Well, gained all my weight back! Having trouble finding a healthy balance Post-Whole30


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I say "kind of" because I did complete it. No slip ups, No cheating, No sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, or alcohol of any kind. On day 31 I was feeling so great!!! 7 pounds and 11 inches down, and an endless list of Non-Scale Victories were mine! However, Half way through my re-introduction I fell off the wagon, and HARD. I went to a family baby shower and I did not hold back. My plan was to indulge during the shower, then go Whole30 for a week, then continue my re-introduction (all I had left to re-introduce was dairy and gluten grains). So on day 38, I completely -voluntarily- ruined the re-introduction process.


I actually didn't feel SUPER terrible the next day (just bloated and a tad guilty). So I figured it wasn't a huge deal.


Fast forward almost two months Post-Whole30 and here I am... Sugar Dragon extremely awake, food ruling my life, and all 7 pounds and 11 inches back (if not more.. I'm scared to look. EEK!)


Lesson Learned: The sugar and overcarbsumption slope is a VERY slippery one.


I don't think my Whole30 was for nothing. I have learned SO MUCH through It Starts With Food and the Whole30 book. I still restrict myself sometimes (a little bit every day, a Whole30 approved recipe here and there, buying organic), but I gained ALL my weight along with other health problems back in the same time it took me to lose it! The Whole30 was the hardest thing mentally I've done in my entire life, and I'm extremely disappointed in myself for letting this happen. I gained all my weight back after a loss for the umpteenth time.


Basically, what is a happy medium between COMPLETE RESTRICTION  and eating WHENEVER, WHATEVER? I don't believe it is possible for me personally to cut out dairy, legumes, alcohol, sugar, and grains forever. I'm trying to change my life. Lose weight and keep it off for good. What worked for you? Is anyone else struggling with post-whole30 weight gain? Any advice would be appreciated and helpful!



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This is the subject of W30 co-creator Melissa Hartwig's new book, out this fall. If it's any consolation, this is a struggle for many people.


I'm afraid without having done proper reintroductions it's difficult to know how to best move forward.


Personally, what works best for me is to stick to template meals the majority of the time and to decide on a rare case-by-case basis if ingesting a less-than-optimal food or drink item is worth it. This means every now and then I enjoy an adult beverage. So far, I've deemed it worth it twice this year. It also means for me ice cream a few times in the summer. I don't stress out about added sugar and weird oils in the rare processed foods I might eat. Ketchup, for example. I buy organic so I know there's no HFCS in it. But I eat it a handful of times a year, honestly.


For me, in my context, this is the way forward eating in a healthy balanced way. When I throw caution to the wind and allow in dairy, grains, too much fruit on a regular basis, it becomes a slippery slope and the sugar dragon roars. But if I isolate the off roading experiences and return to template eating immediately following it, I do just fine. 


But that's me. And I'm human, so sometimes I don't adhere to it 100% even though I know it works best. Then I suffer. Then I get back on the horse. It seems this is life.


So, good for you for returning to the forum, to the program. Try not to beat yourself up anymore. And my best advice is to take it one meal at a time. String together as many compliant template meals in a row as you can until you start to feel better.

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I've been feeling the same way! I've been trying to stick to good clean eating (because I definitely feel better when I do!) However, when I fall, I fall hard. I was at my mother-in-law's for two days this week for a belated easter celebration. I ate ALL the things. I felt terrible, and I did it anyways. Now I'm home, and have gone straight back to the meal template. I am still struggling for sure - I feel like it's two steps forward one step back. But I am also trying to be gentle with myself - every time I decide to eat a more healthy food, every time I make a good meal instead of giving in to my dragons and order pizza, I am doing something good for myself, and that's a win. Once meal at a time.


At least, that's what I tell myself. Having said that - it's really disheartening and frustrated. That I totally get. I actually came on here to write a similar post and found yours!

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For me, I pretty much cook and eat three whole 30 compliant meals a day. Every day. And I also drink red wine on weekends and eat dark chocolate most evenings. I also like petits pois peas and tomato ketchup with my compliant cottage pie.

I make occasional exceptions at the weekend for a Paleo dessert, or paleo pancakes, or more occasionally some gluten free cake or toast (though I know from experience these make me ill). I'll also sometimes cook gf sausages which aren't compliant and make a cornflour Yorkshire pudding. I also have some leeway to eat at a friend's house or a cafe/ restaurant (but always gf, because severe gluten intolerance is what I've learnt). But mostly the food I cook and eat in my own home is a compliant template meal.

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Part of the balance is knowing what situations set you on a path that's unbalanced and working out ways to avoid them, or reduce the level of consequences to something you can live with. A reality check for me was really how unhealthy my old lifestyle was, going back to it was just a recipe for going back to being sick, all. the. time.


For me, one of the things it's taken some time to come to terms with is that I can never eat whatever, whenever without consequence (I really don't know why this was a surprise, it's actually been like this my whole life). I was very ill before my first Whole30 and at that time I was mostly a whatever, whenever except that I was always trying to lose weight, so it was mostly VLCD, low carb whatever whenever, but it just didn't work. I didn't feel good, I didn't look healthy and I kept getting sick.


Template meals help keep my health on track, eating to a regular schedule (keeping my hormones even, not all over the place), getting enough sleep and outright avoiding the foods I know come with serious consequences, for me (I've done quite a number of Reintroduction cycles (following multiple Whole30s) so I have a pretty good handle on what makes me thrive and what doesn't and even things I can tolerate some, they don't make me thrive and really, that's what I'm looking for.


Gluten and most grains are just a complete derailment for my health. I tried doing a bit of moderation and stuff, but body said absolutely not to that for gluten and it's pretty unhappy about most of the grains if I have them in any volume (white rice least bad but still no good in high volume) and the after impacts aren't temporary it takes me some time to recover. Dairy is not a complete derailment anymore, but it's certainly not my wingman, more of a frenemy. As I have healed over time, my tolerance for dairy is continuing upwards, when whenever I add it back like a "normal person", it starts being a bumpy ride and I want to get off. For me, having dairy and grains together (like cheese on corn chips) has a multiplier effect, extra bad, extra consequences.


I think I've been through my food grief completely now, a little denial to start with, at least one angry foot stamping temper tantrum, a bit of bargaining (that's yer slippery slope right there), a short period of self pity about how hard it all is getting sick from food other people can eat, and then, not sure really what changed, maybe just me, but now I accept it, I can rail against my reality all I want, but it isn't going to change it, getting off my butt and doing something to feel healthy is the only change I have available, so now I just get on with it.


It's weird, I've had serious health problems in my life which I accepted a lot easier than this (ironically these are all gone now!), I think the idea that food can make us sick is a bit challenging in the modern world, even if it's a bit of a non event in some more traditional locations. I think one of the things my mind really struggled with, was how many of my old "habits" that I thought were healthy, were actually so negative and I just had no idea at the time. The past is something I just have to remember that I did the best I could at the time, with the knowledge I had. I didn't know then what I know now, so there's no point beating myself (or anyone else) up about it.


Some things that have really changed for me over time (it's been a few years now), sometimes it's not just about food (really, It Starts With Food).


Boundaries, Supporters and Influencers - Change & Growth

After my first Whole30, I set some boundaries for myself about my work lifestyle (which I have made big changes to), changing jobs isn't quick or easy, but it's been one of the most pivotal changes for me. I couldn't be my healthier me without that change, my old job would have always held back my health (I never got enough sleep). I did a kind of "trial run" to see whether I could live with the change, not only could I, I thrived. Should have done it years ago.


I now not only expect, but I demand that my friends and loved ones don't sabotage my efforts to protect my health. I don't expect them to give up anything and I don't care if they eat things I can't eat in front of me or go out to places I can't eat without me (or we just do fun stuff together where food is not the main focus), but putting bad stuff in my food or trying to make me or trick me into going out somewhere to eat where there is *nothing* I can eat safely is just something I no longer tolerate. Either my friends and loved ones want me to be healthy, or they don't, I'm not making myself sick to please or appease anyone else, ever again. Too many of us have been trained to eat what we're served, don't make a fuss, don't speak up, etc when it comes to food. Ignorance and well-intentioned mistakes are one thing, willfully sabotaging someone else's health is just nasty behavior and I'm quite willing to shed my life of anyone who treats me like that now.


I was pretty surprised at the number of people I'd thought were nice normal humans who thought adding secret doses of gluten into my food was funny, clever or insightful (so I'd know I was imagining it), without any concern whatsoever for the consequences to me or my health. I was pretty shocked when some of them even saw the effects in person and then did it again! I had seen this kind of behavior before with those trying to lose weight (people trying to get them to eat cake, get drunk, eat unhealthily etc) but I was really very surprised at how willing some people are to poison another person with food intolerances, for their own enjoyment or weird issues. Some people weren't so aggressive, but they had their own passive aggressive versions, regularly "forgetting" not to contaminate shared items, pretending to me something was gluten free when they knew full well it wasn't. I didn't recognise this behavior in some people straight away (clearly I expect people to be nicer than they are), so if you're feeling unhappy about how others treat your food requirements, have a really serious think about how good a friend that person is to you (or family member, or colleague). I don't mean if they're "worth it" to put up with a certain level of abuse (cos really, that's a whole other type of unhealthy), but really, what influence do they bring to your life and your happiness. I found some people I thought were good friends, weren't really. I was a very good friend to them, but they were not always very good to me. I had a think about what I would tell a friend of mine, if they told me someone was treating them like that and I realised I would give them a different answer than I was justifying to myself (because I liked them and I really wanted to believe they were better people and I made a lot of excuses for pretty inexcusable behaviour), so I changed my approach. Glad to be rid of a bunch of toxic people from my life now, actually, this journey has really helped me identify positive people in my life and those who are more interested in their own agendas than in our relationships and my health and wellbeing :) Interestingly the ones I shed, only ever contacted me afterwards when they wanted to use me in some way, to get something they wanted, with zero interest in how I was, what I was doing, etc. Further highlighting exactly why I'm better off without them ;) For context, the remainders don't eat like I do, they're not Whole30, paleo or anything similar, so don't think lack of support just comes with the territory for those who eat differently.


I've found some really amazing supporters in my life and I'm finding the more I surround myself with those positive growth-focused people, the happier my life is in general. :wub:


I still have more health goals I want to achieve, but being sick was a long journey for me so I expect my recovery will just take some time and now, given how far I've come already, I'm really sure I can do it.


Onwards, upwards! :D


You can do this!

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Thank you everyone for your responses!


LadyM, I will definitely be checking out Melissa's book when it comes out. And I think sticking to the meal template and cooking at home will be the most beneficial to help me get back on track!


Andra1984, It's a relief to know I'm not the only one this has happened too! It sounds like sticking to the template is a winner. And remember- even if you're going two steps forward, one step back.. you're still moving forward! We got this!


Hannlib, I also have a gluten intolerance so when I eat grains, sticking to GF always makes me feel better and makes me make better choices! I love to hear how you are still going out to cafes, friend's houses, and drinking wine while still maintaining a healthy psychological and physical balance.


praxisproject, WOW! I'm glad you found true support. It's so sad how people will try to sabotage other's health. I have also definitely noticed my hormones changing since i've been derailed the past couple months (I'm sure my cortisol, leptin, and insulin levels are all out of whack) :( but there's only one way to fix it and I know how! 


Thanks for all your responses and I'm definitely going to use the meal templates! I'm going to try meal prepping on Sunday, so fingers crossed it goes well!

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I just stumbled on this today (I'm on day 12) and I'm so glad I did since it is my big fear coming out of this. I am feeling strong and enthusiastic right now, but like with anything I know this exuberance will eventually ebb and I will want to fall back into old habits. Thank you all for sharing your stories. I too will be looking for that new book this fall!

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Every. Single. Time. But every time I come back, I learn something new, and at least one old bad habit disintegrates. It took me 30-some years to get to this point, so I imagine it'll take me more than 30 days to get to that healthy, sustainable place ... that place where I'm not quite sure what it looks like yet  :wub:

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I've been there, it had not been easy for me to ride my own bike without totally going back to my old habits.  Things really turned around after my most recent Whole30.  


I completed my third Whole30 mid March and for the first time in 5 years, I feel that I can successfully use all the things I learned through my Whole30's to continue to eat mostly compliant and truly decide what is and isn't worth it.  For me that means no dairy, no soy, and minimal grains.  I finally feel in control of my sugar dragon and can pretty easily talk myself out of a bad choice and toward a good food choice knowing exactly how I will feel if I choose the bad.  I was not able to do this after my first two Whole30's.  I am currently even doing the slow roll introduction, which I find conducive to staying on track as I am not reintroducing things I don't want to eat just for the sake of reintroducing.  


After my first Whole30 I wasn't sure I would ever do it again.  I still felt pretty helpless and unable to control myself.  For me the third time was absolutely the charm.  I am finally able to listen to my body and hear what it's saying and make decisions without my sugar dragon stomping on all of my good intentions.  


Keep going, do another Whole30.  Learn something new each time and give your tantrums their attention.  I had a serious dairy tantrum that I just let run it's course and came out the other side.  Good luck to you! 

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I think I've been through my food grief completely now, a little denial to start with, at least one angry foot stamping temper tantrum, a bit of bargaining (that's yer slippery slope right there), a short period of self pity about how hard it all is getting sick from food other people can eat, and then, not sure really what changed, maybe just me, but now I accept it, I can rail against my reality all I want, but it isn't going to change it, getting off my butt and doing something to feel healthy is the only change I have available, so now I just get on with it.



As I read the bolded section, I think that these people are getting sick but just not understanding that the arthritis pain they feel is actually related to the food they are eating. Once we really know better, we should do better.


I really need to take that advice because I really went hog wild after my first Whole 30 and am now back at it again trying to tame the Sugar Dragon. I lost 9.4lbs in my first one, which ended 3/31/16, and have put back on 5 of those lbs in 13 days. To me that's just crazy. So I'm starting again today, so far so good, and taking it one meal or imaginary hunger pain at a time. I did find that I can't have any sweets, not even fruit, because that wakes the Dragon and it all goes south from there. 


Good luck to us all!!!!

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