Friday, November 11, 2011

Hobbit Day - Life on the Slow Carb Eating Plan

Mike and I have been trying out the Slow Carb Eating Plan (also known as the Slow Carb Diet), as outlined in The Four Hour Body. I hate calling it a "diet" because it's sustainable over really long periods of time, and not a fad. At least, I hope it isn't. Basically, six days a week, you eat certain foods. At each meal, you have protein, legumes (slow digesting carbs), and vegetables. It is easier to focus on what you should eat, rather than what you can't, as you can easily get bogged down in the restrictions (no fruit, dairy, gluten, bread, rice, etc.). If you actually want to try it, reading the book is a must, as there is a lot more to it.

It seems to be working well. I haven't been exercising lately (bad me!), but I've been losing weight at about the same rate as I was when I was exercising (and eating popcorn for lunch and soup for dinner), so it must be working! I really liked the parts of the book about self-experimentation, junk science, and encouraging skepticism. The only way to know if something will work for you is to try it.

I'm not really big on being told what to eat, so it's hard for me to be on any kind of plan, but I have actually done pretty well with this one because of 5 things:

1) No counting calories. Boring, boring, boring. I can't stand having to try and count calories.

2) Simplicity. I can make recipes or just throw something together, and it works. I have mastered the art of making delicious chili in 15 minutes or so. Chili seems to be the ultimate SCEP food.

3) The online community. There is a huge forum for this eating plan and every question, suggestion, or discussion you are curious about is on there. I use it daily. 

4) Mexican and Thai food are his suggested options for eating out. You have to make a few modifications, but those are my favorite kinds of foods, so it works well for me! Also, you can have red wine, which is nice.

5) Cheat day. I don't like to call it "cheat day" because it's a required part of the plan, so it isn't cheating. I also don't like to call it "binge day" because every other usage of that word is extremely negative. So we call it "Hobbit Day." It is the day you eat like a hobbit, and you eat anything that you want. Guilt free.

I have some qualms with the book, especially with regard to vegetarians. Tim Ferris both encourages you to be a vegetarian while simultaneously giving little to no information about being a veggie on the SCEP. I've had to improvise a lot. Here's my initial review of the book, if you're interested.

I noticed a few things as I've been on the plan.

1) Keeping a food journal is kind of annoying, especially since you are encouraged to eat the same things over and over again. I have been keeping one, but it has shifted to putting up recipes, thoughts, and new foods only. Here's the link, if you're interested.

2) My emotional eating has shifted. I had a bad day this week, and instead of reaching for the ice cream, I had a sandwich for lunch. That's a strict no-no on this diet, but it's a healthier alternative than the former!

3) Planning Hobbit Day can be a lot of fun. Mike and I make a list of the foods we miss during the week and then have a really great day eating them all on Saturday. This week we are having ravioli with vodka sauce, fondue at our favorite french cafe, bagel sandwiches, and beer. My brother and I have started texting each other what we are eating on Hobbit Day. It makes the process really fun!

Has anyone else tried this or thought about it?


  1. This food plan is one of the better ones out there because it focuses on a pretty good balance of food types. You need to eat lots of veggies, protein, and beans/legumes, but it doesn't require obsessing over portions or counting calories.

    Plus, Hobbit day is way fun. :-D

  2. I've actually been considering doing something very similar to this diet! Ever since I've lost weight, my blood sugar level tends to drop super low if I don't eat every couple of hours and I get hypoglycemia symptoms, which suck. So the ideal hypoglycemia diet is pretty much the exact one you describe! I haven't done it strictly yet though, so I'm still eating some wheat bread and brown rice here and there. The challenge is to cut out added sugar, because man, it's in EVERYTHING!

    I'm not sure if I'll go on it strictly as you guys have, since I run so much and have a hard time with the need for carbs. I may check out the book though, because it sounds like this plan is working for you guys!

    Also, food journals suck, but actually help a lot. Back when I was still losing weight, every time I started a food journal it really helped me balance my meals and plan out healthy ways to meet my daily requirements. Plus, you really learn what goes in your body that way! It sounds weird, but you really realize all the crap you can eat without really thinking about it. Especially for someone like me, who eats when she gets bored. :)

  3. Actually, with this diet, it's very repetitive and regimented. Keeping a food log is pretty useless after a while. Since crap isn't allowed, I don't eat it. It makes things pretty simple. Plus, I eat little to no processed food, so that makes it even easier. The only thing a food log would actually be useful for is to remind me to eat (because sometimes I forget when I'm busy).

  4. Yeah, I guess if you're not counting calories or measuring/restricting the amount of food you eat it wouldn't be very helpful. I find it's useful sometimes to help me remember that I've already eaten breakfast and two snacks, so I probably shouldn't pig out at lunch :) Portion control and me aren't real close!

  5. Interesting. I hadn't heard of this plan before, but it sounds doable. Might have to check it out. :)


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