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den303

Gaining weight over the years from eating this way

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Hi

 

I have completed about 4 whole 30's in the past 2-2.5 years.  I am 5 '11, female, and started on my whole 30 journey at about 167lbs.  I was average.  I was looking to lose 10 or so pounds to tone up.  After my first whole 30 I managed to get down to about 158-162 and stay there for about 6 months.  Then the weight started to creep back up and literally (I am not joking) my weight went from 162-178 in 4 weeks (I can even tell you the month - it was May of 2013). I have rattled my brain for over a year at what happened during that month that caused such a rapid weight gain and I cannot come up with anything.

 

I had never ever weighed higher than 174 or so and that was in my college days of eating fast food every night.  I quickly went to the Dr to check on my blood work.  We checked for thyroid, insulin, etc and everything came back normal.  I literally could not even fit into any of my clothes! So I decided I would go back to doing another whole 30 to see if I can just go back to my pre whole 30 weight of 167. I would be more than happy just to be back to where I started before I did any of this!!

 

During that whole 30, my weight went down to like 172 but literally as soon as I reintroduced anything, it was back up to 178.  Now, over a year later and extremely depressed my weight keeps creeping up!!! I am right now on day  21 of a whole 30 (in complete desperation to just lose this damn weight) and I weighed myself because I felt like I was gaining again and I am now up to 185!

 

I want to be as nice as possible when I say this, but I educated with the process, I know how it works.  Please do not say "this is where your body needs to be"  My body was happily at 167 for probably 8 years and its only since I started yo-yoing back and forth with whole 30 that I've now gained nearly 20 pounds and I am in a completely depressed state because of it. I have seen other posts about this and no one ever says outright that maybe this process is flawed and that it does make your body gain weight over time.

 

I am coming on this forum because I have literally gone to the dr 3 times over the past year to figure out a better solution, and they always  just tell me "eat a low carb diet".  I just wish that I never started eating this way - yes I know it is healthier, but is it really? If I am now 20 pounds heavier. with a bmi now of nearly 26 and am in the plus size for clothes?? and am so depressed about it I don't even want to be social anymore?? I think not. I just don't know what to do at this point in terms of weight loss.

 

If I go off plan now, my body has horrible reactions to gluten or dairy.  I can't eat anything off plan anymore without consequences.  I just think that people should be warned that whole30 will cause you to not be able to enjoy any of your off plan foods anymore and that it will put you into a yo/yo type of relationship bc its impossible to stay whole 30 365 days a year. 

 

Right now, I am asking if anyone has honest concrete suggestions of how to lose this weight.  I know that whole 30 is not a weight loss plan (again, not trying to be rude here but I am very educated about the process and have read the book twice). I just need to know how to now lose this weight given the fact that I keep gaining weight as soon as I get off plan and don't lose ANY weight while on plan. So basically I keep gaining!!. I can't keep going at this rate or I will be quickly looking at 200lbs on the scale. 

 

 

Please help me as I am seriously frustrated beyond words at this point.

 

My body fat which used to be at a steady 23% now sits at about 28-29%. so it is not muscle (I assure you).  My workout routine has stayed the exact same (I crossfit about 3-4 days a week).

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So sorry for your frustration. I can relate.

There are practically infinite variations to doing w30, and there are perhaps tweaks you can make to help find the healthiest way for you to eat and also shed some fat. Could you post an honest reflection of a few days' worth of food and activity/exercise? Perhaps then folks could offer some suggestions.

Each of us is different, of course, and our body constitutions react to foods, environment, stress, activity in their own ways that often even change with the seasons. There is no one size fits all and I think you're right to be concerned and seeking ways to feel good again and thrive!

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When I am on whole 30 I stick to mostly protein and lots and lots of veggies.  If I eat fruit, it's only 1 serving a day and I don't really snack on nuts - I just use them as a topping to meals.

 

Breakfast is always 3 or 4 eggs with some spinach/mushrooms

Lunch is usually some sort of protein, like chicken or shrimp with veggies or i'll make it into something more fun like chicken avocado salad or something.  I usually eat an avocado a day.

 

Dinner is the same as lunch but usually much more veggies. If I snack, its on grape tomatoes, cucumbers, eggs, or beef jerky.

 

If I'm not on whole 30 I basically try to maintain it as much as possible but I will add in protein shakes, and chocolate. Or I'll have "sweet potato chips" that are technically whole 30 but not allowed on whole 30. I feel like I stick to whole 30 ingredients off plan but they might not be technically approved for whole 30.  Basically I'll order the same at a restaurant but I won't modify it to be whole 30 if it has cheese or dressing on the salad or corn. I don't really even eat bread anymore ever, whole 30 or not.  Even the slightest off plan food will make me gain instantly. I'll eat more fruit when I'm not on whole 30 too. If I am meal planning, the only way I know how to cook is whole 30 meals, so basically everything I cook will be whole 30 (Chicken salads, beef and broccoli, shrimp and veggies, chicken are all my go to cook meals)

 

I crossfit 3-4 days a week regularly and I sleep always at least 8 hours.  I take natural calm every single night.

 

What do you mean mix it all up to avoid stalls? How can I mix it up?

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I'm so sorry you are so frustrated right now. It does look like your food choices are good ones and you are getting good sleep. Is our water intake good as well? At least half your body weight in ounces? On your crossfit days are you having a post workout meal of lean protein and starchy vegetables to recover?

 

It is possible that you are consuming something that is Whole30 compliant but doesn't agree with you. If you keep a food log I would encourage you to right down how you feel between meals. 

 

MeadowLily is right (and I know you know this) that this program isn't really about weight loss. But it is about health. Overall how do you feel aside from the scale? 

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Just came across this from a whole9 post on Facebook that was a nice reminder/check in for me about what to do to achieve the body I desire and thought you might find it useful too:

"Eat foods that makes you healthier, every meal, every day. Eat foods that makes you less healthy infrequently, if at all. Eat just enough to support activity levels and goals.

Exercise. Work hard, but more importantly, work smart. Too much volume, intensity and frequency is just as bad as too little.

Recover. Devote as much effort to recovery practices as you do to exercise. This is not optional. Most fall miserably short in this category.

Sleep 8-9 hours a night, in a cool, dark room. Make time for this. You can get away with less, but only if it’s summer.

Manage your stress. Deal with it in a healthy fashion. Stress will undermine all of the above, and is perhaps the most important factor (after nutrition).

Do this, day in and day out, for years and years and years, as consistently as you can."

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I'm so sorry you are so frustrated right now. It does look like your food choices are good ones and you are getting good sleep. Is our water intake good as well? At least half your body weight in ounces? On your crossfit days are you having a post workout meal of lean protein and starchy vegetables to recover?

 

It is possible that you are consuming something that is Whole30 compliant but doesn't agree with you. If you keep a food log I would encourage you to right down how you feel between meals. 

 

MeadowLily is right (and I know you know this) that this program isn't really about weight loss. But it is about health. Overall how do you feel aside from the scale? 

I got that memo. :lol: 

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I can share your frustration-can I ask how old you are as the older(menopausal) you are, the bigger the issue with weight becomes, it seems.

Is your stress level changed? I have been eating 95% W30 for well over a year with great gains in health and weight loss till Nov of  last year, then my stress level went  sky high. Even though I continue to be 90% compliant with the only exception is a glass of wine and a piece of cheese occasionally, I have gained 20 pounds. Sick about it. Just sick. I feel OK, healthy but very frustrated. The biggest thing is my stress level and my training(exercise) has decreased  a bit.

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I am 30 years old.  I understand this isn't a weight loss forum but I feel like it is still a relevant topic.  It is a viscous cycle - basically anytime I am off plan, I gain. And anytime I am on plan - I don't budge a pound or inch.  So basically I'm fighting an upward battle.  I think it's a very relevant topic because if everyone embarks on this whole30 journey without knowing how to maintain it then it is a horrible thing to do.

 

I feel like before any of my whole 30's I could've eaten off plan foods whenever I wanted on occasion and been fine. Not seen any immediate weight gain and not noticed any stomach problems - now I am completely the opposite.  Is this how it will be forever? I am just going to keep climbing the scale anytime that I eat something off plan? I am really hoping for more concrete responses.  Would a dietician work? Is there anything I can get a doctor to prescribe me that will jumpstart my weight loss in a healthy way? Is there anyway to rebuild the strength of my stomach to be able to eat off plan foods once in a while and not feel like I'm dying??

 

I used to have such a love love relationship with eating this way but right now it's definitely a love hate.  I don't even know how to continue at this point. Do I continue to just eat whole 30 365 (Impossible)? Do I eat off plan foods regularly hoping that my stomach will eventually build back the lining? Do I go on some extreme diet? I am just so frustrated and I don't know how to approach this anymore.  

 

Meadowlily if you have additional suggestions that you would like to take offline I can try to message you my email address.

 

I do think I gained the weight at a higher stress rate period in my life than normal but it wasn't anything ridiculous. Cayenne - do you or does anyone know if there's a way/supplement (vitamins,etc) that will help shed the weight from stress?

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Is there anyway to rebuild the strength of my stomach to be able to eat off plan foods once in a while and not feel like I'm dying??

 

Have you been able to figure out which specific food(s) cause you problems? For me it was gluten. I gave it up for a full 6 months and that healed me. I was also supplementing with L-glutamine in between meals which may have helped...I used this powder: http://www.amazon.com/Source-Naturals-L-Glutamine-Powder-Ounce/dp/B000GFHPFW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1406503415&sr=8-3&keywords=l-glutamine+powder. I can eat wheat now every once in awhile with no negative symptoms.

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In addition to systematically figure out what foods bother you, another avenue to consider is seeing a functional medicine practitioner. There might be other things going on, heath-wise, for you, that are causing your current issues.

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I second GFChris's suggestion of seeing a functional medicine practitioner, or a naturopathic doctor. A couple of years ago, after I had done a couple whole30s and started on the "paleo" bandwagon, I was gaining weight despite eating well and exercising. I was also exhausted. I did blood work with a "conventional" doctor and everything came back fine. I saw a naturopathic doctor later, and because they look at a broader spectrum, it was evident that I was on the bottom of the megaloblastic anemia spectrum. I supplement with b-vitamins (b-complex and B12 shots) and I'm good to go now. It's possible you are having thyroid issues or something else going on but you aren't far enough along to have it come back with the blood work you had done. Or, that might not be the case at all - but it could be worth looking into!

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I am sorry, and I can definately understand your frustration. It sounds like you are eating really well. The only thing I can think is if you have trained yourself to eat large volumes and maybe your portions are too big for your current activity level and metabolic rate. I can tell you that I have to pay attention sometimes these days to my portion sizes as I can tell my body doesn't need quite as much food now as it did in my 20's. (I am turning 40 this year.) Also, I can afford to buy much more appealing food now than I could in my 20's, so I think I tend to eat more for the hedonic aspect now, versus before I just ate to survive and got on with my life.

 

Are your portion sizes according to the template?

If you reduce the size of your meals by say 25%, are you suffering from hunger or are you doing ok?

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Den303, i am so so sorry for what has happened and how you are feeling. i can imagine it would be extremely frustrating and you would be feeling lost. I also dont think its very fair that anyone would label this issue a "weightloss issue"because its far beyond that. and what is this forum for if not for support in the hard and confusing times? 
Anyways, I am not sure if i have anything useful to say but after reading your posts I was reminded of a friend of mine who has major gut issues after doing whole30. she also did the thyroid and normal tests that doctors make you do when you complain of bloating etc her tests also came back "normal" but she took the tests to a naturopath and got a second opinion, turns out for how healthy she eats and her excerise level they were in fact not normal at all and she was later diagnosed with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and the bacteria was feeding off certain foods that were very much whole30 causing her to bloat massively and retain water. so might be worth going to a specialist.. 

I sometimes feel that after doing whole30 my body is so intolerant of some foods that i can never eat them again. and my stomach goes from flat to looking like i am 4 months pregnant. I plan on exploring this issue when i am back home in Australia to work out if i have issues im not aware of.  Its certainly been a journey but i get frustrated that i cant eat some things without bloating, so i can imagine how frustrated you would be with the weight gain. 

Best of luck, i hope you figure out whats causing this. 

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Just to add some clarification on the "weightloss issue" comments. The official stance of Whole30 is not about weight loss, though it is often a lovely side effect of eating a healthier diet. When we as moderators say things like "this isn't a weightloss forum" it is more to say that while we are very familiar with the Whole30 and feel confident giving advice on it, specific issues regarding weight loss when everything else seems perfect are outside of our scope of knowledge. So we will give you the best advice we have but you might need to look beyond Whole30 at this point. We are not trying to belittle anyone's struggles or necessarily discourage discussion on the topic. I hope this makes sense. For some people Whole30 and then mostly staying on plan is all that is needed. This isn't everyone's context though and some people may need more help/guidance/exploration. Whole9 does offer one on one consultation services but I 2nd the thoughts of seeing a functional medical doctor to see what else might be up.

 

On the issue of becoming "more sensitive" to foods after the Whole30. I want to stress that Whole30 doesn't cause sensitivities it reveals them. Sometimes after a lot of healing these sensitivities might lessen (as jjb said) but they were always there.

 

To the original poster, I really hope that you can get some answers and reverse what is going on. I know how frustrated you must feel.  

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Just to add some clarification on the "weightloss issue" comments. The official stance of Whole30 is not about weight loss, though it is often a lovely side effect of eating a healthier diet. When we as moderators say things like "this isn't a weightloss forum" it is more to say that while we are very familiar with the Whole30 and feel confident giving advice on it, specific issues regarding weight loss when everything else seems perfect are outside of our scope of knowledge. So we will give you the best advice we have but you might need to look beyond Whole30 at this point. We are not trying to belittle anyone's struggles or necessarily discourage discussion on the topic. I hope this makes sense. For some people Whole30 and then mostly staying on plan is all that is needed. This isn't everyone's context though and some people may need more help/guidance/exploration. Whole9 does offer one on one consultation services but I 2nd the thoughts of seeing a functional medical doctor to see what else might be up.

 

On the issue of becoming "more sensitive" to foods after the Whole30. I want to stress that Whole30 doesn't cause sensitivities it reveals them. Sometimes after a lot of healing these sensitivities might lessen (as jjb said) but they were always there.

 

To the original poster, I really hope that you can get some answers and reverse what is going on. I know how frustrated you must feel.  

.

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Hi,

First, I'm going to say what you don't want us to say - I'm the same height but around 190 pounds and come across as a normal sized person! But of course everyone is built differently.

Now, onto the more useful thoughts...do you think something hormonal might have happened to upset your system? (Such as a miscarriage or shift into peri menopause/menopause). Hormones can make you gain weight fast.

Also did you start taking any supplements that could have caused that?

I second the idea of visiting a naturopathic or homeopathic doctor who can look into possible hormonal imbalances or other problems. Standard medical tests don't always pick up on thyroid problems for instance.

Good luck!

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I think the portion size comment is useful.  I've reduced my portions dramatically since my first W30 and still think I'm eating more food than I need most days.

 

And the protein shakes - My husband uses them as a way to get extra calories into his diet. 

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Thank you for your posts- it means a lot!  Where would I find a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor? I am not taking any supplements and have not been pregnant/had a miscarriage/any hormonal changes either. I would definitely like to look into this further and find some sort of solution.

 

In terms of sensitivity when I am 'off plan", it is to anything gluten or dairy related.  I understand that whole 30 "reveals" your sensitivities but in the case that I am in a situation where I want/need to partake and enjoy a piece of bread or yogurt or whatever it may be, I don't want to be in pain 30 minutes later.  Is there anything whole 30 recommends doing to strengthen the lining so that you do not continue to be as sensitive? I think over the 2 years, my sensitivity has just gotten higher with every whole30 that I do.  I've even found that now I can't even eat spaghetti squash because of how sensitive I am to it - oddly?!

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Use the Institute for Functional Medicine website to locate a practitioner: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/

 

On the gluten and dairy, if they bother you that much, consider limiting when you eat them?  Only when it's a special or unique treat, perhaps?  Maybe at least until you sort out what's going on with a functional medicine practitioner or naturopath.

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Den, this is a tough one! It's really hard to pinpoint what's going on over the internet.

To be honest, I went through something similar over the last 9 months. I had some relationship stuff pop up that sent me into making really terrible "good" food choices. Excessive quantities of plantain chips and guac. I gained 20lbs myself. It's not about weight gain, it's about something you're doing not making you healthy.

Maybe it's a food quantity issue, maybe it's food quality, maybe it's stress and not enough carbs/food/rest.

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Re: repairing the gut - I second the L-glutamine suggestion. Slippery elm (buy as a powder and mix with hot water to make a "tea") is also good. And, last but not least, bone broth.

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The way individuals can gain weight over the years is to treat the Whole 30 like Periodic Dieting instead of a Food Reset.

 

Periodic Dieting...off and on,  dieting and thrill eating, hit or miss does not lead to weight stability.  Periodic dieting can be done with any program out there.   Clubs/organizations, protein drinks,  mail order food and even WLS (weight loss surgery).

 

Periodic Dieting leads to more struggles with weight than if one had never started dieting in the first place.

 

It's not fair to blame the Whole 30 for rebound weight gain.  Some may believe that after 30 days, you can return to old patterns and cycles and the body will react differently.   Somehow, the metabolism or body's ability to process simple sugars and carbs has been changed or transformed into processing play foods/junk foods without any consequences.

 

A Whole 30 does not make one more "sensitive to carbs and sugars".   If you had that problem with previous periodic dieting, it will return with more thrill eating and  periodic dieting cycles.  It's so important to keep breaking those old cycles for weight stability.

 

If we do what we've always done, we'll get what we've always gotten.   No blame game for a Whole 30.  We can make rationalizations for our behaviors but the consequences will still be there.  A Food Reset helps one set up some much needed boundaries.   Food sensitivities and food triggers are revealed.  Our own individual boundaries will help us arrive and stay at our setpoint with weight stability for years and years to come.

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