Don’t weight on me: One month on the slow carb diet

In November of last year, I made mention of my goal to “get healthy and lose the weight.” After getting some initial data on Dec. 29, I was ready to get started on a program I had hoped would help me.

The data was telling. I weighed in at 255.4 lbs., and was carrying a striking 41.3 percent bodyfat. I was disgusted. I was appalled. And then I went to my parents house the following weekend, celebrated a late Christmas, and had the most decadent food indulgences I can remember having in a long time.

I was off to a good start.

Fast-forward to one month later: My latest weigh-in on Jan. 28 had me down to 246.4 lbs. at 38.9 percent bodyfat. Ah, progress. In one month, I had lost nine pounds and dropped 2.4 percent of my bodyfat.

Here’s my story.

On Jan. 3, I started the slow carb diet after reading the Tim Ferris book, The 4-Hour Body. There’s a lot of different types of plans in the book. Some for those who want to lose fat, some for those who want to gain muscle and a few other miscellaneous topics I won’t get into here.

The premise of the slow carb diet can be summed up in these five rules:

  1. Avoid “white” carbohydrates (or any that can be white).
  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.

One type of meal for me on this plan. Lettuce, ground beef, black beans and Senor Stan's salsa. Delish.

And so I did. I counted calories for the first week just to see how things were going, then stopped doing that completely. I did very little exercise. There were some walks here and there (I’m mentioned – although not by name – further in the article) with a friend and I took the stairs a bit more instead of the elevator at work. The book has some pretty bold claims about the possibility of losing 20 lbs. of fat in 30 days without exercising, so I wanted to keep my expenditures to a minimum. “Let’s see how this thing holds up,” I thought.

Oh sure, the diet has its share of critics. Most diets do. I think that’s a good thing. You should be highly critical of any type of major plans to change your body. Investigate, research, then decide if it’s right for you. (Even Dr. Oz, did, and believe it or not, he gives the plan a thumbs-up.) Most of all, get going once you’ve made that choice. There’s no greater weapon than inaction.

Things I could have done differently

  • Drank more water. I could have drank a LOT more water than I did. You’re only suppose to have one diet drink a day with this plan, but I have an addiction to Diet. Mt. Dew, and that sometimes got in the way. The last two weeks were pretty bad.
  • Went on more – or longer – walks. As I said, I was trying to see how lazy I could be, so that’s my own fault. But now that I’m seeing progress, I’m extremely motivated to up the ante.
  • Drank water and ate protein first thing in the morning. One of the tips to rev up metabolism is to have some ice cold water and some type of protein within 30 minutes (and certainly no later than one hour) of waking up. I’m not a morning person, so it’s a real struggle for me to get my head on straight in the morning. Better food preparation would have helped me.
  • Been better prepared. Since our family is scattered to the far ends of Kansas, we had a really, really late Christmas with my wife’s family in Garden City two weeks into my plan. Because they live six hours away, I didn’t plan well for the trip and ended up eating more unapproved foods than I would have liked. I essentially lost two days because of that trip, but since it was a belated Christmas, I didn’t care  much.

Things I’m glad I didn’t do

  • Listen to my doctor. You absolutely should get your body checked out to make sure there isn’t something that might prohibit you from trying any type of weight-loss program (cancer, diabetes, etc.). Doctors are pretty great for getting us unsick, but I don’t listen to them for advice on losing weight. When I went for my physical on Dec. 29, my doctor gave me a lecture on the need for me to lose weight, while he (admittedly) was overweight himself.  He recommended two different programs for me to try, the South Beach Diet (which I’ve tried before and do recommend) and Weight Watchers (which I absolutely don’t recommend). My doctor really didn’t have “tried and true” advice for me to lose weight and frankly, I wish he hadn’t tried.
  • Listen to others. The New York Times review won’t exactly make you want to run out and get the book (there was no mention if the reviewer actuallytried anything from the book). “No fruit? No dairy? Oh, I don’t think that’s safe.” Yeah, I heard it all. Of course, had I told someone I was going to be vegetarian, I’d likely get pats on the back or something. I get all the fruit, dairy and loads of other crap one day a week – I choose Sunday – for my binge day. I even have a simple rule: “Remember the Binge Day and keep it holy.” I won’t even go into what I’ve eaten today alone. My Sunday Binge Days are glorious tales of debauchery, followed by lean meats, greens and legumes the rest of the week.
  • Give up. I had a few setbacks along the way. Besides my aforementioned trip to western Kansas, I also slipped  up one Wednesday morning and wolfed down a pack of mini donuts on the way to work. Many times before, a slip up like that anytime during the day would cause me to completely fall off the wagon. For some reason, I kept going. I don’t know why this time is different, other than I’m really tried of being as heavy and unhealthy as I am.

Conclusion

I still have far to go. My first short-term goal is to hit 240 lbs., with a long-term goal of getting to 200 lbs. But what I’ve seen so far, I know I’m on the right track. I feel awesome. I don’t get tired in the afternoons. My clothes fit better, and in some cases, I think I’m going to need some new threads fairly soon.

Most important, I have a hope that hasn’t been there in a long time. I had some success last summer doing Red Dog’s Dog Days, but even then I worked my butt off and still only got to 246 lbs. I’m looking forward to Dog Days this summer. It should be a lot easier and way more fun.

That’s the story so far. Thanks for reading.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to prepare for supper. I’m going to go stuff my face at SmashBurger.

7 thoughts on “Don’t weight on me: One month on the slow carb diet

  1. Debbi

    Fascinating! And congratulations. I hope you keep blogging about your progress, I’m interested to see how this diet goes for you.

    Although, I am curious about why you don’t recommend Weight Watchers. I have friends who have had great success with it.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    1. ericjgruber Post author

      Thanks! You can guarantee I’ll keep blogging my progress, even if I really mess up (and hope I don’t).

      Clearly if Weight Watchers works for people then they should totally stick with it. I do think it adds a layer of complexity that might make it harder for people to follow. WW has this points system that sort-of-kind-of is the same thing as calorie counting. I tried it, and thought it made the process harder, because I had to keep doing all these conversions for the different foods I was eating. Changing eating habits is hard enough without all the extra math.

      I also know people who have been successful with the program, so I don’t doubt it can work.

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    Great job, keep it up!

    Several years ago (pre-Maddie) I dropped 50 lbs through diet and exercise. It’s much harder post-Maddie to stick to any plan but I’ve got to do something. Keep posting your progress, holler at me whenever you want to walk around the parking lot and maybe it will kick me into gear. You’ve inspired me yet again!

    Reply
    1. ericjgruber Post author

      it’s certainly harder as we get older. By we, I mean you, of couse! 😀

      Seriously though, pre-marriage seven years ago, I dropped a lot of weight and it seemed to come off in a fairly steady fashion (by doing a program called Body-for-Life). But I had not been able to recreate that success in the past few years. I’m hoping this might be the ticket!

      And yes, we’ll have to do some parking lot walking!

      Reply
    1. ericjgruber Post author

      It’s not really a big deal. I eat about four large meals per day, and since I repeat the same meals in large part, that keeps food preparation and grocery shopping pretty easy. I’ve done much worse.

      Reply
  3. Greg K

    Eric, how’s the diet going? Very interested to know what happened in the 4 months since this post. I just got below 30% body fat for the first time in years and it feels GREAT! clothes fit fantastically… out of 3XL into XL and even some Ls starting to fit well. I am 6’6″ and started at 320#. Got down to 275 using another diet (partly mentioned in Tim’s book as the “just track your weight daily” diet), bounced up to 308 because I was hungry all the time and it became unsustainable to just keep trying to lose more weight without a good plan as to how. Now I’m at 292 after 1 month, but amazing recomposition happened! fat reduced A LOT and muscle grew. I spend 20-25 minutes before bed in ultra cold water baths nearly religiously (use a book to keep from getting bored), tried ice twice… it’s bearable now, but still a bit extreme. cold water however stopped bothering me. I also sleep with thin or no covers and stopped getting any kind of sniffles or colds. I am on Greens, PAGG, Omega 3-6-9, Phosphotidyl Choline, CoQ10, L-Carnitine, extra Vitamin D, extra probiotics and inulin FOS, and Cissus (on binge days). Don’t have a set schedule or particular meals, but keep only to foods on the diet. every 2-3 days I’ll have a single can of diet mt dew. On binge days, I eat SCD lunch and don’t go wild until lunch, even then, I find that I’m less and less wild. Used to be able to down 6-7 donuts before. Last Sat bought a box of 6, ate 3.5 in the whole day and had to throw out the rest come Sunday morning. I am addicted to kettlebells (I call it my edgeless companion cube a-la the game Portal) and do 50 reps with 35# ball on M-W-F paired with bird dog and glute activation. Muscle contractions before meals are only for the largest meal of the day on normal days and for all meals on Saturday. I do (most of the time) forget to do it 90 mins later, however. LOTS of lemon juice everywhere. Start my mornings with a pint-glass of iced water with lemon and 6oz of cold water w/o ice with greens mixed in. If I do that as soon as I get up, it wakes me up faster, and by the time I eat breakfast I’m a lot more regular right after it. Fun details? 🙂 30-60 minutes later I don’t eat 30g of protein, I do a protein overdose!!! 4 eggs with 1/2 pack of extra firm tofu and chicken breast bits, spinach and macadamia oil omlet with 1/4 can of sauerkraut and half-can of organic black or red beans or lentils, or 16oz liquid egg white shake with 2 table spoons of almond butter with vanilla extract with mac oil with some stevia, etc…. 50-60g is the norm (1 egg = 1oz = 1.25 eggs by mass in egg whites = 6g of protein). I follow up my breakfast with 4oz of grapefruit juice and a medium cup of coffee with Saigon cinnamon.

    I hope that you’re doing well on your diet too and have lost more weight that you can brag about! Do please let us know!

    Reply

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