Eat to Live: Which Days Were the Hardest?

rosestring
rosestring Posts: 225 Member
Was it at the beginning, the end, or all six weeks of the ETL diet?

Was it easy maintaining the diet after the six week period?

How much did you lose?

Are the other benefits true? Do you really have more energy, less headaches, etc?

How long before cravings went away?

Sorry for 20 questions! Thank you!

Replies

  • Mihani
    Mihani Posts: 3,484 Member
    Hiya rosestring, welcome. I honestly don't think I've ever made it the entire 6 weeks. I usually start "cheating" somewhere in week 4 or 5. Someday I'd like to do the entire 6 weeks. The first time I did full on 6 week plan I think I lost 14 pounds in 5 weeks. I don't have as much to lose now so it is slower. My main goal these days is to eat ETL-ish as much as possible. I'd like to be closer to Dr. F's recommendation of 95% ETL on the life plan, but I am more like 80%.

    Eating this way definitely helps with my energy, headaches and cravings. I have found over time that my cravings are triggered by any indulgence in starchy carbs. I can handle sprouted grain bread, rice, barley, quinoa, etc. but pasta and regular breads make me into a carb craving maniac. I don't have much of a sweet tooth so I don't crave that stuff much and it's easily diverted with some fruit. It usually takes me about a week of no starchy carbs before I stop craving them.

    Feel free to jump into the monthly thread if you like. We have some nice people hanging out here. :smile:
  • Mihani
    Mihani Posts: 3,484 Member
    Oh, forgot, the hardest days for me are the first 7, once I get through that first week I am just fine and can coast right along for another 3 or 4, then (for me) it gets hard again at 5 weeks.
  • rosestring
    rosestring Posts: 225 Member
    Thank you for your answer! What was your starting weight before you last had that initial weight loss?
  • Mihani
    Mihani Posts: 3,484 Member
    Hi, been crazed at work just checking back in here. The first time I did ETL I was in the 180's, at one point I was at a low of 149 and right now I'm bouncing around in the 160's. I really need to get it together and get the scale moving in the right direction again!
  • rosestring
    rosestring Posts: 225 Member
    Yeah, I just found out my body fat percentage is at 34.5%! I almost cried. But I am slowly starting to eat more veggies, as well as paying close attention to my protein and fiber intake. Did you ever include animal products in your diet? The good ones, of course.
  • Mihani
    Mihani Posts: 3,484 Member
    No, I've been vegetarian for many years, and full vegan since 2012 I believe. I started ETL after being vegan already. I lost a lot of weight when I first went vegan even though I wasn't even trying at that time. Since then I started eating too much vegan junk food and too many starchy carbs (and was drinking too many beers lol) and put some back on, so I tried ETL and found that is the best way for me to lose.

    I have tried the more high starch approaches like Engine 2 and McDougall, and always end up maintaining at best, gaining at worst. I do believe their diets work great for some people and are very healthy. I still have trouble staying away from the starchy carbs and once I start on them I want them all the time, so even though I struggle to adhere to the ETL guidelines at times, I know that it is the only thing that truly works for me, and I feel great when I'm strict with it.

    Bottom line is, I long ago realized I don't do moderation, and counting calories annoys me although I go through phases where I do it just to get an idea where I am, so it's better for me to stick with foods that don't make me go overboard on calories.
  • rosestring
    rosestring Posts: 225 Member
    Yeah, that sounds like me. I mean, I am not vegan, but I can't do moderation, and I hate counting calories. Next question... Is it possible to follow ETL on a budget?
  • Mihani
    Mihani Posts: 3,484 Member
    Absolutely, beans are cheap, and seasonal veggies and fruits are too. I can have oatmeal and brown rice without going overboard on them, some other grains like barley and wheatberries etc. are fine too. It's just bread and pasta that send me off the deep end, and whole grains are cheaper than those anyway. If you have a Trader Joe's around their frozen veggies are good and not too expensive, they aren't all limp and gross like the brands you find in the the regular groceries. And if you have an organic grocery around they always have bulk sections where you can stock up on grains.

    I buy canned beans a lot, Bush's are good and often on sale for $1 a can, and sometimes I'll cook batches of different types of dried beans and freeze them in serving sizes. I also looooove soups and make double batches of lots of them often, I generally have 5 or 6 different kinds frozen in containers that hold one or two servings in my freezer. So there's an outlay there to buy all the stuff, but once I make them all I don't have to cook for a month or two other than when I'm tired of soup. The other great thing about soups is you have lots of veggies and beans and greens right there in one bowl. I will throw a bag of frozen spinach or kale in a lot of soups that don't even call for it, just to add more greens.

    I have become much better about planning meals and not buying a bunch of stuff that I end up not even eating. That was where I was spending too much. I'd go and fill my cart up with all these veggies and fruits and stuff and then never be able to eat them all. That's why I like relying on things I cook myself and freeze. I only go buy fresh stuff when I know that I'm going to have time to cook so it doesn't go to waste. Lettuce can be a chore, the ready to eat stuff is handy but it goes bad faster, so I try to buy fresh leaf or romaine, clean it and tear it ready for salads, then run it through my salad spinner. It will usually last at least 5 days that way. I just put the salad spinner in my fridge and pull out what I need when I'm making a salad.
  • liapr
    liapr Posts: 649 Member
    Rosestring, I second Mihani's comments. You can totally do it on a budget! I love being able to buy in bulk - veggies/grains/beans. Then the cooking & freezing idea is awesome. You don't have too much waste and it's great for when you're short on time.

    I tried the Happy Herbivore meal plans and they were awesome because she aimed to use some of the same ingredients each week (less waste and less to buy) and people posted their grocery receipts showing that they saved big time having to only buy a few fresh veggies a week and then stocking once a month on beans and grains. You don't need the meal plans, but just shows that planning ahead can save you a chunk of change at least
  • rosestring
    rosestring Posts: 225 Member
    Thank you SO much! I have a lot more hope now that I can afford it. Okay, sorry for so many questions, but I have another on...

    I am on the go a lot, and only have an insulated lunch bag, which keeps food preserved for a few hours. Anyone have any ideas for grab-and-go foods (preferably ones that do not need to be refrigerate) that I can have?
  • Mihani
    Mihani Posts: 3,484 Member
    I don't really have to do meals on the go since I am in an office all day, but off the top of my head I'd say things like fresh cut up veggies, fruit, nuts or seeds. I always like wheat wraps stuffed with lettuce and hummus or some other bean spread.
  • Mihani
    Mihani Posts: 3,484 Member
    Hi, welcome to the ETL group :) I do not generally count calories when I'm doing full on ETL 6 week plan. If you're following Dr. F's guidelines it is really difficult to go over your recommended calories. Most days I'm totally stuffed and and somewhere between 900 and 1300 calories, depending on the nuts/seeds and beans that I included that day, or whether I included a starch serving. The starchy carb question is really interesting to me. The mainstream belief of "everything in moderation" is great, but for me it is a slippery slope. I have been toying with the idea of going gluten free after the first of the year, not permanently but for a period of time, just to see how I feel and what effect it has on my weight loss. How long have you been GF?

    Unfortunately, my calorie allotment is very low to lose weight. I'm in my early 50's, have a desk job, and am lackadaisical at best about working out. I go through spurts of being really motivated, but I always up my intake of fats and grains when I am working out a lot. I do think it is important to fuel your body according to what it needs.
  • lisabinco
    lisabinco Posts: 1,016 Member
    rosestring wrote: »
    Was it at the beginning, the end, or all six weeks of the ETL diet?
    Was it easy maintaining the diet after the six week period?
    How much did you lose?
    Are the other benefits true? Do you really have more energy, less headaches, etc?
    How long before cravings went away?

    The middle to end of the 6-week plan was the toughest for me. The detox part made me want to just cave in, but I am known for my stubbornness and I powered through it. I felt so much better after the end of 6 weeks that I just continued on. Eventually I began to add more starches like potatoes and grains, but I found that I felt best without them. What blew me away the most was how much better I felt without dairy. That was an eye-opener for me.
    I lost almost 30 pounds in about 6 months. Nothing spectacular there. It was, and still is, mainly because I eat far too much of even healthy food, because I still think I need to eat till I'm stuffed in order to feel like I've had a meal. That's another neurosis for another day that I am still working on.
    The other benefits are certainly true for me. I do indeed have more energy. I'm a lot more fun to be around on this lifestyle plan than I ever was on Weight Watchers (or any other "diet" I tried). Crankiness was part and parcel of weight loss, or so I thought, until I started eating as a Nutritarian. And pre-ETL, I ate aspririn and ibuprofen practically as candy, because I'd wake up with, or go to sleep with headaches so often. Nowadays, I can't remember the last time I took an aspirin. Maybe 2 years ago?
    My blood pressure stays at about 115/65 now so I'm off BP meds forever. Yay! Never liked those anyway. I am no longer chronically anemic. I credit all the greens to that miracle. I think that contributes to the feeling of more energy for me. I've been chronically anemic most of my adult life, so this is really new for me to be "normal" in this area.
    Major cravings went away for me after about 6 months. Yeah, sorry about that news. It was slow but steady. Sugar, bread, grease, salt -- especially grease and salt -- no longer hold so much sway over me. I can even have a little bit of a special dessert, or a bit of bread at a restaurant, and I don't obsess over eating more-more-more. That's a real blessing. I used to eat a bag of Fritos -- grease and salt -- in one sitting, even though it would make me sick later. Once I started, I just kept going till it was all gone. Today, I remind myself how sick it would make me if I eat whatever is tempting me, and I can much more easily turn away from it. Bread and cheese, Fritos and cinnabons, they still call to me, but the siren song is much quieter now.
  • lisabinco
    lisabinco Posts: 1,016 Member
    rosestring wrote: »
    Yeah, I just found out my body fat percentage is at 34.5%! I almost cried. But I am slowly starting to eat more veggies, as well as paying close attention to my protein and fiber intake. Did you ever include animal products in your diet? The good ones, of course.

    You will likely find, as I did, that eating Nutritarian has greatly helped me lose way more body fat than I ever did doing any other kind of "diet." I've lost body fat that was always there, even when I was a young 115-pound 17-year-old. I have a waist now! I have thighs that fit into trim-cut jeans now! The only down side to that is, for me now as an old lady, my skin is saggy in spots because that underlying fat is no longer there. Saggy belly skin, saggy knee skin, saggy underarm skin. My skin is not young anymore but it will get better (and it has) over time, but I will never have smooth young skin again. I can live with that.
    I have not eaten meat (beef, pork, fowl) for over 20 years, but for most of that time I ate fish occasionally and I ate animal products like eggs, mayo, butter, cheese. For the last 3+ years, I have not eaten animal products about 95% of the time. I do eat those animal products on foods in restaurants occasionally, but I've learned to eat it in tiny quantities because the grease factor will make me sick now. At home, I never eat any of it. I still eat the occasional fish, but I'm not a big seafood eater. It's usually because there's nothing else to order at a restaurant.
    From an ethical standpoint, I strive to go vegan 100% but from a practical, day-to-day standpoint, it is hard to do while living with a carnivore who rolls his eyes at my eating habits. (This carnivore, by the way, takes meds for cholesterol, muscle pain, arthritis, headaches, sleep issues, etc.)
  • lisabinco
    lisabinco Posts: 1,016 Member
    rosestring wrote: »
    I am on the go a lot, and only have an insulated lunch bag, which keeps food preserved for a few hours. Anyone have any ideas for grab-and-go foods (preferably ones that do not need to be refrigerate) that I can have?

    I have two sizes of insulated lunch bags that I use whenever we are out and about. I almost always eat before we go anywhere so I am not caught hungry in a restaurant. I bring all sorts of stuff with me: oranges, grapefruit, bananas, nuts, or dried fruit; containers of salads that can be eaten cold (like shredded cabbage salads). I highly recommend cooking several meals in one day, and packaging them individually for taking on the go. That way, I'm not cooking every day because the refrigerator always has one or two meals ready to heat. I am a huge crock-pot cooker and I do lots and lots of soups. They are really good to take along almost anywhere. I also highly recommend the Eat To Live Cookbook for all sorts of great recipes.
    One food I like to bring with me is a container of cut-up apples (I like the green tart varieties) drizzled with a nut butter like almond, cashew or peanut. Sometimes I sprinkle some raisins on it. Great snack!
  • rosestring
    rosestring Posts: 225 Member
    Thank you for all of the responses. I will definitely reference back here periodically. I am living off of soup right now, but once my check comes next Friday, I think I will try to tackle the ETL program. There just seem to be too many benefits to pass up on!
  • lisabinco
    lisabinco Posts: 1,016 Member
    Soup is good. Really, it is a staple dish for weight loss. Try to think of the ETL program as a lifestyle change, something you will get better and better at as time passes. It really isn't a "diet." It is really a lifestyle change.