Whole 30: Fail.

I did not succeed at the whole 30.  I gained weight, and then became frustrated at how restrictive it was, and how it did not allow for cheating.  My mantra with diets has always been that it should be sustainable, and Whole 30 just isn’t.  All in all, I lasted three weeks.

My problems with Whole 30:

  1. It’s too restrictive.  It cuts out things that are healthy.  I understand this is to see if you have a problem with these foods, but I became convinced after two weeks that I did not have a problem with those foods.  As a bonus, when I feel restricted, I overeat and get really lazy.
  2. It’s not sustainable.  It’s not supposed to be sustainable, but it does not even seem to be leading to something sustainable.  You see people on R4D5 or whatever.  People use it as a diet, but just gain and lose the same pounds.  That’s not healthy physically or psychologically.

No, an eating plan should be something you want to do every day.  And fasting is that for me.  I am at a good point with how I look, but there is one problem… a bridesmaid dress I bought for a wedding in May does not fit!!  I could easily just buy a bigger size, but it seems to fit everywhere except my waist, and it is almost zipping.  I am convinced it would zip if I hadn’t had pancakes for breakfast this morning, that’s how close we are.

I plan on cutting back on carbs for a while, and if in a month it still doesn’t fit, I will get a new dress.  I always have these grand, cutting back on carbs plans that do not work.  So I am going to do the South Beach Diet, in addition to my fasting routine.  I did SBD in college and loved the food and the results, but my problem since has been these vague plans to do it again, or starting at phase 2.  No.  This time, I will start at phase 1 with the two weeks of eggs, eggs and more eggs and then go from there.  I really have no plans to buy a whole new wardrobe, so I am only going for a 5-pound loss.  If that doesn’t happen, or doesn’t get me into the dress, then I will get a new dress.  Period.


Whole 30 and fasting

I successfully fasted yesterday. As you recall from a previous post, I was up 4 pounds and was worried the trend would continue.  I did a 36-hour fast where I eat dinner one day and resume eating the next.  While I am not always good at keeping my dinners at 500 calories, I think fasting does more than create a calorie deficit for me on one day.  When I am fasting, I usually have less tolerance for over-eating at other meals.  It also just feels somewhat cleansing to have less salt and waste floating around in my body for a day.

Here are some observations I was able to make during my first fast on Whole 30:

  1. It was easier!  Intermittent fasting, for the past three years, has allowed me to eat whatever I want 80% of the time while maintaining my weight.  It is mentally freeing, because if I don’t want to, I don’t need to watch what I eat on five days of the week.  Because of that, I ate a lot of junk and I was a slave to cravings.  Especially on my fast days, I might eat at 5 or 6 pm, and then by bedtime I wanted a bag of M&Ms.  And sometimes I would have it.  Yesterday, I was at my boyfriend’s daughter’s volleyball tournament all day and did not get home until 7pm.  I was able to ward off some jitters with water and black coffee, and I was fine.  I had a whole 30-compliant 500 calorie meal and went to bed.  So, fewer cravings and I was able to keep from eating until quite late in the day.  It was a good fast day.
  2. I couldn’t use my normal fasting “tools.”  Another reason I’ve been feeling bad about the direction my health has gone since getting my weight under control with fasting is the crap I put into my body on fast days to distract myself from food.  I will chew a whole pack of sugar free gum and have two diet sodas to keep myself feeling full and satisfied until dinner time.  Since none of these are allowed on the Whole 30, I focused on taking in plenty of water, and had a cup of coffee later in the afternoon when I was feeling cold and a little antsy.  I know you are not supposed to drink coffee after noon, but I routinely break this rule to function.
  3. I slept really well.  Another problem with fasting for me has been sleep.  I will often have trouble falling asleep because I am hungry, or I will wake up in the middle of the night and need a snack to be able to sleep.  This has not impacted my weight significantly as far as I can tell (I am happy with where I am!) but it takes away from the true spirit of fasting.  I was behind on sleep because of work, and then had the all-day volleyball tournament, so I am happy to report I slept nearly 12 hours last night…that never happens!!

I will give it a few more fast days before I write about my insights on taking up fasting.  I generally think it is hard to start whole 30 and continue fasting–it was helpful that I gave it up for 2 weeks.  I also think people starting fasting for the first time ever may need to max out their weight loss on whole 30 first, as I was already maxed out on weight loss from fasting.  Slow and steady is really the name of the game.

Day 15: Weight gain

Well, school started again so I have had less time to post.  Also less time to think about cheating!

It’s been kind of a rough week, but I think I have turned a corner.  I had headaches for the first three days this week, I think just nerves about going back to school and learning to tolerate longer days.  Possibly some sort of diet phenomenon too.  As a result, I did not complete my running challenge.  I would say I ran only 3 of the planned 7.  Oops.  Part of that was because I went to the gym twice with a friend intending to run, but we ended up doing other things.  I did go to kickboxing twice.

I have a huge confession to make.  I weighed myself.  And I’m up about 3-4 pounds.  I have weighed myself a few times, actually, and my weight has varied but it is definitely not down or equal to my starting weight.  As a result, I am going to try and schedule in 2 fast days this coming week.  Probably one on Saturday (tomorrow) and one next Tuesday.  Right now it does not feel as restrictive to fast since I feel like I have discovered a wide array of food choices and do not feel limited.  I have done low carb diets before and was never really able to get below 142 on them (I am at 139 right now…) so I suspected this could happen without fasting.

You may argue that it’s too soon to tell.  While I am technically day 15, I had four days just before day 1 where I was compliant and just had a slip up on day 4.  So I think I am far enough into this thing to be a little freaked out about some weight gain.

Anyone else gain weight on the Whole 30?

Day 9:  Holy (subjective) hypoglycemia

Yesterday I got back to the town where I go to school and decided to really challenge myself:  kickboxing class and, because I had made that challenge to myself, I would run to that class.  Everything was going well with the run until I had to wait a long time  to cross a busy intersection.  As soon as I started up I felt a bit dizzy, then I started feeling weak, hot and hungry.  I ended up walking the last mile and going to the grocery store to get some water and bananas.  I felt much better by the end of the warm-up to class, so it ended up being ok.

This also happened nearly a week ago when I was running at my mom’s gym.  I took a bathroom break and BOOM! dizzy, warm, hungry.  It was a Sunday so the little cafe was not open and I had to pick the sunflower seeds and raisins out of a vending machine trail mix.

What happened?  My eating for the day had been bad, that’s what happened.  Yesterday, my dad, who is doing this with me, was all excited about a papaya he had bought and allowed to ripen, so we each had papaya with breakfast.  I couldn’t find any veggies laying around (my grocery shopping had lapsed since I was leaving) so I just had eggs and pulled pork with the papaya.  Then, during what would have been lunch I was driving back to school.  I almost forgot about lunch, but when I remembered I scarfed down about 3 cups of carrots (I know, I know…Costco…) and two packets of applesauce.  I really wasn’t hungry when I got home and thought I would be fine until after the gym…but I was wrong.  Almost as a premonition, earlier in the day I had driven by a shopping center that I knew had a cupcake place in it (I have never actually seen the cupcake place) and could not stop thinking about cupcakes for the rest of the day.

So to sum it up, I think it was the fruit that did me in.  I am feeling more stabilized with my cravings now (well, I was before yesterday) and I think I need to eat less fruit.  I would have a banana or apple with almond butter after my evening workouts during week 1 and I think I need to switch to something more protein-based now.  I am also going to stay away from white potatoes, because I can’t stop making hashbrowns.

Has anyone else had certain foods they seem to be overeating, or that are causing blood sugar swings or bad reactions?

Day 7: Heaviness and a new challenge

Well, nearly a full week in!  I am not having as many problems with “carb flu” as I was, I think because I am eating a Larabar before kickboxing (people frown on this, but I think eating it before a hard workout is good).  No cravings.

One thing I do feel is kind of heavy.  Not bloated (!!), but like my feet are magnetic.  Also, when I wake up in the morning I don’t feel ready to go, I feel like I could sleep longer and usually I can.  This is probably a good thing since I am usually a light sleeper.

Now that I am one week in, I’ve decided to try a challenge for one week.

Challenge 1:  Running

I like to run, but it kind of goes by the wayside in winter.  Last winter, I actually did run several times per week outside, because I was training for a marathon.  This winter, I haven’t been as good.

My challenge to myself will be, for the next seven days, to run six miles per day.  I will start today, because next Thursday I have to work from 6am-10pm, so will not exercise at all that day.

Check out the new recipe I cooked today!  Crockpot Thai Curry

Day 5: Mania and recipes

I had my first start on December 28.  I am on break from school, so things went pretty well with the cooking, but then New Year’s Eve hit.  I went to a birthday party with my boyfriend and did pretty well, sipping black coffee and eating a banana while he drank beer.

Afterwards we went to his house… and his kids had made all sorts of treats.  I think the moment I decided to cheat was when he showed me a chunk of blue cheese he was going to put on the steaks.  Two of his friends and two of my friends were coming over, and I knew refusing junk food on NYE would not be cool to them (I am not overweight, so….).

I ended up having: 2 beers, chips with taco dip, blue cheese and bananas foster crepes.  Needless to say, I felt SICK (this is not new, I always feel sick when I eat junk food).  It was not really worth it for the food experience, but probably for the social experience.  I justified it by reminding myself that initially I had planned on starting January 1.

But then I re-started on January 1.  And things have been going well since then.  The first go around I felt achy and foggy on Day 4, but this time I haven’t had much of that.  So I think the first four days were not a complete waste.  I have been eating a lot, and don’t really feel that I have lost any weight, but I realize that may not happen.  Over Christmas I re-started kickboxing and strength training through Farrell’s, a gym that is mainly in the Midwest.  Some days the kickboxing is harder than others, although I have found that if I have just eaten prior to going, I don’t get stomach aches like I do with regular food.

Goals check-in:

I am going to do a goals check-in every few days, just to be mindful of how I am progressing.

  1. Have more energy:  On Sunday, especially (2 days ago), I almost felt manic.  I had tons of energy and was in a great mood.  Yesterday I felt kind of slow, but still in a great mood.  So far, so good.
  2. Sleep better:  I have had two nights so far where I slept like a rock.  That usually only happens when I am very tired, and seeing as I have been on break since October, it has not been happening much.
  3. Get rid of flab:  Hard to tell since I have not been wearing work-out clothes very often.
  4. Decrease itching/sensitivity to certain fabrics: Has improved somewhat.  Not completely gone.


Recipe of the day:

Moroccan beef and sweet potato stew

Beef and sweet potato stew.jpg


How many of you are just starting the Whole 30?  What have some of your greatest struggles been so far?

Step 1: Pre-contemplation

As you can see, it is December 28, the time of year when most of the Christmas cookies have migrated to our thighs and the planning starts for reversing this.  Happily, yesterday I stepped on the scales and, although I felt 20 pounds heavier, my weight had not budged.  This is largely thanks to my 3 years of intermittent fasting.

But lately, I have been feeling like I could do more to feel better.  Last Spring, I joined a program that combines kickboxing with strength training six days per week, thinking that would up my energy level.  But, feeling very comfortable at my current weight and with my current eating plan, I did not change my diet as they recommended.   Things have gone downhill since then.  I am in my last year of grad school so have been traveling a lot interviewing for jobs. This wreaked havoc on my eating and my exercise routine, and I just returned to kickboxing after 3 months away.

Today, I have pimples on my face where I’ve never had them.  I am chronically itchy and it has gotten worse.  I am not sleeping well, and my energy is down.  I am generally against diets that seem short-term and unsustainable.  Especially for weight loss.  Given that I have the weight thing under control with fasting (my BMI is 20.5), I am prepared to strictly commit to the whole 30 plan for one month.  If it does make me feel better, I will continue it in whatever form I can sustain.  If not, I will return to fasting and somehow try and eat more fruits and vegetables (!!).

I will, over the next few days, try and make some changes just for the sake of being healthier and feeling better.  My plan is to start the plan in earnest on January 1 and be strict about it for 30 days.  I will post updates as I go, and hopefully share some good recipes.