Tim Ferriss’ Slow Carb Diet: My Version

The Slow Carb Diet that efficiency expert and lifestyle design maestro Tim Ferriss created is pretty simple. You can read the complete details in his book The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman and a basic overview in his earlier blog post How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise.

The Basic Rules

  1. Avoid white carbohydrates – no sugars, no flours, no dairy, no potatoes, etc.
    Protein, legumes, vegetables – that’s all!
  2. Eat the same few meals over and over.
    Mix and match the basic foods and eat as much as you want. But to make sure you have the right food readily available it helps to prepare batches large enough for multiple meals and minimize how much effort and thought you have to put into choosing the right foods.
  3. Don’t drink calories.
    Drink lots of water and as much unsweetened tea as you want.  Try to limit diet soda to 16 oz per day.  Don’t drink milk, juice or other caloric drinks.  A glass of wine or two per day is OK.
  4. Don’t eat fruit.
    No, you DON’T need to eat it everyday to be healthy and it’s full of sugar.
  5. Take one day off per week – cheat day!
    Eat whatever you want – as much as you want! This helps two ways: a) it’s easier to resist forbidden foods when you know you can have them in a few days and b) the controlled calorie spike helps boost your metabolism so it continues losing weight without slowing down into a famine mode.
  6. Eat 20 grams of protein within 20 minutes of waking up
    This gets your metabolism going and sets you up for a good day. (I’ve found this to be critically important for my own weight loss.)

There are advanced options for supplements. He suggests magnesium, potassium, and calcium to keep up your electrolytes plus there is a PAGG regime (Policosanol, Alpha-Lipolic Acid, Green Tea Flavanols, and Garlic).  Jean Baptiste Mac Luckie created an awesome infographic cheat sheet with everything you need to know – including the PAGG timing recommendations.

My Personal Hacks

I have a lot of weight to lose and expect that it will become progressively harder to lose over time.  It’s really important for me to stay on the diet and leave room to get progressively stricter as losing becomes more difficult.  To that end, here are a few of the “cheats” that I’ve allowed myself at the beginning (knowing that I’ll probably have to phase them out later).

  • Drinking calories/allowing dairy – I started out cooking my eggs with butter (have since switched to coconut oil) and occasionally have a jug o’coffee with about 1/4 cup of whole milk.  Also, to strategically boost nutrients and try to get my body systems working better at the beginning of the diet, I added daily smoothies made of water, vegetables and protein powder. I recently re-introduced them to test if they will boost weight loss again.
  • Diet soda – My efforts to control a truly excessive diet soda addiction wax and wane with my stress levels and the absurdly increasing price of Diet Coke.
  • Exercise – Due to a severe knee problem, I did no virtually no exercise for the first 3 months of the diet.
  • Supplements – Except for multivitamins, I did not use supplements at the beginning of the diet.  The plan is to add them later as a turbo boost when losses slow down.

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