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Hittin' Reset: A Whole7 Experiment


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Hm, I feel a bit awkward posting various logs all over; hopefully it isn't too much of a faux pas!

Anyway, here's a quick recap.

November 2012: Tried a Whole30, timing was poor and supplements contained wheat - I put it off.

January 2013: Completed first Whole30, rejoiced.

February 1-9, 2013: Reintroduced dairy, white rice, oats, and sugar. Too much sugar. ...Way too much sugar.

Starting tomorrow (2/10), I'm hitting the reset button with a Whole7 in preparation for visiting my grandparents' house the following Monday. I have no intention of it being compliant, but I'm certain I'll be able to make good food choices there.

What I've learned in the past month:

  • Tell me I can't have sugar and I won't. Give me the "okay" and I just lose it. One little bite sends my cravings through the roof. I need more than 30 days to break this habit.
  • No matter how full I am, no matter how high quality my foods have been, I can't shake the dessert habit. I'm sick of being a slave to the post-meal apple, almond butter, coconut flakes, what-have-you... And sometimes, it turns into a full-on binge... on raisins, coconut butter, [other compliant ingredient]. Bleh.
  • My body can't handle the amount of fat required per meal for me to function on three meals per day. My high-fat breakfasts, designed to help me last from 7pm until 1:30pm, were leaving me doubled over in abdominal pain and nausea. Digestive enzymes are helping somewhat for now, but I think I need to scale back to four smaller meals to ease the load on my system a bit.
  • Additionally, the digestive issues led me to hang out on this metaphorical see-saw: Eat three big meals and be in pain one day, try eating smaller meals the next and wind up snacking excessively. By planning for four smaller meals (each containing fat, protein, and veggies), hopefully I can reduce snacking.
  • I am at a good weight. For some reason, I've been fixated for the past year or so on the idea of weighing 132lbs. I think I used to weigh that much, at some point, but I have never ever been "fit" or healthy. Skinny-fat, if you will. I'm 5'8", I weigh 145lbs, and that's in the healthy BMI range. I've been exercising, I put on muscle, my pants are tighter (but so is my ass ;D) but I am not fat. I secretly hoped that on the Whole30 I'd lose weight. But you know what? After 30 days of the healthiest damn eating I've done in my life, I didn't lose a pound, didn't lose an inch, and suddenly it hit me... I didn't need to lose weight. 132lbs is an illusion. I'm getting over it, slowly but surely.
  • I can live the rest of my life without grains and legumes. I don't miss them at all. I had white rice and oatmeal and they were delicious, but I'm fine without them. I loved beans of all kinds, and I haven't even reintroduced them yet. I'm not even daring to reintroduce wheat yet, but I know that day will come. Dairy is a weird grey area where I really want to eat it, but reintro didn't go so well (but not terribly, and another attempt is required) so I'm ambivalent.
  • Foods without brakes: Dried fruit, coconut flakes, nuts & nut butters, LARABARs, coconut butter, plantain chips, sweet potato fries. You guys are OUT!

What I'm not so sure about:

  • Fruit. I went back and forth on fruit during my Whole30. Too often I had it as a snack or dessert, as opposed to a (psychologically) healthy meal component. I don't want to not enjoy my food, though. When I reintroduced it midway through my Whole30, I was happier. But I also made some poor decisions.
  • Habits. How do I keep myself from staying up so late on the computer? How do I convince myself to exercise, to prep my food beforehand, to de-stress, to eat mindfully, etc.? I'm still puzzling through these questions and more and hope to find the answers on my next Whole* journey.
  • Blogging. I loved blogging about my Whole30, and photographing every meal was a lot of fun. But it was also a pain and wore me out and probably detracted from the experience. I'm going to do what comes naturally (but not give up on that project) and focus on eating good food.

Tomorrow's Plan:

Serendipitously, (well, thanks to the snow) I don't have work tomorrow, so I can spend a bit of time cooking and preparing. That said, my fridge is lacking and I only have one pound of ground beef, and possibly some other assorted meats stashed away in the freezer (not much) and some canned fish and eggs. I think what I need to do is make ahead some meals (I am happy eating the same thing every day for about... 5-6 days), prep some components (a la Melissa Joulwan's "hot plates") and have plenty of healthy bits and pieces on hand for variety (i.e. carrot sticks, hard-boiled eggs).

(Meal times subject to adjustment; I would choose other times but this is what works with my schedule as an after-school teacher)

Wake up @ 6:30am Cup of tea

Meal 1 @ 7:00am Reheated meal (e.g. casserole or "lasagna" w/ veggies)

Meal 2 @10:45-11:00am "Hot plate" of meat, veggies, and fat

Meal 3 @ 3:45-4:00pm Finger foods or salad at "snack time" (e.g. HB eggs or cold meat, olives, avocado, raw veg, fruit(?))

Meal 4 @ 7:45-8:00pm Crockpot soup, stew, chili, or curry

Bedtime @ 10pm Cup of tea

For one week, this is what I'm going to try. After that, I'll tweak the plan as needed. I'll relax up in Vermont with family for a week, take a few days to prepare, and then launch into my next Whole* (I haven't decided how long, but I think I'll need more than 30 to break some of my bad habits and replace them with better ones). I think that this meal plan will be both easy and flexible: 1 hot meal that can vary by day, 2 recipes that can be prepared in advance and will be consistent throughout the week, and one (Meal 3) that is a bit more snack-like in nature, and features more raw vegetables.

Things I might make:

  • Spaghetti squash with meat sauce
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Salmon cakes (haven't had anything like this before... never was a big fish fan but I'm getting there!)
  • Pastelon (plantain lasagna)
  • Carrot and bell pepper sticks

But I'm not sure. It's already past my aforementioned bedtime (darn!) because I can't stop planning and scheming things. This is actually a problem. Anyway, I hope I don't look too weird and over-analytical with this post, and I hope no one is angry that I keep starting new threads... let's call this my Whole30 #2 prep thread, I guess. Yeesh. (I hate being the center of attention!)

Thanks for reading, let me know if anything sticks out as a bad idea!

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...As it would turn out, I'm completely wired after a day trapped inside (no seriously, there is a driving and walking ban in effect apparently, due to the snow?!), eating way more carbs than needed (fruit, nut butters, potatoes) and staying up too late on the computer. I tossed and turned for a while but then gave up and came back. (See what I mean about changing habits?)

Anyway, a few more things...

Tea. At the end of my last Whole30 I ordered this tea assortment and love every one of them. Far as I can tell they're all completely compliant (no soy or wheat) and a wonderful way to end the day. The licorice and cinnamon apple are total treats! I hope I can persuade myself to indulge in tea instead of something more... calorific, after a long day.

Supplements. I know I am more stable in general when I take them, so I need to start being consistent with:

  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • N-Acetylcystene (I'm experimenting with this for my trichotillomania, which has flared up badly lately)
  • Hair, Skin & Nails formula
  • Black Currant Oil

I also may experiment with L-Glutamine and gymnema sylvestre for blood sugar stabilization/sugar cravings, but on strict Whole30 those cravings weren't too bad.

Obsession. Erm, can you tell I obsess a bit about this stuff? Yeeaaah. There are quite a few other aspects of my life that have nothing to do with food, such as my job working with kids, hanging out with family, and playing video games... but that's about it. I used to do a lot of art. I miss it. Unfortunately, my job and commute combined eats up nine hours of my day and after cooking and eating and blogging, I'm too tired to be creative. Spending all my free time reading and writing and listening to podcasts about fitness and nutrition just can't be healthy.

Mental Health. And yet, while on the Whole30 I felt so mentally and emotionally happy and free. I didn't realize how much energy I had until I tweaked the formula, reintroduced some crap, and here I am now: tired but wired. Sigh. I want to feel that good all the time, and was surprised by how quickly I lapsed into old habits with the program's restraints no longer holding me back. I loved feeling happy all the time; let me have that back!

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I like your plan. I love the Wellfeds hotplates. It's how I eat 90% of the time now. I too am still working on getting off the computer at a set time each night. It's usually this forum that keeps me up :). There's something I really want to buy myself so I've decided that if I can manage 30 days of shutting my laptop by 9.30, then i'll get it but not until then. Good luck

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It sounds like you're very in tune with your body and how it and you feels and that's great! Being reasonable with yourself is so important to making this a part of your life (I.e. your weight realization) I enjoyed reading your blog and your reactions.

Btw, 5'8 & 145 is awesome! I'm 5'5 and 140-145 is my goal. I'm a size 6 (sometimes 8) around that weight, but most importantly I FEEL amazing when I'm at that point. Whereas someone else might be 125 and feel that way. Weight is a tricky thing. Sounds like you learned the key to it ;)

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It sounds like you're very in tune with your body and how it and you feels and that's great!

Becoming in tune with what our bodies are telling us is indeed a major goal of a Whole30 and bljf1006 is right, you are "reading" your body's signals now.

I took a peek at your profile and I see that you're 22. What a wonderful gift you're giving yourself to be learning about nutrition at this stage in your life, and making these changes in how you eat.

One of the first things I read when I began looking into primal/paleo is that nutrition is 80% of our health/fitness, and exercise is 20%. You're getting the most benefit from your effort by focusing on food first and letting exercise be secondary. It's well worth getting the nutritional pieces in place in a way you can live with.

Looking at your meals, I see you're questioning whether to include fruit as part of M3. If it were me, I would omit it from that meal. Mainly because that's a "snack-y" meal already and it would be a stretch for me to include protein, vegetable, fat and fruit in a small meal like that. And since I don't want to shortchange myself with protein, vegetable or fat, it's easier to knock fruit off the plate than to risk it knocking one of the others off (or knocking one of the others down to a smaller size).

One thought for M3 is tuna salad or chicken salad (and I guess egg salad). I find those to be easy to do in snack mode because they have the fat right in there with mayo and they're easy to eat side-by-side with raw vegetables. Celery sticks, carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, jicama sticks, etc. I've also rolled tuna salad/chicken salad in the cold leaves of cooked greens. Would work in a pliable lettuce (although lettuce is probably not a very nutritious vegetable source).

Anyway, my point is, I'd make an effort to be sure I've got the fat in there.

When I'm having a salad at work, I take my dressing in old supplement bottles. When it's finished, I just toss it. (Although sometimes I'll give 'em a quick wash out, shaking it hard with soapy water to clean it.)

Nice wrap up, Callan, and I look forward to following your reset.


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I like your post, I can relate to it in so many ways. While reading some of the parts I nodded a lot. Summing up is a tricky thing, it gives a good perspective, however it is so overwhelming. I think that taking down one habit at a time is the only way to avoid stress. Relax, feel good about yourself no matter what and focus on fixing one thing at a time. Stress management might be the first one. Personally, I feel that stress is sabotaging efforts of healing mind and bosy through good food choices.

Have wonderful time during your visit of grandparents. Hope to hear about your progress soon.

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I really resonate with your post, Callan—especially your first two points. No sugar? Easy-peasy. A little bit of sugar, once in a while? One homemade cookie becomes two becomes a cupcake and raspberry jam straight out of the jar. Yikes.

Your meal plan looks great; in fact, I may borrow it. As much as I like the idea of three meals a day, it doesn't work for my body or my schedule (yet?).

If you do decide to make salmon cakes, I recommend the recipe from ISWF! They're easy and delicious at any temperature.

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Thanks, Terez, what a wonderful post! Those "salads" are definitely on the menu for M3, and I like all your ideas! The biggest challenge for me will be prepping all those vegetables and making mayo on the weekend.

Callan, it's funny but I also feel like mayonnaise takes time and really, it only takes a few minutes. If I include clean-up, it's 10 minutes. The only part that's "hard" is remembering to put the eggs out the night before (to come to room temperature), and finding a jar with a lid to put the mayo in after it's made.

As for the prepped veggies, I used to buy a sandwich for lunch before I turned Primal. Generally that was $8 for the sandwich. So now when I don't get my vegetables prepped, I give myself permission to buy cleaned and prepped vegetables at the grocery store. There are usually little bags for $2.99 and two of them is still costing less than I used to spend for lunch. (Yes, I'm still paying for my tuna or chicken and mayo but we're not talking a lot of money here.)

Not to be cavalier about the cumulative cost if you're on a tight budget, just mentioning this because a lot of us used to buy prepared food and we're not spending dollars there anymore.

If you have access to a Costco, they have washed and trimmed celery, spinach and baby kale. They also have excellent frozen vegetables (broccoli by itself, and some mixed vegetables). Their frozen broccoli is very tasty, and each floret is frozen individually so it's easy to portion it out (I like to fill a gallon ziplock bag with the frozen broccoli and put it in my fridge, and then I scoop a few cups out of there at a time).


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Sleep: terrible. Probably around 12am-6:30am, followed by 7am-8:30am. Felt much better after that extra hour and a half.

M1 (10am): Spring greens, pork, plantain sauteed in ghee, 1/2 red bell pepper. A few bites of mashed sweet potatoes I was making concurrently. Took a digestive enzyme and my supplements and had no discomfort.

M2 (2pm): 1.5 servings of leftover beef stir fry with cabbage, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms, peppers, onions, soaked/dehydrated almonds. Peeled green apple & 1T almond butter. Had a digestive enzyme with this.

M3 (4:30pm): Hard-boiled egg, carrots, mayonnaise. This was a really small meal, kind of like a snack. Mint tea.

M4 (7:30pm): Orange chicken based on this recipe. I have a confession to make, I used sriracha, which contains a tiny bit of sugar and sulfites, so I couldn't call this a compliant day. The only reason I did this, however, is because the stir fry for M2 was leftovers, and it already had that sauce in it, so... maybe we're having a Whole6 here. ;)

I'm pretty full now, and I think I'll be able to shift my meals back a bit tomorrow without any problems. Fortunately, I seem to be blessed with numerous days off thanks to snow, so it's a good opportunity to tweak the formula. However, this also means I'm stuck at home, and when I'm home, I get bored. And when I'm bored--you guessed it--I eat. It was a struggle to not snack all day but I did it!

Also of note, I didn't have a single stomach ache today. Lack of stress due to lack of work? Or perhaps, smaller meals lower in fat...? Who knows. But if I'm not in pain, I'm happy!

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Alright, so today wasn't the best day either. I can't WAIT to get back to work tomorrow (although the commute will be hell with all this snow), after being cooped up in the house since FRIDAY. I don't love my living situation so this has been quite stressful, and I've been pulling out tons of hair for the first time in a while. :( I let it grow long enough that it can be pulled (oh, my hair in the avatar is a wig... :ph34r: ) and I don't want to buzz it short again and give up, but I'm already starting to see thinning in a few spots. Rage.

Anyway, today's food and sleep and stuff.


Sleep: okay. I didn't shut the lights until 10:45 and slept until my alarm at 6:30. This is not enough sleep for me.

M1 (7:30am): 2 baby bok choy heads, 1/2 small onion, garlic sautéed in coconut oil. two poached eggs, 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato. Took a digestive enzyme but still got that pain. :(

M2 (11:15am): Cauliflower and brussels sprouts with meat sauce (ground beef, canned tomatoes) on top. Forgot digestive enzyme. Can't remember if it hurt or not.

M3 (4:20pm): Two salmon cakes (salmon, egg, chestnut flour, sweet potato, spices - roughly based on those in ISWF; pretty good!), spring greens, carrots and bell pepper, chili lime mayo… took the enzyme halfway through the meal but my stomach cramped up anyway. What's going on?! What's doing this to me?! The pain makes me crave a treat even more, so I caved… I had a green apple and a very SWYPO creation I'd whipped up prior to saying this would be a Whole7 (almond butter + coconut oil + cocoa powder) and although it wasn't the worst choice, it represents a very poor one. Ah well, it is what it is. I'm going to keep on, if this is what keeps me from digging into a bag of m&ms.

Then I had to take my little brother to karate and had nothing to do so I wandered into the grocery store. And then I was hungry, or craving, or (I think) hungry and craving so to stymy it I bought a larabar and it wasn't even very good. (6:15pm)

At 8pm I wasn't hungry enough for a meal so I had some carrots and sprouted sunflower seed butter, which is too salty and I don't like it much but it was okay. Not a great "meal" though. Not gonna beat myself up!

Looking back on today and yesterday, I think the artificial structure I'm trying to impose on myself and my meals isn't working so great. I think I need to prepare for four meals, but eat when I'm hungry.

Here's what's readily available for tomorrow, so I don't forget:

  • Meat sauce
  • Frozen vegetables (LOTS)
  • Arugula
  • Salmon cakes
  • Mayo
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Carrots and bell peppers
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Mashed sweet potato
  • Plantains

I can make some great stuff from all this, and there's enough variety that I don't need to go buying larabars tomorrow. I seem to have this strange conservation instinct, where I don't want to "use up" food too fast because I might need it tomorrow. For example, tonight I would have been happy to eat more of the meat sauce for "dinner" even though I'd had some earlier, but I want it to last me at least three days, so I made a poor food choice (larabar, carrots, sunbutter) instead. I should be able to do a proper food shopping on Wednesday, so there's no need to worry. I hope that tomorrow when I actually have things to do I can focus more on that, because sitting at home all day, I felt like my day was revolving around my meals, which was exceptionally boring.

Oh, and Nadia, thanks for that link. I hadn't read the article before, and it was good to be reminded of (and learn!) many of those points.

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Conservation instinct, lady, you've nailed it! There are no better words to describe it. Fascinating how much you learn about yourself on this WholeJourney.

How about making "emergency packs"? You take them whenever you leave house etc. I bought little sandwich bags and packed them. Fact that they are sealed is keeping me away from them when I am home somehow.

Another thing that sort of works for me but in a testing mode at the moment is having a bunch of roasted veggies that are cut in tiny pieces. I have squash wedges, carrot coins etc. So you eat them one by one, slowly as they are small. By th 5th piece you realize what's going on. Worst case scenario - you binge on carrots :D

Glad you liked the article. Have a great evening.

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Ooh, I will have to mull over the emergency packs idea... I love prepping things, believe it or not, but because I live with people who feel judged by my take on a healthy lifestyle, I find myself scurrying out of the kitchen as quickly as possible because I don't want to make them mad and I feel uncomfortable...

Tomorrow will be better because I leave the house by 10:30. I'll bring tons of good food (probably two lunch bags, just to be safe!) because I won't get home until 8 or so, and won't want to eat after that.

So excited to go back to work tomorrow! Ha!

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I've been writing 2012 still... Yikes!

Sleep: 10:30-6:30, followed by turning off the alarm and sleeping until 7:15. Oops.

M1: (8:15) digestive enzyme. Leftover pork (1.5 palms worth), arugula, fried ripe plantain. No discomfort at all. I seem to have trouble when I have two eggs or more. This is worth investigating (but I also have issues when I eat other things without eggs). But one egg is fine.

~10oz black, 1/2 decaf coffee @ 11am

M2 (1:00): salmon cakes (2), carrots and red bell peppers, bit of mayo and lime juice. Great!

M3 (3:50): 1 hard-boiled egg, cup of arugula, leftover mayo, green apple.

M4 (7:45): brussels sprouts and leftover meat sauce in the thermos.

M5 (10:00): I guess my dinner wasn't big enough! 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato with 1T sunflower butter. This was kinda gross!

This plan worked pretty well. Even though I was hungry at 10:30 or so, I was quite able to wait until 1pm to eat part of my lunch, and then 3:50pm to eat the other half. This strategy fits well with my schedule, as many of my colleagues have lunch during "prep time" from 1-2:20, and we also are allowed to eat between 3:45 and 4pm when the kids have snack. I think the key for me is to be flexible between those times. Sometimes I'm not hungry yet around 1 or 2pm, but I eat anyway because everyone else is... same goes for the snacktime period. In this instance, I packed a bunch of food and spread it out between these times, which felt natural to me.

I would have had dinner earlier if I could, but had to wait until I got home. I think, maybe, if I increased the volume of M3 (which was tiny), I would be able to make it home, eat a little later (8:15-8:30) and not need something around 10pm. Let's try that today!

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Up in my little town on the North Shore, I heard we were not permitted to walk from 5am until 12pm Sunday because none of the sidewalks were shoveled and emergency vehicles needed to get down the streets? Dunno how that was enforced/followed, but yeeaaah... I stayed inside :S

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Hey Callan!

Just dropping a line to say I hope that the Whole7 goes well and enjoy that weekend with your family:) I'm on day 3 of my Whole7 and experiencing a bit of the carb flu AGAIN!

I also need to find some easy things just to slip in my bag on busy days...nakd bars (a british version of a larabar) definitely bring out the sugar demon in me!

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Callan, I love how you are approaching this! I have really been struggling with stuff. I am fine FINE while doing a w30. I feel amazing. My body works right. I sleep. No stress. When I'm not doing a w30 I can't seem to figure out a balance and I'm having trouble with my choices. Anyway, you've given me some ideas and some of the links and conversations here have really helped my brain so thank you!

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Hi Everyone! Sorry I vanished! I had a great time with my grandparents, but they are obsessed with the so-called "Blood Type Diet" which is... not terribly sound.

So, I was fed spelt bread daily (spelt sourdough toasted with ghee and almond butter - divine!) and I learned something very important:

Wheat/gluten. It makes my joints very, very unhappy.

Wow, who knew? During my whole30, my joint issues improved gradually so I barely noticed any improvement until I started feeling like crap again! It was as though the toxins from the wheat (and probably sugar) built up in my joints (neck, shoulder, back) until I was in quite intense pain. Good incentive to stop!

When I first stopped eating grains, it was no big deal. Who needs bread, anyway? After reintroducing it, though, I could see why people are so addicted. It is honestly delicious! But... after a few days of doughnuts and ice cream with my mom (oh no!), I'm ready to get them out again.

Last week, I read Paul Jaminet's Perfect Health Diet, which is basically Paleo plus rice, along with high-quality dairy and potatoes. I'm interested in including white rice in my diet, mostly for budgetary concerns, which is stressing me out. Very fascinating read, and I shall experiment with myself!

I've been eating too much dairy, though, so I'm going to leave it at cultured/grass-fed butter and avoid all the other stuff out there. No more grains besides white rice for the time being, dairy in the form of butter, ghee, and maybe some of this whey powder I need to get rid of... haven't tried it yet.

Thanks for your support, guys - I'm always glad to be helpful! We are all still learning, and I imagine we always will be. Currently, I'm proud because I was able to eat about 1/5 of a 85% dark chocolate bar (which says 2.5 servings / container) and stop. Mindful eating FTW. :)

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I was just coming to see if you'd updated. Good timing on my part!

I also get horrible achy shooting joint pain when I eat too much wheat.

This weekend I've had margaritas and cheesecake and oh my both were delicious and I enjoyed them very much. However, I had an anxiety flare up last night, or well, this morning at 3:00 a.m. I am back on the wagon tomorrow for 15 days at least.

Thanks again for your thread. It's been very comforting..

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