Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tim Ferriss' Slow-Carb Diet Test: Day 30

Today is the last day of Tim Ferriss' Slow-Carb Diet, as laid out in The 4-Hour Body.

Thirty days ago, I decided to test Tim Ferriss' claim that I could lose 20 pounds in 30 days. To the best of my ability, I executed the plan, documented my progress, and shared relevant observations along the way. The questions I asked were: Does it work? Is it worth doing? Do I have enough will power to stick it out? Find out below.

Since my last report (day 23), I have continued to eat 3 to 4 meals per day as described in the plan. Similar to last week, the meals were not always 4 hours apart. They typically fell somewhere between 5 to 6 hours or more.

Below, you will find a list of foods that I have consumed.

  • Chicken breast: I eat Tyson's grilled chicken. This week, I moved from the cubes to the sliced option. I found it had a better grilled taste.
  • Eggs: I eat between 6-10 scrambled eggs a day. For color and flavor, I leave two egg yolks in the mix.
  • Ground Beef: I cook 93/7 ground beef.
  • Steak: I eat lean cuts of steak. The fat count is around 3.5 grams per serving.
  • Fish: While I enjoyed some salmon last week, I didn't eat any fish this week. 
  • Red Beans: I cook from a can.
  • Black Beans: I cook from a can.
Note: I made sure to include legumes in every meal, but decided to cut back to 1/4 can versus the 1/2 can I typically ate. Due to my slow loss in weeks 1 and 2, I thought it may have been caused by too many beans and its related sodium.
  • Broccoli: I'm eating a lot of broccoli.
  • Cauliflower: When I'm not eating broccoli, I'm eating frozen cauliflower. 
  • Water: This week, I didn't do a very good job drinking a gallon per day. I probably ended up drinking about 1/2 to 3/4 gallons.
  • Red wine: I'm drinking around 2 glasses per day.
  • Coffee: No coffee at all this week. 
My cheat day (Saturday) wasn't really a cheat day. I think I felt guilty about eating Pringles on Tuesday, which was only days after my last cheat day. I recall coming home from work feeling bad and found comfort in some junk food. So, for the most part, I stuck to the diet, but ended up eating ice cream before the day was through.   
    Physical Activities
    During the final week, I did absolutely no physical activities or trips to the gym.

    The final week produced little results on the scale. I lost 6 pounds last week, after first gaining 3, and then lost another 1 pound this week. On a positive note, I continued to lose inches from around my waist and found I also lost inches from around my hips, shoulders, and calves. That was new.

    Below is the complete report for my measurements. In the parentheses, I am reporting changes for this week first, followed by the total loss over the 30 days (this week | total).

    • Weight: 256 lbs (-1 lbs | - 4 lbs)
    • Height: 6' 2"
    • Age: 36 
    • Body Fat: 19.2% (-1.5%-6.3% )
    • Chest: 45.0" (0"-1")
    • Waist: 42.75" (-0.25" | -0.50")
    • Arms: 17.25"
    • Shoulders: 53.5" (-0.50" | -0.50")
    • Forearms: 14"
    • Neck: 16.25"
    • Hips: 45.75" (-0.50" | -1")
    • Thighs: 26"
    • Calves: 18" (-0.25" | -0.25")
    Going into the final week, I fell ill for a few days. As a result, I slipped off my diet early and ate a can of Pringles. I also noticed that I started craving carbs and starches all over again. This happened a few days after my last cheat day, which is right around the time I murked the chips.

    Outside of that, I found it challenging to eat as regularly as I did while on vacation. On a few occasions, I forgot to bring food to work, which resulted in a late lunch and dinner. This could have easily been avoided had I packed my meals the night before.

    Final Thoughts
    Looking back over these past 30 days, I can see a positive change in my weight, inches, and body fat percentage. Unfortunately, I did not lose the advertised 20 pounds. There could be a million reasons why this diet did not produce the stunning results many others are now experiencing. It could be that I was already watching my diet before this experiment. It could be that I didn't follow the meals every three to four hours. It could be my failure to sleep 8+ hours a night. In the end, I'm not really sure how to explain it.

    Some have tried to explain Tim's bold statement as losing 20 pounds in body fat, not just 20 pounds in weight. If this were the case, and I measured my loss in body fat percentage (6.3%) vs. the scale (4 lbs), then I can safely say that I have lost 16.38 pounds in 30 days. Now, if we go with that number (16.38lbs = 6.3% * 260lbs) then I am a whole lot closer to the goal.

    "What's next on the agenda?" you ask. Well, I am genuinely pleased with my progress thus far. As a result, I plan to continue with Tim Ferriss' Slow-Carb Diet. In the book, Tim's father went for 90 days with outstanding results. Who knows, maybe I'll do better this next time.

    Lessons Learned

    Everybody is different
    In reading everyone's updates, I notice that some lose weight very quickly while others do not. Earlier tonight, my friend Tim Arthur reported losing 18 pounds over 21 days. That's amazing! However, I reported losses in other ways.

    Be prepared
    My weakest point of the 30 days came when I had not prepared. On Tuesday, when I cheated, I had no good food in the house. Additionally, I failed to bring food to work on a few occasions and it resulted in unnecessary close calls. Next time, make certain to be well stocked and ready for all meals.

    Measure, measure, measure
    Due to the lack of movement on the scale, I can safely say that measuring my body with a tape measure and body fat calipers saved me from disappointment. When I thought nothing was happening with my weight, the tape told a different story. The positive changes helped to keep me motivated when I felt like the diet was not working.

    Don't do it alone
    Making changes is hard. Eating healthy is even more challenging when everyone around you is eating the very food you have restricted yourself from consuming. To help combat the potential weakness, identify people who will struggle with you. For me, I found tons of people online who are experiencing exactly the same thing I am experiencing. As a result of the support and shared stories, I feel stronger.

    Recommended Changes
    Going into another 30 days of the slow-carb diet, I definitely need to make a few changes.

    Purchase a personal scale
    For the past 30 days, I have consistently used the scale at the gym. Not that I have a problem with it, I'm sure it works fine (when calibrated), but I need something at home that I can use.

    Return to the gym
    For most of the month, I did not visit the gym. I was torn between working out and testing Tim's claim of losing weight without exercising. You can see the results.

    For the next month, I would like to add my weight training and cardio back into the mix and report on the results. I'm confident that I will make even greater gains than without any physical activities.

    Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking
    I cannot think of a morning that I did not eat breakfast within the first hour of waking. In the book, Tim explains that I can see even better returns if I eat within the first 30 minutes. I think I'll make a go of it.

    Eat every 4 hours
    This is probably the most challenging thing to do, because I'm not usually hungry. If it's about keeping my metabolism going then I'm willing to try it.

    Finally, I would like to thank all of you who have supported me, posted on my blog, or decided to try the slow-carb diet with me. You have helped me in ways that I cannot express into words. THANK YOU!

    With all of that written, I am going to officially start the next 30 days on Monday. Until then, I will continue to eat like I have been and prepare myself for another life changing sprint. Won't you join me?
      For those following along, how do you feel? What could you do better tomorrow? Leave me a comment in the section below and join us on the discussion board (see Community).

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      Ingrid Ward said...

      Thanks for keeping me inspired to 'keep on track' with my weight loss goals. I'm not doing this diet but I can relate in many ways to your posts on progress. Thanks for taking the time to share.

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      Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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