4 weeks of slow carb: 9 results and experiences
So, its been a fast four weeks on the four hour body slow carb diet, and we have had some interesting experiences so far. Of course, we’ve refined our shopping list, and we’ve fine-tuned out cheat days, so that they work well for us, and I’m finding the food repeatable, edible and enjoying it at least 80% of the time.
Of course, we’re not doing this diet for fun or to pass the time, so on to our results, and experiences, since starting:
- Mood due to ease of use - I have consistently been in a more relaxed, more approachable and more at-ease state since starting slow carb. I can attribute this to a few factors, including my previous concern with food due to gluten-free requirements, my ongoing questioning of what was best to be eating while working a desk job, and my constant juggling and recalculating when it came to working out what to eat, when, in relation to exercise times and hunger levels. All are now gone. All of these are due to a more relaxed environment around food preparation and food itself. Awesome!
- Mood due to food nutrition – This one also ranks as an important benefit. I have found myself more level headed, and able to deal with things. Of course, no one is a robot, so I have had my troubled moments as anyone does. However, they have not been often, and I can usually link them to missing a meal by an hour or so, or having not eaten enough at a meal to account for some recent strenuous exercise – both mistakes I am trying to avoid now.
- Focus and concentration, lack of ADD – I’m not sure that I can give slow carb every inch of credit for my reformed work ethic and newfound habits, but I definitely belief it has a large responsibility. Going from being fidgety and mentally ‘switching’ around from one thing to another, continuously, I can honestly say that my ability to focus on one thing has increased dramatically. Remember, I am not supplementing, and I have been having less than ideal amounts of sleep.
- Body composition – In the first couple of weeks, I definitely lost a bit of fat, most likely in the 5 pound range. This was good, but of course I was concerned about muscle expense in this process. My ultimate goal is muscle gain, but I wanted to first learn the results of the slow carb diet alone, so I could both report back in a knowledgeable way, and also so I could be confident to use it as a baseline diet for training. I am confident on all fronts now that slow carb reduces fat, saves muscle and is a good basis on which to add extra protein, and some carbs, for training phases. In total now, I am approximately 9 pounds lighter on the scales than I was. I believe I have gained approx 2 pounds of muscle in the last 2 weeks (doing some kettlebells 3x weekly), for a total 11 pounds fat loss. I’m not willing to push my fat loss any further right now, but believe I could drop another 5 pounds off if I wanted to. This would mean a weigh-in of 145 pounds, on a 6 foot frame, which I’m not comfortable with. I’ll be perfectly happy to carry a small bodyfat % when I have another 15 pounds of muscle on me, which is what February-March will be all about.
- Energy - My energy levels have been something to write home about, literally! Having enough energy to concentrate on an 8 hour work day, and then follow it up with 8 hours of private projects, each evening, for 5 days, is amazing. No more amazing is the ability to repeat that for 3 weeks in a row, with no negative health effects.
- General wellbeing – Feeling good, enjoying life and seemingly I have avoided a cold/cough that is plaguing a couple of close people to me. Definitely felt some ill-affects of a 5 hour night’s sleep, however I have quickly recovered from that to be back in the saddle and feeling quite good.
- Minor social withdrawal – This slow carb thing isn’t without its costs. Feeling so committed to something like this, I find that I am much more keen to be able to cook all meals at home, rather than go out in the evening – this is not a good side-effect, unless you a reformed alcoholic with friends that invite you to the bar every night. In all seriousness, though, I have felt somewhat withdrawan and getting out to things has been a little more challenging. Once I’m there, however, everything’s good. Could be the time of year, too.
- Sex drive – One other side effect of the slow carb diet and it’s benefits, is that I’ve channeled a lot of energy at outstanding projects – things on a to do list from December, and it’s meant lots of work and no play. I also suspect a regular legume diet like this may be lowering testosterone a little, though don’t have much proof. I will up the steak and lessen the fish soon.
This all, of course, does not bode well for a relationship, in general, and consequently, I could have labelled this item ‘general relationship wellbeing’. This will be corrected immediately, as it’s not acceptable as an ongoing measure. I have cleared a backlog, which is reassuring, and we’re looking good for 2011 now.
- Sleep – Going well, a little more restful than previously and can’t believe what a good night’s rest I can get, in less than 8 hours. I toyed with 4pm naps for a week, and found I could easily go on 6 hour sleep nights, with a 20 min nap at 4pm and work a productive and focused 16 hours a day. Scary. Might do that again when I have more fun things planned for the evenings!
Words of wisdom/notes from the field (in no particular order):
- Cheat days work. Don’t even worry about spending time questioning them. They just work. Do them properly as you would a Wednesday morning breakfast within 30 mins of waking up, with 30 g of protein – ie do them to the letter and they will contribute to your success. Saturday lunch to Saturday bed time works well for us.
- Expect a weird hunger the day after cheat day, but stick to your planned meals. This is the only day that I’m OK with feeling some hunger.. I think the cheat day messes up your body’s expectation of food intake, and so an honest day-after on slow carb fixes that quickly before the week starts.
- Nothing much moves out of me between Saturday lunchtime and Monday morning. I think this is because the cheat food is a little harder to digest.
- Red lentils are a great flavor to wake up to. I really love my breakfasts – red split lentils, eggs and spinach, sometimes some cottage cheese, sometimes some salsa. Awesome breakfast!
- I get a weird sensation about 1.5 hours after I eat a meal. I perceive it as hunger.. but its not. I think it may be an energy boost in my blood from the meal eaten previously. I used to feel this as a bit of shaking, maybe an empty kind of keened-up feeling, like what you get from coffee on an empty stomach. Allowed to pass- approx 20 minutes, and I feel fine again, and am not hungry until the next meal. Weird. Any ideas out there?
- Don’t run out of canned beans. Better yet, don’t run out of any staples, or even get close. Stress or anxiety around food can make me feel hungry when I’m not. Feel plentiful abundance, all the time and feel what it is to not worry about what you’re eating and when.
- This whole regime works really well with taking some time for yourself to do a life stock-take and make some bigger plans for the future. It’s a real commitment to giving yourself the best life possible.
- Four weeks flies by. Especially if you have some regular routines, like working. It’s totally doable. Think about finite periods of time – run a 4-week experiment to gather results, rather than trying to commit to this forever. It really takes the stress off. You can always go back to ‘normal’ after the 4 short weeks.
- Drink water, drink hot water with lemon, enjoy no calorie drinks, and just don’t think about drinking calories. There are so many options out there for drinks with flavor that don’t have calories, you might just not have noticed them. Try freshly sliced lime in sparkling mineral water and never think about pop again.
- Sharing this stuff with friends is cool.. but be careful you don’t overdo it remember everyone has their own projects going on, and lots of people out there are secretly sensitive about a lot of topics covered in the Four Hour Body. Just because the book is popular doesn’t mean its going to be popular conversation at a get-together. Pick and choose who you share with and how much you share.
The plan from here:
Due to travel, I am going to stick with the basic slow carb diet for a couple of weeks longer, then right away I will move to a slow-carb based diet, whilst adding training, PAGG, a liter of milk a day (LOMAD), and one starchy meal per week during the week (like rice or potatoes) for energy and happily sharing meals with other people on days other than Saturday.
I expect muscle gains on this next phase. In the meantime, look out for our upcoming posts on modifying slow carb to suit you, and how to handle a bad reaction to high protein meals.
All the best with your Four Hour Body. Leave me a comment – I really appreciate hearing from you about your experiences, thoughts and ideas.
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