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Slow-carb dieting at work

For all the 9-5ers out there, it's extremely challenging to eat the perfectly balanced meals outlined in the book. To make things worse, our office is stocked with all kinds of snacks: chips, candy, soda, you name it. It's driving me mad teasing me every moment.

Also, every time I go out for lunch with coworkers I have to eat a salad because the only other option is a sandwich with no bread. I feel like an outcast and don't know how to keep it up. Any ideas?


The Best Answer

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Remember, dieting is not designed for pleasure, it requires discipline and planning. You need to plan ahead and bring your lunch and snacks to work a few days a week. Bring hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky (without sugar), carrots, protein powder, cottage cheese, deli ham/turkey, and soybeans for snacking. With these handy you shouldn't be tempted as much.

When you eat out for lunch it's not that hard if you get creative. You can do a Mexican restaurant like Chipotle, soups like the Soup Company, a Thai stir fry, or even Indian food (chicken tikka masala is great). Oh and I almost forgot my favorite: SUSHI!!!! Combined with your salads, you should be fine! When all of your co-workers see you in 30 days, you'll be the one laughing, not them.

  • Paulius O commented Apr 23rd 2011:
    that was my concern as well. plus sushi contains rice. Answer edit needed.
  • theoffshorepirate commented Apr 13th 2011:
    Is Tikka Masala slow carb friendly? I believe most recipes contain yogurt, cream, or coconut cream.
  • 4HourBod commented Aug 20th 2011:

    Thanks for editing - to be technically correct and spell out - go easy on rice, so sashimi :)

  • Phil Michalak commented Oct 2nd 2011:

    Technically, wouldn't it be NO rice?

  • Mindy Parmett Fiddler commented Jan 23rd 2014:

    yes, no rice is allowed. You can have seaweed salad, miso soup, edamame and sashimi only

All Answers


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not a real answer but: Get 4 Hour Work Week and stop going to work :)


I have been struggling with this too. What I've decided to do is make my own 'frozen food.' I spent about 5 hours on Saturday making chicken 15 bean soup, pesto chicken with beans an broccoli, slow carb stir fry, mustard crusted salmon with green beans, and scrambled eggs and spinach with turkey saussage. I bought a whole bunch of new tupperware containers and stocked my freezer full. My boyfriend and I will be set for at least the week. Plus, the girls who I eat lunch with will be jealous of what I'm eating versus their nasty Lean Cuisines.

If you can't tell by the menu, I really like food. I don't feel like I'm deprived on this diet despite being on it for almost a month. So far I've lost 2.5" around my waist (my problem area). Slow carb does not= no flavor. One great tip is to prepare double or triple the protien that you need for a meal, add frozen veggies and canned beans and you'll be in great shape.

Good luck!

  • Lauren Featherstone commented Jan 23rd 2014:

    I am the same! I bought a bulk container of tupperware at Costco and have "tv dinners" full of good food frozen. I just pop it in the microwave and eat!


Hi Sabrinaali,

I cook my lunches the night before and pack them in tupperware and bring it to work. I work in a very social environment (design studio, where my boss takes us out everyday for lunch). I stay in for lunch and eat my packed lunch.

Sometimes I will go out and eat with them but like you I have a salad, no dressing with chicken. It does suck, especially when everyone gets pizza or pasta. But honestly, nobody actually 'cares'! And you shouldn't either. At the end of the day, you go home with nobody but yourself! So you gotta do what's best for you.

As for all the temptation, I just have an espresso, tea or chew some gum. Or make an extra serving of protein (eggs, steak..etc) to pick at in another tupperware case.

  • Lauren Featherstone commented Jan 23rd 2014:

    I've never particularly liked pasta or pizza :) If you spice up your chicken salad it's hands down better!


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i am only on day 2, so I do not have a lot of advice to offer except.. When you are in the office and those snacks are calling your name, just remind yourself your cheat day is not far away. :) Its been keeping me on track. I read somewhere that if you get a craving for something write it down and make sure to have on your cheat day.

I hope this helps a little.



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My boyfirned and i are both doing the slow carb diet and i make him food to take to work.

I genrally revolves around 3 main meals...

Chilli woth lots of red beans and chilli powder

Some kind of filling salad with beans. I like 2 tins of tuna, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, handful of beans, sesame seeds and a vinagrette made from dijon mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and stevia sweetener.

Soup - im obsessed with mint and pea. I blend this with chickpeas to thicken it up and for thte protein.

This can easily be prepared the night before and put i tubbaware to take to work and reheat. It really is worth it, it makes it easier having a routine too so you dont have to worry about it.

  • Paulius O commented Apr 23rd 2011:
    "chickpeas in moderation" http://4hourpeople.com/question/369/slow-carb-foods-allowed-not-allowed


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Boy do I feel this one...

The very first week I started 4HB someone brought donuts to the office. Three days that week. From arguably the best donut shop in the US, if not world (I am not biased at all).

I've thought a lot about this. Going out to eat at lunch is such a part of corporate culture that you feel, as you said, like an outcast if you don't. But there are so many reasons not to! Aside from not eating really crappy (but admittedly really delicious) food, you can also save a *ton* of money by not eating out. Everyone knows it, yet we still go out 3-5 days a week.

During that first week, a coworker who I usually would go out with asked if I wanted to hit up a Vietnamese bakery with him. I politely declined and explained that I was trying something new and didn't want to break it. He started at me about how you can eat anything you want, you just have to eat less, bread doesn't matter, etc. etc. We've heard it all before. I was surprised at how virulent he was actually getting over me not wanting to go out to lunch.

What I realized from that experience, and one a few days later with my family, is that I'm the only one who cares about my body. That may be an exaggeration, but the principle is there. I've decided that I'm just going to have to be weird, and try to bring as many people along with me as I can. "Normal" in the US is obese. I'd much rather be weird.

I love the suggestions about making your own frozen dinners! I will have to try that. Also I agree completely with the posts about finding some great restaurants where you can get more than just salad. If you suggest them first, people will still go and won't think you're an outcast! But at the end of the day, if being weird is what it takes for you to reach your goals, go for it.


  • Lauren Featherstone commented Jan 23rd 2014:

    If your donuts came towards the end of the week I'd wrap one up in a napkin and eat it on Saturday (cheat day).


Definitely write any craving foods down and save them for cheat day, if you've put the work in for your diet days then you'll deserve the treat on cheat day. Usually if I've already eaten and I want to eat again I take a minute to think about when I last ate and when I'm going to eat next (within the 4-hr timeline) and hit the water to tide you over, if that doesn't work then grab a coffee, you're at work anyway so just stock up on the work, by the time you've gotten through all that it'll be time to eat again; but definitely have a bottle of water at your desk for when you get the snack craving; I personally save my water intake for when I get hungry, sort of a fork in the road mentality.



You are right. Same here. The food choices for cheat day are limitless and the 4HB one are economical at best. This is the main reason I just bring my own food in containers and heat it in the microwave. There were funny looks at the beginning. Now it is normal. I am slowly starting to get orders for the next meal. lol


My coworkers always want to go out to eat (and I could use some time out of the office) so I've settled for eating prior to heading out and abstaining from eating at the restaurant. It may not be as fun (or tasty) but at least I'm not dying watching them eat whatever they want.


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I second the suggestion for restaurants like Chipotle. I find it very easy to stick to the plan there and I really enjoy their food. I know what you mean about feeling like an outcast as I get the looks also when I'm eating two meals while I'm at work. The upside... first week... I'm down 4 lbs. Let the fruits of your effort be your motivation.


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I cook for the week Sunday afternoon. It's a long process, but I don't wonder what I'm going to eat at work or what I'll feed my kids. We're all aware of what's available, and having food ready keeps me from mischief. I keep a bag of snack sized veggies for the times in between meals I find my stomach talking -- this is especially useful when it's nigh on impossible to leave the desk.

Someone else mentioned cooking their beans for a week, and I do that too! I don't have to worry about the sodium in the canned beans, and I get the variety I crave by alternating each week. Plus, my kids choose which beans I'll do for a given period, which gives them ownership in the whole process.


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I agree with the poster who suggested creating your meals ahead of time. I also suffered from the free-food / unhealthy food deluge, and the best way to get around it is to supplement what is slow-carb friendly with what you bring from home.

While dieting requires discipline, it doesn't have to be pleasure-free. Like Princess-Anne, I suggest making foods you enjoy eating. If I didn't do that, I'd go insane and derail pretty quickly because I love food too much. For example: bacon is slow-carb friendly. I'll usually cook up a strip or two of bacon to crumble into my salad, and then saute chicken thighs seasoned with a little bit of sea salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. It's delicious. For lunch, I make a big salad with spinach, peppers, chicken, walnuts and bacon bits with balsamic vinaigrette. Cooking meats in store-bought sauces is also a good way to make cooking easy as well as slow-carb friendly.

When I want to change things up, I use the curry and masala simmer sauces from Trader Joe's- and add some chili flakes and other seasonings to spice them to my liking. To one of the posters below: NO, chicken tikka masala is not slow-carb friendly. Double for what is sold in restaurants. They generally use heavy cream and a lot of other unnecessary stuff. You can, however, use coconut milk in recipes. It has good fat and is slow-carb friendly. I often eat Thai food without the rice (and avoid noodle dishes).


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Hi :)

This was one of the most challenging parts of the SCD during my first month or so. As I am sure you now realise like I did, 99% of food available from shops, cafes etc is not 100% SCD compatible.

The way to get around this is simple - cook and bring your own food from home EVERY day. It may be annoying but after a while it becomes second nature.

Its all about planning -- you will need to visit the supermarket every few days for fresh ingredients and then cook most nights for lunch the following day.

Tips are to cook for several meals in one go so you don't have to do it every single night and then freeze the other portions for later in the week.

Good luck.


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I agree it is tough

what i have found to work for me so far, is bring your lunch with you and all your snacks. I have replaced my candy with pickles and saurkraut. I know you say saurakraut how could you it tastes awful. But I found a brand at whole foods called bubbies that tastes like cabbage its great. ok back to topic, When I go out to lunch with my coworkers when the waitress comes over and takes your drink order ask if you can make your own meals. And if she says yes then get a steak with veggies or shrimp with black beans and veggies or a salad with chicken or steak on it, the options are endless. Eating out does not have to frighten you just have to stop look around and see what works for you.

oh and at 3pm when the choclate or the donuts or the snack machine and everyone else is eating chips and popcorn and candy all around you. Yes i work in that place also. I have some flax seed oil. I know what you are thinking flax seed oil how is that going to help me. read this first and try it and then let us know

Link to article


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Your desire to get your health in order should take priority over your desire to be social. Not to sound cold, but it's really the truth! Other people have no interest in your personal health, and therefore will not be there to help you make proper decisions. If you want to socialize, try getting a group of your good friends to start bringing lunch and sharing the lunch time together. You'll all save money by bringing lunch and you'll find out who your friends really are.

Don't feel like an outcast just because you are putting your health needs first. Any true friend will understand and support you! Your acquaintences (i.e. coworkers) shouldn't make you feel bad about doing the right thing for yourself.

  • arctichacker commented Jan 10th 2012:

    I agree. I work in an office where there is a neverending parade of cookies, cakes, donuts and chips.

    Even before I started SCD, I didn't eat much junk food and got some teasing about be a 'health nut'. Now that I'm on SCD, I'm a 'health nut' on a 'crazy diet'..


    If being a 'health nut' means having tons of energy, being strong and vibrant, being in tune with my body and being able to ski/hike/bike/paddle to my heart's content and do it in style, then I guess I'm a 'health nut'.

    Ironically, this 'health nut' is the only one that is still on her 'crazy diet' while pretty much everybody else has fallen off of their new year's resolution to lose weight :P


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I make a veggie frittata early in the week. I bring it to work and top w a handful of spinach and salsa. It's an easy breakfast


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Are those the only options for you eating out?

I found that, opposed to the Paleo diet, where you are not allowed any carbs, on this diet beans are fully accepted and you can eat at much meat as you like.

In restaurants near my workplace you can always find some kind of meat + green beans + salad and enjoy myself instead of suffering.

I personally bring food from home, because me and my boyfriend are enjoying the cooking part of this diet. There are always people at my work ordering food, so I eat beside them.

If you don't have other options in restaurants there, I think you can have your cheat day on a work day ad eat out once a week with the people at your work. Its important to socialize and not be an outcast, but you don't have to do that every day.

About the snacks.

My solution is just eating so much during the meals that I am so full all day long and I cannot even look at the snacks and want them. I also always focus on the cheat day, thinking about what I get to eat then.

  • Lauren Featherstone commented Jan 23rd 2014:

    And if your boss is buying, get steak ;) I'd love to eat steak or chicken fajitas every day or even a quarter of a chicken cooked with broccoli.


Wendy's Chili

  • Lauren Featherstone commented Jan 23rd 2014:

    They put brown sugar in there to make it sweeter....


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Very interesting conversation !

My problem is that even when I bring food at university, I am still hungry after with what I took with me. It ends up with my eating of forbidden food for the last three weeks, like a sandwich (I am on the diet since 2 month and two weeks).

I will try :

- bringing all meals the first day, really easier to manage

- some of the suggested snacks for when I am to hungry, I think I will choose ham / carrot.

  • Lauren Featherstone commented Jan 23rd 2014:

    You might try eating a bigger meal in the first place. I never eat snacks because I'm not hungry in between the meals (4 hours).


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I guess i'm on the opposite side of things.

When i'm at work, I know what my choices are and they are usually very limited. Quick decision.

When i'm at home, I have EVERYTHING available. Usually ponder for about 30 minutes before I decide. Then my brain likes to mess with me and wants to get creative. After realizing I can't have any of the creative ideas, I just stick with something i'm sure is within the diet.

My .02... if you want to get creative or try something new, do it on a full stomach. Save the recipe for the next meal.

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