How I Dropped a Size in Two Months with Slow-Carb

By on August 4, 2011

By Sharon Hurley Hall –

Seventeen pounds in eight weeks – that’s what I’ve lost on the slow carb diet. The diet is part of the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, which can best be described as an odyssey of self-experimentation. While Tim was trying to tweak both his body and his life (he’s also the author of the bestselling 4 Hour Workweek), he discovered the benefits of a slow carb approach.

Like many women, as I head towards my 50s, when I look in the mirror, I no longer see the svelte 24 year old that still existed inside my head. Instead, I see the silhouette, if it could be called that, of someone obviously related to me, but considerably chunkier. That process started back in my 30s and over the years I have made many attempts to regain my figure. GI, Atkins – you name it, I’ve checked it out but the results have never been permanent.

That’s why the 4 Hour Body (called that because supposedly you only need 4 hours of exercise a month) appealed to me. I’d had the book for over a month before I looked at it. That’s because I hate dieting, which is part of the reason I always sabotage my weight loss efforts. Once I started reading, though, I was hooked. Here’s why: the Slow Carb Diet isn’t like any other diet. In essence, it boils down to these five rules:

Slow Carb Diet Basics

1. Avoid white carbohydrates
2. Eat the same few meals over and over again
3. Don’t drink calories
4. Don’t eat fruit
5. Take one day off per week

Simple, isn’t it? Most diets fail – or people fail to complete them – because they are too complex. You have to have the restraint of a saint, and there’s a lot of weighing and measuring. On the Slow Carb diet, you don’t have to count calories and you’re allowed one day off a week. Once I’d read that, I was in!

There’s a lot of science behind the slow carb diet, but essentially it turns your body into a fat burning machine by mixing and matching foods from the proteins, legumes and vegetables groups (see the lists here). Create some simple, small meals from the foods on this list, which boost fat loss, and eat 3-5 times a day. On the seventh day (sounds kind of biblical, doesn’t it?) you get to eat whatever you want. This stops your body from going into starvation mode and hanging onto fat. Best of all, you don’t even have to exercise if you don’t want to.

My Eight Week Slow Carb Journey

So, how did it work in practice?

Though Tim recommends using calipers to measure body fat and taking starting measurements for your waist, hips, chest, arms and thighs, I opted not to do that till I had reached my first milestone, because I had a lot of weight to lose. Instead, thanks to my spiffy new scale, I noted body fat, BMI and weight. I then chose my foods: fish (I’m a pescatarian), eggs and black beans from the proteins group, lentils as my main legume; and spinach and broccoli as the main vegetables. Here’s what happened.

Week 1– I stuck to my usual routine of exercising 3-4 times a week and had 3 small meals consisting of different combos of those foods. On my cheat day, I had toast for breakfast, a muffin mid-morning, a wrap with cheese and peppers for lunch, and a cup of hot chocolate at night. 2.4 pounds lost.

Week 2 – I started my day by drinking a glass of lemon water before breakfast, which is supposed to boost fat loss, and added some spicy pumpkin seeds for coping with peckishness between meals. I also started having a cup of green tea in the morning and at night. Cheat day was essentially the same as week one. 3 pounds lost.

Weeks 3 & 4 – I followed the same pattern as before for weeks, losing 2.4 pounds in week 3 and 1.4 pounds in week 4. According to the book, fat loss measurements can be out for women at different times of the month.

Week 5 – I went back to the book and changed my weekly weigh-in from Saturday to Sunday morning, which is the morning of cheat day. That’s what the book recommends. I drank a glass of lemon water before each meal. 3.4 pounds lost; 1st milestone reached.
This was a big week for me, as I reached my pre-pregnancy weight. I celebrated with an extra special cheat day which included two parties – yay!

Week 6 – Nothing special to report, but I went down a jeans size. I took some measurements so I could track inch loss. 2.6 pounds lost

Week 7 – Disaster! For the first time since starting the diet, I gained weight during the week. Resisting the urge to give up on the whole thing, I thought about what could have caused the gain. I’d had a minor injury which kept me from exercising, had eaten a couple of late meals (compared with my usual habit of dinner by 6.30pm, and had had a couple of beers, thereby breaking rule number 3 about drinking calories. 2 pounds gained; but 2 inch loss around my hips and thighs.

Week 8 – Determined to get back on track, I took immediate corrective action, going back to the book and researching online to find out what to do for a weight gain or plateau. I followed another recommendation I’d been resisting and yanked myself out of bed so I could eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking. I also made my meals even simpler: two eggs for breakfast, and beans and veg for lunch and dinner. The only trouble with eating so early was getting hungry, so I added a spoonful of beans mid-morning, with a cup of green tea if necessary. 4.2 pounds lost, putting me back on track.

Living the Slow Carb Lifestyle

I’m exercising a bit more than Tim recommends, but am doing more weight training than usual to keep my skin firm. And the anti-oxidants in the spinach are doing wonders for my complexion. I’ve even been able to have the occasional coffee with the girls or glass of wine without sabotaging myself. I have no problem sticking to the diet because I like all the foods on the list and I know I get a weekly blowout.

While Tim’s publicity promises a weight loss of 20 pounds in 30 days, I’m happy with my reduced figure of 17 pounds in 8 weeks. It’s obvious that the diet is working, and my energy levels are up. Getting up early is also doing wonders for my writing productivity. All in all, I’m happy with the results, and I’ll be sticking with it till I achieve my weight loss goal.

Sharon Hurley Hall has been writing professionally for almost 25 years, and she does it because she loves it. She is a word nerd, a Scrabble fiend, fanatical about grammar, and is fascinated by learning new things. Since 2005, Sharon has mentored other writers at Get Paid to Write Online to help them improve and build sustainable and successful writing careers. Sharon subscribes to the ‘fine wine’ theory of aging – getting older also means getting better! Find Sharon on her website (hyperlink all her pages) (http://www.sharonhh.com/) Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/shurleyhall) and Face Book (http://www.facebook.com/SharonHurleyHall).

About Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall has been writing professionally for almost 25 years, and she does it because she loves it. She is a word nerd, a Scrabble fiend, fanatical about grammar, and is fascinated by learning new things. Since 2005, Sharon has mentored other writers at “Get Paid To Write Online” to help them improve and build sustainable and successful writing careers. Sharon subscribes to the 'fine wine' theory of aging - getting older also means getting better! Connect with Sharon on her website.

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How I Dropped a Size in Two Months with Slow-Carb