The 4 Hour Body is a guide to rapid weight loss and physical excellence. It’s a great resource based on studies and Tim Ferris’ personal experience.
- No white carbs
- No sugars
- Use cold to shed calories faster
The disclaimer is that Tim is not a doctor. Consult your doctor for any doubts, issues, or pre-existing conditions.
Foods To Avoid
Avoid white carbohydrates, which are:
- White bread
And also avoid:
- Cream based sauces (herbs and spices are fine)
- No deep fried (stir-fried is OK)
- No whole gains or steel cut oats
Beverages (Water is King)
Drink plenty of water.
No juices, milk and limit soft drinks to 500ml max and only diet versions.
If you like coffee and tea, drink them without sugar.
If you like wines, the best ones are dry and red (no more than 1.4% of sugar content).
Contrary to most diet suggestions which recommend several fruits a day, Tim Ferris recommends no fruit for your diets. He says research has no consenses on the benefits of eating lots of fruits.
The only exceptions are tomatoes and avocado -but not too much of it-.
- Eggs (organic)
- Fish: such as tuna and salmon
- Meat types: chicken, beef, pork
- legumes such as: lentils, black beans, pinto beans, red beans, soy beans,
- Most vegetables such as: spinach, asparagus, broccoli, peas, beans
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts etc.
Repeat The Same Meals
Tim Ferris suggests you repeat the same meals over and over.
He says that the research literature shows no consensus on the merits of a balanced and diversified diet.
But if you still crave variety, then you can mix the allowed foods above.
One day a Week Binge
Pick a single day in a week in which you can as much as you want of whatever you want.
When we are in cold environment we lose calories due to heat loss. So you can accelerate your weight loss with “cold treatment”.
Tim recommends cold showers and ice packs on the back of the neck and upper back for 30 minutes (you can also do it while watching a movie).
And drink half a liter of icy water when you wake up.
Correct Top Mistakes
Tim Ferris lists a few of the common mistakes people do.
I will pick the best ones and transform them from the negative form (not eating.. ) to the positive form (make sure you do.. ).
Make sure you:
- Eat within half an hour after waking up
- Eat enough proteins (at least 20 grams per meal)
- Drink lots of water, especially on the binge days
- Consuming too much sweeteners, whether artificial or natural
- Lifting and going to the gym too much (2-3 times a week is enough)
Tim Ferris also has some tips on how to reach orgasms.
Here’s the gist (for men):
- In missionary shift weight on the hips and grind her clitors
- When at the bottom, rise up so that your torso is at 160 degrees (lean back 20 degrees)
For the improved angle missionary and the pictures, get the book on Amazon.
WARNING: NOT Good for Binge Eaters
This diet is not good for people who have food addiction (ie.: binge eating, huge cravings, often thinking about food).
Details & Analysis Obsession
Tim Ferris is a “hacking” and details obsessed man. “x grams of this a day”, “a capsule of that at this time”, “percentage variation of Y” etc.
That’s what also makes him a great writer and what makes the 4 hour body great. On the other though, there are so many factors influencing whatever we measure in our body, than one has really to wonder: what about fooled by randomness?
Health as Mathematical Obsession
I like the approach of books such as .
I find Tim Ferris in general to be too numbers-driven in realms that are difficult to reduce to simple equations. In nutrition and in The 4h Body this turns into a pills’ and nutrients driven approach (Campbell in Whole refers to it as a mathematical equation approach to nutrition).
Heavy Cognitive Load
Following Tim’s full list of advice, your diet can become a big heavy cognitive load in measuring amounts and applying ice packs. What I’d wonder is: are you living for your diet, or is your diet that should be serving your life?
But then again, that’s the same for any kind of diet.
Too Many Topics?
From weight loss to exercise, it makes sense.
But diet, orgasms, testosterone, sperm banks and “engineering sleep” might be a lot for someone who’s looking for an answer to a specific question.
(that being said, it’s all interesting and important stuff Tim writes about).
My natural reaction is to reject the “hacking” and “engineering” terminology. I’m always worried it might lead people to think there’s always a shortcut instead of hard work.
That’s not the case for Tim Ferris though, the guy is hell bent in looking for what works and that’s great.
Jam Packed With Info
There’s so much information in this book it’s crazy.
He Did Research
Tim Ferris did research hard for the The 4-Hour Body, and I appreciate that a lot.
I find The 4-Hour Body to be a hugely informative book.
Tim Ferris does his research.
However, I find that all that research to be also counterproductive as it approaches food as a mathematical equation. This is something that Michael Pollan calls “nutritionism” in In Defense of Food and he explains very well all the drawbacks of looking at the single nutrients instead of the whole food.
I prefer a more of a holistic, whole food approach. Which is also simpler to live with.
First of all, I’d like to address binge days. Tim says a binge day a week is actually helpful to lose fat.
And I have no reason to doubt it. But I just didn’t like the idea. For sugar lovers (like me) “eating whatever I want” could easily mean kilos of pies, desserts and ice creams.
I’m super small and light, but could easily eat 1 Kg of the sweetest foods and drink more than one liter of of orange juice.
I don’t think that’s good. Plus there are food that should be off limits at any time, like industrial trans fats.
Addendum: after reading books such as Hunger by Roxane Gay I understand that binge days are not just a real issue, but completely a bad idea for people with food addictions. For them I recommend Bright Line Eating.
Tim Ferris is a remarkable human being.
The 4-Hour Body will be super useful to people looking to lose weight (caveat: unless you’re food addict). And even those who don’t need to shed kilos, you will still learn a lot on nutrition and scientific research.