Week 2 on the 4HB’s Slow-Carb diet started out great. I ate clean the day after my first cheat day, and I didn’t struggle with the odds and ends of stuff left in the fridge. My weekly body-fat check (on my Omron scale) was two days after my cheat day, and I did everything the same as Day 1. The author, Timothy Ferriss, describes the best way to get a consistent week-to-week reading of bodyfat on a bio-impedance device (one of the scales that has the handle you hold out and sends an electrical signal through your body to determine bodyfat). He says that hydration is a major factor in readings that fluctuate from day to day, so if you want to get a consistent reading each week you should drink 50 ounces of water immediately upon waking, wait 30 minutes, pee, and then take a reading. I followed this procedure for my week one results and I got a 0.4% increase over my Day 1 bodyfat. ACK! Fall over and die, what is happening here!? Then it hit me, my period was about 5 days away. And he specifically states not to weigh yourself or take measurements the 10 days before your period. Now I think this is a little long personally, I usually don’t see my water weight increase 7-10 days in advance, but I figured that extra water could be increasing that bodyfat%, since that is how the bio-impedance device measures bodyfat.
Even though this measurement worried me, I decided to hold tight to that 5.8 pound weight loss and all those inches gone from week 1 and just push onward. Week 2 went very well! I even managed to make a birthday cake on Wednesday for my youngest son’s birthday, without eating any! Well, I did allow myself to lick the spatula from the cake batter and again from the homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. But I didn’t eat a slice on Wed., Thur., or Friday! Boy did I have a BIG piece on my Saturday Cheat Day. Aaaahhh, it was really worth the wait! Gosh all this chocolate has me getting ahead of myself… back to my clean eating during the week. The scale was really crazy up and down all week, and I just crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t gain too much with my upcoming period. I know he says to stay off the scale, but I just can’t do all that clean eating and not check in each morning. The day before my weigh-in (and the day before my period), the scale actually showed my low weight from the week before. I couldn’t believe that I was on the eve of my period and not showing any bloat on the scale, could I actually lose weight during PMS week? That has NEVER happened before. I woke up eager to see the results Saturday morning before my cheat day began…
Week 2: Lost 0.8 lbs. and over 2 ¼ inches from my arms, waist, hips, and thighs
After I weighed in with a loss, I was pretty sure that my period wasn’t really on the horizon. Was I going to be really late? I’ve never had success this week of the month. But there it was, like clockwork, a couple hours later. I was overjoyed at my success week 2 and feeling so positive about the upcoming holiday season! And with that success showing in my smile and attitude, I marched onward into the day and began eating anything I wanted. Go cheat day! I splurged on pumpkin pancakes and apple-smoked bacon from Trader Joes, my homemade pizza, that aforementioned chocolate cake, and Ben & Jerry’s. I also had lots of healthy stuff, along with the forbidden fruit, milk, and cheese I can’t eat during the week. And of course I felt gross at the end of the day, again. Bring on week 3 clean eating so I’ll feel good again!
Before I leave you, I promised in my last blog that I would talk about the author’s tricks for eating like this on cheat day, and not having it all end up on your thighs! He has three plans of attack:
1. Take some supplements to help your body convert excess calories and nutrients into energy rather than fat.
2. Use some food items to help lower your glucose reaction to high glycemic meals.
3. Use your muscles to open up pathways that will funnel nutrients into the muscle rather than get converted to fat.
The supplement stuff you will just have to read about in the book yourself. I’ll list them here and let you know they are available at all health food stores and they are not very expensive. But they are taken before each meal and before bed, which is hard for me to remember. They are garlic, alpha-lipoic acid, EGCG (green tea extract), and polycosanol. Please don’t run out and buy these to take without consulting the book for dosing information.
There are several food items he recommends to help blunt that dreaded glucose spike that comes after indulging. They are cinnamon, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and Yerba Mate tea. The cinnamon must be fresh and there is a variety he recommends, but as it’s a blood thinner you should consume more than 1 1/2 tsp. per day. I’ve started sprinkling it on my coffee (which is my one daily cheat with its 1 tsp. of sugar). He says the lemon juice and grapefruit juice 30 minutes before a meal will help normalize blood sugar responses. And the yerba mate tea won’t help with blood sugar, but he says it will help speed your digestion so that the nutrients are rushed through your intestines more quickly and can’t be absorbed. I was a little worried that this would cause me gastric distress, so I only had one cup last Saturday, and it didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I thought it was a delicious addition to my tea collection!
The muscle thing was the coolest of all. In his extensive research, he found that when you work your muscles, there is a metabolic pathway opened that pulls nutrients into the muscles themselves, which means these extra nutrients won’t be sitting around waiting to get converted into fat. He determined that the exercise needed is very minimal: 60-90 SECONDS of exercise 30 minutes prior to a large meal, and if possible about 90 minutes after the meal is finished. He recommends squats (getting thighs parallel to ground), wall pushups, or chest pulls with an exercise band. He likes these three because he travels and eats at restaurants a lot. He says he has no problem excusing himself to go to the bathroom just before the appetizers arrive to bust out a round of squats in a stall. Since I’m home almost all the time, I do some different moves, but the idea is to do a compound move that gets your muscles burning just a little bit. That wake up call for your muscles will keep the calories from going to your belly, and I didn’t even have to break a sweat!
Tune in to week 3 where you’ll read about the how cold can make you lose fat! I’ll also share what a typical day of eating looks like for me on a clean day.