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Hi everyone.

Today is day four of my first Whole30. Just a little background on me... I was a vegetarian for almost 20 years (many of those vegan), then started eating meat a little over four years ago after discovering I have celiac. I have been overweight my entire adult life (ever since using depo-provera from age 17-19), other than a few months last year when I used hcg to drop weight before my wedding.

Years of minimal protein, combined with tons of low-fat, low-calorie dieting totally destroyed my metabolism and I'm finally trying to undo the damage. My fasting blood glucose hovers around 110 and I know I've got metabolic syndrome. Over the past few years, I've had some success on very low carb diets, but find them very difficult to stick to long-term (I'm usually great for a while, then cheat every few weeks).

I feel like I've gotten to a point though, that the smallest amount of carbs will either stall my weight loss or even make me gain, not to mention raise my blood sugar. As a result, I've become incredibly carb-phobic. I really want to use this month to develop a healthier relationship toward eating, but I'm really scared of adding in fruit or starchy veggies. I feel like I'm currently at an Atkins induction level of carbs though, and I'm not sure that that's the healthiest way to be eating either.

Has anyone else had experience with these kinds of issues? Did you add in more carbs or leave them out? Did your body finally adjust to starchy veggies, or did you totally stall out and watch your blood sugar sky rocket? As much as I'd love to lose some weight (I probably need to drop at least 30 pounds) what really concerns me is the metabolic syndrome. My mom is Type II diabetic and I feel like I've been watching myself slowly slide into it too which really scares the crap out of me.

Any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated!!!

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Your story is similar to mine. .

I've learned which starchy/sweet plant foods work for me. White potatoes are out. So are certain fruits, like bananas, although I have eaten a few while doing Whole30. I can eat sweet potatoes and root veggies a few times a week just fine. Although it is only day 27 for me, I know I have lost weight by the way my clothes fit. First time in a while.

For me, rotating foods and moderation is the key. I don't eat sweet potatoes every day, and I don't eat more than one starchy plant in one day - if I can help it. Some days get crazy and I may forget.

My advice to you is to follow the Whole30 plan exactly the way it is laid out. Don't worry about carbs. In fact, don't even call those starchy vegs carbs, just regard them as good healthy foods that you eat in moderation.

Think about it this way. Sweet potatoes and other root veggies take a while to cook. Hunter gatherers really wanted to eat stuff that didn't take too much prep, because they liked to travel a lot. So, once in a while, they had a sweet potato or a rutabaga, but they mostly ate green plants and meat. We can apply that same principle to our lives. If we eat lots of greens, proteins, and good fats most of the time, and eat a moderate amount of starchy veg and fruit, then things should go well. If you haven't already, I highy recommend you read It Starts With Food.

I wish you the best!

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You have my sympathies. I'm not severely overweight, but my body clings to the excess fat like nobody's business and I'm permanently stuck in the 'last 10 pounds' limbo!

It's incredibly hard finding the balance between a low-carb leanness campaign and becoming obsessed with the macronutrient breakdown of your foods.

I would agree with Adagio - learn to think in terms of food and meals instead of carb, fat and protein percentages. Following the paleo way automatically puts a stop to the really insidious carbs (grains, sugars, white potatoes), and as long as you follow the plan set out in It Starts With Food you won't be eating "too many" carbs anyway.

If you do need a plan, though, the one I'm following is only buying sweet potatoes and berries at weekends. That way I cycle in regular intake of healthy starch and fibre-filled fruit, but I don't have to stress about intaking too much and stalling weight loss.

Can't speak for how successful my plan is yet, as I've only started, but I have found that even a little bit of carbs once a week has really helped my energy levels. Of course, it goes without saying that if you continue low-carbing you should not be partaking in regular high-intensity exercise, but a weekly carb boost helps me get my low-intensity walks and yoga classes in without feeling zoned out!

Lastly - while I'm only a bit slimmer than when I started the Whole 9 way, I just FEEL better about it. I don't see podgy in the mirror anymore, I see a well-nourished body and I look damn good! If you're struggling with body issues, just remember this mantra:

How to get a bikini body:

1. Don bikini

2. Done

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Thanks for the replies!

I know you're both right... I really need to get over the hang-ups and recognize that sweet potatoes are not the same thing as white bread. ice cream, etc. I am reading ISWF. I'm about halfway through, so hopefully a lot of my questions are still to be answered. I read like a fiend so I'll probably be through it this weekend.

I was thinking about things a lot last night and I think you're both right about having to find what works best for me. I know I tend to go overboard on fruit, so starting with sweet potatoes is probably the way to go. Like Adiago suggested, I think I'll try them a few days a week and see how I feel.

I think I like EllieBellie's suggestion of fruit on the weekend. Maybe I'll try buying a small amount and having it once a week. I know I don't do well with things like bananas either, but I'm typically better with strawberries or cherries in small amounts. The trick for me is just to buy a little at a time... It's not like I go on a sugar-induced feeding frenzy with fruit, but if I have it in the house I'll continue to eat it instead of other things.

I think not weighing myself for an entire month will help as well. I do tend to obsess over the scale, so maybe not seeing the small daily fluctuations will help me get over my fear of carbs. If I'm able to incorporate foods containing them in small amounts and still lose weight over 30 days, I know that will go a long way toward helping me get over it.

Thanks again for the advice! It's great to have such a supportive community here!

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In addition to what everybody above me said, I also want to reiterate that it's REALLY hard to eat a lot of carbohydrates when you're eating real food. A large sweet potato? It's only 25g of carbohydrates.

I'm a taller/larger female (5'8"/170ish) that can EAT and even I struggle to finish one of those in a sitting. When I'm in a really high volume weightlifting cycle, I try to get over 100g/day, and it is HARD. I'll think I'm doing so so well, and then do a mental tally and be like, "GAH! HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?! I CANNOT EAT ANYMORE STARCH!" Keep that perspective! The W30 carb sources aren't hyperpalatable hypercaloric balls of awesome. They're just good for you.

Anyway, also keep in mind that your blood sugar is SUPPOSED to spike after you eat carbs. That's your body doing its job. Even if you're taking your blood at 1hr or 2hr post-prandial intervals, chances are it will still be slightly elevated in metabolically healthy folks, especially if it's a slow digesting carb source like starches. That's _normal_.

So, I don't know how often or obsessively you're taking your blood values, but unless your tracking under doctor's orders, maybe give it up or cut back during your whole30? Just trust. You didn't get to where you are in a month or a week or any short period of time. Undoing the damage is going to take some time too! Good luck and keep us posted!

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I come from a similar vegetarian/vegan background and I too was once very carb phobic because every time I'd have a little bit of carbs I'd go bats and binge out. What happened was I'd go low carb, lose weight, be unable to stick to it, gain weight back and repeat. After almost finishing a whole 30 and also experimenting with my diet I realized some things:

1. Carbs are good for energy when you work out and my body needs them or physically I get air headed, lazy, have bad cravings, get cranky and binge.

2. If I go too low carb I start a cycle where I feel I can't eat a carb because when I do I go crazy and then go low carb to make up for it and repeat the whole cycle.

3. I always felt when I ate a carb that I instantly gained weight and in a way that's true...when I eat carbs my muscles retain more water so after carb deprivation I felt a little heavier and it made me depressed and b*tchy because I was stuck wearing yoga pants and feeling carb phobic.

I cured myself by saying "forget it" and eating many sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, berries and other fruits when I wanted them. At first I went crazy and ate way too much. Then it started to be ok. I no longer buy miniscule portions of berries, I buy a normal box and eat as many as I want. I buy a bag of sweet potatoes both orange and purple and roast the whole thing with onions and eat them whenever I want without guilt. I love the idea of Melissa's F-off list and mine has on it rice, tofu sausage, sweet potato and fruit because I love these things. Once I sort of "legalized" these carby foods and allowed myself to have them, I don't go crazy anymore and feel good eating as much as I want. It was a lot of work though, a lot of time, fear, acceptance, depression, and trial and error. I've been overweight for a long time and when I did this it was the first time I lost weight, like really lost weight I could tell by my pants and it hasn't come back. I know it sounds like BS but sometimes just letting go of the fear, getting out of your head and trusting your body is a good thing.

I don't know if this will help you but that's my story. I hope you find what works for you, it is very freeing! I love what the above comments say about forgetting the carbs...just eat real healthy food :)

Good luck!

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Thanks guys, I think this conversation really is helping me.

Renee - I'm not obsessive about checking my blood sugar. I do it maybe once a week and almost always first thing in the morning. I just know that it definitely starts ticking upward when I go crazy with carbs. I guess I need realize that there's a big difference between eating a sweet potato or a little fruit and "going crazy with carbs". Thanks for helping put things in perspective.

Flynn - You sound a lot like me! I think you're right... It's the deprevation that leads me to go nuts. I think learning to incorporate healthy carb-containing foods on a regular basis might help with my cravings and keep me from totally falling off the wagon. And you're definitely right about the water retention after being super strict. I think that not weighing for a month will really help with that. I definitely get into an all or nothing mindset when I see I've gained even a tiny bit of weight after giving in to a small amount of carbs. Ususally it leads to an all out binge.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply! I'm looking forward to playing with these ideas over the next 25 days and hopefully coming out the other side with a healthier attitude toward eating.

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