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Hi all. I have no idea if this is technically the right place to post this or not, but, seemed to be the place that made the most sense! I have decided to take a chance and reach out to the Whole groups in the hopes of pulling myself out of the current pit of despair I seem to be digging myself into.


Some background - 


In mid-August I finished my first Whole 30. It was by far one of the most challenging things I have ever done. It was the highest level of commitment I have ever given to just myself. I had many struggles, near breakdowns and sleepless nights and came through at the end with no constant knee pain, feeling on top of the world, feeling a million pounds lighter. The outside results were wonderful, however the inside results...were amazing. 


I worked my way through reintros and didn't seem to discover any crazy reactions to food. I did discover that my tastes had changed dramatically. I continued with this new healthier eating afterwards with a couple meals here and there that were most definitely "treats" (I hate using that word). But, I found it easy to get right back to my lifestyle that I had discovered on Whole30. 


I am now nearly two months out. I have had several cases of thinking I need to get back on and do another Whole30. I seemed to be having "treats" more often than I would like and I had read about the "slippery slope" and knew I was just beginning that trip and wanted to turn it around. I have tried twice to get back on the Whole30 train and have failed. The failure always seems to be on the weekend where I loosen my belt and kick back. The problem is - the weekend starts Friday and carries on through Saturday or even Sunday night. I feel like I keep getting on my bike, riding maybe a foot and fall right back over. I have also read that a second Whole30 is a lot harder for some people - apparently I am one of those people! 


In looking at what has changed since my first Whole30 ended I notice the following:

1) I stopped writing down everything I eat. I re-established this habit when I started Whole30 and it became a source of pride seeing all the good choices written down along with commentary on how I was feeling.

2) Though I get right back on "track" with my very next meal after a "treat" I feel so terrible afterwards. A whole slew of negative thoughts occur internally with a big bashing session of me and all my failures. During Whole30 and for a couple weeks afterwards I never had this issue. I was so PROUD of myself and my choices there simply was no room for anything else. If negative chatter did start about anything I was able to turn it off or turn it around quickly.

3) My "treats" aren't always things that I savor. I keep meaning to break out the off roading map from Whole30 and use that for every thing that isn't "on plan" and just simply haven't yet. 

4) My sleep has dipped way down to maybe 6.5 hours during the week and closer to 8-8.5 on the weekend. I am going through my days feeling exhausted.

5) My confidence has plummeted. I look down more versus keeping my head up. The clothes I bought on my Whole30 "high" aren't ones I feel I can wear.

6) Rather than feeling in control I feel more like a victim. I feel broken. I want to feel like I did before and just cannot seem to keep going.


Anyone have any advice on how to get things going and keep them going? Has anyone else experienced this before and have any tried and true methods that have worked? Feeling so low and nearly broken that you can't seem to get a firm grip to get yourself out of the hole you have dug? I have been re-reading my food log and I see so much positive change there both in my food and in my mental/emotional status.  I feel like getting back to this should be as simple as it was with my first Whole30 where I said "just do it" and I did. Somehow, it isn't working like that this time and I have no clue why. My next step is going to be to re-read ISWF as I have heard many folks saying re-reading it has helped.


Thank you in advance. I truly feel like this is the one group and area I can post this and get some really solid advice from people that really care.

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Perhaps a moderator will weigh in here as well...


It's okay. 30 days can't fix a lifetime of habits. And a world full of cues to behaviors that you're trying to change. The number of fast food and junk food ads that you get in a day, it's staggering. And we don't even realize a lot of it, like on the radio or in print. There are constant cues in our environment that can trigger the very behaviors and habits you're trying to change.


I did my first W30 in the fall of 2012 and felt so amazing. Really. And I kept at it for a few months, not on constant W30+, but just sticking to thinking about what I was doing and making good choices. Then I stopped making consistently good choices. Then I started feeling like junk. Which lead me to eat more junk (hey I'm tired and didn't sleep, I bet pizza will make this better, which leads to feeling like more junk and thinking hey, maybe that ice cream is a good idea). And I would try to start a W30 and stop about mid-way through.


Then I started one again and kept going. And I learned more about my triggers and behaviors as I kept my log. And I've gone way too offroad again after a time, so that I start feeling poorly again.


We so often hear about the physical issues related to eating junk. But I can honestly say that one of the biggest things for me and eating W30 style is that I'm just happy. And confident. And less irritable. And even when I do get upset or stressed, it's much more manageable and passes quickly. I never had what anyone would call a mood disorder before, but I just feel so much better and even and happy when I'm on a W30 or staying close to W30.


I was way off track most of this year. Not able to wear most of my beautiful closet full of clothes. Tired. Irritable. Sick. Then it just clicked again. And I started a W30 and kept at it. And I learned more about myself. Like, I can't have any pop. Not one. Not a sip. It's not a slippery slope, it's like an ice luge down a rabbit hole into bad choices. Really, just one pop can do that to me.


Try not to get overwhelmed. Maybe a W30 isn't the right choice right now. Maybe try looking at it in smaller pieces. Everytime you sit down to eat (or grab something as you're on the go), just focus on that one choice. You've done a W30 before. You may again. But for today, it's just today or even just right now.


I had a moment where it was very clear to me this last W30 that I often choose "what I want right now" over "what I really want". And that's more than just with food choices. So I spend time now, and ask myself "is what I want right now (a cocktail, dessert, a new pair of shoes, a nap), in line with what I really want (to feel healthy and energetic and happy, to pay off my debt, to be well rested and healthy, to have a clean house, etc)?


Sometimes the answer is yes, this works for me. And sometimes the answer is no, find something else to do because this doesn't support my goals.


So re-read the book. Maybe jot down notes in the book when you read something that speaks to you. And I hope today you feel well.

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One thing that might help is to stop beating yourself up about food choices. You make choices. Some support your goals and some don't, but none of them make you a bad person. On the flip side of that: instead of thinking good food choices are virtuous, you might try thinking of them as indulgent. I certainly do! Whole30 style food makes me feel really good, so doing the work to provide that food and nourishment to my body is a kind of treat. self-care. love. you deserve to give yourself that.

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What stands out to me most here, is that your food choices are not making you feel good -- and I don't just mean physical symptoms, at all.  I have been where you are, letting the food control you and feeling really bad about it -- but yet, continuing to consume that food each night when the craving kicked in strongly.  I would have great resolve when I woke up each morning, but by the end of my stressful day, I felt I "needed" it, and -- here's a good one -- "deserved" it.   :rolleyes:  Riiiight.


What has helped me most is to see these foods for what they are:  addictive substances.  These things, that are not found in nature, have a completely different effect on our bodies -- and more specifically, our brains.  Look at yourself as an addict.  Compare it to smoking, drinking, gambling, drugs, etc -- because, these foods absolutely have a drug-like effect on our brains.  That has been proven.  Our struggles with food are NO different than the struggle I went through for so many years to quit smoking.  When you are under the power of that powerful drug, all you can really think about is where your next hit is going to come from.  It consumes you... it takes over your life.  It makes you feel weak, when you want to feel strong.


Your only choice really is to rise up against it and say "NO MORE".  Decide that you are stronger than ___________, and conquer it.  It really only takes a couple of days of nourishing food for you to be able to look back and think, "Wow, so glad I made it out of THAT situation!"


If you find that you are still struggling after 2-3 days of completely compliant eating, post your food here and ask for feedback.  We may be able to pinpoint things you could do differently that will help you take care of those cravings, once and for all.

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Don't even try to eat perfect all the time. I went through this for 6+ months and it drove me slowly insane. I became totally obsessed with food and could not stop thinking of all the "bad" foods I wasn't "allowed" to eat. I've decided it's OK to eat at least one or two things every week that are not W30, or even that are W30-OK but just in larger quantities than I normally allow myself (I became scared of eating fruit for a long time, for example). Once I made this decision, I felt like a 200- pound brick was lifted off my shoulders. 


Not everyone needs to do multiple W30s. I did one at the beginning of 2013, and I don't plan on doing another. It was an experiment for me, to see how my body reacts to foods. I learned what I needed to last year. Now I just try to make healthy choices as often as I can. I do stay away from wheat/gluten 99% of the time, because besides the fact that I know my body doesn't like it, my brain likes it TOO much and it leads to sometimes intense cravings that last for weeks. Totally not worth it. If the 'treats' you are allowing include wheat, maybe just try staying away from that for awhile and see if it helps you stay on track better. It made a huge difference for me.

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4) My sleep has dipped way down to maybe 6.5 hours during the week and closer to 8-8.5 on the weekend. I am going through my days feeling exhausted.


How about instead of trying to tackle the whole enchilada (so to speak) that feels like a giant boulder crushing you, just start with one manageable thing. And I'd recommend that one thing be sleep. One of the best things I learned from joining this program and doing several W30s is how crucial good, long, solid sleep every night is to everyday functioning. It affects everything! And when you're sleep deprived, everything feels insurmountable--because it is. 


I'm thinking if you could just get your sleep patterns in a good place, then you could tackle the next thing. 


Maybe easier said than done, but it's a start.

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"On the flip side of that: instead of thinking good food choices are virtuous..."


I can't go there, either.  I can't think of foods as "clean" or dirty eating.   "Virtuous" or sinful eating.   Good girl or bad girl.  Bingeing or dieting.  It's those extremes....vs. building a normal relationship with food, "It Starts With Food", a complete breath of fresh air for me.

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Thank you all so incredibly much for the great advice and support so far. It is truly appreciated. It is helping so much to read about everyone’s experiences and what has worked. So many really wonderful suggestions. I am so glad I took a risk and posted here.


Ginisnot – thanks so much for sharing your experience. It is comforting to at least know I am not alone in this happening. I totally get what you mean about how you FEEL when eating Whole30. I saw the same results in myself. I loved reading “it’s like an ice luge down a rabbit hole into bad choices” – EXACTLY! I like your advice about looking at it in smaller pieces versus the whole thing and to just focus on what I am sitting down to eat at that moment. The thought process of “what I want right now” versus “what I really want” is going to get ingrained into my mind!


Missmary – never in a million years would have thought about starting to view my healthier choices as being the indulgent choice. I love that! I have always struggled with self care and loving myself. I felt that starting to change while doing the Whole30….definitely want that back. It was amazing to feel that way.


Brewer5 – I could totally relate to your post as well – starting off each day with great resolve and a the end of the stressful day feeling like you needed/deserved something. OMG – yes. I think you are right in the fact that they are addictive substances. All it takes is a little bit to send you reeling.  I may just take you up on the offer to look at my food and get some input.  I think I am doing ok for the most part (with the exception of nights my husband wants to eat out), but, having that input from another set of eyes would be really helpful.


JJB – Your thinking is where I would love to be one day. I truly know I obviously can’t be Whole30 for the rest of my life.  I can’t imagine not sitting down to a scoop of my most favorite, knock your socks off ice cream ever again or not enjoying my German chocolate birthday cake my mom makes me every year or passing on the Christmas cookies I make with my kids every year (from scratch!). I want to feel ok with family outings or grill outs. These are things that in my mind totally warrant going off Whole30. I want to allow myself room and acceptance in enjoying these because these are associated with true moments in living an enjoyable life for me. My problem is more like the every day stuff where one non-Whole30 food seems to lead to another and before I know it instead of eating mostly Whole30 I have had several dinners that week that aren’t Whole30. Maybe though, maybe I am just expecting myself to walk to straight a line?


LadyM – I think you might be on to something. When I was doing Whole30 I was getting lots more sleep and I felt alert and awake all day. If I know that I need that much sleep why on earth would I deprive me of what my body is telling me it obviously needs?! I think this will be one of the first things I work on. It would be an easy thing to tweak and might be a great way to gently get me back to the place I want to be.


MeadowLily – you know, I hadn’t realized I was really doing that. You are right, ISWF clearly states that is not the path to building a healthy relationship with food. Old habits definitely are hard to break.  

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