What is the Slow Carb Diet?

So you’ve heard about slow carb, you read about it, saw the 4 hour body book, or know someone who had success with the diet? No matter how you heard about it, maybe you’re not sure where to start? Hopefully this will give you the Cliffs Notes version of the Slow Carb Diet. Or at least, my wife and I’s version of the diet that has worked insanely well for us.

The Skinny on the Slow Carb Diet

There are lots of blogs and guides out there and I hope that this document isn’t too redundant. I am writing this simply because there is a ton of advice and information out there from 1.) People who’ve only had a very short amount of time on the diet or 2.) People who failed on the diet and gave up and 3.) People who do not follow the diet strictly and are losing fat at a very slow pace. I’m hoping to give you the perspective of a man and a woman in their 30s, who both started out as obese, and who’ve also both lost a significant amount of weight on the Slow Carb Diet in a fairly short amount of time. So first, let me show you that we know what we’re talking about so that you know we’re not just some arm chair experts who don’t know how to walk the walk. Hopefully from here out you do not accept advice from anyone unless you’re sure they know what they’re talking about and can prove it by showing you their results. So please allow me to qualify my advice to you by showing you the results my wife and I have achieved in such a short amount of time. I don’t want you to believe everything I say but hopefully it points you in the right direction. Research things yourself, ask questions and let’s all discuss it and figure it out together.

Is slow carb right for you? Here are all the gotcha’s.

So let’s just get right down to it. No matter how effective a diet is, if you just can’t or won’t be able to stick to it long term, just don’t bother wasting your time. Keep in mind, most of the “suck” of this diet is 6 days a week. 1 day a week you get to eat as much of whatever the hell you want. Cheat days are awesome. That said, here’s the suck. Can you live with these things 6 days a week until you hit your goal?

  • You are going to have to prepare the majority of your meals
  • You will need to buy the majority of your food from the grocery store
  • While you can still eat out, your options will be limited
  • Most of you will eat a lot of the same stuff over and over
  • You will need to eat a high protein breakfast every morning
  • You will need to take a few inexpensive vitamins every day
  • You will need to quit drinking alcohol 6 days a week.
  • Until you hit your goal weight, 6 days a week you will choose not to consume
    • Carbs! Specifically WHITE and/or refined carbs. That means things like, breads, flours, wheat, oats, cake, tortillas, rice, pasta, whole grains, potatoes, etc
    • Sugars, corn syrup, candy, sweeteners, ice cream, diet sodas.
    • Cheese. Not even hard cheeses. No cottage cheese.
    • Dairy. With very few exceptions, No milk or dairy products.
    • Fruit. Fruit is sugar. You can have it on cheat day.
    • Booze. Sorry, not even wine. Not even “low carb” booze. No alcohol until cheat day.
  • You will be forced to break your addiction to carbs and sugar
  • You must dig deep and grow the willpower that we have all lacked that got us here in the first place.
  • You will need to get a reliable digital scale
  • You must log and track your weight without fail at least once a week


Is the list above even possible for you? Now, keep in mind, you’re not asking yourself “Is this going to be fun?” Just ask, “Can I do it?”. Are you physically capable of doing this? Can you stick with this until you hit your goal without breaking the rules? Do you want a healthy weight more than you want anything that the list above denies you? If something in your life prevents you from doing anything in the list above, then this may not be for you. At the very least, you may have slower progress or a higher risk of quitting.

Commonly, people ask me “Well what CAN YOU EAT?”, or they’ll say “Wait, you can’t have FRUIT?”, “I can’t have CHEESE?!?! I can’t live without cheese!”. I totally understand. TOTALLY. But here is the mantra that will get you through this diet. It works so well for me, and if you are serious about being successful on slow carb, you need to memorize this way of thinking.

What you will need to get started on the Slow Carb Diet.

1.) The rules

  • Rule 1: Avoid “white carbohydrates”
    • Bread, rice, potatoes, cereal, pasta, tortillas, grains, quinoa, etc
    • This includes sugar, corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, dextrose (avoid stuff that ends in –ose)
  • Rule 2: Eat the same few meals over and over
    • Create meals by mixing these ingredients but nothing else. Tim’s favorites are marked with an *
      • Proteins: eggs* (without yolk unless organic), chicken*, beef*, fish*, pork
      • Legumes: lentils*, black beans*, pinto beans, red beans
      • Vegetables: spinach*, mixed vegetables*, sauerkraut*, asparagus, broccoli, green beans
    • Eat as much as you like but keep meals simple
    • Pick 3 or 4 meals and repeat them
    • If you have to ask, just don’t eat it.
  • Rule 3: Don’t drink calories
    • Drink water and unsweetened coffee/tea
    • No milk, soft drinks, fruit juice
    • Limit diet (light) soft drinks to 16 ounces (500 mL) a day since the sweeteners can stimulate weight gain – your goal is to totally cut them if possible. WARNING: Just because it says diet, still, check ingredients for sugar or corn syrup.
  • Rule 4: Don’t eat fruit
    • Avoid it six days a week
    • Tomato and avocado are ok in moderation
  • Rule 5: Take one day off per week
    • Schedule one set day (e.g. Saturday) on which you can eat whatever you want in whatever quantity.

2.) A reliable digital scale – your measurements

Previously, we had a scale that was kinda wonky. Each time you stepped on it, it would give you a slightly different reading. It just wasn’t reliable. We didn’t do any fancy research on a new scale. We just ran over to target and got this scale: http://www.amazon.com/Conair-WW52N-Weight-Watchers-Stainless/dp/B004CLBWG4 (Again, I do not profit from anything linked, there are no partnership or affiliate links, I’m simply sharing information).

Another one of our awesome members ( /u/rmarsack ) has had great results with this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032TNPOE


Our scale was around $40, digital, said it had some rudimentary body fat % measuring, had a resolution up to the 1/10 of a pound and seemed nice. Now it has some really poor Amazon reviews but we’ve had great experience with it. So get what you want, but whatever you get, make sure it’s the only thing that you use to weigh yourself from here out. Be consistent with your measuring tools.


You will also need to get your accurate height. ACCURATE. Funny story: I’ve been living a lie. Almost all of my adult life I thought I was 6’0” to 6’1”. Nope. 5’11”. I blame my male ego. You need to do this. You need to either go to the doctor and have yourself professionally measure WITHOUT SHOES. Or just follow this genius method: http://www.wikihow.com/Measure-Your-Height-by-Yourself If that link no longer works, simply Google “how to properly measure your height”. This is very important to know before you begin. You will need to know your exact height to help estimate your BMI, your resting metabolism and other fun facts that may help you troubleshoot stalls later on down the road.


I recommend taking all of your measurements (waist, arms, belly, thighs, neck, butt, chest) before starting the diet. I don’t chart this information (more on that in a second) but it’s really good to have down the road if you’re troubleshooting a plateau or just curious. Google how to do this. It is very easy but very powerful information to have later on.


So here’s the thing. You’re going to weigh yourself AT LEAST once a week. It’s crucial that you weigh yourself the same way each time. Consistency is key here. So for example, I weigh myself every cheat day morning before we have our first meal. I wait until I’m ready to wake up for the day. Use the bathroom and then step on the scale. This is my recorded weight for the week. What you don’t want to do is weigh yourself in the morning one week and then next week weigh yourself in the middle of the day. I would make sure that if you drink a glass of water in the morning do it the exact same way each week or simply wait until after you weigh yourself. Another example would be weighing yourself on a Saturday morning one week and a Friday morning the next. Or weighing yourself before a shower one day, and after a shower another. What ever system you choose, make it the same every week. Stay consistent.


3.) Something great to track and chart your weight goal and weight loss progress.

There are apps for this everywhere. Programs, spreadsheets, gadgets, apps, you name it. I don’t care what you use but use something. I’ve used a few apps and websites to do my weight tracking and they just didn’t give me the information that I needed to tickle my brain the way that I like it tickled. I want to know answers to these questions:


  • I weigh 275 pounds and want to get to 198, how long will it take me if I lose 2 pounds per week average? Or 1.5 pounds, etc
  • How much have I lost so far?
  • How much am I losing per day?
  • How much am I losing per week?
  • Am I above or below where I should be right now?
  • If I keep losing at this pace, what date will I ACTUALLY hit my goal?
  • How many pounds until I hit my goal?
  • How long have I been on this weight loss journey?
  • How many more days until I hit my goal?


I wanted all of this information at a glance and pretty to look at. I know it’s not an app or super fancy but if you’re like me, enjoy seeing this kind of data, and making the information visible helps you stay accountable, this will help you as much as it helped me. If you like, you can use the weight tracker that I made. You’ll need a Google account for it to work but aside from that, it’s just a nice spreadsheet that gives you a pretty chart to look at.

Our bodies really are largely designed to use fat as the primary source of fuel. Carbs are stored mainly for bursts of intense energy expenditure (e.g. lifting heavy weight, or going back in our anthropological history – running away from a sabertooth tiger).

If we’re in biochemical balance, then eating some carbs here and there won’t be much of a problem, but for someone who’s gone entirely keto, carbs will always have a bit of that ‘brain fog’ impact unless consumed prior to a workout, say.

While the Slow Carb Diet works really well, one of the things that Ferriss has discussed in the years since releasing T4HB is that the science shows that essentially going for a keto style nutrition is best for long-term biochemical balance, body composition, metabolic function and long-term health. That said, he created the Slow Carb Diet because it increases overall compliance. It’s difficult for humans to not indulge from time to time, or to want to eat some carbs on a semi-regular basis – that’s where legumes come in, they’re one of the better forms of carbs, so long as you don’t have any personal biological issues with them (allergies etc.). Same for cheat days.

Is there a reason you want to go back to Slow Carb Diet?

Personally, I’ve learned a lot through the Slow Carb Dietand I like it, but it hasn’t ultimately been the best route for me. I keep losing Xlbs and then re-gaining, because the regular cheat days have a tendency to make me less compliant, not more (I’m probably the exception to the rule), and I’ve found that I have a bit of a reaction to legumes. I do best when I stick predominately with protein, veggies and fat, and on occasion indulge in something like sweets, or fries/burgers/pizza etc.

In fact, it’s been pretty impressive the almost immediate difference I’ve seen since the holidays ended and going all-in on a protein, veggie, fat diet 98% of the time. I wouldn’t even say I’m doing strict keto (high fat). Really just protein, veggies, and whatever fat comes from the protein, the veggies, or the occasional cream, cheese etc.