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Just Finished First Whole30 with Disappointing Results

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Hi, all,


I could really use some help.


I just finished my first Whole30.  I thought I was following the program pretty closely, but maybe not, as the following occurred during my 30 days:

- felt weaker

- felt more tired

- was more irritable

- didn't lose any weight (didn't gain any either, which is a plus, I suppose)


Let's set aside the fact I didn't lose a single pound; I wasn't expecting to lose much weight.  However, I was expecting to feel better, as I completely cut out sugar, dairy and grains.  Based on how evil the Starts with Food book made these sound, I expected some sort of improvement (certainly not feeling worse), especially since I didn't think twice about using sugar, dairy and grains before.


BTW - One improvement I did see was a 1% reduction in body fat.  :)


In seeing some other posts with similar results, I figured I'd give you some detail, in case you're kind enough to help me troubleshoot...


Some recent meals:

M1 omelet with spinach, onions, mushrooms, green peppers and turkey, banana, 3 hands full of cashews and almonds

M2 salad with shredded pork and balsamic vinaigrette dressing, 1 serving of raw carrots

snack - 3 hands full of cashews and almonds

M3 spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, 2 servings of raw carrots


M1 omelet with spinach, onions, mushrooms, green peppers and turkey, 3 hands full of cashews

M2 small bowl of fruit, 2 hands full of cashews and almonds. Chipotle burrito bowl - pork, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, fajita vegetables

M3 Caesar salad with home-made dressing and anchovies, orange


All I've been drinking is about 8 cups of water a day, which is surprising, as I drank tons of iced tea (with sugar) prior to Whole30.


Either the Whole30 just isn't for everyone, or I'm doing something wrong.


Any help is appreciated.



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Hi there.


I'm sorry you're disappointed in your results.


From an energy perspective,
- I would suggest adding at least a fist-sized serving of carb-dense vegetables daily. Winter squash, sweet potatoes, plantains, beets, carrots, rutabaga, jicama and parsnips are among the choices.

- How much sleep are you getting nightly?
- How is the current level of stress in your life?
- With the 8 glasses of water, I assume you're currently ~128 lbs? The recommendation on water is to drink 1/2 an ounce of water per pound of body weight, daily.

It's hard to discern portion sizes from what you've listed.  For best results, be sure every meal has 1-2 palms of protein, 1-3 cups of veggies and a compliant fat. I see at least 1-2 meals low or missing on protein.  When eggs are your sole protein, the serving size is the number of whole eggs you can hold in one hand without dropping them. For most folks, that's 3-4 eggs.

A bit of tough love:  

- Nuts are showing up quite a bit in what you're eating. You might consider easing up on those, as they can cause bloating/digestive stress. Further, they are only to be used sparingly as a fat on a Whole30. Note that a serving size is one closed handful.


- When you are hungry between meals, the recommendation is to have a mini-meal of protein, veg and fat. Nuts are a fat source.

- On the Chipotle meal, sadly the fajita vegetables are not compliant, as they are cooked in rice bran oil.  http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/ingredients_statement/ingredients_statement.aspx


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Chris covered the best practices well, but I just want to add that it is amazing you did not gain weight eating so many nuts! Eliminate the nuts entirely and you are likely to lose multiple pounds in a month. 


Review the meal planning template yourself: http://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf


I think you would do well with more protein and veggies, especially starchy veggies which can make a huge difference in your energy levels. 

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Thanks for the responses and cluing me in on the Chipotle vegetables!


I probably didn't do justice to my eating habits over the past month.  I usually have loads of vegetables - just those two days I listed did not reflect it.  More days than not I've had spinach at breakfast, a salad for lunch (including lettuce, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, peas), and grilled vegetables (e.g. asparagus, brussel sprouts) at dinner.


Question - Aren't those nuts serving as a source of protein?  If so, I would think I'm getting plenty of protein.


This being said, I understand the point about cutting back on the nut intake and substituting for meat.  Those darn cashews just taste so good!  :)  


Is it fair to say that most people who feel weaker, crankier, etc. need to bump up a particular food source versus people feeling weaker because they're eating too much of something (e.g. fruit)?  So, it's something I need to add, rather than something I need to cut out?


Thanks again for your help.

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Sorry, nuts are a fat source, not a protein source.

We commonly see people being tired, cranky, lethargic, headaches etc when they are not eating enough starchy veggies. Further, folks who also eat a lot of fruit, particularly when that fruit is eaten alone or with nuts/nut butters, their blood sugar continues to fluctuate wildly which can lead to feeling more tired when you crash.

If you stick to the template with three meals a day and no snacking, I think you'll see a world of difference.

1-2 palms animal protein (or eggs, as many as you can hold withough dropping, usually at least 3-4)

1-3 cups veggies (more if it's leafy greens as those compress down to nearly nothing)

(also include at least one serving of starchy veggie, more if you are highly active, feeling tired, cranky, headaches etc)

1-2 thumbs fat (or half to whole avocado or handful olives)

Repeat this three times a day! :)

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  • Cooking fats: animal fats* including duck fat, goat fat, lard (pig fat), and tallow (beef fat), clarified butter*, ghee* (* – must be pastured or 100% grass-fed and organic), coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil (cook at low heat for a short time only). Unrefined red palm oil is also listed as good, but most people don’t like it as much as coconut oil
  • Eating fats: avocado oil, coconut butter, coconut meat/flakes, coconut milk (canned), hazelnuts/filberts, macadamia nuts, macadamia butter, olives (all)
  • Limit nuts and seeds: flax seeds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds/pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter, walnuts
  • Don’t use nuts, seeds, and nut butters as your primary fat source
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Hi fganter,

  I see three things worth noting.


1. You mentioned eating peas, which are a legume and not allowed on the Whole30. Unless you meant sugar snap peas or snow peas (which are more pod than seed, thus they are fine).


2.  The Chipotle fajita veggies (did you eat this just once, recently or a couple of times on your Whole30? Did you eat any of their meats other than carnitas?)


3.  You were eating nuts as a protein vs. a fat.


All of these things point to you perhaps not being familiar enough with the program's requirements. I'm not trying to shame you, I just wonder if there are other things you missed that are affecting your results. Even small amounts of soy, dairy, and gluten will have effects and unfortunately in our modern world these ingredients are in almost every prepared food you eat.


If you haven't been reading every label, and going online before eating at a restaurant to find out all the ingredients in their food, or having an in depth conversation with your server about the specifics of what you could not eat, I suspect you've inadvertently eaten off plan ingredients that would mess up your results.


Almost all of us have been burned one time or another by failing to read labels or similar. You are not alone! I hope you can take this in stride, build on what you have learned so far about good habits, and continue your journey of Whole30 eating. You really deserve to have great results and feel amazing. I hope you persevere!

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Thanks to all of you for responding.  It's great to see such an active and helpful community!


I am planning on re-reading the book now that I've been thru 30 days to pick up anything I may have not quite nailed so far.


This being said, I doubt I was radically off.  In my humble opinion, simply eliminating sugar, dairy, and grains should show more improvement, since I ate these daily before Whole30.


In addition to adding more meat and removing some of the nuts I will certainly integrate some of the other suggestions you've provided.


Thanks again, everyone.

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