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MargolaBerry

Day 4, I need some reassurance....

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Hi Whole30 Community,

I am posting seeking some reassurance and to vent some struggles/frustrations. I'm on the verge of backing out. I was formerly gluten free and ate pretty healthy (very little sugar, no fast food, etc). I have read both It Starts with Food (which I loved) and The Whole30. I was so committed to this program and so excited to start. But I am struggling a lot. I am SO TIRED. And I am a full-time graduate student in my final semester and actively job searching. Did I pick the wrong time to do this? 

I have been suffering from IBS-like symptoms for over 2 years now--I am almost constantly bloated and have gas pain. I have been gluten free for over a year, with some slips here and there but mostly I am pretty good about it. This helped immensely at first, as I has a couple of episodes of passing out from cramping pain before going gluten free, but the bloating and some cramping has been a big issue lately, driving me to find another solution. I definitely have issues with FODMAPs as well, but sometimes it is worse than others. 

Four days in and I am SO TIRED, my stomach is hurting so bad (this actually just happened this morning) and my stomach is hugely bloated (all days except the first). I need energy to attend classes and I HAVE to do well in school. I don't know what to do. I am so afraid after reading dozens of other posts about people still feeling terrible weeks in to their Whole30. 

I fully believe in the program and everything I've read makes so much sense, but the past 3 days have been pretty tough. I honestly wasn't expecting this big of a shift as I really don't consume added sugars and I already eat very little grains. I really want to stick this out, I want to feel amazing like I should but I just wonder if this is the wrong time in my life to try? I was definitely suffering before but I was managing. 

Any advice?? 

Thanks all, I'm desperate -- I don't know what to do.

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Hey, @MargolaBerry, I'm sorry you're not feeling great.

Tiredness and bloating are not uncommon in the first few days, though yours sounds worse than most people experience.

Since you know you have issues with FODMAPS are you trying to limit them at all? If not, that is definitely something that could affect the bloating and stomach pain. Other things that could contribute to that would be eating a lot of nuts and seeds (a serving is a small, closed handful, and you should try not to have them every day), eating a lot of raw vegetables rather than cooked, or eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, or kale.

For the tiredness, be sure you're eating enough (download the meal template here:  https://whole30.com/pdf-downloads/), salting your food, and drinking plenty of water (aim for 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight, so a 120-lb person needs at least 60 ounces). If you want feedback on your meals, you can list a day or two of meals, including approximate portion sizes and specific vegetables, and we can see if anything stands out.

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1 hour ago, ShannonM816 said:

Hey, @MargolaBerry, I'm sorry you're not feeling great.

Tiredness and bloating are not uncommon in the first few days, though yours sounds worse than most people experience.

Since you know you have issues with FODMAPS are you trying to limit them at all? If not, that is definitely something that could affect the bloating and stomach pain. Other things that could contribute to that would be eating a lot of nuts and seeds (a serving is a small, closed handful, and you should try not to have them every day), eating a lot of raw vegetables rather than cooked, or eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, or kale.

For the tiredness, be sure you're eating enough (download the meal template here:  https://whole30.com/pdf-downloads/), salting your food, and drinking plenty of water (aim for 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight, so a 120-lb person needs at least 60 ounces). If you want feedback on your meals, you can list a day or two of meals, including approximate portion sizes and specific vegetables, and we can see if anything stands out.

Hi Shannon,

Thanks so much for your response. I've managed to stave off running to chipotle for a burrito bowl for now. I have been avoiding FODMAPs so far, as I thought that was recommended for those with IBS although when I looked back in It Starts With Food and saw that it was only deemed necessary if I was still feeling rough after my 30 days. I was encouraged that I might have some additional vegetable options. Although as bad as it's been I don't think I'll risk it. Clearly my body has a lot of healing to do. I have not eaten any nuts or seeds and wasn't planning on doing so as I read that is not good for people with IBS. I also absolutely cannot eat broccoli or kale and haven't considered doing so. I thought cauliflower and cabbage would be OK but maybe I will not try until I'm done with the 30 days. There is a strong chance I have not been getting enough water. I also drank caffeine the past three days but the first two days I couldn't sleep at all so I decided to try to avoid it. I seem to be very sensitive to it, more so than normal. I do not normally drink any caffeine I was just feeling so tired. 

I just went for a jog and that seemed to help with my energy levels and the bloating, for now. Perhaps I need to make sure I'm getting exercise every day. 

My past couple days of food have looked like this: 

Meal 1: 3 fried eggs, bed of raw spinach, 1/2 an avocado - definitely salting, some black pepper, cooking in olive oil, small handful of grapes (I know these are not low FODMAP)

Meal 2: 1 whole can of tuna or salmon, cooked and raw spinach, 1/4-1/2 cooked red bell pepper, handful heirloom cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, 1 tbs olive oil and 1/4-1/2 lemon juiced. (I'm going for a tuna/salmon salad here so olive oil and lemon act as a dressing), added a few olives the first day. 

Meal 3: Baked chicken thighs seasoned with garlic power, salt & black pepper, paprika, & cumin, and about 1 and a half carrots and half a sweet potato per meal. I was considering adding olives for extra fat but didn't. 3 strawberries (I learned that berries can be tough for people with IBS after I bought them, but I've only eaten a few). 

Perhaps I should always be cooking the spinach? How do I measure out how much to eat at each meal? It cooks down so much! I am planning to use the full week one meal plan for next week, I wasn't good about planning last week! I will modify this plan to limit FODMAPs as best I can. Does anything stand out to you? 

 

Thanks again, I really appreciate your help!! Feeling pretty frustrated and apprehensive. 

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You could try cooking the spinach, or sub different vegetables for all or part of it and see if that helps. Sometimes the type of fiber in the dark leafy greens, while it's something you need to have some of, can cause issues if you have too much. Some light exercise every day is definitely not going to hurt anything, and especially if you have a mid-afternoon slump, doing some kind of activity during that can help you get through it. 

Mostly your meals look okay. If they're keeping you satisfied 4-5 hours at a time, they're probably about right, if you are consistently hungry before then, you could make them a little bigger or add a little more fat.

I'd focus on making sure you're getting enough water, and work on limiting FODMAPS as much as you can, and see if that helps. There's a really handy chart of FODMAPS foods in this article, it's set up as what is ok to have, what you should avoid completely, and what you should try to limit -- it might be helpful as a quick reference:   https://www.thepaleomom.com/modifying-paleo-for-fodmap-intolerance/ 

Definitely let us know how it's going. Hopefully the bloating doesn't last much longer, i know that's miserable to deal with. Generally, people find their energy starts getting back to normal by the end of the first week, so that should start improving soon.

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Thanks Shannon. That's good to know about dark leafy greens. I definitely feel like I need to be mixing it up more with what I am eating. I only had zucchini and squash with dinner last night and I thought I was going to pass out. Is there a limit to how much sweet potato (or other potato) I should be eating? I feel like those have been helping my energy levels. As I said, I will create more of a meal plan going forward that adds more variety. I plan to eat lots of squash too as those seem to be OK with my IBS. 

I don't necessarily feel hungry... I feel empty. I'm not sure how to explain it. I definitely feel full after eating, in fact one meal I didn't even finish all the protein because i couldn't eat any more. 

I will check out that FODMAP list, I did download the Whole30 one from the website. And I will be sure to increase my water intake. Thanks for the advice. I am also having heart burn and indigestion, which I really don't understand. Is there more detailed explanation somewhere for why we feel the way we do at first, rather than just how we will feel? 

Thanks again! 

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Starchy vegetables -- Most people do well with a fist-sized serving each day, but people who are active, who are prone to depression or anxiety, or who are pregnant, nursing, or in the week or so leading up to their periods may need more. People who are very sedentary or who have issues with insulin resistance may do better with less. It's something you may have to play with and see what works for you. I'd start with a fist-sized serving or two a day and see how that goes. (Starchy vegetables include potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, carrots, plantains, and any winter squashes like butternut or acorn squash.) 

The heart burn and indigestion -- is there anything you're eating now you didn't before, or that you're eating a lot more of now than you did before? It's possible that there's something not agreeing with you, and if there's something you're suddenly eating every day that you either never had before, or had once in a while before, that's where I would start looking. If it's bad enough that it's interfering with your life or if it lasts for more than a week or so, definitely talk to your doctor about it to rule out any other issues.

I don't really know of a specific explanation of why we feel the way we do in the beginning of Whole30. The book It Starts With Food has a lot of explanation of why the rules are what they are, and it might have touched on this a little bit, but it's been a while since I read it so I'm not sure. Part of what's going on early in Whole30 (unless you were low-carb before) is that your body is becoming fat adapted, and that accounts for some of the tiredness, moodiness, and maybe some of the headaches. Here's an explanation of what fat adaption means:  https://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-fat-adapted/, although it doesn't explain why we feel those things explicitly . It might be a good starting point for you to look for more information. 

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Hi Shannon,

Thanks you! I feel 100X better. I just wasn't drinking enough water, amazing how something so simple can have such a serious affect on us! I am committed!! Thanks for the explanation about how many starchy vegetables. I have been eating a TON. I mean literally my veggies for lunch were roasted carrots and sweet potatoes. I just feel so limited as to what other vegetables to be eating besides squashes, carrots and (sweet) potatoes. But I'll keep making an effort to diversify as I know it is important. 

The heartburn isn't gone completely but it is definitely better. I've made sure to take a digestive enzyme at every meal and that has been helping with everything. 

Thanks again! I appreciate your responses! 

Margo 

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