Shall I do it again


Lyolya

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Hi, 

 

It's been a year since I have embarked on my first Whole 30 which I have succesfully completed after 36 days. I would go on for longer, since my cystic acne didn't see much of improvement then, but the curcumstances dicated the abrupt end. In a nutshell, I have completely neglected the reintroduction. 

 

As a result, from a superpowered athlete who ran half-marathons without even getting tired, three weeks after the snappy finish of the program I was two size bigger, chronically tired, and my rather firm rear has started to get, emm, jellier

 

The commorbidity factors were: stress, guilt and depression, but, as I have already mentioned, these were provoked by the state of affairs of my life and not some food related reasons. To give you a hint: do you know that feeling when you go through something really stressful, and you get scared once it's all already over? That was kind of my situation.

 

To be completely honest, I have started the Whole 30 because I needed a change so very much. Not a food-related change, because, as I then though, wrongly, I had no food-related problems. However, back then, I was mostly looking for support and something to keep me going forward. Also, I did get my change indeed: a new job in a new coutry, and a whole new spin in relationship with my husband. So, when the guidelines say that a nutritional challenge is not intended to fix your lifestyle problems of other kind, yet it does. 

 

More to that, after having resigned from a job in finance, I have started working in field of public health and am investigating something that was worrying me during my Whole 30 journey: the sleep. I may have  a corporate job again, or I may not, but I believe that through my participation in the program a year ago I manifested a need for change so unambiguously that it found me right away.

 

This is on the bright side of the events. On the other side, since I got "fat" afterwards and my acne didn't clear up, and since my depression got under control only way later and thanks to a therapist, I am afraid to jump on this bandwagon again. I am fully aware of the fact that I cannot live a Whole 30 life: it makes no sense for me. I love pizza and red wine, and where I live these are just amazing. After the Whole 30, I have become a massive fan of Robb Wolf and of his straightforward approach to stuff. However, after reading his book and listening to his talks I've got the impression that he tries to guide people to eat in a more Mediterranean way, which is considered to be a healthy dier. As coming from Spain, I was kind of puzzled: why would I need an advice from someone from overseas to learn how to eat the way we eat back at home? . Mediterranean diet is rich in grains, and grains are a paleo no-no. Also, Robb is adamantly against vegetarians, and here in Germany the vegan lifestyle is a major and long-lasting trend. More to that , all  these sneaky critics have started getting to me: like, "Aha, you got fat afterwards, didn't you know that you cannot just eliminate the "vital foods" from your list and then start eating them again? Your body did what it was supposed to do: bounce back!" Though, I must admit that these kind of critics come from people who I would't take as role models. On the contrary, many knowledgeable folks I know are over the moon about their Whole 30 experiences and post-Whole 30 lives.

 

Now, a year has passed, and I see that I have lost caution in regards of what I eat. Also, I do need a health fix. But the fear is still there. What if it will get worse? What if I won't get any benefits? My husband said he would do this with me, but the program is so challenging, that I am afraid that he won't be able to do this.

 

All in all, sorry for many words. I have decided to seek an advice here, where people have already been on this journey and might help me understand if I should enroll to this class again. 

 

Thanks to all for any kind of advice.

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I don't think anyone can tell you what you should do. Only you can decide that for yourself.

 

From my perspective, though, using Whole30 as a kind of drastic fix once in a while between long periods of throwing caution to the wind and not even remotely attempting to live a Whole 9 lifestyle is not healthy. In fact, it kind of looks like disordered eating.

 

So, I would recommend that you spend more time researching and contemplating the kind of life you want to lead and what you believe is the best approach for you. Only do another Whole30 if you truly decide and believe it's the right approach for you.

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Thanks for your reply. Writing this post, I was exactly wanting to listen to different opinions on the matter - and the decision is mine, of course. 

 

You don't know my situation, of course, but I don't want you to get the wrong impression of me being a binge junk food eater or a beer/wine alcoholic. On the contrary, as compared to the average, I am a very healthy eater: I don't eat sweets, don't overdo dairy and alcohol (like, really) and never even look at processed foods. I do eat my greens, and my grains are mostly whole. What I meant is that I started to be more like "whatever" in regards to my food. I would have pizza oftener than before - just because it's convenient, and I would not inspect organic food shops for hours like I used to. But, believe me, I am anything but disordered eating: well, only in comparison to Whole 30, may be. 

 

So, if we leave emotional aspect on the side, my plain question is: can I hedge from gaining 2 sizes after the Whole 30 by proper reintroduction? If yes, with what probability approx it will work out? 

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So, if we leave emotional aspect on the side, my plain question is: can I hedge from gaining 2 sizes after the Whole 30 by proper reintroduction? If yes, with what probability approx it will work out? 

 

What reintroductions after a month of clean eating would do is tell you exactly how you react to certain foods. I have seen people on the forum who find that after Whole30, if they eat any grain at all, they bloat up enough to look pregnant. I personally didn't notice that, but did notice that if I have grains, I feel sort of foggy, mentally speaking, and want to nap afterwards. Finding out how you react to foods can inform the decisions you make about whether it's worth it to have pizza or not. Last time I had any I felt so crappy I swore I'd never have any again. I'm sure at some point I will be tempted, and I may decide to give in, but it's certainly kept me from just falling back on pizza because it was convenient.

 

Have you read the information on the site about what to do when you've finished your Whole30? That has links that will explain how reintroduction works. I also especially recommend reading the Life After Your Whole30 section for some ideas about what life might look like, food-wise, after your Whole30. I also found the three-part Dear Melissa: What Do You Eat? series of articles interesting as one take on how life post-Whole30 can work. I'm not saying you have to follow these things exactly, but that maybe you can use the ideas presented as a way to think about what it is you want your food life to look like, so you know what you're working towards.

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Hi Shannon,

 

thank you very much! I did read the first source, but while I was on the program, so I probably did not acknowledge the importance of it enough because I was focused on staying on track. As for the second, I am not 100% sure but I might have seen it before, too. As for the last one - no, it appeared later than I finished the program. 

 

You know, to be honest with you, I do want to reap the benefits and I am surely apt for being compliant, but I don't want to be kept on a leash. So I 100% admit to the fact that this program is beneficial because I have tried it for self, beacuse of the evidence reported by the others and because the ever growing body of epidemiologal research supports the fact that paleo diets are good for people. Nonetheless, I don't want to be driven by fear that if I off-road I will instantly get punished.

 

Ok, I agree that reintroduction is intended to show me how my body reacts on different things and in different combinations, so may be if I take my time to do it properly it will be all ok.  

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>I am afraid to jump on this bandwagon again ... I cannot live a Whole 30 life: it makes no sense for me ... I have lost caution in regards of what I eat ... I don't want to be kept on a leash ... I don't want to be driven by fear that if I off-road I will instantly get punished

 

If you do decide to do a W30 again, it would probably be good to this time concentrate on the psychological aspects of the program more than the physiological ones.  It seems you still have a lot of baggage to deal with, and feel like W30 is something you should do rather than something you want to do.  Until your motivation is intrinsic rather than extrinsic I think you will still have issues.

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I have done 2 whole30s (and a cut short whole23 due to illness) and the two things I know will react with me are wheat and chocolate. I however love both but I know they will make me ill...a plate of pasta or sneaky piece of crusty bread and siddenly I look 7 months pregnant within hours (and yes, people ask me when I'm due!) and chocolate makes me vomit now.

On whole30 my skin glows, my stomach is flat, I lose weight, my nails are like steel and all sorts of other goodies.

But I did my last one ending just before Christmas and thought "bugger that, it's Christmas" so now I'm bloaty again after almost 4 weeks of eating foods that before whole30 never have me any trouble (that I particularly noticed).

I don't weigh myself but I know that in 4 weeks I can't get into certain clothes anymore...so I know it's possible to put on weight after whole30.

But at least in my case that is because whole30 and paleo work...I just need to remember that before I tell myself that foods that make me poorly are "worth it"

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Hi Kirkor,

 

 

 

If you do decide to do a W30 again, it would probably be good to this time concentrate on the psychological aspects of the program more than the physiological ones. 

 

Could you please elaborate on what exactly you mean by that?

 

As for my love for good pizza and pasta every once in a while, well, I live rather close to Italy, and they are just delicious here, made of the finest ingredients. I have reached the point when I would lean on them perhaps too often, so I would like to do the Whole 30 again to reset my eating habits, but I don't want to feel any guilt if, after I'm done with my Whole 30, I have a pizza sometime in my favourite Italian place: it's like the only incarnation of dairy that I consume. 

 

Food is supposed to make me feel good and happy, and not guilty. Do you think it's an issue a should treat? Is there anything to learn? If yes, please tell me, I am an avid student.

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Well, I had to go "off" of W30 last year and was not consistant with what I know is good for me-meat and veggies, good fat. I have been 95% W30 since April of 2013, but like I said, 2014 was a bust for family health reasons. I find now, that I do have bloating/weight gain when off plan-much more so than before starting the plan. Maybe it has made me more sensitive???? Don't know. It is a bummer if you want to continue with off plan foods-just make sure they are worth it as you "might" have a higher price to pay after w30. It certainly makes you have a conversation with yourself vs just mindlessly eating. Thats a good thing!

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Could you please elaborate on what exactly you mean by that?

 

 

It just seems like you are coming to the Whole30 from a perspective of loss and restriction and pain.  And I think the psychological benefits of W30 contribute to a greater sense of liberty in the long run.  An apparent contradiction, now that I think about it: "Follow more rules, feel more free".  Free from poor health, free from non-nourishing cravings, free from artificial desires and habits exacerbated by lab-created engineered foods. 

I would encourage you to look at W30 not as a work camp where you get whipped in to shape, but as a spa retreat where you can pamper your body with care and devotion and really give yourself the gift of a healthy digestive system (and "system" in the fullest sense of the word: kitchen, mouth, mind, stomach, blood, hormones, etc., all working in concert).

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Thanks so much for your reply, Kirkor!

 

It just seems like you are coming to the Whole30 from a perspective of loss and restriction and pain.  

 

Almost true. I acknowledge the massive benefits I have got while being on and after having finished the program, but I don't see much freedom in restriction yet. I have to work on that.

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Over-restriction is lowering calories too far, forcing ourselves to deal with chronic hunger over too long a period of time.   Over-restriction is definitely a trigger for those who are thrill or binge eaters, causing massive cravings for pretty much everything.

Over-restriction is self-inflicted starving.

 

The Whole 30 is not over-restriction.   It is purposely designed not to lead anyone into over-restriction.   There are those who've made it into over-restriction or self-inflicted starving by constructing their own version of a Whole 30.   Those are imaginary Whole 30's.

 

Have you completed a reintroduction phase?   I believe this is the way to implement lifestyle changes going forward that are not brutally strict.   A slow roll reintroduction phase helps you edge your way down slowly.    It gives a better way of getting there, staying there without the pain of withdrawal.  With less mental/emotional struggle, there is a better retention of new healthy foods that work with new habits we've learned from the Whole 30.

 

To maintain this new lifestyle going forward...your foods can be tweaked and enjoyed on your positive health journey.

 

I think many people who might've come from food torment in the past... might want to return to more food restriction.   It may take a number of Whole 30's before they realize that long term success comes from gentle changes and not over-restriction.   

 

At some particular time, everything falls into place.   We're eating 3 meals aday like 'normal' people do in many countries.   We learn that we can go out with our families and friends, anytime and anywhere and simply enjoy our life.    

 

We learn that falling into bowls of pasta and bread every day is heading towards the brink.   Having those items some of the time is rejoining the human race and won't cause an avalanche of mental struggles with food.   You'll have to create your own maintenance protocol that works for you going forward.   That's different for everyone and why it's not lined out...do this,  do that after your Whole 30.   

 

I don't have access to quality pasta or bread.   It's hard for me to find fresh vegetables during long winter months.  If I lived in Italy or Greece, you can better believe I would partake of the beautiful food they have there.   I've been there.    It's not what we do some of the time....it's what we do all of the time that can make or break healthy new patterns we've adopted.

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Hi MeadowLily,

 

 

Have you completed a reintroduction phase?   

 

Nah, I blew it. I had a "life happens" situation, namely: I was leaving my job and the country where it was earlier than planned, like way earlier, and I had to say "bye" to all friends of mine so we went to restaurants and you know. 

 

I was so chill about that because I was on W30 for 36 not 30 days, so I was like "whatever". Bad attitude, it turned out to be.  

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Hi MeadowLily,

 

 

Nah, I blew it. I had a "life happens" situation, namely: I was leaving my job and the country where it was earlier than planned, like way earlier, and I had to say "bye" to all friends of mine so we went to restaurants and you know. 

 

I was so chill about that because I was on W30 for 36 not 30 days, so I was like "whatever". Bad attitude, it turned out to be.  

Shake the dust off of your shoes and start over.   It will be easier the next time.   When we keep breaking these cycles, we do heal.  Body, mind and spirit.

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