Most important long-term eating habits

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Hello.  I'm on day 29 and am so happy that I have seen improvements in my brain fog as a result of  Whole30.  I will follow the recommended reintroduction plan.  My question is about long-term eating habits and not losing the progress I've made.  Other than finding a specific food or food group I'm sensitive to, are there any of the eating habits I've been using that are most critical to maintaining the success I've seen?  I'm thinking about the 3 meals a day (no snacking), meal template (protein, fat, veggie), organic/high quality proteins and veggies,  Is this one of those things I'll just have to play with and see how I personally do if I stray a bit?  If I had a personal chef and didn't travel for work I'd be very happy to continue on Whole30, but I cannot sustain the extra work for shopping and meal prep, and the inconvenience when traveling to find compliant meals.  I'm the only one in the house eating this way so doubling up on meal prep is killing me.  Just looking for direction on what I might be able to experiment with.  I would mention I did a 6 week experiment gluten-free prior to Whole30 and it didn't address the brain fog, so unfortunately gluten-free is not my cure.  Thanks.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi, survivor - I'm sorry no one has replied to you yet!  Part of doing the W30 is figuring out, through the reintroduction period, what long-term looks like for you as an individual, so I'm not sure that my habits are will be your habits, but I will tell you anyway!

The "meal template" has been the key for me.  I mean, it is the essence of simplicity and though I struggle sometimes to get enough veggies when I travel (particularly at breakfast...usually stuck with potatoes) overall it is just the easiest thing in the world.  And if I do that, the rest of it kind of takes care of itself because I don't get hungry for a snack or anything (or if I do, I have a "mini-template" snack of a little veggie, little fat, little protein).  The worst problem is when the day gets away from me for lunch (I don't do meal planning outside of dinner - I couldn't keep that up!) and occasionally I have skipped having anything when I have not stocked my car or briefcase with an RXbar.

I guess the other thing is that I almost never (like twice in the last 8 months) have any sugary anything anymore except some alcohol (I am even pretty limited with fruit).  I had a small piece of cake on my birthday and today I tasted two kinds of berry syrup in Costco from one of those demos.  On Friday I sat next to a large plate of cookies in a meeting for 3 hours and though they smelled better and better as the day wore on I never considered eating one.  I just know it makes me feel like crap (though I never had a sweet tooth before so it's kind of surprising) so it's not something I choose to eat.  I also am not obsessive about reading labels for added sugar, but mostly because I don't buy many things that actually have labels anymore, which is really odd because you skip 80% of the store, but it's how we shop now all the time and I know what the "good" stuff is because I ate only that for a month :)- so I just buy that stuff.

I have added back corn and rice every now and then, dairy rarely, legumes even more rarely.  I'd say I'm 95% gluten free.  Because I pay attention when I do eat them, and I know I'm going to have the effects of them for days, it's a conscious choice to "suffer" for some of those every now and then - but at least I know what's going on and how long it lasts.  And once your body chemistry has gotten back to where it can actually self-regulate because you aren't flooding it with various craziness all the time, it can handle the occasional detour without adding back 5lbs overnight ;) (though I still have the "feel like crap" to deal with as my body deals with what I just put in it, poor thing).  

It's funny, my husband didn't officially do the W30 with me when I did it, and I cannot pry him away from having cereal at breakfast, but otherwise he eats what I eat.  He occasionally complains that we "never have any fun anymore" but when I say "okay, let's go get ice cream" he always ultimately says no :).  He's down about 15lbs and is very very happy with my results so I think that over time your family will realize this is the new normal and you won't have to "double meal plan".  

I hope this is helpful somehow and that since you posted this question you have found what food freedom means to you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Whole30survivor I hope you're still surviving! 

Meal template is huge, especially when you're out away from your structured schedule for a while, in an unreliable food landscape. Sure, sometimes when travelling, jerky and an apple is all I'm going to eat, but next time I have an opportunity to get a full meal with all the parts, veg protein fat, I really take that opportunity, even if it feels absurd ordering it. It's like a little bump of normalcy and assurance that I can feed myself in a way that makes me feel good, and helps me make it through my next travel day.

I would also like to add about the double meal planning--- if you're making all the food, make what you eat. Take care of yourself. Put your mask on first. You're busy working and travelling for work: if your partner really cannot handle eating the way you eat, your partner can do the meal prep. When we make meals at our house (I don't have kids, just me and my husband), he might add cheese to his plate or warm up some rice to go with his meal, or put crackers in his soup, etc. Things like sugar or legumes when they are in sauce or seasoning don't bother me too much, so I don't worry about that if he's cooking, but he was able to convert to my cooking oils of choice and my general meal template, or at least recognize that just cooking a steak and cheesy potatoes wasn't a meal for me (though if there's salad in the fridge and an avocado on the counter, I can work with a steak).

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