It was recently brought to my attention that a new book titled, The Four-Hour Body, by Tim Ferriss has many similarities to the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. So, being the complete freak that I am I ran/drove to the bookstore to get my hands on a few chapters in the book.
Here’s what I’ve gleaned/learned/understood from reading so far:
Tim has a few rules. Five to be exact. They include:
Rule 1. Avoid white carbohydrates (we do this in Paleo/Primal for the most part–some folks will eat the occasional white potato to refuel glycogen after workouts. No biggie. I agree here.)
Rule 2: Eat the same meals over and over again. It’s cool with me because we tend to be creatures of habit. He claims that most successful dieters eat the same few meals over and over again. But these are ‘dieters’. Primal/Paleo is a WAY OF LIFE–not a weight loss plan. We are eating Primal/Paleo to improve health, ok?
Rule 3: Don’t drink your calories. This would be cool with me if the whole idea of Primal/Paleo living were to limit caloric intake/lose weight. It’s not. It’s not a diet to lose weight. It’s not a low-carb diet. It’s a diet to clean out the crap from your body and make all of your organs work correctly. It’s a diet to teach us how to EAT REAL FOOD! One of Tim’s major points here is that aspartame can stimulate weight gain–we don’t want weight gain in most instances. He also alleges that red wine won’t really have an impact on weight loss when consumed in smaller quantities. He just keeps talking about weight loss. That’s really all I see instead of promoting improving health. Ugh.
Rule 4: Don’t eat fruit. Again he advocates for no fruit in an effort to lower sugar intake, thus reducing the consumption of fructose (the natural sugar in fruit) that leads to weight gain. I know in Primal/Paleo eating we absolutely advocate for eating fruit. We don’t condemn potentially nutrient/vitamin-rich foods; however, when experimenting with weight loss I am here to tell you that it is often advised to limit the fruit. It keeps your daily carbohydrate intake lower which can lead to limited fat storage. I don’t completely disagree with this rule, but for life it’s not gonna work. We need fruit here and there.
Rule 5: Take one day off per week. HOLY GUACAMOLE! Tim is advocating for a complete BINGE on this day. He even uses the word ‘binge’. Yikes! He stated that he always eats ice cream, Snickers, Take 5, drinks beers and pretty much makes himself sick on this day. Umm…isn’t that ’sickness’ the point of going Paleo/Primal for so many people? I know it was for me! No more EMERGENCY trips to the restroom or days where I felt like I might die. Don’t we want to rid our bodies of the very things that cause us gastrointestinal distress, sickness and fatigue? I’m confused. If this diet is a cousin/brother/sister or even close fricking relative of Primal/Paleo living then WTF? Why would we do this? Oy vey. <Facepalm>
Not to mention what this one lovely little day does to our poor bodies. Your pancreas, on a cheat day, would be shoveling out loads of insulin to regulate the toxic glucose in your bloodstream. After this insulin rush your brain becomes low on fuel and you send your body into stress-mode, secreting cortisol which breaks down muscle tissue. Eeek! Additionally, sugar takes it’s turn at attacking your immune system through the excess cortisol secretion.
So, in conclusion–if you will…if you want to lose a few pounds, stress your body out and potentially get sick. I think this diet is great! I only kid. Primal/Paleo is kinda for the ‘cool kids’ and not all kids are cool (Remember middle school?) But you won’t catch me completely advocating for it.
I do, however, think this guy might be some kind of GOD for writing a freaking 400 page book the size of Harry Potter 6 AND 7. He’s got knowledge and wit, humor and even credibility–but given the ‘rules’ I cannot commit or even compare it to Primal/Paleo.
If this diet is something that you can do and adhere to for life then I say “Go for it!” I would really consider Rule #5 and maybe revise it a little–have some dark chocolate, some yummy melon or a sweet potato or two. These don’t completely destroy your body and can actually lead to some additional weight loss–or so I’ve learned.
I also want to caution that I only read excerpts of the book and I am by no means an expert on the 4HB diet. I got to these rules and I just couldn’t keep my sassy mouth shut–so there ya have it! MY OPINION–however much it matters….