Tim Ferriss and the “Slow Carb” Diet

You guys. Transitioning from Whole 30 to the Slow Carb Diet and trying to do the Whole 30 reintroduction has been super hard! My meal planning game for the two weeks of transition time has been pretty thrown, so I’m considering this week another ”intro” style week and will begin being more strict about TFSC next week and the following six weeks.

So… Who is Tim Ferris?

I discovered Tim when I first heard about the book “The Four-Hour Workweek” a few years ago. Let’s be honest, though, Tim does not and never has worked as little as four hours per week in his life. The man is constantly working, actually. On his website, it says “experiments in lifestyle design”. Over the last three years, I have read Tim’s books, listened to his podcast (The Tim Ferriss Show), and followed him on Instagram. After writing T4HWW, he penned “The 4 Hour Body” and “The 4 Hour Chef”. The last of which is kind of laughable because if you follow Tim at all, you know he has some weird eating habits and dines out A LOT. 

The 4 Hour books epitomize Tim’s “bro” phase, in my mind. The 4 Hour Body is incredulously subtitled “An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman”. Woah, Tim, that’s a lot of promises in one sentence. Tim is a nerdy bro, though, and he geeks out on doing lifestyle experiments on himself and getting into nitty gritty data and details. Having evolved past The 4 Hour books, Tim has two other books (Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors) in which he highlights information and habits gleaned from interviews with super successful and influential people. Tim is a great interviewer, and has only gotten better over time. Several years ago, he interrupted his guests frequently and did a lot of talking. I remember getting frustrated at him during the Mark Bittman podcast. However, his style has changed, he asks better questions, and he listens more to allow the guest time to talk. If it weren’t for Tim’s podcast, I never would have heard of Phil Keoghan or Neil Gaiman, and I really enjoyed his interviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Pollan, Tony Robbins, and Jocko Willink to name a few.

So… What is the “Slow Carb” diet?

Basically a diet made up of things that worked for Tim, supposedly with scientific backing. I have not looked into his resources or researched any of his claims, and I plan to use the next several weeks to do so. 

Here are the main tenants of the Slow Card Diet:

  1. Avoid “white” carbs (or that could be white)
  2. Eat the same few meals over and over again
  3. Don’t drink calories 
  4. No fruit
  5. Take one day off per week and go nuts

Here are some other tips that he suggests:

  • Eat 30g protein within an hour of waking
  • “within 30min of waking is even better”
  • Proteins – eggs, chicken, beef, pork, fish
  • Legumes – lentils, black beans, pinto beans
  • Vegetables – spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, kimchi
  • Space meals approximately four hours apart
  • Take and post monthly pictures for progress and accountability 
  • TAKE A CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT
    • At least Tim suggests this, which Whole30 didn’t! 
    • He also suggests magnesium and potassium supplements

Caveats and/or other suggestions:

  • Avoid “white” carbs
    • Heavy cream – a couple tbsp in your coffee is ok
    • Cottage cheese is ok- because the casein content makes it slow digesting and it’s good for muscles
    • Within 90 minutes of a workout with at least 20min resistance training, you may have grains / potatoes
  • Eat the same things over and over:
    • because you’ll overexert yourself trying to be creative every day… keep it simple, keep it easy
  • No drinking your calories, except:
    • two glasses of wine, preferably red, are allowed per day
      • no Riesling, white zinfandel (barf), or Champagne
    • no fruit juice except on cheat day, when it is encouraged
    • heavy cream in your coffee is fine for some reason
  • No Fruit:
    • Wondering if fruit would be ok within 90 minutes of a workout with at least 20min resistance training, like white carbs… I may reach out to Tim directly, since I can’t seem to find “post-workout meals / slow carb diet” answers on the internet
  • Take one day off and go nuts:
    • Tim has a section called “The Lost Art of Bingeing”, in which he suggests the following to
      • 1 – Minimize the release of insulin
        • The first meal should be a non-binge meal, include ~30g protein and insoluble fiber 
        • Consume a small quantity of grapefruit juice before the second meal
        • Use supplements sure as AGG/PAGG to increase insulin sensitivity 
        • Consume citric juices in water, on food, and/or kombucha, through the day
      • 2 – increase the speed of gastric emptying (how fast food exits the stomach)
        • drink caffeine, is his suggestion
      • 3 – engage in brief muscular contraction throughout the binge
        • Tim tells us that he does air squats and wall presses in restaurant bathrooms
    • Tim claims that we should aim for as many calories as you can get on a binge day, because our bodies need a caloric spike day to keep the metabolism confused
      • “Dramatically spiking calorie intake in this way once per week increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate doesn’t downshift from extended caloric restriction”

Common mistakes Tim warns of:

  • Not eating within one hour of waking
  • Not eating enough protein
  • Not drinking enough water
    • “Make a special effort to drink more water on your cheat day, as the carb overload will pull water to your digestive tract and muscle glycogen. If you don’t get enough water, headaches will be the result.”
  • Believing that you’ll cook, especially if you’re a bachelor 
  • (See what I told you about The 4 Hour Chef? 😛 )
  • Weighing too close to your period (women)
    • Women tend to retain water before their periods, so
    • “Ignore scale readings the 10 days before menstruation”
  • Overeating “domino foods” like nuts, chickpeas, hummus
  • Overconsuming artificial, or “all natural” sweeteners
  • Hitting the gym too often

That said, lets review my current stats! 

1/6/2019 2/3/2019 3/1/2019 4/1/2019 5/1/2019
weight 146lb 145lb 143lb 142lb 139lb
Chest 33.5″ 33″ 32.5″ 32.5″ 32″
Waist 26″ 26″ 25.5″ 25.5″ 25″
Hips 37″ 37″ 36.5”  36″ 36″

I did lose a little weight on Whole30, and I physically felt good especially the last couple weeks as I got enough carbs to keep me from dipping into hypoglycemia during workouts. 

Starting the Slow Carb diet, this is what I look like:

Last week recap

Ended Whole30 successfully! Transitioning and the weekend were kinda challenging

I had no side effects with reintroducing lentils/legumes or dairy, that I could tell! I am reintroducing gluten today by having a burger with a bun for dinner tonight, and a beer. Though I did have a couple beers on Saturday.

Sunday I had oatmeal from the freezer, dairy (cotija cheese, a little sour cream), corn (cobs, tortilla chips), sugar (cake, margarita mix), margaritas (alcohol), etc. So non-gluten grains but also some other stuff, haha. Monday I felt bloated and nauseous, I’m guessing it was mixing all that stuff plus the margaritas. I will continue to monitor my body for signs of GI distress.

This week’s meal plan:

I made a breakfast casserole again this week, this time cutting it into six slices instead of eight to get roughly two eggs and 2.5oz sausage in each slice. For after-workouts, I’m having my old go-to smoothie with spinach, a banana, whey protein, and soymilk. This is a treat for me this week and I will forgo smoothies for the next seven weeks of the Slow Carb diet.  Other than that, I have a conglomeration of things from Hungry Harvest and my freezer that I am throwing together for meals. Obviously off my game this week as I didn’t take any photos of pre/during/post meal prep, and I used no recipes this week!

Next week: I’ll be doing the TFSC diet more to a T, eating four meals per day with 25-30g protein each. I’ll show a breakdown of my meal prep with macros and a calorie count. Calorie counting is not needed in the Slow Carb diet, but I find it interesting and that’s sort of the Tim in me coming out. Tim says he did this once, then if you just eat the same things over and over, the math doesn’t change so you don’t have to think about it again.

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