khayenle

Am I doing something wrong?

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It's Day 23, and I have yet to experience increased energy, better sleep, or any of the other benefits of Whole30. I'm beginning to become really discouraged to continue.

Some personal background to put this into context: I'm a full-time first-year law student. I've been going to the gym for about 45 minutes of cardio at least three times a week. I was recently (last month) diagnosed with both PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis), which prompted my Whole30 adventure.

So far, I've stuck pretty strictly to the 7-day meal plan outlined in the book. During my first week, I only ate those meals but didn't finish the entire plan because most of the meals were big enough to have leftovers for multiple meals after. The second week, I finished the rest of the plan that I wasn't able to get to and remade some of my favorites from the plan for the rest of that week. This week is the third week, and I've been once again cooking/preparing my favorites from the plan, as well as incorporating Whole30 compliant meals from Real Plans, but I'm heading into the final stretch with little to no energy and absolutely no motivation to continue. I'm having so many cravings for sugar and fried things that if I hadn't already made it this far, I would've quit by now, and I fear that all of this will have gone to waste by the time I reach Day 31.

It's completely possible that the stress of school, constant exertion of brain power, and little sleep are the culprits here and that Whole30 is doing the best it can with what it's got to work with, but I guess I just need reassurance that my lifestyle (as a law student) is what's wrong and that I'm following the Whole30 properly.

Thanks in advance for any help/insight!

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11 minutes ago, khayenle said:

It's completely possible that the stress of school, constant exertion of brain power, and little sleep are the culprits here and that Whole30 is doing the best it can with what it's got to work with, but I guess I just need reassurance that my lifestyle (as a law student) is what's wrong and that I'm following the Whole30 properly.

Assuming that you are eating enough overall (the recipes in the book and real plans don't really give us info on how MUCH you're eating), I would say that yes, stress, sleep issues and mental exhaustion are HUGE factors. 

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The recipes in the book usually say they're about 2 servings, so I eat half of what I make per recipe. I've also set the Real Plans meals for two servings, so I only eat half of what I make there, too. Thank you for your input! I guess I'll just have to try harder to de-stress and get more sleep!

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Are you hungry?  Do you get 4-5 hours between meals?  I'd use that as a guide.  Can you list some meals?  

 

Also, with PCOS and NASH I'm *assuming* you have some metabolic "tuning up" to do and it may take you longer to see results than someone who just had to stop eating SAD to see some fast results.  

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I am hungry sometimes. I usually eat breakfast around 7:00 AM, lunch sometime between noon and 1:30 PM depending on when I get home from class, and then dinner around 6:00ish or 7:00 PM - and I tend not to eat anything between those meals unless I'm feeling a little hungrier than usual, at which point I'll eat some fruit.

My go-to breakfast options are scrambled eggs with spinach and/or mushrooms and a side of fruit or a frittata, a couple of slices of avocado, and a side of fruit. My go-to lunches and dinners are salmon cakes with green beans, mushrooms, and red peppers on the side; seared chicken with roasted potatoes; or grilled salmon fillet on a bed of spinach with two fried eggs. I've thrown in plenty of other dishes/recipes from the book and from Real Plans, but I usually keep the ones I've listed in constant rotation.

I didn't think about the fact that my medical conditions could take me a little longer to readjust than someone without them. When I first started Whole30, I was bracing myself for some of the negative side effects that the book was talking about  - like grumpiness/irritation, migraines, etc. - but they never seemed to come, so I guess I'm only experiencing them now because of my PCOS and NASH, and my body's finally reacting to the change in my diet and exercise. I'll definitely consider continuing with Whole30 and holding off on Reintroduction to see if I feel any differently in a couple more weeks!

Thanks for your help!

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I'd maybe try eating a little more too... I know it seems counterintuitive but often it helps.  And maybe make some tweaks... Are you eating 3-4 eggs?  Do you have added fat at breakfast - scrambled egg option doesn't mention it and unless that is a GIANT avocado - 1/2 would probably be the smallest serving to make a difference in terms of added fat.  Try ditching the fruit and breakfast too and see if that helps - but definitely add the fat - that is what helps to keep you full.  I don't see any added fat for lunch.  Dump ranch?  Mayo? Pesto?  Any of those sound good?  Do the same for dinner and try eating those carbs from earlier in the day at dinner instead - maybe try in the form of starch instead of fruit and see if it helps - oh, and no plain fruit for a snack too - if you are dealing with insulin resistance fruit alone won't do you favors for a snack :) Hard boiled eggs, a salmon cake, veggies with dump ranch, can of tuna with mayo - those will be better for a between meal snack if you really need one - protein and fat is what you want.   And lastly... if you aren't hating this way of eating I'd stick it out for a 1-2 weeks and see if you maybe things are finally starting to fall into place.  Hopefully they are!

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@littleg I've been giving all of this feedback some thought over the past couple of days, and I think I'm gonna try to eat a little more over the next few days until I reach the end of Whole30 and see if it makes a difference in how I feel. I've definitely added some more fat to my diet in the form of cashews, mayo, and ranch, and I do feel a little better. Hopefully, I'll continue getting better and keep going for another week at the very least. Thank you so much for all of your help - it's been really enlightening! 

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I hope it works for you!  I've looked at some of those meal plans and for me I know *I* would need more food.  I probably eat on the high end of the spectrum though :) Just be careful with the nuts... super easy to over eat.  I personally *could* overeat mayo but most people can't!  They are also high in Omega-6s which aren't bad per se, but the American diet is so skewed towards too much O6 anyway that there are better ways to add fat - like the ranch and mayo or avocado or ghee or pesto...  Good luck and I hope in 2 weeks you post saying you are glad you stuck it out!

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