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I'm hoping for some advice. I have completed two Whole 30's in the past few years (one in February 2013 and one in October 2013), and began my third Whole 30 on October 18th 2014. I have found the Whole 30 program an absolutely invaluable tool for helping me understand and improve emotional eating tendencies. Without Whole 30, I sometimes find myself in a mental rut, where every food decision I make makes me feel better or worse about myself. It becomes an obsession, and the Whole 30 helps reverse that.


So, psychologically, the Whole 30 is great! My problem is physically. My body always feels absolutely awful for the entire 30 days, and afterwards when I am eating close to the template. This time around is no exception. When I say 'feel awful' I mean that I have zero energy (everything feels like a marathon!), headaches, and I'm sleepy all the time. Because this way of eating works so well for me psychologically, I really want it to work for me physically too! I thought maybe I could give a bit of recent background and some food/exercise information and see if anyone has any suggestions I might try.


So, prior to July 2014, I was eating definitely off template but still mostly whole foods. For July and August I went on a long distance cycling trip. I was biking 6 to 8 hours a day and healthy eating went down the drain. I am 5'7 and during those two months I gained 10 pounds (from 130lbs to 140lbs). I know lots of it was muscle from biking but I think there was probably some fat gain as well.


In September I moved to start grad school, and had a really difficult time getting back to healthy eating habits. I kept beating myself up for it. Hence, this round of Whole 30.


The past three days of food;




Breakfast: 2 eggs, chicken sausage, spinach, broccoli, onion, mushroom, bell pepper, all scrambled and fried in coconut oil. Coffee with coconut milk.


Lunch: Turkey sausage, roasted veggies (broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms), olive oil, banana.


Dinner: Sweet potato fried in coconut oil, turkey sausage, roasted veggies (broccoli, carrots, onion, bell pepper, baby tomatoes, mushrooms). Bottle of Kombucha.




Breakfast: 1/2 spaghetti squash, turkey sausage, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, fried in coconut oil. Coffee with coconut milk.


Lunch: Salad made with romaine lettuce, carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, sesame seeds, chopped apple, roast beef, lemon juice as dressing.


Dinner: 1/2 spaghetti squash, chicken sausage, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, fried in coconut oil.


Tuesday (Today) so far:


Breakfast: 1 avocado mixed with 1 can of tuna, 3 carrots, 1/2 cucumber, 1 bell pepper, a handful of cherry tomatoes. Coffee with coconut milk.


Water intake is maybe a little low, about 50-60 oz per day. I add salt to most of my hot meals.


Regarding exercise, I usually do about 30-40 minutes of moderate cardio 5 days a week, with strength training about 2 days per week. Strength training is pretty light, only about a 20 minute routine. I don't eat a pre/post work out snack. I try to stretch every day.


Apologies for such a long post! Any tweaks /suggestions to get this working for me would be greatly appreciated!




P.S. When I look at other people's food logs I get the impression that I'm eating enough carbs, but a part of me wonders if I maybe do better with more than most people? Should I try upping my carb intake? I'm a 25 year old female if that is of any consequence.

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My first impression is that yes, you should tweak your carb intake.  Starchy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, beets, rutabaga, winter squash, carrots, turnips are all great choices. 


I would also suggest perhaps adding extra fat to your meals, it looks like you rely mostly on the cooking oils and most of the time more stays in the pan than ends up in your belly.


The template is a perfect place to start but you know you the best, you need to find what is YOUR right combination of protein, fat and carbs...and for many women (especially around your period) going too low on carbs is an energy and hormone disaster.

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Hi Ladyshanny,


Thanks so much for your speedy reply! I'll go ahead and try to add more carbs and fat to my meals, and then re-evaluate after a week or so. It sort of boggles me that my body could require an even larger volume of food to feel good. I'm already so stuffed after finishing my meals!



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It is possible that some of the compliant food is bothering you. You may need to eat low FODMAP foods. Coconut milk is actually a high source of FODMAPs. Or switch to a GAPS diet. Check this link out for more information.http://chriskresser.com/fodmaps-could-common-foods-be-harming-your-digestive-health. It also could be that you just need longer to heal your gut. Good Luck!

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Hi Tina,


Thanks for the reply. I had considered food sensitivities, and ruled them out, at least for now, for a couple of reasons. 1) all the foods I eat on Whole 30 I also eat when I'm not, and in fairly large quantities. I only feel so physically drained when I'm eating according to the Whole 30 template. 2) I've never had significant digestive trouble, on or off Whole 30. The trouble I experience with Whole 30 is mainly a lack of energy, fatigue, headaches, and a lack of focus. I know these things could also be the result of food sensitivities, but I would expect to experience at least some digestive discomfort along with them. It makes me feel like my diet is just... missing something.


When I'm not on Whole 30, the foods I usually eat (in addition to Whole 30 approved foods) are oatmeal, unsweetened almond milk (from a carton), rice cakes, kamut puffs, plain Greek yogurt, cheese, Vega powder, hummus, and dark chocolate (unless of course I'm on a cycling trip... then apparently its a sandwich and protein bar free for all).


I could be completely misguided in these thoughts. If that's the case, please do let me know. I really appreciate you taking the time! :)

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