Thursday, July 26, 2012

Whole30 Recap - Part 2: The Itty Bitty Nitty Gritty

Oh man, you know what's sooooo good? CHEESE. I bought some very old white cheddar today and I'm pretty sure it might be one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth.

I wanted to do one more post about what I actually ate while I was doing the Whole30. I know you've seen the pictures, but that doesn't tell the whole story.

Here's the thing. The Whole30 recommends not weighing yourself for the entire challenge, AND not weighing or measuring or otherwise tracking your food.

But old habits die hard, don't they?

Weight Loss

At first I was just going to weigh myself each week, to get an idea of how things were going. So here's how the weekly weigh-ins played out:

  • Week 1: -6.8 lbs
  • Week 2: -0.4 lbs
  • Week 3: -1.8 lbs
  • Week 4: -1.8 lbs
  • Day29/30: -0.2 lbs

So that seems mostly expected, right? Big loss the first week, small loss the second week while things even out, and then a more moderate average between 1-2 lbs a week.

But here's the funny thing. After I saw that I only lost 0.4 lbs the second week, I started to get a little antsy. Of course I did -- this is ME we're talking about.

I did a bunch of googling about 'paleo and weight loss' and found most people had the problem you'd expect -- they were eating too many calories. Obviously the calories in avocado, ghee, beef and whatnot tend to add up.

So I got a little concerned. And I decided to log my previous day's food into MyFitnessPal, just out of curiosity.

Guess how many calories I'd eaten? 1100.

So I plugged in a few more days. 1100. 1000. The day I hung out with Katie and biked 16 km in the scorching heat - I ate just over 900 calories.


I went back and tracked all my food since the beginning. (Luckily blogging made that really easy!) In the first week I was eating a more normal amount of 16, 17, 1800 calories a day. Then it fell, right in line with when my weight loss stopped.

That day I ate 1800 calories -- and the scale dropped a whole pound overnight. I know day-to-day fluctuations can be unreliable, but I saw the same result consistently for the rest of the month.

The thing is -- and please no one throw anything at me -- it's really hard to eat that much now! My calories started slipping again towards the end. I'm just not hungry the way I once was, the food I do eat is more satisfying, and my meals are much smaller.

(Side note: Another thing that may not have been obvious from my photos: Most of my meals were eaten on dessert plates, or a plate that's somewhere in between a dessert plate and a dinner plate.)

So I started trying to eat more avocado again, more sweet potato, more fat. But it was hard -- in fact, many days I just ended up eating a tablespoon or so of coconut oil, just to get more calories. Sounds gross, but tastes okay.)

I think it'll be easier now that I'm eating dairy again, but I'm going to keep monitoring on MyFitnessPal. I don't want my calories to go too low OR too high.

Nutritional Breakdown

For the most part, even while my calories were fluctuating, my ratios were pretty consistent. I was eating:

20% Carbohydrates
30% Protein
50% Fat

My carbs tended to stay between 50 and 70 grams, although sometimes they hit close to 100. (I blame banana soft-serve!!)

I feel almost embarrassed to admit how much fat I was eating. Even though I've read the It Starts With Food and I believe the arguments about why fat is actually good for us, and why our bodies are DESIGNED to burn fat and not carbs, but it still feels weird. Un-ladylike, almost.

What's Next

I have a plan for what's next but it's hard to define. I guess it isn't really a 'plan', per se. The thing is, for me I think the two big things are sugar and flour. Those are the things I want to continue avoiding. 

But I want to bring back: 
  • dairy
  • wine (but not beer)
  • dark chocolate
  • maybe legumes and peanuts -- we'll see

Those are the big things, actually. I also don't plan to be too fussy about small amounts of things -- for instance, today I bought a salad at the grocery store and had a packet of poppy seed dressing, which did have a small amount of sugar and other things in it. 

A few people have asked if I plan to keep blogging as well -- of course! But this challenge made me realize I could NOT be a food blogger. OH MY GOD it is so boring taking pictures of the same plate of eggs every day!! I mean, really!

When I started this blog I intended to be able to talk about different subject -- not just weight loss, but food, our house, writing, and general life stuff. So you'll probably see a lot more of that. In fact, you'll notice the 'House Tour' tab at the top still says "Coming Soon". One of my plans for this coming week it to finally get that done!!

So I guess this brings us, finally, to the end of the Whole30 challenge. It's been fun! Thanks again for all your support -- and if you've read this far, well, you deserve a glass of wine by now!   


  1. Andrea, I really enjoyed your two wrap-up posts. It's crazy that you were eating so few calories! I've also been really satisfied with pretty small amounts of whole foods lately. I've been meaning to track my calories for a day or two to make sure I'm eating enough, but I haven't gotten around to it yet...

    I'm really looking forward to seeing how things go from here for you. It sounds like you have a great plan! I'm so, so happy that you've found a better relationship with food. Yay!!!!

    1. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if you're eating a similar amount of calories, especially since you aren't eating fat! It's so strange to actually feel satisfied with so little -- and a weird position to be in when you have to try to actually eat MORE!

      Can't believe you're so close to being done your challenge too -- this month has flown by!

  2. Ditto what Katie said. You set out to understand your food demons and you accomplished that. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you! That's really been the greatest part of this challenge.

  3. I couldn't agree with Katie and Enz more. I'm glad that your relationship with food isn't as turbulent. Congratulations again for completing the challenge. I hope you know how inspiring and motivating you've been through the process. :)

    1. Aw, thanks!! I'm really glad I decided to do this, and to document it. There's nothing more motivating than accomplishing something you didn't think you could do.

  4. Congrats! I started my Whole30 almost the same day as you did and have been reading along and feeling very inspired by your posts and photos. So, thank you!

    I also lost 10 pounds and I have the same 'I GET IT' clouds lifting feeling about food and cravings - it has been this totally unexpected and liberating experience. I feel like I've discovered some priceless secret about myself and about health. Cool, but spooky! Anyhow, just wanted to say I know exactly what you mean. :)

    I also had a little bit of sleep disturbance. One thing I read can be related to sleep and RLS is serotonin. And when your insulin response is very controlled (as with a paleo diet) sometimes serotonin production changes. Apparently you can eat a little sweet potato 3 hrs. after dinner - with fat but not with protein. The small rise in blood sugar will help with serotonin production. Maybe that is something that could help your sleep and RLS symptoms? Just sharing. I might experiment with this myself... (I read about this in a book called 'Potatoes Not Prozac'. Fun title, eh?!)

    YAY dairy and dark chocolate and wine. :)

    thanks again for sharing your Whole30! I'll be sure to keep reading your blog.


  5. I was so inspired by all yours posts - we were/are (I haven't been on in awhile haha) friends on MFP, and I read your blog on acakeforawife... was very excited to see your new one, and was inspired to try out Whole30. Purchased "it starts with food" and have been loving it! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  6. I LOVE your recaps!!! Just found your blog while I was researching in preparation of starting my first Whole30 next week & appreciate your nitty-gritty breakdown here. Thank you so much!! :) (p.s. wish me luck!)

    1. Thanks Erin -- and good luck! I'm actually doing another Whole30 this month too, starting today in fact. I will be blogging the whole thing, so I'll be right there along with you. :)