The Diet Hack (SOW)

What would a book called The Diet Hack be without a brand-new diet? Well, here’s a little something that I’ve been playing with for a couple years. This diet was hatched one afternoon while I was camping with an old friend who was struggling with his weight. He wasn’t big on computers or organized dieting. I said to him, “Mac, if you’d just avoid sugar, oil, and wheat you would probably lose weight.” We then spent several days discussing it and came up with the acronym “SOW” as a quick reminder of what not to eat. I saw Mac a year later and he’d lost a good 50 pounds and looked great. He gave me a thumbs-up and said one word, “SOW.” Since then, I’ve put dozens of people on a similar trajectory and they all lose weight. If you need to lose weight, give it a try.

Tim Steele’s Diet Hack…Lose 20 pounds in 30 Days (maybe)!


Sleep and Stress

On the Diet Hack, you’re encouraged to:

  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night in a sleep-friendly environment.
  • Omit alcohol/cannabis completely during the first three months.
  • Worry less.

Keep Some Logs

Daily Logs

  • Using MyFitnessPal’s free trackers, log your daily food intake, exercise, and weight.
  • Optional: Using a large wall calendar, place an “X” on every day that you exercised and ate according to plan.

Monthly Logs (Using a piece of paper and pencil or computer spreadsheet)

  • Record your waist measurement.
  • Record your weight. Indicate change from previous month.
  • Make notes of weights used in strength training and speed/duration of aerobics workouts, average walking, etc.
  • Optional: Record the number of “X’s” from your calendar.
  • Optional: Record your average hours of sleep for the month.

Yearly Logs

  • Record weight and waist measurement.
  • Keep records of medications, blood lab reports, doctor visits, and any illnesses through the year.
  • Develop a plan for the following year.

Get Support

  • Join the forum at MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, FitDay, or any you prefer.
  • Start a thread called “Tim Steele’s Diet Hack Results”
  • Discuss your amazing weight loss and fitness gains.
  • Help others to lose weight by SOWing the seeds of weight loss success.
  • Optional: If you are anti-computer, find some other people to join you on this journey. Spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, co-workers are all good support options.

Wouldn’t this make an awesome book? The free infographics write themselves. I can already see a need for calendars, weight logs, fitness logs, apps, shirts, cookbooks, and maybe even home-delivered SOW-free Chow. Until then, just enjoy this free preview.

Sugar, Oil, Wheat

Avoiding SOW will help you sow the seeds of successful weight loss. SOW stands for sugar, oil, and wheat. The Diet Hack doesn’t limit real food, just processed food that contains SOW. Avoiding these easily identifiable ingredients is easier than trying to adhere to a list of allowable foods. Eat what you want with the Diet Hack, just don’t eat SOW.

Ultra-processed foods nearly all contain a mixture of SOW. These three cheap ingredients form the basis of 90% of the worst foods in the world (Kearny, 2010). If you are eating the Western diet, undoubtedly most of what you eat contains sugar, oil, and/or wheat. To sow3make food out of SOW, all the tricks of ultra-processing are used. These foods also contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, emulsifiers, and other chemicals used to turn tasteless ingredients into addictive, shelf-stable food. This processing destroys any nutritive qualities of the food and destroys gut integrity of those who eat the food.

By comparison to the Western diet, the Diet Hack is filled with vegetables, fruits, fungi, fermented food, whole grains, potatoes, legumes, fish, poultry, eggs, honey, and contains moderate amounts of red meat, healthy oils, bread, and alcoholic beverages. What yousow5 won’t find is ultra-processed food that contains a mixture of SOW. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are intertwined with the Diet Hack.

The Diet Hack ensures adequate protein to prevent loss of muscle and lean body mass. There’s a once-a-week “cheat meal” to keep the metabolism from slowing down during the caloric restriction phase.


The Diet Hack is as real as any diet, and better than most. Try it as outlined. It combines elements of Wheat Belly, McDougall’s Starch Solution, The Case Against Sugar, and the Mediterranean Diet. This diet removes the three worst offenders of the Western diet, but lets you add them back as long as they don’t contain SOW (ie. Krispy Kreme donuts, Wonder bread, and thousands of other Western diet staples). Avoiding this specific combination will help you avoid 90% of the worst foods on earth. This combination, especially when prepared with emulsifiers, chemicals, and refined beyond recognition, is highly inflammatory and damages the immune system and gut. Removing this unholy trio will result in rapid weight loss as the body rids itself of excess water and fat. A long-term diet devoid of Western staples will result in a return to good health and lasting weight loss. Extra protein and periodic cheat days will ensure metabolic success. You have my money-back guarantee! It’s even keto-compatible.

[References under construction]

5 thoughts on “The Diet Hack (SOW)

  1. Questions questions! Butter? Is this ‘oil’? Sugar? Refined only? Honey? Dates? Date or coconut sugar? And I am coeliac (doctor diagnosed), so I don’t eat wheat but I assume g-f processed food to treat as wheat?
    Thank you Tim, I ah e the Potato Hack and have had great success, I have the diet hack on order. I want to learn to maintain without resorting to a potato hack every couple of months!


    1. Hi Kit! I think if you look at the NOVA food charts I write about in the book (seen here: ) you will understand where I’m coming from. Category 4 is the most troubling, and most of us eat about 90% from this group daily. For the most part, butter, sugar, and wheat are not bad on their own, but when the food processing factories get hold of them, they produce the worst foods in the world. So best to avoid sugars, oils, and wheat when combined into a processed food, maybe as occasional treat, but not daily eating e.g. white bread, cake, cookies, etc.. And yes, gluten free treat of the same processing just as bad.

      One reason many diets fail to work is that they promise “no calorie counting.” I do not believe this is possible for weight loss, but for weight maintenance you should not be counting calories like crazy.

      Thanks for your interest!
      I’m thinking maybe I’ll start a closed Facebook group once the book is out to discuss things like this if there’s enough interest.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi there!

        Thank you SO much for your first book. I have found my holy grail and it’s shaped like a potato!

        Are you still planning a facebook group for Hackers? That would be fabulous!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi, Tim, the other Kit here. I think the problem with processed food probably has more to do with what it’s replacing…fiber filled foods. I don’t know anyone that makes sure to still eat their veggies and fruits along with their junk foods. I don’t think the French paradox is a paradox at all. They can eat their white bread, chocolate, butter, cream, wine, etc., and still maintain their weight because they still eat a lot of fiber rich fruits and veggies. From what I understand, the current generation is losing that “paradox” magic as they move away from the traditional French way of eating, and replace it with more processed food and less fruits and veggies. As we now know, keeping those gut bugs happy, and enabling them to do their job properly, has a lot to do with what we eat as a whole.


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