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Emma's Perimenopausal (tmi?) Whole 30 Introduction


Emma C.

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Hello, everyone! I am 46 years old and am starting into my second whole 30. I completed the first last year in August, but didn't use the forums back then. I thought I'd give the forums a try this time around.

 

My first whole 30 was really difficult -- and a wonderful success. But my body was so messed up at the time that it actually took more than 30 days to really start feeling normal and good. (I really didn't know what "normal and good" felt like until around November.) After following a strict whole 30 diet in August, I continued with a paleo diet throughout the fall and into December. Although now and then I'd allow myself some orange juice, a bowl of sherbet, etc. I really thought that I was going to be able to continue that way forever.

 

In December two things converged. One was Christmas and the second was perimenopause. While I had always craved high-glycemic foods during bouts of pms, those cravings are intensified as my body prepares for menopause. The cravings are horrific. And unlike with pms, they don't occur just before my periods, but they seem to be sporadic, so that I can't anticipate them. And being surrounded by high-carb, high-glycemic foods in December didn't help at all. So at the end of December things got ugly.

 

I started again to follow my paleo regimen during the very end of December and throughout most of January. But then about a week ago, I just became overwhelmed with cravings -- to the point where it hurt and was so anxiety-producing that i couldn't stand it anymore. The last week hasn't been good. 

 

I decided yesterday that what I need (besides a doctor's visit to my very progressive, holistic, paleo-pushing doctor -- I now have an appointment) is to do a clean whole 30 again. So here I am. And I have a feeling that the forum I'll be in the most is the one for women's issues. :) I have really enjoyed getting older in most respects, but this hormone thing is really not working out well for me...

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Yesterday

 

Breakfast - 

Banana

Coffee

Broccoli and collard greens sautéed in coconut oil with pieces of grilled pork cut up into it

 

Snack -

Banana

almonds

 

Lunch -

Mixed greens salad with ground turkey thigh and dressing of coconut oil mixed with chives/dill/salt

 

Snack -

Grapefruit

 

Dinner -

Mixed greens salad with ground turkey thigh and dressing of coconut oil mixed with chives/dill/salt

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Day 3

 

Today I just feel blah. I think that the grains and sugar I ate right before starting this whole 30 have left my body/gut all sore and messed up. :(

 

Breakfast:

Fried egg

Sweet potato with ghee and cinnamon

A little bit of Spinich and cauliflower sautéed in coconut oil with pieces of grilled pork cut up into it

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Ugh. It's been a difficult day. I really think when I fall of the bandwagon, it takes my body an incredibly long time to heal. I just need to be strong.

 

Snack between breakfast and lunch:

 

grapefruit

banana

some canned salmon mixed with homemade mayo

 

Lunch:

Mixed greens with ground turkey thigh and coconut oil/dill/chive dressing.

 

snack:

banana

handful of walnuts

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Hi Emma

 

I can really relate to what you are saying re: perimenopause. I to am going through it had have been for two years. I am now 48 and decided to give Whole 30 a go because during this time I felt like I have been on a continuous rollacoaster. Weight slowly increasing, moods going from normal to extreme anxiety. I just hope to be in charge of my life again someday.

 

After a foggy start I am now on day 8 and am feeling the best I have felt in years. So much energy and I wake up excited about what the day will bring. Can't believe such changes can happen so quickly.

 

I wish you all the best on your new Whole 30 journey and am dying to hear about your progress. :)

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Hey Emma! Welcome back to the W30. I know this is not your first rodeo but based on what you are posting just want to remind you of some best practices that we recommend to get the most out of your W30.

 

I recommend everyone make a copy of the meal template and hang a copy on their fridge and have it otherwise handy when planning meals.

 

Fruit should ideally be limited to 1-2 servings a day had as part of or immediately following a template meal.

 

We recommend 3 meals a day with no snacking. If you are hungry between meals (like could eat something bland like boiled fish and broccoli) eat a mini meal including protein and fat. Remember that nuts are a fat source on the W30. 

 

When eggs are your protein a palm sized serving is as many whole eggs as you can hold in your hand.

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Hey Emma! Welcome back to the W30. I know this is not your first rodeo but based on what you are posting just want to remind you of some best practices that we recommend to get the most out of your W30.

 

I recommend everyone make a copy of the meal template and hang a copy on their fridge and have it otherwise handy when planning meals.

 

Fruit should ideally be limited to 1-2 servings a day had as part of or immediately following a template meal.

 

We recommend 3 meals a day with no snacking. If you are hungry between meals (like could eat something bland like boiled fish and broccoli) eat a mini meal including protein and fat. Remember that nuts are a fat source on the W30. 

 

When eggs are your protein a palm sized serving is as many whole eggs as you can hold in your hand.

Hi Phisibeth,

Thank you for the reminders. I know I overdo the fruit. :( I'll try to cut back. I tend to eat them because they're easy to grab. I need to do a better job at preparing things ahead of time.

 

I had my gallbladder removed several years ago and find that 3 meals is hard for me. 

 

I've had a rough first few days, and when I'm feeling horrible I define success as not eating anything non-compliant. But I think I could do better with better planning.

 

It's nice to know someone is checking up on me. :) I really didn't think anyone was reading this. It feels less lonely in the forums (and more motivating) knowing that someone is!

 

Thanks,

Em

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Hi Emma

 

I can really relate to what you are saying re: perimenopause. I to am going through it had have been for two years. I am now 48 and decided to give Whole 30 a go because during this time I felt like I have been on a continuous rollacoaster. Weight slowly increasing, moods going from normal to extreme anxiety. I just hope to be in charge of my life again someday.

 

After a foggy start I am now on day 8 and am feeling the best I have felt in years. So much energy and I wake up excited about what the day will bring. Can't believe such changes can happen so quickly.

 

I wish you all the best on your new Whole 30 journey and am dying to hear about your progress. :)

Hi Angie!

 

Oh, it's nice to have someone who understands! The food cravings and mood swings are awful. Regular periods were so much better because at least I knew what was going to happen when. Now that my periods are all over the place -- long, short, gone for a few months, etc. -- my symptoms just pop up and can go on for days.

 

While I'm not the best paleo eater, my life has definitely changed for the better since I started this all last summer. I had horrible brain fog before switching to paleo and had a lot of problems with constipation. All of that is gone. But I think if I cleaned up my paleo act a bit (e.g., less fruit) I'd feel even better.

 

I haven't had that many days between August and now when I've succumbed to eating grains and/or processed food, but when I do, I pay for it for days. That makes it easier to avoid. However, sometimes I just break -- and then pay. 

 

Please do let me know how things go for you. Thank you for checking in with me. 

 

Emma

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Dinner yesterday:

Sweet potato w/ ghee and cinnamon

Mixed green salad with grilled chicken and homemade mayo based dressing

 

Breakfast:

Coffee

Banana (fruit #1 for the day)

Sweet potato w/ ghee and cinnamon

Mixed green salad with grilled chicken and homemade mayo based dressing

 

I feel better today -- a lot less anxious and my stomach feels less sour. 

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Hi Phisibeth,

Thank you for the reminders. I know I overdo the fruit. :( I'll try to cut back. I tend to eat them because they're easy to grab. I need to do a better job at preparing things ahead of time.

 

I had my gallbladder removed several years ago and find that 3 meals is hard for me. 

 

I've had a rough first few days, and when I'm feeling horrible I define success as not eating anything non-compliant. But I think I could do better with better planning.

 

It's nice to know someone is checking up on me. :) I really didn't think anyone was reading this. It feels less lonely in the forums (and more motivating) knowing that someone is!

 

Thanks,

Em

 

Are you taking digestive enzymes? I've read that they can be very helpful for people without a gallbladder.

 

A couple of blog posts that might interest you/help:

 

http://balancedbites.com/2012/12/faqs-how-can-i-eat-paleo-without-a-gallbladder.html

 

http://whole9life.com/2012/09/digestive-enzymes-101/

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Are you taking digestive enzymes? I've read that they can be very helpful for people without a gallbladder.

 

A couple of blog posts that might interest you/help:

 

http://balancedbites.com/2012/12/faqs-how-can-i-eat-paleo-without-a-gallbladder.html

 

http://whole9life.com/2012/09/digestive-enzymes-101/

I do (sometimes) take digestive enzymes, but I really don't know if they're good ones or not. I get them at Whole Foods Market. They're by Enzymedica. I go on sprees when I take them before every meal and then I don't. I can''t decide whether they do anything for me. Sometimes I think they do and sometimes I think they don't. Obviously, when I start deciding they're not I stop taking them. Most of the food I eat is organic and most of the meat that I buy is grass fed. So I have expensive food bills and I try to keep my supplements to a minimum.  

 

I'll check out these blog posts. Thank you!

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Snack

 

I did a 10 mile run this morning. I do my long runs every Saturday and almost always (like I did today) eat a banana with almond butter on it right after I run. 

 

Lunch

 

Grilled salmon (which I overcooked...)

Broccoli and cauliflower sauteed in coconut oil

 

Snack

 

Tuna fish salad w/ celery cut up on it (This is when I would usually have grabbed a banana, but I resisted...)

 

I have felt really good today. Really, really good. I'm soooo glad. 

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Feel so crap this morning with the pre menopause roller coaster that I sat here reading your posts and honestly feel better. I am 45 and my periods have been all over for the last year until suddenly stopping completely in January when I was in the midst of my first whole 30. I got to day 21 and binged on small chocolate bars. I have had a eating disorder for the last 3 yrs where I totally binge on sugar and carbs . I am not very overweight probably around 14lbs so it's always about trying to lose that extra weight. Whole 30 I think is my saviour as it takes away the compulsion to eat sugary rubbish. But now my hormones have gone to pot and I feel crap as a result of eating too much fruit sprinkled with coconut last night night and raisins with compliant nuts ! After a lovely salmon dinner. I have just started taking HRT , day 4 but thinking of stopping it as maybe that's why I crashed after day 21 ? Maybe it was hormonal adjustments ?? Any help would be appreciated

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Doing well Emma. I'm 47, have no gall bladder and have just started a caffeine free w60 today. Like you I expect my first few days to be a bit rocky... As long as I stay off caffeine and noncompliant foods I don't mind too much if my templating is a bit rocky.. It usually takes me 12-14 days to start feeling better, glad to hear you are feeling good already. Caffeine has a huge effect on my cycle, suffering right now so bad I might have to skip work.

Keep up the great effort!

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Feel so crap this morning with the pre menopause roller coaster that I sat here reading your posts and honestly feel better. I am 45 and my periods have been all over for the last year until suddenly stopping completely in January when I was in the midst of my first whole 30. I got to day 21 and binged on small chocolate bars. I have had a eating disorder for the last 3 yrs where I totally binge on sugar and carbs . I am not very overweight probably around 14lbs so it's always about trying to lose that extra weight. Whole 30 I think is my saviour as it takes away the compulsion to eat sugary rubbish. But now my hormones have gone to pot and I feel crap as a result of eating too much fruit sprinkled with coconut last night night and raisins with compliant nuts ! After a lovely salmon dinner. I have just started taking HRT , day 4 but thinking of stopping it as maybe that's why I crashed after day 21 ? Maybe it was hormonal adjustments ?? Any help would be appreciated

Oh wow. I could have written this myself. I've met so few people who understand the sugar cravings. I'm a perfectly normal eater until those cravings come on. But they can get so bad that I just hold out anymore. The release I feel by finally eating sugar -- a lot of it -- is like a drug that unwinds me. And once I start I have trouble stopping.

 

What I can say is that since August when I did my first Whole 30 and then following a (mostly) paleo diet after that, I have had far fewer days when I've reached this place of completely falling apart. The problem is, once the binge is over, like you, I feel awful the next day, and it takes several days or even a week before I feel ok again.

 

When I start feeling like that I try these things first:

1. Stop anything that is making me stressed (if possible) -- so in other words, stop working

2. Drink a lot of water

3. Take a bath

4. Go for a walk

 

Sometimes those things help. And sometimes (although rarely) I can get by by binging on fruit. I know that's still a lot of sugar, but it sure is better than moving into the processed food sugar that I often turn to.

 

This has been a lifelong problem, as my pms my whole life was always awful. I always envied people who "just" had mood swings or "just" got depressed. Or I know people who crave sugar, eat a chocolate bar, and then are fine. Not me. And now that I'm entering menopause, the days when the cravings come on are not on discernible schedule. At least with pms I knew when to expect them and I could plan around them. Now I'll feel good one day and the next day I'll be knocked off my feet.

 

I've not started in HRT yet. I've got a doctor's appt in a few weeks. But I'll just bet that what caused your crash on day 21 was hormone related. At any rate, I completely and entirely understand your frustration and wish we could all reach through our computers and do something for one another. Although sharing stories helps me a lot.

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DAY 5

 

Don't feel as good as I felt yesterday. Just sort of tired and weary...

 

Breakfast

Romaine lettuce and red chard with some ground turkey thigh and chunks of port mixed in (an attempt to use leftovers) with some homemade mayo based dressing.

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Oh wow. I could have written this myself. I've met so few people who understand the sugar cravings. I'm a perfectly normal eater until those cravings come on. But they can get so bad that I just hold out anymore. The release I feel by finally eating sugar -- a lot of it -- is like a drug that unwinds me. And once I start I have trouble stopping.

What I can say is that since August when I did my first Whole 30 and then following a (mostly) paleo diet after that, I have had far fewer days when I've reached this place of completely falling apart. The problem is, once the binge is over, like you, I feel awful the next day, and it takes several days or even a week before I feel ok again.

When I start feeling like that I try these things first:

1. Stop anything that is making me stressed (if possible) -- so in other words, stop working

2. Drink a lot of water

3. Take a bath

4. Go for a walk

Sometimes those things help. And sometimes (although rarely) I can get by by binging on fruit. I know that's still a lot of sugar, but it sure is better than moving into the processed food sugar that I often turn to.

This has been a lifelong problem, as my pms my whole life was always awful. I always envied people who "just" had mood swings or "just" got depressed. Or I know people who crave sugar, eat a chocolate bar, and then are fine. Not me. And now that I'm entering menopause, the days when the cravings come on are not on discernible schedule. At least with pms I knew when to expect them and I could plan around them. Now I'll feel good one day and the next day I'll be knocked off my feet.

I've not started in HRT yet. I've got a doctor's appt in a few weeks. But I'll just bet that what caused your crash on day 21 was hormone related. At any rate, I completely and entirely understand your frustration and wish we could all reach through our computers and do something for one another. Although sharing stories helps me a lot.

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Emma thank you so much !! It really helps that someone else totally gets how I feel. I decided today to stop HRT I started it 4 dats ago. Exactly like you said , at least with a regular cycle you knew kind of when to expect the cravings. The reason I am stopping HRT is that I have no other symptoms than pmt with no period. I need to try and give my body a bit of time to adjust to absolutely no sugar and I am hoping I will see a improvement . It worries me to taking medication that can solve some problems but cause others. Like you sometimes I am able to binge with fruit. It's just sometimes I almost go I to a trance and the choc or biscuits are like drugs ? I kid you not !!, been better today . Evenings seem worse. Had a couple of small bowls of frozen blueberries and dedicated coconut tonight and it was really nice. I have ordered a book by geneen Roth called when food is love . It was mentioned on the forum and it looks interesting. I am desperate to just eat normally within the whole 30 and beyond as I love eating this way . Thank you again

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DAY 1 -- Yes, I'm starting over. Yesterday was awful. I just need to move on and start afresh. Funny, my initial thought was to run and hide from this forum. I feel a bit ashamed. But that would be silly. So I'll just keep on keepin' on until I hit day 30 having done a pure whole 30, not a tainted one.

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Emma thank you so much !! It really helps that someone else totally gets how I feel. I decided today to stop HRT I started it 4 dats ago. Exactly like you said , at least with a regular cycle you knew kind of when to expect the cravings. The reason I am stopping HRT is that I have no other symptoms than pmt with no period. I need to try and give my body a bit of time to adjust to absolutely no sugar and I am hoping I will see a improvement . It worries me to taking medication that can solve some problems but cause others. Like you sometimes I am able to binge with fruit. It's just sometimes I almost go I to a trance and the choc or biscuits are like drugs ? I kid you not !!, been better today . Evenings seem worse. Had a couple of small bowls of frozen blueberries and dedicated coconut tonight and it was really nice. I have ordered a book by geneen Roth called when food is love . It was mentioned on the forum and it looks interesting. I am desperate to just eat normally within the whole 30 and beyond as I love eating this way . Thank you again

Several years ago I acknowledged the fact that giving into my cravings is not a sign of lack of willpower. It's not a sign of weakness. At least for me, it is mostly physiological. If I burned my hand and got through the pain without putting ice on it, that isn't necessarily admirable. My hormonally induced cravings are like a burned hand. The problem is, the "ice" that makes it feel better is horribly bad for me. So what I need to focus on is how to avoid the burn (or reduce the intensity of the burn) so that I don't need the ice. What the paleo diet did for me for months in the fall is get me to a place where the cravings were never that bad. However, the initial month was awful -- it was like having a burned hand and not putting ice on it. That's where I am now again. I am angry that I let myself get here again. My body is so sensitive that I'm not someone who can simply take a few days off of good eating and expect to jump right back into it again. So now I'm back to the painful "first month" again.

 

I say all this because I think we often beat ourselves up when we are overcome by our cravings and succumb to them. I've given up talking to people who don't understand the intensity of the pain caused by those cravings. It's not simply a wouldn't-it-be-nice-to-have-some-sugar feeling. It's like a 2nd degree burn from which you're withholding a bag of ice. If you've never experienced it, words can't describe it.

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Oh my god !! Yes that's it exactly. I feel such a failure sometimes that I can't stop eating . One bar or one portion of dessert does not satisfy me. It's a insatiable hunger. As you know I got to day 21 And just as I patted myself on the back I binged. Like you I will keep going and going because this way of life whether whole 30 or 60 or 9 is my solution. I think once you are armed with the information and you start to know the way your body works you increase your chances of success. Good luck with your new whole 30 and please do not ever feel a failure !! A failure is someone who didn't try to begin with. I am always here , naive a food log ??

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