How I Lost 9 lbs in 30 Days While Eating Doughnuts
The bold green letters popped off the page. “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise.” I kept reading with one skeptical eye open. I skimmed the information on the site with an aim to quickly dismiss it as some kind of huckster marketing ploy. In no time, I’d be being pitched for the latest boxed meal program, fad diet, dvd, or ebook.
My body clenched, tightly anticipating a cleverly crafted hook to come in at the end of the post. “Ok, ok, ok I’m going to be asked for my credit card or paypal account. Wait for it.”
“What no hook?” I was kind of disappointed. Only a small blurb plugging his book, The 4-Hour Body. Tim Ferriss you sly devil.
Now, I was a bit off-put by the title, knowing that weight loss and fitness require hard work, dedication, and discipline. It made the article sound like a get rich quick or rather get skinny fast scheme. But, the title served it’s purpose, it got me to read on.
Now, if I lost 20 pounds from my current weight I would be gaunt at the very least, but more than likely malnourished. It wasn’t the outcome I had in mind.
I dropped the keywords “Slow Carb Diet” into Google and skimmed. I expected a lot of blogs and message boards to come back with, “This diet sucks” or “Don’t waste your time.” Instead I was greeted with good content from people that weren’t trying to sell anything. They were trying to help people out. I read stories of amazing, sustained weight loss, and lifestyle transformation.
The Rules of the Slow-Carb Diet
The rules of the diet are simple. There are only 4. (Snagged from www.fourhourworkweek.com)
Rule #1: Avoid “white” carbohydrates
Avoid any carbohydrate that is — or can be — white. The following foods are thus prohibited, except for within 1.5 hours of finishing a resistance-training workout of at least 20 minutes in length: bread, rice, cereal, potatoes, pasta, and fried food with breading. If you avoid eating anything white, you’ll be safe. (This also includes fruit and dairy.)
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again
The most successful dieters, regardless of whether their goal is muscle gain or fat loss, eat the same few meals over and over again.
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories
Drink massive quantities of water and as much unsweetened iced tea, tea, diet sodas, coffee (without white cream), or other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages as you like. Do not drink milk, normal soft drinks, or fruit juice. I’m a wine fanatic and have at least one glass of wine each evening, which I believe actually aids sports recovery and fat-loss. Recent research into resveratrol supports this.
Rule #4: Take one day off per week.
(My favorite rule. More about this later.)
The Challenge Begins
I convinced my girlfriend to try this diet out with me. With tempered expectations, we set out on the new meal plan. I made a 30 day challenge out of it.
The first week was brutal. I had no idea how much my body craved sugars. Everywhere I looked I saw bread, carbs, starches, complex carbohydrates, and chocolate (I love chocolate). All stuff I couldn’t eat on this challenge.
My stomach felt like it was going to turn inside-out. I needed carbs, but there would be no respite until Saturday.
After trudging through the first week, we finally made it. Cheat Day!
We took our first cheat day very seriously. Cheat day or as Tim calls it “Dieter Gone Wild” is one of only four rules (that’s 25% of the diet). This rule might be the most important. Here’s Tim to explain further.
“I recommend Saturdays as your “Dieters Gone Wild” day. I am allowed to eat whatever I want on Saturdays, and I go out of my way to eat ice cream, Snickers, Take 5, and all of my other vices in excess. I make myself a little sick and don’t want to look at any of it for the rest of the week. Paradoxically, dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function, etc.) doesn’t down-regulate from extended caloric restriction. That’s right: eating pure crap can help you lose fat. Welcome to Utopia.”
Now our favorite part of cheat day was the doughnut runs. So each Saturday we set out to the local supermarket(s) to scratch our doughnut itch. Yes the (s) means sometimes multiple trips in our Tour de Doughnut. Sometimes even after a hearty breakfast of pancakes, maple syrup, and biscuits and gravy. If you’re going to do Cheat Day, do it right, people.
What to eat on Slow Carb? One of the keys to weight loss is to eat the same meals over and over. So, start out with ingredients that you like. For me and my girlfriend it was chicken and peppers. It is an easy quick meal. We can grill up chicken breasts in about 12 minutes while the peppers and onions simmer.
Our second favorite is probably taco salads. Start with ground turkey add spices like cumin, cilantro, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Top with lettuce, black beans, pinto beans, and salsa. You can even dress it up with peppers and onions like we did in the photo below.
A little slow-carb taco salad. Everything you normally get except the chips and cheese. Delicious.
Every Sunday night we would transform a dozen raw eggs into a concoction called a frittata. We poured all kinds of fun stuff into a spring form pan, like peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes, spices, and turkey sausage. The frittata was a quick breakfast; packed with flavor and healthy ingredients. This didn’t feel like “diet food”.
Snacking on Slow-Carb is the thing that is most likely to throw you off track. The temptation of quick sugary snacks or even fruit constantly loom. The way I would break up the urge to snack was to have hard boiled eggs and almonds at the ready. Eating an almond followed by a gulp of water helped control my appetite by filling my stomach. As for my girlfriend, she loves frozen peas. She snacks on them like they’re candy. They offer a crunch like potato chips and their cold nature acts as an appetite suppressant. Snacking is still possible on Slow-Carb, it’s just a matter of being prepared and knowing what to munch on.
4 Tactics to Prepare for Success
- Eliminate temptation
Start by cleaning out your cupboards and pantry. Remove anything that’s not slow-carb compliant. Throw away anything that’s outdated. Anything that’s unopened drop off at your local food shelter. As for the other various items. Consider Christmas coming early for your friends, they’ll gladly take it off your hands.
- Prepare meals in advance
Eggs turned out to be a huge part of this diet. Each week I would boil up a dozen eggs and have them sitting in a bowl in the fridge. They are great little protein bombs to start your day or act as quick snack when returning from the gym or sitting down to watch TV.
- Use Sunday as your day of clarity
I recommend Saturday as your cheat day. So, that makes Sunday the day of clarity. Sunday provides a great opportunity to restock the pantry, prepare meals, and whip up a fresh batch of frittata.
- Keep a fat-kid box so you have something to look forward to
My girlfriend and I keep what has been deemed “the fat-kid box.” We stock the box up with all the stuff we don’t eat on slow carb, whether it’s cookies, sugary candy, skittles, M&Ms and Raisinets. For the first few weeks I had my girlfriend hide it. By the third week I had gained enough momentum and self control to avoid it even though I stumbled upon it’s cache or riches.
So how did I do on my 30 Day Challenge? Here are rundown of my measurements.
January 1st 200.5 lb Chest 41 Belly Button 36.25 Lower Waist 37 Bicep 14 Around shoulders 47.25 Hips 40.5 Body fat: 26%
February 1st 191.1 Chest 40.25 Belly Button 35 Lower Waist 36.25 Bicep 14.25 Around Shoulders 47.5 Hips 39.25 Body fat: 21%
After the 30 day challenge I decided to keep eating healthy and cut “fast carbs” as much as possible.
March 1st 186.5 Chest 39 Belly Button 32 (!!!) Lower waist 34.25 Bicep 13.75 Around Shoulders 47 Hips 39 Body fat: 17%
I enjoyed the challenge and combined it with a fitness and muscle building program. I have implemented several things I’ve learned from the challenge to my overall eating plan. As for the girlfriend, she is still dedicated to the meal plan, completing her 4th month in a couple weeks.
The End Game
The biggest takeaway from the diet came in the realization of what I was putting into my body. I realized what “real food” was and wasn’t. Now, I constantly scrutinize store bought boxed products and their contents. I try to eat more “slow” carbs and lean proteins. I feel like I have more energy, more stable blood sugars, and less all-out sugar crashes.
Do I break from diet and cheat every once and a while? Of course. But, I always get back on course, knowing that eating real foods is going to make me feel and function better.
What methods have you used to lose weight? Were they sustainable?