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Not Hungry? Too Much Food? Belly Fat? Confused!


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I just got done my 1st Whole 30. My goals for my Whole 30 were to develop a healthy eating plan and reduce belly fat.  I feel as if I am developing a healthy eating plan, but I still have a lot of questions.  Also, at this point my belly fat has increased. 


Here is a little bit about me:

I get 8-9 hours of sleep every night

I work out at crossfit 3x a week

I have a sedentary job

I was a vegetarian for 6 years and a low-fat vegan for 2 years. I just started eating meat 5 months ago.


During my 1st Whole 30  (1/3/2014-2/3/2014)  my schedule was the following: (These are approx.)

5:30am – 2-3 eggs and a ½ cup greens

12:30pm – palm sized protein cooked in 1 cup of greens ½ tablespoon of fat

4:30 crossfit (2x a week)

7:00pm – palm sized protein 1 cup of greens  ½ tablespoon of fat and seasonings

(About 6 times in the month I would crave nuts and eat about ¾ cup per day)


Whole 30 results: I did not lose any weight or inches.  I did enjoy eating this way and want to continue.  I just would like to lose the belly fat.


After my whole 30…  (8 days since my whole 30 ended)

5:30am:   I rarely wake up with hunger pangs.  But, in order to get my hormones going I eat a few bites of left overs and a cup of bone broth.

10:30am: My stomach starts to growl and I will eat my 1st meal.  This is a 1-2 palm size portion of meat and a cup or 2 of greens.  (Usually kale or collard greens) Plus about a handful of sweet potatoes or butternut squash cooked in coconut oil.    I cook the greens in left over fat from the bone broth.  Usually 2-3 tablespoons for 5 days worth of greens. 

After this meal I don't feel full, but I stop myself from eating because I fear I will be eating too much.

7:30: I don't usually feel hungry, but I try to force down food because I don't want my body to live off one giant meal. … Unfortunately, the past couple nights this has turned into sitting and eating almonds and cashews out of frustrating  trying to figure out how to eat. 


My questions are as follows…

  • Should you eat 3 meals (following the portion template) even if you aren't hungry? 
  • Should you wait to eat until you are hungry so you know when you are full, even if this means skipping a morning meal?
  • Should you keep eating until you get the full feeling even if it's more than the high end of the template?
  • Is two meals a day okay?
  • Why would you gain belly fat on the Whole 30?


Thank you for any and all help.  I really loved reading ISWF.  I love the concepts, I'm just having a hard time putting the pieces together. I also wanted to do the whole 30 to DE-STRESS about food.

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I know this may be confusing, but you are not eating enough to lose weight. You are eating so little that your metabolism has slowed to a low rate and you are conserving energy aggressively. If you want to lose weight, you are going to have to eat more to convince your body that starvation is not at your door. 


So, you should eat within an hour of waking. Eat a full template meal. Do not skimp on your first meal of the day. Make it substantial.


Eat at least three meals according to the meal template per day even if you do not feel hungry. Getting your hormones to cooperate is the most important thing to start losing fat and you have to eat to get your hormones into their proper rhythm. 


It may take a while before you can trust your body's signals about eating. For now, you are probably better off eating according to the meal template. Eat at least the minimum of a template meal. You can eat more than the minimum, but do not eat more than the maximum at this time.


You seriously need to eat at least 3 meals per day. You might benefit from 4 meals per day. 

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I agree with Tom, you are not eating enough.  I would take a look at the meal plan again.  Try adding 2-3 vegetables and each meal, and maybe a starchy veg too.  Also incorporate and pre and post W/O meal.  You should be eating even if you arent hungry, especially breakfast.

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I'm going to disagree a bit here. The idea of not eating enough to lose weight is inherently fallacious. If it were essentially true, no one would ever starve to death.

Many people struggle with plateaus and slow weight loss, but many people also vastly underestimate the amount of food they eat. Most of all of us (myself firmly included) are not patient enough and expect weight loss to be much quicker than it really is.


There is no questions that metabolism and hormone levels can be influenced by long-term calorie restriction, but not to an extreme degree.

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I'm going to disagree a bit here. The idea of not eating enough to lose weight is inherently fallacious. If it were essentially true, no one would ever starve to death.

 You are correct, in that, if people were able to resist eating completely, less food would = less body mass. see anorexics. That said, this is not how most people behave. Far more often, what happens is you give your body just enough and it hangs onto it and slows your metabolism and activity down. You have no energy and just kind of muddle along like that maintaining or gaining weight until you hit a breaking point and boom. binge or close to binge behavior ensues and guess what: still no weight loss and likely weight gain. even if you don't binge, your metabolism and energy for daily life continue to get slower and slower and soon you find you can only take in bird portions without gaining. not fun. AND the stress of this restriction then messes up cortisol rhythms, interrupts your sleep and makes it even harder to just carry on with life.


For me, and for many people, it works much better to provide generous fuel, have energy, hum along with a metabolic engine and lose weight. Seriously, this is a much nicer scenario. worth a try?


oh and this:


There is no questions that metabolism and hormone levels can be influenced by long-term calorie restriction, but not to an extreme degree.


is false. Sadly, it is very possible to do extreme damage to your metabolism and hormone levels with dietary choices--the types of food and the quantities--often this damage can be reversed with time and effort, but it can be quite serious. It is not something to mess around with IMO.

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In the case of more food = more overweight population, it's essential to consider the food sources that are readily available. In places where natural foods are abundant (even if work is required to obtain them) the people tend toward healthy weight (not over, not under). The folks we're talking to, who we say "aren't eating enough to lose" are not operating on a level anywhere near the extreme restriction of those in impoverished countries. That's taking the example to an extreme, and not what we're talking about. We're talking about folks who consume at a level high enough to support basic function, but not optimal health. 

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