What is the Slow Carb Diet & Is It Right For Me? A Look into the Four Hour Body Diet from Author and Bio-Hacker, Tim Ferriss
I've been a fan of Tim Ferriss's for a little over a year now after discovering his podcast. His lengthy and in-depth interviews on anything and everything from Ketosis talks with Dominic D' Agostino to speaking with Cal Fussman about his time spent with Mohammad Ali has gotten me through many a lawn mowing session and road trips.
Just recently I came across his book from back in 2007 called the Four Hour Body. The only reason I started even searching for it was become on one of the his Drunk Dialing Episode Podcasts, one of his callers was asking him about the best diet to get back on track (or something like that...) and this is the type of meal plan that Tim recommends for a few reasons, the biggest reason is that it has a low barrier of resistance.
There are so many different things in other meal plans that cause people to fail relatively quickly. For example, in a ketosis diet, people often fail after just a week or two because they end up not being able to really get into a state of ketosis. In something like the 21 Day Fix Porton Control, I have many clients who either just can't restrain themselves to eating that amount of food or find the idea of using the little containers ridiculous or time consuming to plan all of that out (often it's guys). And I totally get it. We're busy, we don't have time to count out containers (or to wash all of those dang containers!) So there's a lot of what we call resistance.
So it really resistance or do we have to just "suck it up"?
So how does it work?
Okay, so before we get into that, here are the biggest things that always cause me to fail and I'm sure you can relate to a few of them:
1. I have kids, a busy job, a family, household responsibilities, and at the end of the frickin' day of teaching at school, my willpower is done... gone... nada... finito. Sometimes, it's gone by noon. I've restrained myself all flippin' day I just want to dive into either a 6 pack of a good IPA, crack open a box of cookies, or order some Hungry Howies.
2. I hate planning out meals with a passion. It's time consuming and most of the time when I plan the meals, by the time it comes to Wednesday or Thursday, I don't feel like what I felt like having on Sunday when I planned my meals. Does that make sense? I feel like I felt that made sense...
3. I hate tracking whether it's tracking via an app on my phone, tablet, or a sheet of paper. I despise tracking my nutrition just as much as I hate tracking my finances and doing budgets. They suck. And it gets me all stressed which only makes me want to chow down on junk food even more. Dammit!
4. I really hate tracking...
Now, I can read all of the motivational pictures, videos, practice mindfullness, mediate, and try to Ohm my way of it but the #struggleisreal, isn't it? Or maybe I'm just weak.
Regardless of what the reason, it's tough! Do we just have to accept the fact that as adults, nutritional and financial budgets are apart of life? Do we need to track everything in our lives?
And how the heck can I help clients or myself when many of my clients can totally relate and fall under the above 4 categories?
Is there another way?
Hence the slow carb diet.
Here are the few and only rules:
1. Meals consist of protein, veggies, and beans/legumes. No portions, calorie counts, tracking macros, etc.
2. Avoid white carbohydrates (rice, grains, oats, sugars, etc)
3. Eat the same few meals over and over again.
4. Don't drink your calories. Coffee, tea, dry red wine in the evenings are allowed.
5. No fruit.
6. Take one day off per week as your cheat day (Tim calls it a Dieters Gone Wild Day... sounds like diet utopia right?)
So that's it!
From here if you want to explore further I'd suggest checking out Tim's The Four Hour Body book to get the basics of the meal plan (plus some cool "bio hacks" you can add in as well if you are brave enough and enjoy some cold baths!) and this FindingMyFitness Blog looks like it's totally dedicated to this diet.
Is it right for me?
The Slow Carb Diet is very flexible with it's 5 or 6 rules. There are no portions or calorie counting, just stick to some simple basic foods, combine them together, and viola! And you even have a cheat day once a week where you can go crazy!
But is it perfect for everyone? What are the pitfalls, if any?
Every diet has pitfalls. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...
With this diet here are few things that I really struggled with:
1. The meals get boring. And even Tim says in his book, "This diet isn't meant to be fun... until you get to Saturday" (my own paraphrase). And it's true. It's an effective diet because many people have gotten outstanding results. But the question is, is it right for you?
2. There is no consideration for macronutrients. In reality you are taking in quite a few carbohydrates between the vegetables and the beans/legumes. However, they do tend to help provide the energy that is lacking in many other meal plans (especially those that are low carb focused, such as the paleo and the ketogenic diets). So if you have some certain types of athletic or performance goals, this may not be the diet for you since you aren't really getting a balanced portion of macronutrients necessarily (although, to this diet's defense and "balanced" diet means many things to different people, even to doctors...)
3. This diet is not meant to support fitness goals/atheltic performance. As prescribed, many of the clients and testimonials didn't workout. Tim's philosophy behind this diet was just focusing on fat loss and those who weren't active outside of their everyday lives. And that's great. However, most of you who are reading this know that fitness and workouts are a big part of our philosphy at AkersFitness.com, so we want to be able to provide the proper fuel for our workouts!
So What's the Answer?
I know this answer sucks, but it depends...
If you are simply looking to lose weight, the Slow Carb Diet might be the way to go. However, if you are simply looking for a Utopia like meal plan, there's no such thing. It takes determination, meal planning, self control, learning new recipes, and all of that other hard work it takes to have a healthy lifestyle.
So with that said, if you have any other questions about my experience with the Slow Carb Diet, comment below.
If you are ready to jump in my upcoming FREE 5 Day Challenge, click the picture below and let's get you going on an efficient meal plan that tastes awesome!