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Tips to Sustain Weight Loss on a Slow Carb Diet

Tips to Sustain Weight Loss on a Slow Carb Diet
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My Journey on the Slow Carb Diet

It took me 21 weeks on Tim Ferris’s Slow Carb Diet to lose the 27 pounds I had set as a goal. It was fairly painless, and part of that was due to the delayed gratification of a cheat day.

As a lover of all kinds of food and as the owner of a jam and syrup-making company, I needed the freedom of a cheat day once a week in order to make this diet a lifestyle change.  

Not only did I reach my goal weight, but I have now maintained that same weight years later (I started it in 2013), following the principles of nutrition I learned under slow carb.

Dinner made with slow carb ingredients.
Dinner made with slow carb ingredients.

Trouble with Rules

While moving toward my goal weight loss of 27 pounds,  I was very scrupulous in following the Slow Carb Diet regime and the rules.  The only rule I did not follow strictly was Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. 

This was simply too boring after about a month, so I tried to develop some recipes that stayed within the strict bounds of the diet, but allowed some variety in textures and flavors.

I have since developed a wide range of slow carb (and low carb) recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts.

This category of low carb dinners is probably the most popular collection but if you have a sweet tooth be sure and check out these low carb desserts.

6 Tips for Starting the Slow Carb (aka 4-Hour Body) Diet

These are some tips that worked well for me and helped many of the clients I had after becoming an online diet coach:

  1. Get a good scale and weigh yourself daily.  While the emphasis of this diet is on losing inches and clothing sizes (i.e., fat), I find the constant checking of weight keeps you motivated (or honest).  My weight loss was slow, at about 1 pound a week, which was a bit depressing at first.  The book gave much more extreme examples.  It was a consistent pound per week however, so it did keep me going.
  2. If you use the protein powder for a breakfast drink, make sure and read the label and get the one with the least carbohydrate count.  Some of them have a lot of carbohydrates and I didn’t realize this the first two weeks.  That was my slowest weight loss period.
  3. Learn to cook a few good high-protein meals.  I found trying to eat out on non-cheat days was pretty abysmal.  Restaurants just aren’t set up to offer flavorful meals without a lot of carbs and sugars.  They are getting much better as ketogenic and low carb diets become mainstream, but cooking at home allows you to really know what is in your food, especially when it comes to added sugars..
  4. Get enough calories and protein to keep your energy level up.  That is why he promotes beans even though it is fairly high in “complex” carbs.  Protein and good fats are very satiating, as opposed to refined carbs.
  5. Learn to cherish delayed gratification.  Cheat day can definitely help you through the mental anguish during the week of not having your favorite foods.  I am a cookie fanatic and you can bet I plotted out which cookies I would start with and end with on cheat days.  They were all the more tasty as they were a treasured treat now and not just my standard breakfast fare.
  6. When traveling I often stay at the Embassy Suites, primarily because they have a free breakfast where they cook omelets to order for you every morning.  All the fresh vegetables and eggs you can eat, rather than muffins, cereal and fruit of the standard continental breakfasts.  (I don’t mean to advertise Embassy Suites and there may be other hotels that do this, but this is the one I’ve found to be in most major cities).

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  1. Heidi says:

    Thank you for your insights… here I go again. Will probably reach out with questions. Your site and recipes are my go to. Thank you for such quality content.

    • Thank you for the comment Heidi. FYI, it’s often more difficult the next time around for some reason. Perhaps because it isn’t new so you don’t pay quite as much attention to the specifics. Track your macros for ultimate success.

  2. Suzane Pyburn says:

    So what does maintenance look like ? Do you still follow the program the same way? I’m close to goal & wanted to see what others have done that works

    • wendy says:

      @dorothy stainbrook, do you still do the 30g of protein in the first 30 minutes AND that counts as staying in your intermittent fasting 16:8 ratio becuase there are no carbs?

      • Hi Wendy, I stopped doing the 30 g of protein in the first 30 minutes. I always questioned it and when I saw that Ferriss had started promoting intermittent fasting more, I thought this made more sense. I think the 30 protein right away in the am was successful for beginners because breakfast often was high carb for them and just changing it to high protein/low carb made a difference. Americans often have bagels, muffins, etc. for breakfast and just changing that out to eggs or a protein smoothie was significant. However, intermittent fasting knowledge came after his book was out and it was the thing that took off my last 5 pounds, so I was a fan.

        So, no it does not count for the 16-8. The 16-8 has to be legit fasting (i.e., nothing but water or coffee)

    • Excellent question. When I was coaching people would often lose the weight and then come back a year out and figure they would just do the diet again, as they had gained back some of the weight. Ironically, it was much harder the second time around, probably due to it not being a “new” venture. For me, maintenance meant 2 things: 1) I had a really good knowledge base built up on where hidden sugars were and avoided the sugar and processed food (i.e., cooked mostly at home).

      I didn’t track anymore and was much more flexible with fruit and some complex carbs. The main thing is to keep exercising (that can just be walking it doesn’t have to be intense, but it does have to be consistent) and keep weighing yourself. In 2021, I gained 5 pounds back and saw it was going to keep going up if I didn’t change a few things. I replaced my nightly 2-3 glasses of wine and cup of nuts with hot tea and some carbs for dinner, but no more nuts. The 5 lbs dropped back off pretty quickly. It was just a bad habit I had developed.

      These days for me maintenance looks like: 1) walking 2-3 miles a day; 2) weighing in once a week and changing something if the scale goes up more than 3-4 pounds; 3) eating a Pesco Mediterranean diet, which is lots of fish, veggies and complex grains; 4) continuing to do 16:8 intermittent fasting (i.e., skipping breakfast)

  3. Betty says:

    Hi Dorothy, can I incorporate intermittent fasting into the Slow Carb diet?

    • You certainly can. Ferriss himself often does the 16:8 intermittent fasting regime. Just look at it as having your first “meal” be 30 grams of protein and no carbs instead of the breakfast he recommended within 30 minutes of waking. Incorporating intermittent fasting to slow carb was what helped me get rid of the final 5 pounds.

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