To lose 5 kilograms using Tim Ferriss’ Slow Carb Diet.
There are only 5 Rules to follow, taken from Tim’s Simple Condensed Patient Handouts:
- Avoid “White” carbohydrates. The following foods are prohibited: All bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, noodles, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading.
- Eat the same few meals over and over again. The most successful dieters, regardless if their goal is muscle gain or fat-loss, eat the same few meals over and over again
- Don’t drink calories. Drink massive quantities of water and unsweetened tea, coffee (with no more than two tablespoons of cream), or other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages. Do not drink milk (including soy milk), normal soft drinks, or fruit juice. Red wine is permitted, but no white wine or beer.
- Don’t eat fruit. The only exceptions are tomatoes and avocadoes. The principal sugar of fruit is fructose, which is converted to phosphate more efficiently than almost all other carbohydrates. Glycerol phosphate à Triglycerides (via the liver) à fat storage.
- Take one day off per week. I’m allowed to eat whatever I want to Saturdays, so I’ll probably go out of my way to eat noodles, fries, chips, beer, and all of my other vices in excess. No limits or boundaries are required on this “Cheat Day”, because the aim is to spike my caloric intake, which will prevent my body from lowering my basal metabolic rate from the other 6 days of caloric reduction.
Everything else about my lifestyle (exercise, work, play, etc) will remain the same. I’ll be recording my progress on a weekly basis, measuring my weight and waist from the starting points of 70kg and 33.5 inches respectively.
Sunday, 11 August 2013
Weight: 69.5kg, Waist: 33 inches
Lost half a kg and half an inch! And maybe it’s psychological, but the self-shot photos of myself in my underwear do show a slight difference. (They’re way too x-rated to post here though, so I’ll save you the torture).
It isn’t easy to avoid carbs in Singapore – the only meals I can pretty much eat are: yong tau foo, western food, and cai fan without the fan. Unfortunately, the lines for yong tau foo and cai fan are usually pretty long in my cafeteria, so I ended up eating a loooot of western food, which gets old after awhile. Also, to avoid feeling lethargic from caloric reduction, I have to eat more so I sometimes buy extra food like some yakitori skewers or a plate of lean chicken, which adds to my food bill. Overall, expenditure is expected to rise this month, but I’ll have to take it as the price of looking sexier.
I also love it when people look at me incredulously and go, “You can’t even eat fruit? Or rice? But you HAVE to eat rice, where are you going to get your energy from?” It shows some of the Invisible Assumptions that are so deeply entrenched within us that we would never question them. So far, I’ve never heard a good enough reason to eat rice or fruit other than the “conventional” wisdom (Rice is essential for energy? I can get that from beans and protein and they won’t make me fat. I need fruits for vitamins? I can get that from veggies).
Overall though, it does take quite a bit of control to not eat the things I want to eat, and to focus on the upcoming Cheat Day instead. Especially when 20 people are eating chips in front of me! Let’s see if this discipline pays off next week.
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Weight: 69.0kg, Waist: 32.7 inches
2nd week into the LifeTest, and I’ve lost 1kg from my starting out weight. It seems like a small improvement, but it’s huge to me – I’ve been yo-yo ing between 69.5 and 72kg for the last 6 months, so this is the lightest I’ve been in a long, long time.
I’ve found a nice balance in terms of what I can eat – when I first started I was going all out with the western food for most meals, but it did make me feel kind of unhealthy and just really “heavy” thoughout the day. So I’ve switched several meals towards yong tau foo and sliced fish soup which makes me feel a lot better and more Asian in general haha.
Cheat Day has also been a little more moderated – I have a little mini-celebration whenever I tuck into a delicious prata or laksa, but I no longer feel the need to binge on everything. Instead, I now just savor the carb-filled meals I get to eat once a week.
I had a department dinner on Friday at Brussel Sprouts, which specializes in mussels and Belgian fries. Now, I have an inherent weakness for fries, so I knew that resisting that temptation was going to be tough if I was hungry when the fries were in front of my face. So at 5pm, I went down to the cafeteria and bought myself a huge chicken chop to munch on before the meal, so I wouldn’t feel the need to binge later. And it worked! I hardly even glanced at the fries, successfully sticking to the diet for one day more 😉
Monday, 26 August 2013
Weight: 68.5kg, Waist: 32.5 inches
Another breakthrough this week! This is the first time in a year that I’ve seen a number 68 on the weighing scale, and it was so unbelievable that I had to re-weigh myself several times to convince myself. The LifeTest is going well!
I’ve found that eating yong tau foo / sliced fish soup in the afternoons helps a lot in weight loss because 1) it reduces the absolute amount of food I eat and 2) it’s a whole lot less oily than greasy western food. I didn’t manage to exercise much last week because I was crazy busy with work, but I still managed to lose half a kilo which was pretty impressive. I don’t even feel the pinch from having to skip carbs anymore, because I’ve gotten used to eating Asian soupy for lunch.
A word on critics: Every time I tell someone about the diet (which is inevitable whenever I have meals with people and they ask why I’m not eating any rice), they’ll give me a sort of weird look and say something like, “But you have to eat carbs! How can you not eat carbs? You’ll feel really tired/not have energy/not have a balanced diet/die a slow horrible death, etc, etc” It seems like 80% of the population is pretty against this no-carb lifestyle, which is interesting because diet is so ubiquitous that people have such deep-seated beliefs about it. It also makes me even more determined to succeed.
The fact is this: that I AM losing weight (despite gorging myself every Saturday with prata, noodles, chicken rice, and fast food), I DON’T feel any difference in my energy levels throughout the day, and I feel absolutely freakin’ awesome that this is the lightest I’ve been for an entire year. So suck it, critics! 🙂
Monday, 02 September 2013
Weight: 68.5kg, Waist: 32.0 inches
No weight loss this week, though it’s to be expected at some point. A friend of mine who lost 30kg in a year told me that weight loss was more of a step rather than a slope: He’d lose a couple of kilos, plateau for a while, and then lose a little more. So I’m not too worried that I didn’t see any progress this week! (In fact, I’m actually kind of relieved that I didn’t see a weight gain after Saturday”s cheat day when I had bak chor mee, TWO cans of Coke, a bowl of mini-sausages, Tonkotsu King ramen, fries, and a pint of beer to top it all off). The waist is down to 32 inches, which is pretty much 1.5 pants sizes down from when I first started.
People have started to notice that I’ve lost weight. I’ve had people ask about it in the elevator (the same elevator where my colleague told me I was gaining weight which triggered this whole thing hahha), in the cafeteria, and even from the lady who cleans my office. And there’s nothing more satisfying than to have someone else notice the effects of your efforts.
There’s also an unexpected effect of this whole thing: Exercising has gotten a whole lot easier. I might just be a couple of kilos lighter, but I feel completely different whenever I run or do a pull-up. It might just be psychological, but I don’t feel like I’m dragging a whole bunch of weight around, I feel lighter, stronger, and a whole lot more energetic. I hope this keeps up, and I should be ready for my annual IPPT test in no time.
Monday, 09 September 2013
Weight: 67.5kg, Waist: 32.0 inches
Yet another breakthrough this week! I’m down to 67.5kg, which is one whole kilo down from last week and putting me back on track on my 0.5kg/week loss rate. I’m now at the halfway mark towards my goal of 65kg, so hopefully it’ll get easier from here.
To be honest, it’s actually pretty easy to stick to the diet at this point. It helps that I only eat the same few dishes over and over, so that reduces the decision-making (and temptation) during mealtimes.
The hard part is dealing with the fact that my diet can sometimes affect others. My girlfriend has started complaining that she now needs to think about my diet whenever we go out to eat, despite my insistence that she really doesn’t have to. Still, I try not to affect anyone other than myself as much as possible, and I usually pack a slow-carb meal whenever I have to accompany people to places where I don’t have options.
A word on temptation and willpower: Contrary to conventional opinions, being on a diet doesn’t take a ridiculous amount of willpower to sustain. From my experience so far, I only need willpower to resist temptation at the most crucial moments, ie when someone offers me food that I can’t eat. During “normal” times, I hardly have any cravings for carb-related foods anymore, so willpower isn’t required for most of the time. So yes, I’ll be saving my willpower for when I need it most: when chips/ramen/beer is shoved under my nose.
I’ve gotten even more comments that I’ve lost weight from other people this week, which is super encouraging. Onward to the next 2.5kg!
Monday, 16 September 2013
Weight: 67.0kg, Waist: 32.0 inches
I’ll make this quick because it’s waaaayyy past my bedtime and I need to get up early for a work trip to Malaysia tomorrow. But essentially I’m right on track with my 0.5kg/week weight loss rate, and I’m down to the last 2 kg to lose. The LifeTest doesn’t even seem like much of a challenge at this point, except of course when I’m faced with the temptation of snacks. Being past the halfway mark definitely helps to boost my motivation though.
I suspect the real test will come this week – I’ll be spending 4 days in an offsite resort for a work-related course. Put a bunch of executives together with a ridiculously difficult thinking exercise, and chances are everyone’s gonna gun for the snack table. It’ll be up to me to stick with the no-carb, exercise twice a week routine, so let’s see how it goes 🙂
Monday, 23 September 2013
Weight: 67.5kg, Waist: 31.7 inches
It was a breakthrough this week, but in the wrong direction – I gained 0.5kg! Hahaha not sure why, but I’m not too concerned. I suppose it’s pretty normal to expect fluctuations of this sort, so I’m just going to see how it goes next week. People have continued to tell me that my diet is working and that I’ve lost weight, so that’s still been encouraging.
A plus side of being lighter: I’ve managed to get a Silver in my IPPT last Saturday! I hit As for all stations, including pull-ups which have traditionally been a tough area for me. Only got a Silver because I’m a Commando by vocation, so I have to run a ridiculous 9.29 for my 2.4km in order to get a Gold. For now, seeing a straight A record on my results slip is satisfaction enough for me 🙂
Monday, 30 September 2013
Weight: 67.0kg, Waist: 31.5 inches
Back down to 67kg again this week – which means that I’ve pretty much plateau-ed for the past 2 weeks. Though I was a little disappointed that my weight didn’t go down further this week, I’ll still have to persevere. However, in terms of waist length, I’m the slimmest that I’ve ever been at 31.5 inches.
Last week, I wore my vintage Coca-Cola T-shirt that I literally have not worn since college. It feels pretty damn awesome that I can now wear T-shirts without worrying about my tummy protruding out. I’m also starting to see the outline of my abs even without flexing – I’m hoping that if I lose another 2kg I’d have some resemblance of a 6-pack. Onward!
Monday, 07 October 2013
Didn’t get to weigh myself this week. I usually go to my girlfriend’s house to weigh myself on Monday nights (Because I don’t even own a weighing scale!), but we went for a Restaurant Week dinner so I had to skip this week’s weigh session. I’ll be travelling in Cambodia till next Tuesday, so I’ll only be updating the following week.
The diet is off for the trip to Cambodia, because I don’t see a point in ruining my vacation for the sake of a diet. I’ll pick it up again when I get back!
Still, I think it’s been successful by all accounts so far, except for the fact that I haven’t hit 65kg yet. Other than that, pretty much everyone I meet has told me that I’ve lost weight. My pants are now way too loose for my waist. It’s gotten to a point where I’m afraid that it might be too successful! I’ll check back again after my Cambodia trip to take stock, and decide what to do with this diet from there.
Till then, stay healthy!
Monday, 21 October 2013
Weight: 67.0kg, Waist: 31.5 inches
Back from Cambodia and I was the exact same weight since I left off! This was despite the crazy amount of carbs I ate during my vacation: delicious fried rice, soupy noodles, crackers, etc etc. Amazing – I couldn’t believe it when I weighed myself for the first time coming back. I’m a lot more encouraged to continue this challenge, so onward! 🙂
Monday, 28 October 2013
Weight: 66.0kg, Waist: 31 inches
Boom! Dropped a whole kilo this past week. My waist is also the smallest that it’s ever been, which is kinda scary actually. I only have 1kg left to go, so I’ve made a commitment to press on until I’ve hit 65kg. I don’t know how long it’ll take – it might take 2-4 weeks – but I’m so close to the goal that I simply can’t give up now. The truth is, I’m getting a little tired of the diet. Strictly eating slow-carbs for every single meal isn’t tough, but it’s boring. I can essentially only eat a couple of types of food, and my body is craving variety. The other reason why I feel like I’m more or less done is because I’ve reached my goal, appearance-wise. Virtually everyone I’ve met says I’ve lost weight and look at me disbelievingly when I tell them I’m STILL on a diet hahaah. Still, a goal’s a goal, and I’m going to press on till I hit 65kg.
Monday, 04 November 2013
Weight: 65.0kg, Waist: 31 inches
I’ve done it!!! A final burst in the last week, and I’ve finally managed to hit my stated goal of 65 kilos! I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am with the result. To be honest, I was getting a little sick of eating the same foods over and over, and I was tempted to quit more than once, especially since pretty much everyone I meet has been remarking that I’ve lost weight. (Meaning that I’ve already met my goal of becoming slimmer, at least from a superficial point of view). Still, I committed to a goal and I was pretty much determined to hit it, no matter how long it took. I’m pretty glad I stuck to it, because feeling this way is awesome.
Being lighter has some pretty cool benefits. I feel less lethargic, more confident, and (dare I say it) more attractive. I can wear tight-fitting tees without worrying about sucking in the tummy. I can do more pull-ups and run faster without any training. However, the diet might have gone a little too well, when I realized that my clothes were getting too baggy for me. Still, all things considered, being lighter is a lot better than being my former pudgy self.
I’m not sure where I’ll go from here. I’ll probably be slowly transitioning into a less extreme version of the diet, starting off with cutting away stuff that I can do without on weekdays without any pain (eg sweetened drinks, roti prata, chips and crackers) and leaving those for the cheat day. jia mian / jia fan is also definitely out of the question, though I might allow myself a number of meals with carbs per week (undecided yet). I could probably afford to gain some weight so my clothes aren’t so loose-fitting anymore, though I’ll have to make sure not to yo-yo back to my old state. As for tonight, I allowed myself a celebratory tasty pi dan zhou and ice Milo to celebrate hitting the goal in my longest LifeTest yet.
Let’s raise a glass to meeting many more future goals 🙂
Check out the results of the LifeTest here.