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Failed at Day 4: Couldn't bring myself to eat anything

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Hey everyone,


I attempted to start a Whole30 last Monday and failed on Thursday evening when I resorted to drinking a glass of milk to get SOMETHING into my system.  Basically, I was having extreme difficulty maintaining an adequate calorie intake.  To exacerbate matters, I take stimulant medication for ADHD, which suppresses/dulls appetite for me.  By Thursday, I felt lethargic, was experiencing brain fog like nothing before (blanked on basic vocab during a video conference at work and was otherwise extremely unproductive), feeling very faint, and to top that off, the very thought of putting food in my mouth made me feel incredibly nauseous, and I wasn't feeling hunger strongly enough to bother overcoming it, not even when I had easy-access compliant options waiting for me in the fridge and ingredients (and skills) to cook lots of compliant things.


Here's my food log from that week as I remember it (the calorie deficit is obvious):


Day 1 (felt okay)

breakfast - 1 banana

lunch - 1 banana

dinner - shepherd's pie (Whole30 book recipe)


Day 2 (felt tired and kinda crappy)

breakfast - 1 banana

lunch - leftover shepherd's pie (fairly small portion)

dinner - meat sauce with sauteed sweet potato noodles


Day 3 (felt lethargic and like my head was full of lead)

breakfast - 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs (can't remember)

lunch - 1 hard-boiled egg and mug of homemade duck stock

dinner - butternut squash soup


Day 4 (felt horrible, could barely think straight)

breakfast - 1.5 hard-boiled eggs (couldn't finish the second one)

lunch - mug of homemade duck stock (was supposed to eat leftover butternut squash soup, thought of it made me nauseous)

**DAIRY INTERVENTION** - approx. 12 oz of delicious whole milk

dinner - potato and onion latkes (with dollop of sour cream) and side of meat sauce


Yeah... not enough calories.  I knew all along that I just needed to EAT MORE, but lack of calories in the first place made it harder and harder to do anything about it.  Vicious cycle and all.  Still, I'm not sure where the nausea and food aversion came from, though, and am wondering if anyone else has experienced that, because that's the part that had me worried enough to pull out.


Furthermore, I noticed that I quickly developed some concerning mental blocks and such, like getting it in my head that I couldn't make a dish because I didn't have a complaint version of its accompanying dipping sauce, or the coconut milk made it smell weird/not right (given my history with scent-triggered migraines, I can get weird about this).  Then I got weirdly hard-headed about keeping compliant even if it meant I ate nothing (because eating nothing was less effort once I was in that nasty funk). Didn't like that at all.




So after the dairy intervention, I wasn't about to blow off the entire thing just because I had some milk. For the record, I have zero issues with dairy (no skin troubles, no GI troubles, nada) and have a long history of drinking craptons of milk.  I decided to remain Whole30 complaint, with the exception of dairy (avoiding cheese, though).  Suddenly, with dairy added back in, following all the other rules is WAY easier, I stopped having all those stupid hangups, and I feel fantastic already.  For now, I'm in Whole30 + dairy mode and am working on shifting cooking habits away from non-compliant things (risotto, black beans, etc) and getting used to Whole30 cooking (just sometimes with dairy).  


If I continue to feel good, I might just continue Whole30 + dairy (and hope it doesn't make me too much of a blaspheming heretic).  Or try going whole hog sometime in the future.

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Hi Dodo Bird,


Sorry you weren't feeling well.  At the risk of being "mean", for you and anyone coming along and reading this post, please know that there is no such thing as "Whole30 + dairy".  There's Whole30 and there's doing your own thing.  No one says you have to do a Whole30 and if you can't or choose not to, at this time, work to overcome the food aversions (totally normal, btw), then that's fine.


If you do want to do a Whole30 in the future, we recommend you read up on the meal template (linked below) and try to make each meal match.  Eating a banana for breakfast is not doing you any favours nor is refusing to eat.  As you discovered, lack of appetite followed by not eating creates further lack of appetite and so on.


It also sounds to me like you may have been experiencing a bit of disordered thinking surrounding the Whole30 (staying compliant by refusing to eat anything, not eating a meal because one miniscule piece of it is not made/not available).  You may want to check out these articles on when Whole30 goes bad and see if you are even in the right frame of mind to take one on right now.





And finally, know that the brain fog and mental fatigue that you were feeling was not a side effect of "Whole30", it was a result of not eating food.  


Best wishes to you going forward.

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Yeah, the not bothering to follow the meal template and lack of adequate prep in general definitely got me off on the wrong foot, but it was the realization of the disordered thinking that scared me out of it entirely.  I've never had an eating disorder and don't have body/food/image issues, so yeah, REALLY didn't like the way I started to think about things - it was unexpected and unnerving.


As for Whole30 being a binary thing, I get that and respect it.  I know that including dairy makes it not true Whole30, and I'm fine with my pretend Whole30 diet, which I think I referred to as a "holding pattern" in my other thread.  What I don't want is the all-or-nothing philosophy this place to get to me too much - I am in therapy for ADHD coping and mild anxiety, and one of the things I've been working on is to get away from all-or-nothing thinking, which I am extremely prone to (i.e. "I burned a side dish, therefore the whole meal is ruined!!"), which is why I felt it was important for me to keep up with the other rules even if I officially failed - I wouldn't be doing myself any favors if I let myself fall into a "might as well have beer and cake" line of thinking.


Still, I think I'll feel better about attempting a true Whole30 in the future once I build up some new cooking routines and habits (and have prepared appropriately).

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Yup, gave the article a read. Some interesting stuff. I'd been wondering what happens when you take it the wrong way, intenionally or not.

I have a session with my therapist coming right up, so I'll talk with her about it. My therapist was a proponent of it, actually - when I complained about my parents hounding me about about this Whole30 nonsense as a means to become less skinnyfat, she mentioned that it could be a good way to identify diet changes that could improve my mood and concentration (I'd talked about wanting to play around with diet regrading mood and such before) AND serve as great practice in self-discipline (I was diagnosed with ADHD at 25, after a lifetime of terrible habits and no discipline in anything). I don't think either of us predicted that I'd get in a really messed up state of mind over it.

However, since my core goals in this project are to practice discipline and see if a cleaner diet can clear up mood, cognition, and energy (never had to specifically be Whole30, but Whole30 is nice because of clear rules and lots of literature and community), I've found a good setup following the Whole30 rules minus the diary one - with just the tweak on the dairy rule, I'm in a MUCH better position mentally to follow the rest of the rules and have been able to do so for the last several days without getting all mentally whacked out over it.

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Sometimes rules don't always have the desired effect, if you're feeling pushed into things, it's natural to feel some rebellion.


Some people thrive on bootcamps where people yell at them, it just makes me want to punch the instructor in the face (so I don't do bootcamps, I don't find them inspiring).


When you're ready, I do recommend having a crack at going without dairy, I was really surprised at how much healthier I feel without it. Now I'm Post-Whole30 I do have it sometimes and my tolerance is certainly increasing as I heal, but I really don't want it regularly anymore (this did not happen overnight!).

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Oh yes, I definitely want to do a no-dairy trial in the future, either part of a formal Whole30, or, if I still can't hack it without the bad thought patterns, swap something like rice or beans into my W30-inspired framework and do a diary elimination and see what happens.  I'm (slowly) drafting a "post"-Whole30 log OP, and I do talk about dairy and how I plan to deal with it.  I definitely don't have any acute/obvious issues with dairy, so it'd be interesting to see if there was some subtle/insidious symptom I've been missing.


As for feeling a sense of rebellion regarding the Whole30 philosophy and rules, that's spot on.  I bought the book and read up and all this stuff about fixing your relationship with food and slaying your sugar dragon and confronting food sensitivities and chronic health issues and such, and just.... didn't relate at all.  I also found myself rolling my eyes at the sometimes presumptuous second person narrative about chugging diet Coke and wanting to reach for another doughnut (I DESPISE diet soda and avoid doughnuts because they give me headaches, how DARE this silly book presume that I actually crave and enjoy this crap!?! How dare it!!).  So yeah, kind of a disconnect  between me and what I wanted to do with it and for whom the program seems intended, and that boiled down to feeling like I had to "prove" something because I felt like an interloper, which got twisted into bad thoughts.  Something along those lines.

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I've never liked doughnuts or most other sweet stuff, but I was a long time diet coke drinker, never gave up artificial sweeteners until my first Whole30, just sugar. I was a bit shocked at how crap they make me feel, even in small volume. I have a bunch of health issues so Whole30 was exactly what I needed, I don't care about rules as long as they work (and they do for me) but I also like that's it a choice, it's my choice if I want to do a Whole30 or just ride my own bike.


I don't avoid foods because I'm doing a Whole30, I do it because I don't want to eat them as I know how they make me feel. It's solved more of my health issues than my doctors have been able to do (although they're happy, sometimes they're a bit :o  :huh: that they couldn't help me as much as this).


A friend of mine gets annoyed when people say "she can't have that, she's on a diet". She says yes she can, she can have anything she wants, but she *chooses* to eat healthy food, because she deserves it.


It's funny how the same thing can seem the opposite sometimes.

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