Thursday, December 30, 2010


I have a couple of questions I hope the other folks in the growing 4HB community can answer.

In the 4-Hour Body, Ferris forbids dairy, including cheeses and ferments such as yogurt and kefir. But why? Do they trigger a glucose spike or is it because of the fat content?

Also, while grains are verbotten on 4HB days, are substitutes allowed? What about chick pea flour? Or coconut flour? Are there other non-grain flours that could be used to create substitutions?

I can imagine that as a single person following the 4HB diet would be easy peasy. Even in a partnership shopping, prepping and cooking food on this plan would be easy. However, when you have to cook for a family that includes kids who are normally picky even when it comes to comfort foods is more challenging. Add in the budget constraints that our family has and suddenly coming up with meals that will be filling for us adults and appealing to the 3 and 7 year olds is daunting.

And, then, what happens after the experiment ends? Let's say, in theory, I reach my body recomposition goals, is it then safe to add back in some of the forbidden foods that make eating so pleasureable to me and my family?

I'm curious about other people's diet mods. How strict are other people?

My husband and I are going to be jumping in with both feet on Sunday, making Saturday our family's "Magic Day". This works well for us because we generally do our visiting and eating out on those days and it will be perfect for our main form of entertainment: watching DVDs and eating bowls of ice cream and chips. Until then we are easing into the new foodway by eating as many compliant meals as possible.

Our problem is, though, that we are snackers. Especially me. And while today we actually ate all compliant meals, I also drank an iced green tea, at a Snickers, had a bowl of ice cream for dessert... How the heck am I going to go all compliant all week?!

Any ideas, folks? I'm obviously in need of help.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Breakfast: 4HB Huevos Rancheros and a Recipe

Though we are in holiday mode right now, normally breakfast is a hurried affair. I have to make breakfast for my husband and the little at 7am so that they can be out of the house at 8am. I am not a morning person.

Over the last few months I've generally made oats, most often Scotch and steel cut oats (or Scoats) and then like a sundae bar, there are a number of things to add: cinnamon, shredded coconut, raisins, chocolate chips, various seeds and nuts, etc. Everyone had their own preferences and it was easy to throw a cup of soaked oats into a pot with some milk and let it go while I made lunches and got people dressed.

Now I can't eat grains. And a full fry up is out of the question for a weekday so scrambled eggs and omelettes it is. The easiest of all is Huevos Rancheros style eggs. So yummy!  Whether I can eat that for half of all my breakfast for the next month, six months, year, lifetime... Well, that'll remain to be seen.

I scramble whole double-yoke eggs - two each per adult and one each per child - with a slurp of milk and a good dollop of butter. Over the top I add a tablespoon or two of black beans (though it could be pinto or whatever is on hand) a couple tablespoons of mild salsa and a couple tablespoons of guacamole.

If I had refried beans on hand, I could use them. I could even add some meat like a small handfull of chorizo, pulled pork or shredded chicken.

The key to it all is pre-portioning things like the guacamole, beans and any leftover meats. I use little containers meant for handmade baby food, freeze them and pop them in the microwave while I scramble the eggs up. It couldn't be easier!

Easy Guacamole

2 large, ripe avocadoes
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp sea salt
1 TBSP lemon juice (or the juice of half a lemon, fresh)

Mash all the ingredients together (after peeling and pitting the appropriate parts). Done.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Harajuku Moment

I've been needing to lose some weight and build a little muscle for some time. I have never in my life been what anyone would call "skinny", except maybe for in high school when I actually was quite slim but being a 6 inches or more taller than all the other chicks, I always felt like Sasquatch.

Maybe that's a bad example.


Well, let's just say, I spent most of my life as the fat girl. Or at least the big girl. After the birth of my first son, I started to get bigger. And then, after my second son was born, I got even bigger.

Fucking hormones!

So, yeah. I've been getting fat. And depressed. And drugs don't work.

It's a really horrible cycle: my hormones got messed up due to postpartum depression so I ate more, I got heavier and that messed my hormones up even more, and I got more depressed, and that makes me eat even more.

Fun times!

Even as I lift that beautiful round disk of momentary happiness up to my lips, as I smell the butter but before I taste the delicate sweetness (I LOVE shortbread!) I know I should not eat it. I KNOW I should grab a glass of water or just plain walk away. I KNOW what the effects of that cookie will be. And the other cookie which I will eat an hour later. And the Snicker's bar I will eat 4 hours after that. Ad infinitum.

I know I need to eat differently. But knowing and doing are two different things.

In 4-Hour Body, Ferris describes the Harajuku Moment. It's that moment of epiphany when you feel in every fibre of your body that a change MUST occur. Without that moment, any intellectual decision I may make is wishful thinking. Without my Harajuku moment, I'll never get beyond fantasizing about losing weight.

Luckily, I had my Harajuku moment last week. And that's why I bought Ferris' book when I saw a review of it.

My family goes up north on a pre-Christmas holiday every two years at a time-share. The resort has an indoor pool my husband and sons love to swim in. The last two times my youngest was just a baby - literally four years ago as I was 16 weeks pregnant - and with only one child needing supervising in the pool, I got out of swimming. I like to swim, and I don't. It's kind of boring.

But my little one is 3 now, so no luck this time. We needed both parents on duty in the pool and that meant getting into my swim suit.

Even before I put my suit on, before I discovered the suit barely fit anymore, despite being a plus sized tank top and skirt style suit that hides most flabby flaws, I caught sight of myself in the full-length mirror.

My jaw dropped, I was overtaken by a wave of nausea and I cried. In that order.

I knew I was at my largest, but I hadn't ever seen what that looked like. It was horrible. And not just horrible: it was scary.

It all lined up for me at that moment:
  • I'm back in my largest clothes, size 24, and even they are all getting too tight.
  • My skin is like a teenager's: I have pimples constantly. I'm almost 40 fer crying out loud!
  • I get random ankle and knee pains due to strain.
  • My back aches every morning when I wake up because of the screwed up angle my extra wide hips now create from my knees all the way up to my shoulders making side-sleeping uncomfortable.
  • I eat sugary foods like a crack addict. I have zero self control. 
  • I work with birthing women and am on my feet for upwards of 8 to 12 hrs and sometimes more and my feet hurt so badly, even with specialty shoes, that I could cry. Not good when my job is helping women stay centred during labour. 
  • Stretch marks. Lots of them. They itch when they are new. They won't go away even when I lose weight. 
  • One of the worst things: I just can't enjoy sex anymore. It's tough. Some positions aren't comfortable anymore. I feel self-conscious for time in my life with the man who loves me most and accepts me just the way I am. This is a huge deal in my marriage.
These are the things I need to remedy. I could care less about looking like a model or getting "skinny". I'd be ridiculously happy living in a size 14 body. Looking skeletal has no appeal for me. Or my husband. He's not looking forward to my losing my boobs when I lose the weight. (Tall chicks generally have small boobs when skinny. It's a generalization but it's generally true.)

So, that's my Harajuku moment. That's why I have to do what I'm going to do. And that makes it far more likely that I'm going to have even some success. Though, when I look at the numbers, even small success will be huge!

What's your Harajuku moment?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Is This?

Are you sick and tired of what you look and feel like? Yeah, me, too.

While perusing my usual batch of food bloggers, I came across
this post on How To Cook Like Your Grandmother. Drew reviewed a non-food book that really caught my attention.

The 4-Hour Body looks intriguing. First, while it focuses on making body shape changes, including weight loss, it's not a diet book. It's written by a guy who is previously authored a time management book, or at least, what I understand is a time management book: The 4-Hour Workweek.

Essentially, Ferriss' new book is a collection of best practices regarding loosing weight, increasing muscle, building strength, stamina, restfulness and sexual mastery. It's a big book. And those are a bunch of possibly unrelated things. But the idea behind the book is to read and apply only the things that appeal to your personal goals.

In that way it's more like an encyclopedia. Ferriss himself warns that much of the writing is like the diary of a madman. A madman obsessed with exploring lots of ways to achieve the goals above, using himself as a guinea pig while drawing on lots of interesting, sometimes surprising, science. In the end he is able to show you how to achieve specific measurable goals using actionable formulas.

He debunks the "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" idea that gives lie to the "calories in vs calories out" mantra that dominates virtually all popular, mainstream weight loss programs.

I've just finished working through the introductory chapters and about to start reading through the weight loss stuff, which is right up front.

This blog is going to be a way of tracking my progress and efforts. In the coming days, weeks and months, I'll be addressing my personal goals and motivations, which info I'm using and how it's working for me. I'll track the data using numbers and photos.

I'd love to hear from others who are on similar journeys. I plan on building a list of links to other folks talking about the 4-Hour Body, so please speak up!