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In need of help ASAP!

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Hey everyone!


I'm really hoping I can get some help for a fellow Whole30 friend of mine...


Quick backstory on me: I just led a church-wide Whole30 group (30 - 40 people successfully completed!) and I am having trouble helping one of those participants. She working very hard and is beginning to doubt the program. I have completed several Whole30's, eat extremely clean on a regular basis, have a good deal of knowledge and understanding about true nutrition and was able to guide and mentor through our group.


Quick backstory on her: This woman works a ton, sleeps very little and (surprisingly) has no known health issues, no medications, no chronic pain, etc. Pre Whole30, she ate very little, maybe one meal a day (usually fast food, sometimes just a candy bar), drank creamy, sugary coffee ALL DAY long and had steadily gained weight over the last decade. She decided to participate in the Whole30 program and was astounded with the realization that her eating habits were so far out of whack (it was all she ever knew). She jumped right in, both feet, even took on a second job in order to afford it. She is now on day (maybe 55?) of her program. By all I can tell, she is following the rules to the letter. 


The problem? Although she feels better and has zero remaining cravings, she has only lost 13.5 pounds (all in the first 2 weeks). We both thoroughly understand that the program isn't about weight loss and that was not her primary goal, but it is a goal nonetheless (her doctor believes she is about 50 pounds over her ideal weight). 


She is becoming massively frustrated and I am hoping to get some insight to help her. I suspect that because her body was in such an extreme mess nutritionally, her results may not be as easy to achieve as a more average person's would. My advice to her has been to stick with it, muscle through and that things will eventually snap right into place and she will lose the weight. 


Any help is appreciated,



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Let me start by saying that after a lifetime of poor eating habits one can not expect everything to be fixed in 30 days, nor in 55 - the body has to learn to trust that there is no end to this amazing food supply, prioritise healing, and then shed weight - if there is weight to lose.

In order to help this lady we would need more info on what exactly she is eating - at least three days of her food & liquid intake, indicating portion sizes, types of veggies etc, along with activity/sleep/stress levels.

It's not just about eating compliant food.

How do you know she lost all of the weight in the first two weeks, considering one of the rules is no weighing?


A 13.5 lbs weightloss, by the way, works out at over a pound a week - a rate which is entirely sustainable and which will take her to where she wants to be if she keeps eating well... 

Slow & steady wins the race.

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I suspect that because her body was in such an extreme mess nutritionally, her results may not be as easy to achieve as a more average person's would. 



This ^^^^ is most likely it.  And the fact that she probably needs to focus more on sleeping.  Seriously - sleep is where most of the weight loss magic happens.  Poor food choices = Messed up hormones = poor quality sleep.  Better food choices balance your hormones = better sleep.  Happy hormones + sleep = weight loss.


However it would help us out greatly if we had an idea what her meal plans look like.


13.5 lbs is actually AMAZING for 55 days on a whole 30.  And please understand that weight loss is not a linear equation.  Hence why vehemently discourage any scale stepping on the whole 30.  For example my first whole 30 was a whole 45 - I lost 4 lbs.  But over the course of 7 months I lost 35lbs - which is on average a pound a week.  Which is a healthy rate of weight loss.


Unfortunately many people come at this at a lets loose weigh quick and fast.  Unfortunately this approach or mindset is not healthy nor beneficial.  We are talking about health and well being - it is a marathon and not a race.

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Hi Misty :)


Before my first Whole30 I had a pretty similar background, worked shift work, got nowhere near a sufficient amount of sleep (looking back on it now it's pretty scary, sometimes I went for days without any sleep at all) and ate very little food (doctors kept telling me to eat less but really, it was far too little already, my poor body was starving and I was really working it beyond breaking point). I was in total health freefall when I started my first Whole30, after losing a huge chunk of my muscle mass and getting very ill and weak.


Sugary/junky foods can seem to cover for sleep deprivation (there's a boatload of science all about this, including the alterations in the mind of the sleep deprived and how it impacts food choices) but it really just masks the symptoms. Adrenaline and caffeine are often crutches in this scenario, the body is remarkably good at staying alive under trying circumstances. Damage is still being done though and it will pop up in subtle areas like weight gain, inflammation and the kind of health issues that people and doctors ignore (minor), right up until they can't be ignored anymore (and they turn major - like losing a big chunk of your muscle mass). Sleep deprivation is shown in multiple studies to increase mortality risk for those reporting less than either six or seven hours per night. (finding this out was the clincher for me in quitting shift/on-call work for good, for me, no amount of money is worth increased risk of death!). My health has never been better since regaining sleep :)


While there may be no apparent symptoms, if she's been under-eating for a long time combined with insufficient sleep, she may have serious nutrition deficiencies (I have a whole boatload, even a long time after quitting shift work, it's a lot of damage to repair and extra repairs take extra nutrients, if you're behind - eating normally won't even backfill let alone sustain a high need).


Lack of nutrients can impact things like cell regeneration, repair and replacement, it doesn't mean your arms will fall off or anything, but instead of a cell being replaced weekly, it might only be every other month or longer (as the body has to wait a long time to collect all the "bits" to perform repairs) and they're not supposed to work like that. If exercise seems abnormally hard, she may need more nutritional support for muscles.


If she's not taking any yet, I'd highly recommend magnesium as a first step as it helps the body cope with stress and is often highly utilized by the body during "major repairs", ironically it also usually helps with sleep :)

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