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Finished my 1st Whole30 - but ...


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I'm thrilled that I stuck to it and finished my first Whole30! Doing this taught me new habits, new recipes, new ways of eating, and it showed me that I am much stronger than my cravings. This in and of itself is very valuable. However, I gained weight, slept no better (and some nights a little worse) than before the Whole30, did not see improvement in my skin (despite an initial improvement that quickly regressed), my energy levels were as varied as before Whole30, and my digestive system now seems worse off. Half way through I started taking Now brand super digestive enzymes which was very helpful to keep things moving. I also starting taking a compliant pro-biotic. All of the meat I had (except lean turkey) was grass finished and the eggs I ate were Omega 3 fortified. I also had large servings of at least 2 different veggies at every meal. I took Carlson's fish oil at most meals. What I'm trying to say is that I really gave it my all. And yet I feel fat, bloated, sluggish and a little grumpy. Happy to be done - happy I succeeded on my end - but not so happy with the results.

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

2 noticeable improvements: sitting meditation was easier (less agitation, no pain in shoulder, low back) and my gums were less inflamed.

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Congratulations! It sounds like you learned a lot and were quite successful.

Without knowing your life context it's hard to give a definitive answer regarding your skin, energy and digestion concerns. Remember that 30 days is just the beginning. Depending on many factors, it can take our bodies quite a bit of time to reset and to adjust to the new plan. Gut healing takes lots of time. Perhaps the fish oil, enzymes and pro-biotic were a bit much to add so quickly. Again, it's hard to say without knowing you and your specifics.

My suggestions would be to cut back on the fish oil, enzymes and pro-biotic, then after a time add them back in one at a time. That will help your digestive system adjust more easily and will give you a better idea of how much of each supplement you may need. Additionally, remember that we can't always look to a nutrition answer to a lifestyle question. Stress levels, sleep patterns, thought patterns, etc. all play a role in our overall health and well being.

Whole9 offers several consultation options. Perhaps that would be helpful for you. http://whole9life.com/personal-consulting/

I hope you continue to find answers.

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That's funny...I just noticed recently that my gums are less inflamed as well. Anyway, this is my personal response as I'm not really sure what Melissa's response to people who feel they haven't had great success is. First, was your diet pretty clean to begin with? And are those supplements your own doing or something doctor advised? I kind of agree with the post above that maybe it would be worth seeing how just plain real whole food does with your body without trying supplement. When eating well, you're gonna get a ton of what you would try to supplement naturally. For instance fish oil was always very harsh on my stomach and gave me fish burps and indigestion. I stopped taking it and now just eat a lot of fish. I've never taken probiotic supplements but I eat a couple forkfuls of raw sauerkraut out of the jar everyday while my eggs are cooking. There are definitely cases where people need the additional supplementation for a number of things but if you're self prescribing, maybe try without?

Also, maybe track a few days of food and post here. Is it possible there's something non-compliant that has worked its way into your diet that you're not aware of that could be causing issues? It's also possible that you're in the group of people that have reactions to certain groups of foods like nightshades or fFODMAPs. That level of food programming is a little outside the realm of the basic whole30 but Melissa and Dallas are extremely knowledgeable and they're personalized services might be helpful.

My other advice would be to check these aspects of your whole life not just your diet:

  • are you sleeping around 8 hours daily?
  • are you working out? and if you are, are you giving yourself time to recover?
  • are you waking hungry and eating breakfast shortly after?
  • are stopping eating about 2 hours before bedtime?
  • are you stopping computer and TV use around sundown
  • are you actively managing stress?
  • are you having fun and playing and practicing active recovery?

Those things might not necessarily be the focus of the whole30 but they are important factors in your overall health.

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Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions. I think I was pretty healthy before - I just ate a lot of grains and honey and dessert :)

I wanted to try the Whole30 to see if I could get to the bottom of the skin issues that started about a year ago out of the blue. I sleep 8 hours a night almost every night. I practice yoga and bike - nothing too strenuous and not daily. I do wake up hungry - I eat within an hour (two at the most if it's on the weekends). I started taking the digestive enzymes about half way through my Whole30 because, frankly, everything seemed to be sitting in my gut (sorry to go there). Prior to Whole30 I was very regular and as most yogis know, being regular is a big part of feeling happy each day. The enzymes helped - but I still felt "low" and sluggish- if that makes sense. I think I relied heavily on sugar for the mood/endorphin boost.

Ok - all that said, it's been 4 days of being "off" the Whole30, I've had bday cake and ice cream a few days ago without any digestive issues, but I did immediately notice the familiar feelings of agitation/restlessness and the slight pain in my shoulder and low back while doing my hour sitting meditation. This really matters to me. Getting into that space of deep calm has not been accessible to me outside of a long silent retreat. Something about eating a Whole30 diet helps me drop into that calm space. I can very distinctly feel the difference this diet has on my nervous system. So, I've decided not to throw in the towel. The past two days I've decided to go back to Whole30ish eating - but I'm having more starchy vegetables with my meals or white rice on occasion out of convenience (sushi! with coconut aminos of course). Still no bread or other grains, no dairy and no refined sugar (except for the occasional piece of 85% dark chocolate). I feel 10x better - like I did on my best days while doing Whole30. Here's what I ate today:

breakfast: 1/4 cup of blueberries, 3 omega-3 eggs, with cumin, 1/2 avocado with lime, about 1/3 cup of cubed squash and 1/3 cup of white rice. black coffee

lunch: baked salmon, roasted brussel sprouts and 1/2 c rice (I made a sweet potato mash but I think the potato was rotten - so I had to go with premade rice)

snack: frozen berries and a few spoonfuls of coconut milk.

dinner: 4 oz grass finished local ground beef sauteed with onion, coconut oil, garlic and lots of kale. Oven baked parsnips and carrots (about 1 cup) and a fresh salad from the garden with a balsamic and evoo.

dessert: frozen berries with a few spoonfuls of coconut milk whipped with almond extract, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

I really appreciate everyone's input. I know that I'm probably eating more grams of carbs than what Whole30 or Whole9 advises - but this is where I'm at right now. It's still a long way from the typical "American" fare. Also, when I eat carbs with a good dose of protein and fat - I don't think I have the blood sugar spikes. My energy stays pretty level til the next meal.

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My own experience with supplements is that I'm pretty sensitive to certain ones, one brand of enzymes works wonderful, yet another brand makes my legs hurt and feel antsy even though it is completely pure and contains no corn, soy, dairy or gluten. So it could be your supplements, I've learned to play close attention to how my body reacts and go from there.

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