Okay, so here it is. I made you go through all that first stuff because honestly, getting yourself mentally prepared, committed, and stressing the importance of measuring your progress is far more important for your success than the remaining articles.
Now we come to the nutrition. I hate using the word “diet” because it has come to connote some temporary fad or program. I like using “nutrition” because for me it carries with it the intention of a lifelong behavior and it describes how I sustain my body and feed it goodness.
My program is based on the 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss and is called the slow carb diet. My dear friend, Judy Ko (blissko.com), introduced me to the book. It’s a far-reaching book that talks about other aspects of health and wellness. I wanted to focus first on weight loss so I’ve only read those chapters. In fact, I’ve still only read 4 or 5 chapters of the book.
I’ll give you a summary of the approach. For six days of the week I eat 3-4 meals a day, with at least 30% of my nutrition coming from protein. On those days I avoid:
- fast carbs (e.g. rice (even brown rice), bread, and pasta)
- any additional sugar (I take my coffee black)
Again, because I cannot work out my adherance to this program is far stricter than one who does at least 20-30 minutes of resistance-based workout. Ferriss goes into more detail in his book, so if you gotta’ have your fast carbs refer to his tips.
For the first 6 months I took photos of everything I ate and drank (with the exception of water). Here are some examples:
You can see, I do not starve myself and I eat quite a variety of things during the week. And lots of it. I have never gone to a restaurant where I felt like I couldn’t choose from the menu and eat until I was satisfied.
My breakfast is usually the equivalent of 5 eggs (4 egg whites and one whole egg for flavor), 4 strips of bacon (pork or turkey), and sauteed spinach. You can imagine, eating just 4 hours later is tough. So sometimes I just do a protein shake in the morning.
Lunch will include 8-12 oz of protein (1-1.5 chicken breasts or a steak), steamed veggies, and legumes (lentils or beans). Sometimes I will have secondsies on lunch. Dinner will be similar.
Eat as much of these foods until you are satisfied. I never snack. If you find yourself hungry, you aren’t eating enough at your meals. If you absolutely must snack eat some nuts. Four to six almonds, not a half cup. While technically permitted by the program, they pack a lot of energy and will work against your weight loss. This is a case where calories can come into play.
The real fun comes on the seventh day. Pick a day–mine is Saturday–and on that day there are no restrictions. I don’t like calling it a cheat day. I call it my day of indulgence or my calorie spike day. You’re not cheating, it’s required by the program. There are two reasons for this. One, psychologically you can tell yourself you aren’t giving up all the things you love, you’re just deferring them. So if you see that plate of nachos you want save it for Saturday. The second reason is that if you sustain a low calorie diet for extended periods–I probably eat about 1500 to 2000 calories a day–your body will think it’s in starvation mode and will down-regulate and retain weight. On my spike day I probably eat something like 5,000-6,000 calories. Yikes.
I indulge myself at epic levels. Sweets, rice, and fries are sorely missed during the week so I go to town on Saturday. Here is an example of a single day of indulgence.
Yup a single day. That’s not a duplicate of the cupcakes. I eat four of them. I didn’t have a picture of the ice cream, but sometimes I’ll eat a pint. Yup, a pint. My friends know Saturday is my day and so we always go out on that day. When they watch me eat they cannot believe that I can eat all that on a single day, plus my 3-4 meals a day during the week, and still lose 3-4 lbs by the time they see me the following week. I’ll admit, I can’t do it up like this every weekend. I make myself ill trying it.
You will gain weight the day after your day of indulgence. Of course you will. You just put all that mass in your body. Plus, eating all those carbs will make you retain water. Don’t worry, you will lose all of it in 2-3 days then resume losing weight. Even if it takes you 4 days, don’t freak out. It will disappear as long as you go back to the slow carb program after your day of indulgence. Ferriss also tells you some techniques to minimize this weight retention.
You know how I know I didn’t just destroy my weight loss from the prior week? ‘Cause I also measure inches and %BF, not just weight. Look at my measurements on Sundays from my spreadsheet. Even though I gained a lot of weight, my inches and %BF do not usually change all that much. That’s why you don’t just measure weight. Notice that usually by Wednesday I’m back to where I was on that prior Saturday.
I focused my first year on weight loss. I will not eat like this forever and will resume eating carbs, fruit, and dairy during the week once I have reached my goal weight. For those concerned by all the eggs and bacon, extreme spike on Saturdays, and no regard for calories, have no fear. I have blood tests run every 3-4 months. On all measures–triglycerides, cholesterol, LDL, HDL, kidney and liver function–I am optimum. Not good. Not near optimum. Optimum. As in, anything better is just going for points and showing off.
Read the rest of my story at:
- Introduction: How I Lost 100 lbs Without Surgery or Exercise
- Mental and Emotional Prep: Face the Root Cause
- Tools: You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
- Quick Start and Morale Boost
- Nutrition: How I Ate 100 lbs Away
- Detour: A Geek’s Explanation (A Hypothesis, Anyway)
- Exercise (Or Lack Thereof)
- Supplements: All Natural, Baby
- Other Helpful Tips
- What’s Next?
- Resources and Thank You’s