I feel that I need to preface this post with a disclaimer: I’m not one for dieting, and never have been. I can honestly say that I’ve never counted calories for a day, other than very roughly, let alone tracked my calorie intake for even a week! But then I read The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss and learnt about his slow-carb diet and saw the results people were getting with this. I will cover the basics behind this diet in this post so that you can develop your own 4-Hour Body Diet plan.

What Sort of Results Can I Expect?

The results that you can expect from this diet are supposed to be relatively effortless weight loss, meaning you can lose weight with little or no exercise. The high protein/low carbohydrate ratio of the diet is geared to get you to a lower body fat percentage, which will make you look leaner and fitter simply due to the loss of fat resulting in a more defined look to your existing underlying muscle.

There are a heap of people who have had positive results from following this diet, their stories are outlined in the book as well as online if you feel like going for a bit of a google.

The Perks

The best thing about this ‘diet’? You can eat as much as you want, and there is no calorie counting involved whatsoever! I would describe it as flexible (in a sense) and simple.

Oh, and my favorite part – the once-a-week binge day that is not just recommended, it is mandatory. Craving that deliciously rich double-choc mud cake? How about another serve of deep fried wedges slathered in sweet chili and sour cream? On cheat day everything is free game. Eat your heart out.

Cheat day
Cheat day is a no-holds barred, eat-your-heart-out day of gorging where you can fulfill all your cravings from the previous week. I am OK with this.

The Rules

#1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates

#2: Eat the same meals over and over again. Each meal should consist of Protein, Legumes and Vegetables

#3: Don’t drink calories

#4: Cut out eating fruit (the sugary kind)

#5: (My personal favorite!) Take a cheat day each week

The Downsides

Okay, so it is a ‘diet’ after all, which means there are restrictions. In his book Tim says it straight up – the diet is designed to be effective first of all, not meant to be fun (though of course the cheat days are pretty fun if you ask my opinion).

Anyway, basically you have to prepare yourself for the fact that you’ll be eating the same meals over and over again, which can get a bit boring if you let it. I say ‘if you let it’ because with a little effort you can always spice things up in a different way to create a bit of variety.

The positive out of this downside is that food preparation can become super efficient. I like to cook in bulk and only have to prep food maybe twice a week which saves me at least 5 hours a week where I used to be cooking a different meal every night and get caught up in the kitchen… so an extra 5 hours spare time is not bad!

I’m not sure how this would go if you had to provide food for family members, if they would join you on the slow carb diet or not (if you had kids). To me it seems like more of a singles diet, but I’m sure you could just as easily implement it with a willing partner as well.

The Food

Each meal should be built by including foods from 3 different groups – Protein, Legumes and Vegetables. A few choices from each of these are listed below that you can mix and match from:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Chicken breast/thigh
  • Beef (preferably grass-fed)
  • Pork
  • Tempeh*
  • Tofu*

* Being a quasi-vegetarian and all-around animal lover, these are my additions to the diet for this category. I also would recommend to go cage-free, stall-free, organic or free-range where possible with all animal products, not only is it closer to being cruelty-free but the less chemicals in your food, the better. <End vegetarian activist plug :)>beans

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Assorted beans (kidney, pinto, navy, red, black, soy, etc)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Asparagus
  • Mixed Vegetables (pumpkins, capsicums, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, green beans etc)

So What Kind of “White” Starchy Stuff is Not Allowed?

You want to avoid any kind of starchy carbohydrate that is generally ‘white’ in color. Note, this coloring system is just a rough guide to help it stick in your memory. In addition to the list below that the 4 Hour Body recommends, I would personally recommend staying clear of any kinds of processed food as much as possible.

  • Potatoes
  • Rice (even brown)
  • All breads (even wholemeal)
  • Grains
  • Tortillas/wraps
  • Fried foods with batter/breading/crumbing
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Milk products (not starchy but it is advised to avoid dairy products with the exception of cottage cheese.)

And Your Final Step: The Plan

As you’ll be eating a few of the same type of meal and simply repeating this, I’ve developed a few options below that you can pick and choose from. Personally I am a vegetarian, so all of my options do not contain any meat, but I have made some guesses about meat based meals (remembering what I can about how meat tastes from when I used to eat it!).


Scrambled eggs, lentils/chickpeas/beans, spinach, tomatoes


Burrito bowl: Chicken or beef mince, beans, salsa, corn, capsicums, tomatoes, cabbage

Mixed vegetable salad: Pumpkin, sundried tomatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, tempeh, beans

Traditional meal: Chicken/fish/pork/steak, side of steamed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beans), bean mash

Bean mash: A mashed potato substitute – mash any white beans (e.g. cannelloni) with steamed cauliflower, season with butter, salt, garlic or onion poweder and pepper and add some water to bring it to the desired consistency

Stir-fry: Stir-fried mixed vegetables with chicken, beef or pork strips

Curry: Mixed vegetable curries with chicken or beef, instead of eating these with rice substitute with a bed of cooked lentils





4-Hour Body Diet Plan – The Simplest Diet Ever?
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8 thoughts on “4-Hour Body Diet Plan – The Simplest Diet Ever?

  • November 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I had a friend that went on a diet very similar to this and had excellent results. I didn’t see him for awhile, and when we met again, he had gained most of his weight back. He admitted he had too difficult of a time staying off the starchy foods. So, it’s obvious to me that it works. I wonder if you have to stay on this or at least a modified version of this to keep the weight off. Have you heard any information about that?

    • November 2, 2014 at 11:26 am

      Hi Margot, I agree that it may be difficult to implement this diet long-term, as it does reduce your food choices!
      It may be possible to modify the diet to incorporate a small amount of starchy foods if you wanted to be flexible. I’m sure that limiting the amount of those kind of foods rather than cutting them out completely could still get you results – the main thing you want to do is reduce insulin spikes as this causes your body to store fat, so perhaps eating other specific foods in conjunction with your starchy carbohydrates may lessen the glucose release which is brought about… I’ll have to do a bit more research on this and get back to you, thanks for the great question!

      • November 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm

        I have this book as well and is a good read. I haven’t read this chapter in great detail as I do like my food. I’m lucky with my metabolism, and exercise a lot. Hooray cheat day!

        The best time to eat those carbs are either in the morning, after your night long fast, hence break(ing the)fast, or after a good hard workout

        • November 3, 2014 at 10:07 am

          Hey Vince, I’m glad you liked the book too. I really found it interesting even for the parts where I didn’t agree with all aspects that were presented. Thanks for the tip about timing carb intake – It makes sense if you’re going to binge on carbs to do it after a good workout when your body can actually use them!

  • November 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Jolie. I am always on the look out for a good diet. The 4 hour body sounds like a diet that I might actually enjoy. Thanks for including your meal suggestions, I see lot of possibilities so I wont get bored. I’ll check back in with you in a few and let you know how it goes. Great article. ~Jeremy

    • November 3, 2014 at 11:36 am

      Hey Jeremy, I like to think it’s good for lazy people, as you can just cook in bulk if you like since most meals you do might be pretty similar.

      Actually I just finished eating my scrambled egg, bean and mixed vegetables dinner, and it was not bad!

      I think with a bit of imagination it’s easy to keep it interesting, especially if you work with spices and seasonings you can transform the same meal into a totally different taste. Look forward to hearing how you go with it, good luck!

  • November 19, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Great post, Jolie!
    I have never heard before about this diet but I’m glad to see that I’m doing things quite well and, in fact, I can assure then that this approach works because I’ve been following what you call in the post “the rules” without knowing and it is the thing that helped me to lose a lot of pounds when I changed my lifestyle. I keep following these general rules and I keep the weight without struggling (even eating -from time to time- unhealthy stuff).

    • November 19, 2015 at 11:53 pm

      That’s awesome that you’ve seen actual results from this kind of eating plan Luz! I followed it strictly for a few weeks but for everyday living I’ve found it’s a little easier to just incorporate most of the main points. I’ll still eat some bread every now and then – can’t resist! But I do like the high-protein, low carb idea. It definitely works!


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