The following is a lonnnng post about the slow carb diet. If you’re not interested, skip it and I recommend this drool-worthy post instead. However, if you are interested in losing fat fast while not exercising and still stuffing your face but in a totally healthy way, then read on!
Over the past few months, I’ve been feeling down about my health. We haven’t cooked for months (except for the stint on Koh Chang), due to the lack of kitchens and the convenience of affordable street food. I felt my body slowly changing… a tummy more jiggly than usual, thighs with less gap… I hated it. Life on the road is not always healthy.
Finally, in Singapore, we arrived to a house with a huge kitchen, fully equipped with everything you can possibly need. A kitchen of our own for a whole month! We decided this was the perfect opportunity to make a diet change and get back on the path to good health.
D picked up Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Body on Kindle, which promises rapid fat loss with minimum gym efforts and while still eating your favorites foods. Tim Ferriss had already changed our lives once with The 4-Hour Workweek (it’s seriously how this whole travel thing started!). Can he change our lives again?
Okay, so that bold promise may have been a tad misleading. While you are allowed to binge occasionally, you do need to be on a pretty strict diet. Tim developed this diet after a decade of careful research and experimentation. I don’t understand all of the science of it, but here is the jist:
The Four-Hour Body in brief:
- No carbs. No food that is white! This means potato! And no grains, whole-wheat or brown rice.
- No sugar of ANY KIND because nothing makes you fat faster than sugar. This includes even fruit. NO FRUIT! And no honey either.
- So what do you eat to get full? BEANS! Of all kinds. Beans are your best friend. Eat as much of it as you want.
- And of course eat your meats & veggies too.
- Sodas, juices, and alcoholic drinks are huge no-no’s. However, 2 small glasses of RED wine a day is allowed.
- No diary. No yogurt, cheese, or milk. If you must, a tiny bit of heavy cream is okay in coffee.
- Oh, did I mention that these rules are for only 6 days a week? On the 7th day, you are allowed to eat whatever you want! You are allowed to shovel food into your mouth until you’re physically sick. More on this later!
Month 1 in Singapore
I found Singapore to be a hard country to be on this diet in. First of all, Singapore is an expensive country. Groceries were ridiculously pricey, probably more than hawker meal costs! And second, if we wanted to go out to eat, it was hard to find diet-approved foods, as most Singaporean cuisine is heavily carb based. We ended up buying a lot of crispy pork from the corner roast meats stall. And Indian was a good option as long as we didn’t order rice or naan.
Most of the time, we cooked, though it was hard to come up with variety after a while. The grocery options weren’t too impressive. After trying out some different types of beans, we decided we like red lentils and chickpeas the best. We made a lot of channa masala (sans cream). A LOT.
Let’s see how I fared. Here are my notes during the first week:
Day 1 // Hmmm…I don’t like beans. But it’s really not too bad, I guess.
Day 2 // Still not too bad. I can probably do this! But I need to learn some more recipes.
Day 3 // Uh oh… startling new development: I’m having the stinkiest farts ever… All these damn beans… At least D tolerates it.
Day 4 // beans again?! This sucks. Is it cheat day yet? I want rice and bread. And chocolate. And ice cream.
Day 5 // This diet blows. I definitely don’t feel thinner yet. In fact, I feel fatter than ever as I’ve never been so bloated. And cooking beans is literally an all day job. Thank god I have nothing better to do than stand over the stove all day.
Day 6 // Dear god, I’m even dreaming of pizza now. Mmmm delicious, carby, cheesy, greasy pizza… Great, I’m awake and my reality is beans all day. But only one more day, I can get through it.
Day 7: CHEAT DAY!!! THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! GIVE ME MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF CARBS!!!
Cheat days are epic. My entire life now resolves around counting down to cheat day. The whole week, I’ll jot down cravings and note places I want to try as we walk around town. Then on cheat day, we hit up them all.
I actually set an alarm on cheat days so I can get my grub on as early as possible (later, we learned that your first meal on cheat day is supposed to be a normal meal of beans and protein… but I think we can break this rule!). Here is everything we eat on a cheat day!
I LOVE that cheat day is a must on this diet. I love that you’re encouraged to gorge yourself until you’re sick. Your body NEEDS this binge day to prevent from going into starvation mode and storing fat instead. This keeps you from plateauing. So basically, eating a massive amount of fat and sugar promotes more rapid fat loss. Score!
Having this day once a week actually makes this an incredibly easy diet to stick to! And surprisingly, by the end of cheat day, I feel so gross that I’m ready to get back unto the diet.
Some notes & observations:
– We stayed indoors a lot more. Is it just me or are outings a lot less fun when food is not involved? Or maybe this is also because this diet now requires me to be in front of the stove four hours a day. (Tim Ferriss doesn’t recommend starting out this way. It’s tough and you may give up. He actually recommends using frozen veggies and canned beans to start.)
– You will loose fat, but you may not feel it for a while because you will be bloated all the damn time (and let’s not talk about how stinky your farts will be too). Don’t worry, these all shall pass.
– One good thing about this diet, compared to others, is that I don’t feel hungry all the time. When I did Paleo, I got hungry every 2 hours (beans are not allowed on Paleo, as far as I know). But on this diet, the beans keep you pretty full.
– I think having a kitchen is a must, which isn’t always available to us. It was also good that we were in Singapore for a whole month, so we could be on the diet and still have plenty of cheat days to eat all the local food. It’ll be interesting to see if we can maintain it as we travel.
Results after one month:
So, after all this, I know you’re dying to know my results after one month, right? I’m not going to put my exact measurements, but here are the results:
I lost one inch around the smallest part of my waist while my hips stayed the same, giving me a much more defined hourglass figure. After the bloat died down, my belly area feels significantly less fatty. I lost one inch from each thigh, measured from the thickest part. My arms stayed the same. (Note: we only measure by tape because we don’t have access to scales during travel. But I think tape is the best method to measure progress anyway.)
And did I mention that I (purposely) did not do one bit of exercise? Tim Ferriss promised that you will lose fat on this diet even with zero exercise. I wanted to test this claim and be able to report genuine progress.
I have never ever had such fast progress from any diet (and I lived a pretty healthy lifestyle before). The tape measurements prove that I have lost fat in just ONE month with no exercise and while still eating like crazy (guilt-free too!) once a week. I’m kind of in awe of the results. I think this is also the easiest diet I’ve been on, due to the fact that I don’t feel hungry every two hours and I have cheat day to look forward to (it’s seriously like having the best day of your life once a week!!). The only annoying thing is having to hunt for beans (and cooking them). We’re currently in the middle of our second month and we want to continue for as long as possible, though I’m not sure if I see it as a permanent lifestyle change.
Is this diet something you would try? What kind of diets have you tried? Is this something you are interested to read regular updates about? Let me know and I’ll continue!
*Disclaimer: this is not an ad, even though I realize it sounds like an infomercial. I’m just excited to share this diet!