The Four Hour Body Diet Experiment

A few months ago I detailed my hatred of the book The Four Hour Body. I disliked his message, his delivery, the way he disregarded EVERYTHING I did to lose weight. By the way, that WORKED for me so I scoffed at everything he said.


Michael is going to start The Diet on May 1st. He asked me to join him in the diet and I was reluctant at first. I don’t want to participate in a super restrictive diet. I lost my weight doing it by counting calories and exercising. It worked. The photos I’ve posted on here are evidence that it worked. So why would I want to suddenly be on a restrictive diet where I can’t eat anything I like?


I don’t know. I told Michael I would give it a try for 7 days. I could try anything for 7 days, I think.

Here are his “Rules”:

RULE 1: AVOID “WHITE” CARBOHYDRATES.

“Avoid any carbohydrate that is, or can be, white. The following foods are prohibited, except for within 30 minutes of finishing a resistance-training workout: all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading.”

Lisa’s Note: I think this is a valid rule. My diet is way too carb-heavy but I don’t think restricting it all is healthy either. Athletes do need carbohydrates for fuel. I work out too much and too hard to not eat carbs. But bread? I can give that up.

RULE 2: EAT THE SAME FEW MEALS OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

“The most successful dieters, regardless of whether their goal is muscle gain or fat-loss, eat the same few meals over and over again. Mix and match from the master list.” (I’ll post the list of “okay” foods later.)

Lisa’s Note: When I was losing 100 pounds I did this. My lunches and dinners were pretty much the same for a year. I mixed and matched a few different things but for the most part it was a very structured meal plan.

RULE 3: DON’T DRINK CALORIES.

“Drink massive quantities of water and as much unsweetened tea, coffee (with no more than two tablespoons of cream; I suggest using cinnamon instead), or other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages as you like. Do not drink milk (including soy milk), normal soft drinks, or fruit juice. Limit diet soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces per day if you can, as the aspartame can stimulate weight gain.”


“Red wine is by no means required for this diet to work, but it’s 100% allowed. Up to two glasses of red per night, no more.”


Lisa’s Note: I have been drinking my calories way too much lately. That I can commit to reigning in.  I will miss drinking milk but I’ll do my best.

RULE 4: DON’T EAT FRUIT.

“Just say no to fruit and its principal sugar, fructose, which is converted to glycerol phosphate more efficiently than almost all other carbohydrates.”

Lisa’s Note: This is the second thing I have a huge problem with in terms of this diet. I think fruit is a very healthy thing to eat–despite the sugar and carbohydrates in it. My belief: if it grows in nature and it’s not man-made, eat as much as you want. This will be the hardest thing to do for me. I eat an apple or banana every day for a snack and I like that. I will miss it. 🙁 And now that we are getting into fruit season I want to eat tons of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. That’s my favorite part about summer.

RULE 5: TAKE ONE DAY OFF PER WEEK.

He called this the “Binge Day“–which I’ve previously stated I am completely against. I hate the idea, which I’ve mapped out in detail.

“I make myself a little sick each Saturday and don’t want to look at any junk for the rest of the week. Paradoxically, dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function and conversion of T4 to T3, etc.) doesn’t downshift from extended caloric restriction.”

Lisa’s Note: I don’t know that I can commit to bingeing one day a week. I’m just being honest here, it goes against everything I believe. But I suppose for 7 days I can try the restrictive diet, with one day of “splurging” on the weekend.


So Why Am I Doing It?

Good question. I will admit that my food has been a bit out of control lately. It started with going on vacation to Arizona and eating whatever I wanted. I could justify it away because I exercised every day I was in Tucson. But then I came home, saw a gain from eating and taking Prednisone, and wasn’t happy. I need a jump-start to losing again. So I will try this for 7 days.

Michael also agreed to weigh in on May 1st and allow me to post it here along with his progress and weigh-ins. I think if this diet works at all, it will be most evident in Michael NOT me. Despite the stubborn belly-fat I cannot get rid of no matter what I do, I am pretty close to what I should weigh, I think. If I lose a pound or two, that would be awesome, but I’m not expecting much.

Check back on Monday for the first day. Plus I will post what our weekly meals and snacks will be.

QUESTION: Have you done the Four Hour Body Diet? What was your opinion of it and what was the outcome?

22 Responses

    1. Just read your recap. It’s very thorough and I appreciate the breakdown of the facts and results.

      I can see a difference in your belly pictures. I was surprised that you didn’t have more of a loss on the scale…We shall see how I fair.

  1. I’ve never personally tried this diet or many “diets” for that matter. I did low carb for 5 months once and lost a measly 4 lbs, which later got regained once I ate carbs again. I would have the hardest time giving up fruit – I looove apples, oranges, and blueberries. Bread and pasta are also toughies for me especially when training for a half marathon, I need my carbs for fuel! Best of luck to you, I’m excited to see what you think of it!

    1. See and that’s my problem with this “diet”–I could lose 5 pounds or something but what happens when I go back to my normal eating habits? Gain it all back? Fruit is a hard one to give up for me.

  2. I haven’t tried it, but between you and Katy, it certainly sounds interesting. I am in complete agreement with you on all of your assessments, though. Depending on your review, I may be the next one to try it. :-p

    1. I remember when Katy did the experiment and I read some of the posts about it but I was so turned off by his book that I didn’t put much stock in any of it. I had already decided I would never be interested in trying his diet. Just the word “diet” bothers me! UGH! But Michael and I live together and it makes sense financially and in terms of time needed cooking to be eating the same diet. Plus I am curious to see if the low-carb, high protein works for me.

    1. It sounds like the concepts are similar to Atkin’s honestly. Eating no carbs or fruit will be really hard for me too. For example, I think the breakfasts on this diet are like 30grams of protein aka a steak and eggs! I might vomit. We’ll see. 🙂

  3. It sounds like he is just spewing out a combo of about 3 different diets in one. For me, personally, any time you tell me I CAN’T have something, I r ebell. I also dislike the idea of a binge day, mostly because I feel like “rewarding” yourself with food is such a slippery slope for so many people. I have worked for 2 years to reduce my emotional attachment to food, and I really don’t want to give it back that power through denial/indulgence. For me, this is an all-around bad idea. More power to Michael if it works for him though!

    1. I can relate to where you are coming from Nikki, I feel the same way. I will try this for 7 days and see how it goes. I doubt I’ll have a “binge day.” I’m not sure how this will work for me, but only time will tell.

  4. Well – it really isn’t low carb because he emphasizes a lot of lentils if I remember right. It’s just no bread or fruit carbs.

    Personally – I have no desire to give up fruit. I have been doing lower carb, about 100 grams a day, and I still eat fruit and dairy.

    I think the question is, why bother with something you have no desire to continue doing? Although, from a challenge aspect – it could be quite interesting.

    In reading his book, my biggest issue is that of course all of this worked for him because he is younger man. I’d like to see something like this done by a woman in her 40s doing all these experiments.

    1. I can try this for 7 days and see how I feel. Who knows? Maybe my body will like it. Not sure.

      I don’t think there will much of a result with MY weigh ins. I’d like to lose 6 pounds…that’s not exactly going to just melt off me like it would had I done this at 200 pounds…

  5. Lisa,
    Please. if at any point you find yourself going for the foods you already do not have go back on your own plan and discontinue your 4HB experiment. No matter how you mix up the various diets the author has combined in this book to make it ‘his’ – it is still just a different brand of snake oil.
    You already have the tools and the knowledge of what works for your body. If this helps you straighten where you have been getting off kilter – great. If not, don’t let this get you further from a healthy answer.

    Email me anytime if you want to talk.
    Jane~
    Keepingthepoundsoff.com

    1. Thank you Jane! I don’t think I will slip up too much with this. I will only be doing it for 7 days to start, not a month. I can try anything for 7 days. And if I feel like it doesn’t work for me I will go back to what I normally do.

  6. The Four Hour Body diet is nothing more than a calorie-restriction diet in disguise, anyway.

    The list of foods that he gives you makes it pretty hard to achieve a caloric intake that is equal to what you are probably eating now (if you need to lose weight).

    People don’t realize that, if you ate whatever you wanted but matched the number of calories to what Tim’s list forces you to do unwittingly, you’d lose the same amount of weight. You’d have to count calories, but you wouldn’t have to give up all the foods you love.

    The diet that he outlines in his book, the one that allows his friend to eat on $35 a week, if you calculate it out, it’s only 1000 calories a day! That is a severely restrictive diet. Maybe you feel fuller on those foods, but you still have to pass up all the stuff you love. Six of one, half-dozen of the other to me.

    A cheat day where you stuff yourself to the gills? Sorry, I find it hard to buy that that can be good for you. Changing it up and eat a lot (relatively) might be fine, but going to the extent he suggests (making yourself almost sick) makes no sense.

    There’s no magic here, just lower calories. Those who are able to eat 2500 or 3000 calories on this diet don’t lose weight. But of course, Tim doesn’t want you to count calories. Wonder why, huh?

  7. I have not done this diet before.
    2 things I don’t like in this diet that you’ve described is the fruit thing. I think fruit is good and those low in sugar is better. So with that I disagree.
    One day per week – I would rather say one meal per week because one can so add up all the calories you have lost in a week, with one day’s binge eating.

  8. Besides the no fruit it doesn’t sound too bad. I have been on a similar plan and it works. If you follow it for the full week I bet you will loose more then 2 lbs. You will be surprised! The only part that I haven’t seen on a diet like this is the 2 glasses of red wine A DAY! Wow – That is the only part I am unsure of. I look forward to seeing your meal plan and progress this week! Good luck!
    Aleasha recently posted..ummm there is a fish on your dress

  9. I have been on this diet for 6 days and have lost 6 pounds. I thought I would hate it, but so far I don’t. I always get feel full and have a ton of energy. I can’t even sleep in come morning time. I just wake up and want to get going.

    I exercise more than is recommended. 5 days a week at 1or 2 hours each day.

    It is very easy for me. I have never liked fruit that much though so I don’t miss that at all. I don’t have cravings much because I’m always pretty full as you have to eat within an hour of waking and 4 times a day.

    1. That’s great!! Glad you lost weight on it and haven’t suffered.

      I haven’t hated the diet as much as I thought I would. I did however feel tired and lethargic all week. 🙁

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