How I lost 9 pounds in 5 days

By David Crandall
4hb four hour body weight loss

I'm hoping this scale is in kg; if it were in lbs it wouldn't do much for me. (source: austinevan)

Diet Nirvana

Last Monday I started a new diet. My new diet requires

  • no calorie counting
  • no portion control
  • no exercise

In fact, I ate until I was full for most of my meals, often leaving food on my plate that I couldn’t finish. I never made it to the gym (nor do I have any intentions of even trying for quite some time). I also ate out at restaurants with my family and friends without having to choose “special” ones that could cater to some bizarre diet (there ARE modifications, but almost all restaurants can easily cater to this diet).

When I weighed myself Saturday morning, I had lost 9lbs (4.0kg) in just 5 days! I had also lost 2in (5.0cm) around my waist!

To celebrate, I decided to have a big breakfast which consisted of 3 brownies, 2 bowls of Lucky Charms, toast with lots of butter, and a piece of cake from my wife’s baby shower the day before. (I may have had a bit of a sugar rush afterwards.)

I weighed myself today (2 days after that breakfast) and I’ve lost 2 more pounds! That is 11lbs (5.0kg) in just one week!

And did I mention that I’ve felt awesome from about day 3? (Well, minus the aftermath of the sugar high.)

Anyone saying “WTF?” yet?

Fasten your seat belts…time for a quick flashback.

My weight: 165 to 245

Ten years ago, I weighed 165lbs (74.8kg) which was entirely too small for a 6’5″ (196cm) male in his twenties. While the circumstances that surrounded my weight were less than ideal (i.e. I was broke-ass poor), I liked being thin.

However, my magical metabolism died when I turned 28. I don’t know what happened, it just set sail and never even had the decency to say goodbye.

That being said, two years ago when my youngest daughter was born, I was my heaviest at 245lbs (111.1kg). I am not a body builder. All of that weight was fat, fat, and more unhealthy fat (focused mostly on my belly and face…sigh).

Since then, I have fought to drop about 20lbs (9.0kg) through moderating WHAT and HOW MUCH I eat. I have had my good and bad days, but mostly my mindset has been to always leave the table a little hungry. A year ago, I started hitting the gym and went regularly for a few months. With no real change, I stopped that crap (not a fan of the gym…well, sweating in particular).

Two months ago I had gained about half of that weight back. (Ugh!) I had nearly given up thinking that I would ever be as thin again as I wanted.

Which brings me back to the present and that whole “WTF?” factor.

Non-business reading

I’ve been very focused on reading mostly business related material the past year. However, when my brain finally reached the point of needing a hiatus, I decided to go ahead, bite the lifestyle-design bullet, and get Tim Ferriss’s new book The Four Hour Body*.

I read through it quickly (despite his admonition to only read the necessary parts at first). I couldn’t help it, I consume information like other people consume alcohol…quickly and for enjoyment!

The weight loss section was what I most interested in.

In our intentional pursuit of our best life, our physical shape HAS to come into play as a significant factor for consideration. We can’t be unhealthy and have our best life. (I know I’m a guy, but even we can’t compartmentalize THAT much!)

Knowing how following Tim’s advice from the Four Hour Work Week had changed my life, I had full confidence that adopting this diet would yield results.

But honestly, I didn’t think I’d see such big results the first week.

And yes, I’m sure some of you are thinking “That was just water weight”. To be quite honest, I don’t care! Eleven pounds is eleven pounds! And two inches sure does make my pants fit much more comfortably this week than last.

Now on to the details of the diet.

WTF factor: slow carb diet

Two days after buying Tim’s book, I was weighing myself and taking measurements of my biceps, waist, hips (hard to find on a guy, btw), and thighs.

Monday morning, I started the diet the book recommended. Here’s the basic guidelines as I abide by them:

Six days on:

  • No dairy (goodbye milk and cheese)
  • No white starches (bread, rice, cereal, potatoes, etc)
  • No fruit except tomatoes and up to 1 avocado a day (relax, you won’t die or get scurvy)
  • Eat breakfast within the first 30 minutes of waking
  • Drink lots of water (I average about a gallon and a half a day anyways, so this was not hard for me at all)

Binge Day (the seventh day):

  • Eat as much of anything as you want


(Note: It is recommended that you be on the main part of the diet at least 5 days before your binge day; you don’t have to do it 6 days before binging…I didn’t.)

Whatcha eatin’?

Basically, my meals are composed of meat, beans, and vegetables.

I’ve eaten a lot of steak and chicken this past week. I’ve also had eggs for breakfast every day except Saturday (which you saw what I DID eat). I live in Texas; that means that most of that meat was cooked outside on the grill…even though it has been below freezing many nights.

The cool thing is that butter is allowed. The Southern fascination with butter isn’t limited to Paula Dean, we all share it.

Also, spices are allowed, so the meat tasted awesome!

I know lentils are allowed in this category, but I don’t care for them much so I’ve just been eating a ton of beans. I like black beans the most. Viva frijoles negro!

Tip: I use canned beans, but there is one very important step necessary before I’ll even go near them. RINSE THEM! Every morning I open a can of beans and pour them into a colander where I thoroughly rinse them. I hate that nasty, slimy ick that they can them in.

Tim lauds the benefits of spinach in his book so I decided to try and eat as much of it as I could stomach. I quickly decided that my childhood memories of spinach tasting like lawn clippings weren’t far off.


I found that spinach was awesome if prepared this way:

  • 1 part spinach
  • 1 part frozen peas (I’m sure fresh would work, just don’t do canned…eww!)
  • 1 tbsp dried mint (or a few leaves of chopped fresh)
  • Butter (add to your taste…Mmm, sweet delicious butter)
  • Cook in a pan on the stove top until anything frozen is hot enough to make you happy.

The peas sweeten it up a little and the mint gets rid of that heavy taste that spinach has by itself. All the benefits of spinach without that straight-from-the-lawn aftertaste.

For the other vegetables? Stir fry or grilled.

Lots of them.

The rule I ignore

There is one rule of the recommended diet that I just flat out ignore, though I see the wisdom in suggesting it. Tim recommends to eat the same meals over and over again.

If I were still single, I would probably adhere to this rule. I’m not.

I would say that around 75% of the TV watching in my house is the Food Channel. I love cooking and eating a variety of foods. Eating the same thing over and over would not last for me. My three year old daughter even asks to watch Rachael Ray BY NAME!

I can see where this would be a trap for many people but it is not a chore for me to come up with something different within the guidelines each day.

I LOVE COOKING! In fact, I find the experimenting with food combinations to be quite enjoyable and am keeping a list of the recipes I like most. Perhaps I will release them for others on this journey.

The future

I realize a diet status update on day 7 can make many people skeptical. As such, I will be providing periodic updates on the blog of my success as well as frequent updates on my Twitter account @DavidCrandall. (Look for the #4HB hashtag to see others who are participating as well.)

Who else is doing this?

*Click here to check out the Four Hour Body: Click here

  • Me Me! I’m attempting it, but I hate to cook so I’m struggling with sticking with it. And I get sick of EGGS. I was never a big fan, and now it’s the only thing I can think of to eat in the a.m.

    I take mine scrambled in macadamia oil, with a handful of beans (soy,black, whatever) and two tbsp of black bean salsa. Oh and salt.

    But I’m open for new ideas, I get bored way tooo easily! lol Recipe book David? ;D

    • Cool!!! If I get enough people wanting a recipe book, I will seriously consider it. 😀

      I take my eggs scrambled too…and also with a ton of salt. I would say breakfast is the most boring meal since I don’t get up early enough to make it fabulous. 🙁 Have you tried adding spinach to your scrambled eggs for a quickie version of Eggs Florentine? I made mine this morning with black beans and (while it looked nasty!) it tasted good.

      Some days, I really miss cereal for breakfast though.

    • That’d be awesome! As long as they are simple, because I’m
      SO not a chef. lol

      I actually hadn’t even thought of adding spinach! I’ll have
      to pick some up and try it.

      My concoction above looks like slop, but it actually tastes
      pretty damn good.. even my fiance likes it. lol

      But yeah, I feel ya.. sometimes a nice bowl of cinnamon toast
      crunch wouldn’t be remiss. LOL

      I just bought some almonds the other day to try and make
      my own almond butter in my food processor. Wish me luck!


  • As soon as you started your post I knew exactly what diet you were talking about..hahah. As a poor college student, it’s easier said than done – pizza is everywhere, and often the meal of choice of my roommates.

    I’m going on a big shopping spree this weekend, though, and gonna try to get started.

    Any more meal suggestions?

    • Budget is something I am very conscious about as a father of 2 kids (will be 3 any day now). Here are some thoughts:

      Canned beans – You can find these for well under a dollar in the States even in the “fancy” grocery stores. I like Bush’s beans the best but, as I said, rinse them off.
      Frozen spinach – Fresh spinach cooks down SOOOO much that you end up with very little once cooked…which means you spent money on air (Rachael Ray actually recommends buying frozen too). Certainly for the price, frozen is much better. Tip: Add a little bit of water to the pan when cooking so you don’t burn the spinach block.
      Buy for multiple meals – Since you won’t be buying a bunch of junk food (which costs more than we consciously think about), spending $10 on steak that will last 3 meals (which I did last week) is a fantastic deal! Try finding steak ANYWHERE for $3.33 a plate.
      Consciously compare – A pizza costs anywhere from $10 up at most places (Papa Johns is $9.99 for a personal pizza near my house…I delivered for them for 2 years). For $10, you can get enough vegetables to cover multiple meals. However, this has to be something we consciously think about or we’ll rationalize that we ONLY have to spend $10 to eat instead of what the total grocery bill will be…despite how MANY meals it covers.

      I’d love to hear other people’s tips too!! If they’re good, perhaps I’ll add them to the recipe book Cori requested. 😉

    • Good tip on the frozen spinach, I had no idea!

      I also buy frozen beans, usually baby limas and use
      canned too. I’m usually OK with any of the brands,
      even the store brands, but like you said, they gotta be
      rinsed first! lol

      I also get canned organic soybeans (used sparingly because of family
      cancer history) at winn-dixie for like a $1.

      Eggs I buy cage-free and organic when I can. I also buy
      the carton of egg whites, and mix that with just one regular

      Broccoli is a great veggie for “bulk” when you’re hungry,
      and also trims belly fat from what I’ve read.. so I use alot
      of broccoli and cauliflower too.

      I even made some cauliflower “fried rice” the other day that
      was pretty darn tasty. (If you’ve got a food processor, or
      you can do it by hand with a cheese grater.)

      Add some chicken or shrimp for a full meal!

  • Interesting. I haven’t read the book yet. The binge day sure does sound counter-productive, if anything goes. Sounds like a bit of paleo with binging and legumes. I am certainly in need of getting back to a healthy diet. Thanks for the info and motivation!

    • CLYNTON!!! Glad to see you here. 🙂

      Paleo is the first thing I thought of too! I’d have to check the specifics of the research, but apparently the binge day creates a glycemic spike that prevents your body from going into starvation mode and plateauing. (I might be 100% wrong on that, but I think that is what I read. Ha!)

      I’ve found the diet very easy to stick to other than a few habitual desires to snack on unhealthy food. No cheating yet though! 😀

    • Yeah from what I’ve read about Paleo it’s pretty similar.
      And the binge if I recall has something to do with what
      David said, and also your T3 related to your thyroid, to
      keep it from getting sluggish. (Which regulates metabolism.)

    • It is similar to the Paleo because Tim has experimented and discussed the Paleo heavily on his blog before this book came out.

      If you want to drive yourself mad, go spend 30 minutes reading the comments on Tim Ferriss and Robb Wolf’s highly entertaining article about the Paleo Diet – it’s a bunch of dietitians yelling back and forth at each other citing different studies and sources and then proclaiming that the other is a wackjob.

  • Dan

    Love this diet, I’m under 200lbs for the first time in 10 years!!!

    • DUDE! So awesome! I started at 228, so I’m a ways behind you. In just a few more pounds, I’ll be the lightest that my wife has ever seen me. VERY excited about that.

  • Yay David — I remember years ago when I went full throttle on ATkins. That thrill of all that weight lost was awesome. I like this approach better and am so happy for you getting healthier and sharing the journey with your peeps. Your family is all the better for it…as we know we learn from what our parents DO much more than what they say!


    • Thank you for the encouragement! While my desire to be thin is in part a desire to look better, it is more so for the fact of leading my family in a healthy lifestyle. I love that you pointed out that we learn more from our parents’ actions; I hope to teach my babies how to lead healthy lives. 😀

      And yes…there is a bit of a thrill to it, isn’t there. Ha!

  • I’m down about 5 lbs, but haven’t been strict enough with it.

    Getting 2 kids out the door in the morning has made it tough to do breakfast before leaving, and I usually end up caving and grabbing some morning fast food… bad idea.

    • Ooh! Another tip I can offer. This sounds nasty, but it tastes good:

      Scrambled eggs in <3 minutes
      1 Microwavable bowl
      2 Eggs
      Salt & Pepper
      Crack eggs. Scramble in bowl. Microwave 2 minutes. Done.

      Seriously, that has been my breakfast every morning. If you have any leftover beans or spinach, toss it in there. Might have to add 30seconds to the microwave time, but still super fast!

      Warning: Be forewarned that the microwave version of eggs does not allow for the slow dissipation of that egg smell. In other words, they will have a strong smell when you take them out of the microwave.

    • Ew so sounds nasty! LOL But I’ll try it, I’m a microwave
      kinda gal!

    • My wife, who is already nauseous most of the time right now, has to be warned when I do this. Too much of the smell and she’ll lose it. LOL

      I just breath through my mouth.

      Useless fact: “Nauseous” is one of those words that I have to spell check EVERY SINGLE TIME! Strangely enough, I’m bad about “vegetables” too…always want to spell it “vegAtables”. Regarding “nauseous”, I can remember the N and the S…but then try and throw in every vowel: Naueouseiouyouaues (That’s right, right?)

  • I have the book, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet unfortunately, so maybe he covers this, while there are visible positive effects, be mindful of the potentially invisible negative effects if this for example causes strain on your vascular system, specific organs, etc.

    Anyhoo, I lost 18 pounds in a month when on a raw diet, and while that was awesome, it was probably not weight I needed to lose, and that diet was a bit too strict for me 😉 This diet does sound both more restrictive and less depending on what types of food you like.

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  • Love it! Congrats on the weight loss brotha!

    On the complete flip side, the Occam’s Protocol (aka “muscle mass-gaining” portion of the book) is working wonders! I’ve been almost unable to gain weight for the past 5 years, and have added a SOLID 8 lbs to my frame in 3 weeks.

    This book is pure awesome.

  • Congrats David. Interestingly the diet that you mention from the book is how a lot of people here in Thailand eat, minus the rice. Since moving here I’ve lost a lot of the fatty weight even though I am definitely not eating less – the food is tooo good.

    I look forward to seeing more of your progress. Kick ass!

  • I love it!! I read that book too- it is by my bed side. I didnt get drawn to the weight loss- I was caught up in how to ditch my kids other sets of parents so I could be working remotely from Bali!! I am glad that the diet part is working for you- nothing feels better than feeling good in your skin.

  • Man I can so relate. I got married right after I turned 28 last July, came home and started my new business. I’ve gained 45lbs in the past year and I can’t seem to drop it like I could before. Before I could just eat a few PBJ’s only for a week and loose 10lbs. Ain’t happening now.

    I’m about to do a 28 day challenge on the Paleo Diet to get myself back into shape.

    This has got me thinking. Who doesn’t like short cuts!

  • hey! i also devoured 4 Hour Body…well most of it. i was wondering if you’re trying any cold therapy or taking any of the suggested supplements? i am doing the supps, but not slow carb. i tried for a day and remembered why i sore off diets years ago. i might try again for a week…we’ll see. anyway, congrats!!! keep it up….no doubt you’ll keep losing. you need so me before and after pics.

    also- in response to your tweet last week, i don’t really try to drive my traffic to my blog. i really just post a status on fb when i have a new one written. and i’ve been neglecting it. sigh.

    • I’m willing to do the cold press on the back of my neck, but I’m not big on cold showers in the winter. I have a comfort level that I’m just too much of a baby to press past. LOL (I do often take cold showers in the summer, but as you know, the water never gets that cold in Texas in the summer.)

      The diet, while easy, is still a diet. I crave bread and cheese. Tear. However, I will say that the fact that I just bought a pair of pants that are a size I haven’t worn in over 10 years is AWESOME! (So happy)

      And yes, the pants fit comfortably (not tight). LOL

  • I am thinking about doing the same thing. I read an excerpt from Tim Ferris’ blog about Keeping Fecal Matter Out of Your Bloodstream which blew me away.

    Nearly all the starches we eat are grain based and are killing us (& making us fatter too! That’s the #1 cause of death in the U.S.).

    I don’t have the link, but look @ his blog and it will be an easy find.

    Great post David.

    • I read that post when it came out and I have to say that it grossed me out just a bit. I loved it though and thought it raised some really good points.

      Would love to know if you decide to do the diet and if so, what kind of results you see. 🙂

  • OK, I’m curious about a lot about 4-Hour Body, which my library does not yet have, so I haven’t read. Where does your calcium come from? Especially for women, that seems to be an issue, if you’re eliminating all dairy.

    Any ideas?

  • aimi

    Can you please tell the 7 th day’s diet??? please? i know only 6 days

  • aimi

    Oh and i;m a big fan of eggs~ XD how many did you eat David? a day? and also can u give us a sample of what u ate the whole week? are you going to continue this diet?