Don't understand recommended balance in the "life after."


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I've done 3 whole30's and had great results. After that, I've had a very difficult time with it.  I know that this is not meant to be a Whole365, but what is the balance?  

I had no problems with dairy in the reintro, so I've started bringing diary back in.. is that ok?   I started letting myself have a little dark chocolate once a week, and that turned into sugar and alcohol once a week, and it's a slippery slope. Now I'm not losing any weight.  How do you make this a daily part of your life, but still keep the sugar cravings at bay?  It seems like I need it to be all or nothing, but that feels really unrealistic, and then it becomes more "nothing" than "all."

 

Im sure this has been addressed on the board somewhere, but I can't seem to find what I'm looking for.  Any advice about how you develop your "balance" is appreciated! 

 

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Nevermind - found this great thread which is describing exactly what I'm experiencing.  Thanks!

 

http://forum.whole30.com/topic/26709-w30-during-the-weekchill-on-weekends/

 

In case anyone else is having this issue, these points really stuck with me. I'm saving this to remember these words of wisdom, which ring drue for me!

 

re: off-roading on the weekends: "It worked great for the most part, but eventually it became a habit to off-road, rather than a need/choice, and the off road food choices became poorer & poorer, and the next day was always like a very miserable ground-hog day, starting over...My plan going forward is to off-road only for occasions I feel truly warrant it - I think making a conscious decision to off-road *every* weekend will eventually lead to your undoing."  - JMCBN

 

"The biggest challenge for me, and I see for others, is the sugar dragon. I think maybe on weekends I could have an approach that foods such as dairy and gluten free grains can be consumed if I really want (which often times I don't anyway), but stay away at all costs from sugar, which is my real issue. " - Baltomom86

 

"I've tried to do the week vs weekend thing but it's like starting a w30 every Monday and it's pretty depressing. ... I'm finding general compliance with an occasional treat is working better for me."

 

I'm going to trust in myself to eat whole30 most of the time and go off road only when it's really worth it (but no sugar, no gluten, no soy, and no legumes, all of which make me feel awful). I will have cream in my coffee but will try to avoid the rest of the dairy. I need to stop battling the sugar demon - it was so peaceful when she was asleep. 

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I am a carb addict! I have to continue eating this way like an alcoholic has to drink water instead of vodka. We all need to eat and we all need to drink. Just some foods and beverages are toxic to some of us.

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Sorry kirkor, but I have to say I really dislike GR's abstainer v moderator distinction.

We can ALL learn to moderate - it's just about developing new & improved neural pathways n the brain by repeatedly making conscious decisions - every time we choose to eat - creating new memories (& therefore different reactions to triggers) around food. Imagine climbing a mountain - most people take the path that's clearly marked ahead of them. Those who chose to take a new path will struggle at first, but each time they take that route it will become clearer & easier, until eventually it will be just as clear as the original path. And that's exactly how the neural pathways in the brain look - some pathways are firmly ingrained, and for most the Whole30 pathway is the road less travelled - but each of us have the power to change that.

Life is not black & white, there all kinds of shades of grey - and no good or bad food choices, only consquences.

 

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I guess for me, someone who has a big ol' sugar monkey on his back, it seems like the path to moderation is just too darn difficult to navigate.  Everytime I try to dabble in "some" chocolate, I end up hitting it a lot harder than I want to.  So ya, while I might be getting some training/grooving benefit for those first few attempts at moderating after a clean spell of abstinence, by going off the rails and then having to get back in damage control mode, I end up wasting more time and energy and feeling discouraged about the whole cycle.

 

>We can ALL learn to moderate

I don't think we can know this for sure. Isn't that similar to the attitude of telling a depressed person, "Just choose to be happier, man!"

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For a decade I told myself I was an all or nothing person or black and white thinking (which can be researched).  

 

All became all of the time binge eating.  Nothing = periods of over-restriction and dieting.  Constant cycling resulted in a weight gain twice my normal size.

 

Finding my balance.  I sat down face to face with a counselor.  The best in the west. 

 

Eating the greatest variety of whole foods was my way out.  For anyone who doesn't suffer with allergies/sensitivities...the Template has an enormous variety of foods.  After 30 days of Food Reset and Reintro testing...use the Template to the fullest extent.  Everything.

 

I do not limit my choices.   I am Fruit Loose.   Fruit for condiments and nuts for decorations.  My gut is an iron tank.  All highly engineered to be craved foods,  I avoid these.  You will find all of these items in the center aisles of the grocery store.  

 

Sticking to the perimeter of the grocery story is my lane.  I enjoy drive-by fruitings.  I am Fruit Loose.

The reasonable amounts of fruit at the end of the meal have made all of the difference for me.  It seems like such a small thing but being Fruit Loose is part of my balance.

 

It takes away over-restriction.   I believe the Template after 30 days can be followed to the fullest extent without any further rules, restrictions, recommendations.   No dialing it down to a nub.  It is the dialing it down that causes more chaos in the mind. 

 

Allow yourself true food freedom.   Old trigger foods  take away my food freedom.  I become fixated on trigger foods and forget that I am Fruit Loose.   Allowing myself fruit when all others are falling back into bowls of gummy bears, emm & emm's  is my way without weigh and whey.   

 

No more whey smoothies or dieting or restricting.  For years I was not Fruit Loose.  Fruit is forbidden on most diets.  So I avoided fruit and would eat refined foods.  Fruit is a plant.  Makes absolutely no sense whatsover now.   That disconnect.   

 

I no longer go dumpster diving.  Being Fruit Loose has kept me hinged for 2 years now.  No rebound cycling behaviors.  Being present in this moment is the way to find balance in the next moment.  

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I guess for me, someone who has a big ol' sugar monkey on his back, it seems like the path to moderation is just too darn difficult to navigate.  Everytime I try to dabble in "some" chocolate, I end up hitting it a lot harder than I want to.  So ya, while I might be getting some training/grooving benefit for those first few attempts at moderating after a clean spell of abstinence, by going off the rails and then having to get back in damage control mode, I end up wasting more time and energy and feeling discouraged about the whole cycle.

 

>We can ALL learn to moderate

I don't think we can know this for sure. Isn't that similar to the attitude of telling a depressed person, "Just choose to be happier, man!"

Not at all.

I'm not saying you can learn to moderate over night - I'm just saying that it is possible. Research shows that complete abstinence (especially in those inclined to binge) will usually result in a binge episode. Learning moderation is thought to be key to recovery.

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I have to agree with Kirkor, altho I WISH that I could learn to moderate. I don't have that gene... maybe I could learn it but with all the other things in my life that I have to try and resolve/manage/learn new pathways, learning to moderate sugar/cookies/ice cream is not and may never be a priority for me... 

 

Maybe that's the thing... maybe it's true that we could all learn to moderate but I think for some of us we can see that it would be an epic battle with many setbacks and we choose not to spend that effort.  Ice cream does not add anything to my life that is not already existing in some other format so learning to moderate it, while potentially possible, seems like an enormous waste of effort... 

 

My guess is that this thread topic and the subsequent discussion will be covered AT LENGTH in MH's new book, which, incidentally, I've pre-ordered ;)

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One more thing about Gretchen's articles... I think that for people who don't understand why their friend can have a small slice of cake and then put it back in the fridge for another day and they can't stop with just one slice, it's very enlightening... I think as we all go further into the journey of our own habits and cravings, addictions and desires, we do get a little deeper than just black and white abstain or moderate, but when I first realized that I wasn't batsh*t crazy because I couldn't moderate myself, it was like a weight lifted off me to know that I wasn't alone...

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Great discussion!! GR's abstainers vs moderators resonated with me, although 'abstainers' has a negative sound to it.

 

When it comes to sugar, I have to be an abstainer. It's not so much a slippery slope but a pitfall or nosedive! But I have the problem as an endurance athlete that I need to eat sugar and/or off plan foods when it comes to many of my races. I have tried to avoid the gels, I'm so much better than I was years ago, but it's unavoidable. If I'm in a race and need food, whether a food is plan or off-plan is no longer a consideration. And oh man some aid stations are a junk food lineup! I'll take what my stomach can tolerate: jelly beans, potato chips, sour gummies. But no gluten or foods I'm sensitive to. 

What happens though is after the race I'll start craving sugar. Gels are easy to refuse, they are yucky to begin with. The bigger problem is that outside of a race I'll see potato chips and think "well I ate them at the race, and I was OK...why not a few now?". And why not some sour gummies? My slippery slope!!

 

I was listening to a podcast that jokingly compared vegan/vegetarians to paleo-types. Joked about how the veg folks are always veg eaters, but paleo folks are sometimes paleo eaters because they do 80/20, weekends, or cheat meals. You don't see a vegetarian caving to eat a chicken but only on weekends, for example. (pardon the generalizations, but you get the idea). Vegetarians just don't eat chicken. And it got me thinking about how I can deal with my cravings:

 

When I'm tempted, I factually tell myself with a bit of shrug: "I don't eat those foods". 

 

Don't think about eating it. Don't entertain the idea. Don't give that food a foothold to tempt you into 'just this once'.

Instead it's "That's just how it is. I don't eat those foods." Clear cut. Stated as fact. 

It's help me to build a personal identity to define my limits and food parameters. 

 

So for me, my special occasions are race weekends. In race and post race, eat whatever my body will tolerate so it can recover. Out of those special weekends, NopeNopeNope. 

 

So maybe you could find a similar way to define your nutritional parameters? Maybe your holidays, vacations, once-in-a-lifetime foods are like my race weekends? Just an example. 

 

Hope this makes sense!  

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I try to assess foods on whether they make me thrive or not.

 

Is it nutritious?

Do I feel good after eating it?

Does it change my behavior negatively? (the "what the hell" effect certainly applies here)

Do I later wish I didn't have it?

Do I really miss it when it's gone?

 

The fully positive elements become very clear.

The last one can be a little deceptive. Sometimes I find the option of having something is more important than having it.

I can have wine, but I choose not to because right now it doesn't fit with my priorities. So keeping a bottle around makes me feel like I'm not missing out, even though I don't drink it. This isn't the same for everyone, but for some the "can't have" can tip into feeling rebellious and induce unwanted behavior.

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Really interesting discussion here. Why is moderation better than abstaining? If you abstain because you don't miss something if you dont have it then what's wrong with that. Each does there own thing. Know thy self.

Sugar is not good for you, eating it moderation doesnt change thast does it?

If you are a moderator because you can't envision life with out it, then that's no better or worse, than abstaining because you will lose control.

Neither is a healthy attitude, but you don't have to test you resolve every opportunity.

Life has other, more worthy challenges I'm sure.

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Maybe because if you don't miss something, then you're not abstaining from it ;)

To me, abstaining means restraint against something desired. 

 

Sugar is not as a whole bad for you. Too much sugar is, and refined sugar is. But for some of us like me, even that little lick of sweet can cause a crave. If I put a small amount of sugar in a recipe, I don't notice it and I'm fine. Understanding that, I can define where I moderate and where I abstain. Spending my day craving sugar and fighting that urge isn't healthy either. 

 

Without getting too caught up in the terms 'moderator' and 'abstainer', I think the goal of our discussion was to say that everyone will have a different approach to dealing with cravings and they need to figure that out for themselves.

 

In the 30 days of the Whole30 and in period afterwards, it is a worthy challenge for some of us. IMO Whole30 is a great way to do it, and hearing from others who experience similar things helps too. 

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Life has other, more worthy challenges I'm sure.

I actually think this is an interesting statement... some people's lives may have other more worthy challenges... but for some people, being able to manage themselves so they can have things they really like while being able to stay 'on the rails' is most definitely a worthy challenge... I think it's each person's decision whether or not they choose to take up that challenge... like I said above, for ME, I have a lot of big stuff going on in my life and the additional effort it would take to moderate ice cream is not worthy.... but someone else might be in... say a cake decorating community... if that person was an abstainer in theory but really wanted to participate in the community and wanted to enjoy a slice of some of their creations, it probably IS worthy for them to learn how to moderate that food group.

Melissa's 'year of strong and bendy' is a worthy challenge to her this year to spend additional time and energy on... for others, that may not be worthy of their time and effort....

Eating and exercising are such personal things that are so inextricably linked to every part of our lives that I don't think it's fair to set a blanket statement that the whole idea of learning how to moderate or abstain is not a worthy endeavor.

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Sugarcube is correct.  It's worthy.  We're all worthy whether we know it or not.   For 7 years there have been creators/mods/members that keep visiting with others about this worthy cause.

 

The half has not been told.   I'm just getting warmed up.  ;)  :D I could and can talk forever about the worthy cause of helping others eat for nutrition. 

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Neither is a healthy attitude, but you don't have to test you resolve every opportunity.

Life has other, more worthy challenges I'm sure.

Ok so I said 'test' as in choosing your challenges. Not that you are being challenged by what life throws at you and your response to those life event. We all have those and we all have to deal with them. Yes we can make those into challenges by choosing our response to them. But by testing I was meaning, things like doing a marathon, or deciding not to eat chocolate, for me not eating chocolate is a bigger challenge. Maybe for Lent I'll abstain. Does abstaining have a time frame? Is doing one marathon enough of a challenge? I could I do a few park runs each weekend instead?

As you say, your challenges are not mine. And we can only speak from our own experience no one else's. This is my view. I'm also doing a Whole30 as you are or have, therefore as far as I can see we all have relevant input. Even those that "failed" didn't really, because they learnt from it, that maybe at this time it is not right, or they are not in the right place. No one fails at a Whole 30, (perhaps unless they decide to never ever to have another try at it,but even then is that failure?) surely.maybe they will challenge themselves to other things meantime and in doing so will find out things about themselves that they never knew.

To me personally, these challenges can be more worthy than the choice between abstaining or moderating my chocolate intake.

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