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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). This stems from the work done by Cordain, Eaton and others whose research found that the majority of paleo and hunter gatherer diets are lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fat than today’s diet. A diet high in refined carbohydrate diets is not healthy – especially the standard western diet, where carbohydrates are eaten far in excess of requirements.
Of course you don’t need to count carbs, but in my observation, many in the paleo world do not eat enough carbs. Do you know how much carb would have vegetable juice only from spinach salad and celery 32 oz?
While this may be the impression that you have or it may even have been stated in comments by those who jump to conclusions, this has never been the position of any leading proponents of low carb eating that I have read: such as Gary Taubes. Surely it is up to each of us to find out the level of dietary carbohydrate that we can tolerate? And yes for the most part I am talking to people who have some weight to lose but are generally healthy.
If you were to have more than 1 cup of the “non carbs” would you consider them a carb then?
If you're not familiar with the system, Weight Watchers designates every food numerical points. Many experts praised the improved PointsPlus™ plan, which encourages whole, nutrient-rich foods. An improved point system, flexibility, and the ability to indulge in any food you want (as long as you stay within your allotted points): what's not to love about Weight Watchers?
If group meetings aren't your thing, Weight Watchers also offers an online option that includes an interactive forum that helps you track points, for instance. Those numbers become even less impressive after five years doing Weight Watchers: a study in The British Journal of Nutrition showed only half of lifetime members maintained at least five percent of their weight loss after that many years.
Besides the unlimited-fruit debacle, Weight Watchers overlooks numerous studies that confirm fat loss occurs more effectively on higher-protein diets.
Weight Watchers also didn't get the memo about dietary fat, which they generally categorize as good or bad but overall limit because of its high calories. Misunderstanding dietary fat leads Weight Watchers to, for instance, endorse margarine over butter.
Another area Weight Watchers neglects to address is common food intolerances like wheat, dairy, and soy, which for many people can create inflammation and other problems that stall weight loss. According to Hyla Cass, MD, and author of 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, eating foods that you are sensitive or intolerant to will also perpetuate cravings.
And it lets you down too: you get an immediate high, but it's short-lived, and you have to have more.
Just like alcoholics who should not drink since it begets more drinking, food-aholics need to avoid their trigger foods. According to an analysis in Consumer Reports, about 56% of the calories on Weight Watchers come from carbohydrates. Rather than measuring lean muscle mass and fat, Weight Watchers focuses on your scale number.
In New Zealand, Weight Watchers recently came under fire for endorsing Chicken McNuggets and other McDonald's foods. The McDonald's collaboration should have surprised no one, considering that Weight Watchers provides PointsPlus™ values for numerous fast food joints on its website. In other words, where those calories come from doesn't matter as much as staying within your allotted points, which proves that despite their improved points system that accounts for macronutrient status over calorie counting, Weight Watchers is essentially still a restricted-calorie diet. In fact, according to that Consumer Reports analysis, the average person on Weight Watchers eats 1,450 calories a day. My patients, particularly those who eat to soothe stress and run high cortisol levels (the main stress hormone), will binge the moment the weigh in for the week, find their weight climbs, and the net benefit is paltry.
What I mean is that real sustainable long term health must not only be the goal but also part of the entire process of weight loss, so that participants actually LEARN how to choose healthy foods and build a healthy body as a result of making healthy diet and lifestyle choices. A health model for weight loss teaches how to avoid artificial foods and sweeteners, (and certainly not encourage their consumption) foods that trigger inflammation, foods that increase toxic exposures. A health model for weight loss teaches the importance of losing fat and preserving bone and muscle. A health model for weight loss teaches the importance of keeping blood sugar stable and well managed by eating a low glycemic diet (not a high glycemic diet with unrestricted fruit.
But on "how to eat", Weight Watchers, like almost EVERYONE selling a plan, feels that they have to tell you that you should be able to "indulge" once in a while. I used to go on only fibrous carbs and protein with low fat intake for extended periods of time in order to loose fat and get cut, I also lost way too much muscle by doing that, plus I was doing copious amounts of cardio (now thats another story, anyways, my mood and strength suffered greatly until I discovered carb cycling! Carb cycling keeps your leptin level and other fat burning hormones in top shape while effectively loosing fat. Don’t get stuck on no carb day forever, up to 4 days, after that you will eat your muscle and start to feel like crap. 226 cals total meal (could be lean protein like white fish, sea food w fibrous veg and couple of nuts, or fattier fish and fibrous veg and no nuts.
A hypo-caloric diet where the goal is to decrease overall body fat, while concomitantly maintaining or even gaining muscle mass. A hyper-caloric diet where the goal is to increase overall muscle mass, while concomitantly maintaining or even losing body fat. Coining a new phrase, Avant Labs style, the concept of a recomposition was previously unheard of.
Carbohydrate manipulation is the key here, but we will back into this by discussing our protein and fat intake, which each remain constant. Suffice it to say, that one gram per pound of bodyweight is the absolute minimum, and there is no maximum on this diet. You can eat more, but to overindulge at one meal, does not excuse a deficient amount at another.
Third, you will be supplementing with fish oil at 10 to 20 grams a day — the more the better. As mentioned, we have three types of days in the diet, and they vary only by the amount of carbohydrate that is consumed. On your high carb day, four of the meals (three if you are only eating five meals) can have as much carbohydrates (yes, they must also be from the approved list – we love lists) as you like. Also, each one of those meals must include a small piece of fruit (again, a requirement before downing enough other carbs to the point of no return). So to sum up, all but two of your meals will have a small piece of fruit, and as much carbohydrate from the approved list as you like. Most people find themselves looking forward to, if not salivating at the thought of, the upcoming high carb day. Here, you will stick to your six (or five) meals, and only consume protein (and some fats); again from the list, and again, at least meeting the prescribed minimum.
Each and every day, whether it be a high, low, or no carb day, at least three meals, each and every day should include one cup of green veggies. The old dieting adage that one should not weigh (or take measurements) oneself daily is perhaps never truer than on this diet. As well, you are likely to look and feel bloated at the end of, and the day after, your high carbohydrate days. So, we resolve this by always taking measurements, and charting weight after the same type of day.
While bodybuilders and non-bodybuilders can use this diet, most of us reading this perform some form of resistance training. This can be a protein only meal, and then followed by a carb meal on carb days, or can be taken with oatmeal (or another carb from the list) on carb days.
A thorough discussion of different types of cardiovascular activity is well beyond the scope of this article. Here, I will state briefly, that the three-day basic plan will (or should) provide for rapid, steady fat loss.
In 1998, my training partner (a pure mesomorph, the bastard) used my original, low-fat variety of cycling to prepare for his first bodybuilding show.
In 2002, a new training partner (an endomorph with slight mesomorph tendencies) used a lifestyle variety of the diet, and went from a bodyweight of 228 pounds to 192 in ten weeks, without losing any significant muscle-mass; indeed, his strength increased in that time.
Several females, in 2002, on-line, successfully used a third generation of the Basic Plan to drop a few pounds for summer.
Next time we will explore variations of the diet for different goals and body types, as well as discuss supplementation and advanced versions of the diet that can be achieved with supplementation.
This post will explain exactly how Briana, a mother of three and reader of my blog, lost 100 pounds. For additional real-world examples and the fundamentals, I suggest reading How to Lose 100 Pounds on The Slow-Carb Diet.
If you're meeting me for the first time today, you'd never guess that a little over one year ago, I was 100 pounds heavier and the furthest thing from being proud in a bikini. I had a husband, two kids, a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, and a great dane. Along the way, Tim wrote and released The 4-Hour Body, and my story was featured on national television and throughout numerous editorials, spreads, and fitness publications -- the biggest of which was an appearance with Tim on the Dr. Long story short: despite being a personal trainer and all my previous hard work to be a "weight-loss success story," I ended up being one of those Mego-Prego women who really went for it! From the moment I first found out that I was pregnant I decided to use the "eating for two" excuse.


Needless to say, I exploded over nine months, and by the time I actually gave birth to my eight lb. Faced with the depressing reality that the new weight wasn't "baby weight" and was really all me, I made it my mission to swiftly re-apply the SCD principles to shed the post-partum pounds in record time. So many of us are miserable over the current condition of our bodies, we get motivated and inspired by reading stories such as mine, but that's not enough. Before I began, I committed to document the entire process via a weekly pictorial where I would stand raw, real, and exposed in front of a camera wearing nothing but the same tiny black bikini.
Beginning the day after I gave birth, I followed every slow-carb principle that is outlined -- except for the cheat day. Just with the slow-carb diet alone and zero exercise (due to some postpartum recovery issues between week one and week eight), I lost 36 POUNDS. And 12 months after giving birth, I hit my goal and lost 100 pounds (23 pounds of which were pre-pregnancy), and completely transformed my body. Standing in front of the bright lights of a professional photographer week-after-week (often times without seeing much change), especially when you're a personal trainer who is 100 pounds over weight, is humiliating, humbling, and painful. I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years.
However it needs to be noted (again) that this may be because of the dietary availability of carbohydrates, and the higher availability of protein sources.
Very low carbohydrate diets are widely promoted for weight loss, and the low carbohydrate trend has become entwined with paleo eating.
Most feel better on a moderate carb diet, which is still a lot lower in carbs than the standard western diet, and more importantly if you eat a paleo diet, you will be cutting out the damaging carbohydrates.
I also see many CrossFitters eating low carb diets and suffering – low energy, poor recovery, sleep problems, adrenal fatigue. This is because they eat lots of volume of vegetables, but not enough of the carbohydrate containing ones. It was as close as I could get to net carbs, there is a lot of variation in foods, so this should be seen as a rough guideline.
I juice every morning but only leafy green like spinach lettuce, celery lime lemon, cucumber, no beet no carot, how should I count it? So, I am considering backing off protein a little and increasing carbs a little to see if this will help increase my energy and workout recovery.
Similar to an allowance, you get a certain number of points to use every day based on your demographics and goal weight. Rather than focus so much on calories like the old plan did, PointsPlus™ instead bases points on macronutrient content.
One in the journal Obesity Surgery, for instance, found that people who attended group meetings lost more weight than those who didn't. News & World Report recently had 22 health experts (most of them Registered Dietitians or Medical Doctors) examine 25 diets and diet programs, which they ranked on a scale of one to five.
A study in the journal Lancet found that 772 overweight and obese adults lost an average of 15 pounds over one year, or less than one pound every three weeks. According to Weight Watchers, all fruits are unlimited and carry zero points on the PointsPlus™ system. One in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for instance, showed protein keeps you satiated and lean via signaling the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK).
One member reflects that mentality when she warned the Weight Watchers online community, "Whether good or bad, Fat is still Fat! But it all goes back to losing weight and not fat, particularly if those calories come from the high-carbohydrate fast foods and processed foods that Weight Watchers allows.
While some of the 'healthy food guidelines' are effective for a select few, if you are a food addict--you'll play games. Loss of muscle and bone increase risk of cachexia and bone metastasis, both life threatening processes for an advanced cancer patient.
For one, there is a large emphasis on activity and movement, to maintain and build muscle mass, so that issue is not being ignored.
The common myth is that if we attempt to "deny" ourselves the treats completely, we are doomed to fail. Primary care referral to a commercial provider for weight loss treatment versus standard care: a randomised controlled trial. Weight-loss maintenance 1, 2 and 5 years after successful completion of a weight-loss programme. But essentially, it is a slow, yet steady body transformation whereby you seek to both lose body fat and gain lean body mass, concomitantly. Again, I will stress that this can, and should, betweaked, based on the individual’s goals, geno and pheno-types, and dieting history. An acceptable alternative is five meals daily, and if you so choose, be sure to keep the daily ratios consistent, as each meal will require more food.
In other words, at each and every meal, of each and every day, you can feel free to dig in to as much protein as you wish. Thus, a 200-pound individual should eat at least 33 grams of protein at each and every meal. Of course, like any other macronutrient, too much protein can hinder fat loss or even promote fat gain. Indeed, four of your meals must use lean protein sources, while the remaining one or two may come from a higher-fat source. Again, I have provided a list for easy reference, but for those of you with peculiar tastes, you can choose any protein that derives about 20-25% of its calories from fat.
First, you will be getting some fats in your lean protein sources (probably between 10 and 20 grams of fat) and a few grams from the carb sources (another 10 to 20 grams on high carb day).
They are the high carbohydrate day (high carb), the low carbohydrate day (low carb), and the no (approaching zero) carbohydrate day (no carb). Almost any fruit will do (save bananas, kiwis, avocado, and other very high calorie or high fat fruits).
Obviously, make sure you leave sufficient time between your pre-workout meal and your workout, or limit the quantity of carbs at this meal, lest your body succumb to reverse peristalsis. Relax and go with the flow; it is quite hard to mess up the high carb day, if you stick to the right carbs. For most, the cyclical nature of the diet will make this day a relatively easy emotional challenge, however. This is normal and not an indication of lack of progress (as many an individual who were skeptical, yet tried the diet can attest to). Whether it is the morning after a high carb day, or the end of a no carb day, or whatever, consistency is key. Generally, however, adding in a weekly session or two of high intensity interval training at the appropriate time is a good idea. It can be tailored to the individual’s goals, genetics, preferences, lifestyle, or all of the above. I successfully got down to around 5% body fat each time, retained a substantial amount of muscle, and needed no tweaking of the basic plan, and no supplements, though I did do cardio.
He was so pleased with his progress that he has spawned off many other on-line cutters to do the same.
She was more muscular this time around before the diet, and she successfully retained that size, while simultaneously coming in leaner.
Indeed, I do believe almost anyone can use the Basic Plan successfully (for cutting), just perhaps not optimally, which of course is our goal. I was a young mom in my early '20s, trying to balance everything and be everything to everyone but neglecting myself. After it, I felt compelled to pursue a career as a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist. As a newly single-mom, I set out to "4-Hour Workweek" my life, started my own multi-faceted health and wellness company, and spent the last five years helping to transform the bodies and lives of hundreds of women around the world in ways they never thought were possible. By "went for it" I mean -- if my weight gain had been an accurate barometer of my son's birth weight, I should have given birth to a kindergartner! I indulged my cravings, and I packed on the pounds by way of ice-cream, Mexican food, lasagna, and a total break from the adapted SCD nutrition principles I worked so hard to establish in my own life and subsequently teach others. When I felt discouraged, or was having a internal struggle over something I shouldn't eat, I would look at the photos of where indulging got me -- fat. Turkey wrap "roll-ups" with a little hummus and a sliver of bell pepper or cucumber inside is my fave! I am a 31-year-old mother of three, I've lost more than 100 pounds on the Slow-Carb Diet, and I work every day to be a success story. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Quality carbohydrates eaten in the context of a paleo diet will be less that the standard diet.
I then experimented with Atkins, thinking this must be the ultimate in avoiding carbs, and gave myself some sort of terrible hormonal imbalance – my skin was shocking, periods irregular, no energy, just a mess. Don’t have any food issues other than enjoy eating sugary food which I stopped since Paleo became my way of eating.
But she claims the program "works for her," and she's able to enjoy a plate of chili cheese nachos and a skinny margarita after work on Fridays because it fits into her allotted points.
High-fiber and high-protein foods earn fewer points, whereas carbohydrates and fats earn more. For example, a study in the International Journal of Medical Informatics found an internet weight-loss community played a vital role in participants' weight loss efforts that clinicians, family, and friends might not be able to fill.


Weight Watchers came out the winner, with the average member losing six pounds after doing the program four weeks (If you were wondering, experts ranked the Paleo diet lowest among these 25 eating plans).
Granted, that was twice as much weight loss as the group who received weight-loss advice from their doctor. For someone with insulin resistance, which is most overweight people, snacking on bananas and grapes is a surefire way to stall weight loss and worse. Another study in the same journal found that a protein-based breakfast suppresses your hunger hormone ghrelin and keeps you satiated far better than carbohydrate-based foods. Second, there is also a bigger emphasis than you report on protein - it is promoted as a 'power food' and encouraged to be used over carbohydrates to sustain satiety and increase energy.
It is not to be skipped, skimped upon, taken lightly, or otherwise reduced simply because the diet does not focus on it. If five meals is the necessary course, the same individual should eat a minimum of 40 grams of protein per meal.
This is another instance where I am putting some faith in the body’s sense of self-regulation. Again, we are assuming six meals per day, so you will need to adjust if you follow a five-meal plan. So for you carb gluttons out there, you might want to make sure you eat your protein source before truly loading up on those carbs first.
You are not expected to gorge yourself, nor are you expected to exercise the usual strict self-restraint.
If you eat too many carbs one meal, you will probably eat less the next, as you’ll still be full (just make sure you get the protein in).
It also, I am willing to bet, will be the most controversial day, among the dieting community. However, do not be surprised if you eat less than you expect, since eating protein alone can cause one to feel satiated more rapidly. I don’t care, though you may find it more pleasing to the palate to consume your vegetables with your no carb meals.
Indeed, it is a relatively sparse list, given the plethora of carb sources found in grocery stores. Personally, for psychological reasons, I prefer the morning after a high carb day, but the choice is yours. This diet does not allow for calories (whether they be fat, sugar, or what-have-you) added at the preparation or cooking stage. In conjunction with the Basic Plan (with fat loss being the goal), I recommend, at a minimum, between 30 and 50 grams of whey protein.
And, hence, it is over-utilized, to the detriment of the dieter-especially the muscular dieter. Resistance training can provide most, if not all, of the physical benefits of cardio, and can do so more efficiently. If you are already very lean, and still seeking to get freaky lean, that would be a good situation to add controlled amounts.
Should fat loss prove too rapid make no adjustments until at least three weeks or approximately 7 mini-cycles to attain a baseline (and know that you are losing weight as opposed to water).
My training program helped immensely, as he gained 15 pounds of muscle, I’d wager, drug and supplement free, in the six months he trained with me prior to cutting. Despite this, though again using a variety of synergistic supplements, she has been increasing strength during the cut. As an exception, I’d not recommend that a pure ectomorph (and perhaps even a pure meso) use this diet, or any variation thereof, while in a pure mass phase.
I made my family the priority, which was great for them, but I lost myself somewhere along the way. I wanted to empower, educate, and inspire other women to transform their bodies and regain a renewed sense of self -- just as I had. Something that will motivate us to walk away from the bread basket, or in my case -- back away from the sour cream twice-baked potato! I really don’t need to lose weight but am flabby around the waist especially after gaining weight to help increase muscle mass while lifting weights (back squat, deadlift, and military press) which are part of my Crossfit workouts. Finally, they also promote the inclusion of healthy fats - in fact, there is a recommendation to include two servings a day of healthy oils as part of your Points+ allotment. Here, we will lay out the basic plan, which is designed for relatively rapid fat loss for most individuals and the one that got me into contest ready condition, twice.
The significance of protein cannot be overstated, though such details are beyond the scope of this article. Beyond these rules, and for simplicity’s sake, I will assume you are eating a sufficient quantity at each and every meal and leave it at that. For the few of you who eat too much protein and fat loss stalls, you will want to limit total daily consumption to no more than 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. For example, if you have six meals, and four have protein sources from list A and two from list B, you are fine. I recommend you either split it up equally across all meals, or split it in half, and consume it with two meals. The fructose from fruit will help keep liver glycogen stores full and keep your body in the fed state as opposed to starvation-mode. The other two meals will be made up of protein only, and, while there is a minimum amount, as always, there is no maximum.
For those of you with such concerns I remind you that first, you are supposed to eat a lot of food on this day, to make sure that your weekly caloric deficit is not too low, and second, that no one should ever dread high carb day. Things like salad (no dressing), cabbages, escarole, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, squash, and kale are appropriate. And remember that for every gram of glycogen stored (or lost), three grams of water are also retained (or lost). As well, if you try to measure progress in this manner, you will become frustrated after your high carb day. Rather, you will speed up your inevitable metabolic crash, as well as emotional and physiological discomfort and you will spiral into a pattern that’s end is failure. Benefits such as improved heart rate, reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increased metabolism, and nutrient partitioning are generally more efficiently achieved with resistance training, and of course, resistance training carries the added benefit of muscle growth.
That show was a springboard into another, where she seeks to maintain her leanness, and improve her lagging body-parts. Despite numerous failed attempts to lose weight and get in shape, the scale just kept creeping up.
I read it, I applied it day-in and day-out, and within six months I had not only lost the 73 POUNDS I had gained after having my first two kids, but I had completely transformed my body! Also, as I’ve gotten fitter and slimmer, my carb tolerance and maybe even need for carbs has increased. To me, the focus IS on healthier eating, not just 'cramming whatever you can into your allowance' - at least, that's what I've experienced with the meetings I attend and the leader who runs them. Utilizing numerous nutrient-partitioning techniques related to training style, and proper supplementation, recomposition can be accomplished rather effectively. We shall not get into the minimum requirements for a bodybuilder, which types of proteins are superior to others, and the numerous other issues that have perplexed the scholars and been debated ad nauseam. And because fat is more than twice as calorically dense as carbs or protein, it will derive more than 10% of its calories from fat. If you absolutely refuse to take fish oil, despite my pleas that you should (and the evidence that will be provided in the third installment), add in one to two servings of flaxseed or hempseed oil daily.
First, we will discuss how we do this; then we will discuss additional concerns important to this diet. Rather, you are aiming for the subjective feelings that I just discussed, a satisfied stomach and mental state. We are seeking to eat approximately one gram of carbohydrate (from the list) per pound of bodyweight each low carb day. Weighing yourself once every other cycle is more than sufficient; so you are tracking progress every six to eight days, depending on your cycle length.
While not technically using the cycle as a bulk, and with the most advanced supplements at her disposal, she is maintaining and improving her leanness, while simultaneously increasing strength, and improving her physique. I understand that the plan is not perfect, but, for anyone who has come to the point in their life (as I have) that they are truly committed to achieving and maintaining weight loss, it is a good start - a better start, I believe, than you have portrayed it in this article.
Now, as I have stated, this is a simple diet, so if you don’t want to figure out what you can and cannot eat, I have provided a list of generally acceptable lean protein choices. And if you have none from list B, and all six from list A, then two meals must have an added fat source from the list below. As previously mentioned, in a future installment, we will discuss in greater depth the theoretical and scientific underpinnings of the carbohydrate manipulation.
It is a small but frequent reward to hang on to that also has these profound psychological and, equally as important, physiological benefits.
So our hypothetical 200 pound dieter would eat about 66 grams of carbs in each of three meals of the day, and the others would be just protein.
Conversely, if you are still not shedding fat quickly enough, you should add an extra no carb day, as such: Low, No, High, No. I am interested in the information you provide on your site as I want to continue to become healthier in my eating, and I do think you have some great information and a good approach - just wanted to speak up on the side of Weight Watchers with some points I think were missed.



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