Beginning Slow Carb Dieting

In a bid to lose some excess weight I turn to protein and slow-carbohydrates

One of the books I’m currently reading is The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris. I enjoyed reading The 4 Hour Work Week a few years ago but I’ve only just got round to obtaining the ebook of 4HB, and I’m now about two thirds of the way through this mammoth virtual tome. As stated by the author not all the advice in the book should be blindly adopted, it is recommended as more of a pick’n’mix. I’ve found several areas quite intriguing, worthy of follow up, but the one I’ve immediately decided to try out is the Slow Carb Diet.

I’m not overweight. My body fat has been stable at around 15% for the last couple of years, but following a gluttonous August Bank Holiday weekend I was keen to instantly shed the bit of extra pudding I’d gained, and more besides. Three weeks ago I set myself the target of gaining a six pack stomach by Christmas…obviously to be instantly lost again once the Christmas festivities take their toll on my waistline, but that’s not the point.

So for over two weeks now I’ve been on Slow Carb, and the results have surprised me:

  1. I don’t get mid-morning hunger any more. Before, I’d be clock watching; dying for lunchtime to arrive.
  2. I actually enjoy the food I’m eating. It hasn’t been too much of a sacrifice.
  3. The results are fast, and tangible. 4 pounds lost in 2 weeks.

I’ll admit that I’ve not gone Slow Carb entirely; just breakfast and lunchtime. I wanted to test the feasibility of the foodstuffs for awhile before I embarked on the full 3-meal assault. The way things are going, I might not need to.

When working from home, my previous standard meal routine was as follows:

  • Breakfast: Bowl of bran flakes breakfast cereal.
  • Lunch: Minestrone soup, two slices wholemeal bread.


  • Breakfast: Half tin of chopped tomatoes, mixed with some kind of meat (Thus far: a couple of hot dog sausages, some cured ham, or chicken breast), black pepper, paprika.
  • Red kidney beans, lentils, refried beans, meat (typically the other half of the tin that I opened for breakfast), Thai sweet chilli sauce, black pepper, paprika

My Slow Carb lunch

Initially I was having less meat with my breakfast and accompanying it with a single hard boiled egg, but the troublesome constipation that accompanied it caused me to remove the eggs from the menu.

Today’s lunch was a little different, in that I also threw in some tinned mixed beans, just to see if it added anything. It didn’t really, they’re unnecessary; with the spices thrown in on top the whole dish tastes a little Mexican, despite using a Thai sauce.

Not being much of a foodie I’m fairly easily pleased; it’s fast, it’s nourishing, and it’s actually quite tasty, so I’m very pleased with the new regime I’ve established. As far as I can tell the key to my weight loss has been removing cereal and bread from my diet. I do miss breakfast cereal, that’s the hardest part about this, I adore breakfast cereal, so that is now only eaten on Saturdays.

Hopefully we’ll soon see if there’s a six pack underneath this little roll on my belly.

The Zen of Gala Apples

Because everyone should have a foodstuff to help them think

Leo Babauta likes drinking tea.

I think everyone needs at least one, peaceful, meditative activity. A few brief minutes spent relaxed and content in the moment, without distraction or stress, or even speech. Mr Babauta calls these ‘mindfulness rituals’, which also links in with his thoughts on savouring the moment. I realised what my mindfulness ritual was the other day.

It’s eating an apple.

Gala apple

I’ve only recently gotten into apples. I’ve never been a big fruit eater, except when I was a toddler (there exist several photos of me as a two year old, wielding a massive slice of honeydew melon). I don’t mind the odd banana, but as someone who “eats to live” rather than “lives to eat”, I’ve never really been able to get that excited about any food. This was until a few months ago, when over the course of one week I was given two apples. And now I’ve never looked back; they were delicious, and I immediately incorporated a bag of gala apples into my weekly shop.

Then I discovered the zen of the humble apple.

When I eat an apple I try to stop everything else I’m doing, and concentrate on just eating the apple. Apples take some eating, you can’t just scoff one in 5 seconds, you have to work at it, identifying and rending every morsel of substance away from the core to ensure nothing is wasted. I’ve been eating one as a mid-morning snack, to ward off tortuous hunger pangs. When I am finished both my hunger and my mind are satisfied.

When I eat apples there is nothing else, just the apple and me.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Eat your apple slowly and reverently, don’t get juice on your keyboard, wash your hands afterwards. Seriously don’t get sticky apple juice on your keyboard; it’ll ruin your day.

— Drew Robey

Quitting Liquids

Somehow I developed an addiction to water

I’m quitting liquids today.

Glass of dilute orange. This isn’t wee

Not completely. That would be ridiculous, of course. But I’m fighting an addiction, a weird, curiously humorous addiction: I’m addicted to water.

Apparently it’s more common than you’d think. The mind boosts the feeling of thirst, and you drink more, and more, and more. You don’t think there’s a problem with this. “I’m flushing my kidneys through”, “You can’t be too hydrated – it’s good for the skin”, “Most people don’t drink enough liquid, I’m healthier than most.”

For the last two and a half years I’ve consumed at least eight pints of water per day. And I mean pints; a dash of orange concentrate in a pint glass, filled to the brim with tap water. Like a chain-smoker I finish one and start the next. On top of this there might also be 3 cups of tea, and sometimes the odd glass of milk, plus the liquids I consume with cereals, soups and other foodstuffs. I estimate maybe ten pints of liquid per day. I never really thought anything was wrong. Why would I? I felt fine. I have rosacea, so my skin has a propensity for dryness. I thought I was doing myself a favour.

I read an article in the paper yesterday, about water-addiction. Excessive consumption flushes the electrolytes out of your body, and dilutes sodium levels in your blood stream. It changes your metabolism so your body becomes programmed to process any ingested liquid straight away, as quickly as possible, to get it through and out of your system. I always wondered why I’ve had to apply lip balm before bed every night for the last few years. I always chalked it up to arid, computer-burdened offices, air-conditioning, and the rosacea.

Today, I woke up, and decided to change.

  • Breakfast: bowl of cereal with milk.
  • Morning: two cups of tea.
  • Lunch: bowl of soup, two slices of bread. Single cup of tea.
  • Evening meal: spaghetti bolognese. Glass of orange juice.
  • Evening: Single cup of tea.

From the moment I woke, I’ve felt like an addict on withdrawal. A headache has nagged me all day. Not a crippling, tear-inducing migraine, but a dull, constant weight at the front of my skull above my forehead. My joints feel stiff. I crave water.

However I know this isn’t real thirst. My lips are plump, my mouth moist, my urine clear. My complexion is bizarrely better than usual; the red tinge of the rosacea scarring isn’t as visible as it usually is. I will wait until my body properly registers the thirst, and then I will drink, but not before. I will fight this compulsion. It will take many days for my body to realign itself to its new diet, but it will get there. No damage is done that cannot be undone. I’m tired, all sorts of things hurt, but somehow I actually feel healthier. I’m happy after my first day of quitting liquids.