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Transitioning from Sugar Burner to Fat Burner

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Ok, so I am on day 35 of a committed Whole45 but now realized I will have to either start over or go on for at least another month or two. I have been 99% compliant (there have been a couple breakfasts out at restaurants that I ordered smartly but you just never know) PLUS two incidences of technically compliant, but discouraged, potato chips. One of them was last night and my breaking point for sure.

I know it took me a few weeks to really grasp the meal template and timing guidelines. I thought I was eating enough, but I am sure now that I wasn't. Plus I wasn't eating enough starchy vegetables in the beginning, and too many nuts and fruits for sure. I had a couple weeks of kinda blah but nothing horrible. I wasn't working out, but looking back I wish I had bc what was to come was so much worse. I went into week 2 1/2-3 trying to reduce nuts and increase sweet potatoes and less sugary fruit. It was ok but I have suffered from almost constant headaches for the past 2+ weeks. Also, I am have become more constipated after being unusually regular the first couple weeks (which was a welcome improvement!)

Adding in the starchy veg has helped with sleep, but I have also given myself permission to eat closer to bedtime so I am going to bed full and not hungry. I still get up to pee at least once per night.


This pattern continued until last night when I was getting another headache mid-afternoon. The only cause I can realistically determine for these headache, fatigue, and sleep disruptions is that I am just no eating enough. Im simply hungry. This is frustrating beyond belief bc I am eating so much!


My day yesterday was:

1 HB egg, one chicken sausage and 2 T of avocado pre-wo

BIG green salad, HB egg, another sausage, more avocado and 1/2 cup diced roasted sweet potato post workout 2 cups coffee with cinnamon

few chunks of cantaloupe,1/2 cup of blueberries and 3 raw broccoli florets about an hour later with a big green iced tea and green powder

1.5 cups broccoli/carrot slaw with 3 T homemade mayo, 1 T capers, and 1/2 cup canned salmon for lunch

Lara bar at Costco bc I was starving an hour later while shopping

had a hot green tea and tons of water after to try and stave off hunger

broke down in car later and had another Lara bar (from the box I bought at Costco) AND an turkey cranberry Epic bar..

I couldn't believe I was STILL so hungry.

Went grocery shopping with husband and began CRAVING potato chips. Bought a rotisserie chicken and a bag of Terra original chips and literally started eating both in the store.. it was a scene for sure.

Between my husband and I we finished the bag on the way home. Had more chicken for dinner and an Asian pear (craving sweet and crunchy!) My husband had salad but nothing about it appealed to me. After that sugar bomb I was craving more.

ATE ANOTHER LARA BAR and about 1/2 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds and unsweetened coconut chips.


This was a frustrating night to say the least. I feel like I have reawaken my sugar dragon and have to start all over. I feel like it all stemmed from my hunger mid afternoon, but I can't imagine I didn't eat enough!


This got me googling after my "binge" and I realized I am a classic sugar burner and this is why this Whole30 has been such a struggle. I have limited my carbs too much without significantly increasing my fat/protein. My protein choices are typically lean and I add fat but obviously not enough.


Does anyone have tangible lists or suggestions for how to transition to being a fat burner (which is clearly what my husband is, he has been doing this with me and has had zero issues.. drives me nuts)


I think I need to stay under 100g of carbs a day, but whats the best way to do this? No fruit only starchy veg? How many and when? How much fat and protein at each meal? more than the Whole30 template? I honestly can't go 4-5 hours without eating and NOT get a headache, how do I get there??!


I haven't lost a lb during my Whole30, and last nights binge is not a classic example of my eating, usually much cleaner and on template, I swear!

I think I may have gained at least bloat weight or actual weight. I know I am clocking in at 2000 cals each day, even thought they are on template.

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Yes I definitely have suggestions.


Suggestion number 1 - ditch the Larabars completely. RxBars too. These are going to feed your sugar/snack dragon and keep your body reliant on sugar.


Suggestion number 2 - eat 3 template meals a day - 1-2 palms of protein, 2-3 cups of vegetables, 1-2 servings of fat. You are not eating anywhere near enough protein. I got hungry just reading your log. For pre-workout food have fat and protein. Doesn't need to be a lot. For post-workout fuel have lean protein and starchy vegetable. 


Suggestion number 3 - don't limit your carbs, but make good carb choices. Have at least 1 fist sized portion of starchy vegetables with a meal each day. Maybe more. 


Suggestion number 4 - If you are hungry between meals than have a mini meal with fat and protein. You can only beat the sugar dragon if you starve him into compliance.


How do you know how many calories you are clocking? Don't worry about calories, worry about nutrition.

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Just to add: eating meals (in 4-6 hour intervals) is key. Avoid snacking or grazing in between (except for pre- and post-WO meals). This re-sets your hormonal rhythms so that your body breaks down the sugars, carbs, protein and fat of your template meals in sequence, rather than being overwhelmed with a constant influx of foods. This is really the best way to convert from primarily sugar burning to fat burning as well.


Good luck!

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Thanks guys! I think you are all right, I haven't been eating enough, which just sounds crazy but I guess it's true. I need to be better about eating sit-down real meals, not mini meals. Although, is there any science behind some people not doing well with larger meals? I can eat a lot in one sitting but I'm still hungry 2 hours later. No way I can make it 4-5 hours no matter how much I eat!

For example I ate 3 eggs, 1/2 avocado, 1/4 cup roasted potatoes, 2 cups spinach cooked down to about 1/2 cup, one chicken sausage and about 2 tablespoons of red palm oil plus two cups of coffee with cinnamon about an hour ago and I could literally eat a horse right now...


Also, to clarify, the Lara Bars were bought for my husband, he can tolerate them well and has no sugar dragon so he keeps them at work to supplement his breakfast or lunch.. I only ate 3 in one day bc I had just bought them at hadn't sent them away with him :)


Lastly, can I become a sugar burner still eating starchy carbs 3x a day??

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For example I ate 3 eggs, 1/2 avocado, 1/4 cup roasted potatoes, 2 cups spinach cooked down to about 1/2 cup, one chicken sausage and about 2 tablespoons of red palm oil plus two cups of coffee with cinnamon about an hour ago and I could literally eat a horse right now...


So add another egg, have the whole avocado, and/or increase the roasted potatoes to at least 1/2 cup for starters.  Play with the portions sizes to get to where you're satiated for 4-5 hours.

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I'm assuming your last sentence meant can you become a fat burner...absolutely. However you may or may not need starchy carbs 3x a day. LadyShanny has an excellent breakdown of how to decide. Personally for me I avoid starchy vegetables within an hour before a workout so I don't rely on them for my energy in the workout and I generally don't have them with my first meal because I have found that I'm hungrier during the day when I do. I'm a group fitness instructor though so my other 2 meals and my post workout food usually contain them.  Your meal today seems big enough except for the vegetables. You need more. And it is fine to eat mini meals until you adjust to 3 meals a day just like Tom mentioned.

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 However you may or may not need starchy carbs 3x a day. LadyShanny has an excellent breakdown of how to decide. 

The recommendation is to start with one serving (fist sized) per day. More if you are extra hungry, more if you are active, more if you're feeling low or cranky, more if you're feeling excessively tired, less if you're not active, less if you have a large amount of weight to lose.  :)


Some days, especially around your period, you may need them at every meal for a week.  That is completely fine and shouldn't be feared.  Carbs got given a bad rap along the way and it's not justified.  As long as you are eating them for your own personal context, they are a perfectly acceptable form of food.


And yes, it is completely possible to lose weight on a Whole30 while still eating the starchies.  Again, watch your context. (and for some, depending on weight loss goals vs sanity/mood/hormones etc, they may choose to eat more of them at the expense of a slower weight loss.  It's all about how you want to balance your life.  Although there are some people who have experimented and determined that a more ketogenic way of eating suits their personal context better, the Whole30 group will generally always recommend that people have at least some starchy veggies in their meal plan.  

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