Wow, I'm overwhelmed how many of my friends started to ask me about my diet/fitness transformation earlier this year. I lost more than 10% of my body weight, I'm very fit and people started to notice... and they want the same! I think it's great. This article is for anyone who wants to lose weight without feeling hungry (and no counting calories!) and who is capable of spending 2 months for that. Here's how I did it:
Why Slow-carb diet - why is it different?
I heard about this diet a while ago but the word "diet" discouraged me to give it a try. I didn't want to count calories or feel hungry. Then I read the book Why we get fat and realized, I could give up carbohydrates and still eat until full... and lose weight! Well, I decided to give it a try.
Sidenote: On the photo "before" I'm about 74kg, on the photo "after" I'm about 66kg. You can still see the difference (my face, neck, etc..) but I have to admit that three years ago I weighted up to 80kg! So I'm about 14kg/30lbs lighter total than my last record :-)
Anyway, I read the book and learned about the slow-carb-diet on the Internet and in the 4-hour body book by Tim Ferriss and his blog post on Gizmodo and knew where to start. I liked that this diet lets me have a feast every 6 days and eat whatever I liked (more on that later) so I wouldn't feel like I'm really missing out on life. I was on the diet from mid-January to mid-March this year and not only have I stayed lean but I also lost additional 2kg after my diet ended. Here are my best tips and tricks:
The basics - what can I eat?
Basically you have to avoid:
- typical carbs: potatoes, fries, rice, pasta, bread
- milk or yogurt
- fruit (fructose - I know, it hurts!)
- sweetened drinks (only water, optionally with a little lemon squeezed in)
- desserts or any other sweets (sorry!)
When in doubt. Don't eat it :-) Please refer to these articles in case of more info:
- Slow Carb Diet on Wikipedia
- Slow Carb Diet on Gizmodo by Tim Ferriss
- Slow Carb Diet official blog post by Tim
- and get the "4-hour body" book
What can you eat? Everything else!
Lots of protein. Eggs, fish, meat, salads (just no sweetened sauces), veggies (especially with olive oil), avocado (lots of it!), tomato, lentils, legumes, etc. Everything that doesn't contain carbs. And there's lots of it - believe me.
Make meals regular, small and eat slowly until full
This was a huge change for me. I finally started eating regularly and to this day I'm programmed like this. My daily routine:
- 6-7 am - wake up, drink water, exercise
- 8-9 am - breakfast
- noon - snack (usually a salad)
- 3 pm - lunch
- 6 pm - dinner
- 9 pm - small snack (optional, if feeling hungry)
I'm still like this today. When people are spending a day with me, they see a slim guy who's constantly hungry, because every three hours he needs to eat something. Folks are used to 2-3 meals a day. I eat more often but smaller portions.
Remember to eat slowly until you feel full. You'll quickly start eating smaller portions. But don't let yourself feel hungry. Don't count calories.
A few tips regarding food
- Eggs - don't overdo it. Don't eat eggs every day and if you do, learn to make omelets from one egg only. My favorite breakfast is an omelet from tuna, paprika and one egg. And tomatoes on the side. Breakfast of champions. Ready in 10 minutes.
- Coffee - I had to slow down with coffee. Black coffee only (no lattes, sorry!) - so I took one a day and later exchanged it for tea. Lots of tea. Enjoyed the change.
- Simple salads with avocado - my best snacks ever - a few slices of avocado, slices of tomatoes, slices of some fish, and olive oil - add some pepper and you're set. Loved it.
- Fish - get lots of it and put in the freezer. Learn to eat different kinds of fish if you can get them fresh.
- Meat - same with meat - experiment with different kinds of meat. Learn to eat new tastes.
- Meatballs and burgers - it turns out you can cook meatballs without bread and they taste great. You can order burgers without bread or fries - just with more salad. My favorite burger was the Salmon burger I had in Sweden. Now my wife knows how to cook it, too :-)
- Lentejas - it's a Spanish dish - here's a recipe in English - it's a great dish to eat every 2 days. Just make lots of it (and add chorizo if you can) and put it in the freezer. I had one very often and never got bored with it. It's so good.
- Mexican food - fajitas are great - order them and eat them - just without the tortillas or rice, Tim Ferriss recommends Mexican food for this diet and he's right!
- Choose not to be hungry - when you're in a situation where you have to eat carbs (like I was on a conference where the catering only had them), choose to eat them instead of staying hungry. It's a better choice. Eat.
- Get the cookbook - there is a Slow-carb diet cookbook in PDF - get it and learn to prepare new meals. You'll love them.
- Experiment with new foods - I can't highlight it enough, we're used to eating the same thing over and over again, thanks to this diet I had to start actively searching for new foods, ordering new things. You'll be surprised how many tasty stuff you have never eaten in your life!
Be patient - you might not lose too much in the first month
As described in my fitness article I lost 2kg/4lbs in my first week, so I was motivated. However, I think it was mostly water. Later I spent 3 weeks seeing the same weight... no progress at all... I wanted to give up... and then each week I started losing 1kg/2lbs every single week. Wow.
Why? Because my body needed a month to get used to burning food for energy instead of carbs, as the book "Why we get fat" describes. Just think about it. All my life my body was using carbs for energy. Give it a moment, it needs to recalibrate. My body needed a full month.
Remember to have a "feast day"
Every Sunday I had a feast day - I could drink beer, eat ice-cream, pizza, whatever I wanted. It was great. However with each passing week I didn't need to eat so many carbs. I guess my body wasn't asking for them as much anymore.
Actually, in the second month I started to cheat and have a "feast weekend" and start eating carbs on Saturday already. It was because of my family - they didn't like it when I couldn't eat the things they were eating so I gave in. I was fine, I was still losing weight.
Fitness - keep exercising regularly
In January I did just a few runs, but in February and March I picked up the pace and kept running. Keep doing exercises - your body will quicker learn to use fat for energy, especially if you do it in the morning before your breakfast. Now after the diet I did my first triathlon and keep exercising even more and I'm loving it.
After the diet - try to have at least one "no carb day" a week
That's right, after you're finished with the diet and want to get back to eating everything, first off, you will not eat as many carbs as you were used to, second, try to have at least one day a week without carbs. Your body needs this.
Slow Carb Diet changed my life - thank you Tim!
Big thanks to Timothy Ferriss for his fantastic new style of eating and for changing my life. Also big kudos to the author of Why we get fat for explaining why Tim's way must work. Now I'm leaner and more fit than when I was in high-school, and I just turned 35. And as I can see, thanks to my example people are trying to change their lives, too. That's great, hope my article will help you start off and get to your dream body weight. Good luck!
Question: Have you ever tried a diet? Have you tried slow-carb-diet? What were your results?
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