Over the weekend, I read The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Tim Ferris – a library reservation that came through this week with good timing, as I’ve been thinking a lot about diet and exercise lately. Since starting my fitness/health class at the YWCA in January, I’ve lost almost ten pounds and got myself back into a quasi-routine at the gym. I’m not going six days a week (my goal), but I am thinking forward to activity on most days which is better than where I was in the fall (doing nothing, blaming my schedule for impeding me from the gym when it wasn’t).
Now, I won’t say that this whole book is a worthwhile read – each section featuring various “life hacks” that Tim Ferris has experimented with in his own life – but there was certainly enough interesting information in there to encourage a little of my own personal experimentation. In particular, I noted that both my trainer and Tim Ferris recommend a similar type of lower-carb eating (not no carb) which he calls “slow-carb” and my trainer would call “eating for my type”. Not only does it look very similar to the GI-eating (glycemic index) recommended for diabetics, it tends towards focusing on whole foods clean-eating which is preferable to me on a number of levels.
The five basic rules of “slow-carbing” are thus:
Rule 1: Avoid “white” carbohydrates (or anything that can be white). Use legumes in replacement of grains.
Rule 2: Eat the same few meals over and over again.
Rule 3: Don’t drink calories.
Rule 4: Don’t eat fruit.
Rule 5: Take one day off per week and go nuts.
Except I’m not very good at following rules, and I also don’t totally agree with some of Ferris’s suppositions so I’m altering them like so:
Rule 1: Same as above – with the addition of a possible 1 serving of whole grain (like barley) per day instead of the legumes he prescribes.
Rule 2: To rule 2 I say, no way. Eating the same few meals over and over again would be unhealthy because one wouldn’t get the food diversity required for optimal health. This rule has nothing to do with losing weight and everything to do with being a limited cook (which Ferris admits to – eating out as much as two meals per day).
Rule 3: This has been my mantra for a long time – I’m a water drinker because it’s just so much healthier than juice or soda. Ferris does say that a glass of red wine or two a night won’t impede fat loss – which provides for those of us who like a drink now and then.
Rule 4: My trainer also says not to eat fruit and that’s a major bummer even though I don’t eat much to start with. On the other hand, local eating pretty much proscribes fruit in the winter since there’s very little local available right now.
Rule 5: I like the idea of one day a week I can eat anything, though Ferris seems to go overboard on the gross and fatty which I think really promotes screwed up values when it comes to eating. For people with bingeing behaviours, this is not a particularly good idea.
Ferris’s approach is definitely not for everyone – but I like his approach that each thing we try is simply another experiment on what works for our particular body. I’ve decided to follow this for a few weeks and see where it leads me – as an experiment or a “cleanse” to my system. Since January, I have been really paying attention to my simple-carb intake – and I know that has definitely helped. Since type-2 diabetes runs in my family, I also know that low-GI eating is of an increasing necessity as I age (if I want to stave that particular ailment off as long as possible). So let’s see what happens shall we? I’ll report back in a week or two if I make it that long…. I’m already missing bread!
One more note on the book: the 15-minute orgasm section? Really. Damned. Weird.