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The second "dietitian moment" I had this week was when I learned about a new weight loss plan: the 4-Hour Body Diet. I was at a wedding and someone who was sitting at the same table told me about their experience trying this diet. What is the 4-Hour Body plan? Well first off, the author has created this amazing movie-style trailer that would sell anyone! The program claims: 20 lb weight loss in just 30 days, improved testosterone and sperm counts, increased energy with only two hours of sleep each day and six pack abs with just a six minute workout. The meal plan is similar to any other low-carb or paleo style diet. No carbs, no fruit and limited dairy. What's new about this though is there is one day when you are allowed to eat whatever ever you want and as much as you want. The author, Tim Ferriss has no credentials in nutrition or exercise to substantiate his boastful claims but instead says he was the "guinea pig" and tested the different ideas on his own body. So for those who love studies, when it comes to the 4-Hour Body, n=1. There are some great articles that discuss why the 4-Hour Body is not a good idea and you can read them here, and here. Besides not being based on any sound science and totally unrealistic, if you need another reason not to do something like the 4-Hour Body, it is endorsed by my favorite TV doctor, Dr. Oz which should speak volumes enough. So back to my encounter at the wedding, I asked the person telling me about the diet how they did and they said, "Great, I lost 5 lbs." They also said that they stopped the diet because they got sick of eating so much meat and ended up craving more fruits and carbs.
One week and two more examples of our quick-fix mentality about weight loss. As we focus on the scale and obsess about our bodies, we lose sight of the fact that improving our health takes work. Getting healthy is not about the number on the scale or about your dress size or about how big your biceps are. It takes effort. It takes a commitment to self-exploration. Improving your health is about learning how to deal with your emotions without food. Its about moving your body not just to sweat or to build muscles, but because movement helps relieve stress and because you feel better about yourself after a workout.
If you want to lose 20 lbs in 30 days go for it. If 10 minutes on a vibrating machine sounds fun to you, have at it. Once you get tired of your no-carb, no fruit, high protein diet with one day to "pig out" and once you realize that our rattling innards have had enough, call me. I'll be here, waiting to help you on the journey to improved health. No gimmicks, no promises of quick fixes. Just an honest conversation about food, exercise and your health.