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This is my first Whole30. I'm on Day 2. The main reason I'm doing this is because I am sick and tired of sugar controlling my life. The second reason is because I have spent the last 26 years in a dysfunctional relationship with food. I want to stop this!

Unfortunately, ever since I started (yesterday) I've been plagued by intense anxiety over whether I'm "doing it right." I don't know how to let this feeling go.

I had two Larabars (compliant ingredients) and a pouch of almond butter last night because I was so hungry and irritable. This morning I had an enormous breakfast with plenty of fat, protein, veggies, and fruit, but I was starving an hour later and now I'm fantasizing about dates (the fruit ;-) ). Would it be OK to eat Larabars with a meal? (NOT as dessert) Just to give myself something to look forward to?

I'm so scared that I'll mess it up and not kick the Sugar Dragon to the curb. On the flipside, I can't deal with this anxiety for another 28 days! It's almost like a bought of OCD! (real OCD - not the cutesy kind.)

 

I also find that I'm rejecting compliant foods that I enjoy because I'm afraid that comfort/happiness = food addiction/emotional eating.

 

Please help! :-(

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Here's the hard truth of it: sweet foods, even if compliant, will fuel your sugar dragon. If you're serious about slaying it, reduce fresh fruit consumption--one or two pieces with meals per day max, and eliminate things like dried fruit and larabars. If you're honest, you'll see that you're using them, and they're behaving in your body, as candy. The quicker you do this, the better you'll be.

 

It's been nearly a two-year process for me, but I figured out that my sugar dragon was alive as long as I was feeding it sweet things. Not just fruit, but nuts and coconut, even kombucha and herbal tea at the end of a meal. Now I simply eat meat, fat, and vegetables three times a day and feel satisfied if not wonderful. If I eat fruit with a meal, I start the meal with it rather than end. I needed to break the dessert association.

 

Something that will also help is making sure to eat enough starchy veg. Your body needs carbs that fuel you. Eat sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, winter squash, parsnips, rutabaga, etc., especially with meals 2 and 3. This will also help get rid of those sweets cravings while also giving your body a more sustainable form of energy.

 

There's nothing to fear here and everything to look forward. Give yourself a deeper sweetness than larabars and other sugar replacements. Whole 30 will free you from sugar and dysfunctional behavior with food, though it may take longer than 30 days, and you have to get really real with yourself.

 

Good luck!

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First off get rid of the Larabars. These will not help your Sugar Dragon just feed it. If you are hungry between meals eat something with fat and protein. When you are craving sugar either do something else (read, walk, play a game, etc) or eat fat and protein. The only way to kill the sugar dragon is not to feed it.

 

Second, can you list out your exact food so far including portion sizes as related to the size of your hands. Many people think they are eating enough when they are really not. 

 

Third, it is perfectly acceptable for eating to be a pleasurable experience. We feed ourselves because we love our bodies and we want to give them good nutrition and fuel to work hard. If a food is triggering an emotional response that isn't healthy it may need to be removed, but overall there is no guilt in enjoying our meals. As women we have been told that it isn't ok to eat or to enjoy eating. That is a pile of crap. We have strong bodies that do incredible things and they need fuel to do that.

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All that I can give you on this is my personal experience. Someone more experienced can weigh in in technicalities.

I just finished my first W30, and had some of the same anxieties about "doing it right" and "comfort/happiness=food addiction/emotional eating." The two things that helped me the most were:

1) Knowing myself (and acting on it), and

2) Trusting the program.

Knowing myself meant, for example, not keeping Larabars in the house, because I would want to eat them. Trusting the program meant following the meal templates as closely as I could, and including even compliant ingredients that scared me a little, like potatoes. It meant accepting that there's a difference between enjoying food and being controlled by it. It meant mini-meals if I was hungry, and 1-2 servings of fruit a day. And it definitely meant not being stricter with myself than the program called for. No limiting foods that the rules didn't limit.

I don't know if that'll prove helpful for you, but it worked for me. :) The other thing to remember is that 26 years of Sugar Dragon control can take a long time to recover from. Eats lots of fat, keep busy, and press onwards!

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Thanks everyone, so much, for the quick responses! Wow, I'm scared to death about your answers, but that is just tough love because I know you're right!

The one thing I'm confused about is avoiding nuts and coconut and tea for sugar cravings. I find that nut butter especially helps me to stay full. I really don't think it's a psychological response to a dessert replacement. I honestly think it's a healthy response to eating a good fat!

And the tea... I like to have a hot mug of tea with coconut oil in it (for some fat) after dinner to hold me over so I'm not starving when I go to bed. Is that OK? And can I have "trail mix" of nuts, dried fruit, and crisped coconut?

 

This is what I had for breakfast today (Started eating at 8 and finished at 9. Since I need 4+ hours between meals then I can't eat until 1 and I'm STARVING!!)

3 spicy tuna cakes (from Nom Nom Paleo)

5 pieces of steamed asparagus

5 strawberries

6 oz. of coffee with 1/4 of coconut milk

a handful of black olives

 

That seems like a lot. And I WAS full - for about 30 minutes.

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The only way I have ever even put a dent in my sugar dragon was to completely eliminate fruit.  That is not necessarily an official Whole30 recommendation but my personal experience.  My Whole30 technically ended a couple days ago and this is the first time ever that I have not been scheming on what I can "treat" myself with.  

 

The other main thing that I believe helped me was to consistently have at least one serving of Japanese sweet potato every day.  It's actually funny because a week or so ago I said to my sister that I felt like maybe I should take the potato away from myself because I liked it too much.  I do, I love them, the texture, the taste, the smell.  But.....you (and I) don't have to remove every delicious tasting thing from our lives because we're not actually required to be miserable.  I likened my potato love to my love of eggs also...if I don't get at least 2 eggs every day I feel completely ripped off....but I don't feel like I should take eggs away from myself, so...............

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How big were those tuna cakes in relationship to your palm (width, height, and thickness). Personally I feel like that was a really small meal. You could certainly eat a lot more vegetables. 5 pieces of asparagus is barely a cup I'd gather. 

 

And you don't have to wait 4+ hours to eat again if you are truly hungry! Eat! Eat! Eat! :D Just don't eat a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.

 

What I would advice you do is create all your meals to be MUCH larger than you think you could possible finish. 2 palm sized portions of protein, 3+ cups of vegetables, lots of fat. Eat what you can proportionally around your plate (making sure you get protein, fat, and veggies). Save the leftovers and eat them when you start feeling hungry again. If you keep doing this your body will get used to the larger meals. You will also start figuring out what your servings need to be. Maybe one day you'll eat enough to sustain you for the 4-5 hours...that is probably your correct portion size.

 

You can do it! You can eat! You can be fueled and fired up!

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We don't have to count dates or berries, asparagus spears or olives.   You don't have to measure one single item or log it into a device.

You're free for 30 days to eat proteins, vegetables and good fats.    You'll be free after 30 days to add any additional food item to the top 3 food groups.

 

Many new folks gravitate towards nut butters, nuts and dried fruits.   These items...known or unbenownst are a psychological replacement for sugars.   They find the compliant food with the most natural sugar and linger long on the memories.   Some linger there for too long and can't move past these items to the top 3.    After 30 days, it dawns on them that nut butters, nuts and dried fruits weren't meals but snacks.   If you can move past these within the first day or two, you're going to be much happier at the end of your 30 days.

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Thanks everyone, so much, for the quick responses! Wow, I'm scared to death about your answers, but that is just tough love because I know you're right!

The one thing I'm confused about is avoiding nuts and coconut and tea for sugar cravings. I find that nut butter especially helps me to stay full. I really don't think it's a psychological response to a dessert replacement. I honestly think it's a healthy response to eating a good fat!

And the tea... I like to have a hot mug of tea with coconut oil in it (for some fat) after dinner to hold me over so I'm not starving when I go to bed. Is that OK? And can I have "trail mix" of nuts, dried fruit, and crisped coconut?

 

This is what I had for breakfast today (Started eating at 8 and finished at 9. Since I need 4+ hours between meals then I can't eat until 1 and I'm STARVING!!)

3 spicy tuna cakes (from Nom Nom Paleo)

5 pieces of steamed asparagus

5 strawberries

6 oz. of coffee with 1/4 of coconut milk

a handful of black olives

 

That seems like a lot. And I WAS full - for about 30 minutes.

 

Now may not be a good time to trust your judgment that nut butters are good for you. :) Maybe trust some folks who have been here for a while who are telling you to avoid nuts, nut butters, and coconut. You should not avoid all sweet foods, but nuts, nut butters, and coconut has been a problem for too many people to think they are helping you.

 

When I first started eating Whole30-style, I got hungry more often than every 4 hours, so I ate 4, 5, and occasionally 6 meals per day. However, I made sure that when I ate, I ate protein, fat, and veggies. Everything was a meal. No snack type foods or snack-size portions. Eventually, I learned to incorporate more fat into my meals and now eating 3 times per day works just fine.

 

When you first begin to eat really nourishing foods, your body may respond with more cravings for food than you can eat at one sitting. Take that as a sign that your body wants to be nourished and add another meal when you get hungry. After a while, your body will get its fill of what it needs and the cravings for lots of food may become less and you will find it easier to stay satisfied for hours.

 

And like Physibeth said, your breakfast did not look like a big meal to me. Maybe adequate if the tuna cakes were big enough, but not a big meal. 

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They were about as large as the "dip" part of my palm. The area without joint bones. Honestly, it's so hard for me to eat this much in one sitting! I've always been a chronic snacker - I can't eat much in one sitting, but I can eat a lot throughout the day. I'm also pretty small (108 lbs) so I feel like I shouldn't eat too much...

 

Oh, dear! That's so sad about the nuts/butters/dried fruit!! Can I not have them at all? I just LOVE figs and dates... Always have, even when I was eating ice cream every day. 

 

What are good fats that I can have, then? I must admit, I'm starting to panic with all the restrictions! :-P

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Oh, dear! That's so sad about the nuts/butters/dried fruit!! Can I not have them at all? I just LOVE figs and dates... Always have, even when I was eating ice cream every day. 

 

What are good fats that I can have, then? I must admit, I'm starting to panic with all the restrictions! :-P

 

You can have them - the important thing is to watch and see if they're becoming something that is not the healthiest option for you personally. For a whole lot of people, nut butters and dried fruit are an easy way to snack or replace dessert. For me, they are not - I've had the same jar of almond butter in my fridge and the same package of dried figs in my cabinet for months. (I have bigger issues with plantain chips. :) ) Everyone is different.

 

The issue with the trail mix you described is that it isn't going to keep you full for long. The dried fruit will spike your blood sugar a little, and there's very little protein in it (nuts are considered a fat source, not a protein source). Plus nuts in large quantities can mess with a lot of people's digestion. If you're hungry, eat! - but eat something that will actually satisfy you awhile, with protein and fat. Hard boiled eggs with homemade mayo and sea salt are a personal favorite. The olives are a great fat option; also roasting vegetables in ghee or olive or coconut oil, homemade mayo, avocado.

 

And I'll join the choir on your breakfast. :) I've made those tuna cakes, and they're good, but you need several to get a solid palmfull of tuna, and you definitely need more vegetables! You might eat half and then half later while you're getting used to eating more, but you'll get there.

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I think buying the book, It Starts With Food and writing your thoughts in the margins will really help you.   Use stickers and plastic tabs, write at the bottom of each page about what really moves you.

 

Linger long on the SWYPO paragraphs and how to break the cycles of  foods that create deep and lasting bonds with sugar.  Buy a blank journal for your 30 days.   Write down tips that you find helpful.   You've just received some great advice from Tom Denham about snacks.   

 

Refer back to your own handwritten comments.   Writing things down helps to create new patterns to break cycles with food addictions.

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No.

 

You need to get rid of all of the nut butters in your place.  Give them to the squirrels and chipmunks.   Get rid of Larabars....those are going to the squirrels and chipmunks, too.   

 

If you don't eat three meals aday,   how will you begin to break this cycle with sugar.   They have to go to the city park.

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These poor lil duffers are hungry for nuts.  Do not take food out of the mouth of their babes,  release all of your nuts and nut butters to the squirrels and chipmunks.   It's a cold, long winter....turn loose of those nuts today.

 

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Could I have a couple of tablespoons of almond butter WITH a meal, as my fat? 

 

You could, although nuts are recommended to have in limited quantities only, so don't make it your first or most frequent fat choice. Be sure to rotate in other compliant fats.

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Thanks, Chris! I'll probably avoid almond butter for the first few days at least so I can avoid the possibility of it being a "treat." There seem to be significantly differing opinions there, and I'd rather be safe than sorry.

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Since your sugar dragon is a big, bad one, you will do much better drizzling your food with a little extra ghee or coconut oil, or eating a handful of olives for your fat.

 

I came to the Whole30 for the same reason as you (FYI, it took me three whole30s to truly break the Sugar Dragon, because nuts, nut butters, coconut butter, coconut flakes propped up my cravings).

 

Of course you don't "have" to follow our recommendations. Understand, right now your brain is trying desperately to rationalize keeping your fruit and nuts. There is a reason for that. It's just 30 days - try our suggestions and see if it gets easier.

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That's why I said,  NO.   When nuts are the first and last thing that come to mind, and meals are the last thing on the mind...

 

Too much nut thinking leads to too many nuts.   Three meals aday keeps the Squirrel Whisperer away.

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If you eat from the template you won't BE starving. Promise. In the beginning as your body adjusts you will most likely need to eat more than three meals. Often people will eat nut butters and dried fruit here because they are "healthy" and "compliant." True enough, but you are essentially digging youself a new hole instead of climbing out by taking the hand the w30 is offering.

In the beginning you will be hungry between meals, as Tom said and anyone else not coming from very clean paleo eating will attest. Don't reach for fruit and nut butters. Eat a mini meal per the template. So the same ratio of meat, veg and fat. Or even eat an entire extra template meal.

If you follow the template, you'll reach where you want to be much faster than if you start relying on nut butters and coconut and dried fruit. The goal isn't merely to last 30 days in avoidance of restricted foods, but to build new relationships with eating, build new habits of veggie consumption and the FREEDOM of not feeling hungry between meals.

Template: http://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf

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sevensundrops, I just finished my first Whole30 on February 3, so I don't have the expertise of some who have responded. However, I did have a mighty Sugar Dragon to slay myself, and the experience is still fresh in my memory.

 

From past experience, I know that my Sugar Dragon can't tell the difference between dried fruit and candy, so I knew that dried fruit wouldn't be an option for me. Same goes for Larabars, which, BTW, if you read the "Can I Have" article, it says the Larabars are NOT to be eaten as snacks, treats, dessert, or meal replacements and are allowable ONLY as a last-ditch emergency fuel source. Since I'm never very far away from either my home or my office, both of which have a fridge where I can keep protein snacks such as hard-boiled eggs and meat leftovers from dinner, I knew that the emergency situation wouldn't apply to me, so I stayed away from the Larabars as well. Like Oscar Wilde said, "I can resist everything except temptation."

 

Fresh fruit was another story. I knew it was allowed but I also knew (again from past experience) that my Sugar Dragon would survive if I fed it enough fruit. So I figured that I would limit fruit but not cut it out altogether.  Days 1 & 2 were HARD. But they were nothing compared to Day 3. My Sugar Dragon was writhing in agony. That day I ate an apple, a pear, a whole grapefruit, and an entire punnet of raspberries. Not to mention the apple slices were generously slathered in almond butter. I didn't feel quite up to the challenge of eliminating fruit cold-turkey, but I recognized that I had a problem. So I instituted a 1 fruit per day rule, preferably none, which I stuck to, except for a couple of afternoons at the office where twice I let myself eat 2 pieces of fruit, following particularly stressful meetings. 

 

Nuts were another issue. They provided a sensation of crunch that I was missing. But about half-way through my Whole30, I had to admit that I was feeling yucky after eating nuts and I decided to stop eating them. Couldn't find any squirrels to donate them to, but other members of the household took up the slack.  :)

 

I'm not sure that I can say with 100 % certainty that I've slayed my Sugar Dragon once and for all; that may take a few more Whole30s. But I can say with confidence that, upon completion of my first Whole30, the ravenous beast is now dormant. And I figure every day that I don't feed it, will weaken it further.

 

Anyway, sevensundrops, I would encourage you to follow the great advice you've been given by everyone here. You can do this!!!

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Oops! The "Can I Have" article briefly mentions Larabars but It's actually the article  "Whole30 101: Rules Vs. Recommendations" that I should have referred to:

 

 

Dried fruit and nut bars

There are a few commercially available dried-fruit-and-nut bars compliant with our Whole30 rules. In the U.S., we’ve got 4 flavors of RxBars and 11 flavors of Larabars; in the U.K. you’ve got a half-dozen or so Nak’d bars that fit the bill. There are also a number of recipes for homemade no-sugar-added “energy bars” (like these from Stupid Easy Paleo). Every time we talk about these fruit-and-nut bars, we say the same thing: “They’re on-the-go emergency food, perfect for long hikes, business travel, or unexpected late nights at the office.” But that doesn’t mean if you eat an RxBar for dinner, you’re not on the Whole30. We caution you not to use these as-close-to-candy-as-you-can-get convenience foods in place of real food, but that’s just a very strong recommmendation. Overuse these or lean on them too hard when you’re craving sweets and you’ll find yourself on Day 31 with the same roaring Sugar Dragon that led you to us in the first place… but that’s your business. As long as the ingredients are all compliant, you’re still 100% doing the Whole30, no matter how you choose to use these in your program.

- See more at: http://whole30.com/2015/01/rules-recommendations/#sthash.M2Ipku1g.dpuf

 

I still think Larabars are best avoided if your Sugar Dragon is restless.

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Also from  "Whole30 101: Rules Vs. Recommendations":

 

 

Fruit intake

Our meal template recommends around two servings of fruit per day, eaten with your meals (and not on their own as “dessert” or a snack). However, that’s just a starting point, not a hard and fast mandate. We’re really not concerned with the amount of sugar in whole foods, in the context of a Whole30 diet. It also makes sense to eat more fruit in summer, and less in winter, so your intake in August may look like five servings a day, and just one or two in January. However, if eating fruit awakens your Sugar Dragon or you find yourself using it to satisfy an old sugar craving, we enocurage you to take a good, hard look at when, how often, and why you are incorporating fruit (especially dried fruit) into your Whole30.

- See more at: http://whole30.com/2015/01/rules-recommendations/#sthash.M2Ipku1g.dpuf

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