It’s Day 2 with The 4 Hour Body (Part 1 here), and everywhere I look, Tim Ferriss is popping up. Tonight, there was a segment on Nightline (ABC) about the book. I also came across another video interview on ZenHabits, and a fascinating interview with 37Signals about how he used their products to organize the book’s creation. Almost every interview I have come across has highlighted a different part of the book, and it’s incredible the amount of information Tim Ferriss can pull out of his head when asked a question. The other thing of interest about all of these interviews and promotional materials is that it was all planned out very thoroughly.
Tim Ferriss wrote about the challenges he was going to face with the release of this book: the holiday season competition, competing against The Guiness Book of World Records, and the lack of traditional media coverage that he otherwise may have received if the book had been published earlier or later (read about it at The Huffington Post). In order to drive up the sales heading into the new year (“New Year, New You” as he puts it), he was going to have to do things differently.
Being Different is much a motto for Timothy Ferris as Think Different was for Apple.
I was blown away with the buildup to this book launch: the NYC party, the $4,000,000 in giveaways, and constant drum beating of buy 3+ copies and get special gifts. This does not include the contest that was held earlier in the year to find the best advertisements to put across the web – graphic or textual. Currently, there is a contest for the person that promotes the book the best this week. This is all a new experience for me as this is the first major book launch that I have pre-ordered and have followed the buildup from announcement to launch. It has been an all-out blitzkrieg of promotion, media, rocking YouTube videos, and more.
I was thinking of all this when I started to get into the meat of the first third of the book: the diet section.
No “Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” Slogans Here
As I mentioned in the first part of this review, the diet Ferriss suggests, The Slow-Carb Diet, is a modification of the paleo/Primal diet that I have been following for the last half of this year. Outlined in five simple rules, this is a diet that takes some adjustments to be successful at. With the first rule being “Avoid ‘White’ Carbohydrates,” it is most likely the toughest rule to get over. Majority of the cultures of the world feast on breads or grains of some form (tortillas, naan, rice, etc) and our world is full of various offerings that are too easy to go for (crackers, chips, cookies). Even for me, someone who does not indulge in a lot of sweets, it was a slow process of cutting down to one piece of toast in the morning instead of two, and cutting down on the amount of rice at night with a stir-fry. Eventually, I did get there. Another part that may be difficult to get around is the lack of fruit in the diet. This is a common thing with the paleo/primal diets, but is even more against the grain than eliminating grains is (pun intended).
Once you have cleaned up your system, you will start to be acutely aware of how sensitive your body is to certain foods. It seems to me that our body adapts and accepts some of the bad things we eat as normal, so when the body stops receiving those items, there is a period of re-adjustment back to a clean slate. Once that item hits your stomach again, watch out. At first, I noticed this effect with milk and other dairy products. My stomach was almost always upset after I even had a few slices of cheese. If I had eaten an ice cream cone as a treat, it made me suffer through the night until it had all been eliminated. Now, I’ve become more aware of the effects of bread and other carbohydrates on my system. I can almost predict when I will have a sugar crash if I treat myself to a chocolate bar.
Ferriss uses the phrase “the devil is in the details,” in a title of a section about the effects of cold temperatures to the body, and more specifically, burning off fat. I think the phrase applies aptly to the majority of the diet section, because the smallest things really do matter the most. Whether it is the foods you cut out of your diet, or the supplements you take, or following a regime of cold treatments or standardized eating times, they all add up to major improvements. As he states in his promotional video above: 2.5% effort for 95% of the results.
All that being said, the two combine into an overwhelming force. When you are faced with a blitzkrieg of small details that truly do matter, it can be tough to take it all in. Some of the paragraphs about the various supplements are daunting to myself to comprehend at times, and I think the book’s primary strength (so far) is when the information is laid out in an easy to read, comprehensible style. If the book was completely a reference guidebook, some of the meatier sections would be fine, but the combination of the two give the book a different feel compared to most.
He does recommend skipping certain sections in order to get the most valuable information in and not get too overwhelmed. It was a recommendation I did not listen to at the start, but I might follow through with it during the sections when it gets biology/chemistry heavy.
As for implementing the suggestions for a Slow-Carb Diet, I am in the planning stages of a transition. I am not one for jumping into things without some guidelines and a clear plan. Ferriss suggests starting with a change with the breakfast meal, as it will have the biggest impact on your goals overall. In the summer months, I was eating a lot more eggs than I am now, and that is when I had the biggest weight loss. Needless to say, I bought two dozen last night to get me jump started again. The rest of the cupboard space is getting cleaned out and restocked this coming weekend to take the Slow-Carb Diet head-on. I am looking forward to exploring beans and other legumes again, as that was a restriction that the Primal Blueprint advised against.
The Muscle section is coming up now. A new section to read and plan for; and surely, by the time I finish it, I will have come across several more interviews and promotions.
I compiled some resources for people to get a jump start following a 4 Hour Body or Primal Lifestyle. I personally switch between a 30 pound and 40 pound kettle bell depending on the exercise (I prefer to do more one-arm kettlebell swings then the two-arm). The Primal Blueprint Recipe Book is real tasty and easy to prepare, and the DVD was useful for me in the start of my program. I hope you find these useful: