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Sarah C. Langland-Johnson

W30 and "morbid obesity"

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So, I am setting up to do a second W30 starting in January. I successfully completed a 34 day W30 in Sept/Oct of this year and felt awesome - I haven't been Paleo/primal since mostly due to money issues and having to eat up what's in the house, etc. My question here is: for the long term, do people still count points, calories, etc while eating Paleo or W30 compliant foods? I need something to address my severe weight issue and I am concerned that simply eating according to the W30 guidelines won't be enough. The first time I did this I lost about 25 lbs in that 34 days but most of it was in the beginning and was undoubtedly water weight (I could finally see my ankle bones for the first time all summer). Is it even possible for someone at my weight (about 390) to lose weight without counting calories/points or am I going to have to look into blending programs to get to my goals? I cannot even begin to describe how much I hate counting points - I have had successes in the past with a Weight Watchers approach, but having to track every single thing I ate made me feel even more food obsessed than I normally am. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :-)

SJ

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I have the same issues (and I'm fat--I hate the term morbidly obese cuz I'm alive!), too much restriction triggers me in the opposite direction! I know I can't do it, so I don't torture myself trying. There a fine but distinct line between being on a weight loss diet and nourishing myself with foods that heal. Maybe not in terms of the health effects but in terms of my mental health and well being.

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Hi Sarah,

My understanding is that while Whole30 is not a "weight loss program" per se, it is not unusual for those of us with weight to lose to see pounds come off while also seeing the other gazillion benefits that come from eating this way.

I also have had a good amount of weight to lose. I had lost about 15 lbs on a point tracking plan prior to finding W30 back in mid June. Since then I've done 2 W30s and one W45 and in between those I've eaten pretty close to compliant with just some occasional organic heavy cream and dark chocolate. I've lost 45 lbs eating this way and more importantly I just feel good. I have about another 40 lbs I'd like to lose and I have decided that this is really how I want to live my life--taking care of my body and mind inside and out and that I know that over time the weight will come off. There have been weeks where I've lost close to nothing or nothing at all...but I just trudge along trusting in my body and knowing that I am taking care of myself by eating good quality food that is nurturing my body. And...eventually my body will release the weight.

I guess this is my way of saying yes, I believe you can lose a significant amount of weight eating this way. I also believe your body will also get far greater benefits than just the weight loss. I've also found that it takes time and patience. But that's okay--I have a lot of life left to live.

Best wishes to you on your journey.

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I was 250 something at 5'5" tall at the beginning of my whole 60. When I finished it I was 227. I also think I can see a waist.

1. At this level of obesity I don't believe it is necessary to count calories, count points, or weigh and measure portions. Eating the whole30 way eliminates the whole glucose/insulin roller coaster and allows your body to actually go and get and use all that fat it's been storing for you.

2. Remember, though, it starts with food. Sleep--especially for weight loss--is crucial. Really. It also helps you resist any cravings you may have.

3. So is managing stress. There's nothing like stress to signal your body to hang on to every ounce it has. Therefore--exercise only as much as you want. Try not to want to do more. (Excercise is stressful. I like no more than about 1/2 hour every other day with weight bearing excercise 2x a week. (Maybe 3. We'll see.) Meditating helps, too.

Once you reach overweight, things may change--I don't know, I'm not there yet! But I will also tell you that it doesn't take a whole lot to start putting pounds back on. I am currently 230--I gained 7 pounds in the last week because of all those Christmas Carbohydrates. Of course,I'm also just 2 weeks shy of my 49th birthday, so if you're younger, your mileage will certainly vary!

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My tuppence worth...

I agree with Alana. Treat this as healing your body, your food associations, and the weight loss will probably be a 'side-effect'. Once you've got the right foods dialled in, you're sleeping well and moving a little, then you can start to tweak if the weight loss isn't what you wanted. But for me, I got to this lovely magical headspace after a while that means that I'm more concerned with the health aspects than the scale. An absolute miracle!

Good luck.

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I may be going against the spirit of paleo/whole 30 but I still keep an eye on my calories and macronutrients even though I have been eating paleo-ish for approx 3 months now.

I am working up to starting my first whole 30 on Jan 1 and will continue to track my cals as I find it easy to go OTT.

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I know you don't want to hear this but personally, I feel if you continue counting, carbs or calories you're defeating the whole spirit of the W30. W30 is specifically designed to change your relationship with food, to learn to listen to what your body wants and needs. I know it's really scary, especially at the beginning but it does, if done properly, really teach you to listen to your body. Your body does know what's best for it, we just have to learn to trust it.

If you're still counting calories you're basically saying to your body, 'I don't trust you, I'm going to stay in control of how much and what you get, not you.' This is coming from one who used to scrupulously note down carbs, calories and weight every day. Trust me, W30 is different from any other paleo program. It's been meticulously designed to give you everything you need and let your body be the best it can be.

Follow the W30 meal templates, eat compliant food, listen to your body as it starts to communicate with you, it will tell you how much it needs, and you'll end up with a totally normal relationship with food (something I thought I'd never have) as your body gets on with it's job of releasing the crap and getting to it's ideal weight. Isn't that better than a lifetime spent weighing, measuring, counting and worrying about what you eat?

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for me the whole 30 is about retraining my mind and body, so that healthy eating comes naturally. during my first w30 i didn't have much weight loss. but i was just eating whatever compliant foods i felt like, in any quantity. which i actually think is an ok thing to do for the first couple of weeks, to avoid feeling deprived. however, i'm starting a w90 on jan 1 and intend to follow the thumb rule for good fats. that coconut butter kills me!

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SJ - I am certainly no expert, being new to the paleo lifestyle and having only one W30 under my belt, but I'll share my experience so far. Having been overweight most of my life, I am an expert at almost every kind of diet. I can't say what exactly drew me to Whole 9, but I started my Whole 30 on November 1st. The first thing I noticed was I lost my need to obsess over what I was going to eat, when I was going to eat it, was I using my calories and carb grams to my best advantage, etc. I was satisfied by what I was eating and I didn't feel limited by my choices. In addition, I had more energy and my body felt better. I lost 7 pounds during my W30. I have continued to follow the W30 plan while adding 2 "treats" a week and have consistently lost a pound a week. My numbers may not be dramatic, but the 95 pounds I need to lose didn't come on in 6 months and I can't realistically expect them to come off in that amount of time. I feel like I can eat this way for the rest of my life, especially since I feel so much better. Not having to count calories, carb grams, points, etc. has been a huge relief and my results have proven to me that I don't need to. In my case, I think it has helped my previous un-natural, constant focus on food.

Good luck!

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I may be going against the spirit of paleo/whole 30 but I still keep an eye on my calories and macronutrients even though I have been eating paleo-ish for approx 3 months now.

I am working up to starting my first whole 30 on Jan 1 and will continue to track my cals as I find it easy to go OTT.

Kirsteen covered this a little bit, but glimmer, please listen to her! If you track calories and macronutrients, (and weight) you are NOT doing a whole30. All of the rules are there for a reason, and second-guessing your own hunger by tracking calories will sabotage your efforts. It's just 30 days, try it out wholeheartedly. I think you will be surprised.

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One thing I intend to do on my next Whole30 is start with just 1 palm of protein and 1 thumb of fat, eat it with veggies and then see if I'm still hungry. I'm a big eater, and I know that is what has put weight on me, so I want to find my "sweet spot" (lol, sweets are my problem) as far as portion size goes. The whole idea of "eat to satisfaction" mystifies me, since I can literally eat myself sick! My "stop button" is stuck!! I am going to use the Whole30 as an opportunity to repair my appetite to more naturally reflect my needs and energy expenditure.

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I know you don't want to hear this but personally, I feel if you continue counting, carbs or calories you're defeating the whole spirit of the W30. W30 is specifically designed to change your relationship with food, to learn to listen to what your body wants and needs. I know it's really scary, especially at the beginning but it does, if done properly, really teach you to listen to your body. Your body does know what's best for it, we just have to learn to trust it.

If you're still counting calories you're basically saying to your body, 'I don't trust you, I'm going to stay in control of how much and what you get, not you.' This is coming from one who used to scrupulously note down carbs, calories and weight every day. Trust me, W30 is different from any other paleo program. It's been meticulously designed to give you everything you need and let your body be the best it can be.

Follow the W30 meal templates, eat compliant food, listen to your body as it starts to communicate with you, it will tell you how much it needs, and you'll end up with a totally normal relationship with food (something I thought I'd never have) as your body gets on with it's job of releasing the crap and getting to it's ideal weight. Isn't that better than a lifetime spent weighing, measuring, counting and worrying about what you eat?

Kirsteen, I love you. :wub:

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Yeah, no calorie counting, it's a slippy slope, and so lovely not to have to do it anyway. If you're not losing and you think you should, then it's time to tweak (the fun bit), and sometimes you just need to keep going and let your body do its thing. I'm convinced mine is still 'working on some stuff' and that the longer I feed it well and dial in the sleep, exercise etc, the better things are going to get.

Does it matter what I weigh when I feel great and everything fits a little better than it did before? Absolutely not. :P

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Listen to what all these ladies said!

Follow the template, it will BE OKAY. 1-2 palms of protein, fill the rest of your plate with veggies, 1-2 thumbs of fat per meal. Listen to your body. If you're hungry between meals with 1 palm of protein, do 1.5 palms next time.

The second you start second guessing the program, or trying to outsmart it, you are going to break it.

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Great advice so far!!!! Interesting that you posted that you HAD great SUCCESS with point systems/ calorie counting programs in the past, but here you are...... Temporarily losing a lot of weight fast is worthless in the long run and very stressful on your body....

The templates of w30 work!!! You will make your body healthy!!!

Personally I simply log my meals ( chicken, broccoli,sweet potato, salad greens,olive oil) and my workouts ( strength 30 min, kickboxing 45 min) and how I felt during the work out and during the day and my sleep..... I don't mess with calorie intake or expenditure ..... I simply and I mean simply use it as a guide for feedback so I can say " hey I felt/slept/ preformed great this week" and I look at my log a see that wow... I ate 3 avacados a day, 6 cups of veg a day .... I really fueled myself correctly.... Conversely if I feel sluggish,I may not have eaten enough, if my waist feels thick and I see I was eating 3 portions of fruit and a lot of nuts, I can say.... Cut those out or I'll gain weight....

For it it's positive reinforcement that helps to retrain my brain and eat just the right amount/ mix and to be able to tweak it according to my bodies demands..... And if you post your logs....the mods are great at helping you overcome most anything that will come up....

This is long haul, not a quick fix... You are a special person and you owe it to your self to be healthy... Not a number on a scale....

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Sarah,

Welcome back. I am so glad to see you here again. I've actually thought about you a lot in the past months because your food/income situation reminded me so much of the community I grew up in. Congratulations on your new job and a new beginning for you and your family.

I'm with all the ladies above, here. I have a feeling that you will see weight drop with this W30 simply because of the lowered stress level in your house and the great food quality. I don't believe that it's ever really necessary to establish a pattern of food/calorie tracking, especially when your dealing with disordered food relationships. Just trust yourself and the program and watch the magic happen.

I may be going against the spirit of paleo/whole 30 but I still keep an eye on my calories and macronutrients even though I have been eating paleo-ish for approx 3 months now.

I am working up to starting my first whole 30 on Jan 1 and will continue to track my cals as I find it easy to go OTT.

Tom's soapbox is leafy greens. Mine is this.

Yes, you are going against the spirit of the Whole30. It is one of the program guidelines, just like not making SWYPO substitutes and not getting on the scale. However, it is a "cheat" with little to no physiological impact so it's something that folks like to hang on to. It is, essentially, rebellion against the system. A little flip of the bird, if you will, to the program. As much as the program changes the food on your plate, Melissa and Dallas created the program to change your relationship with the food on your plate. If you change your diet for a month, but don't address the issues you have with food - control and authority issues, for example - you aren't changing your life. You will not experience the full benefit of the program. The choice is yours, really, but personally, I don't think it's appropriate to come into the forums and flaunt your disregard for the rules.

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I find that calorie counting isn't good for me. Besides being a pain, if I have extra calories left at the end of the day, I think "oh goody! What can I eat?", and I end up eating something i shouldn't, even if i'm not hungry. Since this program is supposed to teach you to follow you body's signals, then you should just go by hunger and fullness to tell you when to stop eating.

Btw, I myself can't lose weight unless I give up the sugar....even fruit sugar!

...and Alana, you are so right! I gained 5 pounds in one week because of the Christmas carbs I ate. Why can't I ever lose weight like that??

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My husband and I both are overweight. I need to lose about 100lbs and he needs to lose about 150lbs. Daunting I know and we did a Whole30 in October. I have lost 15lbs and he has lost 25lbs. Now, I do not get much exercise because of my neuropathy and I also have a thyroid problem that hinders my weight loss. My husband walks 15 minutes twice a day. That has been the extent of our activities. I think we did well to lose what we did. We are joining the YMCA on Jan 1st and will try to boost our exercise to three times a week, plus they have a heated pool which is wonderful for my legs. I love to swim and during the summer I do quite often as it helps with the pain.

We have not been 100% compliant since our Whole30, I would say about 80% and we feel great and will be doing another Whole30 starting Jan 1st. I guess what I am suggesting is try to get in more exercise, even if it is only walking.

Yesterday we both had our annual physicals and our dr was very pleased with the results from our blood tests, specifically mine since I am diabetic. He asked what we had been doing and I basically told him we cut out all the processed crap and read labels a little more carefully than before, all he said was "as long as it works, keep doing it." That's the first time in four years we have both been happy leaving the doctors office. Our results were good and our Dr was enthusiastic about our progress.

Do not count calories and points! Eat good, whole food!

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My two cents - if you hate tracking calories or points, don't!

Think of it this way - calories and points don't measure nutrition. You could likely have a piece of pizza or a beef stew for around the same amount of points. But the nutrients in those two choices are completely different. Your body knows that. When it gets the nutrients it needs, it works how it's supposed to. When it doesn't, it overcompensates to correct the imbalance. Calories and points don't mean a thing when it comes down to what's going on at the cellular level inside your body - they're independent from nutrition.

As mentioned above, if you're set on counting something, consider counting the servings of veggies/protein/fat a day, and in this case, limiting what you're counting is not necessarily the goal of the Whole30!

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Thank you so much everyone! Robin and Renee, I feel so honored that you posted your thoughts here and that you really care about my situation. I am over the top happy with the fact that I have a new job that I am starting on Wednesday. I went shopping today to stock up on my essentials and got tons of produce - I am feeling so happy about being able to eat paleo/primal again I have decided to start up with the right meals tomorrow (done with food for today). The irony for me is that my new job is as an RN (well, until I pass state boards I am a GN). It is interesting to me to read the standard nutrition mantra and it is like gagging on something nasty to me to have to read my discharge instructions to patients who have new heart conditions or stomach issues or are post-surgical. In my head I am screaming "NO"! I really hope at some point in my life to be in place where my heart for helping people and my nutritional and wellness knowledge come together into something but I am working on that. I will follow my heart (and Kirsteen's advice :-) ) and not worry about counting points or calories. I wasn't thrilled about the prospect but willing to do so to be healthier. I think doing my first W30 was the first time in my life that I actually felt healthy, strong and confident, even though my body is so far from where it needs to be, it was healing to my soul to simply eat that which nourishes me and to be freed from the constant hell of worrying about how much I ate and if it was healthy enough or if I was going to lose weight this week, etc. As somone who loves her Creator for making the amazing human body, it has always gone against my core beliefs that we should have to do this to maintain a healthy body. I know now and am confirmed that I don't have too - I just need to eat what (and how) I was made to eat. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

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Sarah - I started my diet changes morbidly obese at 287 pounds. I now weigh around 200. (I'm at about 220 in my "after" profile picture.) I started losing weight by counting calories and carbs, but I am completely convinced that I have maintained my weight because of paleo. I do not measure, count, etc. Now I am a person that was obsessed with food. I take medication that increases my appetite. Sucks. But when I eat paleo I am NOT obsessed about food. And to be honest, I eat a lot more than the palmful of protein. I think I'm always going to have a big appetite, but with paleo I have peace about food. and even though I still weigh 200 I have peace about my body. I am no longer morbidly obese, or obese, just overweight. I'd love to keep losing, but I've stayed the same for the last 6 months.

You can lose a lot of weight with paleo and not measuring. But to me, even more importantly, I am maintaining weight loss effortlessly with no calorie counting.

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Personally I never found counting calories to benefit weight loss or, more importantly, body image. In previous attempts I would use one of those online calorie counters. I would try to keep calories under 2000 a day, for a moderate to highly active person, and I would be starving. Plus the counters would add up my percentages and I would always have over 50% of calories from fat. On days that I would actually stay under 2000 and 20% fat I would be so hungry and tired, and it was so mentally draining. I would follow the counting program for 2-3 weeks before I would just get frustrated and quit. Depressed that I just didn't have the "will power" to eat less.

That is why I became really interested in the Whole 30 program. No counting! During my first I lost about 12 lbs, and I am sure I was eating well over 2000 calories a day, and lots of yummy healthy fat.

I do have a question about the portion sizes. I didn't read ISWF during my first Whole 30 and I am about half way through reading it now, a week in to my 2nd. I didn't follow any portion sizes and still don't, and probably won't. How essential is that to the Whole 30 plan? Wouldn't that be kind of similar to counting calories? Looking back at my meals I think that the eating plan seems to naturally dictate the portion sizes with out me trying. Larger portions of fat or protein at one meal seem to prompt me to eat less of that at the next.

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Yes you can lose weight, at your size, without counting calories or points.

I started my first W30 at about 340 or so and while I tried counting calories/points during my first W30 I gave up about a week or so into the process. It was too much to have to deal with (calculating points/calories for homecooked recipes is a PITA) and both systems I was using (SparkPeople and WW) were telling me I needed less fat, more carbs, less protein, more wholegrains, etc. I just wasn't getting useful information from it. I did keep a food journal through my first W30 though and that helped to trouble-shoot why I was feeling bad/tired/extra good on a specific day. It also helped after the W30 with reintroduction because it helped me pinpoint which foods I could include on a limited basis without feeling like crud.

Since I finished that W30 I've continued to steadily lose weight without the strict restriction of the W30 and definitely not being 100% complaint. I think this is the first year that I'm listening to everyone around me complain about gaining holiday weight and I've actually managed to lose. Not as much as I could have if I'd been more strict, but the fact that I lost something is huge.

Good luck :) I'm starting my 2nd one on January 15th and am so excited to feel 100% better again.

Haha - I just read your reply and how you felt about the 'nutrition information' you have to give people. I went through a similar experience recently and have no idea how I'll bring myself to teach kids that low-fat, low-carb, no-sugar foods are healthier than eating real food. :P

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Hey, Everybody.

I started W30 four days ago, weighing 287 lbs. My goal is to just follow the program as it is written. I think I'll lose weight b/c my body will switch from carb-burning to fat-burning.

I started paleo (as best I could) at the beginning of November and immediately felt like I had tons more energy than I'd had for a long, long time. I didn't lose weight--not sure why. But I think that as I get healthier, I will lose weight and I definitely have many health challenges to overcome.

In the meantime, I'm not overly focused on future results b/c I'm still exulting in the fact that I have sufficient energy to do the things each day that I want to do. What a gift!!!! Really and truly, at least right now, I don't need anything more than that.

Thanks, everyone, for being here. And good luck to all!

Margie

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