An exciting month of mostly Huel ahead, plus bonus features!


#1

Hello folks!

I’ve been a part-time Huel drinker (Eater…? Imbiber.) for a couple of months now. Tomorrow I’ll be challenging myself to primarily use Huel as my source of calories, with an occasional homemade, mostly-plants meal, for the entirety of March. I’m also doing a no-spend month, I’ve quit caffeine, quit dairy, quit refined/added sugars, and have been cultivating a practice of daily yoga and meditation. It’s going to be an interesting month.

I’m posting here to hold myself accountable, and to share how I feel by the end. I’m still going to post here if I fail to stick to things, although I’ve discovered in myself a newfound self-discipline. So we’ll see what happens. :slight_smile:

For reference, I purchased Huel to aid in fat-loss/improved physical health habits. I’m 27 years old, female, 5’7, and currently 187 pounds. My highest weight was 215. I don’t really have a concrete goal weight, so much as intent to lose fat and feel better, physically and spiritually.

I’ll keep ya’ll posted. Happy Friday Eve. :smile:


#2

We’re so excited to hear about your progress!


#3

Not to derail your topic, but these two specific ingredients in the typical American diet are the source of so many health issues. Insulin resistance, being the main one. (I know, I won’t shut up about that topic.). I’ll just say that we’d all be a lot better off by making dramatic cuts in our processed sugars and dairy intake.

But back to the main topic. My hat is off to you, and I hope to see you stay committed to this month long trial. Regardless of what the scale ends up saying, this should prove to be a benefit to your health.

What’s that old adage ? Do anything for 21 days and it’ll become a long term habit. If this works out well for you, let’s hope it becomes a habit.

I know about weight loss and turning around health. Former Type 2 diabetic here. My old BMI many years ago was a staggering 38.5. Not anymore. I like to attribute my (mostly) daily Huel dose to part of this successful program. Been using Huel for work meals for a year now and it’s been great.


#4

Oh, absolutely. I decided to cut refined/added sugar out for good, but I’m going to temporarily add dairy back into my diet after this month to confirm my suspicions that I have a mild dairy allergy (95% confident, but I’d like to be sure). I’ve noticed when I eat S.A.D. food choices that are heavy on the meat, cheese, wheat, and oil, I have a sinus reaction, itchy mouth (oral allergy syndrome), and all sorts of other unpleasant reactions. I simply haven’t yet tried isolating the culprit(s).

I just ended a 40-day personal challenge of no added sugar. I tried some sugary foods afterwards and I felt just terrible. So far my diet has been swinging back and forth between S.A.D. and plant based, and it’s looking as though I’m going to comfortably settle down between a lean Paleo-ish diet and plant-based. I’m not too worried about naming how I eat or adhering to particular food rules besides asking myself how my body feels after eating something. It hasn’t been leading me wrong so far.

I’ve been lurking in this forum for some time before making an account to post, and I’ve loved your informative posts on insulin resistance, Deron! Your personal account of avidly exercising to lose weight made me re-examine my own motivations when moving my body around. I found that I was pushing myself well beyond my limits for the sake of calories. I ended up scaling back to more “moderate” intensity, and wouldn’t you know, that’s more sustainable and fun for me to do!


#5

Thank you! I’m really looking forward to this month, despite a few raised eyebrows from friends. They should all know I’m a little weird and enthusiastic by now. :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

No doubt about the exercise. I went past the point of diminishing returns. It was almost rediculous how much I was exercising just to lose weight. I wasn’t actually training for a competition or anything. But, sometimes we learn things the hard way.

Indeed, once we understand the mechanism of insulin resistance and how to combat it, weight loss becomes much easier. It’s not “easy”, per se. But there are certainly more efficient ways to do it.

And insulin resistance isn’t just about weight gain. There’s a myriad of conditions that go along with it. Type 2 Diabetes, elevated cholesterol panel, atherosclerosis, and hypertension. They all kinda hang out together and show up to the middle-age party together, like a pack of drunken frat boys that no one invited. Next thing you know, you’re only 40 but you’re now taking meds that your dad use to take and now all your conversations with him are about how loose your stools are on Metformin and how to save on your Lisinopril prescription by getting it from mail order. Oh, and look there, another FDA recall on Valsartan. Oh great, it had a carcinogen in it. How long has that been in the formulation? A year ago? Well that’s just fantastic, cause I’ve been taking it at least that long. And now I gotta remember to reorder my Accu check strips from Amazon prime cause the ones at the CVS don’t come as the 100 pack. Oh, and look here… new article came across my news feed that there may be a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. They’re now calling Alzheimer’s “Type 3 diabetes”. Well, f***.


#7

Days 1, 2, and 3: I’ve finished the last of my coffee, and I’m studiously avoiding eye contact with the IKEA cart stuffed with teas. I have a little fresh food in the fridge, some homemade chicken soup, kale, raw sauerkraut, and some horrendously bad vegan cheese. Huel is breakfast and lunch, although I don’t break my fast until noon. (Typically 16-8 with occasional tough-guy fasts thrown in when I feel up to it.)

I already made a mistake by not looking at the ingredients on a food item in the house and broke my plans of no wheat and no sugar, whoops. Such is the nature of habit change. Starting the clock back again for those two, and being careful to avoid any more processed food items lurking in my pantry.

I placed my debit card into a Tupperware container filled with water and set it in the freezer, because that’s far more dramatic than just sticking my cards into a drawer for the month.

Each morning I’ve woken up and meditated for ten minutes, and did a very short hodge-podge sun salutation/stretching routine on the ice cold hardwood. The more I improve my sleep hygiene, the more I actually enjoy morning time! Who knew.

The beginning of making change is always so easy, because that’s when we all want to do it. The key to change isn’t doing things when you’re motivated, though. It’s doing them anyways, even when you don’t want to. Even when there are countless other much more quickly gratifying options.

I’ll leave ya’ll with a Seneca quote, because I like the Stoics: “We should every night call ourselves to an account: what infirmity have I mastered today? what passions opposed? what temptation resisted? what virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.”


#8

My wife and daughter are both vegan and they swear by the Daiya cheeses. They taste OK (don’t expect “real cheese” taste) and melt acceptably well. I’ve made both grilled cheese sandwiches and nachos using them (both slices and shreds) and they’ve turned out great. I’ve also tried to make vegan cheese using nutritional yeast and it, uh, didn’t go so well.


#9

I like Daiya when it’s melted, but it’s pretty sad when cold.

Nutritional yeast, hmmm. I made a just “alright” batch of macaroni and cheese with it once, but I’ve never incorporated it into a dish that wowed me either.


#10

Yeah I’ve tried 3 different types of vegan “cheese” , which is just a solidified block of oil. It’s not made from like soy milk or anything like that. I just couldn’t get into the taste of any of them. I’ve found it’s better to alter the recipe to just leave out the vegan cheese or use meals that wouldn’t need a cheese component.

Fortunately my wife is such a good cook and is on board with my new found plant based diet. She had modified several of her Jamaican dishes to be full plant based. Later this week she’ll be making an amazing “pumpkin soup” where she cooks and then blends Calabaza pumpkin mixed with a little coconut milk. That becomes the liquid base of the soup which she then adds the vegetables, yellow yam (name), potato, and little cut up corn on the cob pieces. As well as Jamaican spices. (The original recipe called for chicken or salted pork to be added. She replaced that with the potato.). The pumpkin makes it creamy and hearty. No need for any dairy cream in it.


#11

That pumpkin soup sounds fantastic! Could you share the amounts of the ingredients? I may need to make that this weekend.


#12

Sorry. The wife does it by estimation. It’s a recipe her mom would make and she learned by observation. And the actual seasoning is just by instinct.


#13

Looks like I’ll have to do a little experimenting, then. It sounds delicious no matter what the ratios are!


#14

Update, Day 11: I totally fell off the wagon last week, and now I’m back on. I’m not surprised it happened, I bit off a lot to chew.

I’ve settled into a comfortable pattern now:
Monday through Friday: 16:8 intermittent fasting from 8PM to noon the following day, Huel at work for the first two meals of the day, caffeine isn’t banned outright but is kept to a minimum of 1 cup of coffee or 2 cups of tea. Dinner is usually plant-based, and I make an effort to eat a wide variety of produce. Occasionally I eat fish or meat, but I try to keep it on the low end. I am working out at least 1-2 times each week, with a new focus on moderation, proper form, breathing, and variety.
Weekends: Uh, whatever man. I can eat from sunrise to sunset if I want. I generally don’t, though.

I intend to continue minimizing sugar, dairy, and wheat. Long term, I don’t plan to cut them out of my diet entirely, but they’ll likely be relegated to my dining-out meals as an occasional treat. The couple days I fell off the wagon last week, I ate sugar, dairy, and wheat in excess. I felt absolutely terrible afterwards. Not from guilt, just physically. Terrible.

I’ve stayed strong on the no-spending. My debit card remains lonely in the freezer, pining for human contact. Take that, capitalism!

I’m pleased at how easy it was to adjust to spending less. I’m going to try and retain this frugality by not bringing my debit card with me while out and about unless I am making a conscious decision to use it. This has made me particularly conscious of how often I buy takeout to eat mindlessly at work.

When I fell off and ate all the stuff, I also slipped on yoga and meditation. I’m back to it now, as of today. Meditation has shocked me in how much it has improved my baseline mood, and my relationships with others. Yoga too. Yoga makes me feel a deeper connection to my body (a feeling long obscured by slumping over my office desk and eating chips).

It helps me to frame habit change in the context of when I’m going to fail, not if. I can try and make as many changes in my lifestyle as I want, but I know myself, and I know I’m going to break and do something that goes against what I want in the long-term. It’s cool. We’d all be better prepared to make lasting changes if we accepted that obstacles like short-term gratification are always part of the journey to healthier lifestyle choices.

Today is a good day.

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” - Thich Nhat Hanh


#15

Day 12: I’m writing a quick update while taking a breather at the gym. I decided to reopen a myfitnesspal account today, as I strongly felt I was not estimating my daily caloric intake accurately enough. Lo and behold, I was not.

I’m aiming for a flexible caloric deficit. I’ve had a history of crash diets and disordered eating/exercise habits, so it would be best for me to take it slow and make more lasting changes.

I took my measurements today. My highest weight was 215; I’m kicking myself for not taking my body measurements then, but shame will make you do a lot of things to avoid facing the truth.

And the numbers don’t lie. I’m overweight, although not obese. Depending on which measurement scale I use, I’m on the high or low end of overweight. So I’m calling it the middle, and taking averages of my different measurements (BMI, body fat percentage, waist to height ratio, BMR, TDEE, ABCDEFG…).

If anyone would like to follow me on myfitnesspal, I’ll post my screen name. I’d love to follow anyone back who is also on a “weight loss journey”. Why do we always call it a “journey”? I’m on a treadmill. I’m not going anywhere.

Once I’m home I’m going to post my current body measurements so that they can be seen in the cold light of day.

I felt pretty bad taking those measurements earlier, I’ll be honest. I’m trying to convert that bad feeling into a more useful energy. I feel bad at this size, so I just need to do things to stop being this size (healthily and sustainably).

Give me a shout if you’d like for us to follow each other on MFP!


#16

Body measurements, as mentioned earlier:

Height: 5 ft. 7 in. (170 cm.)
Weight: 187 lbs.

Waist: 34 in.
Wrist: 7 in.
Hip: 42 in.
Forearm: 11 in.
Neck: 13.5 in.

Waist to height ratio: 0.51 (a healthy range is .42-.48, per WebMD).

Body fat % (Average of 4 body fat % calculators with wildly varying numbers): 31.5% (again per WebMD, “acceptable” range for women is 25-31%).

TDEE: most calculators I’ve checked out online indicate a little over 2200 calories.
BMR: again, averaging several calculators online gives me around 1600.


#17

Day 19: Things have been much the same as before.

Several times I’ve opted to eat unhealthy snack foods. Majority of the days out of the week, I make healthy food choices. I continue to go to the gym, and am up to 3 gym sessions per week. I’m restraining myself from wearing my body down to nothing with cardio, and focusing on strength training. This weekend I would like to come to the gym and determine a few of my maximum lifts so I can begin a structured strength training routine. I also sleep 7 hours on average, and I will be testing increasing that to 8 or 9.

I keep my caloric limit very close to maintenance level. I am at a caloric deficit, just a very small one (less than .5 lbs per week). It’ll take a long time to reach a healthy body fat percentage, even though I’m not obese. Sometimes I get impatient and feel acutely unhappy with my body, and I wrestle with the urge to revert to drastic restrictions or destroy myself on the treadmill. Ultimately though, it’s more important for me to break the cycle of yo-yoing between restricting and binging (and frantically over-exercising) than to put all of my energy into fat loss.

“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”—Viktor Frankl