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Letting Go...


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I'm a life-long calorie/points/carbs/anything and everything and, as of late, nothing(!) counter, and the thought of letting that go is what prevents me from starting. It terrifies me. My primary goal in doing this is to repair my relationship with food and, as a result, hopefully lose weight. I honestly don't know how to eat "normally" and I worry that I never will. I worry that I won't ever learn to read my body cues and, as a result, will continue to gain weight. Is there any hope for me?!

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5 hours ago, AMK922 said:

I honestly don't know how to eat "normally" and I worry that I never will. I worry that I won't ever learn to read my body cues and, as a result, will continue to gain weight. Is there any hope for me?!

First, of course there's hope for you!  People can change multiple times throughout their lives when the outcome is worth the hard work, which you do have to decide for yourself but in this case, 99.9% of people (very scientific ;) ) have attested that this is absolutely worth it.

Now, for the 'eating normally'. Yes, it's definitely hard but we have lots of great tools to help you.  First, you only have to eat Whole30 compatible food for 30 days. What a beautiful break that will be for not having to count or weigh or measure anything!  Pull up a copy of the meal template (linked in my signature below) and eat three meals a day that match the template.  That's 1-2 palms worth (ish) of protein, some fat (don't skimp here, that doesn't work like you've been led to believe) and fill the rest of the plate with veggies.  Work at this template until you can comfortably get 4-5 hours between meals.  If while you're getting there you need to eat between meals, do so. Best bet is protein and fat (say a hardboiled egg and some mayo or olives). 

I would also highly suggest you get the book It Starts with Food out of the library or download onto your e-reader.  It goes into very approachable detail why counting and restricting does the exact opposite of what you want it to do and how you CAN create a better relationship with both food and your body by learning how to live together in harmony instead of beating yourself up or punishing yourself by restricting/withholding or binging food.

You WILL learn to read your body cues - you'll feel hungry and then you'll eat.  It is next to impossible to over eat whole foods (these are whole, nutrient dense foods that have automatic nutritional brakes built right in - unlike for instance... Oreos which are VERY easy to overeat an entire package of because there is no nutritional brakes built in. 

Here's another honest and perhaps undesireable note.  You might gain weight.... don't panic.  I don't know what you've been eating or how much you've been restricting or counting etc but if your body is nutritionally deprived, it might hold on to everything you give it in the first little while.  As you continue to eat consistently and provide proper, nutrient dense foods, your body will 'feel safe' to start to release any 'extra' weight.  

Whole30 is a lifestyle change where you learn to listen to your body and create a lasting positive relationship with it and food.  It's not an instant weight loss gimmick but if you follow the rules and the recommendations (also linked in my signature below), you will get there!  Go also to the Success Stories section of this forum and read all about people like you who have done the program.  These are not edited or cherry picked by Whole30 to be the 'best' stories out there, they are just the honest, real, unedited stories of people who have come to the program and what they experienced.

The fact that you're asking these questions and that you want to make a change is the first and most important step and I absolutely know you are strong enough and determined enough to make these changes!

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I'm not going to repeat everything Sugar says although I could because I agree 100% with everything she is writing. 

I will add just this: 

I was a life-long calorie/points/carbs/anything and everything counter too. And it didn't work for me any more than it's working for you. Because clearly it isn't working for you. I went more than 55 years down this path of ill health and gain/loss cycling before I found W30. 

W30 is everything it claims to be - including not the be all and end all. I have completed 4 W30s and am currently on day 10 of #5. I learn more every time I do one. And I have learned that needing to come back and do another is a good thing, not a failure. I am experiencing an amazing food freedom and a commitment to my Whole life that is remarkable after a life time of scale addiction and micronutrient obsessing and weight gain and increasing ill health.

You will never discover these things for yourself unless you commit 30 days to find them out. 


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I was also a lifelong counter/tracker and I felt just like you. I still struggle with it after 7 months to be honest. I didn’t start this lifestyle until I was at my target weight and I was so scared that I would just eat my way back to where I had started. I actually lost 11lbs in my first 30! 

all I will say is to trust the plan and trust your body. Your body wants to eat this way. Food freedoM for me means exactly that: for 7 months I’ve eaten exactly what i need, as much as I want, no tracking, no weighing, no counting - and not gained an ounce. Freedom from that cycle of gorging at weekends, dieting all week, exercising to clear the backlog (and it’s true, you cannot run faster than a knife and fork!) and after my first 30 days I was FREEEEEEE! (I don’t feel completely free, but I’m working on it!) 

people will tell you that this lifestyle is so restrictive but you will very quickly see that it’s not nearly as restrictive as our old counting, tracking, macros, carbs etc. Food becomes just food. 

I’ve still got a bit to go to really clear all my food demons as it’s been a lifelong hobby of mine. The bathroom scales is a big one for me! 

good luck! 


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Wow - the knowledge put into the posts from Sugar cube and other advanced members is amazing. I'm a lifetime counter of everything as well and am more than a little afraid of what the next 30 days will mean to my relationship with food/eating - it kind of feels like I'm telling my significant other we're taking a 30 day break! 

Although not directed to me, thank you for your wisdom and advise. 

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Hi @Horseygirl426, how are you getting on? I find it really helpful to keep a notebook/journal each day. I’ve noticed a couple of things. 1) I get the urge to track/write down/ mentally tot up the calories in my food on some days still; these tend to be the days when I am stressed or tired or my mind is in overdrive. (I think for my whole life counting cals has Been my ‘anchor’ and I am still drawn to it as a coping strategy?) 

2) I tend to want to tot up more when I know I have eaten more than I needed- eg the other night I ate a banana because my kids were having pancakes (?) and the had this urge to write it all down- again, see above! 

for me, breaking this habit is as much a part of W30 as the food changes. This round I am planning my meals very carefully for the next day but I am not writing down what I’ve had that day (if that makes sense?). I recognise that on previous ‘diets’ I would plan my food, eat completely different food, and then use my notebook as a clean slate to absolve myself and start again the next day (and do the same again!) 

I can really recommend using journaling to dig into your feelings and behaviours on this and seeing where it takes you. 

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