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Day 29 and need some help! Sugar Dragon came out of nowhere

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Hi! I started Whole 30 as a way to track down what has been giving me non stop stomach problems for months. I have been gluten and dairy free for a year, but this is my 29th day on Whole 30. I am 5'9 and around 140. I don't really need to lose weight, I get that, but I have always had an unhealthy relationship with food and the scale, so I think I do... Yes, I know it doesn't make sense. However, weight loss was not my goal for the program. My stomach and my relationship with food are, and to gain more muscle. I have felt great, until this last week. I don't really have a sugar dragon- but now I DO. Because I know I can't have it at all, now its all I think about and its making me insane. I crave it all day. And I feel like I am overeating other food because I want sugar. So naturally, I don't want to end my Whole 30 yet. HELP me figure out why I have done so good and now I feel like I need to EAT ALL THE THINGS! Especially sugar like dates, Larabars, fruit, and carbs. I am taking the days that look great and wanting to sneak in extra fruit and snacks. I feel like I am already overeating the good foods. I am always stuffed after my meals, but feel the need to eat more because I want sugar and can't satisfy it. Trust me, I eat huge portions of my meals. Like, reading what I wrote makes it seem less to me, but I eat huge portions. Plate is always overflowing. Always has fat, protein, and veggies. I don't know why I can't be satisfied. Seems like I kind of went backwards? I didn't crave it at all until this week. And yes, my monthly friend starts Monday, but I am on hormonal BC, and still taking active pills for 2 more days, so that shouldn't affect it, right?


I work out 6 days a week. I am currently training for a marathon. Lots of miles, 13 tomorrow. Running and weights/strength training are my workouts- 1 hr a day up to 2 for my long runs right now. On the days I work out, I try to eat a Post WO food. Usually some meat from the night before or an egg. If its a really long workout I will add sweet potato or pumpkin. I try to eat carbs(Sweet potato, white or red, or pumpkin) with each meal in the days leading up to a long run. I usually just count my meal 1 breakfast as my PreW. 


Here is a few days of food. You'll see i eat more carbs leading up to long runs. And I didn't put in my post wo foods on the days I worked out because, honestly, I cant remember.


Day 1 

Two eggs scrambled with zucchini(about half a cup) chicken Apple sausage half avocado 
Turkey burger with homemade mayo- 1 tbsp 
Baby carrots and bell peppers- about a cup with 1 tbsp homemade mayo dip 
1.5 cup homemade turkey paleo chili 
Canned pumpkin mixed with unsweetened applesauce- about a cup 
Pulled chicken with iswf bbq sauce- 1.5 cup
Baked sweet potato 
Green beans 
Green salad
Roasted carrots 
Day 2
Three egg scramble with 1 sweet potato( grated and cooked in coconut oil) ( ran out of veggies. Grocery day) 
Larabar while grocery shopping 
Canned tuna with 2 tbsp homemade mayo over green salad with carrots dipped in 1 tbsp almond butter and 1 white baked potato qith 1/2 tbsp coconut oil 
Plantain chips- I know... not the norm. high craving day. 
Sweet potato(half) with ground turkey( 1.5 to 2 cups) lettuce guacamole 
Day 3 
Egg hard boiled 
12 mile run 
Canned tuna with mashed sweet potato and coconut water 
Grilled chicken breast with 2 tbsp homemade mayo, green beans, squash, and carrots over salad 
banana with 2 tbsp almond butter
2 eggs 1 chicken Apple sausage sweet potato hash, sauteed veggies and avocado- 1/2 
1.5 cups of berries with coconut cream on top 
Day 4
3 eggs over sautéed zucchini squash and asparagus with avocado- 1/2 
Chicken breast grilled in 2 tbsp homemade mayo over salad with green beans and zucchini and red peppers
Apple with almond butter 
Large piece of shepherds pie with salad with balsamic and 1 cup sautéed veggies 
Day 5 
3 eggs over sautéed zucchini and peppers with avocado- 1/2
4 egg salad with homemade mayo and large salad with raw carrots peppers 
Nom Nom paleo slow cooker whole chicken with roasted red potatos and carrots- large portion of chicken and potatoes, salad with balsamic
1 cup of blueberries with coconut cream 
Day 6 
Same as day before for breakfast 
 lunch was leftovers- nom nom paleo chicken
1/2 a spaghetti squash with  about 8 homemade meatballs and compliant sauce. Salad with balsamic. Green beans and red peppers and squash. 
1 cup of blueberries with coconut cream 
Any advice? I would hate to get this far and then quit and go sugar crazy. 


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I'll leave specific comments to posters and moderators who understand eating while training as an athlete (if you want information about eating while training as a soprano, I'm your gal!).


But the first thing that came to mind for me was the phrase "extinction burst." Often, regardless of how well someone has done on Whole30, as the end of the 30 days nears, the person begins to feel really strong cravings for things that had not caused cravings until that time. The reason can be that the brain is doing one final push to get you to go back to old habits. In that context, it's a sign of success.


I do understand that your situation is rather specific, so I'll just leave my comments at that and wait for athletic folks to chime in with more detail for you.

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I'll let the other more experienced whole30 runners chime in. But here's my two cents.


Right off the bat, my instinct is that you might need to up your vegetables and tweak/adjust your fat. Are you eating 1-3 cups? Some days seem better than others but Day 1 looks like you're underfeeding for breakfast. Do you feel peckish between meals or Post WO? I wonder if what you're feeling is a symptom of underfeeding/fueling (veg or fat) for your needs.


Two eggs scrambled with zucchini(about half a cup) chicken Apple sausage half avocado


I would play around with increasing the vegetable quantity and include a few other nutrient + dense vegetables in other meals ie. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage. And once your training runs are longer than 1 1/2 hours, which I'm assuming they are, I'd pay more attention to your pre WO snack. One hard boiled egg is not enough fat + protein if you're going to be running for 2+ hrs...especially if it's a morning run and the egg is both a pre WO snack and the only piece of food you've had in the past 8-10 hours.


My 12 mile training runs would typically take me 1:50-2 hrs so I'm just guesstimating your pace. You could be way zippier, but either way you get my drift. Fuel for both mileage AND time on your feet.


All this to say, I don't think it's the sugar dragon that has you in its trap. I think your body is telling you it's *not happy* with your balance/quantity of fuel so it's giving you a carb and sugar tantrum. I also don't think it's a coincidence that your sugar cravings are just starting to rear again as your mileage is ramping up. Fine tune the fuel a little and I think the sugar cravings will disappear.


Great job on getting to Day 29! It's Day 29 for me too..and now Day 30 as I write. Solidarity sister! [Fist bump.] And good luck training and on race day. :)

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Thanks for your replies! I will try adding more nutrient dense veggies. I have a problem with cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage... Pretty much anything in that family upsets my stomach really bad, that's why I eat a lot of zucchini, peppers, carrots, squash, and green beans. Any ideas for other veggies I can add? I'm willing to try out some new things.

Also, what would you suggest pre long run? I usually eat an egg because that's all my stomach can handle with out feeling squirrelly on the run. I've got a pretty sensitive stomach. I used to eat bananas, but I know that's not really in the spirit of Whole 30.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply! Today is day 30, but I plan on going for at least a couple more weeks until I can tame this snacking and overeating monster. Bring on the veggies.

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A couple additional suggestions:

- consider dropping the blueberry/coconut cream concoction. It's kind of desserty, and could be feeding your sugar dragon. Also drop the banana with almond butter as a snack. The recommendation on fruit is to have it with or immediately after your main meals only, not on its own.


- if you're hungry between meals, have a mini-meal of protein, veg and fat. Nuts are a fat source.

Regarding nutrient-dense vegetables, here is a good list: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthy-eating/andi-guide

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To add to Chris's excellent suggestion: when you eliminate those fruit/fat combinations you need to make sure you make up for them with your remaining food. Eat more meat, vegetables (including starchy) and good fats so you aren't hungry for bananas with almond butter or berries with coconut milk anymore. It may seem like the portion are too big,  compared to what society expects you to eat, but don't worry about that. Eat as much as you need to support your activities and not feel hungry.

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I feel like i am having very similar experiences with the exception of the exercise component (i don't exercise!). I'm on whole80 and have been cruising along without much difficultly consuming what feels like an enormous amount of food and eating strictly to template walking away from every meal completely full when every 10 or so days, i'm consumed by cravings in between meals!  


While i believe in the program, I'm starting to wonder/believe it's just not possible or realistic to break a lifetime of eating habits in any short period of time.  While i don't have daily cravings, even 3 months of strict protocol isn't enough to eliminate food as a crutch and i should expect to commonly have to exercise a conscience choice to walk away from poor choices rather than assume the desire just disappears!  

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I appreciate the input! I upped my vegetables yesterday and felt like it really helped. I also did my 13.1 mile training run with nothing but water and it was an awesome run. I had 2 hard boiled eggs and a handful of olives before I left. Felt strong the whole time, and finished my last half faster than the first half! Pretty cool. I'm going to keep on trucking along. It's day 31. Yesterday I didn't need any snacks in between because I wasn't hungry, even after that run. But man! I feel like I'm stuffing myself at meals to get full enough to last. I hope that's okay? Mostly veggies...so it always appears like a lot when you have 2 cups of veggies overflowing and a huge salad with dinner, but that's normal, right? My portions next to my family look pretty ridiculous. ;) also, I was wondering, if you take a break, and eat paleo cookies or something (whole 30 compliant ingredients, but obviously not whole 30 approved) and then start back at the program, will it mess up your fat adaptation? My dads birthday is Tuesday and I'm baking him a cake, so I thought I'd bake myself something compliant but yummy since my 30 days are technically up. How would that effect fat adaptation? Thoughts?

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Fat adaptation is a big topic, touching and overlapping on several subjects (low carb diets, primal/paleo eating, ketogenic diets). There are several threads that currently exist on the site, you'll just need to google "whole 30 +...." (whatever particular topic you want).


Here's a good overall article discussing fat adaptation and the paleo/primal connection:



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As a fellow athlete, I can tell you I had to eat really big meals. Often more than I was "comfortable" finishing. But if I didn't, I got hungry before my next meal.


Make sure you are eating plenty of fat at meals, the Meal Template portions are minimums for an average person, so athletes need to scale up. Two palms of protein, and remember eggs are less filling than other forms of protein so you'll do best combining them with some meat or upping your serving to 4 or 5.


If you're anything like me, your Sugar Dragon is being kept alive and well with your snacking on apples, nut butters, Larabars and berries with coconut cream.


Eating so many nutrient dense veggies on the Whole30, you do not need fruit (ie you won't be missing out on anything but the sweetness).


If you really want to beat this thing, keep fruit to a bare minimum and always eat as part of a meal, not alone as a snack. I find I do best when fruit is served more like a condiment or in a salad as one of many components. It took me two Whole30s to defeat my Sugar Dragon, and it still rears its ugly head if I indulge. You may not be able to slay it on your first Whole30, but I hope this advice will give you some good weapons to use.

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