As my journey for fat loss ever progresses, I’ve recently tried something new with decent results. Though as I will explain, it’s still too early to tell.
Twice now I’ve run into guys with my body style (big, stocky, broad, endomorphic) who have lost a staggeringly large amount of fat and now look fantastic. When I asked them how they did it, they both said, “Carb Nite.” (Just Google it.) After taking a look I decided to switch my current diet and exercise program to this, give it six months, and see what happens.
Carb Nite is a six-month diet designed by a bodybuilder and physicist specifically for endomorphic people like me who have trouble with insulin levels. I’ll explain more in a minute.
My problem is that I do lose weight, but it’s very painful. I get hungry often. I get cravings for carbs, sugar, and fat often. If I restrict calories, and I do, then I lose weight. If I screw up and cheat, even a teeny tiny bit, I gain it all back very quickly, then have to slowly lose it again, suffering all along the way.
I’ve lost 40 pounds doing this, but it’s been a painful and immensely frustrating journey. I’ve also gained back about 10 of those pounds, putting me at a net loss of 30. My weight is literally the only part of my life I don’t love.
None of the usual advice has helped. “Drink more water!” Did that, didn’t help. “Exercise more!” Did that, didn’t help. “Lift weights!” Did that, a lot. Didn’t help. “Make sure you get lots of sleep!” I get eight hours every night. Etc.
The only thing that helps is restricting calories in a Nazi-like manner 24/7/365, but that’s very hard for me to do and not something I have found to be consistently sustainable with my body and/or personality.
Even TRT didn’t help. It helped everything else, so it was definitely worth doing, but it didn’t help my fat loss at all, even when other men my age do report fat loss as a benefit. I took a thyroid test, hoping that was my problem. Nope. Levels are normal. (They are a little low, so just to rule it out I’m taking some thyroid supplements to boost those levels to see if it makes a difference.)
Stumbling on this Carb Nite thing, I think I may have found the problem: insulin.
When I normally diet, often I will eat sugar and carbs such as hot fudge sundaes, candy bars, and milkshakes. If I keep the total daily calories under my limits, I still lose weight, so it “works.” However, I’m spiking my insulin all over the place by doing this. This (apparently) causes me to be ravenously hungry all the time, making consistent calorie reduction damn near impossible, since I’m not Superman.
Here’s the interesting thing. Other men I know don’t have this problem. Other guys I know lose weight just fine while eating all kinds of crap, yet they don’t get ravenously hungry like I do. I could give you many examples of this but I’ll give you the latest one.
I know a guy who is in his late 40s (several years older than me) who woke up one morning and decided to lose weight. He started early last year. In less six months he lost 70 pounds. I was staggered. All he did was cut calories, but he still ate cheeseburgers, sandwiches, bagels, brownies, and all kinds of other crap. He doesn’t eat very much of that stuff, but he does eat it.
“Don’t you get hungry eating less calories?” I asked him.
“No,” he said with a shrug, “Not really. I mean sometimes, but not really.”
Completely the opposite of my experience.
Today he looks skinny and perfect. This is a man older than me, who exercises less than me, who eats more crap and spikes his insulin more than I do, and he lost 70 pounds with no problem while I’ve been struggling for years to lose just a net 30.
This tells me that his body doesn’t mind having insulin spiked all over the place, and mine does. I don’t see any other explanation.
Our bodies are indeed different. Instead of a big, broad, football player body like I have, he had more of the standard “skinnyfat” or “dad bod” body, where’s things are generally proportional but he always had a big fat belly that stuck way out (something I’ve never had).
I think there’s something to this. This is why some guys can lose body fat much faster and with far less effort than others. I could be wrong, but that’s where the evidence is pointing.
Anyway, I started the Carb Nite system on August 1st. You’re only allowed to do it for six months before you have to stop. Fortunately, if it works, I’ll only need it for about four months to lose the weight I want to lose.
It works like this:
- Eat all the protein you want.
- Eat all the fat you want as long as you keep saturated fat to manageable levels.
- Limit net carbs to less than 30 per day. “Net” means you can deduct the fiber content from the carbohydrate count.
- Never eat any sugar or any artificial sweeteners.
- Only eat just enough to stave off hunger.
- Once every 5-7 days, have a “Carb Nite” where you, on purpose, eat several servings of bad, high-glycemic carbs (like bread, pasta, doughnuts, etc) starting at about 5pm and going all the way to bedtime. Sugar is allowed during this time frame but artificial sweeteners should still be avoided. This Carb Night is required; i.e. you must do this even if you don’t want to.
This is all about insulin management. During the diet, your insulin levels are super low, since you’re not eating anything to spike them (carbs, sugar, and artificial sweeteners all spike insulin levels). The problem is that during the time after an insulin spike, the body goes into fat-burning mode, so it’s not like you never want any insulin spikes.
So the once a week Carb Nite spikes insulin sky-high for just one evening, then you bring it right back down to near-zero the next day, and keep it low. This means your body is in fat-burning mode for the next four days. Then you do another Carb Nite and repeat. As stated above, you don’t want to do this forever; you must go off the diet in six months or less.
My results so far have been promising. I’ve lost weight consistently. That’s nothing new. What is new is that I’m not hungry any more. If I do get a little hungry, I eat a small piece of cheese with some almonds, and I’m good to go. This not-being-hungry stuff has been nice.
On the downside, I’m not losing weight as quickly as I was on my other eating regimen. My rate of weekly fat loss has been slowed by almost 50%. Not fun, but one could argue that another reason I’ve had so much trouble is because I was trying to lose weight too quickly. That’s very possible.
I have no idea if this will work. If it works for three months consistently then I’ll sing it’s praises, but I’m not there yet. Plus I’ll likely be going to Asia for a month soon and I may have to pause (or at least modify) the diet while I’m gone; not sure yet.
I’ll keep you updated as to my results. I’m cautiously optimistic, as they say.