cravings might get the best of me.
At first when I got those cravings I used the cheat day as my way to push the cravings off. I would tell myself, I don’t need to say no, I just need to tell myself in a couple days. I would even go as far as adding the craving I was having into Evernote so I could quench that craving on Saturday.
I have done the low carb diet routine before and really enjoy it. I have had more success with that, than any other diet in my lifetime. So the first month and a half or so that I was on 4 Hour Body I was good. I know there are a lot of people who have had success with the program, including Shawn over at Back Packing Dad who is currently doing the program.
The one thing that never changed though was the cravings. Even though I had success pushing them off, they never went away. And eventually I fell off the wagon, and then fell off the wagon again, and then once again. Before you knew it I was back to stopping at Circle K three times a week for a Hershey bar, Rolo’s or a thing of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food.
And wouldn’t you know it, the weight started coming back quicker than I had lost it.
Over the summer I started reading a lot more about diet and nutrition. The more I read, the more I learned just how addictive things like sugar could be. And I knew that was my problem. I was a junkie who was allowing myself a fix one day a week, while the other six days I was staying true to my low carb diet.
The more I read, the more I was blown away by the myths we learn about food and the dangers of the modern diet. I don’t think it is a coincidence, and there is plenty of evidence out there to support it, that the current human diet since the agricultural revolution has caused many of the problems we see today. The more I read the more I was intrigued by the Paleo diet and the Paleo lifestyle. To me a Paleo diet is basically eating real food, nothing processed.
Many people I talk to about it ask me, “Isn’t Paleo just like a low carb diet, or the 4 Hour Body diet without the beans?” In many ways yes, but there are some big differences.
I do not count carbs. I can eat basically any food that is natural like vegetables, fish, meat etc. I try to stay away from super starchy foods like potatoes, but in general if it is not processed, then I can eat it. The Paleo diet allows me to eat when I am hungry, but also because I am eating foods that are high in fat and protein I do not get hungry nearly as often as when I ate a lot of processed foods that were typically high in carbs.
Another big difference between the 4 Hour Body and Paleo diet, besides beans, is the cheat day. With the Paleo diet there is no cheat day. And this has been my biggest reason for success with Paleo where 4HB failed me. Like I said, I am basically a full blown junk food junkie. And the only way to truly break an addiction is to give something up completely. How many drug addicts can take a hit now and then, or how many gambling addicts can lay down a bet now and then without falling off the wagon? Not many. Not me.
Now am I saying I will never eat a sweet again? No. But the great thing about being Paleo so long is I really have completely lost those cravings. They are gone. I can see a cupcake and not get a craving to have one, or two or three. I no longer look at a tub of Ben and Jerry’s as a treat. How is it a treat to put all that shit in your body? To me, the treat is how great I feel physically every day.
If you ever wonder how wheat and grains effect your body give them up for while. Then eat them for a day and see how you feel the next day. While I have not done this in months, one thing I have done is had a few beers at the game with buddies. While beer may not be your typical junk food, it does have lots of grains and gluten in it. And I can tell you, the next day after having half the beers I used to drink, my stomach feels like crap.
So that is why Paleo has worked for me whereas 4 Hour Body failed. I am a junkie, and with a junkie you cannot have cheat days, because those cheat days never allow you to truly break the addiction.
If you want more information on Paleo and real food I highly recommend you read Mark’s Daily apple, and if you want to learn more while being truly entertained make sure you watch Fat Head the movie which you can stream on Netflix.