Spot Reduction Revisited: Removing Stubborn Thigh Fat

Is it possible to remove fat from specific areas of the body? (Photo of low-fat legs: Kirikiri)

(Preface: This is one of the “bonus chapters” for The 4-Hour Body. My sincerest apologies for the confusion! All bonus materials can be found here. Enjoy! New forums and more coming very soon…)

I’m allergic to food. Every time I eat it breaks out into fat.

—Jennifer Greene Duncan

Does History record any case in which the majority was right?

—Robert Heinlein

In the early 1900s, a 12-year-old girl burned the back of her hand. You are right: this is not newsworthy.

It’s what followed the burn, documented in the medical records, that fascinated me:

Doctors used skin from her abdomen as a graft over the burn. By the time this girl turned thirty, she had grown fat, and the skin that had been transplanted to the back of her hand had grown fat as well. “A second operation was necessary for the removal of the big fat pads which had developed in the grafted skin,” explained the University of Vienna endocrinologist and geneticist Julius Bauer, “exactly as fatty tissue had developed in the skin of the lower part of the abdomen.”

The plight of women and fat is the stuff of legend.

Female fat deposition in the legs and buttocks increases with age, as does abdominal fat and the so-called saddle bags—fat just beneath the hips—in perimenopausal and menopausal women.

How is it that women can eat peanut butter, for example, and seemingly bypass the stomach to put it directly on their asses? Why doesn’t this happen to men, who seem to put fat directly on their would-be six-pack, which ends up resembling more of a one-pack (or “six-pack in the cooler”), even if they have bodybuilder-like veins on their arms?

To paraphrase Gary Taubes: some biological factor must regulate this. One candidate is the A-2 receptor, and that is what I decided to look at for practical experimentation…

The A-2 receptor, or alpha-2 andrenergic receptor, is the party spoiler when it comes to fat-loss in gender-specific problem areas. From the journal Obesity Research (bolding is mine):

The fat on women’s thighs is more difficult to mobilize due to increased alpha-2 adrenergic receptor activity induced by estrogen. Lipolysis [fat-loss] can be initiated through adipocyte receptor stimulation (beta adrenergic) or inhibition (adenosine or alpha-2 adrenergic) or by inhibition of phosphodiesterase.

In plain Ingrish, this means that estrogen helps pesky fat-mongering A-2 receptors do their work, and there are three effective gambits for losing fat despite this.

For decades, the consensus among exercise professionals has been that spot reduction—reducing fat in one specific body area—is impossible, a myth. I long assumed this was the case until I asked the hypothetical question: if we assume there might be an effective mechanism for spot reduction, what would it look like if we focused on the three above pathways?

It seemed that one answer would be a topical lotion that inhibits the A-2 receptor or blocks phosphodiesterase (1). Another potent and supporting mechanism might be reducing the availability of cortisol at the level of the fat cells themselves (2).

Guess what? There are compounds that can be used for either: aminophylline for the former and glycyrrhetinic acid for the latter.

The two are quite different. Aminophylline is a bronchodilator used for asthma that contains theophylline, a stimulant found in tea that is similar to caffeine. Glycyrrhetinic acid, on the other hand, prevents the breakdown of specific prostaglandins (PGE-2 and PGF-2a) and is derived from licorice; it can be used as a base for expectorants or even artificial sweeteners.

Fat-loss is an off-label use for the latter in particular, but clinical studies indicate that both can selectively reduce thigh fat in females and males when applied as a cream.

During the process of researching this book, I saw firsthand the empirical evidence of spot reduction with low-dose, high-frequency injections of human growth hormone (HGH), but the potential legal ramifications and side effects (like bone and organ growth) make HGH unattractive. If you see bodybuilders with distended abdomens that make them look like they’re nine months pregnant, you’ve probably seen drug-induced visceral organ growth. It’s not a look I recommend.

I’d also experimented on three occasions with converting yohimbine HCL into a topical cream based on the writing of Dan Duchaine, but the side effects, including excessive salivation (thank you, autonomous nervous system), weren’t worth the negligible fat-loss.

Feeling like a Pavlovian dog about to vomit is no way to spend your life, and abs won’t help your sex appeal if you’re drooling on yourself.

It Rubs the Lotion on Its Skin

I took a nine-year hiatus from experimenting with spot reduction, until The 4-Hour Body gave me the excuse to fuss with it again.

The research led me to aminophylline and glycyrrhetinic acid. All that remained was to get my hands on both, which I did.

The easiest-to-purchase source of a 2% aminophylline cream was the extremely scammy-sounding Celluthin™, which I ordered on Amazon.

Glycyrrhetinic acid was much harder to locate, as I could only find it through prescription as Atopiclair™, which is used for dermatitis and has a single U.S. distributor in Tennessee, Graceway Pharmaceuticals LLC. Even with prescription-writing doctors willing to indulge me, Graceway made it almost impossible to find the product details and prescribing information for dosing. The latter is needed to write a “script,” of course. Eventually we ferreted it out of some subpage on the website, and I was able to fill candidate B at a local Walgreen’s within 48 hours.

Celluthin cost $49.99, and Atopiclair topped out at more than $100.

Here’s what happened. We’ll look at the prescription drug first, for reasons that will become clear.

The Results

Glycyrrhetinic Acid Cream (Atopiclair®)

FIRST, A WARNING FOR WOMEN: Glycyrrhetinic acid inhibits the breakdown of several prostaglandins, including PGF-2a, which therefore increases their levels. Since PGF-2a is known to stimulate uterine activity during pregnancy and can cause miscarriage, glycyrrhetinic acid should not be taken by those who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant.

I applied Atopiclair thrice daily—upon waking, again at 5:00 P.M., and again before bed—for 13 days. I believe both the effects and potential side effects would have been even more pronounced for a woman:

Before (November 10, 2009) and After (November 23, 2009)

Treated right chest: 5 mm –> 4.43 mm (-.57 mm)

Untreated left chest: 5 mm –> 5.5 mm (+.5 mm)

All measurements were taken at least three times and then averaged. For example, the first “5mm” was derived from readings of 4.9, 5.0, and 5.1 millimeters. But back to our story…

To account for systemic changes, such as diet-induced fat loss or gain, and to create a control, I treated only the right side of my chest on the upper torso. Sites were as far apart as possible and therefore near the armpits.

I lost more than 10% total fat on the treated side and gained exactly 10% on the untreated side. These measurements were clear, and the fat gain on the untreated area made sense, as I was in an overfeeding phase.

The next set of measurements, however, were confusing.

Treated right abdominal: 7.0 mm –> 5.93 mm (-1.07 mm)

Untreated left abdominal: 6.3 mm –> 5.13 mm (-1.17 mm)

The abdominal area I measured is the mid-tier of the six-pack, the second “bump” up from the bottom in the rectus abdominus, or the first “bump” above the navel. I chose this area instead of the usual one inch to either side of the navel because it produced more consistent readings with the ultrasound device I used (4).

You read the data right: though I lost fat on both sides, I lost more fat on the untreated side. No matter how many times I repeated the measurements, that was the conclusion.


I have no explanation, other than a possible crossover effect from the topical application, as the measured areas were separated by no more than one inch. I knew this would be a risk—hence the decision to measure the opposing sides of the chest as well.

Can we reconcile the apparent benefit on the chest and the conflicting data from the abs? Not with this alone. There is really only one solution: repeat the test.

Fortunately, our other candidate gave much clearer results.

Aminophylline Cream

Celluthin™ has the following ingredients listed on the label in (assuming this was done as the FTC requires) descending order of volume:

Purified water, Aminophylline, Yerbe Matte, Coleus Forskohli Extract, Oil of Peppermint, Carbomer, Triethanslamide, Liposomes, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, D & C Red #28

I was particularly impressed with the misspellings of both “yerba mate” and “coleus forskohlii.” Needless to say, I did not expect this product to have an effect, and I couldn’t find clinical support for topical spot reduction use of the ingredients besides aminophylline.

I used the product twice daily on my right thigh only, upon waking and before sleep, for 18 days.

Before (October 12, 2009) and After (October 30, 2009) Measurements:

Treated right thigh midline, six inches above kneecap upper limit: 8.1 mm –> 7.4 mm5 (-0.7)

Untreated left thigh (same measurement): 7.9 mm –> 7.8 mm6 (-0.1)

On the treatment thigh, I lost 8.64% of my fat thickness, as opposed to a 1.26% loss on the control leg. Even more incredible was the apparent persistence of effect after cessation of use.

Here are the same measurements 11 days after I stopped application of the cream:

Right thigh: 7 mm (additional 5.71% reduction, or 0.4 mm)

Left thigh: 8.3 mm (a gain of 0.3 mm)

In other words, even though I was in an overeating phase and gained fat on my left thigh (0.3 millimeters), I continued to lose fat, almost an additional 6%, on the right thigh, which had been previously treated. I didn’t believe this outcome and remeasured the sites three times, but the data were consistent.

Consider me a believer.

Based on my experience, using a 2% aminophylline cream for two and a half weeks, applied twice daily, accelerates thigh fat-loss more than 10 times compared to a control.

I’ll leave the Atopiclair to the dermatitis sufferers.

Tools and Tricks

Celluthin – The topical lotion containing aminophylline that effectively inhibits the A-2 receptor. Use carefully, as it appears to continue to inhibit this receptor for at least several days after you’ve stopped using it.

Non-affiliate Amazon link

Affiliate Amazon link (I get a small commission)

Atopiclair (Glycyrrhetinic Acid Cream) ( Here’s where you can find more information about Atopiclair. You won’t be able to order the product directly, but you can get rebates on the official site if you decide to apply for a prescription.

Footnotes and References:

1 – This increases cAMP, which facilitates catecholamine stimulation of lipolysis.

2 – Via inhibition of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1.

3 – All measurements were taken at least three times and averaged, in this case from

readings of 4.9, 5.0, and 5.1 millimeters.

4 – Using ultrasound higher than the standard abdominal point, the ultrasound echo

from the fascia (connective tissue) layer can get weaker, which reduces the risk of

the software switching between the fascia and the true fat-muscle interface.

5 – Averaged from measurements of 7.0, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5 millimeters.

6 – Averaged from measurements of 8.0, 7.8, and 7.8 millimeters.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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515 Replies to “Spot Reduction Revisited: Removing Stubborn Thigh Fat”

  1. Never mind my black tongue comment. I attributed it to PAG because it was the first time I took it. Google provided me an answer. It was the pepto bismol I took last night hoping to prevent acid reflux from the ALA.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Have you ever experimented with ultrasonic cavitation?

    I’m from Buenos Aires, and this aesthetic treatment is the big hit of the summer. I’d love to know what you think about it.

  3. Hey Tim,

    Any idea when the results of the 5k to 50k chapter might be up? I’ve signed up for a marathon and started hitting the Crossfit Endurance classes, but it’d give me a lot more confidence to know that someone’s trodden the road ahead of me…



  4. I’m wondering if this cream would work on abdominal fat. I have the typical male belly/gut (getting smaller!). I’ve read that this fat is typically under the abdominal muscles, not on top of them, which is why it is dangerous. Would the cream be effective on it?

  5. Hey Tim,

    Really need your help!!!!! I didn’t get a response the last time…I am training for a marathon but following the slow-carb diet. I feel like this time during training, I have less energy and my pace/distances are suffering.

    Can you follow the Slow-Carb diet while training for an endurance event?

    1. Yo Tim,

      I’m an grad student studying persuasive technologies for health at Stanford and I look at how people interact with their health through technology. I have been a huge fan and have spread both your message and books to many of my friends in the area. I wanted a way to ask you a question and your blog seemed a good venue as other.

      I was fascinated by your dedication to researching then recording the minutae for ALL of the self-experimentation in the 4HB. In particular I am fascinated about your mindset and engagement through the entire process. There are a lot of mobile health applications out there that try to frame behavior change and health change but they don’t really hit the intrinsic / extrinsic change that you prescribe in your writings.

      Advice: I would LOVE any insight you had on HOW you started self-experimentation and the mindset of maintaining this strenuous habit. Also, how did you spread the word to friends who ARE health-interested but OTHERWISE inactive?

      Thank you for your time. And being an inspiration to mind & body hackers everywhere!

      Peace and love,

      – Frank

    2. I would read the section in the book about 5k to 50k. He recommends more fat, I believe, and not more carbs like everyone else recommends.

      Also, I went through severe carb withdrawal, and could not workout for the first 2 weeks of the diet. I’m back in action now and feeling great!

  6. I was interested in using the Aminophylline Cream on my chest. You tried the other cream on your chest but not the Aminophylline Cream. Will Aminophylline have similar effect on the chest?

  7. Hi Tim, I love the blog! Am yet to get my paws on that book of yours but it sounds invaluable – especially as I’m currently in training for my amateur boxing debut. No mean feat as I’m only doing it as a motivator to recover from a pretty savage calf tear (there’s nothing like the fear of having your face smashed-in to get you moving).

    I’m a strategic planner by day and I really appreciate your researched approaches to your subject matter. There’s so much to be said for testing!

    Anyway, keep up the good work! And if you happen to be in London in Mid August, look out for the City Warriors event at York Hall. You may even catch me mashing someone else’s face in 😉

    Liz 🙂

  8. I am a 48 year old female, 60 lbs over weight, and determined to be Fab by 50…preferralby by 49 in August!. I recently bought the book after seeing at who Tim refers to as ‘Dr. Two Fingers’ office in Kaysville, UT. I’ve been seeing him for neck and shoulder pain from a really old injury. I’m on day 3 of the SCD and have tried doing kettlebell swings with just a 5 lb. dumbell. I’m afraid of hurting myself and creating set-back. Any suggestions?

  9. I’ve been on the 4HB diet since New Years and I’ve not lost any weight. I have been eating cheese and drinking coke zero though. Could this be enough to prevent ANY weight loss? I’ve done an Adkins diet in the past and lost the kind of weight 4HB claims. I’m going to give it another week and report back.

  10. Hey Tim,

    I have a few questions that I was hoping you or someone reading could answer that I haven’t seen answered anywhere I’ve seen yet. Any info provided would be greatly appreciated…

    1) I’m trying to boost my testosterone and have been cooking my slow-carb meals with Kellygold Irish Butter. If getting butter-fat this way, how much should I add to my meals? 1 tsp., 1 tbsp., etc.?

    2) What’s the policy on almond butter on non-binge days? I know 5-10 almonds is permitted… Would 1 tbsp. a day be okay?

    3) As part of my alternative cancer protocol, I consume 5-10 apricot seeds a day. Will this harm my weight-loss progress?

    4) My father (who’s a Dr.) is concerned about me not getting enough “essential sugars” on this diet, so, I’m taking two pills of aloe vera supplementation in the morning, on his recommendation. Will this harm my progress?

    5) Freakin’ Whole Foods didn’t have any Brazil Nuts. Can you believe that?Anyways, I’m taking Selenium by supplementation as a result. I’m taking 200 MCG in the morning. Is this enough? At what point do I risk toxicity?

    6) I’m 6’1 and fluctuating between 205-213 Ibs. I’ve been on the diet roughly two weeks. I started at about 206. I figure it might take another month for some weight to come off, and because I’m lazy, I haven’t measured my arms and whatever. THAT SAID, I’m just curious if it’s possible to overeat on non-binge days on this diet, so that when I binge, there’s not enough of a caloric spike to cause a boost metabolism, and thus, I’ll just be getting fatter on my binge days.

    Whew! Okay, thanks a ton. 4HB rocks.

    – Ravin

  11. PLEASE HELP ME! I’m so frustrated and upset that I’m crying. I feel like cutting chunks of flesh off my body becuase I’m starting to believe that this is the only way I’m going to ever lose this fat. I think my body is absolutely incapable of losing this disgusting fat by any other methoc. It’s as if it is permanently attached to me by some force that I can’t reach.

    I’ve been religiously working Mr. Ferriss’s diet for 3 weeks. I didn’t really binge on any of the 7th days and still, not an inch and not a pound after the first week. The first week I lost 7 lbs. I suspect it was mostly water weight. And now since then – nothing!

    I am a mother of 6 children. My youngest is just 9 months old. I MUST lose at least 50 pounds. But I CAN’T

    I feel like such a failure! I feel so incredibly dejected! I can’t figure this out and I’m considered a super genius in my field (psychology). Imagine that!

    I read the story of the mother of 2 who lost 100 lbs. This was her comment, “If you have 100 lbs to lose and you’re not losing 5 lbs/month, you’re doing something wrong.” What?! PLEASE. Someone please tell me what I’m doing wrong.

    I know I sound desperate, but after trying so many different diets and eating plans and who know what else with no results (or negligible results) I am at my wit’s (and positive attitide’s) end.

    Does anyone have anything to suggest that might help me? Please let me know.

    With the Greatest Appreciation,

    Leila Bleich

    1. Hi Leila,

      Please share two days of full meal plans and snacks. Tell me everything you’ve eaten or had to drink in the last 48 hours. Perhaps I or someone else here can help.



      1. Hi Mr. Ferriss,

        Thank you so much for trying to help me. I don’t want to give up on this because of all the eating plans and diets I have ever seen, heard of, or tried in my lifetime (there have been many), this is the ONLY ONE that is designed for a human being who wants to live like a human being and not like a rabbit, a calculator or a science experiment. I so much want this program to be affective because I believe in it and I believe it can change my physical experience of life.

        So, here it is. All that I eat, every day the same thing. I hope this will shed some light on my unmeltable fat problem.

        I don’t have snacks because I don’t have much of an appetite now that I’m on your program. This is a monumental bonus.

        1. Within 30 minutes of waking I have a whey protein shake consisting of 30 grams of protein – mixed in water (similar to what you describe your father drinking in your book. I don’t use Myoplex because it’s not kosher).

        2. 2 hours later I have 3 eggs fried in a bit of macadamia oil with a tossed salad that is dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice and salt.

        3. About 4 hours later I have a dish of 4 dumplings made of minced turkey, spices and eggs. I also mix in about a tablespoon of corn flake crumbs to bind the dumplings (I assume corn flake crumbs made mostly of milled corn is ok). This is cooked in a homemade tomoto sauce which consists of just canned tomoatoes, some salt and spices. My legumes is about 3 tbsps. of red lentils boiled in water and spices.

        4. About 4 hours later I have broiled salmon cooked in teriyaki sauce and ginger with stewed veggies and lima beans.

        5. About 4 hours later I have 2 scoops of tuna salad made with 1 tbsp. mayo mixed with a large bowl of salad greens, tomatoes and cucumbers. The salad is dressed with 3 tbsp. home-made cajun honey/mustard dressing.

        Throughout the day I manage to pour into my body no less than 2 litres of water mixed with freshly squeazed lemon juice. And I also drink a few cups of herbal tea.

        That’s it.

        I hope and pray that this will be enough info to assist you in solving my problem. I am so looking forward to hearing ANY comments, suggestions, or corrections.

        Very Gratefully and Respectfully Yours,


      2. Hi Leila,

        I’d drop the cornflakes and any dumplings, assuming they have a covering on the outside. I also don’t see the legumes/beans here in any quantity, so I suspect you’re low on calories. Honey is not permitted.

        You also need to eat a real meal (not just whey) within an hour of waking.

        Hope that helps,


      3. Thank you very much Mr. Ferriss.

        I will alter my diet per your corrections and hope that success will follow. I didn’t realize that a meal was essential within the first hour in addition to the shake. Thank you for that clarification. Also, i missed the point (despite numerous re-reads of your masterpiece book) that increasing intake of beans of lentils is an important factor in boosting fat loss. I assumed that I would get enough calories from the protein I’m eating. I guess that was an erroneous assumption.

        This nutrition program is so radically different that it’s almost like learning a new language. Everything is foreign and the concepts fly in the face of all the conventional wisdom I have had programmed into me by well-intentioned yet misguided instituations of higher learning.

        It’s taking much concerted effort to understand how to re-program my mind so that I can begin to incorporate this new change of lifestyle. The absense of dramatic results is demoralizing, so your encouragement and kind advise is very deeply appreciated.

        It is obvious that you are a very busy man with many important demands made on your time. It is incredibly kind of you to give me guidance.

        I hope to report back with wonderful news in the near future.

        Be Well and Congratulations on what is truly a masterpiece.

        Respectfully and Gratefully Yours,


    2. Do I understand correctly that you didn’t binge on every 7th day? Just kept going with the routine meals? That’s probably your mistake then, it’s required to get your rate of metabolism up (see page 88 in the print version again). If you have been dieting before on other systems your metabolism could have already slowed to a crawl prior to starting on this system. The psychological effect is just a bonus and probably not even present in some people (the words “binge” or “cheat” throw them off).

      I know from a few friends that they can’t really enjoy and therefore don’t do the traditional binges (=junk food, soft drinks and so on) because they get a feeling of self loathing or just feel bad for “cheating”. These are usually also cases who have been dieting for ages and dealing with obesity for the larger part of their live. They certainly don’t get a kick out of the binge days, some now resort to a lot of white carbs, dairy, fruit and juice which seems to work as soon as the habit of counting calories is shedded.

    3. A book called, Woman, Food, and God, by Geneen Roth. It is not a religious book by any means, it’s just a book that goes a little deeper than the weight issue. Because anyone who has ever carried that much weight around for that period of time knows that it’s not necessarily about the weight, while at the same time not not about the weight. A paradox, I know. It’s just that hear some self-loathing in your post and I’ve been there. And I’m sure you are a wonderful psychologist, although you may not feel that way right now, but you know what they say – “healer, heal thyself.” If you can get to the bottom of this, you will be able to help many, many people.

      1. Thank you very much for you kind words of encouragement. I intend to look into the book your recommend. I’m sure it will be of help.

        Good Luck to You,


  12. I too have been on the Slow Carb diet for almost 3 weeks and I weigh the same. I have been very strict, with the only deviation being I don’t eat within an hour of waking up, I eat within 2 hours though. (long story) And, I put skim milk in my coffee. Also, as I don’t eat meat I’ve had to rely on eggs, nuts and the occasional sushi for my protein.

    Other than that I’ve been a good girl. Really.

    I’m really surprised because I have **dramatically** changed what I eat. I almost exclusively ate carbs and dairy (I’m a vegetarian who hates veggies). I’m trying not to be demoralized or discouraged, but it’s hard.

    I would really appreciate any suggestions, any help, any encouragement!


    1. Dixie, you’re breaking a few cardinal rules. Changes:

      – No milk

      – Eat within 30 min of waking

      – Sushi has rice — no good

      Being a vegetarian makes this all harder, sadly.


      1. But Tim, having cut out almost all dairy and almost all carbs, shouldn’t there be some change?

        Not that long ago I was a personal trainer with the bets delts you ever saw. And now I feel like the frustrated woman who wants to chop off her flesh. I could really use some vegetarian protein meal suggestions, other than eggs and tofu. Can I use protein shakes as the protein portion of meals? Protein bars? I have eaten tablespoons of almond and peanut butter for protein fixes, as the book suggests, but now I’m not sure if that’s OK.

        Tim, I’ve been trying so hard, and am despondent.

        This is my not-so-twisted cry for help!

      2. I am a vegetarian as well. I’ve had some success after 3 weeks (no supplements (other than whey protein)… yet). Here are my protein fixes.

        – low fat (Hood) cottage cheese for an excellent lo fat, low carb, high protein boost.

        – egg whites (I add them to dishes, even chopped in soup, not noticable, instant protein)

        – veggie soup (big batch in a crock pot)

        – canned beans (drained and rinsed for 40% less sodium) can be kicked up MANY ways. Try some good balsamic on black beans

        – Chobani plain no fat yogurt, yes, dairy, but wicked low in carbs and high in protein.

        – (I haven’t used these on the diet but,) Quorn naked (fake) chicken do contain starches, but only .5g of sugar.

        – Indian recipes for lentils (high protein)

      3. @Dixie – sometimes some really small changes can make a world of difference. I was eating perfectly, except my almond butter had wheat germ mixed in (I didnt realize it at the time). Stalled me for a week. Dropped the wheat germ – saw significant changes in 24 hours.

        If your body is having a negative reaction to the lactose – even very small amounts can screw up your system and stunt everything else your doing. It may be causing inflammation in your gut which screws up how everything else is processed.

        Good luck!

  13. Hi Tim. i’m loving the book, and i’ve been reading and re-reading for over a month now. I have a question about cholesterol, though, and i’m sorry i’m posting it on this article. It’s just that i’m eating a lot of eggs now, and it’s making my mom worry about my cholesterol, since my brother’s was high. I know you used policosanol with niacin, an orange, and chromium polynicotinate, but i’m not interested in the geek to freak workouts at this point. is there any way you would suggest to lower cholesterol, if for nothing else but to make my mom stop worrying?

    i’m on week 3 of slow-carb, -2% body fat on an omron BI scale, and week 2 of Occam’s Protocol, which is why i’m not saying the weight number, since that’s not my goal. Any information you can give me would be great, or any of your other readers. thanks for everything.

  14. Tim –

    I’m week two of the 4hb diet and, while my diabetic coma (hyperbole, no worries) on Saturday was pretty amazing, I’m having some problems with my sweet-tooth during the week… I’ve picked up the Jello you’ve mentioned and enjoy my one diet soda per day, but I was wondering if (read hoping that) Stevia sweetener might be the exception to the no-calorie sweeteners rule, for my coffee and tea and such. I know it’s probably a big no-no, but I thought I’d throw it out there.


  15. Apologies if off topic. Was anyone else as interested as I was by the “Creativity on Demand” bonus chapter? According to Johann Hari, Provigil makes you more alert, effective, creative, focused, and overall more able to get things done. All this, and the only side effect is decreased appetite (no caffeine-jitters, nausea, organ damage, etc.) Of course, a prescription is required, and we don’t know Provigil’s long-term effects.

    Does anyone have personal experience with Provigil? Does it really deliver everything that the author promises?

    1. Eric, I have experience with it. It gave me one of the worst migraines of my life (I don’t get migraines) for a full day. Granted, it helped me overcome writer’s block I’d had for 2-3 days, but I wouldn’t use it again. I’ve since found yerba mate tea and better writing process to be more effective.

      1. I’m very interested as well in the bonus “Creativity on Demand” chapter.

        I’m not sure I’m ready to pay the cost of Provigil (generic name: modfinil):

        especially if not paying with health insurance.

        For a first go around I might try the “1) Piracetam

        2) CDPCholine 3) Either sulbutiamine or pyritinol” as recommended by a poster on the ImmInst community. Not sure of a good source to buy them from yet. Any 4H peeps have experience with these?

    2. Hi Eric and Tyler,

      I’ve experienmented with a few of the smart drugs you mentioned-

      Piracetam made me feel literally as if I was going mad, it was awful! plus headaches but a very nasty “out of my head” feeling.I dropped it immediately and would not use it again.

      Provigil-I’ve used a form called “Olmifon” tecnically adrafinil not modafinil-it’s great, no jitters just a very good aid for calm focus-I did get a slight headache towards the end of the day, but nothing major and I’ve had no trouble sleeping with it.It is very tough on your liver though, if you wanted to use it regularly -get regular liver enzyme tests.

      I’ve also used choline as Twin Labs “CholineCocktail” which was good but not so good that i kept it up.

      I have also used deprenyl as Jumex and I would recommend it as part of a life extension plan -but you are going to have real problems getting that in the US.

      Remember, this is obviously completely subjective-I know people who regularly use piracetam with no ill-effects-but it is very much not for me!

      I got my neutraceuticals,with no prescription needed from

      They are great I don’t know if their prices are the most reasonable but they have everything and they are fast and discreet,they also have great archives of articles and forums, where you will be able to ask more detailed questions.I don’t know what their policies are on shipping to the US,I’m based in Switzerland, which doesn’t even come under EU regulations and they will receive packets from anywhere!

      As you already know about imminst

      I would also point you towards “the vaults of erowid” website-lots of experiments with all sorts of drugs but they have a great forum on nootropics as well!

      Hope that helps.

      Happy hacking!

    3. I have been taking Provigil for years. Works great, but now on Nuvigil which is even better. Nuvigil is distributed more throughout the day than Provigil. I take this for mild narcalopsy. Doctor told me they give this drug to our pilots that have to fly long distances to help them stay awake. I wish I could say it helped with no appetite, but it hasn’t had that affect on me.

  16. I’d like to see more troubleshooting info for the diet – judging by comments I’m not the only person who has followed the diet strict enough to expect results but have seen no improvement.

    The only thing i can think of is that I’m eating too much or too little, but except for a little shredded cheese on my eggs I have eaten only Tim’s allowed foods, and he says you should eat as much as you want. Has anyone else found greater success after eating, say, more protein?

  17. Hi! Quick question:

    am I compromising by having tomato sauce with my meals, and eating raw sweet peppers (in salad)? Are beets ok? These may seem like preliminary questions, but I would love to know…thnks

  18. Tim, really think you should have one of your VAs do an FAQ for all the questions the 4HB is generating. I’m seeing lots of the same questions over and over.

    Good book by the way, love that your writing pulls the little wooly strands up from our sheepie eyes so that we may see the endless opportunities that this world presents to us 🙂

  19. Good stuff…….now if only they had a cream to add muscle . . . . . but Question tim any ideas on how to make money as a high school student with working little hours do to sports???

  20. For Rachel asking about sugar alcohol, the Policosanol in the PAGG stack is a blend of a few different wax alcohols, including sugar cane wax alcohol.

      1. Actually, you might want to try them … or have someone you know with poor muscle tone try them while you monitor. I bought a cheap brand at Payless Shoes about four months ago, after I’d asked my chiropractor’s opinion. I was quite surprised when she told me they did seem to help certain muscle groups, basically causing them to make minute balancing movements, sort of like exercise and Bosu balls.

        I’ve been wearing them most days of the week, with my regular orthotic inserts. Nothing more strenuous than walking, mostly because I was concerned about injuries and my balance (I’m a 51-year-old woman who’s already had one bad bone break due to osteoporosis.) I’m amazed to say that there is a noticable improvement in the backs of my legs, up into my glutes. In addition, standing for long periods of time (such as while washing dishes, or waiting in lines) hurts less, because the thicker soles act sort of like gel mats/pads.

        I’m now curious what benefit they would be to people with better muscle tone and more vigourous activity … and I hope to soon experiment on myself 😉

  21. I love the science, but too many people look for the spot reduction instead of the health increase of reducing overall body fat.

    As Covert Bailey used to say: “If spot reducing worked, fat people who chew gum would have skinny faces”!

    -Keep up the great blog posts Tim.

  22. Hmmm. I just googled and found this:

    “So how does aminophylline fight cellulite?

    The claims are that aminophylline applied topically to the skin dissolve fat on contact.

    Is this true? Well, not necessarily. Aminophylline when applied topically works to dehydrate skin. It reduces the appearance of cellulite by eliminating excess water in skin so that cellulite affected areas appear firmer and smoother. It’s sort of like taking a diuretic to lose weight — it’s not really fat that you’re losing, but water.

    Cellulite treatments using aminophylline must be used on a continuous basis to maintain desired results. Once use is discontinued, any water ingested will be reabsorbed into the cellulite affected area. So the changes aminophylline causes in your cellulite are definitely temporary.”

    Excuse me for being sceptical, but…how do you know it’s fat and not water you’re losing, Tim? And how do you know the results are anything but extremely temporary?

  23. Hi Tim, Quick Question Re: Slow Carb Diet

    I am 3 weeks into the slow carb diet…have lost 4.5kg’s so far BUT i have bad constipation….what would you suggest to remedy this?


  24. Hi Tim,

    Question: When following the slow carb diet, should we be using the strategies from the chapter “Damage control” during the cheat day?



  25. Hi Tim,

    Question: When following the slow carb diet, should we be using the strategies from the chapter “Damage control” during the cheat day?



  26. Hey Tim, 2 quick questions.

    Is all dairy bad? I have a hankering for string cheese.

    I’m 6’5″ and now weigh 205 lbs. I’m around 18% body fat. I’m losing around 2-3 lbs a week. Does the loss progress slow closer to 12%,, or am I doing something wrong?

  27. I loved the book and against your advice I poured through the whole thing in a couple of days and then convinced my wife to join me on implementing the diet. I began on January 3 at 6’3″ and weighed 202 and my wife was 6’0″ and weighed 186. We both lost 6 pounds the first week, but she has stopped at 180 and I am continueing to lose about 1 pound a day on the non-cheating days (gaining 1 pound on the cheating day) and weighed in at 189 today (13 pounds lost in 16 days). Like you, she had a Diet Coke problem and scaled it back to 2 cans a day, but after weighing in today at 180, she is going to try and go cold turkey. So far, I we are eating the same meals and the only real difference is the Diet Coke and unsweetened tea she drinks and I was able to stop my Mt Dew cold. Neither one of us has exercised during this 16 period, I never did but she worked out 5 days a week. Is it possible the Diet Coke is disrupting her system to the point of interrupting the entire process?

    1. Yes, the Diet Coke could absolutely be the problem. Please remove and let us know how it looks in two weeks!

      Keep it up,


  28. In shopping for allowed items on the Slow-Carb diet, I have noticed that sugar shows up as an ingredient in many unexpected places. However, if the item in question has zero or almost zero carbohydrates, is the trace amount of sugar still an issue? For example, I have seen sugar in the ingredient list of my Allspice, fish rub, canned beans, and some frozen vegatables. Sometimes it states “Contains less than 2% of sugar.”

    Similarly, are things such as citric acid or calcium disodium allowed?

  29. Thanks for this book Tim. I’m 3 weeks into my 30 days of mass gaining. I’ve put on 13 pounds, added 40-60 pounds per lift on the machine exercises.

    Weighing in at 161 right now, eating about 200 grams of protein a day. Which translates into roughly everything in the fridge >:D

  30. Thanks for sharing Tim; I’m a big fan.

    1. Any ideas on reducing/eliminating gas from all the legume ingestion?

    2. Would you recommed a high fat intake? (i.e. coconut oil & extra virgin olive oil)

    1. Hi Erin,

      As far as the legume question goes. I’m fairly sure that it was mentioned in a different post to soak them overnight in water, and then drain the water in the morning. Hope this helps!

      – Josh

      1. Thanks Josh; i did note that…is there anything else?

        I have read adding ginger and carrots reduces gas production…will try.

    2. Try a probiotic. I have taken Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra for 3 years, to boost immunity, for another condition I have. For me, it has virtually eliminated gas and keeps me “regular”. I have been on SCD for 2 weeks- no change in the above stated benefits. I hate beans ( texture issue) but am eating them and have had not problems with gas or constipation that some people are complaining of.

  31. Hi Tim,

    Great book. Interesting article for you. Summary insufficient sleep can curtail fat loss by up to 55%. Ann Intern Med 2010;153:435-441.

  32. -Tim

    Any suggestions on helping to diminish stretch marks? I noticed it’s one of the few body problems relating to weight that wasn’t touched on in the book or bonus chapters. I’m assuming it’s futile, but hoping you might have come across something in your research.

    Thank you for your amazing books!

    1. Hi Erica,

      I haven’t found anything that actually works but I have discovered that DermaBlend will cover it up. You can’t even tell they are there. It’s an extremely thick “makeup”, comes in several colors. I use a bit of sunscreen with it to “thin” it out for application. It’s water proof and sweat proof. It doesn’t come off until you take it off. Hope this helps!

  33. Tim,

    This has probably been asked already, but I haven’t noticed it. Is turkey okay to eat on the Slow Carb Diet? I figured that maybe it is just not something you like so you didn’t mention it…but maybe it’s not worth eating contrary to popular nutrition advice. Haha. Thoughts?

    1. Hello Tim:)

      I love your book, it is FASCINATING. I just started slow carb Monday. I have a few questions for you (or anyone else who might know) and I will try to keep them simple.

      – you say to have avocado for only one meal a there a certain limit or amount? whole, 1/2, 1/4?

      -is there a limit for cottage cheese? (in a serving? and number of servings per day?)

      -You mention full cream for coffee compared to milk, is there a limit ( I saw that someone on the blog posted 2 tsps) but wasnt entirely sure.

      -Is there a big difference between using regular sweetener (vanilla flavor @ starbucks) and sugar-free sweetener?

      -You mention getting salsa with no added sugar, so I am sure that would apply to marinara sauce..but was wondering if there is a specific sugar limit (for example, I used a marinara sauce that had 6g of sugar) also if there is a portion/serving limit?

      – Do you recommend use of the Celluthin on other parts of the body?

      Thank you very much!!!!!!


      Also if anyone has answers to my questions I would greatly appreciate your ideas:)

    2. I am not sure if there is another forum to share recipes..but I thought I would share some of my ideas here. (and if anyone knows of the link to a specific forum for sharing recipes please let me know).

      I love food so much, especially carbs and dairy, so I have tried really hard to think of meals that would work for the slow carb diet. Here are some of my ideas:

      Ceviche style Tuna

      -canned tuna (I prefer albacore) in water

      -lemons (I dont really measure..i just go by taste, but use about 4-5 lemons for every 2 cans of tuna) the lemon helps to offset the strong fish taste

      -corn- (about 1 can of corn per 2 cans of tuna)-I like alot of corn it adds a great snap


      -chopped onion

      -chopped bellpepper

      -chopped tomato


      -chopped avocado

      -cucumber slices or carrots for dipping (since we can’t have tostadas, chips or crackers)

      Add tuna to large mixing bowl, squeeze lemon juice onto tuna, then chop veggies, so the tuna can marinate in the lemon juice, add in all ingredients, salsa to preference, and avocado last. Slice cucumber and leave separate along with carrots and use to dip into tuna.

      * a few concerns :

      -corn, I am not sure if that is an approved vegetable, or if should

      be limited

      -tomatoes & avocado – Tim says to only include one serving per day

      -salsa- only salsa with no sugar me homemade salsa

      makes a big difference, a friend of mine, makes it and sells


      Spaghetti & Meatballs (without the spaghetti=)

      -I used turkey meatballs (Tim mentions Turkey sausage as being okay, so Im pretty sure, this is okay, also, he says grass fed beef is okay, so regular meatballs would work




      -italian seasoning -red pepper, oregano, mix -optional

      -fresh basil-optional

      -marinara sauce (i used roasted garlic marinara)

      I sauteed the zucchini, onions, and mushrooms in 2 separate skillets, because I wanted a lot of veggies and and they cannot be piled on top of each other in order for them to sautee well (especially zucchini), there should be a single layer. After the veggies shrink I combine them into one skillet. I used frozen turkey meatballs and cooked them separately, first alone in pan, 2-3 minutes and added italian seasoning. Then added the marinara sauce and let it cook for another 15 minutes. Lastly, I added the sauteed veggies, mixed everything together, garnished with fresh basil (I love basil, this really adds to the dish). I believe you can also add Parmesan cheese, Tim mentioned that somewhere in the book.

      *some concerns- marinara sauce, just like salsa, has sugar, be careful in selecting.. I am not sure yet, if this is entirely okay to have yet.

      Fast Food Option- El Pollo Loco

      -Grilled Chicken Salad (LIGHT cilantro dressing) I ask for extra cilantro in the salad as well

      – small side of pinto beans

      – very good meal – tasty & filling

    1. Seconding this. I’ve been fasting two days a week for the last month and the lower-body fat has been coming off dramatically. I also walk about 2 miles twice a day. I’ve been pear-shaped since puberty– like really, really pear-shaped, with serious saddlebags– and when I’ve lost weight (I’ve lost the same 30 pounds twice in 10 years), it’s been from everywhere but my thighs. Fasting does slightly elevate growth hormone, so perhaps this is part of how it works.

  34. Oh Tim, I need help.

    I’m 3 weeks in and haven’t lost even 1 pound. I conformed to the diet except for not eating within an hour of waking, putting a teensy bit of milk in my coffee, and eating sushi as my protein at lunch.

    I am really discouraged and sad after working and trying so hard. (All I ever ate before were carbs.) Is this just too hard for a vegetarian?

    Please, what are some non-egg, non-tofu, non-fish protein items I can eat at my meals? Can I eat a protein bar, drink a protein shake?

    Please please please help me. I work at MTV and (per your book) I told everyone I was on this and they’re all looking to see if it works. I don’t want to let you, them, and myself down.

    Thank you!


  35. (I did see you say I broke the cardinal rules, but could those small infractions really make the whole thing not work?)

    1. Hi, Dixie. I also have trouble with making two of the changes that you mentioned (at least in a consistent basis). Why don’t you implement those changes for a few days and see whether they result in weight reduction? Do let us know how things work out.

    2. I think Tim says no dairy (except 2tsp of full cream) or rice for a reason. If you don’t follow the basic rules it just isn’t going to work.

      You might want to check out Gary Taubes books (they are all about the science) “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” and the more academic “Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health”.

      My lame layperson’s explanation is that once we eat something that gets our insulin going it is a done deal. Doesn’t matter if it is small infraction – it is not a volume game.

      Try cream (it is great and you don’t even need the 2tsp), re-read the chapter for the Vegetarians – “The Meatless Machine I& II’ (I didn’t read them because I eat meat).

      Good luck and don’t give up. Stick to the ‘laws’ and see what happens!

  36. I highly disagree with spot reducing saddlebags unless they stick out like hell crazy (which is extremely rare). Overall fat loss is usually all that’s required, or spot reduce the waist. Reducing saddlebags means less curves.

  37. Hi Tim,

    The slow carb diet has completely killed so many of my bad habits. I’ve saved enormous amounts on coke and energy drinks and I’ve lost all my flab from my neck, chest, legs etc. So thank you!

    I’m having one issue though. The SCD has clearly demonstrated it’s effectiveness in every area of my body except my abdominal fat. Although it has reduced, my ab fat loss has come to a stand still for the last three weeks. No inches lost. There’s just this miniature bubble of ugliness relentlessly hanging around.

    I’m following the SCD almost exactly but with the addition of Occam’s Protocol meal frequency and an emphasis on high protein meals (A lot of meat and low-carb protein bars). I’m not having any cheat days or cheat meals whatsoever. Also, I’m using the protein shake recipe you mentioned in Neil Strauss’ schedule as a breakfast replacement.

    Do you have any tips for getting rid of stubborn ab fat? Is Celluthin recommended for use on the abdomen?

  38. Hi Tim,

    Your blog post must have caused quite a rush for this product on Amazon… Only back in stock on Feb 14, just as I found a SF contact willing to forward this to the UK. Oh well, enough ‘overall fat’ to get rid off in the meantime 😉



  39. I hope this is a helpful comment. I don’t hear too many people frustrated about their results discuss the sharing/challenge strategy of the diet – find someone to do this with you and/or tell everyone what you are doing. This is hard and some people need help and encouragement or simply peer pressure. I truly believe Tim’s strategies work so it just takes patience for those not seeing fast results. Get help from friends, find comrades to join in the process. Good luck!

  40. Hey Tim.

    Interesting information and research here. On the topic of spot reduction, is there anything men can do for gynecomastia? I haven’t heard you cover this topic in the past, but would be interested in your thoughts. Have a slight case and I didn’t know what my options were (besides surgery)…and this post of spot reduction got me thinking.



  41. Hey Tim,

    Thanks man

    The book hit so many high notes for me

    Especially the Brazilian NUT arc

    nice to hear that other guys like toys and hacks

    mental alchemy since day1

    my dance dance revolution is leaning against a 16kg kettle bell

    the scouba is charging, innertalk subiminals are playing in the background and the laser is humming-

    if you really ARE interested in cutting edge peak performance and human potential (just guessing here)

    How bout this

    become taller , breathe deeper (increase your measured lung capacity over 10%) be more limber, more functional and naturally perform better at any activity in less than 10 minutes Via, a pain erasing, dynamic and oh so sweeet manual therapy!!!

    Dare ya!

    check out

    Advanced Biostructural Correction


    Dmitry Lang DPT

    Doctor of Physical Therapy

  42. Tim – no need to comment but I just wanted to note that the week I followed the SCD exactly, I had results. The tweeking I have done since stopped the results. I do not consider myself on the program unless I am doing it all. So to all those who say they are not getting results, that may be an issue.

    Myself, I will consider tweeking until I find a combo that works for me. I am a middle 50s female who had weight loss surgery that needed to be reversed so am still finding my way back into mainstream foods. That said, the scd is not that far from what I eat anyway so I will follow it again when ready.

    I do realize that I have to learn and study the tweaking for myself since I live out of the US, move between countries, and am not sure how to adjust for time zone changes.

    But thanks for the info and the inspiration.

  43. Hey Tim …I love the book, the slow carb has been tremendous. I’m down 30 lbs…..but,…any tips to get rid of the man-boobs? Help.

  44. Tim,

    Just finished my 98 pages for Rapid Fat-Loss. Got my PAGG supplements today, getting started with everything Sunday 1/23/11. I know it’ll be awhile before you get to my comment (all things in moderation?), but I wanted to say that although people have been telling me about weight loss methods my whole life, the way you presented things in the book really struck a chord. I haven’t been this excited about fat loss in forever. I’ve been seeing a trainer 3x a week since Sept 2010 and haven’t been paying attention to nutrition at all. Needless to say, no weight loss has happened. You won’t see me type this anywhere else in public, but I’m at 562 lbs. I don’t really feel too bad about it anymore since I know that number will be irrelevant in a few months, years, decades.

    Thanks and keep in touch (if you have the time),


  45. Hi Tim, any tips on reducing love handles? Bdw great book. Started flowing your advice and feeling great.

    Good work. Keep up. From Maldives

  46. Hi all, I am currently on page 70 in the book, finishing the introductory chapters. My most urgent need is to increase my overall energy level. I am pretty fit and sleep a lot. Which chapter should I pick? I always thought that the key to maximising one’s energy level is learning to breathe properly, but surprisingly and disappointingly there seems nothing on the subject. (The Houdini chapter doesn’t help.) Which chapters do you recommend I check out? Or do you think that learning to breathe properly is overrated?

    1. One thing Tim mentions if you wake up feeling really crap is to eat two tablespoons of almond butter before you go to sleep. It is REALLY working for my husband and always woke up feeling like he could sleep for another 5 hours!

  47. Hey TIm!

    SAME QUESTIONS AGAIN: really would like your input!! please please please take a second to answer and I feel like this question would be relative to your other members as well. I am STRUGGLING through this marathon training on the slow-carb diet.


  48. Hey Tim,

    3 small questions (sorry for commenting in an unrelated post):

    1) Is mustard, for example, allowed in the Slow Carb Diet? I find it hard to eat spinach and others without some kind of dressing.

    2) Do you recommend eating spinach in raw state, or cooked/steamed?

    3) Are the Damage Control techniques cumulative? For example, let’s consider:

    A) Doing exercise 90s before binge

    B) Using PAGG/AGG

    C) Coffe + grapefruit juice

    D) Using CQ

    Do we do one of these options on each binge meal or more than one at once? How many do you reckon is the MED? Should I experiment?

    Thank you, and naturally congratulations for such a fantastic book.

    Thanks to you I just found out I have SAD, am an onset insomniac, have muscle imbalance, train too much, and found the solution for most of these problems.

    Once I get my body handled I aspire to become the second caucasian yabusame in record time 🙂

    1. Vasco,

      I dieted successfully using real mustard, that only contains mustard seed, vinegar and salt – but there are a lot of “mustard-like-sauces” that contain lots of sugar. Watch the label.

      All the best


  49. Tim, you have some good info for people and I enjoy your latest book, but posts like these make me wonder which is the oldest profession, prostitution or snake oil salesman, jk

  50. Hello Mr. Ferriss,

    I was going over the supplements list in the “How Did I Do It?” chapter of the book and I got everything on the list, except I ordered NO-Xplode’s version without caffeine, but what I am not sure I understand is why have you used Slo-Niacin and ChromeMate? Could you elaborate on this? My understanding is that both supplements are designed for cholesterol and blood sugar control, but what do they have to do with gaining muscle?



  51. Hey Tim,

    The book is great, and it’s nice to see that you actually DID all of the things in the book, and MORE!

    I have done a lot of other work out programs from P90x to an LL cool J workout lol. Your workouts have been great, but I just wanted to let you know what I liked about the other programs that I haven’t found for yours yet. I’m only telling you this because I think others like me, may also like benefit from this, and it may help your sales in the long run.

    If you were able to make a check-list/ to-do type list where you list the exact workouts, and days to do them, as well as how many times. Then we can all just check the boxes, and it will keep us organized and on schedule.

    Hope this helps, and if other reading this would also like something like this, please comment so Tim knows.

    Keep up the good reading material Tim, I’m excited to see what you come up with next!

    Life is good!


  52. Hi – does anyone have any experience with GENR8 Vitargo S2? I ordered this supplement drink before I heard about and started reading the four hour body book. I am wondering if it would work with the diet and exercise regimen.


  53. Tim,

    I came across this article because I did a google search to see what you had to say about the niacin flush. Internet access has mitigated many a would-be panic attacks. I dropped my dosage to 250mg and consumed with food… MUCH better.

    I’m actually writing to add a tip for those dealing with sweet tooth issues. I’ve found that brewing green tea is pretty impractical, so for the past several months I’ve been putting green tea powder in a gallon of water and freezing overnight. In the morning, I have a to-go container of icy matcha, which has essentially eliminated my need for coffee. Here’s my latest hack: 1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder added to the water not only lets me delude myself into believing I’m drinking a chocolate shake all day, it has an AMAZING impact on my mood and has helped 100% diet adherence become easily doable. Full disclosure: I also typically add my glutamine, red wine extract, and probiotic to this concoction. Carrying a gallon of cold swamp water around the office is simple and makes me feel too damn good to not do everyday.

    1. Have you considered ‘cold’ brewing green tea bags? Costco’s ITO En brand Green Tea comes out beautifully in cold water.

  54. Am I the only one who has not lost a pound or any body fat. I am following this – or at least I thought I was – with one exception 3 glasses of wine at night. Is that the issue?

  55. Very interesting post, Tim! As soon one pointed out mobilizing fat into free fat acids is one part, but you still must be caloric deficit one way or another to get rid of the fat– unless you’re a ketogenic diet.

    What’s the chance you could test the following:

    1) Test to see if you are in ketosis

    2) If you are in ketosis, eat a bunch of carbs to get yourself out of ketosis.

    3) Repeat the experiment above

    Thinking about this practically any freed up fat would have to get processed in the liver into ketones or stored elsewhere as fat. If you’re seeing a significant level of fat loss, you maybe able to track it in your urine as excess ketones.

    Alternatively, you can also measure your lipid panel before, during, and after the experiment. Spot reduction that re-distributes fat would still be a good thing as the fat may end up in areas that tend to lose fat easier.

  56. Help with PAGG dosages – What is the dosage for AGG and PAGG?

    I used your tools and tricks link and now have the following:

    Garlicin – 350mg

    Green tea extract – 750 mg

    ALA – 100 mg

    Poli – 20 mg

    Do I need to cut the Garlicin and Green Tea pills in half (capsule by the way) or am I taking these as is? Sorry for the q – new to supplements but love this approach.

  57. Hi Tim

    I’m starting out on the 4HB – love the book, your writing style is really entertaining and bloody hell mate power to you for the ice-baths…

    Quick question for you; my boyfriend is a police officer and thus has crazy shifts which change frequently –

    I normally pack his food and just adjusted it for the SCD (strictly), but will it matter if he cannot eat regular meals during a 10-hour shift, and has to eat when possible?

    Also we already do cross-fit class(1xweekly) and BB.Insanity (2-3x weekly) – is this too much, should we cut back?



    1. He already mentioned adding more magnesium, etc. Scroll up the page, and you will see his answer. The quicker way is to use the “Find” function of your browser and type in “constipation.”

  58. Does anyone know if aminophylline is patent-encumbered?

    I’ve been concerned for a while that too much of humanity’s collective medical research budget is focused on patentable stuff for obvious economic reasons.

    Is there some charity that I could be donating to which specialises in world class research into unpatentable treatments? Drugs that have passed into the public domain, vitamins and amino acids, etc. etc. etc.

  59. Up 3-5 lbs in two weeks on Occam’s, including two days eating basically nothing due to a cold / sore throat. Just today feeling like I can actually eat as much as I need to without it being torture.

    Hoping for some clarification on the ab workout. For the crunches, should we be failing around ten reps, and adding weight to keep that failure consistent? If not failure, whats the protocol for adding weight to your hands?

    My real issue is cat voms. After exhaling fully, there are two distinct ways to ‘pull your belly button to your spine’, and I’m not sure which is correct. If you seal your airway and try to breath in by using your diaphragm, your stomach will pull up due to the vacuum effect of your lungs. Alternately, you can continue flexing the muscles you use to press air out of your lungs from the stomach up.

    Thanks for a great book!

  60. Hola Tim ,

    Tengo 30 años y entreno hace más de 10 , compre tu libro para kindel el mismo dia que salio a la venta ,el 4HB esta lleno de información muy interesante que en muchos de los casos era totalmente opuesta a lo que yo pensaba . Me gusta la idea de hackear mi sistema para ver y docuementar los cambios asi que decidi seguir el Low card diet y hacer el occams protocol según el body composition monitor del gym comencé asi :el 16/12/10 mi peso era de 101.7 kg grasa 20.7 kg masa magra 81.0kg agua 59.3 kg hoy mis medidas fueron peso 97.5kg grasa 18.8 kg masa magra 78.7kg agua 57.6 kg.

    Estoy desayunando a las 10 am menos de 30 min después de levantarme 3 huevos revueltos con 2 tajadas de jamon y un café sin azúcar y 3 nueces de brazil para elevar el nivel de testosterona

    A media mañana tomo un scoop de whey

    A las 2:30 almuerzo menestras lentejas frejoles o quinua con media pechuga de pollo y tomo otra taza de café

    A las 5:00 tomo un scoop de cell mass

    A las 7:00 tomo un scoop mas de whey (si es dia de entrenamiento)

    Alas 8:30 como por lo menos 200gr de proteína (beef chiken pork fish) y media lata de menestras frejoles o lentejas (conservadas en agua y sal) o quinua.

    Antes de dormir me tomo una copa de vino (malbeco merlot) y 3 nueces

    Adicionalmente suplemento dos capsulas de aceite de bacalao y una capsula de te verde en la mañana y en la noche me ducho con agua fría dos veces al dia y tomo mas de 2 litros de agua .

    Los sábados que son mi day off tomo cerveza toda la que puedo y como toda la comida chatarra que se me cruza .

    En lo que respecta al entrenamiento (occams) estoy entrenando al fallo 5/5 controlado por cronometro hasta que no puedo mover mas el peso (hoy hice A3) he aumentado los pesos considerablemente (no te aburro con los números) Pero según lo que dice el monitor estoy perdiendo masa!!! Por lo que ves, ¿que crees que estoy haciendo mal?


  61. Very interesting Tim, I love reading your posts 😉 I do have a problem with the cream containing parabens (cancer causing agents), although many question this claim, I’d rather avoid the potential problems in the long run and just hit the gym a little harder.

  62. Quick question re the cold treatments:

    – is it common to experience a “hot flash” of sorts somewhere in the range of 1-3 hours post-treatment. Yesterday after my workout I took a cold shower and used my general cold treatment. Then right before my evening class I was burning up! At first I thought I was developing a fever… and then it dawned on me that I had a later than usual workout… Possibly the effects of the cold shower?

    Thanks. been doing a version of Paleo/SCD for a long time now, just added the Brazin nuts and cod liver oil… feeling pretty good… I also have about 4-6 members of my gym following your CF Endurance 12 wk program. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  63. Tim,

    Is there any way of increasing ahem…fibre on the slow carb diet?

    I’ve been following it for two weeks and my toilet sessions are long enough to read the 4HB cover to cover.


    1. Huey,

      100 g of Chickpeas contain 17 g of fiber

      100 g of Kidney Beans contain 25 g of fiber

      100 g of Lentils contain 30 g of fiber

      or you could try Sauerkraut, as it promotes bowel movement.

      All the best


      1. Tim notes that chickpeas are a “domino food”…I can’t find a good reason not to eat them unless there’s a weird chemical in there doing something…it seems okay for my body to consume them like any other bean. AND i happen to love them. I dump a couple of cans in a big bowl with two pounds of ground turkey or beef and fresh nature’s promise salsa, and have it for lunch a couple days in a row. I’m eating at least two cans of chickpeas a week, and still the the fat is melting away. But that’s the ONLY thing I do that is not letter by letter. So far, there has been no problem for me caused by the chickpeas…

  64. Tim,

    4HW has done wonders. I just picked up 4HB last night – I’m excited. I’ve created a blog to collect those “meal photos” you suggest. I’m beginning the change on Monday (doing all the shopping and prep over the weekend). Let me know what you think, and if you want use it as a real-time case study. Later on man.

    Tanner Campbell

  65. Hi Tim,

    Question: When following the slow carb diet, should we be using the strategies from the chapter “Damage control” during the cheat day?



  66. Hi Tim,

    Thanks again for this book, and for the bonus content. It’s every bit as impressive as FHWW. Hats off.

    If you have time, I’d really appreciate any suggestions on the following (sorry for the long post) :

    My g/f and I are just over two weeks into your Slow-Carb diet, and have both lost about 10 lbs on the scales, which is mind blowing (and exactly what you stated – much to my surprise! sorry! 🙂 ).

    My g/f is a UK size 8 so already slim, but I’m a whole chunk of man at 250lbs and 6ft! and a lot of fat!

    Whilst I’ve lost the weight, I haven’t lost much in the way of inches (like 1 inch around my belly, and nothing anywhere else). My g/f has definitely lost some inches.

    Could I just check the following average diet day out with you?

    Through the day :

    3 – 4 ltrs of evian

    Breakfast :

    Home-made organic, grass-fed beef burger patty with onions, and garlic and about 1/4 of an egg mixed in, friend in organic butter.

    A fried egg.

    about half a fist of home-made “baked beans” : harricot beans, a bit of red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oninons, garlic, tinned chopped tomato.

    Lunch :

    Either : home-made chilli con carne with extra kidney beans, and a large dollop of home-made guacamole (got this perfected now if anyone wants the recipe).

    or if eating out : Scallops with a rocket and tomato salad, with olive oil and balsamic, followed by two spit roasted chicken breasts with skin on, a big portion of cabbage, leaks and peas.

    Dinner :

    Something like : Home cooked organic, free-range chicken thigh – sometimes with the skin on, cooked in a tomato based sauce, with hills of vegetables (usually bad on the legumes in the evening). All home-made – nothing bought in / packets, etc.

    Or: Grass fed rib-eye steak with similar veggies.

    The only other thing I can think of, is that I probably use a bit more salt than average (now, natural flake type salt). Could this cause a big problem? Also, have switched to frying everything in butter now, rather than olive oil.

    The amazing thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t get hungry now, (except on cheat days, which kind of proves the principal), and have WAY more energy. I can definitely tell that my sugar levels are way more stable. Just hoping to see more actualy size loss soon.

    Thanks again!

  67. Hi All,

    So I’ve started my plan, second week! Here’s the trouble. Until about a year ago I had a personal trainer and cook for a few years, I was in amazing shape, and the diet plan was a bit like 4HB, but I could eat “good” carbs twice a day, wheat, oats, etc. Letting go of carbs hasn’t been tough, the problem is sugar.

    You see I was on a low-no sugar plan. I became a nazi! Counting every gram on everything I ate!

    It was beaten into me not to eat onions, carrots, tomatoes, or corn, because it metabolizes into sugar, and beans were strictly out! 4HB is great because I love beans of all sorts, but how do I break that spell of counting every gram of sugar? Like counting calories.

    Is there a certain level at which to keep my sugar?

    What about certain veggies, or certain beans? When I check them out there is some sugars in there.

    How do I jump this hurdle?

    I obviously stay away from sweeteners and refined sugar, but what about the stuff that turns to sugar?


    I am doing the plan exactly, but I feel horrible when I eat onions or corn and other things. This all probably sounds silly, but I would greatly appreciate any help you could give, and any info on the insulin side of things.



    1. The thing to remember is that vegetables in their whole fresh forms have fibre, which slows down sugar release and therefore your insulin response to this. The actual amount of carrots needed to to create a big insulin spike such as that of white bread, or straight sugar is huge!!.

      Relax and enjoy vegetables, especially the green ones!

  68. Hi Tim,

    First congratulations for your [kinda crazy but] amazing work in your latest book. I just bought it and I will start an “action plan” as soon as next week.

    I just have a very specific question. You mention lentils (also beans) as part of the Slow Carb Diet, when it’s composed mainly by carbohydrates (also proteins, but in less quantity). I’m a little confused about this fact. Is it that these carbs are “better” than the ones in rice or pasta?

    Thanks and best of luck.

  69. Hello Tim,

    I just want to let you know that your book is amazing….I love the logic and ease in following your book and diet. Something so cohesive and beneficial is worthy of a Nobel prize in my books…never mind the positive effects of your diet, but the good that your are giving to society as a whole is unprecedented…except by my ancestors that recommended we should all eat fresh, natural and wholesome foods….this is an ultimate recall to the necessities of life that have gone to wayside too much these days…Congratulations!

    1. Very well put:) He has made/is making a HUGE contribution to society! I am anxious to share with others.

  70. Anyone have a ridiculous amount of heartburn while taking the alpha-lipoic? Even with antacids, its not tolerable. Also, has anyone seen any results from the kettlebell workout?

  71. Tim-

    First off, I saw a lot of comments about Barnes & Noble issues. FWIW, I pre-ordered and got my signed copy on schedule in December, so you’ve got at least one success story there.

    Anyway, I’ve been working on the geek-to-freak program to try and add some muscle and I have two quick and hopefully easy questions:

    1. For the 5/5 cadence, is that 5 full seconds up and 5 seconds down? I’m wearing my digital watch to keep track of time between exercises, and 5 seconds seems like forever. I know as I get tired that I can count to 5 in much less than 5 seconds 🙂

    2. I’m lactose sensitive so the LOMAD method will never work for me (I already tried and failed miserably). I’ve been getting the requisite minimum grams of protein (1.25 grams x lean body weight) but using to track my total caloric intake, I am not getting the minimum number of calories, at least 20% too low. I have gained some weight but not 2.5 pounds per week. Here is my question: If I get the min protein required and more calories than normal, but less than recommended, will my body burn off some extra fat to get the energy it needs to build muscle? I’m hoping I can gain muscle and lose fat at the same, rather than gain both now and have to lose fat later.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  72. Thank you, Tim! This is the best diet/fitness advice and studies that I have ever read. This chapter, especially. I am at 12% body fat but have this little bit of fat on my thighs that it just hanging on. This is a huge help!

  73. Hi Tim,

    I would also like to here your opinion on reducing Gynecomastia via diet and/or drugs. I’m reading 4HB (love it).

    I’m on week two of the slow carb diet (although my first “cheat day” was actually a 3-day binge–thanks to the snowstorm. Surprisingly I was back to my pre-binge weight within 48 hours.)

    Anyway. It would be really cool to here your thoughts on Gynecomastia. I know there are overweight people who have it and also “would-be” body builders w/ a low bodyfat % who also have it.

    Thanks and great job on the book. A helluva lot of work must have gone into it.

    – Scott

  74. Tim,

    I think I got my Celluthin order in before the mad rush from this post. But I wanted to bend your ear on something else. I am a Biggest Loser fan and a 4HB convert from Jillian Michaels’ weight loss and strength programs. My needed fitness and fat loss changes are modest, so I’m not asking about this for me, but I would love to see you take some folks under your wing, like at the BL ranch and help them apply your MEDs with nutrition and excercise. I don’t know what the best format for that would be, but I would DVR it! The thought occurred to me after reading Big John’s comment on this post. I would love to see a show of weekly progress of folks like him who are following your advice, or at least an online repository of some chosen test cases with weekly stats. Would be another source of inspiration for many.

  75. Can anyone tell me the main differences between certain of the “green superfoods”?

    i.e. Perfect Food vs. Athlete Greens vs. Greens Plus, etc…

    Is there any incremental difference in content?



  76. Hi Tim,

    So I am 2 weeks into the 4hb and my results are super slow only 5.8 lbs and 8.5 inches. My major problem is with bowel movements. Can I add psyllium to my diet or do you have a better suggestion.

    Thanks Lisanne

    1. Hahaha… Lisanne, those are not slow results. You’re doing just fine, especially compared to almost any other diet. Psyllium is a fine addition.

      Stay the course!


  77. I’m sad to say this, but I think I better give up on the diet. I followed it strictly with only the tiniest periodic infractions, like skim milk in my coffee occasionally and not always eating when I got up, and have not lost one single solitary pound! I changed my eating habits in a huge way and have nothing to show for it. I understand I wasn’t 1200% faithful, but at 99% faithful I’d have hoped for at least some incremental weight loss. If such tiny infractions negate the whole thing then I think I’d be better off doing the usual eating better thing – at least I’ll lose a pound or two I reckon.

    I’m very disappointed because I tried so hard, but I guess this diet only works with absolute perfection and nothing short of it will do.

    1. Hey Dixie, I’m a vegetarian too and it works great for me. I frequently mix up about 1/2 cup boca crumbles, 1 c broccoli and white beans with maybe some soy sauce and that tastes good. The egg-lentil-spinach breakfast is easy, and I also eat morningstar farms veggie sausage, beans and spaghetti sauce (not sure that’s actually allowed, but it’s working for me) as meals. The meat substitutes work for me, I also sometimes drink protein shakes etc.

      Just wanted to share some meal ideas.

  78. Hi,

    I am enjoying your book. I was wondering if celluthin is safe for nursing mothers. I know you said it continued to work after you stopped using it, have there been any backlashes yet?

  79. That’s why peanut butter goes straight to my ass

    I will get the book. Good writing fun to read too although the peanut butter thing is rather depressing

  80. this may be an idea for those who seem to be getting heartburn from alpha lipoic acid

    here’s an link to article on stabilized versus unstabilized R-alpha lipoic acid:

    the r-alpha form is more bang for your buck as it’s many times more potent plain alpha lipoic (so you’d want to consider that in dosing), but if you are buying an unstabilized it may be causing the heartburn — google “buy stabilized r-alpha lipoic acid” and you’ll find some brands —

    good luck, I can’t imagine having to do with out that supplement

  81. Hi Tim: Saw you on Dr. Oz yesterday; just spent 3 hours on my computer cheching out comments etc.

    Concerns: I have had breast cancer & must stay away from any form of estrogen – environmental or otherwise. Are the foods, creams etc. in your diet safe for me.

    I have about 10 lbs. to lose, but mostly fat thighs.

    Thanks, & looking forward to your reply.


  82. Hi there! I’m only in week two of the diet, but was down three lbs the first week (and only have about 10 total to lose so am happy with those results). I’ve orderd the supplements for the PAGG but still waiting on my shipment so I’m excited to see how that adds to the process. Do you take the PAGG every day or only on your cheat days?

  83. Hey Tim!

    I just wanted to say I am two weeks in, have lost 9 pounds and 1.5 inches off my waist. I am super excited and have been sharing the book with everyone.

    I have bought four copies for friends and they are all buying copies for their friends, etc etc. It is great.

    I have 2 week before and after pics that I would love to share but I am not sure how.

    Thanks again Tim! You’ve changed my life.

  84. I lost 9.7 lbs (and: 4cm from stomach; 3.5cm from navel; 1cm from hips) in the first 7 days. I’m currently on day 10 of the diet.

    This morning, I received the results of my micronutrient profile test from Spectracell, which I sent a few days before I started this diet. If anyone is interested, it can be viewed here (google docs spreadsheet):

    Tim, or anyone else, it seems I’m deficient in vitamin D3 (43 against reference range of >50%). In the book you state you dosed on 3,000 UI – 5,000 UI after waking and again before bed until you reached 55 ng/ml during your Testosterone adventures. I’d like to reach the sweet spot of 55 ng/ml quickly, and the repletion guidelines in my report suggests to supplement 1,000 UI daily for 4-6 months. Can a higher dose be taken to reach the equivalent of 55 ng/ml in a shorter time frame?

    P.S. I’m keen to compare my results to yours, any chance of you sharing your latest Spectracell results?

  85. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for a great book! I’m going really strong and experiencing for me unheard of success.

    The one issue I’m having is with bloating, my stomach tends to get more and more bloated throughout the day to a pretty bloated stage in the evening.

    I’m not taking any supplements but eating tons of meat, legumes, sauerkraut and spinach as well as a protein drink on gym days. Could any of these be causing it?

    1. Hi Sebastian,

      Until your enzymes get going, this can be common. Feel free to use something like Metamucil to help control this. Also, be sure to soak your beans or get them from a can to decrease gas.

      Good luck!


  86. Hi Tim, Just found your site after watching you on Dr. Oz. I’m squatting already.

    Can you focus your megabrain on stretch marks? It’s not exactly weight loss, but it’s definitely related. Women all over the world will thank you.

  87. Hi Tim, I was just wondering if you have heard of Redline. I’ve tried it a couple times when I was working in the forest and it gives a HUGE energy burst, but apparently it’s supposed to be good for fat loss as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, especially the thermic effects, because it wasn’t mentioned in the book and I assume for a good reason. Thanks!

  88. Hello Tim,

    I’ve been following the weight-gain plan (ala Occam’s protocol). I’ve been working out hard but infrequently (no more than 2 times per week), as suggested and have focused on eating more. I’ve gained about 6 pounds in a week-and-a-half. Though I can feel an increase in muscle size, my waist size has also increased. It feels like I have more fat around my mid-section and I’m not as defined as when I started. Is this water retention from the increased carbs I’m ingesting? What could I be doing wrong? Thanks.

  89. hi tim. i love the diet especially since my craving for sugar is almost completely gone and i am losing weight. i have a few questions to help make this work for me…

    1. I run as soon as I wake up (before my 3 kids wake up) so it’s either eat or workout and i workout. i tried the protein shake but it made me hungrier afterwards. i can’t see eating eggs before i run. should i try almond butter?

    2. i am still trying to get rid of the sucanat i put in my coffee. i halved it but i still put in 1 tbsp a day. can i just keep that until i plateau?

    3. i get migraines so i get a little afraid of taking supplements. are migraines a side effect of any of the components of PAGG?