Carb Nite and other low carb dieting Tips


I’ve written about my experience on Carb Nite along side with some follow up results blog posts.  My wife and I did this together and it worked amazingly for my wife and I.  I wanted to write a post about some dieting tips on how to do Carb Nite diet along with some common mistakes that clients of mine struggle with.

What is Carb Nite? Carb Nite is an ultra low carb diet that was originally designed to be a short term crash diet by the author.  For 9 days you limit your carbohydrate intake to 30 grams per day.  On the 10th day, in the evening, you’re allowed a high carb splurge. This cheat evening consist of an early supper , a late dinner and dessert.  It’s called Carb Nite because you don’t start pounding away the carbs until after 4pm.  After this 10 day period your Carb Nites are spaced out approximately once per week.

It sounds simple doesn’t it? If you’ve done any dieting in the past you’ve probably tinkered around with diets similar to this.  However, there are some common pitfalls that either slow progress or cause some people to make very little progress.  I’ll list a few and give some remedies for how to prevent these common pitfalls.

When the book says take in 30 grams a day it means that this is the limit.  It is very easy to take in way too many carbs simply because of where you buy the food.  These days a lot of people don’t cook and prepare their meals from scratch.  Many of us eat out, and even though you have a “low carb salad” you may find yourself going over your limit by having a few too many cherry tomatoes as well as not reazling how many servings of the dressing that is used. A lot of the low fat dressings have roughly 7-10g of carbs, and sometimes when you order a salad they may put 2-3 servings.  A good practice that my clients use is simple as just having them put the dressing on the side and all you have to do is portion out a serving manually.

Going overboard on dairy is another common mistake.  Unless you have a history of tolerating dairy well, I recommend most clients to stay away from it completely in the beginning.  For some people, dairy can increase your appetite which will lead to overeating.

Overeating is the next obvious pitfall.  Unless you’re eating a lot of whole foods and foods that have minimal processing, it can be very easy to overeat.  You may have heard that calories don’t matter when on a low carb diet.  This is true for most people but not everybody.  To guarantee your results its best that you’re cautious about how much you eat.  Many of the “low carb” foods are very tasty which will either caused you to over eat that food, or just heighten your appetite for the day which will lead to over eating.

Not getting a good mix of fat and protein can lead to headaches or the dreaded “ketogenic flu” or keto flu.  The symptoms are a killer headache and lot of fatigue.  This occurs because your body is getting adjusted to not having enough carbs so the source it will try to use is fat. If your fat intake is too low your body will have trouble supplying enough energy before it can adjust.  Don’t be afraid of fat, just make sure to keep your saturated fat in check.  Sources like avocados, olive oil and coconut oil are good sources.

You can still have your steak and other fatty cuts of meat; you just have make sure that your only source of fat doesn’t comes from animal sources.  Coconut oil is a common “go to” because it consist of MCTs, which is a type of fat that your body can break down quickly and use it for energy.  Other fatty acids (that’s what fat is broken down in to) take longer to break down and by the time you get that keto flu headache, it can be too late before symptoms are relieved.

Lastly, journal your food and make sure you know how much carbs each food you eat has.  Educating yourself on the macronutrient break down of each food will go a long way to make sure you eat the right foods as well as stay on track when following carb nite or any low carb diet  you attempt.

The Carb Nite Solution was developed by John Kiefer, owner of Dangerously Hardcore website.  He is also the originator of the Carb Back Loading Program.

Let’s Face it, Weight Loss is Difficult

[mini rant]

Let’s face it, weight loss is difficult.  There will be times where you will get a very quick loss in weight in a single week, but usually after, that weight loss slows and then almost eventually stops.  It’s nearly impossible to keep losing more than 3 pounds per week.  Heck, it’s hard to lose a single pound in a week sometimes.  You have to realize that any quick drop in weight is usually mostly due loss in water.  Of course some of that weight is fat, but if you lose 7-10lbs in a week it’s because you dropped a lot of water.

If you want to keep losing weight at such fast rate, you have to realize that it just isn’t possible.

Anyone that tries sell you on weight loss being easy is bullshitting you (and trying to get you to buy something).

The only circumstance where weight loss is very fast is because you’re already very fat.  When I say fat, I mean 50+ pounds overweight.

What about those people in magazines and commercials that have had an amazing transformation in a short period of time? Under most circumstances those advertisements are very much exaggerated.

Weight loss in a nutshell is hard work.  You have to watch your caloric intake, eat according to your goal and consider your specific circumstance.  You have to bust your ass and stay disciplined to get results.

Yes, sometimes it’s easier for some and harder for others – but face it, it is work.  Even if you get a personal trainer, it’s still going to be a lot of work.  Personally for me, the Carb Nite Solution and Carb Backloading have been working well, but it’s still not easy.  When you’re trying to reach a level of leanness you haven’t been in a while, it’s simply going to take some time.

So make sure you’re doing all the right things and stay discipline with those things.  The results will come.

Carb Nite Week Two: Eating junk with Ryan

It’s been 16 days on the Carb Nite Solution and it’s been pretty fun.  My wife and I have been doing the diet together and our Carb Nites have basically become our date nights. The basics of the diet are as follows: 30g of carbs a day, then one night a week we get to go all out on our favorite treats of carbs.

Carb Nite #1

(I ate about half of the pizza)


I started at 192lbs and 16.17% body fat (measurement taken by Mark) and 14 days later dropped to 187.8lbs @ 14.9% bodyfat. Three pounds of pure body fat in 14 days isn’t too bad.

Those 14 days consisted of one carb nite as our next ‘pig out’ session wasn’t scheduled until the next day.  One of the things I like about the program is the flexibility with what day carb nite is.  One of the rules is “never have carb nite sooner than your fifth night after your last one.”  This allows for some wiggle room, so that if we have a social event planned we can move our carb nite a day later or a day sooner.

Carb Nite #2

(I ate 4 donuts, maybe 5)


About Pigging out

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about carb nite.  If you decide to devour an entire cheesecake, eat a gallon of ice cream and scoop out a jar of mayo and put it on your sand which – you’re probably not going to have much success with the plan.

Another way you want to look at it: on carb nite you get two cheat meals.  An example would be at 4pm have some sweet potato fries with dipping sauce then at 8pm have 4 slices of pizza and some garlic bread. Then for desert, a Pizookie.

A Pazookie is an oversized cookie served at BJ’s Resturant

On Carb nites, I’ve been making an effort to make sure I hit the weights pretty hard early in the day so that my body gets the benefits of Carb Back Loading.  Carb Back loading is the next thing I’m going to try after getting down to a low enough body fat percentage. Carb back loading  works off of an evolved concept of what Carb nite is based on.  Essentially, you go low carb all day, then train hard at 4pm, then have some high glycemic post workout carbs.  You follow that up with some sort of carb nite. Think of it as having 2 cheat meals later in the evening.  I know, it sounds too good to be true. It’s hard to imagine working out super hard then eating pizza or a hamburger and fries.  Keifer suggests pastries for later evening to get an insulin spike.  However, there have been a lot of people getting great results from back loading.

Counting Calories

I keep an informal nutrition and training journal on the forums at Dangerously Hardcore’s website.  If there’s anything that’s been pretty awesome, it’s I’ve become part of this community that’s been pretty helpful with some of the questions I’ve had about carb nite and carb back loading.

There really isn’t much need to count calories because of the nature of the diet.  When you eat low carb, your stuck with eating lots of protein and lots of fat.  Eating foods high in protein and fat are very satiating, which makes it difficult to over eat.

It makes it difficult to over eat, but not impossible.  If you find a loop hole you will probably fail.  As I said about pigging out – it’s very possible to over eat.  It’s possible to over eat foods like nuts and cheeses.  If you love mayonnaise, it’s quite easy to over do that too, especially if your the type of person that can eat it like pudding.

Weight Fluctuation

In case you don’t know, when you do a low carb diet, you lose a lot of water. When you break your low carb state you get a rush of water in your body.  This will result in weight gain.  I went from 192 to 186 in a week  (this was on day 9) then after our first carb nite (day 10) I went back up to 191 the next day.  I knew this would happen, weight fluctuations due to water retention changes is common because carbohydrates (and salt too) have a large influence on how much water your body retains.  On my 14th day I weighed in at 187.8lbs.  Today I’m back up 192lbs (my carb night was yesterday, day 13).  If I based my results on weight loss I would go crazy, but I’m leaner, so the weight after carb night doesn’t matter so much (just as long as it goes back down after a 2 or 3 days).

Over the course of the next week I will start tightening my nutrition so that I can accurately calculate my macro nutrients.  When I get this motivated my OCD kicks in.  Its good in some ways bad in others.  I can tell I’m getting motivated because I’m tempted to do cardio – but I promise I won’t do it.  Cardio usually leads me to over training and I simply just don’t have the time for it.  Well, I could fit in some cardio time, but I  would have to cut back on my weight training time.  In 2 more weeks I will be doing a 30 day photo.

More updates to come soon.

3/13/13 Update:

My wife has recently been doing the paleo diet and she shares her opinions about carb nite. Although she’s on the paleo diet, she recently switch to carb nite so that she can plan for some cheat days. Here’ blog at Paleo Lifetyle.

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