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Day 20 & Ready to throw in the towel!

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I'm finishing up day 20 of my first Whole30. I stared eating paleo back in June was feeling great in July! Better than I have in months, years even. My first week of Whole30 I felt pretty good but after that things went down hill. The only things I had to remove from my diet for Whole30 were my daily 1/2 cup of homemade full fat organic yogurt, my nightly glass of wine and my once every couple of days piece of dark chocolate, everything else was Whole30 compliant.

For well over a week now I've been too tired to work out and my clothes fit tighter than they did pre Whole30. I do still manage to do one activity once every couple of days but it leaves me physically exhausted for 24-48 hours afterwards. I typically swim 2-3 days per week, do crossfit 2 days per week and kayak once a week. I take walks and play with my family, but I'm not doing anything super strenuous or takes much endurance. Even after 8-10 hours of sleep I'm too tired to get up and do anything physical before work and in the afternoon I'm even more tired.

I've tried adding sweet potatoes and protein as my post workout snack but the sweet potatoes made me feel more bloated and crampy. I'm eating a whole avocado every day as well as using olive oil on my salads and coconut oil for cooking.

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 10 years ago but have not had symptoms for almost a year and besides the occasional flare up (usually because I'm stressed and eating poorly) I'm generally healthy. I have been able to manage my UC by keeping grain out of my diet, so the Whole30 way was not foreign to me. I liked ISWF because it supported all of the research I had done for managing my UC.

A typical food day for me is:

Meal #1 - 2-3 eggs w/green onion, spinach & sausage & 1/2 an avocado & maybe a small handful of berries.

Meal #2 - Salad or sauteed veggies, with protein (tuna, chicken or beef), a plum & maybe some coconut flakes

Meal #3 - big salad, sauteed veggies, pork roast & roasted carrots

Pre Whole30 and during the my first week I had no desire to snack between meals but now I have a hard time getting from meal to meal without a few nuts, a hardboiled egg or some avocado. But I eat until I'm definitely full at each meal. And if I wasn't getting enough to eat, why would my clothes be tight?

I'm tired of feeling totally exhausted and bloated. I challenged myself to the Whole30 to take my health to the next level but I'm feeling terrible. Is it really worth feeling this way for another 10 days?

I've tried to stay positive and tell myself that I'm doing the right thing but when I'm too tired to do the things I love (like swimming) then it's time to reconsider. It's not like my diet will change much post Whole30 except to add in the aforementioned deviances but I'm wondering if all of this food obsessing is making me feel this way?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome. I'm worn out and frustrated.

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Robin, thank you for the additional things to consider. I have been sleeping well, more deeply than pre-Whole30 and when I do wake up (2-3 times per night) I fall back to sleep relatively easily. The improved sleep I am very thankful for. As for illnesses, myself and my family have not had any colds or germs I could attribute to my continued lethargy. I have been working at managing my stress both at home and at my job. I'm reading a few books about prioritizing and slowing down (although I didn't mean think they meant it so literally) :)

I've been taking more time for myself and am practicing staying present with whomever I am with and whatever I am doing. I like all the introspection involved with my Whole30 I'm just not fond of how I am feeling physically. Could it be continued detox? Although my diet was pretty clean before I do have a fair amount of body fat and wonder if stored toxins might be a possibility? I just keep hoping that one of these days I will wake up and feel the fabulousness so many Whole30ers experience.

Renee, Thank you for the positive thoughts, I appreciate your support.


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Hi Ducatigirl - don't give up now, you're so close to the end! There's only just over a week to go and at least you can feel the accomplishment of finishing the program.

I'm in a similar situation to you in not feeling the Whole 30 magic yet - though in my case I think sleeping problems may be messing other things up (but that's a post for another time).

One thing I've seen mentioned on the forums when people are having energy issues is to up the starchy carbs. I was really crashing in the first week or so and upping the sweet potato did seem to help with that. See this thread: http://forum.whole9l...sted-on-day-21/

The other one that seems to crop up is people not eating enough to fuel activity level, see: http://forum.whole9l...rly-frustrated/

Are either of those appropriate to your situation?

Congratulations on getting to day 20 though, and hope you manage to find the magic in the last few days!

(Sorry - re-reading and realise you've already tried the sweet potato thing, but maybe you need to find a different starchy carb?)

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Arabis, thank you for your kind words and suggestions. I will most likely keep on for the 30 day duration, I'm just not looking forward to feeling like this another 10 days. I'm hoping something miraculous will happen between now and then. :)

Tilly - Thank you for your suggestion. I actually had my thyroid checked back in January and everything was normal. I may have it checked again but I will wait until my Whole30 is done to see if things normalize after I add my homemade yogurt back in.

Wishing you both success with this process!


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I am new to Paleo and also on Day 20 myself. One thing that I keep reading about is balancing your omega 6:3 ratios. too much omega 6 can cause inflammation. also I have hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. My sleep is improving, no more 3pm slumps. But I understand that this imbalance can cause hormones to become unbalanced as well, which can affect people with auto immune illnesses.

But these past few days, I have noshed on a handful of cashews to keep me satiated between meals. and just a few days has caused me to stop losing weight and my waist band feels tight again.

I have been 100% dairy and grain free this entire time. I think with me it's the ratio that is affecting my inflammation.

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I'm in a similar boat -- paleo eating for a year pre-Whole30, and my energy levels have plummeted on the program, and exercise recovery time has skyrocketed. What used to take <24 hours to recover from now takes 48-72 hr. I've walked to work the past year, and continue to do so, though many mornings I'd rather hop on the train. I take occasional morning runs but used to do that more frequently/longer/faster. I teach strength classes and find myself walking around the classroom much more often, rather than demonstrating moves. I teach a kickboxing class once/week and, pre-Whole30, had tons of energy, could easily have taught a second class immediately afterward -- but lately, I've found myself wishing the class were over before it even began, and can't get my energy levels up during it. Some days I walk home from work and am so sleepy I want to close my eyes wherever I am.

This feeling is alien to me.

If the bbq sauce and occasional chocolate I was eating pre-Whole30 made this much of a difference, I suppose I'll look forward to adding them back in a week; I was truly expecting my energy levels to rise throughout the program, and it's strange to have such an opposite experience.

DucatiGirl, I sincerely hope that your energy starts to return before you finish the 30 days; if it doesn't, then I also hope adding the yogurt and wine (and chocolate) back into your diet will help you feel more vibrant. :-)

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