Does the Four Hour Body Slow Carb diet work? I lost 65lbs in 7 months

I lost 65lbs from August to the end of February doing the Slow Carb diet from the Four Hour Body. Even lost weight during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas despite eating anything I wanted on those two days. About a year before starting this diet, I started Aktins and lost about 45lbs over 5-6 months. Then over the next 4-5 months, I picked up 10 of those back. Going SO long without carbs on Atkins made it difficult for me to make it a sustainable lifestyle change. The Slow Carb diet, however, IS one that I can see as a sustainable change.
I’m not interested on debating the validity of this dietary approach.  I’m just passing along what I did. Hopefully someone finds this information useful. If you have any questions, just post a comment.
Don’t try to mix this with other diets you’ve heard/read about. There are 100’s of opinions out there on the best way to lose weight. Pick one and do it. Don’t create your own combination of 5-6 approaches. This is not a diet where you count points or calories. You also don’t do a lot measuring portion sizes. Don’t make it more complicated than it is. It really is THAT simple.

Step 1: Read the first chapter of the book for free

 

Read the first chapter free online to get a feel for the writing style and the basic beliefs of the author. You should find it to be a quick, easy read.

 

Step 2: Read these blog posts that summarizes the diet, and decide if you are on board.

 

This article covers the basics of the diet. Read it and make sure you want to do it before spending money on the book : http://gizmodo.com/5709913/4+hour-body-+-the-slow+carb-diet

List of foods allowed/disallowed (excluding cheat day):  http://4hourpeople.com/question/369/slow-carb-foods-allowed-not-allowed

Step 3: Now that you’re IN, Buy the book and Read these chapters on Subtracting Fat:

 

Obviously, I’m encouraging you to buy the book. It’s less than $20 and there’s a ton of information in it. It helped me out, so I’m asking you to support the author now that you’ve read a little.

Book: The Four Hour Body (Book on Amazon | Amazon Kindle Edition). I bought the Kindle version and it’s come in handy that I’ve had it on my phone whenever I was at the store trying to buy something and needed to review the rules. The printed book is a BEAST …. but keep in mind that this is NOT a read cover to cover type of book. You just read the intro chapters and then read whatever topics interest you.

The chapters are short and the writing style is engaging which makes it a quick read. If you want a physical book, just about any book store should carry it.

Chapters to read to get started on Slow Carb Diet
  • The Slow- Carb Diet I: How to Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercise
  • The Slow-Carb Diet II: The Finer Points and Common Questions
  • Damage Control: Preventing Fat Gain When You Binge
  • The Four Horsemen of Fat-Loss

It would be best is you also read the introductory chapters that precede the Subtracting fat section. I also read the chapter on Building the Perfect Posterior (or Losing 100+ Pounds) — which is where my kettlebell workout came from. I haven’t done anything with the cold bath stuff or any of the other advanced topics. I also only eat 3 times a day.

Step 4: Choose a cheat day … and pick a day to start (should be at least 5 days before your 1st cheat day)

 

Saturday is my standard cheat day. I make adjustments when necessary though (Thanksgiving and Christmas day were my cheat days on those weeks, for example). Remember that it IS important that you eat a lot of calories on this day. The main purpose of this day is to prevent your body metabolism from switching to a low-calorie burn mode. Cheat day is a good mind trick too though. A couple of weeks ago, I fantasized about an Italian Feast that I planned to eat on Saturday night ALL WEEK.

Cheat days are no hold barred, but the author does have some cheat day strategies in the Damage Control chapter. I usually end up drinking a couple of small cans of grapefruit juice before high-carb meals on cheat days. REAL grapefruit juice was hard to find in cans, so I ordered this pack of 24 from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZI7I36/ref=oh_o02_s00_i00_details. I’ve even brought a couple of cans with me on trips.

Step 5: Measure Yourself before you start

 

Now I didn’t do this, but I wish I had. My first month, I only lost 7-8 lbs … but my body shape changed a lot. Net effect I was packing on a lot of muscle at the same time as I was losing fat. I could see big differences in how my clothes fit, but I couldn’t quantify the results because the only thing I was tracking was weight. Now the 2nd month, I lost like 25 or so …. despite still adding muscle.
Get a measuring tape (the kind that tailors use) and measure before you start and at least every couple of weeks. This article tells you how to measure: http://www.4hourlife.com/2011/04/09/4-hour-body-composition-body-fat-calculator-how-do-you-measure-up/

 

Step 6: Get started

Now you don’t HAVE to go through all of the previous steps before starting. But, at least read the first two chapters of the subtracting fat section of the book.

Step 7: Get your PAGG Stack supplements (optional)

 

This article covers the PAGG stack that the book discusses in the “Four Horsemen of Fat Loss” chapter. This is optional, but recommened — especially if you won’t be working-out much: http://www.fourhourbodycouple.com/2011/02/02/what-is-the-pagg-stack/
Don’t let not having these hold up starting the diet. They do sell All-In-One pills, but those run about $50/month.Here’s what I use:

Here is my PAGG Stack

 

  • Policosanol — I couldn’t find locally, so I order from Amazon — click to see product (90 caps, so 1 bottle lasts 3 months)
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid – HEB — they also sell these at walmart, but the mg per pill are lower and the price is higher
  • Garlic comes from Walmart — I think I got these because it’s a good product at low price. $5, I think.
  • Green Tea Extract — can’t remember why I go with the HEB one.

More tips

  • Alcohol is limited to up to 2 glass of dry wine (low sugar) a day. No other alcohol allowed, except for your cheat day — on which there are no rules or restrictions.
  • Do like the author says and keep your meals simple. Establish a rotation of 4-5 meals and stick with those. If you’re someone who doesn’t cook often, don’t run out to the store, buy up a ton of groceries, and tell yourself you’re going to start cooking everyday.
  • For breakfast, the most important thing is to eat with 1 hour (preferably 30 mins) of waking up. I tried to keep it simple and have something that didn’t need cooking or prep time. So, I drink one of these just about every day: http://www.amazon.com/AdvantEDGE-Control-Strawberry-Cream-Carton/dp/B000UVCIHW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331002714&sr=8-1
  • I often will also grab a few slices of sandwich meat (usually turkey or ham) to push the grams of protein up to 25-30.

Here are some common things that I would eat from restaurants:

  • Chipotle – Salad with no dressing (lettuce, black beans, sautéed onions and peppers, chicken or carnitas, pico, hot sauce, corn, and either Guacamole or double meat)
  • Salad from a sandwich shop with either balsamic vinaigrette or just oil and vinegar.
  • A BBQ spot … brisket or ribs with little to no sauce. Side of beans.
  • Mexican restaurant — Taco Salad (no shell) with double ground beef, beans, pico, jalapeños, and a little salsa for dressing
  • American restaurants – Grilled pork chops (with no glaze) or steak, beans and veggies

Common things that I cooked (usually with salad, steamed broccoli, green beans) :

  • Pot roast with no potatoes
  • Chili
  • Ribeye steak on grill or broiled on stove/oven

Comments

  1. Awesome help

  2. Cool stuff. Thanks for sharing. I began my slow (low) carb diet almost 5 weeks ago. I’m down about 12 pounds, but really found most of my weight coming off the first couple of weeks. What I’m really interested in, because I seem to be plateauing, is that you lost so much in your second month! Thanks, I’m not at all discouraged with my plateauing, because ( and I’m working out regularly lifting and running) my body is definitely changing (for the better), and pants I couldn’t fit in a couple of months ago, are slipping on easily. Your article is definitely inspiring me, and I’m hoping I’ll see like results as I’m going into my second month.

  3. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share your results! I do appreciate you!

  4. Aaron Terry says:

    Steve, it’s been a long time since your post. How did things work out for you?

  5. Yes I wanted to ask … how big should my portions be??

  6. Hey Aaron, I just noticed that the EAS product you endorse has soy in it. Technically this is not allowed on SCD. Or am I mistaken?

  7. Aaron Terry says:

    Andy,

    You know … I didn’t check the soy content on those shakes. I was focused more on a quick breakfast that I could drink within minutes of waking that had virtually no impact on blood sugar (2 net carbs).

    So, Soy is not allowed … but I drank these shakes virtually every morning and it didn’t hinder my results. Tim Ferris encourages people to do their own experimentation, so I’ll chalk this deviation up to that. :)

  8. Jerry Peter says:

    Thank you so much. Good info

  9. Hi Aaron, great post here! I’m just starting my Slow Carb journey… day 1! Wondering if you have found the lifestyle sustainable or if you’ve been able to maintain at your preferred weight?

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