A different approach to dieting

Jan 18, 2011, 2:36 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

A lot of us started the year thinking we’ll eat better, exercise more, lose weight and get in shape. How’s that working for you? I could be doing better. There are hundreds of diet books and programs to consider, but only one is written by a Silicon Valley investor.

Ferriss What does a tech guy know about health? The angel investor I talked with is Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek, which has been on the New York Times best seller’s list for four years. For his new book, Ferriss studied the body the same way he researches which startups are worth investing in.

“The 4-Hour Workweek was really a guide to minimizing the amount of repetitive work that you do without sacrificing income,” says Ferriss. “The 4-Hour Body takes the same approach of multi-variet testing that I use with startups, like Evernote, and applying that to the human body.”

There’s a 10-minute podcast with Ferriss here . He has some quick, simple ideas that he says will make you instantly more successful with weight loss.

A good starting tip if you’re trying to lose a lot of body fat is to consume 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, Ferriss says. He tested that with “hundreds of people” and the men and women who had a protein shake or even up to three eggs early in the morning lost more weight. 30 grams of protein is likely as much, if not more, than what most of us consume in a day.

Another small change he recommends involves something you might add to your coffee every morning. Cream is fine, but lay off the non-fat milk. While we are trained to look at fat content of foods, what really matters is how the fat acts in our body. He’s down on skim milk.

“Milk, in particular skim milk, is actually very effective at increasing fat storage,” he says. “Replacing it with two tablespoons of cream would be better than milk, or ideally replacing it with cinnamon you can often see an additional two to four pounds of loss per week.”

KettlebellsAnother counter-intuitive suggestion is to hold off on introducing an exercise program until you’re eight weeks into a routine with a new eating program. His research shows, and it makes sense, that we can really only change one habit at a time.

If you’re starting any diet or exercise routine, always best to check with your doctor first. Ferris advises that too in a disclaimer at the front of his book: “Please don’t be stupid and kill yourself. It would make us both unhappy. Consult a doctor before doing anything.”

When you do get into exercise, Ferriss says try kettlebells. He studied a woman, mother of two, who lost more than 100 pounds not by restricting her caloric intake and running marathons but by swinging a Russian kettlebell twice a week for about 15-20 minutes at a time.

Ferriss has advice in his book that is unlike most diet books. He says, for example, if you aren’t losing five pounds per week for at least the first few weeks of a program you’re doing something wrong. Some of his suggestions don’t go over well with main-stream medical experts, but Ferriss is hugely popular in the high-tech community because he’s basically recommending hacking the body, the same way techies hack computers. Everything he suggests, he’s tried on himself, and that includes importing stem-cells from Israel. Did I mention he’s eccentric?

The 4-Hour Body, with a subtitle “An uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss, incredible sex, and becoming superhuman,” is #1 on Times best seller’s list in the “advice” category.

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A different approach to dieting