You’ve likely heard of the low-carb diet, but what about the Slow-Carb Diet? The two are relatively similar. Both diets involve more focus on lean meats and fiber-filled foods. The differences are in the types of meals you’ll eat throughout the week. For some, the Slow-Carb Diet can seem boring, but it really depends on the focus you put on your meals and your life.
Before jumping into this diet, it’s important to understand as much as possible about it. You’ll also need to determine what you want out of your eating plan, as well as discussing your dieting options with your doctor.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Slow-Carb Diet. Not only will I go through all it entails, but also give you some ideas for meals throughout the week to make the most of the lifestyle choice.
What Is the Slow-Carb Diet?
The Slow-Carb Diet is a registered trademark. It was based on The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, who details his steps to get a lean and healthy diet.
Not only is the diet good for helping you lose weight, but you’ll also improve your overall health. The diet helps to avoid the foods that encourage the storage of fat. Your metabolism gets a boost, so you start burning more calories throughout the day. You’ll burn more fat and use energy more effectively throughout the day.
The great thing about the diet is that there’s a day known as the “cheat day.” Once a week, you get to binge on “cheat” foods that will help make your diet more realistic and make it possible to lose more fat.
Yes, it is a successful diet. However, you will need to put the effort in. This is also one of those diets that you’ll want to stick to as much as possible for the long term, or at least make some changes to follow the diet for the long term. It requires some major changes to your diet, especially if you eat a lot of potatoes, pasta, bread, and sugars.
One way that people have found success is by finding support. You’ll want a friend or family member to join you with the diet. Whether they track their progress and have the same goals is up to the two of you. Sometimes just having someone to hold you accountable is important.
The Slow-Carb Diet is also not just about the food you eat. There is an exercise program involved. This is a necessary step if you want a lean and fully-metabolized body.
Slow-Carb Diet Approved Foods
Of course, when it comes to any diet, one of the first things anyone wants to know is the allowed and banned foods. Just how much will you change your lifestyle and your diet?
The basic rules are:
Avoid all white foods. These include potatoes, pasta, bread, and other refined products. You want to cut out as many simple carbs as possible. You’ll also want to cut out cheese and rice. While they may be viewed as healthy options in some cultures, they’re not good for your metabolism overall.
You can eat beans, vegetables, and lean meat. Fruit is banned due to the natural sugars. Yes, even natural sugars need to be avoided for this diet. The only fruits that are allowed are avocados and tomatoes, but they need to be eaten in moderation.
Stick to the same meals each day. This is the part that many people find hard. You need to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch throughout the week. The only meal you can really change is your dinner, but even that should be focused on the same food groups and ingredients each day.
There is a cheat day. This is when you can eat anything that you have banned, making it much easier to stick to such a restrictive and somewhat boring diet for six days of the week.
Avoid drinking your calories. It’s very easy to consume extra calories through the drinks you consume throughout the day. Water is the best thing to drink, although you can have a little tea or coffee. You can also have 1-2 glasses of red wine throughout the week. Red wine is the best option out of all alcohol for all the antioxidants, but that needs to be in moderation.
Choose when you want to take your cheat days. You should have one cheat day a week and this needs to be on the same day each week. Tim Ferriss recommends Saturdays, but this is due to social calendars. If your social day is a Sunday or a Friday, you can opt for one of these days instead.
Try not to switch your cheat days. Every now and then shouldn’t be a problem, but constantly switching your cheat day will get your body out of sync for the sake of the diet.
Eat as much as you like of the approved foods: When it comes to the approved foods, you can eat as many of them as you like. These foods will all be high in protein and fiber, but low in fats. The list includes:
- Egg whites (yolks in moderation)
- Chicken thigh/breast
- Grass-fed (preferable) beed
- Black, red, soy, and pinto beans
- Mixed vegetables (including frozen)
- Green Beans
- Sauerkraut and kimchee
Nuts are good for reducing your hunger levels, but they can be high in fat. Even healthy fats need to be consumed in moderation. Other vegetables should also be eaten in moderation throughout the week. The benefit of the ingredients above is that they’re extremely low in calories while keeping you feeling full for longer.
Listen to your body when you do consume them. Your mind may tell you that you can eat the foods since they’re approved for the diet, but your body isn’t necessarily going to need them. It’s still possible to consume extra calories than you really need.
Make sure you drink anything with zero calories. Avoid too many diet sodas. While they may be zero calories, they can disrupt your hormones. You only need one drink a day. You can drink caffeine but drink in moderation. The best option really is water. You can flavor your water with your vegetables or with some lemon slices
Managing the Diet When Eating Out and Travelling
Many people find socializing the hardest when following the Slow-Carb Diet. You need to find a strategy to work with you so you don’t get tired of the diet or have to skip extra days. The aim is to stick with the diet as much as possible.
When eating out, the best thing to do is look for the typical diet-friendly dishes. Burrito salad bowls are excellent options. You can also have other salads without the croutons and cheese and dressings. Beef burgers are perfectly fine, but you’ll need to skip the fries and the burger buns. Opt for vegetables and bean side dishes instead.
If you want curries, you can usually find some suitable options. You’ll want to skip the rice side dishes. You can usually ask for the dishes to come without the rice and even ask for vegetables on the side instead.
As you get used to the diet and the foods that are allowed, you’ll find restaurants close by that are best for your diet plan. From there, you can arrange for trips to these restaurants on your diet days. On your cheat days, you have the opportunity to eat out anywhere you want.
When it comes to eating out, many people opt for sticking to just once a week. They opt for the restaurant visits on their cheat days so they don’t have to worry about what they’re going to eat.
If you’re traveling, you can plan ahead. Opt for boxing up some tuna pouches, bean salads or even just some protein powder made up with some fruits. You can also enjoy nut butter. If you need to buy while you’re out, look for the tuna in pouches and cans that you can eat on the go. Not only will you stick to the diet, but you will also have easier portion sizes to control.
Make sure your cupboards are stocked up for the days that you’re in a rush. Have plenty of cans of tuna, stock up on eggs, and don’t forget about protein powders and tins of beans. You’ll be surprised at how easy these quick ingredients are to turn into full meals.
It’s also worth having a few go-to dishes when it comes to managing the Slow-Carb Diet.
Tips to Avoid Going Hungry
You should never feel hungry when on the Slow-Carb Diet. There’s absolutely no need to feel that way since you can eat as much as you want of the approved foods. Never cut the calories. This isn’t a calorie-focused diet at all, which makes it much easier to stick to for the long term.
The focus should be on eating until you’re full. If you’re still hungry, there’s nothing wrong with getting a second helping. Do give yourself a few minutes to see if you’re still hungry or the message hasn’t reached your brain yet, but don’t be afraid to eat if you’re still feeling the hunger.
Your body uses calories from proteins and fibers differently to the way it uses the calories from the carbs. While the carbs (including starchy ones) can encourage the metabolism to store some of the fat, the other nutrients encourage your metabolism to take all available calories. You’ll use more calories from the stored fat, rather than the metabolism slowing down.
It is important to get the right foods though. Protein is essential. This will help to build the muscle, as well as encouraging the body to burn more calories throughout the day. You’ll want to get at least 30g of protein for your breakfast and then 20g at each other meal during the day. The protein will help you feel full quickly, managing the calorie intake without you even thinking about it.
You’ll also want to control the speed that you eat. Many people end up eating quickly, often because they’re in a rush at work or because they’re distracted. Don’t watch TV while you eat. Encourage conversation at the dinner table, meaning you have to take longer between bites and chew your dishes. You’ll give your body time to tell your brain when you’re full, helping to manage your portion sizes naturally.
If you’re full, don’t force yourself to finish a meal. Remember you’re only eating until you’re full! When there are certain foods you overindulge in, reduce the amount you stock up on in the house. This will help to get rid of the temptation.
Don’t Exercise Just to Lose Weight
You need to add more exercise to the Slow-Carb Diet, but it’s not all about exercising to lose weight. You’d need to run three miles every day to be able to burn off your meals. The aim is to improve your flexibility and movement. It’s all about giving your body the activity it needs to remain healthy and supple.
This often means just getting a few extra steps into your day. Instead of parking as close to the grocery store door as possible, park at the far end of the parking lot. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. It’s also possible to walk to the store instead of taking the car for a five-minute drive. At work, you can walk to the printer every time you print something off, instead of stocking up all your printing for the one trip.
Desk exercises are good if you have a desk job. Every hour, you can do 5-10 minutes of desk exercise.
You’ll Need Minimal Supplements
If you get a varied diet throughout the day, you shouldn’t need a lot of supplements. You’ll get the majority of the vegetables and protein you eat. However, there are some you’ll need to add in. You’ll reduce the amount of calcium, potassium, and magnesium because of the fruits and other white foods you’re cutting out. One of the foods you’re cutting out is milk, including many alternatives.
Tim Ferriss suggests that you get supplements for the nutrients you’re likely missing. If you’re eating avocados in moderation, you should get enough potassium, but the other two can be tricky.
Talk to your doctor if you’re worried about not getting enough nutrients. Your doctor will suggest the ones you’re likely missing and help suggest diet-friendly supplements to support your health.
Managing Your Cheat Days
Just because you get to eat the banned foods on the cheat days, doesn’t mean you should go crazy. You’ll need to help limit some of the damage and keep your body healthy. This means managing the amount of the cheat foods you do consume.
Start by opting for a Slow-Carb breakfast. Try sticking to the same meal you would usually have to support your digestive system. You can always add a bit of fruit if you would like to add a few banned foods but protect your overall health.
Before getting into your cheat foods, give yourself 30-60 minutes before your breakfast. As you get used to the diet, you’ll find limiting the cheat foods to between lunch and dinner is possible and helps you get your fill.
You can also limit the damage by making yourself feel fuller. Drink more water throughout the day. You’ll fill your stomach and help your body get rid of more of the toxins you put in through your urine. Grapefruit juice can also be a good option on your cheat day. While sugary, it can actually help to lower the insulin spike you experience during the day!
Stick to just one cheat day a week. Many people will start a Friday night and cheat all the way through the weekend. You only need a 24 hour cheat period to make the diet work.
The Slow-Carb Diet is one of those restrictive diets that offers fun days in the week. You can still have a life and manage the maintenance period once you’ve lost weight. This is one of the best diets and there are plenty of people following it on a daily basis throughout the year.