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Setting personal guidelines for my food freedom

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One of the things I've learned in my Whole30 is that clear boundaries work very well with me. 
Because I acquired some compromises, it was quite easy to say NO to things that I would usually struggle with (such as sweet treats).

That's why I decided to create my own guidelines to help me in my food freedom. This guidelines are just that, guidelines, so in special ocassions I may
go a little stray - but within reason.
Just note that they are not Whole30-ish!


  • Breakfast

This was a game changer.

I've always been a breakfast person, but never bothered to cook much for breakfast. Now I know my breakfasts were lacking something.
But a whole breakfast - protein, veggies and fat - allows me to go through the morning without feeling hungry at all, hence not snacking on the not-so-
healthy options avaliable at work.

GUIDELINE #1: Prepping ahead a full plate of compliant breakfast, according to template.

  • Veggies

The other really important nutritional fact I've learned: quite a bit of veggies in every other meal is not enough veggies. At all.
I was not eating veggies at breafast, just a bit of them at lunch, only really focusing on them at dinner. That had to change.

GUIDELINE #2: Half a plate of veggies in each meal. No excuses.

  • Legumes

Legumes are a vegetable source of protein, which often led me to think of them as equivalent to veggies. They are not.
It does not make sense to add more protein - which is what I typically do. Instead, I should be adding lots of veggies to my lentils/chickpeas/beans stews
- but I prefer them in much smaller amounts.
I have a plan though.

GUIDELINE #3: Have a side dish (full of veggies) to complement legume stews.

  • Rice, pasta and similar grains

The way I cook them, rice and pasta are pretty much the same kind of dish.
They do not offer as much protein as legumes, but they are definetely not short on energy and they are neither fat nor veggies, so I think I ought to
regard them in a similar way.
Also they tend to go with protein, sometimes dairy. 

GUIDELINE #4: Add plenty of veggies to my rice/pasta dishes, and/or have a side dish of veggies.
Also I'm setting a limit of up to one meal a week with these ingredientes, because even if I add veggies I'll be skipping on protein.

  • Bread

I bake our own bread. We don't eat a lot, so a piece will last about a week.
We eat other bread-like dishes (pizza, empanada, sandwich) quite occassionally, so I'm not gonna worry about this one detail much.

GUIDELINE #5: Consume bread on a bare minimum basis, the smaller amount possible.

  • Dairy

I use milk/cream in sauces. I eat yoghurt as desert. I may eat a small piece of cheese.
It's never a lot, but it probably adds up. Specially if that means I would not eat as much proper food.

GUIDELINE #6: Keep creamy sauces to a minimum, watch out the serving size.
Eat yoghurt and cheese only occasionally.

  • Sugar

I'm not adding sugar to my tea anymore and that makes me feel proud of myself.
I'm also not giving up to treats that I'm being offered.

GUIDELINE #7: Limit sweet treats to special ocassions. Even in those cases, prioritize homemade ones.


I'll be following these guidelines (and tweak them any further if I learn anything else) and will use this thread for accountability.

Just some data input for future reference:

  1. My weight on day 0 was 89.5 kg,
  2. My weight on day 31 was 85.7 kg (almost 4 kg down!)
  3. My weight two weeks later (after reintroduction) was 84.3 kg (so I lost 1.4 kg more)

I plan to weight myself once a month or so, to monitorize whether this approach works fine or not.

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First week.
And it was hard, harder than the Whole30 to be honest.

I even can say I "failed" once.
I was at my workplace, in the lounge area doing some work during our break. It's a very small place so there is only one table (8 seats) so when one of my colleagues brought a freshly baked brownie with nuts and put it on the table - right in front of me - it was too big a temptation,
Leaving and locking myself in the toilet seemed a bit too harsh, so I stayed there smelling the fragant handmade brownie. I tried to be strong but in the end I could not help eating a piece.

I tried not to bee too hard on myself, one may learn from every experience, but I must confess it made me think a lot.
I think I should be more strict about what's to be considered an special ocassion. If everything is special then nothing is.

Even more because I felt unwell the day after.
It was not a proper testing because I ate other non-compliant foods that day but the sweet treat was a likely culprit. Which would be news for me because nothing else gave me any reaction.
The brownie had, of course, flour and sugar. I've tried sugar in a cheesecake I made for my husband's birthday, but because I usually use less sugar than recipes call for it. Also I'm eating small amounts of bread, but really small ones.
Things to keep an eye on anyway.

But it could have been something else to be honest. My period for example.
I started to feel tired the day after, just as I felt during my last period (back then I thought it was the I-need-a-nap phase, but it seems it was just my period).
So once again my period is being weird. I'm just having this general discomfort but no proper bleeding (I did not even need a panty liner, but when I cleaned myself I always found traces of blood in there), same as happened then.
Last month I had only three days of proper bleeding as if the hardly-noticeable one also counted towards the total days. I'm wondering if it will be the same this month.
In any case I'm feeling like shit. I do.

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It's crazy isn't it, how hard it all is. It's now two days since you posted. I hope you're feeling a little better. I think the relationship between our hormones and our food is pretty eye opening. Every time I clean up my act, my period changes, which makes me think I really need to stick with things for a longer time so my body and hormones can stabilize. Bummer about the brownie, but also rather interesting. Maybe the reaction was bigger because of your period, but still good to observe that you thought there was a reaction.

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I'm feeling better now. These periods are weird because I feel awful during the no-bleeding days but then I feel ok during the bleeding days. 
I'm hoping this goes back to normal at any point, hopefully when my body adjusts to this new eating plan of mine. (Otherwise I'll start thinking I'm doing something wrong here.)

And, yeah, it's crazy!
During my Whole30 I was on autopilot - I can eat this but not that - but thinking about every single food choice is exhausting.
Intentional eating feels good though.
For example, today I was eating out with my family and my parents insisted I should order a dessert. I said no, but not because I'm following a plan or because some book set those rules - I said no because I decided not to eat dessert. And that felt great.

I'm not completely sure about the brownie. When you are clean and properly testing you may be quite sure of what caused a reaction, but this was not the case so I may very well be making everything up.
Actually yesterday I had empanada for dinner, which is a bread-like dough filled with ingredientes (in this case: onion, meat and pepper) and I did not feel bad afterwards, so it seems that wheat is ruled out.
Could sugar be the cause? Maybe not the sole cause, but combined with flour and dairy... Could be.
But also could be me looking for further proof that I must remove sugar from my diet, which is something I'm glad to say I'm achieving - and that was all thanks to the Whole30.

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On Friday I met some former colleagues for lunch, and I ate a lot. A lot. Fully compliant btw, but when you eat so late and for such a long time you end up overdoing it. Actually we finished lunch by 5 PM, so I probably should have skipped dinner but I was worried that being hungry at night led me to unhealthy snacking.
On Saturday I decided to step on the scale just out of curiosity, and it showed that I had gained 1'5 kg (about 3 pounds).
I did the same today (Sunday), and that extra weight had disappeared - I was at 84.1kg, which is what I weighted three weeks ago when I created this thread.

This was a neat experiment because it shows a huge difference in weight in just one day. And simply because I overdid one single meal (and it was not an unhealthy one, just a too large amount of it). Weight is just so relative!
It's something we all know, but this reminder is a good thing for me.

And, well, it seems I'm not losing more weight but I'm (probably) not gaining it back either, so I'm content.
This is all about learning, but I'm glad it does not become some sort of yo-yo thing.

One thing I've learned: small amounts of sugar are enough to bring back bad habits.
I had some 99% chocolate at home, and I ate little bits when I drank hot tea. Felt great.
Then I bought some more, they had no 99% nor 95% that day, so I got some 90% chocolate. Still dark chocolate, but what a difference in my response! 
I gobbled it all in just a few days, and got me thinking I had crossed the line.
(So no more sweet dark chocolate for me, just good ol' bitter chocolate.)

And on a completely different topic, it's always terrible to notice there are some people on whose support I can't count. Ever.
In my case it's my parents. They have always harassed me about my weight (even when I was a child and not overweight at all) and at the same time accussing me of unpoliteness when I rejected any sort of sweet treats.
Last week they were quite forceful about the dessert I should be eating (because, apparently if you don't order dessert in a restaurant you are some sort of madman).
And today they visited us for an afternoon coffee, and they brought a huge cake filled with cream. Seriously! <_<

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I'm too old for the hormone train to run me over, so thankful for that!  But I so agree with how much easier it is when you are following strict W30 rules than when we're flying solo!  When people asked me about my W30 and exclaimed over how they could NEVER manage it, I always answered that it's not these 30 days that worry me, it's the 335 that follow. 

I love your guidelines above and doing much the same for myself.  I lost 4 lb. during my W30 (day 30 was Sept. 10) and 3 more lb. since.  I feel very good about that, this is very sustainable for me.  One tip I learned elsewhere about guideline #7 (sweet treats) - the best bite is the first bite and the second best bite is the last bite, all other bites are just the ones in the middle.  So limit yourself to 2 EXCELLENT bites!  I pick apart my dessert serving until I have separated out the *perfect* bite and I savor it.  Then I do that all again for my last bite.  Yes, those 2 bites are pretty big bites, but not as big as the entire serving.  Just wanted to share what is helping me!

My biggest W30 benefit was getting over thinking I needed dessert at every meal and tricking my sweet tooth into thinking things are sweet that I did not think of as sweet before, like plain almond butter and dates.  If you have this in your area, look for Kalot Superfood nut butters.  THEY ARE WORTH THE MONEY!  As long as I don't fall back into the habit of finishing each meal with a serving...


On ‎10‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 2:06 PM, Amura said:

And on a completely different topic, it's always terrible to notice there are some people on whose support I can't count. Ever.
In my case it's my parents.

Here I would like to say "Bless your heart!" and me, too - except my parents have a problem with alcohol, not desserts.  It's like I've grown a tail and whiskers when I say no thank you to a beer, wine or cocktail.  They are flabbergasted that non-drinkers exist.  I started pouring myself a glass of Kombucha to carry around and sip.  They finally left me alone when I told them this is a fermented tea.  I guess the term "fermented" put them at ease...  :rolleyes:

Cheer to us!  We're killing this!!

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Yeah, I keep thinking that Whole30 is not that hard if you are already used to cooking homemade meals.
At least that's how it felt for me. 

Still it's quite strict and in many senses it feels unnecessary for me, but I wanted to keep what I've learned (or most precisely what I've proven to myself, because most of my guidelines are based either common sense or quite well-known nutritional facts).
And taking the time to write it down forced me to think carefully about them, also I expect that it helps me with accountability.

The two excellent bites rules sounds great, but I'm not really sure if I can do that.
See? That's harder for me, having something but not having the whole thing.
Removing something completely is much easier than limiting the amount of it I can eat.

Actually I'm not having dessert with most of my meals. And when I do it's because I don't feel full.
Today I had a banana after lunch a a homemade plain unsweetened yoghurt after dinner, but that's pretty much all. 

I'm not into nut butters, but thanks for the recommendation anyway.
My indulgence goes more towards black chocolate, which I love. Bitter one is working better for me at the moment -  90%-cocoa chocolate was too low, 99% was fine, I might try 95% and see how I react.

And, about parents. I guess you get used to think everybody is (and should be) the way you are, so it's hard to digest that people you love do "weird" things such as quitting alcohol or sugar. (There is a saying in my language: familiarity breeds contempt.)
I'm just trying not to lecture anyone on what I think they should be eating for a healthy lifestyle, because it would be exactly as annoying!

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Last week was not great.
I was feeling quite under the weather. Just regular flu, nothing serious, but I was very tired. And also it was time for my period, which only worsened the situation.
So I indulged on comfort foods.

It was not really bad, but still felt like I was losing control. And I did not like the feeling.

Also it lead to snacking, which was not so great.

Oh, well, I'm probably overcomplaining for such a little misstep, but I'm afraid I've lost my inertia and that now it's gonna be a bit harder staying on track.
Maybe I'll try a short reset, a week long or so, and see if that helps.

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On ‎11‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 9:52 AM, Amura said:

but I'm afraid I've lost my inertia and that now it's gonna be a bit harder staying on track.
Maybe I'll try a short reset, a week long or so, and see if that helps.

How's it going Amura?  I feel like I need to do the same.  I've been to several weddings and other celebrations this fall, my birthday was recently (which one must enjoy several times over with different groups: friends, family, work friends!)  Thanksgiving is just around the corner, etc., etc.  I'm afraid I have fallen off the wagon and it has run me over.  This is a very good time for a reset - starting Friday, after my work friends and I have gals' night out! 

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Well, the funny thing is I have not gained any weight.  Which supports the hypothesis that this was not a fad diet after all ;)
My weight on the scale relieved me, honestly.

But, yeah, the this-is-far-from-perfect feeling persists and I'm gonna try a short reset. Because I think that at this point short resets might be more useful than making a whole round from scratch.
Since you're starting Friday, I'm joining you and starting Friday too - it's perfect timing for me too :) 

After some consideration I've decided not to make fully compliant meals though.
Legumes are an interesting source of protein, and because I add protein to all my meals it's interesting that some of it is not animal protein.
Other than that I'm gonna follow the rules for a week, see how it goes.

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This will be my second mini reset since my day 30 on September 10.  Peanuts seem to be the only thing I *need* to avoid. 

I've never been a big fan of legumes, so that probably means I don't know how to prepare the properly.  I just had blood taken to get the health insurance discount at work.  It will be interesting to see the difference in my cholesterol and triglycerides after all the meat I've been eating.  If those numbers are trending the wrong way, I may investigate more legumes, too! 

My biggest concern is avoiding peanuts, gluten and added sugar.  Got to keep that sweet tooth tamed!! 

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I do love legumes, specially because I think it would be nice to eat less animal products. You know, the killing and all that.
I'm not vegan or vegetarian, I do eat meat and fish and eggs on a regular basis, but I would like to increase the proportion of vegetables as much as possible without giving up on health nor taste.
Also legumes are easy to cook, but take a bit of planning. For the soaking.

I don't think I've eaten any peanuts recently, it's something that I did not even care to test because I hardly ever eat them.
Gluten and sugar though, that's my battle too!

Before my Whole30 I would have said my inmediate problem was sugar, but now I've come to realize that other things (such as bread) may be a bad influence because it leads me to grazing.

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