Post-Whole30: lessons learned
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
I started Whole30 with a very long history of weighing, measuring, tracking, whole grains, counting steps…everything that's supposed to lead to weight loss success. And an equally long history of chiseling off a few pounds sometimes, but watching it come back despite my best efforts. I had my resting metabolic rate tested and knew as well as anyone could know that I was in calorie deficit somewhere north of nine days out of 10 (and no, the 10th wasn't a binge). I tried eating more; I tried eating less. I'm on thyroid meds. I was doing everything as right as I knew how to do, and doing it consistently. And yet…I put on four to six pounds, depending on the day, from mid-February to early June. For no reason I could discern.
On Whole30, I tracked for a couple of days out of curiosity but stopped doing it because I didn't want to enter all those recipes into the tracker. Instead, I followed the Whole30 meal template of certain quantities of protein, fat, and vegetables at every meal, enough to keep me full till the next meal. And they're not skimpy portions - I weighed my food sometimes to be sure I was getting enough, and ate far more fat that I've done since I tried Atkins (and lost three pounds in 4 1/2 months). Avocados, loads of olives, spoonsful of almond butter. As long as I had a decent breakfast I was rarely hungry and I certainly wasn't being deprived. And while the pounds didn't melt off, a couple of inches did, and I didn't gain any weight. One more time, so I get it through my head, I ate plenty of food with plenty of fat and didn't gain any weight.
So what have I learned?
First, fat isn't the enemy. Enough with the fat-free everything. That doesn't mean I have bacon every day, but it means I might cook in a little olive oil rather than cooking spray. I wouldn't have dreamt of that before.
Second, I must, I must, break up with the attachment to simple calories in vs. calories out. It just doesn't work for me. I don't mean I can't stick to it; I mean I stick to it and it doesn't work. Even so, that's so ingrained that it's tough to let go of. But not only is it futile; following all the rules and having nothing to show for it gives me feelings of frustration and failure, and despair over the unfairness of it all when I read the success stories of others. I worked just as hard to lose five pounds in a year on Weight Watchers as others did to lose 50. I have to stop putting myself through that. Sure I can eat a bit more on workout day than on lazy day, but that's a far cry from constant calculations.
Third, I need to pay more attention to my body's signals. Someone else's chart doesn't dictate what my body needs. Maybe, maybe, I'm better off eating till I'm full rather than till I've had some certain number of calories. Just enough whole nutritious real food to sustain me for 4-5 hours, and then do it again. I don't need to stuff myself to make that happen
I still have most of the reintroduction phase to go through. I had some stomach upset with dairy so I'll have to try that one again, maybe more slowly. I really want to add most of those foods back into my diet, don't want to make this a Whole365, but I have some new ideas to add in too.