Struggling to keep the belly fat off


BraveWhole30

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So I initially did the whole30 for 60 days and it was hugely successful. I used to struggle with acid reflux on account of the pot belly, but after the program, the pot belly went away and so did the acid reflux. Since finishing the program, I've followed the instructions from https://whole30.com/2014/01/whole30-forever/--- basically, its recommended that you do what I call the "whole30 light", where you mostly follow the whole30 diet but occasionally eat unapproved foods. 

Unfortunately, almost 10 months later, the belly fat is returning and along with it the acid reflux. Here's a typical day for me:

Day 1

  • Breakfast: homemade beef yuca soup + mushrooms + lentils. (Yuca is the caribbean version of sweet potato, a carb-heavy vegetable). Portions were whole30 compliant. Note that lentils is not whole30 approved
  • Dessert/snack: grapes
  • Lunch: went out to eat (not typical) but it was to an organic, paleo-friendly restaurant so no vegatable oils. Chicken stuffed with crab and pepperjack cheese. Homemade mashed potatoes. Steamed veggies. 
  • Dessert: ginger tea (no sugar), banana
  • Dinner: grilled chicken and squash
  • Dessert: orange
  • Exercise: 1 hr jogging
  • Post-exercise meal: 2 eggs made with coconut oil
  • Snack: raw cashews (but with veggie oils listed in the ingredients for some reason). Maybe also a square of dark chocolate. 

Day 2

  • Breakfast: two over-easy eggs fried with coconut oil and red peppers, mushroom, spinach also prepared in the skillet with coconut oil. (Two thumb-sized portions of coconut oil for the eggs and veggies.)  Also two or three slices of avocado.
  • Lunch: tilapia filet baked in the oven + oven-baked red peppers, mushroom, spinach
  • Dessert: ginger tea, banana
  • Dinner: sausage and squash
  • Dessert: grapes
  • Exercise: 20 minute walk + yoga

Some observations:

  1. I'm short at 5'6" and scrawny. My ideal weight is 140ish. 
  2. I mostly stay away from gluten, even when I eat out, speaking of which...
  3. I eat out at most once a week, and when I do I stay away from gluten... I usually just get meat, fish, or chicken, and veggies.
  4. I might be eating too much carbs (the yuca, mashed potatoes, squash, etc)
  5. Exercise. I'm an office worker but I work standing up (which can be just as bad). So I always try to walk/bike everyday. Cardio is every other day for at least 45 minutes.
  6. Coffee. Just gave that up but would normally drink two cups a day.
  7. Alcohol. Beer is once or twice a month, where I'll drink no more than 2 at a time.
  8. Pastries. Once or twice a month. 

So I guess it mostly seems that not only am I following the "whole30 light" program, but also that I have an overall healthy lifestyle. (My last physical was off the charts.)  Still, however, the belly fat. It's coming back and along with it the acid reflux....

 

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It's hard for us to give advice on people's food freedom because we don't know how non whole30 food affect you but I do observe that you are eating a lot of fruit as snacks/dessert (which leads me to believe you're not eating enough at your meals if you need snacks) and you are lacking in fat... Whole30 recommendations are a thumb sized amount for oils, not thumbnail and we generally don't count cooking fat because it's often split into portions, stays in the pan or is cooked off, so you're lacking there.  Eggs when they are your sole source of protein are as many as you can hold in one hand without dropping so that's lacking on those days as well.

Post workout recommendation is lean protein, possibly starchy carbs and no fat, so eggs aren't your best bet there as the yolk has fat which slows the absorption of the protein to your body.

Is it possible that all the fruit and the nuts as snacks is causing bloat instead of actual belly fat?

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5 minutes ago, SugarcubeOD said:

It's hard for us to give advice on people's food freedom because we don't know how non whole30 food affect you but I do observe that you are eating a lot of fruit as snacks/dessert (which leads me to believe you're not eating enough at your meals if you need snacks) and you are lacking in fat... Whole30 recommendations are a thumb sized amount for oils, not thumbnail and we generally don't count cooking fat because it's often split into portions, stays in the pan or is cooked off, so you're lacking there.  Eggs when they are your sole source of protein are as many as you can hold in one hand without dropping so that's lacking on those days as well.

Post workout recommendation is lean protein, possibly starchy carbs and no fat, so eggs aren't your best bet there as the yolk has fat which slows the absorption of the protein to your body.

Is it possible that all the fruit and the nuts as snacks is causing bloat instead of actual belly fat?

I meant "thumbsized". Also, there's usually avocado with breakfast (which I had forgotten about) but maybe that's not enough?

So basically your theory is that I'm not eating enough fat (which if I eat more of would reduce cravings for snacks/desserts). What would you suggest then? 

Carb consumption OK, though?

Post work recommendation --- egg yolks only OK?

 

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I dont' have a theory, I can only comment on how your current eating plan differs from the recommendations of Whole30.

Starchy carbs are recommended to be one fist sized serving a day, more if you're particularly active, an athlete, a woman on or near her period or people who may experience minor mood disorders.

Post work out is recommended to be lean protein and ideally a few bites of starchy carb.  Fat slows down the absorption of protein into your muscles and egg yolk is fat.

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Wait so you said above that I wasn't eating enough fat.... so what does whole30 recommend? (I don't remember anymore but seem to recall you're supposed to eat avocado with every meal but it's lately gotten too expensive)

Now you're agreeing with me that I'm probably eating too many starchy carbs... which I had suspected. 

Also, you keep saying "whole30 recommendations"... this diet IS whole30 approved. See the link i originally posted. Each meal *is* whole30 complaint but it seems that the total proportions might be out of whack (like too many starchy carbs in one day, not enough fat). 

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The Whole30 recommendations would be to make your meals match the meal template:   https://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf  That's for during a Whole30. Once you're not doing a Whole30 anymore, you have to figure out for yourself what works for you, because it is different for everyone. It might be that if you're particularly sensitive to legumes, eating them even occasionally might make you feel bloated or cause heartburn, or it might be that there's something in the foods you're eating in a restaurant that is bothering you (like soy or dairy in the marinades), or it might be that you're eating more of something now that's bothering you. None of us here can tell you what is affecting you, because it's not necessarily the same stuff that affects us.

Did you do reitnroductions after your Whole30? If so, did you notice reactions to any foods? If you didn't do reintroductions, you might consider another strict Whole30 at some point and then do the reintroductions to try to get a better idea of which foods are bothering you. Or you could see if just cutting back on the non-Whole30 foods more would be enough to give you some relief -- so if you're having legumes once a week, cut it back to every two or three weeks, and the same with dairy or grains or whatever else. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, BraveWhole30 said:

Wait so you said above that I wasn't eating enough fat.... so what does whole30 recommend? (I don't remember anymore but seem to recall you're supposed to eat avocado with every meal but it's lately gotten too expensive)

Now you're agreeing with me that I'm probably eating too many starchy carbs... which I had suspected. 

Also, you keep saying "whole30 recommendations"... this diet IS whole30 approved. See the link i originally posted. Each meal *is* whole30 complaint but it seems that the total proportions might be out of whack (like too many starchy carbs in one day, not enough fat). 

I didn't agree that you were eating too many starchy veggies... I gave the recommendations.  I don't know if you're an athlete or excessively active or a person with mood disorders or a woman on or near her period; the recommendations are to start witha  fist sized serving once a day and increase as necessary, often those above factors being reasons people might consume more starch than others... only you can know how many carbs to eat to feel your best without overdoing it.  That's the thing with this program is that it's n=1.  We give the recommendations for during the Whole30 program and outside that we can help as best we can for when people are working their own food freedom but only YOU know if you're eating too many carbs.  

The link you posted is the link I gave you to a blog post that Melissa wrote on why we don't recommend you do Whole30 365 days a year.  It's not an 'approved' program, it's her/us saying that we want you to do the program as written and then use what you learn to keep going in your life... you may find that your eating plan is very close to whole30 but with the addition of lentils and chocolate and that's fine but again, that's your food freedom.

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1 hour ago, ShannonM816 said:

The Whole30 recommendations would be to make your meals match the meal template:   https://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf  That's for during a Whole30. Once you're not doing a Whole30 anymore, you have to figure out for yourself what works for you, because it is different for everyone. It might be that if you're particularly sensitive to legumes, eating them even occasionally might make you feel bloated or cause heartburn, or it might be that there's something in the foods you're eating in a restaurant that is bothering you (like soy or dairy in the marinades), or it might be that you're eating more of something now that's bothering you. None of us here can tell you what is affecting you, because it's not necessarily the same stuff that affects us.

Did you do reitnroductions after your Whole30? If so, did you notice reactions to any foods? If you didn't do reintroductions, you might consider another strict Whole30 at some point and then do the reintroductions to try to get a better idea of which foods are bothering you. Or you could see if just cutting back on the non-Whole30 foods more would be enough to give you some relief -- so if you're having legumes once a week, cut it back to every two or three weeks, and the same with dairy or grains or whatever else. 

 

 

 

I have had 0 reactions to other foods...well mostly. I must admit I found that part of whole30 to not match my reality. (The original reason I went on whole30 is because friends with allergies kept telling me to try paleo. Unfortunately, none of the "bad" foods caused allergies or otherwise make me feel bad... The exceptions are beans which upset my stomach, caffeine both upsets my stomach and causes my allergies to flare up [dehydration]. Also, wine but not beer causes my allergies to flare. Other than that I can mostly eat anything. But I obviously can't because I'm getting fat again. And no, it's not "bloat", these are actual pounds.)

I'm looking more for advice from a nutritional point of view. I know some people can't tolerate carbs (they immediately get fat). And since someone mentioned I was eating too many starchy carbs, I'm gonna try that. I also get hungry so someone mentioned more fat but tips would be welcome. 

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As per https://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf, the recommended fat portions per meal are not clear.

Here's usually what I eat:

  • breakfast: 2 eggs cooked with coconut oil (thumbsized portion) + 2-3 slice of avocado + veggies
  • lunch/dinner: palm sized portion of chicken (either baked or fried on the skillet with coconut oil) + veggies

Should I be cooking with fat/butter *and* eating one of the listed fatty foods? And if so many?

If I don't cook with fat, how many of the listed fatty foods?

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The elephant in the room is that whole30 stops is one of those diets that works initially but stops working after a year (i.e., you regain what you lost). I don't think eating non-allowed foods a few times a month explains my weight gain. I'm pretty sure that's not how the body works.

If I were take a guess, the clue is the hunger cravings for sweets (fruit), chocolate, and nuts. I'm likely not getting enough fat, maybe also eating too many starchy carbs. Started a new thread to discuss fat intake: 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I didn't bother to read all the responses, so it's possible someone said this, but your stomach is really sensitive to sugar. People with reflux are often triggered by sugar, and grapes are one of the highest sugar fruits. Those daily along with other non-compliant sugar sources are likely much more of a problem than some starchy veg. I would try cutting out fruit snacking and extra sugar for 2 weeks while continuing to eat the starches and see how it changes things. 

Feel better!

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