what i’ve learned from a full year of slow carb

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Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

slow carb diet

what i’ve learned from a full year of slow carb

if you would’ve told me one year ago today that i’d be writing this blog post, i would’ve laughed in disbelief.

in fact, on this day, one year ago—having just stepped on the scales weighing in at a cringe-worthy 298 pounds—i began the slow carb diet. and here i stand, 365 days later, still going strong.

though slow carb is moderately well known, for those who are unfamiliar, here’s a quick overview: don’t eat carbs.

there ya go.

ok, that’s not all. but that’s most of it. for 6 days a week, you eat no (or very, very little) carbs. but the beauty is that on the 7th day, instead of a god-like restful sabbath, you chow down on every last carb you can possibly stuff inside your carb-deprived body. i won’t go into all of the details and reasons why (check out the book, 4-hour body, where the concept originates), but i’m here to report that it, in fact, works.

from january 7 to around the 2nd week of june, i dropped 60 pounds. it was a pretty exciting stretch of time. so what happened in june? well, my body decided it was done losing weight. literally in the span of a week, i went from dropping weight like a bad habit to plateauing for the last 6 months (more on this later). despite the lengthy plateau, i’ve stuck to it. and i haven’t gained a pound since.

i’m proud that i’ve been able to stick to for this amount of time. when i began, i would’ve guessed that maybe i’d do it for 6 months, at the longest. i couldn’t have imagined an entire year.

i get a lot of questions about slow carb, the amount of weight i’ve lost and how i’ve done it, so i thought i’d share a few thoughts for others who’ve considered something like this.

1. it isn’t as hard as you think.

now, don’t get me wrong, it can be hard. but not like how you imagine. you get into a rhythm and you begin to form new eating habits that make you not really miss things like bread or potatoes or soft drinks or you-name-the-sugary-thing. it’s less hard than it is inconvenient. that’s one of the biggest hurdles. it’s super inconvenient. you suddenly realize when you do this how many times you literally have a 15 or even 30 minute window of time to eat a meal before you have to be somewhere or do something. and often, it’s on the go. so normally, you’d grab some fast food or eat something you don’t have to prepare. well, you can’t do that. slow carb almost exclusively requires prepared foods. so yeah, inconvenient, but still, not as hard as you think.

2. you will plateau.

at some point, your body is gonna refuse to play along. your body is constantly in a fight to stay the same. it doesn’t want to change. and when you put it through this kind of rapid change, it’s gonna finally refuse to cooperate. like i said, my plateau began after about 6 months. i made the decision to stick with it, but quite frankly, i probably should’ve made a change. some people have suggested the next step would be to reduce fat intake, so we’ll see. (but probably not because fat is tasty…)

3. make it a competition.

no, not with someone else (though that could certainly work also). make it a competition with yourself. you have to find ways to stay motivated and focused. you’ll want to quit. at the very least, you’ll want to cheat. so you have to do things that motivate you to keep going and be better than you were at your last weigh-in.

speaking of weigh-in, don’t obsess about it, but be consistent. i weigh every monday and saturday morning. that’s it. but the key is that i always have an idea of where i’m at to keep myself going. it’s a competition against myself to see if i can keep going.

4. channel your inner kenny rogers: know when to hold em, know when to fold em

over the course of the past year, i never cheated. i mean, i did stuff like eat a chip if there was a bag of chips laying open or rinky dink stuff like that. but i’m talking about just letting myself go in the middle of the week and saying, ‘screw it’. that, i never did.

but. i made intentional decisions multiple times about times when i knew it was totally unrealistic about sticking to slow carb. for example, we took a vacation to new york city. there was absolutely no way whatsoever that i could’ve pulled it off for those 7 days. so, i made the decision to not do it for the week and just live with the consequences. you have to know when it’s ok to do that and just make that decision.

alright, i hope this list provides some insights and offers encouragement to anyone thinking of doing it. you should. just go for it. it’s tough, but you’ll feel an unparalleled sense of accomplishment after the fact. trust me.