Month 13: Starting the Slow-Carb Diet

Week 1 vs. Week 56 - front

Week 1 vs. Week 56 – front
[Click image for a larger version.]

Measurement Sept. 1, 2012 Sept. 27, 2013 Change
Weight (pounds) 121.8 138.8 +17.0
Body fat percentage 23.5 26.8 [Aug. 28] +3.3 percentage pts.
Fat weight 28.6 37.2 +8.6
Lean weight 93.2 101.6 +8.4
Total inches 113.6 124.9 +11.3

Exercise Start* Sept. 30, 2013 Change
Kettlebell swing 32 x 20 lbs. 66/9 x 50 lbs. +150.0 percent
Myotatic crunch 6.5 x 2.5 lbs. 11.0 x 20 lbs. +700.0 percent
Single-arm kettlebell swing 25 x 15 lbs. 20/13 x 35 lbs. +133.3 percent
Isolateral dumbbell
incline bench press
2.4/3.0 x 30 lbs. 0.3/1.2 x 40 lbs. +33.3 percent
Yates row 7.0 x 55 lbs. 5.0 x 165 lbs. +200.0 percent
Reverse drag curls 6.0 x 25 lbs. 1.2 x 55 lbs. +120.0 percent

*I started these exercises on different dates.

A little over a week ago, I reset my diet to lose as much fat as possible.

Two days ago, I ate like a pig.

Both steps are part of the master plan.

After a year of working on building muscle and gaining weight through advice in “The 4-Hour Body” [Amazon | iTunes aff. links], I have adjusted my goal. I’ve gained 10 pounds of muscle, but also 10 pounds of fat. This has elevated my body fat percentage to an even unhealthier level, 26.8 percent.

I wonder if I can reduce my body fat percentage to 15 percent while maintaining (or even growing) my muscles.

I’ve switched to the book’s Slow-Carb Diet, which has pretty simple ingredients (Gizmodo has the entire chapter explaining the diet):

  • meat, fish, eggs;
  • beans;
  • vegetables (except potatoes and yams);
  • water, red wine, unsweet tea, diet soda, coffee.

One day a week is a cheat day: anything goes.

The adjustment has been fairly smooth. Out: protein shakes, potatoes, rice. In: beans, lots of beans.

The biggest challenge has been trying to hit my daily minimum of 2,100 calories. I’m getting my 130g of protein each day, but eating enough broccoli or lentils for calories has been a chore. Usually, I’ll round it out with peanuts at day’s end (though I found out nuts should be limited to five to 10 daily).

(You’re not supposed to count calories on this diet, but I do so to make sure I’m getting sufficient food each day.)

The weirdest side effect: I now dream routinely about food. I’ll dream about eating chocolate cake, or rushing through a meal. It’s strange.

The cheat day was pretty easy.

cheat day

I had three doughnuts and an orange. Plus a hot dog, bacon cheeseburger and half a bag of Doritos. And a slice of wild blueberry white chocolate cheesecake. I felt bad about going so low on protein, so I also had a baked chicken breast (not pictured). I ate myself sick.

Grand total: 3,971 calories, 101g protein. I have no shame.

I’ve kept my workout routine the same: three times a week.

We’ll know in a few months if my body fat goes up or down, and if this diet is the right fit for me. Cheers to cheat days and lascivious dreams about baked goods.

September’s average workout time was 26 minutes and 0 seconds.

I averaged 2,091 calories a day in September. I also had 135 g protein a day on average.

The project has cost me $633.73 so far. I spent $8.55 less on food in September compared to previous monthly averages.

You can see all the numbers updated in real time on the Measurements page.

Week 1 vs. Week 56 - side

Week 1 vs. Week 56 – side
[Click image for a larger version.]