Monday, August 19, 2013

High protein, low-carb diet plan

A few weeks back my co-worker mentioned he was going to start a high protein, low-carb diet.  I said "what the heck, I'll do it with you!" because I know it's easier when you have support and someone doing the same thing you're trying to do.

First off, a bit about my dieting background.  Basically, I'm a horrible dieter.  In the past, I've tried South Beach and Jenny Craig 2-3 different times.  I had like zero success on South Beach - with Jenny I had success, but the program (and food) are super expensive.

Now, I'm not ridiculously overweight - according to the BMI chart for my height (5'5") I should weigh somewhere between 115-145 to be in the normal zone.  Before starting this diet I weighed 150 lbs - the main reason I was at that weight was due to having my son and never being able to figure out how to balance eating right & working out since he came along.  When I got pregnant I weighed about 135 lbs - so compared to some mamas only holding onto 15 lbs wasn't so bad, but I knew I would feel better and enjoy life more if it was gone.  My original goal when I started this diet was to get back to 135, but since it's been going so well, my new goal is 130 - smack in the middle of my healthy BMI zone.  If it goes REALLY well, then I may try to knock another 5 lbs off after that as room to "float" between weights.

Some background on my eating history - I'm generally an everything in moderation kind of girl, though I will admit my Italian genes get the best of me sometimes because I LOVE pasta (and basically any dessert ever invented).  I also had a really bad soda habit (like REALLY bad) as I was drinking 3-4 Mountain Dews a day when I started.  Honestly my bad soda habit was another reason I was motivated to try this diet - I "knew" I was basically putting poison in my body every time I drank one, but I just couldn't seem to help it.  I thought I needed the caffeine to get through the day - turns out, I was wrong.

And FINALLY - my results thus far: it's been 3 weeks since I started this diet and I've lost 8 lbs, my goal is 10 lbs in a month, which will be the best dieting results I've ever seen on any diet.  I will keep you apprised as I continue on my dieting journey and when I (hopefully) reach my goal.

My reasoning as to why this diet works - with a lot of diets you can have things "in moderation" - that often leads to trouble because you're simply not satisfied.  With this diet, there is none of that - there is only "don't eat/drink that" and then "now eat as much of this stuff as you want".  Now this may sound even more difficult to accomplish, but surprisingly it wasn't (for me anyways) - it was easier to give something up completely then to be "allowed" to have a smidge of the amount I would normally eat.  This has also allowed my body to detox and honestly now when I have a small bite of something I shouldn't, I really don't want any more (usually because it's something processed).  I will admit - you do need to have decent willpower over yourself and what you put in your body.  If you don't, you will not be successful.  I still have to buy snacks, bread, chips, rice & pasta in my house because I'm feeding others - BUT I don't eat any of it (not yet anyways... you'll see, once you reach your goal, you can start reintroducing items).

Ok so the diet itself - my co-worker and I are using the following book: Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet: A Weight Loss Plan for Real Women

The basic premise is high protein, low/no carb, no sugar, no caffeine ... and yes, no alcohol (but only for the first 2 weeks).  Don't be discouraged about the no sugar thing - see my post (COMING SOON!) on these yummy no carb/low sugar desserts I've made (and eaten!) while on this diet.

The diet starts out by recommending a lot of supplements mainly because during the first two weeks your body will be detoxing - I'm not going to lie, yes - you will feel it.  Your energy levels will wan a bit and, if you're like me, you may get horrible headaches for 3-4 days.  This is your body purging all that sugar/caffeine you've been constantly putting it for however many years.  The only supplements I'm taking are: a good multivitamin or prenatal, fiber pills and whey protein powder (start with 2 lbs to find a flavor you like, I also add 3-4 ice cubes to mine to froth it up a bit - more milkshake like).  I have a new love of protein shakes, they're yummy and very filling - they're great for me too because I generally just don't like having a glass of milk (I'm using a chocolate flavor and my shakes taste like malt shakes, so yummy!).

The hardest part of the diet for me thus far has been the 3-4 days of horrible headaches I had while my body was detoxing.  I powered through it and honestly, that has been some of the biggest motivation for me not to cheat on the diet - I know one soda or one cupcake and I may have to go through a few days of that again when I get back on track - yea ... no thanks.  Since I started this diet 3 weeks ago I have only had water (flavored with Crystal Light) or milk (with my protein shakes) to drink.  That's it.  At work we have free soda for employees, but it hasn't been that hard for me to avoid it - I keep a two quart jug in the non-soda fridge and keep it full of Crystal Light.  After I lose a few more pounds, I'm going to start trying water infusions of natural fruits to wean myself off the Crystal Light (which is also all fake), but I just don't like plain water much.

Ok - so now you're like "c'mon get to the good part!" - well here is "the plan" more or less for the first two weeks.  If I see comments below that it's working for people, I'll add a post on what to do after the first two weeks.  For the most part, I'm sticking to the original two week plan until I more or less hit goal.  After two weeks you're supposed to start re-introducing items into your diet again now that you've detoxed your body - but I'd prefer not to hit a plateau until I'm closer to goal.

So here's what NOT to have in your home (if you can help it - however DO NOT eat any of these items):

  • Cookies and chocolate bars
  • Any cold drink that isn't water
  • Any hot drink that isn't decaf tea or coffee - or herbal tea
  • Anything containing sugar (check the label - weird things contain sugar like mayo and balsamic vinegar)
  • All pasta
  • All potatoes and potato-based products including those containing potato flour (which is found in frozen meals)
  • Anything containing wheat (i.e. flour) whether it's sweet or savory
  • Any oil that isn't olive or peanut
  • Any fruit (just for the first two weeks - to eliminate sugar from your body)
  • Any legumes (lentils, chickpeas and the like)
OK - here you go, this is what you CAN eat (and eat as much as you want!):
  • Meat - any kind including roasts, ham, bacon, pastrami, salami, steak, chicken, sausages (quality only, cheap ones all full of bready fillers).  Check that bacon isn't cured with sugar.
  • Eggs - the book says organic free range eggs only, but I've been eating regular eggs
  • Fish - any kind you like, in whatever format (this includes canned tuna)
  • Mayo (just make sure it's not loaded with sugar)
  • Olive oil & peanut oil - hazelnut oil too!
  • Whatever vinegar you like aside from balsamic
  • Peanut butter with no added sugar - again book stresses organic, but I use JIF
  • Heavy cream (yes, for real!)
  • Butter (again, yes for real!)
  • Herbs and spices
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • Nuts - any kind provided they're natural with no added sugar; however if you have a habit of putting an entire jar of nuts away in one sitting - skip the nuts
  • Any vegetables you like - excluding potatoes, carrots, corn and peas (too carby at this stage).  The best vegetables for the diet (and in general) are green, leafy ones.  Also, eat onions in moderation.
  • Avocados
  • Lemons & limes
  • All sorts of cheese
  • Mineral water - or any kind of water
LASTLY - do not buy low-carb products, no bars, no shakes - nothing.

Diet day 1:
  • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning after you've pooed (if you need to)
  • Take measurements (I skipped this step)
  • Now go!
Golden rules:
  • Drink at least 8 large glasses of water a day.
  • You must have breakfast, lunch & dinner.
  • Eat a combination of good fats & protein at every meal.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking that "dieting" means "low-fat".
  • Have a couple of handfuls of salad leaves or other leafy green veg every day.
  • Get off your backside at least once a day (more below).
  • Take your supplements (I'm kind of meh on this point).
  • Only weigh yourself once a week (if I'm honest, I do it daily, but only count Sunday's weigh in as weight lost - I don't care about fluctuations in ounces).
  • Use a tape measure as well as the scale
It's that easy - you're not restricted on the amount of food you intake as long as it's from the above list of approved items.  Honestly, I'm pretty sure my stomach has shrunk because I don't eat nearly as much as I used to and protein seems to keep me fuller, longer.  

Last note: exercise is necessary.  I'm not talking 2 hours at the gym everyday, but 30 minutes of speed walking around your neighborhood at least 5x a week isn't completely un-doable (especially if you have kids or a dog).  The protein in your body will help you loose weight even more quickly if you can get your heart rate going.  I've been either going for a light (less than 1 mile) jog around my neighborhood or throwing my 27 lb son in his Ergo baby carrier and power walking the same distance.  In 2 days with following the diet and taking a walk with my son, I lost 1.5 lbs.  Yes, I am in love with this diet.

Since the list may make it seem kind of hard to figure out what to eat, I am including a sample "week" below of what I've been eating, I like to mix it up.

Sorry for the longest post in the history of blogging, but I've had people asking me how I'm doing it - well this is how.  If you give it a try - please let me know how it goes for you!!  Feel free to share this post with your friends.

  • Breakfast: protein shake
  • Lunch: sandwich meat & cheese - I roll them so they look kind of like cheese sticks.  I use a variety: turkey, ham, salami and I love muenster cheese.
  • Snack: handful of almonds
  • Dinner: taco salad (beef, seasoning, lettuce, tomato, cheese)
  • Water intake: 8-12 glasses everyday (water will help keep you full!)
  • Breakfast: two scrambled eggs with cheese & 2 sausage links
  • Lunch: cheeseburger (no bun) and side salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cheese)
  • Dinner: artichoke chicken (baked chicken with rosemary seasoning topped with artichokes & Parmesan cheese) and green bean casserole
  • Dessert: protein shake (hey - they taste like malt shakes, why not?)
  • Breakfast: protein shake
  • Lunch: leftovers from dinner from either Mon/Tues
  • Snack: handful of almonds
  • Dinner: beef casserole (no noddles for me) - beef stew chunks, mushrooms, onion soup, can of cream of mushroom soup in crockpot for 7-8 hours - I cook egg noodles for my boys, but I just eat the beef stew straight.
  • Dessert: slice of carb free pumpkin/praline pie
  • Breakfast: two scrambled eggs with cheese & 2 slices bacon
  • Lunch: sandwich meat & cheese
  • Snack: handful of almonds
  • Dinner: beef kabobs - sirloin beef, onion, green pepper, cherry tomatoes - I made a side of rice for my boys and I just ate a kabob
  • Breakfast: protein shake
  • Lunch: I splurged and went to TGI Fridays - ordered a cheeseburger (no bun) and a side of broccoli, yummy!
  • Dinner: Baked chicken breast with seasoning and green bean casserole (I made a big batch on Sunday to use as a side whenever I needed one)
  • Dessert: Low-carb cheesecake
I would recommend not introducing these fun, low-carb desserts until after the two week detox window.  It's really not as hard as it sounds.  When I'm in a pinch and craving something sweet at home, I honestly usually have a chocolate protein shake and that takes care of it (I wasn't kidding when I said they were yummy) - I get my chocolate fix.  If I'm hungry and my eyes are grazing to what's "easy" because I don't feel like cooking something, I'll usually have a cheesestick or a hotdog with ketchup (make sure low sugar) - I buy the higher end angus beef hotdogs, not the ones full of filler.  You can do this.  Have the supplies in your fridge and pre-cook or pre-prepare - it really helps you stay on track.  On Sunday, I made a batch of green bean casserole to last me through the week and sometimes I just heated up a bowl of that as a snack because it was quick.  It helps to have stuff readily available when you just want a small snack (because that's when you can get into trouble).

Wishing you all the best of luck!!!  Let me know how it goes!


  1. You have a great plan! Good-Luck! I know you can do it :)

  2. Wow... I love this idea... we follow a lot of those rules already, so sounds like it is something I could conform to...

  3. Well a protein shake for breakfast is a great idea for making sure you have that meal.

    I think I'm like you in that I'd rather not have something at all rather than be permitted little tastes of it. The latter would make me feel deprived.

  4. Hi,do you remember what sort of protein shake you had for breakfast?