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cass

Day 32: I Feel...Exactly Like I Always Felt

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Let me just start by apologizing for the long rant that I'm sure this will become. I started the Whole30 in hopes that it would clear up my acne and, most of all, solve the digestive trouble I've had for years. I bought in completely: read the book before I started and referred back to it a million times, followed the meal template to a T, posted here a couple of times when I had questions whose answers I couldn't find in the book. I didn't cheat, even a little.

 

I read the timeline and kept referring back to it, trying to figure out if my system was just "behind" the typical process. Here's how my timeline went: Days 1-30: I feel exactly the same as I have always felt. I never had the rough patches, headaches, exhaustion, poor workouts, whatever. I also never had the "tiger blood" or any other breakthrough, I-feel-great moments. My sleep is still okay --not bad, could be better. My energy still lags at the end of the day but picks up after I work out...just like always.

 

think my acne is improving, but it's hard to tell. (I didn't take the before/after pictures and should have). My digestive system is just as miserable as always: I'm constipated and bloated pretty much all the time. The only thing that gets things moving is running...which is precisely when I don't want things to get moving. As the book and these forums suggested, I started taking Natural Calm. I've been taking it for three weeks and can't tell a difference. 

 

I've read a ton of other threads here, and the thought of next steps to figuring this out is just overwhelming. Eliminate nuts. Eliminate FODMAPS. Eliminate nightshades. Eliminate coconut and avocado. (WTF will I eat?!) Take enzymes. This is just so frustrating, especially with the holidays and the family visits they entail that are coming up. (Sorry, Mom-In-Law, I can only eat steak and cooked carrots. Please make me a separate meal). And the thought of having to drive an hour each way to a non-Wal-Mart grocery store every few weeks just to get compliant olives and coconut milk is also frustrating.

 

See, I told you it would be a rant. Sorry. If you've made it this far, do you have any advice or encouragement for me? Thanks. 

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You've had digestive troubles for years. YEARS! Realistically, you probably can't expect all the damage to be reversed in 30 days. If your gut has been unhappy for that amount of time, it's probably really taken a beating, and may need a fair amount of time to start to heal.

 

Quite a few people only start to get real results after 60 days or so from what I've read on these forums. If you can stay motivated, why don't you try to extend for a little while longer? For me, I didn't notice any dramatic changes, but by the end of 30 days I thought I felt a bit better than at the start. It was only when I went back to my old ways of eating and I started feeling how I used to feel again that I noticed that W30 had actually had quite a significant effect on my general wellbeing. I never had tiger blood or fantastic sleep either, but when I eat badly I feel like I'm wearing a lead suit and I have to drag myself around. Your body might be changing, just too slowly and subtly for you to really notice it.

 

I don't know exactly when the holidays for you guys are (no thanksgiving in Oz), but maybe if you stick with it until towards the end of the year you'll have a better idea of whether it's worth continuing through what's left of the holiday season, or whether you should just eat the damn ice-cream. I hope you see some results soon!   :)

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Dealing with food sensitivities is hard and you may need help getting through all the things you may need to try to resolve your issues. One way to get that help is to work with a Whole9 consultant: http://www.whole9life.com/personal-consulting/  Another route would be to work with a local resource like a naturopath or functional medicine doctor. Still another route would be to become more involved in the Whole30 forum community. There are always people doing the autoimmune protocol around who can talk with you about their experience and make suggestions.

 

I hear your fear and frustration when you consider all the foods you may need to eliminate to see what difference they might make to you, but there really is a lot of food left for your menu. Here are a list of articles or shopping lists you may need to review:

 

 
 
 
I find it useful to review all the things you can eat rather than thinking only of what you can't eat.

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digestion and skin issues are closely tied.You may not get relief from acne before your digestion is in good working order. That said, I can remember having horrible skin issues (I think in the end I figured out that they were caused by a daily hemp protein/almond milk green smoothie. thanks whole30, for making me quit those!). When my skin was inflammed and broken out, it would linger for a good long while, so, even if new irritation and breakouts weren't happening, I would still feel like my skin looked awful (because it did). I tried a lot of things, but for me, I think getting a few facials from a reputable salon helped speed things along and get my skin flushed out and set the stage for healthy not-broken out skin. Maybe that would be worth a try as a treat for completing this whole30? (congrats by the way!)

 

On magnesium, have you been increasing the dose? The instructions on the container of natural calm go into more detail, but you need to keep taking a bit more and a bit more until it starts working (you will know quite dramatically if it is too much, so be cautious and take it slow). You may not have been taking enough to make a difference for you yet.

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Guest Andria

I second what everyone is saying, all very good points. But I wanted to add that your constipation could be tied to something other than diet. I have always had issues with constipation; 2-3 days could pass with nothing passing. For me, I found it seems to be tied more to stress or not having the ability to relax in the morning. When I was working, I would have to leave for work at 7ish and didn't get up earlier than 6am and that would not be enough time for my body to get things moving especially since I was rushing around and not "relaxing." Since I have not been working, I can have a bm in the morning unless something interferes with my schedule. Maybe look at your schedule or levels of stress to see if that could be having some effect. With that said, I do think W30 has helped with my digestion so don't give up on that.

One thing you did not mention was trying probiotics. Try to get some in everyday: a glass of kombucha, a cup of fermented sauerkraut (not the kind made with vinegar). I think it is important to add this along with your enzymes and natural calm, too. Oh, and water of course. I used to poo poo (ha ha, pun not intended!) measuring my water intake, thinking "my body knows when I am thirsty" and "I get plenty of water from the foods I eat", but I realized I can go a full day only have a couple glasses of water (not good!). When I started focusing on taking in at least 1/2 my weight in ounces, my digestion improved. And try to have 1/2 that amount in the morning (ie, doesn't work to play catch up with water intake at night)

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So sorry you did not get the results you were hoping for.  There is a lot of dedication to whole30 so it can be frustrating to stay motivated if you are not seeing anything new.

Aside from all the other comments I just wanted you to realize that 30 days, even though it is hard, is really nothing in the scheme of things.  I have been working on my gut since spring of this year and have only noticed slight improvements.  I went on to get poop tested, saliva test, etc through a functional diagnostic nutritionist and my hormones and levels are totally out of whack....like worse than menopause.  They are fully confident that it can be fixed through supplements and nutrition but can take years.  ugh.  BUT, I don't want to feel this way anymore.  Each and every day, we are either getting more healthy by what we put in or less healthy.  It is really hard socially, I get that.  I have my moments where I say screw it but ultimately, quality of life is so much more worth it than that bite or the ease of opening a box for supper full of GMO's, chemicals, frankenfood.

My only advice is can you keep going?  Could you do a modified whole30 by adding in just a few things so that your gut can continue to heal for the most part?  

I hope some of these posters can help you get the answers you are looking for!

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Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read and reply to this and not judging me for being frustrated. :) I weighed myself this morning for the first time since starting, and I've gained five pounds. That just increases my frustration, but I also know that some of it is probably bloat/water-weight. And I expected to gain a couple of pounds because I started this right after a marathon, and I usually gain back 2-3 after I ease up on training. 

 

I guess all I can do is keep experimenting. Unfortunately, there's no way I can afford a Whole 9 consultant, and there are no local naturopaths or anything near me (living in the boondocks sucks sometimes).

 

Say that this is working, and my gut is healing slowly. If I "cheat" a couple of times over Thanksgiving to prevent hurt feelings (I'm thinking eating a piece of my mom's homemade stuffing and a slice of my grandma's angel food cake that she makes from scratch, just for me, because I've loved it since I was little), will that set me way, way back? 

 

Here's one more question: Is it possible that my problems could stem from hormonal birth control? When I went to a doctor for these issues a couple of years ago, he mentioned something like, "And who knows...maybe someday if you decide to have kids, these problems might clear up." 

 

Thanks again. 

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Hi Cass!

 

I'm not an expert in women's health, or even a doctor, but I can say that hormones can affect every system in our bodies, it seems.  Perhaps working with your doctor to discuss the potential is a good first step?

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Certainly not suggesting you shouldn't get medical advice but if the issues are hormone related the best thing you can do is keep eating this way to help your body adjust/reset to a better balance. I am absolutely amazed at the effect of changing parameters such as protein and fat levels plus inflammators (new word!) like coffee and nuts on my digestive system and cycle. Plus my first whole30 kick started my cycle after nothing for two years post stopping BC.

Personally I would suggest playing around with diet is likely to be much more productive than having kids for improving issues....

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Don't give up, my health has made such a huge turnaround in <12 months since my first Whole30.

 

and you may not need to have kids, he may mean going off the birth control. Might be worth asking about switching brands. I was amazed at some of the junk in my tablets that I had been taking for years, I can't have gluten and lots of them have gluten coatings!

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I second all the great advice you have been given and I would look at your birth control. I, for one, took the pill for a year (low dose too!) and it totally messed me up! It took 3 years and getting pregnant to straighten me out. I would have to go to my dr every other month for a hormone shot to start my period because I had stopped ovulating, according to him. So I have never taken another bc pill since--and that was 20 years ago! Not saying that this is what is wrong with you, but I would take a look! 

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I do not know anything about w30 (I'm on day 2) but I know a heck of a lot about birth control and acne.

I went on a super popular low dose mono pill when I was 19, and it wrecked my skin. I had lovely skin that I didn't appreciate and then BAM, I hated my face. I switched up my birth control several times (a tri pill, a get-your-period-every-3-months pill, the ring) and nothing helped. I finally just stopped bc and committed myself to always using condoms. I went to a derm who put me on a low dose of solodyn and my skin got worse, red, and peely, so I quit.

My job has 100s of people staring at my face all day - acne really devastated my self esteem. I just wanted to feel pretty, so I researched into the best derm in my area who put me on a crazy high dose of solodyn and BAM beautiful skin. I'm so happy.

So then I decided to re-research birth control and I discovered that although I kept switching birth controls, they each had the same kind of hormones in them. I went back to my obgyn and told her I needed one with a totally different makeup, and she went into creepy chemical mode saying a lot of big words and wrote me a new Rx. It has been a dream. I don't have any of the side effects that I have had previous times (crazy crying jags, horrible cramps, acne, etc).

If BC is something you are potentially going to be using long term, it is worth it to find the kind that works for YOU. Your body and your health are worth it. I am now 27 - I wish so badly that I hadn't waited so long to figure out what worked for me for my acne and my BC!

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