Tips and Tricks: Slow Carb Style
I've been browsing the forum and noticed a lot of the same questions being asked. I thought it'd be helpful if a lot of the information that was gathered from several members here on the site was centralized in one place. For simplicity's sake, I will try to speak to a lot of the initial and continuing concerns of SCDers alike.
Beginner Advice (I just got the book or heard about diet and am amped to start! Any tips?!):
1. Don't limit yourself. Sounds silly, but the foods on this diet are actually all pretty low calorie, so don't be afraid to loosen the belt with these foods. Trust me, you won't get fat.
2. Drink tons of water. Water is going to become your new best friend. It does wonders on your body and dramatically increasing your intake can have profound effects on fat loss. I understand you're used to soda and juice, so start off slowly. Have the diet soda until you can eventually lose the habit. I've been living the SCD lifestyle for more than 2 years now and all I want to drink now is water, even on my cheat days .
3. Enjoy the cheat day. You worked hard all week; don't hold back. The spike in calories will prevent your metabolism from dropping and keep your leptin levels in check. Plus, there is a psychological benefit to having the day off. Take advantage of this freedom so you are less likely to cheat during the week!
4. Forego the exercise (for now). Exercising while eating less only equals one thing: hunger. If you exercise you'll be increasing your body's cravings for food, possibly those foods that are not SCD approved. The diet is hard enough for people anyway not having their regular foods, don't complicate things and add more stress on yourself by exercising. Nail the diet first, exercise later. If you can avoid the cravings and continue eating SCD, eat more legumes to replenish your energy stores. Also, large amounts of exercise can have negative effects on fat loss (see book for details).
5. Keep track! So many times I hear, "I'm not making any progress. What am I doing wrong?!" Well, are you even keeping track of your progress correctly? Keeping track does not just mean. "I weighed 185 lbs yesterday and now I weight 186lbs today, WTF?!" Weight is a function of mass, which is comprised of more than just your fat. If you're weighing yourself frequently, you need to isolate the variables. That means weigh yourself at the same time every time you weigh yourself, do it under the same conditions (just waking up, before you eat, after you pee, whatever, etc). Even so, water weight can fluctuate anywhere from 2-5 lbs at any given time, so chill out, you're not getting fat, just paranoid . If you really want to keep track, also keep tape measurements of your major body parts (thighs, abdomen, arms, chest, hips, etc). When on this diet, you'll be losing fat, but you'll also be building muscle from all the protein. This means if you lose 1 lb of fat but gain 1 lb of muscle, YOU'LL STILL WEIGH THE SAME. Tape measurements make you pro.
6. Don't stress. I know it's hard to avoid, especially with our busy lives, but don't stress about not losing a certain amount of fat/weight for any given week/day. Our lives are stressed enough as they are, don't complicate things and make it harder on yourself to lose some of the weight that's causing more stress. Studies show that those who were more stressed had higher levels of cortisol, which hindered their fat loss over time. Key? Relax. Find activities and things to keep yourself calm, as best you can of course.
7. 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes upon waking. I'm sure you've heard of the detrimental effects not eating breakfast has on your metabolism, but did you know not having food, specifically protein, in your system within 30-60 minutes of waking has much of the same effects?! Try to get as close to 25-35g within 30-60 minutes because the faster you put protein in your body, the faster you can jump start your metabolism for fat burning any given day.
-- More to add for beginners (If you have more advice for newbies on the SCD, please comment below. I will add it up here for all to see).
Advanced Advice (I've reached my goal or am just pounds away, help me get there!):
1. Think again, DRINK MORE WATER. Studies have shown that dramatically increasing water intake has profound effects on fat loss. Try drinking more of it. Also, a glass of chilled ice water upon waking can increase metabolism for a good hour or so. Hey, anything helps. Try the chilled ice water.
2. Eliminate (or lessen) your legume intake. It's weird right? I mean, this diet is centered around slow carbohydrates, so why rid ourselves or our magic beans when they've gotten us this far?! Well, a bit of a science tid-bit for you: legumes are carbohydrates, no surprise there. In order to further envelope ourselves in a state of ketosis (the process by which no more glycogen can be made by carbohydrates in the liver and fat becomes the source of energy in our body; ie. fat is burned for energy as opposed to carbohydrates), we need to do our best to stay AWAY from carbohydrates, and that means any kind, including our dear bean friends. This is explained further in the Last Mile, so if you're interested, turn to that chapter in the book, right after the SCD chapter.
3. Same meals? Switch up some components of your meals! Used to the same romaine, black beans, and grilled chicken combo every meal practically?! Well, you maybe just giving your body a means of consistency, which isn't that great for fat loss. If you want your fat to continue to melt away, like your cheat day, you want to trick your metabolism. Try eating different hard to digest vegetables and switching them up every couple of days or even weekly. Broccoli today, spinach another, as they say.
4. Tried supplements yet? Tim recommends for those of you who need an extra push, try the PAGG stack. Just remember, supplements are ONLY supplements. They aid your progress and hard work, not do the work for you!
5. Tried exercise? Well maybe now is the time to start! Exercising can help you burn more calories and therefore help you lose weight! Awesome. If you're really serious about this though, try to lift some weight. It's scientifically proven that after a weight lifting session, your muscles oxidize fat for as long as 24-36 hours after a 40-60minute session of lifting. You could also try high intensity interval training. 60 sec high intensity exercise, 60 sec low intensity. Studies show that this pattern for even 10 MIN can burn 8x more fat than a 30min jog or speed walk. Cooooool!
6. Serious about those last 5 lbs? Decrease your cheat day! Limiting how long you cheat and what foods you cheat on can dramatically decrease how much junk you put into your system and therefore limit how much weight and crap you gain the days after. Let's be serious, eating 10,000 kcal on cheat day can't really help you lose those last 5 lbs. Maybe before when you had a lot of weight to lose, but at this point your body will respond well to a 1500-3000kcal spike instead. Also try replacing SOME of your sugary treats with good complex carbohydrates (pasta, wheat, brown rice, etc) which have higher effects on leptin production.
7. Tired? Sleep more! Studies have shown those who have got their fill of sleep (6 for some, 8 for others, maybe 10 for us teenagers ) loss more weight than those who were sleep deprived. If you're not good to your body, how do you expect it to be good to you by losing your fat if its too pooped out to do so!
8. Too warm? Try Ice Age. Cold water tricks definitely will help by activating BAT (brown adipose tissue) in the body. Brown adipose tissue works by inducing shivering, which in turn burns fat to keep you warm. So, take a dip in a cold shower or go in for a nice morning swim. It'll be cold, but you'll lose some fat in the progress .
9. Salty? Cut back. It is now widely known that certain substances increase our appetite. Salt is one of the most powerful. If we eat a partial food or in the case of salt, a chemical, our brains tell us to keep eating until the correct number of nutrients are present in the blood. While some of this research is still incomplete, it is believed that adding excess fat, sugar and salt to a food tends to make people overeat -- passage taken from
-- More to add for advanced members (If you have more advice for more advanced members on the SCD, please comment below. I will add it up here for all to see).
Hope that helps. I understand for many of us summer is approaching soon. With summer comes a lot of opportunities to show off our bodies, which is incentive enough for many of us to try to get fit and in the best shapes of our lives for this one 3 month period per year. Try to make an effort to look good all year round and to be healthy so you can be an example for others who are struggling with their weight and trying to do the same. We're 4 hour super humans not because we are trying to just look good and be healthy for ourselves. We also need to remember that we have a duty to the people around us to set an example of what life could be like when our weight and health issues aren't stopping us from enjoying life. The world needs to be more healthy, let's help it get there by leading as examples. Keep up the awesome work my friends!
Thanks for posting all this info!
I've had my struggles, if you are female you MUST focus on how you feel, how your clothes fit and inches you are losing and also how your face looks. The scale is just not going to tell you the truth. I've been freaking out about the scale, but each week I feel like i can fit into a new set of clothes that had been sitting around discarded for 2 years.
The loss is slow though, the same 1lb a week I was losing with my 1200 calorie diet, but with SCD I am not super hungry so I am not in a totally bad mood and I can have a couple of glasses of wine a night, which help.
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