4-Hour Body – 10 tips for Newbies



This is for my mom and my sister. After seeing me at my birthday party and how amazing I look (my Mom’s words – thank you mommers!), they have both decided to give the The 4-Hour Body way of eating a try. My mom needs more fiber than the average bear. My sister HATES beans and trying new things ;-) So I thought I would help them out a bit by telling them exactly what they needed, what they didn’t, how to cope, how to cheat, and in turn how to lose all the body fat they want! I thought some of you might be interested in this to so, now it’s a blog post…

1. The first step is to forget everything you know about diet and exercise and go get yourself a copy of the 4-Hour Body. Treat it like an experiment. One day at a time then one week at a time. It gets easier. I swear you will not miss some of those carbs by week two. Promise.

2. Let go of expectations from your own history, experience and even from what Tim says in 4HB. Just let it go and keep on with your new eating experiment. For women over 40 with children especially, know that the real progress may not happen until week 5 or 6 and it might not be able to be seen on the scale. Men, you lucky ducks, you’ll drop weight like you simply asked it to come off.

3. Speaking of scales, get your body fat measured by someone, somewhere. I took all my measurements except for that. I wish I had known what I was before starting because it would have made my 14.5% body fat EVEN sweeter. Chart your course, but please don’t obsess about it.

4. Pick a few meals, I think two days worth is the magic number and just eat those. Learn to make them so you love them. Trying to figure out what to eat a half hour before you are super hungry will not help you succeed.

This is our basic meal rotation:


Scrambled eggs with black beans and salsa

Salad with grilled chicken, cajun white fish, or tuna and chickpeas or pinto beans

Southwest Turkey Chili

Grilled chicken in bib lettuce sandwiches

Stir fry chicken or steak

Taco Salad &  Salsa Chicken

With all of these I make the meat a flavor that we love with tons of fresh veggies, then I add beans where I can for more protein. I need to LOVE my food, because well, I love food. This way of eating wouldn’t work if I didn’t find meals I really enjoyed.

5. To my sister the bean hater: the beans I find least offensive, because I’m not a huge fan either, are black beans, kidney and pinto beans. Start with those then add some more. I’m still trying to work on a recipe to use lentils. I do not love.

6. If you’re not used to eating beans – I wasn’t…get the beans in a can. Get organic if possible and remember to rinse before you eat them.

7. If you’re still hungry eat another meal, or grab a hard boiled egg. Don’t reach for peanuts or almonds. That was my downfall the first week or two and the reason I didn’t see more results.

8. Wait a bit to start exercising. See some results from just the diet first. I started on week four. I do kettlebell swings and lifts with 6 minute abs and the exercises he set out for Fleur on pg 168 – Flying dogs and glute raises. I also just started a yoga class 1x per week. That’s about it. I have an appointment with a personal trainer on Monday. She is designing a full body program for me that I can incorporate into my busy life, for life.

9. You don’t have eat until you get sick on cheat day! The first two cheat days were great. The next two made me feel sick. So I am not a binge kinda cheat day person. I just go back to the way I used to eat and eat the food I miss like bananas and egg sandwiches with cheese and pasta. Oh and cookies :-) But that’s just me. You may like a huge pig out.

10. You don’t have to do ALL of 4HB to get results. I am not a bachelor cooking for myself with no one else depending on me, not that there’s anything wrong with that ;-) But that is what Tim Ferris is and what many of the people experimenting with this way of eating are. I have three children and a husband, and I work from home part time. I also don’t do supplements because I am still nursing. I don’t have time for ice baths and such I can barely get a shower in most days :-)

Give it a go. Follow it to the letter, make adjustments, whatever. What have you got to lose – except some body fat that you didn’t really want anyway right? In a short six weeks or so you’re not going to believe the way your body looks.

What other tips do YOU have for them?


Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate Link above.

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  1. Andrea /

    Thanks for posting! Like your sister, I detest beans…don’t know why but only will eat Soybeans (edamame). so that’s a bit of problem…unless I can hide them in a smoothie…

    other question I have is whre to test for BodyFat…I can got to a gym, I suppose, though I don’t have time to sign up for one. AND i REALLY don’ t want to know my body ft %!!

    So Happy for you Sharon, AND Impressed with your efforts and ability to stick to it. I will try to do the egg recipes first…I am a CARB eater, so this may be hard………..

    • I never ate beans until last year. Try the Turkey Chili recipe I have on here. My sister will eat it! After that I figured I would investigate the beans – and really not that bad I quite like pinto beans. Give it a try :-)
      Thanks for commenting!!

  2. Julie /

    I “hide” pureed beans in lots of things…. vegetable casseroles, mixed with ground meat to make burgers or with canned tuna to make fried fish cakes. I put hide in quotes because both hubby and I know they’re there, but they seem a bit more tolerable when they’re hidden.

    • I LOVE this! Sometimes the mere thought of a bean makes me not want to eat. But if I couldn’t see it…

  3. Laura /

    Cool to hear your news. I am nursing my 6 monther. I have been on the program for 9 wks. It helped me get into my pre-pregnacy clothes, which helped my self esteem greatly. Each child it has taken me a little longer to get back. I need to tone oup this mid-section now. And like you I have my husband on the slow carb with me, but it is hard to get three kids to eat lentils every meal.

    • Laura – Did you find it increased your supply at all? I did.
      Three kids does a number on the belly, eh? I just had a session with a personal trainer to help even more with my core. I’ll share in another post!

  4. I’m nursing my 7 month daughter and I definitely noticed an increase in supply since I started 4HB 3 weeks ago! I thought it was just a coincidence :)
    I’m debating starting the supplements because my results have been super slow…only 5lbs since I started (and I have at least 50 to lose!). Do you guys think there is any danger in taking the supplements while nursing? They all seem pretty natural…

    • I only lost 5 or so pounds the first 2-3 weeks too! It’s harder for women and also for those who have had kids.

      I can’t tell you whether there’s any danger in taking the supplements. I’m not a scientist or lactation consultant. All I can say is I’m not taking them because I’m nursing. Doesn’t seem worth the chance he would get something he doesn’t need, or worse that would be harmful.

      The productions increase is crazy isn’t it – I think it’s all the protein!

  5. Hey Sharon I really enjoyed your post.

    Consider switching out that appointment with the personal trainer for a moment and check out the Occam’s Procol workouts, or the Kiwi’s full kettlebell workouts. They’re both more likely to save you time and get you better results :)

    With personal trainers as friends, they’re as stunned as I am with what the book suggests, and that it works better than the stuff we’ve learned!

    All the best,

    • Thanks so much Luke!

      I did keep the appointment – it was a present. But she actually told me to keep up with the workout I was doing from the book. She said “Clearly it’s working for you!”.

      I have goals other than a great ass though :-) So she designed a full body program for me to complement the 4HB stuff.

      I’m glad you linked up your blog. Go over to the fourhourbodycouple next people!

  6. Great post! I am lucky I love beans. We have a lot of veggie meals with them. The turkey chili recipe looks yummy :)

  7. My biggest tip for newbies is find things that make it easier to stay on plan. Things like:

    *Buy in bulk and separate right away
    *Clip coupons and watch store fliers
    *Buy dry beans and lentils and prepare enough for a week
    *Get several different kinds of spices
    *Chop up veggies and save them for quick use

    For me the key is to make it quick and easy, otherwise I burn out quick. :)


    • Buying in bulk, spices, and prep work are what saved me many days when I just wasn’t feeling the 4hb thang.
      Good tips – thanks Jason!

  8. Jennifer /

    Hi, I have been trying the 4HB with mixed results, I’m determined to keep going though – I have a suggestion for beans – I cook them with a little macadamia oil/puree them at salt pepper, water, puree them and they become a really yummy sauce/gravy – or add your greens for a lovely soup to have with whatever protein on the side…. just some thoughts

  9. I saw your body and energy before and after the diet. I KNOW it works. You are in an amazing place.

    Having these simple steps to follow helps get over the hurdle. Thank you so much for thinking of these and sharing them!

  10. carmelite /

    Do you eat all of your meat as lean as possible (skinless chicken, lean beef, no egg yolks, etc.)? Tim is really vague about this as far as I can tell. The book is not very specific on the subject of fat. In all of the Q&A’s I’ve seen or heard though, he says that eating full fat meats is totally fine, as long as your meat is from a clean source (i.e. pasture raised and organic). I just started the diet a week ago, and am following it to a T, but am eating all of my meats full fat. I have been under the impression for years that this is by far the healthiest thing to do, so I am reluctant to give it up just to lose some weight.

    I am nursing a 16 month old myself, by the way (not using the supplements either). He is my first child, but I haven’t lost any weight since he was born. I have a bout 20 pounds to lose to get back to pre-pregnancy weight, 30 pounds if I really want to get back into shape.

    Thanks for this post! It’s encouraging to hear from other mom’s on the diet!

    • How is it going?? I lost this comment, sorry.
      I agree I think he emphasis is on clean and organic rather than the fat content. I don’t eat all lean meats. Some egg whites mixed in scrambled. I prefer full fat to lean like you do.

    • i dont and its still has worked for me. 14 kg down. my goel was to lose 15 kg but i think im going to go for it … just stay on this for awhile… why not its easy and i feel healthy.

  11. So glad I found your site! I’m nursing a 6 mo so I was wondering how it would affect her. I have a question about portions though, I seem to be hungry all the time, should I eat more at each meal or should i have smaller more frequent meals. I’ve been eating like a cow since I was pregnant and ive not been able to stop!

    Also, do you have any recipe sites to recommend where the portions are clearly indicated?

  12. I kinda feel lost reading this book, it has a cadance of starting stoping and going back so I’m not really sure where to begin. Such as the supplements,, he says he used this now doesn’t the. Try this then that and on to the next subject.

    Any advice, I’m not sure where to start?

    • ViolaCay /

      I agree Jim. Honestly, I only read the part on nutrition and eating at that time. Even the exercise bit was too disjointed for me. I never used any supplements. My suggestion would be to just start with the food. The biggest takeaway for me from this way of eating was an understanding and amazement at how powerful food is to your body.
      Go make some chili ;-)

  13. These are super tips for getting started on T.F.’s Four-Hour Body! I’m beginning my second week and didn’t really binge out on my day off-just a few chocolates and some coca cola (my faves). I agree about the pintos beans being on your best bean list. Mix in some onion, chopped jalapeño, and a little red-wine vinegar for some piquancy and enjoy. I also found cauliflower cooked to super soft with some added butter is pure bliss in light of the mostly no carb/slow carb allowed menu. Today I was ready to eat clean, green, and bean!

  14. janine /

    Thanks this is just what I was looking for. I start my diet on Sunday and just needed a few food tips and these are excellent.

    • ViolaCay /

      Glad it helped! Good luck on your new ay of eating :-)

  15. Sammy /

    I know this is an old thread but I would appreciate advice..I am going into my third week and the scale and measurements have not budged. I follow the diet but cannot take supps and no time for ice baths…when did you see results?

    • ViolaCay /

      Hey Sammy! Are you male or female? Guys see results MUCH faster.

      I didn’t really see anything dramatic until 3 or 4 weeks. I didn’t use supplements or do the ice baths either. Are you enjoying your meals? How do you feel? If everything else is ok, keep with it! I bet your time is coming :-)

      • Sammy /

        Thanks for getting back to me. I am 40/f had my second baby eight weeks ago and nursing so I do not have time for ice baths (lucky if I get a 30 sec shower) and do not take supps because of breastfeeding. I follow the diet pretty well so I am surprised between eating clean all week and breasfeeding, the weight is not budging yet.

        • ViolaCay /

          I hear ya about the shower! I haven’t gone to the bathroom by myself in 6 years :-)

          I’ll try to find my notes from the first few weeks. I do think it took at least a month. Also your body is keeping some fat because of the nursing. That will slow things down. Are you exercising too?

          • I just HAD to comment about the bathroom by yourself bit. I snuck away to look at your blog. No sooner was I in the bathroom, i had my 4 year old AND husband in here. Seriously not sure why the dogs were not in tow. They are every other time! Great blog and I look forward to reading the rest.

  16. Jay Black /

    Really love the site and the posts, I’ve been doing 4HB for 6 months now. I started a blog (that no one reads) but hey I did it! Thanks for all your insight, keep up the good work,

    My blog (with before and after pics): http://4hourdad.blogspot.mx/

    • ViolaCay /

      Thanks Jay! No one reads this one either ;-) I’ll mosey on over and we’ll each have a hit today!

  17. I’ve god an amazingly delicious recipe for lentils (found on pinterest.) Drain and rinse lentils and put in saucepan, add enough broth to just cover lentils, bring to a boil on high then reduce heat and simmer. Fry 3 full strips of bacon and move from frying pan to paper towel to remove grease. Fry a small diced onion in bacon fat until translucent. Once they frying is done the lentils should be too. Crumble bacon and add to lentils along with the onion. Serve :) This recipe is for one can of lentils

  18. Hi. I started the 4HB last week, I only have 9 pounds to lose; I do crossfit 3 times a week, spinning classes and I have a personal trainer. I have always been eating clean and trying to lose these 9 pounds but cannot seem to lose them in anyway, tried ALL methods. Do you think 4HB will help? Thing is I am worried because my body is already used to Low carb lifestyle. So I don’t know what to expect.. Can someone give me tips or insight here and there? I am also kinda doing the Paleo style which is no beans.. but I get my free day .. keep me excited and going.
    I am only 27 and I feel my metabolism is as slow as a 50 year old.. although I train hard and very coscious of my choice of food! Any feedback would be great! Thanks!

    • i dont have much beans … just a few here at there. i also cant have bigggg meals. i just stick to the rules (expet that after i lost like 11 kg i stoped losing waight then i added one more cheat day and then lost 3 kg – but that could just be time and not cos i added one more day… who knows)but i have less beans … maybe the less beans would help you? the other thing that helped me when i was low in energry is having lots of cut up food/ veg in snap lock bags so that i could eat … get a little more energry.

      i really think that men can have big meals … but i just cant.

      ( sorry about the spelling … i have dyslexia )

  19. has anyone triyed to have two cheat days? for awhile when i had just one cheat day i just stoped losing waight. so now im on two, i think its working for me but im not sure if its just in my head.

  20. ok so things that i would say to a starter on 4hb (sorry about my spelling i have dyslexia)
    1. clean your kitchen out. dont leave anything that will tempt you.
    2. go out and do a big spend on frozen and caned vegys
    3.do one hugeeeeeeeeeeeee cook out day. i mean cook lots of currys and meat stuff, the base for everything. then pack it up into contaners , put in frizer.
    4. once or twice a week cut up vegys that you can then put in the frige. you can then add all the cut up stuff to your omletts / salads or meals. in the end it ends up saving you so much time. things like caramilizing onions ( with no suga) takes time but if you do 3 onions once a week then for that hole week you can add them to everything. it takes awhile for freash vegys to go bad. and you will be suprized at how much mushrooms and pepers you will eat if they are already there. cut up hurbs and even things like light ham.
    5. put nuts into snap lock bags. 6 to 10 in each bag so you will never go over board. its also cheaper to buy in bulk
    6.try and cut out all diet drinks as well ( if your a girl this might mean the world of diffrence … i dont know why but trust me … me and my friends tested this out.
    7. having said that you should try and cut out all diet stuff … i take it back for the newbes … you will want suga so much in the first two weeks. so maybe make your self lots of suga free / diet jelly, to take the eage off. but try and slow down on it and get rid of it complitly with in a month.
    8. drink water !!!!!! like a shit loud of water.
    9. just remeber that for most of us even if we dont follow the diat by the letter its better then what we eat and do on the reguler. so try it and if you mess up … dont beat your self up … just go back to it …. you would be doing better on it then off it.

  21. Amber /

    Garbanzo beans are legumes so I made hummus a staple. Plus they come in great little to-go packs which makes toting around food much easier for me. I’m only on week two but I lost almost 3lbs the first week so I’m excited to see how this goes.

    I’m really thirsty and I’m sucking down water. Also, I’m rarely hungry, especially for the 4th meal…like it makes me nauseous to think of eating. Which, I guess, is better than ravenously looking at my skinny lil roomies like they could be a tasty snack.

    All these posts I’m finding are really helpful. Would love more great blogs if you know of some.

  22. Hi, I am on week 1 and I feel very motivieted, but I have a question, how much beans can I eat? I am a bean lover as well as my husband, but I am afraid that we are eating too much beans. We are use to the LCHF and it has no portion limitation on the food you are allowed to eat.
    I have found some sites that says is fine to eat beans as much as u want, and I have found some others that said the opposite. If you could help me I would really apricieted, we dont want to do it wrong. Thank you.

  23. Great advice for newbies!
    My first piece of advice is also your #1: Read the book!
    I’ve had remarkable results on this diet, and appreciate how “easy” it is compared to others. I can be full all the time, still gorge on bread and M&M’s, and get in the best shape of my life. But it hinges on understanding why/how the program works instead of seeing it as “tricks” that can be circumvented.

  24. Thanks mama! How’s it going? I’ll have to go and read for myself ;-)


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