"The 4 Hour Body" By Timothy Ferriss
One quirky-living guru seemed to be the talk of the town in early January. At the billiards hall, while ordering cocktails in mid-town, over sushi dinner in Brooklyn, and on a subway ride to Chelsea, Tim Ferriss kept coming up in conversation. "'The 4-Hour Work Week Guy?" I'd finally asked, "Doesn't he have an automated vitamin-selling business? When did he become a dieting expert?" My friends informed me that his new book, The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, included an instructional chapter on the 15 minute-long orgasm. Losing weight sounded pretty good, and so did the other things that the girls had mentioned, but how could anyone believe a guy who claims to be knowledgeable about everything?
Because my response was so clearly anti-Ferriss-self-help book, you can imagine my surprise on the morning of my birthday in late January when a heavy rectangular box arrived from Amazon.com with my name on it. I pulled back the box's cardboard flap and out slipped a heavy blue and orange book featuring the silhouette of a man in meditation pose, his hands occupied with a beaker and an apple. The 4 Hour Body? For my birthday?! Which friend had wasted $30 to send me this gag gift? I found out later that it was my close friend and roommate, Danielle.
I didn't even try to hide my irritation Danielle when I saw her at home that evening. Did she think that I needed to lose weight? Or that I should be the first among our friends to experiment with achieving lengthy orgasms? No, there was no pressure in the orgasm department, she just thought that I would like Ferriss's book if I gave it a chance. I maintained my frustration for just half an hour longer before I sat down and read 70 pages. And about a week later, I started the diet. I am now on Day 10, and doing pretty well.
Timothy Ferriss has spent the last decade experimenting with "every" diet. Out of his research on the body's release and response to foods and supplements, exercise and portion control, Ferris has formulated The Slow-Carb Diet; a diet that promises its adherents can lose 20 pounds in 30 days, no exercise required. The diet relies on five basic principles:
1. Avoid white carbohydrates. We've all heard this before. Processed grains have no nutritional value; our bodies digest them like sugar, they raise our insulin levels and then we store their calories as fat. That means no bread, potatoes or even brown rice are allowed.
2. Eat the same few meals over and over again. Ferriss has observed that the world's most successful dieters eat the same few meals. Their meals are made up of foods that, as he says, "do not make you fat." Foods that are allowed on the Slow-Card Diet are proteins (egg whites, chicken breast, beef, pork and fish), legumes (lentils and beans), and vegetables. These foods can be eaten in unlimited quantities and because these foods are less calorically dense than the food most, dieters will notice that they will have to eaten bigger portions or go hungry. A small serving of nuts (10-12), one tablespoon of almond/peanut butter or the same quantity of olive oil can be added to each meal to increase caloric total.
3. Don't drink calories. No soy milk, sports drinks, milk, cream in coffee, juice or soft drinks. Alcohol is not allowed and diet soft drinks should be limited to 16 oz per day. Fewer calories consumed, faster weight loss. The one wonderful exception is that 1-2 daily glasses of wine are just fine (red wine contains purifying antioxidants).
4. Don't eat fruit. Does that one sound weird? The main argument behind this rule is that fructose, the sugar in fruit, causes rapid fat storage. The other reason that this rule makes sense is that having daily access to fruit is a post-industrial privilege; people can live healthfully without consuming fruit every day.
5. Take one day off per week. This final rule will either frighten or delight – on one day each week, dieters must binge. That's right, there is no skipping the binge day because it is one of the five pillars of the diet. The binge day, during which a dieter can eat anything and everything she wants, essentially surprises the body's metabolism and keeps it active. Without the gluttonous day, the dieter's metabolism would begin to slow down and weight loss would seize. Not surprisingly, Ferriss provides a chapter called "Damage Control" which outlines the best way to binge for lowest absorption of calories. The techniques, not surprisingly, focus on keeping insulin levels low. Among Ferriss's suggestions are lemon juice, cinnamon and post-meal squats.
The Slow-Carb Diet gets people to eat high-protein, high-fiber, low-sugar foods, i.e., foods that the body digests slowly. These foods do not release sugars quickly into the blood steam, so insulin levels remain low, and the body does not store fat. The number of calories that the Slow-Carb dieter burn could easily exceed their caloric intake; more calories burned than taken in equals weight loss!
As I mentioned, today is my 10th Day on the 30 Day Slow-Carb Diet. I have already lost three pounds towards my goal of 10-12. Avocado, peanut butter, and olive oil have become my additions and I am slightly ashamed to admit that yesterday I cheated on the diet with a Braeburn apple. This is certainly the only period in my life during which I will ever feel guilty for eating a fresh, locally-grown, organic apple. Before I began the Slow-Carb Diet, I was already eating a lot of the foods that the diet condones (a result of having been a vegan for so many years). It has been difficult to give up fruit, and almond milk in my coffee, but diets require sacrifices! I feel that I have gained some lean muscle mass from all of the protein, and that taking a three-mile run is noticeably easier.
The 4 Hour Body debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List the week and spent 3 weeks in the top 3. Ferriss may be a loony guy (he does hold the Guinness World Record for most consecutive tango spins in a minute, a degree in East Asian Studies from Princeton and notoriety from WIRED Magazine as the "greatest self-promoter in the world"), but his Slow-Carb Diet is a huge success.
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