Slow carb warning – stalled fat loss

We work with many people each week who have challenges with stalled fat loss, and many of them have a common problem with the slow carb diet that is the cause of their weight loss slowing, stopping or even reversing.

Of course, it’s an uncomfortable situation to be in, and we do our absolute best to help people figure out some possible causes, and what they can do to experiment with possible solutions.

It comes in a few different forms, but there is one key ingredient that is common across different people, with different lifestyles. It’s not exercise though, as many people might guess, but it’s part of everyone’s daily routine.

To understand it a little better, let’s take a quick look at the slow carb diet regime in it’s most basic parts:

  1. Drinking lots of water
  2. 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up
  3. Avoid ‘white’ carbohydrates
  4. No dairy
  5. 1 Cheat day per week
  6. Don’t drink calories
  7. Leave fruit for cheat day
  8. Don’t get hungry

There’s quite a few rules involved, and it’s easy to see what people get a little lost when it comes to how to make this work.

But, from this list, what could possibly be common to so many people, that could be responsible for slowing their fat loss?

Undereating.

Where’s that on this list? Nowhere.

That’s why it’s a common problem.

While we’re following all the rules of how to make this work, it’s the unwritten ones, or the ones that aren’t so obvious, that make a difference. The devil truly is in the detail: the 5 rules in the book only get us started, and then it’s all the ‘tips’ that come afterwards that are overwhelming.

We could say that the tip of getting 20g of protein at every meal helps avoid undereating, we could say that the morning protein rule does too. So to could avoiding being hungry help.. but it still doesn’t hit the nail on the head.

Many people we have worked with report that their breakfasts are focussed in on getting 30g of protein. That’s a good start, but here’s where we’re missing something.

The slow carb diet relies on your metabolism to be fuelled, all day long, to continually have enough food to give you energy, concentration and a good mood. So, if we start the day with eggs and a protein shake (ignoring any insulin changes due to the shake), we do get our 30 grams of protein, but we miss a critical part of the slow carb diet – the carbs!

Slow carb is most definitely not ‘low carb’ or ‘no carb’. That’s why it’s so practical, and workable as a lifestyle. It doesn’t give us lethargy that we have to fight with caffeine, it doesn’t leave us confused or malnourished.

The key is to have ample amounts of food.

So how do we fix this problem?

Simple. Beans, or lentils, in the morning. We get more protein from them, and potentially can drop out that shake that probably includes some artificial chemical, and we get some carbs to start our day. We also get more calories, which is good news for energy, concentration and general wellbeing.

If you can’t stand the idea of black beans, or white beans, or any other bean, try red split lentils. High in protein, they do not need to be soaked over night, nor do they need to be cooked for hours.

Red split lentils cook in around 10 minutes. And they taste great.

Try them with a dash of tomato salsa and be pleasantly surprised. Plus, cooking in water means you’re getting more hydration with your food, which is great news.

For a complete slow carb breakfast, add some spinach and you’ll be set to go until lunchtime. If you don’t have time to cook in the morning, cook it all the night before and microwave the whole plate.. it’ll take 5 minutes, and 5 minutes to eat it. Everyone’s got 10 minutes for breakfast.

Do you have a great slow carb breakfast that gets you set for a busy day? Let us know! We’d love to try your recipe.

You might be interested in reading these too:

  1. The Golden Rule of Slow Carb Fat Loss: The Right Amount of Exercise "Find 30 minutes a day", "raising our heart rate is healthy", "try to get 45 minutes in the fat burning zone", "make it a daily habit". Sound familiar? It should, as generally speaking,...
  2. New Slow Carb Recipe: White Bean Fish Cakes Hello all! I thought you might be as excited as me to hear of a new recipe for the Slow Carbers out there! I've put together Slow Carb - White Bean Fish Cakes,...
  3. Starting Occam’s Protocol workouts Well, the time has come for the next phase of our Four Hour Body experiment. Having gone through a fat loss phase, using the slow carb meals and nothing more, we're moving on...

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61 Responses to Slow carb warning – stalled fat loss

  • Jason says:

    I think this will speak to a lot of people at the present. :) Thanks for posting this. This week I need to get more legumes in my diet first thing in the AM. I’ve been feeling very snacky all week, and when I don’t feel that way are days when I eat eggs, beans, and vegetables.

    Yesterday one of the people I follow on Twitter (I’m sorry I can’t remember who!) retweeted something Tim sent to him. He said if you’re stalling around 10-15 lbs, get off supplements for a week and drink more water.

    -j

    • Jason says:

      I forgot to mention he also said to hit the kettlebells! ;)

      -j

    • Luke says:

      Jason thanks for your comment.

      I think a great method is to pick one change, and make it happen consistently for a week or two weeks – a set period of time.

      Thanks for the tip from Tim – I wonder if he meant any and all supplements (could be not great, especially for any that support immune function), or if he meant more training/exercise supplements, like protein powders. Realistically, protein powder isn’t mentioned anywhere for slow carb, but a lot of people are using it to achieve high protein in their diet.

      Kettlebells are a great all-round activity that is a short burst, and easy to include in a weekly routine. No committing to joint-breaking long runs, or extended, energy-killing workouts. I think they’re great!

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Reverend Ken says:

    This is excellent, and something I am testing out this very week! I have been stalled for a month. Now we’ll see what happens – I hope you”re right. Thank you so much. I’ll check back and let you know how it worked,

    • Luke says:

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for your comment. I do hope this works well for you – I look forward to hearing back in a few weeks!

      All the best,
      Luke

  • My breakfast, which keeps me going until lunch every day, is as follows:

    100ml of pourable egg whites and a full egg, scrambled.
    Spinach, lots of it.
    Mild salsa on the spinach.

    The whole thing takes 5 minutes from start to finish.

    I’ve discovered an amazing lentil product in my local supermarket. Packet lentils (they have puy and beluga varieties, plus a ‘puy, sun-dried tomato and basil’ option) that cook in the microwave in one minute. I add about 3/4 of a packet to evening meals. I may start putting half a pack in my breakfast too.

    I’ve managed to lose 28 lbs in 3 months but, more importantly, have dropped 12% body fat in the same time.

    I’m doing kettlebell, and every now and then am doing a quick cardio booster workout. When I reach 15% body fat total, I’ll start the ab crunches from the book too so that when I hit 10-11%, there will be something worth showing! :)

    • Luke says:

      Hi Stewart,

      Thanks for your comment, and thanks for sharing your breakfast ideas!

      That lentil product sounds pretty amazing, I’ll be on the lookout for something like that.

      Congratulations on your achievement – that is a substantial weight loss, and really amazing result!

      All the best! Looking forward to hearing more updates.

      Luke

  • E.A. Nanes says:

    hi guys,

    yeah, i’m one of those people who’s fat loss has stalled, and these past couple of weeks, i’ve fallen off the slowcarb wagon. thanks for this post.

    • Luke says:

      You’re welcome!! I hope you can get it back on track and start seeing some results soon again!

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Justin says:

    I just posted a similar article but most of my suggestions are anti 4HB.
    I am highly skeptical of the 30gr of protein in 30 mins of waking as I limited success with it and better success without. Given everyone is different.

    Also I think beans are not the holy grail that Tim makes them out to be, I was never a fan of them and have had better success without them. Roots and tubers like yams and sweet potatoes are considered by many people to be a better carb source than legumes.

    I agree that supplements are not a good idea for losing fat, and I am pretty sure he means protein supplements/shakes. They are usually loaded with artificial sugar and have a significant insulin response. Forgot to put this in my post will add it now :)

    http://www.myfourhourbodydiary.com/2011/06/23/slow-carb-diet-stalling/

  • Tiff says:

    I love the ease of the slow carb diet. I don’t have to think about what I’d like to prepare or what I’m in the mood for for a meal. For breakfast, I slice some green pepper and a handful of spinach to sautee in a pan then add 2-3 eggs and a half a cup of pinto beans:) top with a dash of medium salsa. Flavorful for sure and all bases are covered. Enjoy!

  • Jacky says:

    Hey!
    I’m a slow carb newbie having a bit trouble with fat loss. I’m 24F, 64kg with the goal of weighing 57. So far I’ve lost 900g of which 700g was with the first two days.
    I’m finishing my second week on the diet and my fat loss is stalling. The numbers on my scale are jumping up and down, my measurements haven’t changed and overall I feel like nothing has improved.
    I’m sticking with the slow carb diet (hopefully doing it right). My menu consists of some vegetables, around 500g of beans a day (mostly red and white ones, black ones are too hard too find and not really my taste), 300-400g of chicken (sometimes fish and beef) a day and eggs or cottage cheese for breakfast (my stomach is not a big fan when it comes to eating too many eggs and the cottage cheese in the morning is the only dairy I eat). So no “white” carbs, no fruit or anything else forbidden.
    I’m drinking 2.5-3 liters of lemon water a day using around 2-2.5 lemons a day and adding 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon to my food. I’m usually eating breakfast 30min after waking (sometimes max an hour later)
    and eating at least 30g of protein in the first meal (average 120g proteins a day). After reading Anti-4HB Advice: Count Calories on Slow Carb, I increased my calorie intake to ~ 1600kcal a day. I don’t get hungry between meals and feel like there’s no room to eat more.
    And I love cheat days. Added potassium, magnesium and calcium to my diet not to lose electrolytes with excess water.
    Also thought it to be a good idea to get some exercise as well – 3x a week kettleball (I’m still pretty soft core so only 30x with 9kg kettleball, 40x flying dog, 50x two-legged glute activation raises from the floor and six minute abs exercises. ) + air squats and wall presses on cheat days. In the book Tim writes (in Building the perfect posterior or losing 7st/45+kg) that the 3x a week exercises are done prior to breakfast – how important is this?

    Do you have any ideas, suggestions on what I’m doing wrong? I’m all out of ideas myself and would be grateful for any tips.

    Thank you :)

    • Luke says:

      Hey Jacky,

      Sounds like you’ve really got things well organized. For that reason I have a couple of pieces of advice: try to relax and just follow this for another 4 weeks. Then take a look at where you are. Try not weighing, or measuring for 2 weeks. And after that only once per week. Slow carb works for everyone, but the timeline can be different depending on lots of factors. I think your exercise level is appropriate, your diet sounds great, and your nutrition breakfast is also great.
      How’s your sleep and/or stress levels? It sounds like you enjoy being on top of things in a detailed way, which sometimes can mean (and I’m like this too), that we feel quite wound up and on edge, if it that’s ‘normal’ for us. Check out our article on relaxation and fat loss – it might help you out, but it also might not be appropriate: http://www.fourhourbodycouple.com/2011/06/02/relax-and-lose-fat-on-slow-carb/

      Overall, I’d say keep up the great work. Tim’s message to readers when people started reporting the diet wasn’t working was that ‘if you haven’t been doing this for 6 weeks then you don’t know if it’s working or not’. Some people seem to take longer to lose, especially women. In all likelihood, it will work for you, so it’s worth sticking at it and getting some results on the board.

      All the best,
      Luke

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Jacky

      This is me exactly, I am following the diet to the letter, started 3 weeks ago at 63.5 and am now 61.5 and lost it in the first week, nothing since. I do bodypump classes twice a week and a powerplate once a week. Even cheat days are not getting me excited as I get disheartened by not losing any weight. I’m still doing the diet but am losing heart. No inches off either :-( I have stopped weighing myself and will give it one more week then I’m giving up if there is no more weight loss. I only want to lose 4.5 kilos.

  • jamie steele says:

    4 hr body is great for me. My wife and i have lost 30lbs and maintained this weight now for about 2 months. We love our cheat day. We eat like crazy and DO NOT gain. Maybe we are different but if there is a better plan out there let me know. Until then 4hr Body is the best.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Jamie, great stuff!! Thanks for your comment – it’s so good to hear from people who are getting results and feeling good. Some people don’t gain much or at all with their cheat days, and other people can gain 5 or 7 lbs, it depends a little on the kinds of foods, as a lot of the ‘weight’ gain is water retention.

      Keep it up!! Luke

  • Keith says:

    I’ve got down to 194 from 224 and the weight has stayed the same for about two weeks. I understand that the scales lie and it’s better to gauge results in other ways so I’m not overly concerned. I work shifts so I try to eat as soon as I get up and then 3 further times over the day or night regardless of the shift. I think I’m going to add some beans to my 1st meal. At the moment it consists of Kippers and egg (giving aprox 30-35 grams protein). I am going to change my training too, I’m going to try the 10000 swings in 1 month challenge plus 2 or 3 one hour Martial Arts sessions each week. Lastly i haven’t used PAGG yet so that is on the cards. Hopefully the ‘weight’ will start to move again. It is quite disheartening when results stop!

    Thanks for reading,

    Keith

  • Johnny says:

    Hey guys, I am glad I found this blog; I think it will help me. I plan to start the slow carb diet on Monday and my question is about cheese. Is cottage cheese the only cheese allowed on the plan? No sharp chedder cheese even though it has zero carbs and sugar?

    Also am I safe eating bacon and regular ground beef? 90-95% lean beef and grass fed beef tends to be very expensive.

    Thanks

    • Luke says:

      Hey Johnny, hope things are going well.
      Strict slow carb allows no cheese at all. We just wrote about cottage cheese, and really it’s only useful as a backup, if you’re in a tight squeeze one day. A number of readers have written in to say that their fat loss stalled when they ate a lot of cottage cheese. Most likely due to it’s sugar content.
      Regular ground beef, if you drain it of excess fat will be just fine. Bacon isn’t a great choice because it has a lot of fat and little protein, comparatively. Think about chicken, turkey, lean pork, sliced ham as good protein options, along with whole eggs and egg whites.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Rob says:

    Hi, I’m nearly at the end of my fourth week on the Slow Carb Diet and my only results so far is a net gain of 2 pounds since I started. I began at 180, and the day before my first cheat day, I was 175. I haven’t gotten anywhere near that since. I will admit that the first three days in Week 1, I finished off a box of Oreo cakesters. Obviously, I didn’t follow Tim’s advice of throwing the food out before starting the week.

    In week 2, I followed the diet to a T, except for one meal at work where we celebrated our boss’s birthday. I had some cake to be polite, but that was it.

    My diet consists of 2 hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. I read online that one egg is 17g of protein, so that’s 34g of protein. I hope. This week, I’ve added two sausage patties to my breakfast which the box says are 9g protein for two. I’ve also begun eating within 30 minutes of waking up here in Week 4. I think that advice is rubbish, but I guess I’ll try anything at this point. 43g of protein every morning. There aren’t any legumes, but that’s not a problem for me because I don’t feel hungry at all until my next meal, which is 12 hours later. Yeah, I’m inadvertently doing an intermittent fasting thing, too. My lunch/dinner consists of 0.83lbs (5 lbs. divided by 6 days) of ground beef and 0.66lbs (4 lbs. divided by 6 days) of chopped broccoli, plus an entire can of black beans. Overall, I estimate this to be about 130g of protein every day. No sugar, no white carbs. All this food is cooked on Saturday so I don’t have to do it during the week. And that’s it, after this I’m completely full and am not craving for anything. On top of all this I drink at least a gallon of water every day. Nothing but water.

    After previously only being able to go two days on this diet (that was last year), I’ve stuck to this diet for almost 4 weeks now and have seen no results. The past two weeks I haven’t deviated at all from this diet. No results. My waste hasn’t gotten any smaller, nor have my other measurements, and like I said I have experienced a net gain so far. I think maybe my face has gotten just a tiny bit slimmer, but maybe that’s wishful thinking and I look exactly the same. What’s most discouraging is these cheat days that everyone says is so important. I’ve been eating to try and spike my caloric load on these days, but the truth is this diet has me sick of eating the ‘bad’ food. This past weekend, frustrated by my lack of results, I thought maybe I needed to eat more on cheat day and consumed over 4000 calories. Before this past cheat day, I was 181lbs. I gained 6 lbs after cheat day and have yet to shed the cheat pounds off.

    I am a 29 year old male, 5’6″, 182lbs and live a sedentary lifestyle.

    It all seemed good in theory but hasn’t worked at all so far.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Rob,

      Sorry to hear you haven’t had success so far with the diet. In honesty, however, you haven’t followed the slow carb diet for 1 week yet.
      Your first week cannot be counted, and your second week can’t be either, due to the cake.
      Although you’re using the same foods as slow carb in weeks 3 and 4, you aren’t following a 4 meal per day plan, and therefore your body is receiving food very differently.

      A key to slow carb’s success is eating regular meals – your body handles these much better than one big meal. It’s also likely that you’re under eating calories, but that’s a side issue.

      1 egg has 6g of protein- so you’re getting 12g from your two eggs. You may want to check your breakfast sausage ingredients carefully for any added sugars, flours, or other fillers that aren’t meat. Slow carb is based around lean protein sources, so if the fat content is high, there are better options, like sliced lean ham, salmon, chicken, turkey, lean ground beef.

      Your dinner meal sounds very large – look to eat 4 equal meals – 1 portion of ground beef is much smaller than what you’re eating – if you halved your portion, you’d be at around 1.5 standard portions of ground beef.

      Take the can of black beans, and split it between 3 meals – lunch, afternoon and dinner. Also add in some lentils or beans to your first meal, so that you have carbohydrates, and a lot of fibre going through you – that’s very important. Likewise, vegetables in the morning are very important for fibre and water content.

      Have another read of the slow carb chapters in the book, and follow the daily routine, as well as the food choices. According to Tim, the diet works for everybody who doesn’t have intestinal or digestive issues (only a few people in every 1000).

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Theresa says:

    I left a comment on the wrong thread! It was supposed to be hear, but ended up on exercise…oh well.

    My fat loss stalled when:

    I added honey to my coffee in the a,m.
    I stopped eating as much and skipped meals because I wasn’t feeling hungry.

    Now-I started using stevia in my coffee (that stuff is insane—you only need the teensiest bit)
    I am eating lots and lots every 3-4 hours weather I am hungry or not.

    Already 2 days in I feel so much better. Who knew the slightest bit of honey and skipping a meal would actually make me gain 5 lbs? It is really weird, the more you eat, the better the results and that is one psychological hurdle!

    On a side note, I started feeling depressed for no reason…well, gaining weight is a reason if you are working so hard….but now I feel fine. How crazy is that? Dropped a couple of lbs in just a few days, getting back to normal….

    the moral of this story? Don’t think you are smarter than this diet. Ferris did all the work, why mess with it.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Theresa, awesome comments, and thanks so much for sharing. Your experience will help lots of other people!
      Cheers,
      Luke

  • cc says:

    I can’t eat beans….or lentils. My body doesn’t digest them properly. My body doesn’t digest insoluble fiber well at all. Is there an alternative, or do I just have to double up on the protein and veggies at all meals?
    I have 10-15 pounds to lose, I’m a female in my 20′s, and want to reach my goal as soon as possible.
    Thank you for the great site and help!
    Sincerely,
    CC
    Enjoying Kat’s music too, BTW. Thanks for sharing!

    • Luke says:

      Hey CC,

      Sorry to hear about your trouble with beans. Stoked you’re enjoying Kat’s music! We’ve been wanting to share it for a while, but it took some time to get things set up.

      As for the beans.. they aren’t critical to success with this type of diet, however you will need to modify some other factors, because simply dropping the beans and going with protein and veges will leave you feeling terrible. In your case, I would actually recommend looking at the Paleo diet – they include yams for example, but exclude beans, and include some low sugar berries, as well as protein and good fats from avocado, olives, coconut, cream and the like. It is a little more to take on at first – there’s less clear-cut rules than slow carb, however I think you will get the results you’re looking for.
      Your other option is a low carb diet, like Atkins, where you manage your nutrients a lot more carefully, but achieve basically the same results as slow carb with a little more work on the numbers (but using a tool like MyFitnessPal.com would make it a lot more simple).
      Check out http://www.fourhourbodycouple.com/link/robb-wolf-paleo-30-day-transformation/

      All the best,
      Luke

    • Nan says:

      Luke,
      OMG, thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m a 64 y/o woman, have been on the 4HB since Feb and have been gaining weight recently. After sending a message to you and Kat re the gain, I decided to check out the chats. WOW. I have to totally redesign how I’m eating on this plan. Love the lentils, beans and veggies, but was eating meat higher in fat than needed and that has apparently been my downfall. Have to add more water, too. Okay, round two.

      • Luke says:

        Hey Nan,

        So happy that we have helped you! It really makes it worth the effort.
        When you’ve been following 4HB for a while, it can be easy to have developed habits which slowly shift and change, and eventually have you close to slow carb, but not exactly on it.

        All the best with the changes and results.
        Luke

        • Nan says:

          Thanks Luke-so wonderful to have a ‘voice’ out there for the numerous questions. Been thinking about the redesign of my food regimen and after looking at the list of legumes in the book thought I’d better clarify: are those the only legumes we can eat or can we have other beans and say split peas? Specifically I have been using 13 bean mix to make a wonderful soup with vegetables. Do I have to toss that?
          Nan

          • Luke says:

            Hey Nan,

            I think it depends on how aggressive you want to be with fat loss, vs maintaining. Different things work for different folks, so for me I like to keep things very simple and stick with black beans, red kidney beans and white kidney beans, plus some red split lentils boiled from raw. I cycle these between meals for variety.
            Your 13 bean mix is likely to have some legumes that aren’t as nutritionally attractive as the beans I just mentioned, but consider what’s practical for you and your situation.
            All the best,
            Luke

  • Graham B. says:

    Hi Luke

    I just recently posted on the “last mile Diet” blog and have been checking out some of your other topics.

    I have investigated “stalled fat loss”, with particular reference to ketosis which is induced by the last mile diet. Dr. michael eades (also referenced in the 4 hour body) indicates that the most likely culprits are cheese and/or nuts.

    So maybe try and cut all nuts out of the “slow carb diet” and see what happens!

    Cheers

    • Luke says:

      Hey Graham,

      Thanks for your comment. I have read, in a lot of different places online, many times, that people cite cheese and nuts as two items to really re-consider if there’s been any stalled fat loss with a range of diets, like low carb, slow carb, cyclical ketogenic, and others. I think it’s very easy to get into too many nuts when eating slow carb, and steering clear of them as a rule of thumb is best – if someone is snacking every day on almonds, for example, a much better solution would be to increase portions at meal times and avoiding snacks.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Graham B. says:

    I discovered this about 9 weeks into the “last mile diet”. Fat loss was slowing down, and a check of my food log indicated that in the previous 7 weeks I was consuming an average of 500g of nuts per week.

    Since I was only eating small lots of, say, 25 or 30 or 40 or 50g of nuts, it didn’t seem much. Until, of course, when I added it all up.

    I was consuming around 250g of fat per week just from the nuts!!!

    I stopped eating any nuts and the fat loss recommenced.

    Cheers!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Graham,

      This is a great example of how nuts can add up! Thanks for sharing this.
      Nice fine-tuning of your approach, and congrats on getting the results coming again.

      Cheers,
      Luke

  • Michael says:

    Wow, it’s been a while since anyone left a comment on this one. But it hit the nail on the head for me. I’m on day 46 of SCD and down 11 lbs but am stalling. Although doing well, I wanted to see if any of the tips I was reading online would help boost fat burn. On day 27 I tried a 24 hr fast with no seeming effect one way or the other. on days 36 and 37 I fasted for 40 hrs, drinking only lots of water and some black coffee in addition to my regular PAGG. had a HUGE loss for two days, but regained it all and more by the day after binge day (day 41). Very discouraging. I then decided since it was so heavily touted by some proponents that legumes are NOT necessary in SCD that I would cut down or cut out on these. What happened is I essentially cut my daily net carbs in half, going from my typical 60g down to around 33g. I entered ketosis, which I thought was great, as I used to have trouble on Atkins (years ago) getting into this after a while. Day 42 started the week with a big loss, then less each day until… nothing or near nothing. So, I got back online. What I was really looking for was a definition of what a “SMALL” amount of fructose is on binge day (I’d finally found fructose in a health food store after searching for weeks). Still can’t find what the amount would be (a pinch? 1/4 tsp? 1 tbsp? what?!?) But then I ran across your site and a teaser for this article. So I am going to add the legumes back in and come back to my 60g of net carbs and see what happens this week. Thank you SO much for this post. It makes a lot of sense.

    By the way, even though we’re not supposed to count calories, I do as a reference. At 60g net carbs, I was taking in between 1500 and 2100 cals a day. At 33g NCs, I was taking in 1500-1800 cals. I weigh 230 lbs after my loss so far. My ultimate goal is 180 lbs and 15%BF or less (my hydrostatic bathroom scale says I’m about 30% now).

    • Luke says:

      Hi Michael,

      It sounds like you’ve been through a few different strategies. Bear in mind that results from most what you mentioned will come in weeks, not days, and in some cases, months, not weeks. Also consider that stress levels can have a lot to do with fat loss, as hormones can act to keep fat stored. Find ways to relax and really get some peace and quiet every day.
      You’re right that getting down into ketosis is definitely a low carb diet, but if you weren’t replacing your lost carbs with fat, then you may not have been getting enough calories. I think it’s good to be back on the beans, look at serving sizes of between 1/2 a cup to 1 cup at every meal. Your carb count still sounds extremely low.

      You didn’t mention if you have any health problems at the moment. Consider, if you don’t, to include some effective exercise in your regime, like kettlebells, weights, or fast cardio sessions (a 20 min session described on our site).
      All the best with reaching your goals.
      Luke

  • Bogdan Sulima says:

    How bad is low-fat milk used for protein shakes? I wonder, if using milk just for shakes slows down the fat loss.

    All the best,
    Bogdan.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Bogdan,

      Thanks for your question.

      Milk is definitely off the cards. It is totally opposite to the principles that make slow carb work, and if it was taken every day, most likely no fat loss would result. Also, protein shake powder is also not part of the slow carb lifestyle – it is a modification that some people make. Whey protein, and any sweeteners used in the powders, can both make your body release insulin, which means a stop to any fat burning. The milk itself does this in a bigger way, due to the presence of sugars.

      If you want fat loss, stick with the slow carb meals, and have 4 of them each day, around 4 hours apart.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Skip says:

    I’ve just started the slow carb diet and am on my first week. I have been using a low carb protein powder for my morning meals (made with water). It only has 4g Carbs (1g sugars). Would this still be ok on the diet?

    Also, I used to make my own Greek Yogurt. (no sugar added). I remember reading in the book that Tim suggested eating yogurt for the benefit of our intestinal track, but didn’t know how it faired with the Slow Carb diet. Is greek yogurt with no sugar added ok?

    Also, how do sweeteners like Splenda, Xylitol and Stevia fare?

    Thanks!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Skip,

      Good questions! It really is best to have a whole meal in the morning, not a shake. Some people have had success with shakes, others have found that they stopped fat loss in its tracks. Try something with eggs, or tuna, or salmon, perhaps lentils (red split lentils boiled are tasty), and some spinach or broccoli.

      Yogurt is mentioned, but not as part of slow carb. The book can be confusing like this. Prebiotics and probiotics are important to overall health. Think about kimchee and sauerkraut – not all recommendations in the book are mentioned for fat loss, whereas slow carb was specifically designed as a fat loss lifestyle approach.

      Splenda should be avoided, Xylitol, as an alcohol sugar is questionable. Stevia is something I recommend in small amounts, for certain things where sweetness is a desired treat. But not as a staple, because it’s better to readjust your sense of taste away from sweetness, as you start noticing other flavors over a few weeks.

      All the best,
      Luke

      • Skip says:

        Thanks for the response. I’ll beef up my breakfasts some more.

        1st week in: 3/4″ off my waist with only Slow Carb diet and 1 workout.

        Look forward to seeing what happens in a month!

      • Liz says:

        So Xylitol is in sugarless gums — for example, Trident. I am orally fixated, and as such, it seems I must always have something to munch on. I chew maybe 2-3 pieces a day and haven’t had a problem so far.

        I’m 18 and female (just graduated high school) and I’m slowcarbing to slim down for college. I have another 52 pounds to go! At my high school it seemed that students were eating every two hours — eat breakfast before school, snack after 2nd period, lunch after 4th, snack after 6th (end of school) and then I’d eat 2-3 hours later at home. It all boiled down to two things: I grew accustomed to eating like crazy, and I gained weight at a horrible rate.

        I use Trident to keep my mouth busy. When I get that “I’m hungry” sense even though I just ate, I know it’s psychological and that my mouth just wants to be busy. I chew mostly mint gum because mint flavor has two awesome powers: it tells your body that it’s full and it sharpens your mind. My teachers would pass out peppermints during exams because it helps clarity of thought!

        From personal experience I think artificial sweeteners are bad (carcinogenic, too) and usually promote fat gain, but in brief amounts, like gum, they’re ok. I don’t drink coffee ebcause it tastes horrible and bitter to me, but for caffeine I use Yerba Mate which is a bit sweeter and represses the hunger senses. For anyone who needs caffeine but can’t take it black… Try it!

        Glad I found this site — new information for the diet is my inspiration to stay on it!

        • Luke Starbuck says:

          Hey Liz thanks for your comment!

          Xylitol is a good alternative to some of the artificial sweeteners and to sugar, that’s for sure. It sounds like you got into a habit of eating, and habits can be difficult to change. Focus on replacing the habit with something else, rather than eliminating and leaving a vacuum.

          I’m really excited for you that you’re focused on a healthy lifestyle like slow carb to slim down. You’ll find longer lasting results, and the lifestyle and food habits you’re learning will serve you well in the future. Ultimately, you want to be slim for college this coming semester, but really you’d like to be lean for life. Diets might do the former, but a lifestyle change will give you the latter :)

          That’s a great tip about Yerba Mate – its a fantastic alternative to coffee for people who don’t like coffee, or are caffeine sensitive. One suggestion for you – try an americano that’s made with a proper espresso machine, and organic coffee beans. You might be surprised in the difference of taste. Also you might like to try cinnamon in your Yerba Mate or coffee.

          I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts here, and I’m glad you’ve got some good inspiration! You know where to come to get answers when you have questions :)

          All the best,
          Luke

  • Vasco Patricio says:

    Hello Luke and Kat,

    First off, great blog. Thank you for the massive value. I’ve lately come to a specific point that interests me:

    Many times I wake up before my schedule time, and then go back to sleep or just go in and out of sleep for a couple of hours. Then I truly wake up, have breakfast, and start my day.

    How does the “30 grams/30 minutes” rule apply here? Should I eat immediately when I wake up the first time and head back to bed, or should I eat only when I wake up the second time?

    Cheers

    • Luke says:

      Hi Vasco,
      Thanks for your comments.
      If I were you, I’d count all that time in bed as your ‘sleep’ time. You’re not really moving around or getting your body moving for the day.

      Perhaps then, my rule of thumb is ‘within 30 minutes of the start of your day’.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Mari says:

    I think my comment is better suited for this section, sorry!

    Hi!

    I’ve been doing slow carb for about 7 weeks now. I lost 10 pounds and inches the first month but have not seen much of any change for the past few weeks. I have been staying at the same weight and have lost maybe .5 inches combined. Though I’m still very happy with my progress so far, I would like to jumpstart my weight loss. I’m a 5’3″ young woman and currently 143.

    I have made an effort to decrease salt, increase water, and maintain a caloric intake of around 1500. I stick to the same meals weekly and have found a ratio of legumes, veggies, and protein that has worked for me. I also have started doing a few of Tim’s exercises 3x a week.

    I’d love some suggestions on how to continue fat loss! Thank you so much!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Mari,

      Great start!! Really happy for you.

      It sounds like you’re doing really well so far. The only recommendation about what you mentioned – quit counting calories. Food intake is more about how much you need, and it doesn’t need to be intellectualized. Unfortunately the last 15 years of the food industry have made people believe that we have to know numbers, but it’s all about knowing foods and eating according to our body’s needs. Calorie equation never are correct, and it’s too simple to try to apply math to something as complex as the human body. There are many things that influence fat loss and fat gain, beyond calories, and many things that influence how many calories we need each day (And it’s different each day)! Try to get used to eating according to your needs, and life will be a lot more relaxed.

      Make sure you have a decent cheat afternoon. The key here is having plenty to eat, and lots of carbohydrates. Also, you might want to incorporate some ice water in the mornings. Keep up the great work! Fat loss isn’t linear, so you might lose some one week, stall the next week, then lose more the next week.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • La says:

    HI!

    One of my fav breakfast recipes is what I call the egg white pizza omelet.

    Ingredients:
    egg whites
    spinach
    chopped red peppers
    chopped green onion or regular chopped onion
    any other veggies you want to add
    Pepper
    dash of cayenne pepper
    & top with Turkey pepperonis

    Also, quick question on the protein powder. Doesn’t tim mention when his dad stopped loosing weight he had him make sure he was getting 30 grams of protein within 30 mins of waking up and I thought he mentioned his dad would do that by drinking a protein shake with ice and water? Maybe I’m not remembering correctly though. :) I have been using raw protein powder and try to only drink them on days I work out.

    • Luke says:

      Hey thanks for sharing the recipe this looks delicious!
      You’re right that Tim mentions protein powder in this scenario. It works for some people but not for others. Also, in ice water, there’s a potential that digestion of the protein powder will be slowed down, as the body needs to warm the water to body temperature before properly digesting what’s there. I have regularly used cinnamon with natural protein powder and really enjoy it. The cinnamon may slow down digestion too, which is a plus.

      All the best!
      Luke

  • Anita says:

    I’M SO GLAD I FOUND THIS LINK! I STARTED THE SLOW CARB DIET 3 1/2 WEEKS AGO AND THE FIRST WEEK (AFTER FEAST DAY) I LOST 3.6 POUNDS/8.5″, THE SECOND WEEK I GAINED .4 POUNDS/0″, THE 3RD WEEK I LOST 1.8 POUNDS/2″. THIS PAST WEEK MY WEIGHT HAS INCREASED BY .8 POUNDS.
    I DRINK AT LEAST 1/2 GALLON WATER DAILY, BUT NO EXERCISE YET.
    MY THOUGHT IS MAYBE I’M ACTUALLY EATING TOO MANY CALORIES?
    I’VE BEEN HAVING A PROTEIN SHAKE FOR BREAKFAST (WHICH COULD BE A PROBLEM) BUT I’VE BEEN GETTING THREE CANS OF BLACK BEANS OR LENTILS IN THE OTHER THREE MEALS PLUS SALSA, AND GUACAMOLE ( A COUPLE OF HUGE TABLESPOONS FULL).
    I FIGURED THE CALORIES AT 1776/DAY. I THOUGHT THE IDEA WAS TO EAT A LOT OF FOOD, BUT MAYBE I’M TOO HIGH.
    ONE OTHER THING I’D LIKE TO SHARE IS THAT THIS WAY OF EATING HAS COMPLETELY DESTROYED THE SUGAR DEMON THAT I’VE LIVED WITH MY WHOLE LIFE, WHICH IS WEIRD BEYOND IMAGINING FOR ME. HAS THAT HAPPENED TO ANYONE ELSE?
    THANKS FOR ANY HELP/SUGGESTIONS.
    ANITA

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hi Anita, I’m very glad to hear that slow carb got rid of the sugar cravings you’ve had for so long! That’s great news.
      You might like to try meals that have less salsa, less guacamole and more lean protein like chicken, fish or eggs. Also, the protein shake could definitely be holding you back. Go for whole food meals and check your results after a month.
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Beth says:

    Hi Luke,

    I just finished my first week of the slow carb diet, following it to the t. I lost 6.5 pounds and gained 1.5 on my cheat day yesterday. I am excited with the initial weight loss although I’m thinking much of it is water loss..However my big question is:
    Do some people feel sick when starting this regimen? I have had a constant headache, bloating, nausea, body aches, back pain and just general Malaise since beginning the diet. I had a difficult time even wanting to eat on my cheat day, but after ingesting some grains and sugar felt better than I had felt all week by the cheat day evening. Now it’s the first evening of my 2nd week on the diet and the headache is already back. Any thoughts? Also….I have been logging everything I’ve been eating and have been stopping when i am full. I have not had more than 1000 calories per day, even though i am eating heartily from each food group allowed. I am averaging 80-96 grams of protein per day and around 50 carbs per day. I am 5’1″ and 52. I work out about 3x per week. Your thoughts?

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hey Beth,
      Some people have felt a little off when starting. Sounds like a the ‘low carb flu’ that people have with Atkins. Are you eating beans with every meal? I would also suggest that your minimum calories needed is around 1300.. and it’ll be better if you stop counting and logging. Rely on your energy and hunger levels, and your sense of wellbeing.
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Matt says:

    Hi Luke, great post! I started the slow carb diet on Friday so I’ve only been on it for a few days but I just thought I’d share my experience so far.

    I’m a 20 year old male and on Friday I weighed 16st 1lb. I hope to lose at least 3st and then see where I’m at when I get there. I’ve been overweight for my whole life and I finally think I can shift it. This diet is the only one I’ve found that is simple and easy to follow. Where I’ve failed in the past is probably down to the lack of a strict structure, causing me to stray from the diet plan and lose track of where I am.

    On the first morning I had three egg whites with one whole egg, scrambled and with half a tin of pinto beans and a small bag of microwave vegetables. Having become accustomed to things like cereal and yoghurts for breakfast I have to admit the meal left a lot to be desired! Still, I’m sure I’ll soon develop a taste for it, and I’m definitely going to try some red lentils and spinach instead. For lunch I had some peppered chicken with salad (lettuce, red pepper, cucumber and red onion) and for dinner I had spiced chicken with green peppers, onions and the rest of the pinto beans. I’ve also bought some lean pork and beef to have with beans and more veg.

    I fell down at the weekend as I stayed round my friend’s house and we had pizza and beer, then today my family had a barbecue (I tried my best to stick to the lean meat but I didn’t have any beans or veg, except for a tablespoon of lite coleslaw). I also may have had some cake!

    Tomorrow it’s back to my strict regime, and I’m going to include some body weight tabata training during the week. I have some questions though:

    - How important is it to include legumes in every meal? Is it ok to have one meal without beans each day?

    - What are the rules on sauces? I found that adding a bit of BBQ sauce to pinto beans made them a lot more palatable but I was worried about the salt and fat content. Also, my mum made a chicken casserole which I drained and added some lentils to. Is this sort of thing ok?

    - Is it better to have four meals a day rather than three? I’ve gathered from various articles that the slow carb diet relies on eating a lot and keeping your metabolic rate up. I don’t find myself feeling very hungry during the day but should I space my meals out and have four even if I’m not particularly hungry?

    It’s great to see that this thread is still active and that so many people are benefitting from it. I’m going to weigh myself on Friday and fingers crossed I see some results!

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hey Matt, you’ve made a good start! Here’s some answers for you, and I wish you all the very best in getting to your goal. I think you’ll be able to do it!

      - Legumes in each meal help keep your energy up. If your energy falls, it’s harder to stick with the meals, and easier to wander off path. Keep that in mind. If you skip beans, include some avocado (like 1/2 an avocado with a meal).
      - Sauces are pretty much out. They mostly have sugar, or other ingredients that null out a lot of benefits of the beans and lean protein. Exceptions are 2 tbsp tomato salsa (no sugar added). The drained casserole was probably in the ‘ok’ zone.. but eventually you’ll want to prepare all your food, or know exactly what it was made with. It’s simpler to create simple meals where you can see all the ingredients.
      - If you don’t feel hungry, that’s awesome. Keep at what works for you. You don’t need to eat 4 meals, however you might end up wanting to, especially with working out, you’ll need quite a bit of energy.

      All the best!
      Luke

  • Matt says:

    Oops, my previous messages seemed to have failed but now they’ve suddenly appeared and I look like a wally. Sorry for the wall spam!

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