5 Questions with New Sue for You

In our last 5 Questions, Jeremy from Fit & Healthy Living answered question #5 by telling us to visit New Sue For You. In her own words, here is Four Hour Body fan Sue:

Pareto Nutrition talks to New Sue For You

My name is Sue, and I live in Belmont, California. I am a 41-year-old mother of two little boys, aged 5.5 and 2.5. I met my husband in 1995 in graduate school, and was in terrific shape - I enjoyed dancing, roller blading, lifting weights, cycling and back in high school and college I swam competitively. When we met, I weighed 145 pounds and worked out nearly every day, in addition to cooking healthy food nearly every meal for myself (and eating small amounts). We were married in 2000 and we were having a ball, eating dinner out a lot and enjoying ourselves. 

I had gained 30 pounds by the time my eldest son was born in 2005. I gained another 58 pounds in my first pregnancy, lost the pregnancy weight, and then gained nearly all of it back in my second pregnancy. After I finished nursing, I started a manic exercise program and managed to lose some weight over about 6 months, exercising 5 days a week for an hour a day on an elliptical trainer at the gym at 6 AM every day. I plateaued at 191, despite all the exercise - I took a break in July 2010 and never got back on the elliptical, and got up to 203 again. 

I read Tim Ferriss' "The Four Hour Body" in December 2010, on the plane back from Christmas holiday with family. My Harajuku moment had hit me like a ton of bricks the night before I opened the book, and I started the program on January 1, 2011. Amazing serendipity. I weighed 203.4 pounds, and had a body fat % of over 48% (based on a DEXA scan the first week).

I have been on the Slow Carb Diet for about three and a half months, have lost more than 20 pounds and feel great. I take a very analytical approach, and love watching my progress through the graphs and reports I have generated. I am also an active member of "The Four Hour Body" group on Daily Burn, where I have met some incredibly motivating people in this community, who keep me going every day.

1) What goals am I working towards on the 4HB program?

My Qualitative goals: 

I am motivated to be a healthy role model and inspiration for my kids. My 5-year old asks me whether things are "on my diet" and whether "today is cheat day." It is so cute, and I am so excited as I get more fit and have so much more energy to play with them. I also really want to undo the "bait and switch" that I pulled on my husband. I want to feel less like a sausage. I want to look good -- no fabulous -- in my clothes. I want to live a long and rewarding life.  I have been fit before, and I know how amazing it feels. I have been horribly unfit, and no food is worth that feeling.

My Quantitative Goals:

I want to get to 145 pounds, which is a magic number for a lot of reasons.

·         First, it is the number on my drivers license - I did not feel like calling the DMV and saying "yeah, I have porked up a great deal since I moved here to California, could we get that updated on my license?"

·         Two, it was the weight at which I met my husband, and that is the girl he fell in love with. Not that he would say a word about that to me - but it is not fair to him or to me for that matter.

·         Three, 145 at my height (5' 4") would yield a BMI of 24.9, which is at the very high end of the "normal" segment. I have been obese for so long, kidding myself that I am "big boned" or have an "athletic build."

·         Four, at 145, with some moderate lean mass increase from where I am now with the light running and elliptical training I am doing, I would estimate I would get to about 22.8% body fat %, in the middle of the "fitness" band.

Once I get there, I will re-evaluate, probably do more weight training, get into dance again or yoga or something else for toning and shaping my body. I am not settling for good enough - I want to be hot, I want to be proud of how I look in a swimsuit and have hubby excited to get all dressed up to go out. I want to wear FUN clothes and look great in them. Oh wait - that is qualitative again… 

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

106 days into the program, I have:

·         Lost 20.4 pounds (23.1 pounds of fat, and up 2.7 pounds of lean mass)

·         Reduced my "total inches" (every one calculates this differently, I add up my waist at the navel, my hips at the hip bone, both thighs at the widest point, and both arms at the center of the bicep muscle) by 15.25 inches.  That's 3.5" from my waist and 5" from my hips.

·         Reduced my body fat from 48.8% to 41.7% (that is 7.2% for those keeping track at home).

·         Reduced my Body-Mass Index from 34.9 to 31.4.

·         Met a whole lot of people in the Four Hour Body community and gotten support when I need it, and motivated others to achieve their goals.

·         Regained the confidence I lost years ago when I no longer recognized the woman looking back at me in the mirror. I am not there yet, but I know I can do this. I am back in control.

·         Coined my battle cry, which is YAHHHHHHHH! Try it, it works!

What is easy for me? Making a pile of food on Sundays - 6 pounds of chicken, 4 pounds of ground turkey sausage (with my own seasoning mixture), 3 pounds of beef chili or steak, black beans and pureed lentils, and stocking up on frozen broccoli, spinach, peas and green beans and also no sugar salsa and other sauces and spices. Put it all, cooked and cubed up, in the fridge in Rubbermaid containers so I don't have to think the rest of the week. Oh, and counting down to my cheat day on Saturdays, where I go nuts ever week. The bigger the day, the better my next week loss. I LOVE this program.

My biggest challenge is just being patient and letting the program work. It does work. I want to see faster progress, but I know I will get there. I have never stayed with a program this long - the cheat day and straightforward rules are the keys. When I did Atkins years ago, I did lose 40 pounds fast, but one cannot stay in ketosis forever. Once I got out of ketosis, I gained again - and with no "valve" once a week to go nuts and not be so strict. Not a sustainable thing. With Nutrisystem, I was able to lose 20 pounds, but could not eat out and was tied to food I had to purchase - again, not sustainable. The cheat day is wonderful, and makes it possible to be so good the other 6 days a week. Another tough thing is when I have to travel – I find that only eating the meat and vegetables works for not losing progress on a 5 day conference. Then back to SCD when I get home.

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

I know you asked for one - but here's a whole bunch for you. A local friend saw my progress and was lamenting how she had gained a lot of weight suddenly and asked me about what I was doing. She bought the book the next day and is down 7 pounds about 10 days into the program. The things I told her were:

·         Read the SCD chapters several times, especially in the first few weeks as you are learning the program.

·         Follow the rules, don't try to game it.

·         Once you see how your body reacts, then you can begin to experiment - until then, stick with the 10 years of work Tim put into it and go with that.

·         Give it time. I can still have several great weeks in a row even this far into it, and some weeks are slower.

·         Measure your inches, and get a baseline blood work done and measure your body fat % (either something like a DEXA scan, or get a bioimpedence scale and use the average of the last 7 days to smooth the volatility). It is not all about the scale - my progress is like an inch worm, one week it is a lot of weight loss, the next week it is less, but inches fall off, and the next week the body fat % comes down. Remember progress is NOT linear. It goes in spurts.

·         Things that make a difference for me include:

o    Drink a LOT of water - I aim for at least 4 liters per day (carry a water bottle around with you and keep refilling it to keep from going broke)

o    Stay completely away from artificial sweeteners. You don't need them.

o    Drink tea - like yerba maté, green tea with kombucha, plain green tea. I drink coffee occasionally, but really prefer it with milk and sugar so I keep it mostly to cheat day

o    Take supplements - I use the PAGG stack as directed, also use Maximum Greens (from GNC).

o    Taking Cissus on cheat days before meals - I don't do the other damage control items, mainly because I cannot remember them all. I don't mind the weight gain on the day after cheat day as I know it will be gone by Wednesday.

o    Don’t be afraid to go crazy on cheat day. The weight will come off. Your carb cravings that are so strong on cheat day will be gone as soon as you get back on the SCD on Sunday. Trust the program.

o    Ice my upper back - I did a lot of this in the beginning and it not only seems to make a difference, it also feels darn good if you hold your stress in your upper back like I do.

o    Exercise was huge - initially I took Tim's "you don't have to exercise to lose weight." While he is right, for me, it totally helps to break plateaus and move progress along. As I said earlier, I am really impatient and prefer quick progress.

o    Get support - come on over to Daily Burn and check out "The Four Hour Body" motivational group, get friends to join in. Participate. Ask questions and join in the discussion.

4) What is your favorite cheat day food?

That's not easy. It is a tie between a huge stack of chocolate chip pancakes made by my husband and enjoyed with the kids, and 3 India Pale Ale beers from our local brew pub. Oh, and possibly a piece of that frozen carrot cake that is in my freezer. 

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

I really like NewJohn, he is definitely my favorite. I also like the Four Hour Couple - I know you have already interviewed both. I have not had a lot of time to go and poke around out there, and I know there are a lot of good ones. I am new to this whole blogging thing, but am sure having fun with it.  

I like this blog 365daystoanewme, she started on 4HB in April, but has spent the last year blogging on her weight loss journey. Lots of progress pictures, she has done really well, has amazing motivation and will power and I am sure will show great results on 4 HB as well.

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  • Hi I wanted to know if I have to take the PAGG, because I have high blood pressure and usually the green tea raises it. Will i still lose without the PAGG

    says rosanna on June 17, 2011
  • Listen to Sue – she has ROCKED this program. Come and read he advice on Daily Burn. Way to go Sue, you are an inspiration to all of us. I think it goes something like this, YAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY

    says last_time on May 10, 2011
  • Thanks for the compliment, Sue. =)

    Listen to her folks . . . she knows what she’s talking about.

    The only thing I would add is take Tim’s recommendation about experimenting seriously. Keep tweaking the hacks until you find the right fit for you.

    Cheers and work strong,

    New John

    PS: If you haven’t already , you might consider interviewing Aaron over at for your next 5 Questions.

    says New John on May 10, 2011

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