4HB Stalling out, changing course

As I have mentioned before, Ii have been following the diet and exercise regime as laid out in Tim Ferris’s The Four Hour Body.  The slow carb diet  implies that you can lose 20 pounds in 30 days.  Over the month of February I lost 5 pounds, going from 200 pounds to 195.  It wasn’t as fast as claimed, but the weight loss was consistently going down, so I figured I would stick with it.  The other factor I was supposed to track was my gut’s measurements (this is actually more important than the bathroom scale weight), which has stayed consistently at 39″. 

In March, the weight loss just stalled out.  On the weigh-in day/binge day morning, I would be at 195.  At the end of the day, I would be back up at 197 or 198.  It would then take the rest of the week to  get back down to 195.  My overall weight had stopped decreasing for 4 weeks now.  If my gut was decreasing, I would be ok with this, as that would mean that I’m adding muscle mass as I’m supposed to doing the Occam’s Protocol workouts.

As always in times of crisis, I turned to the Internet.  I found a forum called fourhourpeople.com where they discuss their workouts, menus, and progress.  I soon learned that the Slow Carb Diet and the Occam’s Protocol/Feeding were actually two separate programs.  They have overlap on the diet, but are two separate approaches.

One big change is that with  Occam’s feeding, you are to consume large quantities of calories and protein.  Then, instead of a binge day, you have a reverse binge day with reduced calories.  The exercises rely on an increased amount of calories and protein to work, followed by a day of reduced calories.  Slow carb relies on an influx of simple carbohydrates once a week to “kick-start” your metabolism.  By doing the exercises and the binge day together, I could very well be slowing down the results of both programs.

The Occam’s Protocol/Feeding section of the book is rather poorly written.  Throughout the book, Tim focuses on “simple to follow” plans, stating the complicated will fail.  The Occam-related chapters, however, spread important facts out everywhere in paragraph form.  By reading other people’s reviews and summaries of the chapter, I was able to go back and pick out the important details, but it took some searching.  Here is the best guide to Occam’s Protocol/Feeding I have been able to find: http://wiki.dandascalescu.com/summaries/tim_ferriss_-_the_4-hour_body/from_geek_to_freak_-_gaining_muscle#Preparation

The slow-carb diet is much easier to explain and follow, with clearly spelled out rules:

So I have been trying to decide how I want to proceed.  Do  I switch over to Occam to build muscle mass?  In theory, doing so will also accelerate fat loss as muscles burn more fat and calories than no muscles.  So switching to Occam, if it works, should “re-shape” my body.  Also, gaining muscle is my ultimate goal, as I want to get back into shape.  Ideally i would build my body back up, lose weight, and then start into a running program. However, despite success stories on Four Hour Body, the back of my mind is also worried that it will just make me fatter (Occam’s feeding adds starches back into meals), which I would then have to work even harder to lose.

If I go completely and only into the Slow-Carb diet for a month, I should see some dramatic weight loss.  This would be the easier, safer approach with easily confirmed results.  If I lose the weight, I would feel better about gaining weight under Occam’s, knowing that I can lose it again.

For this week and possibly next, I’m going to “fall back” to only the slow-carb diet as I do some more research and try and figure out what I want to do.