5 Questions with New John

Previously in 5 Questions, Dale at Fat Hacker answered question #5 by directing us to New John for a New Year.  In his own words, here is 4HB'er John from New John for a New Year:

5 Questions with New JohnI am a 42-year-old guy living in Garland, TX trying to improve my health.  I've had a weight problem ever since high school and have ranged as high as 260 pounds (twice) on my 6'1" frame.  I add muscle fairly easily when I put my mind to it but have usually found other things to get in the way and quit working out after showing the first results.

To accomplish my goals for improving my health and conditioning I:

1) Eat according to the 4 Hour Body weight loss program (slow carb + cheat days

2) Exercise according to the 4 Hour Body Occam's Protocol regimen

3) Run 2-3 times per week (short and fast on weekdays [1-2 miles with 1/3 to 1/2 of that at a faster pace], long and slow on weekends [5-10 miles at an ugly slow pace]

4) Do mud runs (Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, DFW Mud Run, Jailbreak, etc.) as often as possible

In non-diet-related aspects of my life, I am husband to a wonderful woman who treats me well (though my dieting sometimes drives her crazy).  We have three kids together (6 years, 4 years, and 21 mos.) with two more coming in July.  THESE are the reasons I do this to myself in the first place; I want to be around for them for the long haul and don't want my health to rob me of my years with them.  In less important matters, I work as a Communications Savant for a private financial company.

1)    What goals are you working towards on the 4HB program?

I want to be lean and fit.  Doesn’t everybody?  To me that means:

  • LEAN: I want to get down to somewhere between 185 and 200.  Why the big range?  Because 185 would be really skinny for me . . . and it would require losing a fair amount of muscle to boot.
  • FIT: I want to improve my conditioning.  I completed a 10-mile mud run (the Tough Mudder in Austin in January).  My next goal is to do a half-marathon sometime in 2011.  (Maybe the Hottest Half in Dallas in August —  We’ll see.)  In between, I’ll do more mud runs as I can.

 2)    How is your progress so far, what have you found easy, and what has been your biggest challenge?

I have lost 13.5 pounds, 9 pounds of bodyfat (2.3%), and about 6 total inches so far in 8 weeks.  Not as much as I had hoped but that’s my fault.  I need to be more disciplined about how I eat . . . which leads us to my biggest challenge:  I cheat . . . but not in the good way.

The hardest part is not gaming the program — learning how to add snacks and treats which are technically “allowed” on the diet and abusing the privilege.   Too many Atkins bars and almonds during my low carb days, for example.  I usually try to compensate by doing something else (usually exercising) to make up for my weakness.  It doesn’t often work.

Another difficult part is my diet soda habit.  “Hi, my name’s John and I’m a diet soda junkie.”  I have found this to be the hardest thing to give up . . . so I finally stopped trying to eliminate them altogether and settled for slowing down a bit.  I have found that if I try to give them up completely, I get frustrated and have trouble sticking to the other, more important aspects of the program.  That’s not to say that I don’t do things like increase my water intake or start taking my coffee black — I do — but don’t mess with my diet sodas and we’ll all live through this, ok?

The easiest part of starting the 4 Hour Body program was adapting the Atkins approach I had used before and knew well.  It was a simple matter of (1) adding beans and (2) no longer counting carbs.  The foods were very similar and I did not have to adjust too much in that regard.

3)    What’s one tip that you would share with someone who’s just starting the program?

Cheat Day is important.  You don’t have to go crazy — may people find that they feel worse when they eat too many non-SCD foods — but it IS a vital part of the program.  Don’t skip it but do follow Tim’s advice on minimizing the damage.

If you aren’t sure what his advice was, I have a 4 Hour Body Cheat Day Cheat Sheet that might be helpful. (

A few thoughts on Cheat Days, weighing in, physiology, and psychology:

  1. Practical reason: I weigh myself once per week -- the morning of cheat day prior to eating anything. Why?  Two main reasons: it's been a full week since the last cheat day so my weight loss will (theoretically) be at its maximum and also because, by weighing myself only once per week, I keep my focus on the process and the long-term success rather than the vagaries of day-to-day fluctuations.
  2. Physiological reason: I do take the cheat day.  I have done, really done other diets and programs before and all, without fail, plateaued at some point.  My body wants to be heavier.  It does its best to get there, whether I help or not.  I believe that my body adapts to the new pattern and figures out that, "OK, he's gonna give me this sort of input, if I wanna survive, I have to shift to processing things in 'new way abc' to keep things like I want."  By cheating, I (metaphorically) confuse it and it stops adapting, reasoning that perhaps it was wrong to have identified the new pattern and how best to counteract it.  By tossing it something totally random and out of the new norm every week, I keep it guessing and give the rest of the diet and exercise a better chance to work.
  3. Psychological reason: If I weighed in the day after a cheat day, I feel I'd be undoing the psychological benefits I get from it.  If I thought that my cheat days were wholly undermining my success, I would not be able to continue this program.  Day upon day of nothing but chicken breasts and beans would drive me crazy if there were no hope of relief in sight.  Or, I might come to dread the succor these days provide and felt bad about them.  Stop it.  Enjoy it.  Realize that, yes, it does mean you won't lost 5-10 every week.  Then realize that it also means that you be able to lose 2-4 pounds for a hell of a lot more weeks than you could otherwise stomach such a routine.

Don’t skip it but do follow Tim’s advice on minimizing the damage.

If you aren’t sure what h is advice was, I have a 4 Hour Body Cheat Day Cheat Sheet that might be helpful. (

4)    What is your favourite cheat day food?

That’s easy: ice cream . . . anything chocolate with chunks of stuff in it. =)

5)    Who is another 4HB blogger you think our readers should know about?

 Suzie over at Waist and Taste does a great job of blogging her experience.  Besides sharing her thoughts on what she does, there are pictures of practically everything that goes in her mouth which are accompanied by nutritional breakdowns of the food.

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  • I really have to recommend you speak to your doctor if you’re on Thyroid medication. The causes of thyroid issues are just too varied for us to be able to make a recommendation.

    says pareto on March 30, 2011
  • I am a 60 plus woman in fairly good shape. The only medication I take is 90 mg of Armour Thyroid. Do you think using the PAGG stack would be ok for me?

    says Jan on March 22, 2011

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