September #Whole30 Prep

So, as I’ve talked about previously, I can’t just jump into a #Whole30 straight from bad eating. Right now, I’m not eating great. I’m not eating dairy or gluten, but I’m eating sugar and drinking Diet Coke, neither of which is any good for me.

I need to get ahead before September 5th by cutting out sugar and Diet Coke before I move into the Whole 30 on September 5th, otherwise it’s just going to be impossible. Unfortunately, cutting out Diet Coke gives me a stinking migraine and I can’t do anything all day, and I’ve got a busy week ahead. So here’s my plan.

Today (29 Aug) Cut out sugar.
Tomorrow (30 Aug) Max one Diet Coke per day. No sugar.
Friday (2 Sep) No sugar or Diet Cokes, no crisps.
#Whole30 (Sep 5) The Whole 30 begins properly.

Honestly, each time I try to cut this stuff, I wonder why I was so stupid to start drinking Diet Coke again anyway. Usually it was a trip to the pub and feeling too embarrassed to drink water, or else needing to do without much sleep for a while… Ah well. It’ll be nice to get rid of it from my life again.

Here’s to September!

September #Whole30

So, I’ve been eating more-healthy, less-healthy on and off for a while, but right now I’m in a rut. Lo and behold, what should turn up in my email box but the September #Whole30. Yay!

It’s running from Sep 5th to Oct 4th, timed to end just with the release of Melissa Hartwig’s book on reintroduction. So yeah, it’s kind of a marketing stunt. But if you’re a Whole 30 fan already, you won’t really care (and were maybe going to buy the book anyway). If you’re not, and you don’t try or don’t like the Whole 30, you probably won’t buy the new book anyway. So really, it all stands and falls on the basis of whether Whole30 works for you.

I’m in.

Comment if you’re joining in too, and leave the link to your blog, so we can support each other through.

EDIT: I forgot to mention: I’m doing this in a month when I have four exams. So if I can do it, you definitely can 🙂

Eating Better, Eating Worse

I have noticed over the years that there are patterns in what has worked and what has failed. Particularly as my diet gets worse, I always move on to worse foods in the same order, and I improve by reversing that.

I have also noticed that I can never successfully make more than one improvement at a time. Very occasionally, when I have had lots of free time, I have improved two things at once – but that was a full-time project. So it’s important for me to know where I am in my eating habits, and what a realistic goal is. The table below helps me to do that. I can easily see which level I’m on, and what I need to add/cut to improve one level.

Please note, I’m not saying that this is true for everyone, this is purely what I have noticed in my own diet. If you’re reading this, you may find that you have different “trigger” foods, or that you don’t have this kind of “slippery slope” at all.

Better-Worse Lifestyles

The other thing I’ve noticed, which depresses me a bit, is that I can’t get to the top level as a vegetarian or vegan. I get to level 2 at best. I was vegetarian for 20 years, and would like to cut out meat again for ethical and environmental reasons – but it just doesn’t work for me. I eat too many carbs and not nearly enough protein. I haven’t given up, but I haven’t found a solution for that one yet. I’m living in hope.

I’d love to have comments from anyone else who has noticed similar patterns what works or doesn’t work for you.

Whole30 #2, Day 4

Just coming to the end of day 4 on my umpteenth attempt at a second Whole30. This time, however, it will work. Because (a) it’s been long enough since I lost any weight that I’m motivated again, (b) I had let the eating slip enough that I really felt crap again, and (c) just because I’m bored with failing.

Today has been exhausted-and-just-want-to-sleep day, which is unsurprising. Had a couple extra nibbles – nuts and grapes, which are allowed if not perfect. And just starting to feel like I’m not starving to death. (Yes, I know I’m allowed – encouraged – to eat more if I’m starving. For the first two or three days, it just doesn’t help. My body doesn’t want food, it wants sugar).

The housework has slipped, the course work has slipped, and I don’t care – I’ll get to the end of week one and pick it all up. Today was spent giving myself a break and eating right.

Feeling happy (if hungry).

Whole 30 #2, attempt 1,000,000

Roughly. It feels like.

So, I did my first Whole 30 with no real trouble. The second, I’ve failed way too many times. But why? The excitement of something new first time? Being less strict second time? (The first Whole 30 was AIP, the second not). Or just lack of willpower, or less time to spare?

Whatever the reason, I’m done. This is the one that is going to work. Y rules are AIP (which ought to be harder but somehow isn’t), no cocoa as flavouring, no coffee (my downfall – it gives me massive sugar cravings).

I’ve lost 18kg, gained back 2kg, and need to lose 11kg more. This is where I could “get stuck” – and I’m not going to let that happen. Time to get serious.

Day one down, twenty-nine (or more) to go.


So I’m on day 8 of my second Whole 30. I’m am, in a technical sense, failing. Why? Food cheats? Nope. Weighing myself. I can’t quite break the addiction. I’ve read the Whole 30 article about why you shouldn’t do that, and I wholeheartedly agree with it… And yet.

Anyway, I figure I should still carry on and eat right anyway, because why wouldn’t I? I’m still working on the no-weighing thing. Leaving aside that confession, I’m on Day 8, and doing okay. It’s much easier this time than the first time as although I’d slipped a bit over Christmas, I haven’t been eating too badly. Today I did doze off about 7 though… Sleep needed 🙂

Two of my major aims this time around were (1) move away from easy, plain meals and start cooking more flavourful recipes, and (2) start my son eating more healthily. He’s not going to be eating the same as me exactly, because he’s seven and active, whereas I’m 39 and trying to lose a lot of weight. But he can certainly eat more vegetables and lose some junk from his diet.

I’ve “discovered” (in the sense of agreeing with the zillion other people who recommend it) Melissa Joulwan’s “Well Fed”, and I’m loving it! And, even better, my son is enjoying cooking and eating the recipes with me! He’s happy to eat cauliflower rice, loves chocolate chilli, wants to try kale! It’s nothing short of a miracle as far as I’m concerned. Really recommend the book. As everyone else does 🙂

Exercise-wise, not so good. I’m looking forward to school starting back on Tuesday so I can do midday runs again. I jogged round the park following my son on his bike today, and felt less fit than before Christmas. I have to figure out a way, before Easter, of getting enough exercise in the school holidays.

Otherwise, all is good, and I’m enjoying the healthy eating. It still feels like a luxury rather than being deprived (unless I’m starving and dinner isn’t ready yet, when I still crave biscuits). Looking forward to the next 22 days!

Stop Multi-Tasking!

… which is good advice in general, but especially if you’re trying to do something that requires willpower, or changing long-formed habits. In my case, I’ve been trying to:

  • Do another Whole 30, this time learning more recipes.
  • Start my son eating more healthily too.
  • Figure out how to do a Whole 30 with minimal meat. (Not zero meat. But I’d rather eat less meat, on environmental grounds.)

I haven’t broken the Whole 30, but I haven’t made much progress on the recipes either. I’ve just realised that I can’t do all three at once. The less-meat experimenting needs to wait until this Whole 30 is over.

On the other two: I bought Well Fed, by Melissa Joulwan, and it’s fantastic! It has the same template-recipe-with-variations format that I loved from It Starts With Food. And I flicked through it with my son, and he liked the look of most of the recipes! (Small miracle, he’s veg-averse). Of course, I don’t know if he’ll like the taste yet, but I’m optimistic.

However, before I decided to postpone the slightly-more-veggie-paleo, I did some research and found quite a few interesting things. This article from PaleoLeap is a great summary of some of the options for veggies to make their diet a little more paleo (without stopping being veggies). In particular, it was interesting that using legumes and (non-gluten-containing) grains is not so bad if they’re prepared properly: soaked, sprouted or fermented. The soaking sounds fairly easy, but is the least effective of the three options, the other two I like the sound of but need to do some more looking up recipes. Which I will postpone until I’ve learned some of the recipes from Well Fed, and finished this Whole 30.

The other thing that cropped up in my reading is that most health experts seem to agree(*) that the more-vegs-and-no-processed-food part of the Paleo diet is healthy – but there are definite debates about eating a lot of red meat. And many Paleo recipes include a LOT of red meat. (The one quibble I have with Well Fed is the idea that 4-6oz of meat per meal is a sensible portion size. That’s up to half a kilo of meat per day!). It seems like it would be sensible for me to make sure red meat is limited and I include a lot of fish, eggs, white meat, and vegetable fats like coconut and avocado.

(*) There’s so much controversy drifting around that I’m not even going to try to provide references for that, it’s just my own interpretation of my reading. But for an interesting take on this, have a look at this article where some of the controversies are covered. 

Basically, I’m going to have to try coconut oil again. Maybe I’ll like it this time… (fingers crossed). So tonight will be spent pulling together a meal plan and shopping list for the week from Well Fed, and tomorrow will be spent making lots of the sauces – wow they look good! I’m really looking forward to eating healthily! 🙂