Slow Carb Foodie in 2012

Happy New Year SlowCarb-ers!  I hope you everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season.  I accomplished “happy” but “healthy” was not so successful.  I spent the week in Queensland, Australia camping with friends at the Woodford Folk Festival, one of Australia’s most popular music festivals (don’t be too jealous all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, but it’s summer here!)

I had a great time enjoying the sunshine, great music and comedy acts, but after day one, I sort of gave up my healthy eating (and drinking!)  I gained 4 lbs in a week, which isn’t all that bad considering when I was doing the Slow Carb cheat days, I would occasionally gain  4lbs in a day.

At the end of it all, I felt like crap.

I was bloated, lethargic and may have given myself acid reflux for the first time in my life.  Yuck!

I’d say it was a bummer, but it was actually a nice reminder of why I invest so much time and energy cooking and eating healthily most of time – not just to look better but to feel better.

So, I’m starting the new year off a bit different.  Last year, I began the year following Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet, made popular in the best-selling “The 4-Hour Body” and over the year my eating gradually evolved to be a bit Paleo as I discovered I felt a lot better and was able to break through what seemed like an impossible weight-loss plateau by eliminating legumes altogether.

Over the course of the year, I lost 17lbs.  (my initial goal was 20lbs).  Over the holidays, I gained about 7 lbs, which brought my net weight loss to 10lbs for the year.  This was all related to diet as I wasn’t engaging in any exercise and had a fairly sedentary “desk”lifestyle.

I initially felt a lot better as I implemented the diet, but toward the end of the year I stopped losing weight despite the fact that I was following the plan that had previously worked for me, and I started feeling a bit sluggish.

I decided that 2012 is going to be the year that I get healthy.

Here are some of the health goals I’ve set for myself:

-Goal Weight 125 lbs

-Start doing yoga and do it AT LEAST 1x per week

-Resume kettlebell swings AT LEAST 2x per week

-Resume running AT LEAST 2x per week

-More green veggies – transition diet to at least 50% veggies each day

-More raw foods and salads

I’ve decided to tackle food goals first and then the exercise goals, rather than trying to make a lot of changes all at once.   In order to kick off the year with LOTS of veggies and raw food, I’ll be following Kimberly Snyder’s “Beauty Detox Solution”.  I’ll share more about that later – but in sum it’s 80% plant based diet, mostly raw.  It’s supposed to work like a natural detox  for people who have eaten a lot of acidic foods (meat , alcohol, grain, dairy are all acidic, by the way!)  After my week of partying, this feels like a nice change, and I hope to see some good results.

The author doesn’t require you to become vegetarian but suggests it or at least cutting down on meat and only pairing it with certain foods that aid and won’t hinder in the digestion of meat.   I’ve decided to jump in wholeheartedly going 100% vegetarian.

I think my body may very well go into shock!  I am a bit of a protein addict.  I’d even estimate 50%+ of my diet previously came from meat and eggs, so this is a pretty radical  leap for me.

In preparation, I  decided to re-read “The Meatless Machine I: Reasons to Try a Plant-Based Diet for Two Weeks” chapter in 4HB (pg 520 in the appendix if you’re interested) on being vegetarian.

Something I didn’t pick up on (or probably intentionally chose to ignore) during my first read of this was the following recommendation from Tim:

“I suggest a two-week PPBD (primarily plant-based diet) test after 3-4 months on the Slow-Carb Diet.  No matter where you end up afterward, the awareness will lead to better decisions that benefit appearance, performance, and the planet as a whole.”

OK – so if it’s good enough for Tim, then it’s good enough for me.

I plan to follow this through January and then return to Slow Carb-ing per usual.  In the aftermath, I’ll share some of my experiences.  In the meantime, you can still expect recipe updates along with a few other new features from the SlowCarbFoodie.com.  I’ll be announcing everything on the 15th of January along with a free ebook entitiled “10 Slow Carb Shortcuts Even Tim Ferris Doesn’t Know About (Yet)” I’m releasing with fellow 4 Hour Blogger Jason from FindingMyFitness.com.

Stay tuned for the new updates, and if you haven’t already, sign up for the newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on the ebook.

I hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start!

Week 2 Progress and Update

No, this is not me…. yet.  I wish.  A little aspirational image to keep motivated for now as the pounds and inches slowly come off.

Cheat Day Update

I had my second “official” cheat day yesterday.  I say second, not third because I’m not counting my first week on the diet due to a major slip-up I didn’t realize I was making.

As with the week before, I didn’t have much of an appetite or cravings for any of the foods I’d briefly thought about missing during the week.   My cheats were pretty minor, and I felt a bit sick after eating the gyro and pasta.  After weighing in this morning, I’d gained 1lb.

Here’s what I ate:

  • Breakfast:   2 eggs over easy + some homemade hashbrowns with onion and garlic.
  • After breakfast:  1/3 a bar of Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate.
  • Lunch: small bowl of easy mac, 3 Thin Mint style cookies.
  • Dinners:  I ate ¾ of a gyro.  I was too full to finish the whole thing.
  • Post Dinner: I ate about 1 cup cooked pasta with a little butter on it – didn’t really want it, but felt like I should eat pasta.

It all sounds a bit pathetic for a cheat day.  I spent most of the day running around and doing errands so didn’t even think about food most of the day.  Next week, I think I’ll make more of a concerted effort.   On the bright side, I didn’t gain much weight, on the negative, I think I probably consumed fewer calories than I would on a normal day so I’m a bit concerned I’m not achieving the calorie spike needed.

General Progress Update

I’m now two weeks into the Slow Carb Diet with not much success.   I’m thinking most of this has little to do with the diet and more to do with my circumstances the past 2 weeks.

This was a bit of a crazy time for me.  I’d just returned from 3 weeks vacation and hadn’t settled into any sort of routine when this week hit me with job interviews, houseguests and entertaining for my boyfriend’s birthday all at once.

I don’t believe in making excuses because “stuff” will always come up (that’s life, right?), but I want to mention these things in the context of why I don’t think I’m seeing the huge results that some others are seeing, and also why I’m still happy and committed to the diet.

Also to note: I am a female who doesn’t have a tremendous amount of weight to lose.  I’d say 10lbs to looking fit and healthy.  20 lbs would be very lean and fit.  I’m assuming the weight just comes off a bit slower at this point.  I’ve been doing some version of Low/Slow carbs for awhile now (before starting the blog), and think I’ve already shed my “easy” weight (the huge lbs everyone seems to lose in the beginning.) 

Circumstances that may have impacted my results:

  • The past 14 days were the days leading up to and during my period.
  • I ate out a few times for birthdays and other occasions.  While I stuck to the diet, there may have been unknowns in the food.
  • I don’t think I’ve been getting enough protein within 30 minutes of rising.  I know on some days I definitely did not.
  • I may not be drinking enough water.  I don’t tend to measure my water intake as I’ve been in the habit of drinking water (and not much else other than alcohol on special occasions) for years so didn’t consider this might be something I’d need to monitor.

What I’m going to change this week:

  • Optimize my morning routine:  Scale, water, food – all within 30 minutes.
  • Count my protein.  I realized a few days ago that one of my regular lunches Broccoli + Can of tuna and olive oil only has about 18g of protein.  Sometimes I’d eat this with lentils, sometimes not.  Now, I’m realizing it may not have been enough protein for me.
  • Track timing of meals.  Much of my meal timing has revolved around work and other people.  I don’t think I was too far off, but I’m going to actually track this week just to make note of patterns.

I have one other thought that I may need to start “front loading” my legumes early in the day and not eating them in my last meal.  I’m going to wait another week to test this and see how I do just being a bit more fanatical about the details.

How to NOT Lose Weight on Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet

The Slow Carb Diet is intended to be simple.  There’s really only 5 rules, so it’s pretty hard to mess up.   I managed to mess up without even realizing it, and it all came down to what I consider a rookie oversight.

So here’s the story.  Hopefully, it keeps others from making the same mistake.

I started Slow Carb last week.  The first few days I lost steadily, about 3 lbs in 4 days, despite eating out twice (yes, I stuck to the rules but was a bit nervous about hidden sugars in the sauces) and consuming about 6 glasses of red wine on my boyfriend’s birthday on a non-cheat day.

The rules were easy enough to follow, and I was happy with my progress so far, but I was concerned that I was eating too much sodium since my main source of legumes so far was canned, refried beans.  I decided I should switch to one of Tim’s preferred legume types, and since black beans in a can are impossible to find in Australia, I chose lentils – something I’ve never really cooked or had in any way, shape or form other than in Indian food.

I wanted a bit of inspiration so I got out 660 Curries, my favorite Indian cookbook, and found a recipe for garlicky lentils.   I knew I had about a pound of leftover bacon in the fridge that needed to be used pronto so I decided to take a bit of creative license and incorporate it into the curry.  Halfway through the cook time, the lentils were smelling and tasting great, but looked pretty dried out.  I decided to add some chicken stock and then reduce them a bit more.

That did the trick.  They were absolutely phenomenal.  Even my boyfriend who hates lentils and has no need or interest in following the diet loved them.

So did you catch it?  The mistake I made.

That was day 5, and I didn’t catch it until today on day 9.  I’ve been making some version of lentils with chicken stock every day and finally ran out of stock cubes.  I went to the store to replace them and happened to look at the ingredients because my boyfriend had recently mentioned that in Australia, they’ll sometime include cow parts from England and sometimes people get Mad Cow.

I have absolutely no idea if that’s true, but it’s the only reason I took the time to read the label. I’d purchased the brand before and remembered it to be all natural, gluten-free, preservative-free, lactose-free, etc.  Pretty much “everything” free.  Well, I was wrong.  It wasn’t SUGAR free.

Wow.  I was pissed off.  A week of being diligent about everything that went into my mouth (so I thought!) completely for nothing.  I’d been unknowingly sabotaging my eating plan for days now.

As someone who thought I had a good grip on the nutritional content in most foods, I’m pretty embarrassed by this slip up- though there were two positive take-aways or things learned from this experience.  1)  I now have a good idea why the Slow Carb wasn’t working for me the way it seemed to be working for others on the plan.  2) I now have increased motivation to double-check nutritional info to ensure success.

Due to my little slip-up, I’m “starting over” this week and calling today Day 2 of Slow Carb as last week’s results don’t accurately reflect the results of someone properly following the diet.  It’s Monday, and I know I consumed trace amounts of sugar both today and yesterday which will impact my results, but I’d rather not wait until next Sunday to start again.

I’m ready to start seeing the great results everyone else seems to be seeing.