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Struggling to Eat Enough!


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This is my fourth Whole30 so I've been down this road before and find myself making this same mistake every time: not eating enough. I can tell through my cravings and occasional lack of energy that I'm not eating enough but for some reason find it very hard to put enough food on my plate and eat all my meals every day. A bit of it is the "kitchen burn-out" of being so sick and tired of putting together every meal, even if I'm batch cooking and putting together quick meals of leftovers and not actually using the stove. So I put off eating because I just can't deal with it right now to the point where I'm HUNGRY and then I do as little work as possible to just satisfy the hunger, but not enough to get me through to the next meal. I prefer to not snack since to me making a snack requires the same amount of mental energy as making a meal, so I might as well just make a meal.

Here's a typical days eats, when I hit all of my meals like I should:

M1: 4 eggs, 1-2 cups veggies, 1/2-1 avocado OR gobs of fat on top of the veggies

M2: canned tuna in olive oil, 3-4 cups spinach, 1/2-1 avocado, maybe some olives, other veggies, or a fruit

M3: steak, chicken, or other protein (maybe 8oz), starchy veg like potato or winter squash, other vegetable, olive oil or ghee on everything

If I snack, it's usually 1-2 hard boiled eggs and some veggies. Once it was an apple and almond butter because that's what I had left in my food bag for work, but I try to keep snacks as protein-fat-veg combos.

Any ideas on what I can do/change to avoid this repetitive behavior of putting off eating? I LOVE to eat so it's not like I have a pattern of restriction or anything, and I am totally not afraid of fat. Tough love encouraged and appreciated!

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I guess I would step back and ask yourself why you're doing a Whole30 this time around and what you're hoping to accomplish.  Write all the reasons down and review them as needed, to help you stay on track.

 

Then brainstorm creative ways to sufficiently feed yourself at each meal. Some off the top of my head:
- Try a new recipe or veg each week.
- See what you can make in a crockpot, casserole dish or via batch cooking to minimize the amount of times you have to cook vs reheat.

- Host a potluck with like-minded friends: share the Whole30 rules, have everyone make a dish, and share recipes for what you bring.

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Just following on from what Chris has said I'd suggest some kind of one pot meals to minimize the work so there's little or no thought/effort involved when it comes time to eat.

When I'm feeling lazy or know I have a particularly busy week I'll make a curry in my crockpot. I'm avoiding sweet potato right now but an old favourite was made with either cubed beef or chicken (sealed first in a pan), an equal quantity of sweet potato, a generous serving of complaint curry paste, a half a tin of coconut milk, switch on low & allow to cook for around 7hrs. The sweet potato will break down nicely and combined with the paste & the coconut milk makes a nice thick flavoursome sauce. Add a HUGE bag of spinach to the mix at the 7hr point and allow to wilt for 30mins or so.

Serve & enjoy.

You've listed a typical day when you're eating what you think you should - how does a typical 'off-day' look?

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Thank you all for the responses. I started out this Whole30 because I felt it just was time for me to do another, and with all the social media momentum for the big January kick-off I knew I would have tons of support. I love the energy and good sleep it gives me, and knowing that I just feel healthier. Right before I started, I was slammed with some pretty significant family issues and I have a lot of emotional stress that I'm dealing with right now. I feel like the stress and the depression is causing a lot of my malaise around food (who feels like cooking a ton after a big, heavy, emotionally charged conversation with a family member?), but also I know that Whole30 is my life raft right now, keeping me on healthy habits while I weather out this storm and don't resort to my disordered eating coping mechanisms of years past.

 

I love the crock pot/slow cooker ideas, especially the curry recipe, jmcbn. I love curry! I just got my first "real" crock pot for Christmas, but have been a little intimidated on how to use it. Past experience and probably poor recipes have resulted in some pretty heinously dry roasts  that give me a little "slow cooker PTSD," but I've also been cooking my way through the Whole30 book recipes and am looking forward to trying out the ones I can in the slow cooker. I'm challenging myself to try out new recipes since my last couple Whole30s I just wanted to keep it simple and not branch out, and I ended up with some serious food boredom. Maybe a recipe a day is too much, maybe I should just aim for 1-2 a week. Ironically, it's not the meals I planned with recipes that cause the drama, it's the other meals that I am just not excited about. I love grocery shopping and cooking normally (weirdo, I know :) ), so I don't know what the deal is.

 

Here's what yesterday looked like, which was not a very good day:

M1 (ate around 10:30 since I slept in until 9): 4 scrambled eggs, black coffee (maybe 2 cups)

M2: Drank a cup of Well Fed's silky gingered zucchini soup

M2: Chimichurri beef kebabs from the W30 book, served with a side salad with avocado.

 

I drink tons of water and I think I had a few cans of La Croix which is a little more than normal. I could probably go a day without actually turning on the stove, but I feel like I'm relying too much on "convenience" and that was one of the habits I kind of wanted to break. Breakfast is hardest for me to make a full meal because it just feels like a ton of effort for a busy morning. Maybe I need to start roasting tons of veggies the night before so it doesn't feel like such an effort in the morning? Plus, I am caught in the trap of cooking two meals: one for the kids and one for me. They can totally eat what I eat, but I just cater to their requests for pancakes and oatmeal. It would help if I rode the "I only cook one meal and this is it" route; they'll adjust.

 

Thank you so much for the feedback, you guys. Maybe I just needed to whine a bit and get someone to kick me in the pants. I can do this.

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Maybe I just needed to whine a bit and get someone to kick me in the pants. I can do this.

Sometimes that's all it takes  :) 

Don't be so hard on yourself though - your 'bad day' looks better than a 'good day' for some - I'm sure you know where you're falling short so I'll just say at least you're not getting stuck into a box of larabars  ;) 

I think you're  putting pressure on yourself for the 'perfect Whole30' perhaps because things aren't quite perfect elsewhere - you're doing fine, and realising that you're finding it tough some days is the first step in getting over that hurdle.

You're right, you CAN do this.

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I could probably go a day without actually turning on the stove, but I feel like I'm relying too much on "convenience" and that was one of the habits I kind of wanted to break. Breakfast is hardest for me to make a full meal because it just feels like a ton of effort for a busy morning. Maybe I need to start roasting tons of veggies the night before so it doesn't feel like such an effort in the morning? Plus, I am caught in the trap of cooking two meals: one for the kids and one for me. They can totally eat what I eat, but I just cater to their requests for pancakes and oatmeal. It would help if I rode the "I only cook one meal and this is it" route; they'll adjust.

 

Thank you so much for the feedback, you guys. Maybe I just needed to whine a bit and get someone to kick me in the pants. I can do this.

 

You might want to try just reheating breakfasts for a bit and see how you feel I quite like egg & meat muffins with some roasted starchy veg and kale :)

 

You can do this :D

 

It sounds like you're putting some extra pressure on yourself that isn't needed for compliance. I hear ya on the convenience thing, but there's being lazy and there's being mean to yourself and quite a lot of room in between. Have a think about what advice you'd give to a friend in your situation (not you) and see if it's the same. Sometimes we're really tough on ourselves when we don't need to be.

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Take care of yourself the way you would take care of a child or other loved one. You would make things to tempt them and restore their appetite. Give yourself much much love for the important goals you are trying to accomplish with your fourth W30.

You are amazing!

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