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Day 22 and feeling a little puzzled


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A bit of background: I’m 62, I have no underlying medical issues that I know of other than reflux, my weight has been up and down over the years (I’m currently in an Up cycle, with about 60 pounds to lose), this is my first Whole30 and I ate VERY poorly for quite a while prior to starting (I’m a hobby bread baker so I bleed gluten, and sugar and I were best pals).

When I commit to something, I really commit, so I’ve been very good about following the program. My meals are balanced, I’m not snacking, I’ve avoided all SWYPO foods and even managed to stay on point during an emergency situation. I exercise by walking as much as I can (which isn’t easy as I have major balance issues) and I’m trying to break decades of bad sleep habits, so far to no avail. But overall, I would say I’ve been a model Whole30-er. 

Thus far, however, I haven’t noticed any improvements. As mentioned, I had a very unhealthy diet prior to starting W30 and I understand that it may take longer for people like me to notice any positive changes, so I’m planning on continuing the program past 30 days. But… 

The program has been surprisingly easy for me and I find that strangely troubling. Given my pre-W30 eating habits, especially the amount of gluten and sugar (and dairy) I consumed, I’ve experienced NO cravings, NO withdrawal symptoms, NO mood swings, NO deprivation, no nothing. Seriously, I’m not missing or craving anything. Whenever I’ve reached for something that’s a Whole30 no-no, it’s been strictly out of habit, not desire, so it’s been very easy to move past the momentary feeling. I suppose I should count my blessings but it just seems odd to me.

Has anyone else experienced this?

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Sleep is terrible and always has been. Steps I'm taking to improve included unplugging myself from my iPad about an hour before bedtime, meditation, not going into the bedroom until I feel ready to sleep, turning out all lights, playing white noise (I have tinnitus so this is a helpful distraction) and using a diffuser with lavender essential oil. I make things as calming and tranquil as possible but either I get right to the edge of falling asleep and then miss the window of opportunity so I'm up for hours or I fall asleep only to wake up several times. I'm typically a very early riser.

Stress is high but nothing unusual.  

I have a long drive to and from work and I'm desk bound during the day but I get up and walk whenever I can. I track my steps on my watch and try to get at least 10,000 per day. In warmer weather, I'll do a 3-mile loop at my favorite park. I expend a lot of energy from walking because of my balance issues and it's exhausting, both mentally and physically.

I can't access my food diary right now, but here's what I'm having today which is fairly typical. All ingredients are compliant.

Breakfast: Skillet scramble with chicken and apple sausage, sweet potatoes, apples and brussels sprouts. Asian pear.

Lunch: Tuna and egg salad with mini bell pepper scoops, veggie salad with vinaigrette, orange

Dinner: Grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, asparagus

I also drink a LOT of ice water. Aside from black coffee and an occasional kombucha (home-brewed), water is the only thing I drink, no alcohol at all.

As I mentioned in my initial post, I'm not really that concerned about not seeing any improvements right now because of my prior eating habits and I'm planning to go past the 30 days. But I am baffled as to why I wouldn't be feeling any of the cravings, withdrawal, moodiness, etc. that everyone else seems to experience. I could literally go through a loaf of home-baked bread and a big bag of candy in a day (let's not even talk about cheese) and I stopped cold-turkey when I started W30.

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The timeline and 'symptoms' really are only guidelines and not everyone goes through them. It could be that you're drinking adequate water, using enough salt on your food etc to prevent any of the cravings, moodiness etc. And you could just be one of the lucky ones - sometimes I think if you read about these things you nearly make them happen - a bit like a placebo effect. It could just be that your not just here for the gut re-set but for the mind re-set too - and so your head's in the right place to embrace the change.

Looking at your meals I'd say you could do with more fat - other than the vinaigrette you don't mention any added fats, and much of what you use for cooking will remain in the pan.

Sleep can have a huge impact on overall health - so much more than people give it credit for, so I'd continue to work on improving that. You're doing a lot of the right things, but you could add in a magnesium supplement if you don't already include one. Dim your lights after sunset, keep your bedroom cooler than the rest of the house. Spend regular time outdoors - preferably first thing in the morning, but otherwise at the same time each day - 15mins in sunshine is good, you'll need long in cloudy/overcast weather. The time outside should help with Vitamin D absorption which will in turn help with melatonin production which is the hormone you need to sleep. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere you might want to think about a Vitamin D3 supplement during the winter months to help with this too.

Are you eating your breakfast within an hour of wakening?

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