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What do you look for when results not typical?


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I could really use some guidance. I know that everyone's experience is different, but the overwhelming majority of people seem to have some positive results from doing a Whole30. I expected the first couple of weeks could be hard, even though I was a pretty clean eater and mostly paleo beforehand. I didn't expect to feel progressively worse for going on 38 days now.

Mainly, I'm speaking about energy levels. I have none. I feed myself good food, I work, and that's about it. I'm not talking about not being able to do Crossfit six day a week, I'm talking about not being able to drag myself out to walk the dog. Also, weight gain, which is probably contributed to by the lethargy, but I've taken breaks from regular exercise in the past and not had this effect. I didn't weigh myself during the W30 per the instructions, but I could feel my clothes getting tight from week 2, and now I literally can't get my jeans on.

Some days I feel hungry and full at the same time, and my guts just always feel wrong. I don't think I can explain it much better than that because I can't put my finger on it, it's just weird. Bloated and tender, but I'm not passing gas or burping, it's just there. I've eliminated everything I thought I could be reacting to, but it really doesn't seem to matter what I eat, it all makes me feel ill. If I don't eat in order to avoid the gut discomfort, I'll have a blood sugar crash that can threaten my safety and set me back for hours.

It's frustrating because here I am thinking I'm doing something so good for my health and it just seems to be backfiring in every way.

Many people do a Whole 30 so they can have a baseline of feeling good so they will notice what eating poorly does to them. I honestly feel like I could go out and eat a whole pizza and not feel any worse than I do already.

I'm sure I can't be the only one for whom the W30 didn't go as expected. I'm wondering if anyone could give me any feedback or possible reasons why my body is responding so atypically.

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I really symphatize with you,as I struggle a lot with digestive issues paired with hunger&satiaty problems too.

I'm currently trying to see if FODMAPS might have something to do with my digestive problems.

I've also ordered L-Glutamine powder to try to heal my gutlining,as I don't really like bonebroths nor making them. I already took probiotics daily. I also seem to notice that if I take really high doses of Vitamin C my bowel movement sometimes increases a bit and also all the fiber in the veggies require to drink way more than I sometimes feel like,though my gut doesn't seem to absorb it well,comes out as pee immediately....sometimes it does help if I add some Himalayan salt to it.

You say you ate mostly Paleo before Whole30,what was it that you've cut out for the Whole 30? bc it sounds a bit like your weightgain&fatigue is caused by hyperthyroidism (which usually is in combination with adrenal issues)

I wish you best of luck!

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Thank you both for your responses.

Dutchie, that's a good point about FODMAPS. That might be the last thing I've been putting off eliminating because I'm afraid of having nothing left to eat. And when I brought up the topic with my doctor and he said "what's a FODMAP?" I might have taken it as license not to worry about them because he's usually so nutritionally aware. So I will look into that more. Your other suggestions are sound also, and are already part of my routine.

Two relevant things that I neglected to mention- these past 38 days have been on the autoimmune protocol. So what I have cut out that I was eating regularly before are eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds, and nightshades. I'm about to reintroduce some fruit and see how that goes. Also, I'm definitely no stranger to thyroid issues, and while I'm sure that's playing some part here, what I'm feeling now doesn't match my experiences with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Tom, I'd be happy to. It's easier for me to remember if I go backwards. I'll just list the foods themselves, but I'm pretty diligent about following portion protocol: palm or so of protein, thumb of fat, fill my plate with veggies. Also, I take digestive enzymes before each meal and water kefir after, except when I'm at work I don't have the kefir.

Dinner tonight: Roast chicken, baked sweet potato and zucchini with olive oil.

Lunch today: Soup (bone broth, salmon, kale, garlic, onions, peppercorns), celery.

Breakfast this morning: Ground beef wrapped in romaine.

Dinner yesterday: Scallops sauteed in coconut oil, japanese yam, spinach.

Lunch yesterday: Chicken salad (chicken, herbs, coconut milk)

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Sorry, that post froze, here's some more-

Yesterday's lunch was chicken salad on greens.

Breakfast yesterday: Sweet potato with olive oil, mashed on a bed of spinach.

Dinner Sunday: Zucchini noodles with homemade pesto (basil, garlic, olive oil) and a can of salmon.

Lunch Sunday: Soup (same soup as before) and celery.

Breakfast Sunday: Ground beef on sweet potato, olive oil.

I don't know if those three days count as several, but it gives you a basic idea of what's typical for me.

And to be clear, I'm not asking for miracles or for anyone to give me a medical diagnosis, but there was a part of me that was hopinig when I put my atypical results out there, someone would chime in with "oh yeah, Jimmy felt the same way, turned out he had his shoes on backwards" or some other something easy to hack.

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I was hoping it was something simple like you were not eating enough or your diet was too narrow. However, your food looks very reasonable. So there goes simple. But you might try turning your shoes around and see how that goes. :)

I don't have a quick answer, but I'll keep thinking about it.

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Gosh, that sounds frustrating to say the least.

I am not a specialist of any sort, but I wonder when you last saw an OB GYN? How is your cycle functioning?

A few more questions...

Is the weight you have gained watery or solid?

Were you underweight before you began?

Have you started or stopped any meds or supplements, especially anything that could alter your hormone levels?

Have you been exposed to any new environmental toxins? (such as weeks of toxic fumes or some such?)

Did you quit smoking or chewing nicotine gum?

I hope you do not feel invaded by these questions, and certainly you do not have to answer them ;) .

Your diet looks fine to me, so I thought I would mention other avenues to explore.

Sorry you are going through this.


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Thanks, Maeva, those are all good questions and I don't feel invaded at all.

In the order asked:

It has been a while since I had my lady bits checked out- probably over a year. My cycle was ok this month- historically it has been all over the place and is often one of my indicators that I need to check thyroid hormone levels. Over the last year I have learned that if I stray too far from a paleo paradigm my menstruation gets irregular, so that's been my main motivator to stay on track.

I don't know if I know how to tell if my weight is watery or solid. It seems more like blubber, so I guess that's somewhere in between.

I wasn't underweight what I started, or ever, so it's not a case of my body finding its proper composition. I was overweight, though not so much that I felt uncomfortable carrying it around, as I do now.

Regarding meds and supplements- My first two weeks I was doing L-Glutamine, I've taken a break from that until next week. No change in my thyroid medication- I take an OTC bovine glandular. I have been trying various brands of digestive enzymes (the one my doctor sold me contained maltodextrin, so on to Now brand), and the water kefir is a new addition. Previously I was having kombucha regularly, but wanted to make a probiotic that didn't require tea. So cutting out all caffeine is new-ish. I have a hard time staying away from coffee but haven't had any since late June. I usually end up on a two months on, two months off cycle with coffee that I'm trying to break.

The only new envoronmental toixin I can think of was a brief solvent exposure during a greywater harvesting workshop. It was the most mild sealant they could find for the job but I still reacted uncomfortably enough to pass off the project to someone else and go outside. That was about two weeks into the W30. But nothing I have had repeated exposure to (the workshop was not in my home).

I did quit smoking, but that was in 2004, so I think we're out of the woods there.

I don't trust myself to self diagnose, since my monkey mind goes right to the coffee- since I want it so bad I tell myself that it's the answer to all my problems. But like I said, I often take a few months off from coffee and I don't, ah, expand the way I have of late.

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How tall are you/what do you weigh?

I'm going to disagree with Tom...i don't see a ton of food...well, I don't know. the quality/variety looks good, but without portions, it's hard to say for certain. I'm on the fence and conflicted.

Soup for lunch sounds suspiciously unsubstantial. Even though you have sweet potatoes for dinner a couple of times, that's still only 25g of carbs, and I don't see a ton of carbs throughout the rest of the day (outside of non-starchy veggies). Your thyroid function is almost directly tied into carb intake.

It also looks like you're getting the bulk of your calories and carbs at night...is that true? I'd try to flip it around if it works for your lifestyle.

So I'd try the following:

a) eat more calories and more starchy carbs

B) frontload your calories in breakfast

c) lay off uncooked veggies, particularly leafy green ones.

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Flying completely solo in diagnosing is not a good idea. And though I have read a lot, I am not qualified.


I could be totally off base here, but I was looking for something that might have catapulted you into estrogen dominance, or otherwise altered your hormone levels.

An abrupt withdrawal from nicotine--cigarettes, gum, or patches--can have that effect on anyone, but especially on women in a certain age range.

A big stressful life change can wreak havoc. Stress in general. Lack of sleep. And most women experience this kind of thing to some degree as we age.

For myself, being 44 years old, and perimenopausal for five years now, I am careful to keep my contact with environmental chemicals and such to a minimum.

This includes cleaning supplies (wear gloves), artificial perfume, unfiltered water, plastics (never heat/microwave :wacko: your food in plastic). These adversely affect your hormones, especially estrogen. It is cumulative.

I use a low dose of bio-identical progesterone cream about 14 days in 30 (roughly the two weeks before my menses are due--an idea to research on your own and discuss with a qualified person.

Progesterone levels can plummet in women my age, so estrogen can be too high in relation to progesterone.

I find supplementation helpful, but messing with your hormones is not something to do on a whim.

But first, I would have see an OB GYN. Not a bad idea if it has been a while. You are working with a GP already, so that is good.

Beyond that, I haven't a clue. But I am sorry you are going through it. I am sure you will figure it out.

Keep eating healthy!

All the best to you :)


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This is all great feedback and gives me a lot to look into.

Renee Lee- I'm pretty sure I'm getting plenty of carbs- when I say I'm eating a sweet potato, I'm usually eating the hell out of a giant sweet potato. But you're spot on that it usually happens at night. Mainly that's been because starchy carbs make me feel so heavy that I find myself avoiding them before work. But I'll try starting with small amounts and see if I can work my way up without too much discomfort.

[Edit because I forgot to answer your question- I'm 5'2" and was around 130# before- heavy but when it was muscle weight I was fine with it. Now I'm at 142# and flabby- not so fine]

And Maeva- I didn't mean to imply that I wanted a bunch of strangers on the internet to diagnose me, just that I know it would be more dangerous for me to listen to myself than it is for me to listen to someone who can look at the facts without being emotionally involved. Your suggestions are super helpful, and you're not the first person to suggest estrogen dominance. I think I'd been putting off finding a new OB/GYN (my old GP used to do my paps, this one doesn't) but I'm sure it's worth pursuing even if it doesn't turn out to be the answer- at least I'll know.

You've all given me a lot to look at, I appreciate it very much!

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