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Hi there, let me quote for you so others can see the question:


I have a few problems I need help with. First, it would appear that I’ve gained weight. Today is day 33. Before I started I measured in at 26.75 at the waist & 32 at the hips. I’m now 27.5 & 32.5 respectively. I definitely look like I’ve gained. I have a tendency to retain water so I measured every day the last few days to see if there’d be a change, but it’s stayed consistent. I don’t know if this is temporary or if I will plateau or continue to gain. Is it common to gain some fat at first when switching to this style of eating? Before this I was doing clean eating but that did include whole grains, legumes, Greek yogurt, etc. I was eating around 1800 calories a day. At first I lost about 10 pounds of fat but I think I had plateaued, which was fine because I didn’t really need to lose anymore. With this way of eating I’m doing between 1800 & 2100 a day, depending on the day. I know we don’t really talk about calories here but I feel like it might be important in my case. I feel like I’m following the meal template pretty accurately or at least trying to follow it accurately. Before Whole30 I was eating three meals & two snacks, & sometimes grazing on things like carrots. Now I usually don’t have to snack & haven’t been grazing. I’m not sure if my body is just holding onto fat because it thinks I’m going to cut down on food or what. I also spent a good amount of time being anxious about whether I would gain weight on my Whole30 , so I wonder if maybe my cortisol levels have anything to do with it. I know nobody here can really say for sure what it is; I guess I just want to know if it’s something that other people have experienced & whether they re-lost the weight. I am on thyroid medication as well but I just had my levels checked & they came back normal. I have an endocrinologist appointment in October to check my levels more in depth; maybe something is off there. I don’t want this to turn into something where I’m irrationally afraid of food/calories, because I’ve had that issue in the past. Now I’m not sure if I should eat my avocado with breakfast or wait & see if I get hungry. I’m going to go ahead & eat it as usual, but now I’m wondering to myself if I really need it.


On to my second issue. I did the Whole30 because I was looking for a way to reduce my chronic pain. I finally got a formal diagnosis & it is fibromyalgia as I suspected. I have had no decrease in pain. I really think I have a gut flora issue, possibly SIBO. I have constant intestinal bloating [probably for at least the last 7 years or so] that has not abated with the program. My stomach is relatively flat upon waking & by the end of the day I look like I could be pregnant. I have an appointment with my PCP later this month to see about testing for SIBO; I read that it can cause fibromyalgia & with all my bloating issues I would not be surprised if that is my problem. I’m not going to be doing a reintro; I’m not sure when I’ll be doing one. I’m also not sure how exactly to proceed. On the one hand, I think maybe I should just continue with the normal program until I talk to my doctor about the SIBO test. On the other hand, I could try eliminating nightshades or FODMAPs. I’d really rather not unless I have to because of the extra limitations. I’m also going to order a digestive enzyme; I found one that I think is complaint: Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System. Does anyone have any experience with this one? Any advice on how to proceed with my program?


Here’s an example of what I’m eating this week:


Breakfast: about 4 oz ground beef, baked sweet potato, small avocado

Lunch: about 4 oz ground beef, 1 cup roasted red potatoes, 2 cups roasted broccoli/snap peas. My fat for this meal is all the olive oil I roasted my vegetables in.

Dinner: tonight I will most likely have leftover roast beef with some kind of vegetable(s). Dinner is typically a meat [chicken/beef/pork] with some kind of roasted vegetables. I cook the meat in either olive oil or grass-fed animal fat & I roast the vegetables in a lot of olive oil.

I’ve been having a bottle of GT’s kombucha almost daily. I try to stick to the lower-sugar ones like chai & cranberry because the higher-sugar ones make me jittery. I also sometimes include a serving of fruit with breakfast if it doesn’t include sweet potatoes .


Other typical vegetable sides I have with meals are roasted zucchini/bell pepper/onion, roasted green beans or asparagus, roasted carrots/broccoli/snap peas, etc. I’ve tried having a big spring mix salad for lunch but it just doesn’t hold me over. If I have eggs I usually blend them with spinach for some extra greens. I have nuts/nut butters as fat sometimes but not too often.


I know this probably seems like a lot of starch but I found out early on that if I don’t have enough starch my limbs feel extremely heavy & weak. I try to have roasted green veggies with all my lunches & most dinners. I would consider myself fairly active; I do strength training & cardio 3 or 4 days a week & usually get in 12,000 – 15,000 steps depending on the day, sometimes more.


I realize the weight could possibly still be water retention but my fingers don’t seem swollen anymore [they were over the weekend] & it all just seems to be in my midsection, which is where I gain weight the most when I do. Any advice is appreciated

So i think it could literally be any of the things that you mentioned. It sounds like you're eating plenty, but the fibromyalgia and the thyroid issues screams that there's underlying inflammation that your W30 didn't resolve. This is pretty typical for folks with diagnosed medical conditions tied to inflammation. Instinct says that you may not see progress for 45 or even 60 days...which is a crappy answer, but sometimes the reality. The fact that you're gaining around your midsection smells like a stress/cortisol thing, but it may not be.

Couple of thoughts:

1) Consider pulling out eggs and nightshades for a week or two and see if that makes any difference in your pain.

2) Pull out one of your cardio days and replace it with either low intensity walking and/or yoga for a week or two.

Other than those "quick fixes," I think there's enough extra stuff going on (thyroid supp, the fibro, etc) that it's not an easy answer

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Hi Renee,

Thanks for your response; I hope my technical issues didn't cause too much trouble [thanks for pasting my post, by the way]. Right now I'm struggling with the fact that I don't know for sure what's causing me to gain weight. I would really hate to cut back on how much I'm eating because something tells me that'd be counterproductive; it might work short-term but not long-term. It's just irritating because on my frame, a few pounds of fat looks like a lot & the whole abdominal distention thing does not help me out. Would it be best to continue eating the same amount & see if it resolves itself within a few months?

As for the eggs/nightshades thing: I ate eggs maybe once or twice a year before I did my Whole30 & then had them every day during the 30 days. I don't mind cutting them out as I'm not their biggest fan. If I were going to try cutting out nightshades, I'd have to wait about a week; I just bought a few pounds of mini peppers yesterday haha. 

Luckily I didn't go into this expecting my pain to vanish in 30 days; I figured that the problem is a little bigger than something that can be resolved that quick [though I wouldn't have complained]. The SIBO thing makes a lot of sense to me in terms of my fibro. I don't want to get too TMI here but my gas is pretty constant & god-awful. Anecdote: when my husband & I first started dating, he thought there was rotting chicken in my trash. Somehow he still married me. He's told me a few times to go see a doctor but when I've mentioned it to doctors in the past they just tell me to take beano. I would much rather treat the problem, not the symptom. Before finding the Whole30 I never knew about things like bacteria overgrowth & whatnot; I just thought it was because I ate a lot of vegetables. 

Thanks again for your response. I'll probably try eliminating nightshades/eggs here in a week or so after all my peppers are gone. I wouldn't mind adding in yoga too. Out of curiosity, what is the intended effect of replacing the cardio with yoga? I honestly don't know if I'm doing all that much in the way of exercise; I do Jillian Michaels DVDs so they aren't easy but they're only about 30 minutes long. 

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Yeah, i don't think you need to cut back on food quantity, but you've gone far enough in your whole30 that you can probably trust your brain when it's telling you if you are or are not hungry. If you don't feel like eating the avocado, don't force yourself to eat the avocado.

Cardio is more of a stressor to your body than strength training. if you're gaining around your midsection and you have some underlying cortisol stuff, cutting out a day of cardio and replacing it with something meditative and restorative like yoga will give you the best bang for your buck.

good luck!


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Okay; I’ll try replacing one of my exercise DVDs with yoga instead. The avocado thing was more of an issue of me being paranoid about eating too much. I wasn’t already full. I tried this morning just having the ground beef & sweet potato but found I still wanted the avocado afterwards. I waited for about 10-15 minutes. I’m not sure if the wanting was an actual need or a craving of sorts, but I did eat it & didn’t feel the need to eat more after I did.

I have another issue that I have a question about. I just found out today that the medications I take for OCD might contain gluten. The brand name ones do not but I have generic so I need to look at the brands when I get home & find out for sure. I’m not sure if I’m sensitive to gluten in particular but I hate to think that the last 34 days could’ve been more effective if it weren’t for the possibility of gluten in my meds. Not taking them is not an option as my OCD is severe & disabling without them.

I also took ibuprofen twice during my Whole30 during my period for really bad cramps. I tried not to take it because it has corn starch & I know it isn’t good for the gut, but they cramps were really bad. Is it okay to take ibuprofen in situations where the pain is too bad? Two doses is usually all I need during my period & I rarely need them for anything else. Tylenol does not help. 

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I've been thinking a lot about this the last few days. Is it even possible to heal the gut while taking rx medications? Is there anything I can really do? I know I can ask the pharmacist if there are any gluten-free options available for my meds, but besides that, is there anything else?

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The reality is that you have meds you need to take. Are they affecting your whole30 results? Maybe. But whole30 eating plus your meds is still better than eating stuff that is known to cause inflammation plus the meds. 

You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist about finding meds with the least amount of off plan ingredients. Maybe there are some that are totally compliant, maybe not.

Over time, you may find your symptoms decrease and you can look at going off the meds, but that is something for sometime in the future and to be done with guidance from your doctor.

I'd focus on what you can do for now -- continue eating well, include bone broth in your diet, and probiotics, which could come from pills or from real foods like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, other fermented vegetables, or kombucha.

Mostly, I'd encourage you not to stress over this. You are doing good things for yourself, keep it up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks again Shannon for the advice. I made bone broth last weekend & have been taking it the last few days. I bought some raw sauerkraut today & have continued drinking kombucha daily. I started the digestive enzymes I mentioned above. I visited my PCP today & she agrees that my fibromyalgia is likely related to leaky gut. I was so happy to finally have a doctor say that yes, she's heard of the Whole30/Paleo & not try to throw more pills at me. She suggested a probiotic & to continue the other things I'm doing. She also ordered me a test for SIBO & a food intolerance test. She also thinks my recent weight gain could be due to a food intolerance. She said when you eat food you're intolerant to, the body doesn't really know what to do with it & can store the energy as fat instead [or something like that]. Is that common? I'm really hoping to drop this weight or at least stop gaining more. Starting today, I'm slowly easing into the Paleo Mom's AIP. I'm starting with eliminating nightshades. I'm hoping that's the extent of it; while I ate nightshades prior to my Whole30, I ate them every day, multiple times a day during it & most of my food contained some sort of nightshade spice or two. 

I have a fear that I might have an intolerance to avocado [FODMAPs??]. Right now I eat one or two a day, & whenever I do I end up burping. I know it's the avocado because it's like the taste comes back up on me. It's not painful or anything ridiculous. Is that a sign of intolerance or can some foods just cause gas without being problematic? I'm a little overwhelmed right now with the elimination of nightshades. I'd hate to have to get rid of the FODMAPs too, especially avocado. I have no idea what I'd do for a fat source if I had to get rid of the avocados. They just hold me much longer than oils or tallow or olives or coconut...

So, my main questions:

Can food intolerance be the cause of my weight gain like my doctor said? It seems legit, but I'm still trying to stop thinking in terms of calories.

Is it likely that I'd have to eliminate nightshades AND FODMAPs, or is it usually just one or the other? My doctor seemed to think starting with eliminating nightshades was a good idea.

Can certain foods just cause gas or is all gas a sign that there's an intolerance?

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