Weight Loss

September 27, 2011

This has been one of the top 3 topics in my life (others being relationship & wealth) for the past 15 years.

I haven’t achieved success yet but feel like I’m finally getting closer to the truth on how to achieve this.

I currently follow the slow carb diet as prescribed in the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. It’s similar to the Atkins except that you add legumes and have one cheat day per week.

I also try to combine what I learned from the Belly Fat Cure: The magic formula is 15g Sugar & 120g Net Carbs a day or less.

The Diet Premise:

1. Fat doesn’t cause fat, carbs cause fat gain by spiking insulin > causing body to store calories as fat.

2. Calories in, calories out method is incorrect. There are many ways your body treats calories. Your body can store it as fuel/fat, it can go thru your body unabsorbed as waste, or calories are expended thru thermogenics (eg: if you swim in cold water, you body is using much more fuel to keep your body warm than the calories in calories out model).

The example given in book is Michael Phelps who eats 7000+ calories a day but doesn’t gain weight (the amount of exercise he does doesn’t account for the remaining excess calories. It’s because he’s in water so long that body needs all those calories to keep body warm).

3. Plan one cheat day a week because on all diets, you will cheat. So instead of obliterating your diet and psyche with accidental binges, plan a cheat day – for your sanity. Also spiking calories once a week aids in fat loss (according to Ferriss).

4. There are hacks you can do to increase fat loss (cold therapy, timed exercises, and certain supplements).

Fat Loss Motivation:

Any diet won’t work unless you’re fully motivated and committed. So you have to get psych yourself up to kick start the fire within and maintain momentum.

If you’ve been eating a lot of junk, have low energy and generally feel like a lazy sloth watching late night infomercials and feeling pity for yourself (like I have many many times) – you need something to kick start your motivation to start the diet.

You’re probably feeling lost, apathetic and like a loser from past diet failures.

The best way I’ve gotten out of this mental funk is to get pumped by watching something inspiring about weight loss.

My best tools:

1. Watch Fat Head the documentary on Netflix

Here’s a short clip

2. Sugar The Bitter Truth:

3. Super Size Me on Netflix

4. Fat Sick & Nearly Dead on Netflix

5. Read before and after stories on forums. Try to find stories of people similar to you so that you can believe success is possible for you!

How I do the diet:

1. Up to 30g protein within 30 mins of waking up for breakfast. Since I don’t like to cook, I drink Myoplex Carb Control Shakes (25g protein, 3g Net Carbs, 1g Sugar). This is the most important rule in the diet and one I have trouble following if I run out of my shakes.

2. Avoid White Carbs (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fried foods, etc).

3. Don’t drink calories (juice, regular soda, beer etc). Max of 2 diet coke cans per day. 2 glasses of red wine is also allowed but I don’t drink it – resveratrol in red wine aids fat loss.

4. Don’t eat fruit (fructose spikes blood sugar > leads to high insulin > leads to fat storage).

5. Cheat day once a week – eat & drink whatever I want as much as I want. And I really do go all out. A cheat day as described by Tim Ferriss is one wake cycle (the moment you wake up til you fall asleep at night).

Other people do from 12am – 11:59pm (which is what I do since I’m usually pumped for the cheat day, I can’t wait to get started.)

I don’t think it really matters which method you use as long as it’s consistent and doesn’t cross into two or more days of cheating. If you accidentally do too many days of cheating – no big deal – don’t blame yourself – start over. This is not a sprint but rather a marathon anyways.

I usually eat tons of candy bars (reese’s cups, twix, white chocolate bars), some type of rice meal (chinese, indian, thai, middle-eastern), frozen pizza, tons of dessert (cake, cupcakes, cookies or cheesecake), regular soda & drinks, coffee with cream & regular sugar, etc.

5. Avoid dairy: I guess lactose spikes insulin response and is best avoided (milk, cheese, yogurt etc). I think cottage cheese and actual cream are allowed in moderation but I don’t mess with that since I have no craving.

6. Up to 30g Fiber a day: This is something I try to do on my own since I don’t like eating vegetables as much. I do this by taking Psyllium supplements.

I rarely end up with 30g a day nor do I remember to take it everyday – but I shoot for at least 2-3 servings a day (12g – 18g fiber).

Fiber fills you up and is good for high protein diets to prevent constipation.

7. Drink at least 3L of water a day: this is more of a goal which I don’t really meet but try to. I get up to 2L regularly.

8. Take supplements to give body the nutrition it’s not getting. My theory is that if you flood the body with good nutrition, it will naturally reduce hunger and cravings.

A lot of the cravings we have for salt and sweets is probably the body’s way of making us eat to try and get the nutrition the body is lacking – but we end up eating junk – so the body keeps sending signals to eat more.

I came to this conclusion after reading about the subject from a lot of different health blogs (Dr. Mercola and Dr. Schulze).

Typical Meals:

1. Breakfast: Protein shake or microwave boiled organic/veg fed eggs using this.

2. Lunch/Dinner: Chinese or Thai (mongolian beef, cashew chicken, etc without rice). Chipotle salad with meat, fajita vegetables, black beans, green salsa (has lowest carbs), sour cream (i make an exception), and guacamole.

Sometimes Indian food if the craving hits: chicken 65 (it has some carbs but at least I’m not eating the rice or naan).

Othertimes if I’m really craving food, I’ll eat a couple of Wendy’s spicy chicken fillets (plain, without bun), spicy chicken nuggets and a side salad with avocado dressing (lowest carbs).

Anything from Denny’s with all the carbs (bread/hash) substituted with broccoli and sausage links.

KFC grilled chicken with green beans. Avoid baked beans – has tons of sugar.

Most times I make sausage, ground beef or chorizo at home and mix with organic black beans. Sometimes I’ll add frozen broccoli to the mix.

I eat as much as I want until I feel full. This diet is super easy since most places have meat and some type of vegetable.

One warning about beans: The cheapest beans that you find in the grocery stores that sell for 99 cents or less have tons of sugar added to them!

I learned the hard way by buying tons of generic beans that were on sale and ate them for a week until I looked at the label: 12g of sugar per can! Are you serious bro?! In comparison, the organic ones have 0g sugar per can.

3: Snacks: None. I don’t really feel hungry. In the rare case I do, I drink a shake or make some boiled eggs.

Hacks to increase fat loss (via Ferriss):

1. Add saigon cinnamon to coffee. This type of cinnamon stops blood sugar from spiking. Don’t go over 1.5tsp per day – bad for your health.

2. Ice packs applied to back/upper neck and upper chest for 30mins daily. You can also do ice baths if you’re adventurous (I am not, yet).

My Results:

Update 3.25.2012 – I’ve tried the Four Hour Body (slow carb diet) on three different occasions with minimal to no results. The last time I tried – it lasted for 16 weeks – where I fully followed Tim Ferris’ methods as close to 100% as possible but maybe lost 5lbs in the first couple weeks – then nothing.

It’s either: a) the diet doesn’t work for everyone b) i was doing it wrong c) my body is too far gone for the diet to have any effect.

My new process will be to drink massive amounts of home-made organic green shakes & juices to flood the body with nutrients. Starting that this month or April.

Resources & References:

1. http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/

2. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-belly-fat-cure

3. Slow Carb Diet Reference – you can type in a food item and it’ll tell you if it’s allowed or not.

4. 4 Hour People – Forum for people following the diet – not associated with Tim Ferriss.

5. Good Calories Bad Calories – disputes the conventional calories in calories out model for weight loss. Good read. Apparently there were tests done on rats where on ones that were predisposed to get fat – if they gave them a really low calorie diet – they still saved most of the calories into fat cells even if it meant starving the rest of the organs.

Fat people’s body use calories differently than healthier people – mainly due to insulin response.

Additional theory is that you don’t get fat because you’re eating too much, you’re eating too much because you’re getting fat. The reason you are feeling hunger, cravings etc is because your body is not using the calories it is getting for energy but rather storing it as fat.

6. http://nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/04/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/

7. The Hacker’s Diet: This is a calories in calories out model but I found it inspirational and have tried it in the past with some success.

8. The Chipotle Diet: Learned about this from Four Hour Body – a guy who uses slow carb meals from Chipotle to lose weight. A new chipotle recently opened right by my house and I’ve been eating there frequently. Tastes great and very slow carb friendly.