wholesmurf

Thoughtfully considering pulling the plug on day 22

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Hi Gang- I've been lurking here for the duration of my Whole 30. I'm on day 22 and have been thoughtfully (somewhat scientifically) considering pulling the plug for a week now, but have been trudging along. Today, though, I'm in a deep pit and just not seeing the value.

Background: I'm a healthy eater 80/20 "clean eating" (probably closer to 90/10) and a non-drinker. I'm an ultrarunner ramping up for the season, currently working out 5 days/week, a combination of long/easy runs and HIIT/strength work. I have no food sensitivities and was feeling great before my Whole 30 (no digestive issues, skin issues, etc, relatively fine mood though I'm prone to depression), etc. I took on the challenge of a Whole 30 not to fix anything, but to just really clean up my diet for the springtime and pre-season, mix up my menu options and feel GREAT. Like, make sure I was training on the purest fuel possible and getting the biggest nutritional bang from my caloric buck, etc.

Week One: Felt good, but weight was dropping some so I added in more fats (coconut milk in the coffee, etc.)

Week Two: Started feeling really crummy. Days 11 and 12 were super tough. I was powering down all the stuff I was told I need to ramp up on-- coconut milk, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, etc. Finally, one day I felt so crummy I said "no more" and took out all the "you need to add it in on a Whole 30" stuff like coconut oil and loads of nuts and just went back to my usual diet, just without the beans and alternate grains that I usually eat. I felt a little better after making this switch. Also, a friend advised that I salt EVERYTHING. That seemed to help some, as well. I also started a magnesium supplement.

Week Three: This week- mood is taking a nosedive again. Completely depressed. totally crabby. zero energy. zero interest in food but strangely I'm up a few pounds. I am having to force myself to cram food down my face just to get calories in, but none of it is appealing. constant headache. Just feel totally off and wanting to go back to my usual way of eating-- after all, I did this to feel great, not to feel like absolute horsepoop. 

Week One example:

Breakfast: Hardboiled egg, banana, coffee. Lunch: Veggie scramble, side of compliant bacon and a medium/large fruit plate. Dinner: Pizza Quiche with Power Greens salad (beets + walnuts + avocado)

Week Two Example:

Before cutting out the "super Whole 30" stuff: Breakfast: Bananas and strawberries with coconut milk, walnuts, cinnamon and a Hardboiled egg. Coconut milk in coffee.; Lunch: bunless burger with bacon, onions, mushrooms, avocado and homemade mayo; apple; Dinner: pork chops over sautéed cabbage, onion and apples. Snack: Sweet potato, dates, walnuts, coconut milk, coconut oil, salt and cinnamon. 

After cutting out the extras: BREAKFAST: Hardboiled egg, Cutie, black coffee. SNACK: 5-6 Brazil nuts. LUNCH: Broccoli soup (a major win!) and leftover chicken breast. PRE-WORKOUT SNACK: half a banana. DINNER: Tritip with parsnips and carrots and a kombucha. 

Week three (yesterday):

Breakfast: Banana, hardboiled egg, black coffee. Lunch: Plain chicken breast (zero interest!)  Snack: Leftover kale salad with cashews. Snack: apple, driet apricots. Dinner: Pork chop, sweet potato, asparagus.

So far today, I'm just trying to power down anything compliant to get myself out of this funk so I can think clearly enough to decide whether I pull the plug: Breakfast: Plum and hardboiled egg, coffee with coconut milk. Lunch: I just threw whatever compliant I could find in bowl and forced myself to eat it: broccoli slaw, blackberries, avocado, tuna, tomato, spaghetti squash, sweet potato, lemon juice and EVOO.

I can't figure it out-- it's not calories, it's not macros, I'm drinking loads of water and tea. I just don't get it and am just a million times more miserable than usual (I'm sure you can tell from the gripey tone of this.) I feel like I've tried all the usual fixes-- adding in stuff, no, taking out stuff, no, eating more, no, eating less-- that worked for a while.-- I just don't get it. I have a workout in an hour and can barely get out of the chair. 

Thanks in advance for any help!

 

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Okay, I'm so sorry you're feeling badly... I can see very clearly that you are not eating nearly enough and you're extremely high on fruit intake.

Eggs when they are your sole source of protein are as many as you can hold in one hand without dropping... that's usually 3-4 for most people.  Your breakfasts have no veggies and no added fat.

None of your meals that I can see match the template... I was originally going to write out how each one was deficient but you're either missing veggies, fat or protein in all of your meals.  Have you seen the template?  I would feel ATROCIOUS if I ate as little as you've been eating... 

You don't have to eat coconut and we specifically advise NOT to eat loads of nuts so not sure where that advice came from.

Take a look at the meal template linked in my signature below (or searchable by googling whole30 template) and see if you can see where your meals are lacking... 

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19 minutes ago, wholesmurf said:

Hi Gang- I've been lurking here for the duration of my Whole 30. I'm on day 22 and have been thoughtfully (somewhat scientifically) considering pulling the plug for a week now, but have been trudging along. Today, though, I'm in a deep pit and just not seeing the value.

Background: I'm a healthy eater 80/20 "clean eating" (probably closer to 90/10) and a non-drinker. I'm an ultrarunner ramping up for the season, currently working out 5 days/week, a combination of long/easy runs and HIIT/strength work. I have no food sensitivities and was feeling great before my Whole 30 (no digestive issues, skin issues, etc, relatively fine mood though I'm prone to depression), etc. I took on the challenge of a Whole 30 not to fix anything, but to just really clean up my diet for the springtime and pre-season, mix up my menu options and feel GREAT. Like, make sure I was training on the purest fuel possible and getting the biggest nutritional bang from my caloric buck, etc.

Week One: Felt good, but weight was dropping some so I added in more fats (coconut milk in the coffee, etc.)

Week Two: Started feeling really crummy. Days 11 and 12 were super tough. I was powering down all the stuff I was told I need to ramp up on-- coconut milk, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, etc. Finally, one day I felt so crummy I said "no more" and took out all the "you need to add it in on a Whole 30" stuff like coconut oil and loads of nuts and just went back to my usual diet, just without the beans and alternate grains that I usually eat. I felt a little better after making this switch. Also, a friend advised that I salt EVERYTHING. That seemed to help some, as well. I also started a magnesium supplement.

Week Three: This week- mood is taking a nosedive again. Completely depressed. totally crabby. zero energy. zero interest in food but strangely I'm up a few pounds. I am having to force myself to cram food down my face just to get calories in, but none of it is appealing. constant headache. Just feel totally off and wanting to go back to my usual way of eating-- after all, I did this to feel great, not to feel like absolute horsepoop. 

Week One example:

Breakfast: Hardboiled egg, banana, coffee. Lunch: Veggie scramble, side of compliant bacon and a medium/large fruit plate. Dinner: Pizza Quiche with Power Greens salad (beets + walnuts + avocado)

Week Two Example:

Before cutting out the "super Whole 30" stuff: Breakfast: Bananas and strawberries with coconut milk, walnuts, cinnamon and a Hardboiled egg. Coconut milk in coffee.; Lunch: bunless burger with bacon, onions, mushrooms, avocado and homemade mayo; apple; Dinner: pork chops over sautéed cabbage, onion and apples. Snack: Sweet potato, dates, walnuts, coconut milk, coconut oil, salt and cinnamon. 

After cutting out the extras: BREAKFAST: Hardboiled egg, Cutie, black coffee. SNACK: 5-6 Brazil nuts. LUNCH: Broccoli soup (a major win!) and leftover chicken breast. PRE-WORKOUT SNACK: half a banana. DINNER: Tritip with parsnips and carrots and a kombucha. 

Week three (yesterday):

Breakfast: Banana, hardboiled egg, black coffee. Lunch: Plain chicken breast (zero interest!)  Snack: Leftover kale salad with cashews. Snack: apple, driet apricots. Dinner: Pork chop, sweet potato, asparagus.

So far today, I'm just trying to power down anything compliant to get myself out of this funk so I can think clearly enough to decide whether I pull the plug: Breakfast: Plum and hardboiled egg, coffee with coconut milk. Lunch: I just threw whatever compliant I could find in bowl and forced myself to eat it: broccoli slaw, blackberries, avocado, tuna, tomato, spaghetti squash, sweet potato, lemon juice and EVOO.

I can't figure it out-- it's not calories, it's not macros, I'm drinking loads of water and tea. I just don't get it and am just a million times more miserable than usual (I'm sure you can tell from the gripey tone of this.) I feel like I've tried all the usual fixes-- adding in stuff, no, taking out stuff, no, eating more, no, eating less-- that worked for a while.-- I just don't get it. I have a workout in an hour and can barely get out of the chair. 

Thanks in advance for any help!

 

Okay, I've come back because I wanted to highlight for you the amount of fruit you're eating, which is probably contributing to high and low blood sugar surges/crashes... our recommendation is 0-2 fist sized servings a day, eaten WITH meals, not alone or as dessert.

I also highlighted the nuts because our recommendation is a closed handful (think 7-8 almonds) every other day at most and it looks like you're having them at multiple meals a day every day.

I'm really sorry that perhaps you got steered wrong when you went somewhere for advice because as this is your first post, it wasn't the mods on this forum... lets try and get your meals tweaked so you feel good in the last half of this program and maybe continue on for a while doing the meal template and you'll see how good you CAN feel.

 

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I thought that I was following the template-- but looking over the above I see that these don't look like I have been. Not sure if that's because I picked bad examples or because I think I've been doing something different than I have. :) The "eat more nuts" advice came from other Whole 30ers (not on this site, elsewhere), who said I needed to bolser my calorie and fat intake, so that's why I went crazy on nuts, coconut milk and avocado. I will try choking down more eggs tomorrow (though I am so barfy feeling about eggs that we'll see how far I get.) I'll back off fruit, but I feel like my brain is seriously going to short circuit without right now. When I say I'm feeling on the edge of a breakdown, it's like... I can't even think my way out of a paper bag right now. Seriously firing on ZERO cylinders. 

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2 minutes ago, wholesmurf said:

I thought that I was following the template-- but looking over the above I see that these don't look like I have been. Not sure if that's because I picked bad examples or because I think I've been doing something different than I have. :) The "eat more nuts" advice came from other Whole 30ers (not on this site, elsewhere), who said I needed to bolser my calorie and fat intake, so that's why I went crazy on nuts, coconut milk and avocado. I will try choking down more eggs tomorrow (though I am so barfy feeling about eggs that we'll see how far I get.) I'll back off fruit, but I feel like my brain is seriously going to short circuit without right now. When I say I'm feeling on the edge of a breakdown, it's like... I can't even think my way out of a paper bag right now. Seriously firing on ZERO cylinders. 

You're firing on zero cylinders because your body is shutting down processes so you can keep alive... don't eat eggs if they make you feel barfy... have something you love... smoked oysters on a ceaser salad... pork chops, chicken wings... eat something you like... add lots of veggies and a really good helping of fat (not nuts or coconut)... if chicken wings, make aioli... make sweet potato spears in the oven and smother them with garlic aioli.  Adding some starchy carbs in there will really help... cover those in fat!

Your sole focus right now should be eating three meals a day to the high end of the template to get your nutrition back up.  It is not surprising at all that you feel this ghastly.

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And, does it sound worth trying to get back on track to complete the 30, or at this point do I just call it quits and decide at a point in future if I want to try it again, maybe using a really prescriptive plan (I've piecemealed mine together from online Whole 30 menu plans, dinners, lunches-- I've never been any kind of a breakfast person so I just choke down whatever I can there- I'm never hungry for it, so it's a challenge for me.) 

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2 minutes ago, wholesmurf said:

And, does it sound worth trying to get back on track to complete the 30, or at this point do I just call it quits and decide at a point in future if I want to try it again, maybe using a really prescriptive plan (I've piecemealed mine together from online Whole 30 menu plans, dinners, lunches-- I've never been any kind of a breakfast person so I just choke down whatever I can there- I'm never hungry for it, so it's a challenge for me.) 

Honestly, what you need to do is eat... I hate to be harping on this but if you're feeling this bad and your meals are actually what you're saying they are, then something is askew with your body... maybe what you should do is stop the Whole30, feed up until you're feeling fuelled again and not like your brain is turning to pudding and the come back and do a whole30 again with the recommendations and rules, let us help you on the forums (forgetting random 'advice' people are happy to dole out elsewhere)... We generally dont' recommend quitting the Whole30 but I really feel that it's more important for you to eat good quantities of food as soon as possible and if that food is a double cheeseburger and fries and gravy then so be it... seriously!

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7 minutes ago, wholesmurf said:

I thought that I was following the template-- but looking over the above I see that these don't look like I have been. Not sure if that's because I picked bad examples or because I think I've been doing something different than I have. :) The "eat more nuts" advice came from other Whole 30ers (not on this site, elsewhere), who said I needed to bolser my calorie and fat intake, so that's why I went crazy on nuts, coconut milk and avocado. I will try choking down more eggs tomorrow (though I am so barfy feeling about eggs that we'll see how far I get.) I'll back off fruit, but I feel like my brain is seriously going to short circuit without right now. When I say I'm feeling on the edge of a breakdown, it's like... I can't even think my way out of a paper bag right now. Seriously firing on ZERO cylinders. 

Oh dude, this is worrisome. Make something you think you can stand that has protein, fat and veggies in it and then eat a lot of that. My instinct is that your body is shutting down. 

You need protein, fat and starchy carbs. No, your brain isn't going to short circuit without fruit but you have to replace that fruit with something. Chicken salad with homemade mayo over a sweet potato would be great right about now. 

Honestly, for how this sounds (and yes, it's over the internet and we're not medical professionals at ALL), I would say just go eat something. Eat food and plenty of it right now. Whatever sounds good to you. 

If you do decide to come back to Whole30 at some stage, I would highly recommend that you get some more critical, directed feedback on your meal plans before you get started.

It sounds to me like what happened is that you threw a bunch of nuts and coconut into your meal plans, felt yucky (as would happen) and then when you took that out, you didn't replace that energy source so you ended up under-eating. Which you tried to fix by further reducing the foods you were eating. If you want to keep going, what I would do if I were you is start back with what you were eating in Week One but more of it. Unfortunately reduced consumption leads to lack of appetite which leads to food aversions and further reduced consumption. It's a viscous circle and one that only eating will break. Go eat something. Repeatedly. Protein and fat.

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I have been tracking the whole Whole 30 process on Instagram and can PM you my handle- it's got all my meals since Day 1. I really feel like I've been eating A LOT. so the above might not be the best representation. But, I have been eating a lot of fruit, probably more than is allowed on this plan. And it sounds like more nuts.

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Hey @wholesmurf - I'm not going to dog-pile here & make you feel over-whelmed. I'll just comment that your body is perfectly capable of producing carbohydrates on it's own. It cannot, however, produce protein or fat which is why they are considered essential - you may have heard of the terms essential amino acids (proteins), and essential fatty acids.

Whilst nuts are a fat in Whole30 terms and DO contain some protein they are an incomplete source and since they are high in inflammatory PUFAs (or omega 6 fatty acids) they're not a great source to rely on. So the lack of protein, and the high volume of inflammatories will certainly be contributing to how you are feeling.

Your body is not shutting down per se (anorexics survive on a lot less food than this for months on end) but your metabolism will have slowed down in a bid to burn less fuel since you are providing less than it needs - especially given your activity level.

 

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it sounds like you started W30 with the best intentions even though you probably didn't need to do a W30 as much as some other poeple need to do one.  I'm guessing that you've not got/read 'It Starts With Food' - I'd suggest you do, it is full of the why's and wherefors for all the rules, and as you're fit, and know a lot about nutrition already it should all make sense.  From the meals you've written about in your original post, I'd reiterate what all the others have said, that you've not eating enough veggies, you're eating too much fruit, probably far too many nuts, not enough proteins/healthy fats each meal.  You don't need to have different meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can just make a big batch of something compliant and just eat that three times a day, then make something else compliant and eat that, but most people prefer to have some variety.  some of your dinners look good - just make double, and save one portion, and have it for breakfast.  it'll be quick to prepare, and should be compliant.  I wouldn't normally tell you to stop, but you might need to eat a lot of everything for a few days to get back into a healthier mode, and then extend the W30.  If you're up to it, you could stay compliant and just eat four meals a day for a few days.  You definitely need to eat more food if you're doing more exercise - the meal template is a rough guide, but you're doing a lot more exercise than most so you should definitely be making your meals at the very top end of the template.  instead of 3 eggs and half an Avo, try 5 eggs and a whole Avo, with all the extra veg, if you can't do eggs, try two chicken breast instead on one.  just for a few days, see how you feel.  Please come back and tell us how you get on - I'm sure you'll succeed, and we love success stories here!

you'd be amazed at how many people on Instagram and FB claim to be doing W30, and tag things as W30, but are just way off plan, and have never read the books or understand what they're doing.

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I wanted to pop back and thank everyone for the thoughts and wisdom. Since yesterday afternoon, I've done more thinking and more research and come up with a couple things:

- I certainly fall on the sword for a fair bit of ignorance about what Whole 30 has become. My concept of Whole 30 is from my original introduction to it back in 2008/2009 as just a "whole foods, super-clean paleo" reset period. I hadn't realized it had become so much of a "food sensitivity"/elimination protocol concept. Doing some reading on here over in the re-introduction phase forum really highlighted what I was selectively overlooking. Given that food sensitivities and uncontrollable cravings aren't something I'm working with (weren't part of what had me undertake a program), I probably had my heart in the right place (whole foods reset), but just picked an unnecessary limiting protocol. But, I will say this-- if what happened to me with the nuts and the coconut happens to the rest of you with gluten and dairy, seek out those answers! Because, dang, that was unpleasant!

- I am probably a case where "a little bit of knowledge in the wrong hands" is a bad thing. My husband owns a gym, I'm a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach (did it for the book learning, not to train clients) with a medical background who's worked in the sports nutrition industry now for 6+ years. I am a self-experimenter who's tried many times over the years to transition to high protein diets. My body just revolts. When I saw that fruits and starches were allowed, I thought I could get the benefits of the whole-food cleanse without asking my body to process huge amounts of protein (I describe it like throwing a bunch of greasy brown paper bags in the furnace for me... I feel markedly bad on high protein protocols.) I should have done the program exactly as written or not at all. There are plenty of whole food cleanses, or I could have just gone "single ingredient" for 30 days. Lots of things I could have done, but I really wanted to try out some of the Whole 30 stuff I saw online, I recently was gifted an Instant Pot, and, hey, who doesn't want "tiger blood"?!

Anyhow, thank you again to everyone for letting me ride your coattails a bit... I wish you all the best of success and hope you find the answers you seek, whether via Whole 30 or elsewhere. Remember, food is supposed to make you feel amazing. It's supposed to feed that beautiful, resilient body of yours and fuel you through amazing feats. If it's not, don't stop looking until you find answers. <3

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2 hours ago, wholesmurf said:

Remember, food is supposed to make you feel amazing. It's supposed to feed that beautiful, resilient body of yours and fuel you through amazing feats. If it's not, don't stop looking until you find answers. <3

This.

Best of luck on your onward journey!

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16 hours ago, wholesmurf said:

I wanted to pop back and thank everyone for the thoughts and wisdom....

But, I will say this-- if what happened to me with the nuts and the coconut happens to the rest of you with gluten and dairy, seek out those answers! Because, dang, that was unpleasant!

I am probably a case where "a little bit of knowledge in the wrong hands" is a bad thing.

I should have done the program exactly as written or not at all.

...and, hey, who doesn't want "tiger blood"?!

If anyone new reads this and just takes away what I've selected above then this post was worth it.

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