how to live a better life

Looking back it’s hard to see how the fire started.  It’s hard to tell when exactly the bug was transmitted to the second carrier, or who even concocted the idea in the first place.  Hudson bought the book that started it all on a whim.  Like the rest of us, he had been catching the sight of his own body in the mirror daily with indifference.  He had been carrying all of his weight around under his own clothing every day, sometimes sheepishly, sometimes touting it.  Confidence comes and goes like Hudson’s scarves (I keep borrowing them).  Then one day he saw the 30% off clearance sticker and he just had to buy The 4 Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss.  Why? Hard to say.  That night we passed that book around our living room like it was the next revelation of Joseph Smith.  Timothy Ferriss had found the holy goggles and we wanted to see what he saw.  In the book there are ways to sleep better, eat better, look better, work more efficiently, and have better sex (girls always go straight to that chapter).  While it’s unclear how exactly the spark became a flame, we know it caught on Saturday, January 8th.

While I can’t remember the precise moment when I jumped on the bandwagon, Matt West’s conversion was instantaneous and multiple witnesses can attest to its occurrence.  Hudson, Austin, Ryan, and I were disrobing in our living room and began wrapping a thin white string around each others’ biceps, thighs, necks, chests, and waistlines, taking note of our measurement findings, and Matt sat on the couch, wrapped in a bundle of skepticism.  I don’t need to lose weight, he thought, this is silly; 30 days of nutritional upheaval will never result in a sustained healthy lifestyle.  Health and fitness is a process and it’s about progress.  And binging once a week?  Stupid.  Counter-productive.  He sat there staring at the ground and shaking his head, vocalizing a few of his complaints, while we measured each others’ bodies nearby, grinning and giggling like a gaggle of geese.  Then he saw something in us; maybe it was our camaraderie, and his head-shake became a nod: “I want to look good,” he said, the same way a child might complain about not being able to stay up like his older brother.  Matt erupted up off the couch and took his shirt off with a burst of confidence; it’s surprising his shirt buttons didn’t hit us in the eye.  The flame became a fire.

Tom was easy.  We sent him pictures of our body measuring session while he was in New York seeing Jersey Boys with his girlfriend, Farrell.  Tom had just talked about the week before how he needed a more regimented and healthy life, but ridden with gimmicks and infraction penalties.  This was almost an answer to prayer.  When he walked in the front door the next day he dropped his duffel bag and said, “Alright, how do I measure myself?”  “Take all your clothes off,” Hudson answered.  And Ryan ran to get the string. The entire house was now one body.

Harris, Gu, Will, and Dylan all joined within 24 hours.  It was now a pandemic.  We have all taken pictures of our naked upper bodies for an authentic before and after comparison.  We’ve weighed ourselves.  We’ve all made trips to the grocery store.  And we’ve all thoroughly confused our girlfriends.  It’s called the “Slow-Carb Diet” and here are the requirements and recommendations, taken from Hudson’s initial email.


Alright boys it’s time to make ourselves irresistible to the opposite sex…and men (for Harris). You’re getting this email because you’ve agreed to participate in the four hour body challenge. Here are the requirements:


-No Breads, rice, pastas, potatoes, cereal, and fried foods with breading of any kind. (Exception: if eaten 30 min. after a 30 min. resistance training as defined in our bible, ‘the four hour body’)

– No Fruits, except tomatoes and avocados

– No drinking calories, meaning no juices, sodas, milk, or alcohol. The only exception to this is RED wine: 2 glasses a night.

-You must binge once a week. This binge day must be consistently 7 days apart. You are allowed and encouraged to eat and drink as much bad stuff as you want on this day.

Breaking any of these rules will result in a $5 fine per infraction. The pool of money will be used on our last binge day, to buy stuff that is really unhealthy. (cheese fries, malt liquor, etc.)


In order to enhance the effectiveness of our diet, our savior (Tim Ferris) has provided some non-essential dietary changes. These are:

-Eat lots of protein and hour (preferably 30 min.) after waking. Eggs and meat are a great source.

-Try to eat the same 4 or 5 meals over and over.

– Make your portions bigger. Now that you are getting rid of all of these carbs, you will need to increase your protein and fat intake to stay from getting hungry. Remember, you are allowed to eat as much meat, vegetables, and legumes as you want.

-The less dairy the better. Dairy is allowed but you will see better results with the less you eat.

-Avoid Snacking on nuts if you are hungry. They pack a lot of energy and there is a tendency to over snack with them.

-Drink lots of water

 The challenge begins on 1/10/11 and ends on 2/8/1



You might be shaking your head at us, but remember, to enter into this diet, you must do away with all your conventional nutritional wisdom.  In Timothy Ferriss, we trust.  Say it.

Think you have the will-power to stay sinless on this diet?  Think again.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  On the second day of the diet I went to Chipotle, a safe-haven thanks to the burrito bowl.  I noticed as I spelunked my way to the bottom of my bowl that one of my bites had a carby taste to it.  Rice!  I had forgotten to coolly say to the Mexican rice-scooper, “Hold the rice.”  So, I did my best to circumvent the rice, and I took a picture of my rice-filled bowl at the end of my meal.  I immediately emailed the guys, claimed innocence, but submitted myself to their council.  The house was divided.  For fear of a fallen house I decided to pay the five dollars.


Two days later, as I perused the refrigerator for something to assuage my hunger (being overly hungry is a side-effect to this diet) I spotted my olives.  Green.  Bite-size.  Vegetables, obviously!  I danced as I ate them.  Hudson’s eyes are like a hawk’s.  He instantly shouted accusations and googled olives.  They are a fruit.  They grow on trees and they have seeds.  “But these are pitted,” I claimed.  Apparently, even humor won’t ease the jaws of the law.  Another $5.

Another debate occurred over Harris and Will’s night of debauchery on Friday night.  They claimed they only had to pay $5 for two glasses of whiskey, one beer, and three slices of pizza.  We convened two nights later over a 5 lb. lamb shank to decide their fate.  It was agreed that the rule of $5 per infraction serving was only agreed upon within the walls of our house.  Harris and Will don’t live there.  But, clearly, they should have known that $5 isn’t a one-way ticket to an entire evening of bingeing. If I had to pay $10 for several grains of rice and a handful of olives, they certainly owed more than $5.  After staunch negotiations, we agreed that Harris and WIll would split the cost of the full infraction amount, $35, and I was allowed to gnaw on the lamb shank bone, which was completely unrelated, but delicious all the same.


Hudson is the only participant to have yet to incur an infraction.  What a bastard.

Another essential part of the diet is the resistance workout, which is supposed to be done twice a week (hence the 4-hour body).  Ryan and I went to the gym on Thursday to complete this task.  The best part of this was the neck resistance workout.  All of the other workouts require an immense amount of weight on complicated machinery.  This one just seems to simulate the effects of a really bad day.  We stood there with excruciating looks on our faces in the middle of the gym, counting out-loud and looking like idiots as we did it.  See for yourself.

And then there’s binge day: we had all been scheming and licking our chops all week as we looked forward to Saturday.  Here’s what I ate:

Breakfast: 9:00am – 3 poached eggs and 2 strips of bacon

-11:00am weigh-in: net loss of 1 lb. since beginning of diet.

Lunch: 12:30pm – 1 medium Domino’s pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni, minus 2 slices

-1 can of soda

-2 beers

-1 session of wood-chopping

-1 session of shooting bows and arrows

Snack: 4:30pm – 1 Bloomin’ Onion and 1 order of Cheese Fries from Outback Steakhouse, split 4 ways.

-1 beer

Snack 2: 8:30pm – 1 Washington Wizards plate of nachos (I sat courtside), split 2 ways.

-2 beers at the game (free from the suite; game was an incredible experience, btdub)

Snack 3: 11:00pm – 10 ounces of Whole Foods Jumbalaya soup

Note: I drank tons of water as well.

You do the math.


Now it’s day Tuesday, Day 8.  I’ve stuck to the diet, eating lots of chili, steak, beans, chicken, eggs, and salads.  I have generally had my two glasses of red wine each night.  I have done one resistance workout, played one session of basketball for one and a half hours, gone on one 40-minute run, and I have participated in one counter-intuitive, seemingly destructive and unhealthy binge day.  I weighed myself after breakfast this morning, two and a half days after binge day, and the results are:

I have lost a net of 5 lbs.

Goodbye, love handles.  Hello, incredible body in winter.  …crap.

4 thoughts on “how to live a better life

  1. SO many comments …#1 goodbye love handles, but if your neck grows to jim’s size …. i just don’t know that it’s worth it. besides, you don’t really wrestle OR grapple.#2 are you sure the diet ends on that date? & Google is totally capitalized.#3 you are so manly & protein-filled.

  2. HA I’m glad you’re so willing to part ways with my love handles, yourgirl. btw, isn’t it strange that such an explicitly sexual metaphor is so widely used? I was saying love handles before I had hair on my chest.

  3. Jess, I’ll have you know that I’ve been using the panini grill to grill meat: chicken breast, brats, and smoked sausage so far. What a versatile tool it’s become. All thanks to you.

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