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It's Official. I gained weight on my Whole30. :(

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Today is day 31. I hopped on the scale and my weight is up 2.5 pounds, but my clothes fit as though I've gained even more. I have a closet full of clothes that are too tight and I'm sitting here at work today worried that I may actually burst the clasps of my fat pants.


To make matters worse, I have a horse show 9 days from now and the clothes I need to wear for that fit me about 10 pounds ago. I admit I feel panicked, as well as ashamed that I will be waddling out there, seeing my friends, 10 pounds heavier than I was at the last show. Clearly, I didn't gain all 10 pounds on Whole30, but I came to Whole30 because my weight was creeping up on my low carb diet and I was sick of gaining and losing the same pounds over and over again.


As I explained in my previous post, I've been following a low carb diet for over 15 years. I found the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet in January of 1999 and managed to lose 50 pounds and keep it off for over a decade. At that time, I experienced many of the benefits people find with W30, like increased energy, a cure to what I had thought was "chronic fatigue", and a cure to years of chronic gastritis. However, I was still always a good 20-30 pounds over my goal weight. In July of 2012 I went very low carb and dropped down to about 10 pounds over my goal weight. I was pretty happy and healthy there, but couldn't seem to maintain it.


I'm fairly certain the primary cause of my weight gain on W30 were the times I enjoyed baby carrots and about 5 days ago, a half a sweet potato. I had also been sprinkling a few sliced strawberries and blueberries on my evening salad. (I don't eat nuts because I know they are a problem for me.) In the days following the sweet potato, my energy crashed and I felt I could barely function. The past two days I've limited myself to low carb vegies only and thankfully my energy is back up this morning.


At this point, I don't know what to do. I enjoy eating this way, but can't keep gaining weight. Without the horse show, I think what I'd want to do is stick with it and eat only very low carb veggies to see if I can start a downward trend. However, because I am honestly concerned I won't be able to wear or ride properly in my show clothes, I'm considering desperate measures of going back to a meat and egg fast and then try to work vegetables back in later.

I just don't know. :(

I'd appreciate your thoughts.


Sample menu:

Meal 1: Beef patty, 3 eggs, spinach cooked in olive oil with tomatoes and onions


Meal 2: leftover pork shoulder from last night and veggies cooked this morning.


Meal 3: boneless skinless chicken thighs and a big, organic, spring mix (greens only) salad with oil and vinegar.


I eat breakfast like a horse (the amount of food it takes to get me from 7am to noon) and then my meals get progressively smaller throughout the day. I get up between 4:30 and 5am, take my dog for a brisk walk, get showered, eat breakfast, ride my horse, and then go to work.


I want so badly for this to work. I want to break up with my scale and just eat a clean healthy diet and maintain a slim, healthy weight.


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I'm sorry to hear that you're at this frustrating point.  It's never fun to experience the opposite of the results we expect.


Perhaps some wardrobe magic can be performed to help you get through the show, so you can then re-evaluate your strategy - and hopefully continue feeding your body nutrient dense whole foods that support your activity level and mental health?


I think at this point it's worth it to consider that your body began to gain weight on your low carb diet, and then continued during your Whole30, because you were under-fed.  Very low carb diets significantly limit your potential nutrition, and adding those nutrients back into your diet causes your body to hold on to them for fear that you will return to serious deprivation again. A few handfuls of baby carrots and a half sweet potato are not unhealthy foods - in fact, completely the opposite.  And my guess is that in a context rich with nutrient dense foods, for an extended period of time, your body will indeed reset and then potentially begin to lose again.  However, many years of serious restriction cause issues that are very difficult to resolve in 30 days.

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Sorry for your frustration! After the horse show, perhaps you can try another Whole30 and see if your body does better. You might want to see if you have sensitivities to FODMAPs or other complex sugars in sweet potatoes and other certain vegetables which are causing the bloating. Carrots and sweet potatoes don't cause weight gain in and of themselves (they're both actually quite low in carbs, and back when I was sticking to less than 20 net carb grams a day, I ate them regularly, along with lots of other vegetables). But if you're sensitive to some of the complex sugars in them, you can find other vegetables that allow you to eat good amounts without bloating. Good luck!  As you know, a zero carb meat and egg diet will drop weight quickly, but it's just water weight, and as soon as you add back in a lettuce leaf, you'll gain it back. It might be fine for a couple days to fit into your dressage clothes, but in the long run, I'm sure you'll be a lot happier if you can let yourself gain the initial water weight from healthy vegetables, and then let your body adjust to the new foods and eventually lose the weight you wish to lose.

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I am exactly feeling the same !! Day 29 and my jeans are so tight I can only just get them on but ... I feel better in myself . My meals are really big they need to be as I was a binger for a long time and this month I Havn't ... Not at all !!!! But putting weight on 😔 that's something I am working on in that I am gently reducing the fat content in my meals. But wow I am eating 3 lovely meals daily with no cakes, biscuits, chocolate !!! I think maybe I need to continue to a whole 60 to give my body a chance to stabilise and heal as it's had years of abuse in the form of sugar.

Good luck x

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Thanks for the feedback and comments.

I'm not pregnant - and yes, thankfully my riding breeches have some stretch to them.


I've gone back to very low carb for the week to try to shrink back down. My plan is to add veggies back in, but do it more slowly to build up to Whole30 amounts so my fat cells don't freak out about it.

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