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Slow Carb

And so it begins…

So I didn’t really post about it, but this past Monday my wife and I started the “Slow Carb” diet from 4 Hour Body.  I’ve been fascinated with this book and the entire methodology behind Tim Ferriss and his OCD-esque nature of experimentation and documentation.  There has always been a lot more to health and proper eating than the food pyramid, or “5 a day”, or an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  Even more in-depth dieting concepts never seemed to fully add up.  There are a lot of diets you can follow where you can make simple mistakes and throw the whole thing out of whack.  To me, the ideas in 4HB fill in the majority of the “why?” those failures can happen – and even why in some instances you can be doing the exact opposite of what you should.  I’m not even going to try to do the book justice by outlining it here.  Anything I said would be a bad paint by numbers version of the masterpiece that Tim spent years crafting.  Go get the book.  Seriously, it’s less than $20.  And it’s nowhere near being a “diet book” or a “self-help book”.  Not even close.

My wife and I went shopping on Sunday to prep for the week of new habits to be formed.  My stepdaughter was out-of-town on vacation in California all week so this made a perfect opportunity for us to start fresh.  We already had a little bit of what we needed for the week, but we only spent about $70 for enough food to get us through to the weekend.  That’s very low for us.  We’re not the most frugal of people when it comes to food… more on that later.  I’m not going to try to go into details about Slow Carb so I’m leaving food out of this.

  • Monday – No coffee in the morning.  No energy drink on the way to a job.  Wasn’t hungry.  Mind wasn’t clouded.  Rough morning of programming tweaks.  All afternoon in the office (for the first time in almost two weeks) catching up on things.  Never hit a “lull” in the afternoon.  Pretty impressed.
  • Tuesday – Acai tea this morning.  No energy drinks.  Wasn’t hungry.  Smooth and steady through 5 hours of programming changes and troubleshooting.  Off to another service call and another hour and a half of troubleshooting.  Energy drink on the way.  Felt stable and clear-headed the whole time.  Never felt overwhelmed even though I couldn’t figure out or fix the problem.  Just starting to feel the crash as I was leaving.  First time I felt “down” at all, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as usual.  Normally I’d be considering stopping for more caffeine in one form or another.
  • Wednesday – Acai tea again.  Early start and planning on a long day so I started with an energy drink once on the road.  Instead of feeling the need to slam most of it before I walked in the door, it actually lasted me about 7 hours.  I was finishing it off as I drove away from my last appointment.  Again, smooth and steady all day.
  • Thursday – Snow day.  Somewhere around 10″ of snow, so I drove my wife to work instead of going into the office then just worked from home the rest of the afternoon.  Never cheated on the diet, never wanted to…even though I was sitting right next to my kitchen for about 6 hours straight.  Only got about 4 hours of sleep due to having to pick the wife up from work at almost midnight then not going to bed right away.
  • Friday – Rough day of physical labor planned for the day (not really) so I snagged a Monster on the way to the job.  Struggled through a bunch of problems and not getting nearly as much done as I wanted, but still going strong all day until the end, when the 4 hours of sleep was catching up with me.  Other than that we did good.  BUT – knowing that Saturday was the mandatory “Cheat Day”, I was really craving a big, fat burger from Red Robin.  This is the first time all week that I’ve had a craving for anything.  I couldn’t shake it.
  • Saturday – Cheat Day!  Eat anything and everything!  Make yourself sick!  Doesn’t matter!… Well, I woke up, walked into the kitchen, looked around, and had zero interest in eating anything bad.  None.  I wanted to make the same breakfast I’d had all week.  I was actually disappointed.  I had envisioned this going quite differently.

But still, my wife is on the same schedule as me and she found a recipe for birthday cake pancakes.  No joke.  Pancake batter made with cake mix.  And sprinkles.  And a sugar glaze.  Hmm.  Ok.

So that was breakfast.  Lunch?  Why, Red Robin of course!  Except now I didn’t really want it.  What the heck is going on?  Ehh, I’ll go through the motions.  Red Robin it is.

And now my stomach is gurgling for the first time in a week.  And I’m feeling cranky for no apparent reason.  For the first time in a week.  Can it really be this black and white?!

Dinner?  Our favorite Japanese restaurant and a big Sapporo with a Korean seafood pancake.  Then half a box of Godiva truffles.  Then a crappy brownie from the grocery store bakery.

The result?  My wife and I can not wait to start the diet again tomorrow.  LOL!  Who woulda thunk it?  I’m actually not looking forward to Cheat Day next week.  Easy meals, simple grocery shopping, simple cooking, sustained energy, weight loss, improved mood?  Yes, please.


Here are my stats for the week.  They’re a little embarrassing, but what the hell.  No point in fooling myself that hiding my body fat percentage makes any difference, right?  I mean, I do wear it all day every day…

Day Weight Body Fat Percentage
Monday 191.5 29%
Tuesday 188.0 29%
Wednesday 186.5 30%
Thursday 185.0 30%
Friday 183.5 29%
Saturday 184.5 30%

That weight loss isn’t groundbreaking for me, and that 191.5 at the beginning was some sort of fluke.  I had been floating around 188.5 since almost a full month before starting the diet and this was the first day I had been over 189.5.  But – what is very impressive is that it was so easy to do, easy to follow, and inexpensive.  Plus those numbers don’t reflect my great mood, heightened productivity, and general feeling of well-being that I had all week.  Heck, we ran into some friends at the Japanese restaurant who we hadn’t seen since New Year’s and even after my day of feeling crappy and run down I was told I looked “very fresh”.  Whatever that means.  🙂

Next Step

Challenge for next week:  zero artificial sweeteners.  I know we’re not following Slow Carb exactly right, but I want to try to modify (optimize?) it one step at a time.  I tried to keep the artificial sweeteners to 16 oz. a day, but went overboard a few times with Diet Coke and those damned energy drinks.  Since I already think sticking to this is easy, I’ll tackle one small challenge at a time and see what kind of impact it makes.

  1. January 31, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Jim, I think it’s great that you make an effort to loose fat, but may I suggest a couple of things?! First of all, (s)low carb, if not followed to the point will make you gain fat. I am not saying you need to eat only the things that are recommended, but you need to avoid all sweeteners and carbs. Otherwise you it will not only not work, but very quickly get you up a pound or two. You are meant to adjust the diet to your needs, but please do so within whats beneficial for you 🙂 Keep up the work!

    • jimstolz76
      January 31, 2011 at 5:32 pm

      I’m trying that this week. I’ve NEVER been off of both natural and artificial sweeteners. With food that is no problem for me. With drinks it’s different. I’m always drinking something. I can sit down and drink 8 glasses of water in an hour, then go get something else. It’s uncharted territory for me, but I need he challenge!

  2. January 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Great job man! I have just started the same diet, inspired by the same man. Mr Tim Ferriss.

    I have gone all out and I am also putting out pics of my beautiful body (wink wink).

    If you want to follow my progress as I try to reach sub 10% body fat, please don’t be a stranger.


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