When I last wrote about my experience with the 4 hour body, I was focused primarily on breakfast and had shed 40 pounds. When eggs weren’t viable or I was simply pressed for time, I found myself falling back on two standby bar based options. By keeping my sugar low the rest of the day, I was able to make do. By request, one year after I started this journey, I’m sharing the rest of my dieting experience, and how I turned it into a lifestyle. I’m still at 200 even (plus or minus 2 pounds). The strength training in a circuit-style continues; I can certainly do more pushups than I ever did before. There’s more muscle around, but the weight has been constant, resulting in me trimming down even further. Looking back over the last year, the three biggest challenges after conquering breakfast were water, eating out, and the free meal I faced every lunch as an employee in Silicon Valley.
The biggest consistent factor that impacted my weight was water. When I drank enough water, I’d see steady progress no matter what I was doing. When I cut the water back, forgot to drink enough for the day, etc I’d see the weight loss stall out really quickly! 8 glasses a day is a good starting point, but for me I just drank until I found myself using the restroom constantly. I then simply keep up that rate of fluid consumption. Usually that results in about 8-12 glasses of water a day.
It seems pretty counter intuitive that the more water you drink the better your results, but your body is incredibly good at disposing of the liquid. Your body is also amazingly good about getting rid of extra waste items as long as you give it a venue to do so. Without water, great results would ultimately be mediocre at best. As an added bonus, you’ll find yourself much better regulated temperature wise and much less whipped when working out.
The Four Hour Body is comfortable with eating out, although pulling a menu apart can be a headache. Having done my share of eating out, here’s some things I’ve found that are pretty safe to make a meal out of while sticking to the plan (no white carbs, no fruit, lots of the same stuff, don’t drink calories, 1 day off a week).
Having standbys for eating out makes it easy if you’re crunched for time or you simply don’t know what you want to get. When friends suggest going out, you can also hold onto these types of places in your head and offer them up. It’s hard to find people that hate all of these foods, even in a group.
LinkedIn provides a catered lunch to its employees- having done the startup thing, it’s a common occurrence to find lunches taken care of. There’s always delicious things, but like a bad buffet line there are also tons of things that would be a bad idea to eat. It would also be terrible to eat them in large plate-full quantities. To regulate my food consumption, I use the following technique:
If there’s enough lettuce and vegetables, there’s no room to put the crap after I add a small bit of lean protein. For anyone who needs to brave a buffet line or other provided lunch, this may be a good technique to hold on to. Allowing yourself a single forkful of something won’t be the end of the world, but the secret is just that. Use a regular fork to take that portion. You can’t possibly take a lot then. Chances are you won’t miss it. When you add a glass of water (one more tick towards those 8-12 you want a day), “free lunch” isn’t a scary time for the diet anymore.
Michael Pollan has a much simpler statement when it comes to making yourself a diet. It’s something I fall back to again and again when I get tired of keeping all the food choices straight in my head.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Everything else is just details.