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Day 23 - feeling fatter in belly than before, likely stress/under eat/cruciferous veg - advice for moving forward?

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So I tried to read as many existing posts like this as possible but nothing felt like it fit exactly. I came to Whole30 relatively healthy (exercise regularly, already avoiding processed foods, mostly home cooked foods, etc). I’d been losing weight gradually for a couple years, but I’d plateaued (and started comfort eating due to stressful time) and thought something a little stricter could break that plateau and stop any comfort-eating instincts/unhealthy food relationships in their tracks.

Beginning of my Whole30 was amazing. I had a slight dip in energy in the middle of the first week (felt like sugar/carb withdrawal) but otherwise I was sleeping better. Happier and less reactive to negative stress triggers, felt a little glowing, felt trimmer and like my belly felt taut. My muscles started showing more, etc. Even my PMS symptoms were lighter than ever before! I was hitting most of the regular marks of average journey, just maybe a day or two early (including the kill-all-the-things which was exciting for me cause I have kind of an emotional block when it comes to anger, and the weird food dreams, one where I force fed myself really cheap marshmallows and cried about ruining my Whole30, haha). Half-way through I started to feel lower belly looking larger and flabbier (I think not just bloating because I can pinch substantial chunk of skin). I was jogging my best speeds, having good energy, not crashing. But starting to feel down and depressed and large. Almost larger than before. And I wasn’t a tiny delicate person (5’5” and 140 lbs at start).

Based on other weight gain posts, I’ve noticed I’ve perhaps had the following issues:

1) Last week I was using a meal prep service. Breakfast was 3 eggs with a little leftover protein or veggies. Lunch was one-two palm(s) of chicken breast slices and 1-2 cups asparagus. Dinner was one filet of tilapia with 1-2 cups steamed broccoli. All week was this, and it might have been under-eating.  Now I’m back to more varied recipes (currently eggs with leftover protein in morning, bowl of kale/butternut squash/pork/tomato soup recipe from book and banana with cinnamon and coconut shreds for lunch, bowl of same soup for dinner, before was same breakfast but chicken meatballs from book with zucchini and/or coconut riced cauliflower for lunch and dinner).

2) I got sick with an ear infection (haven’t had one maybe ever or since I was a child?). I’m a singer/actress so my schedule is never regular and usually very busy/stressful. I was teaching and this past couple weeks was end of school year and I’ve been madly rehearsing for a rush concert this week. But I don’t feel stress has been substantially worse than usual and than beginning of my Whole30.

3) There might be some bloating in response to cauliflower, broccoli, and kale I’ve been consuming. But I’m worried it’s not floating because I can pinch it, and it doesn’t seem to fade over the day.

4) My expectations might be a problem. I was very hopeful of jumpstarting my hormones/metabolism and beginning another stage of weight loss with this. I was really looking forward to Tiger Blood because I’ve felt similar buoyant-health energy before several times in my life. I almost feel as though I started with all the perks (seeing body changes, feeling healthy and energized and positive) then went backwards to the crappy stuff.

My questions are: why/how does under-eating contribute to weight gain issues? I see it mentioned as a culprit but never explained? Now that I feel sick, exhausted, and fat, how do people stay motivated? How many people feel worse around Day 20-23? Does anyone else feel like they Benjamin Buttoned the program and went backwards in benefits? Is there a beneficial explanation to what I’m going through, or just tough luck? I will definitely stick it out because I take commitments to myself seriously, but WOOF I’m feeling the opposite of the die-hard believer I started as.

 

(sorry for how long this is, thank you for letting me release my anxieties)

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I too am feeling the same way. I'm on day 17 and my stomach is bigger than ever. It's not bloating or gas. It's huge. I felt great at the beginning with a little groggyness etc. I too am continuing with this program but it is depressing. Also, my husband is doing it with me eating the same foods (because I cook) and his stomach is flat and he's very happy.

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I’m hopeful that perhaps I’m losing visceral fat (the deep layers down fat) and that doesn’t usually show as a difference on top, but is the best for your health. Some websites said that you burn that fat at the beginning of becoming “fat-adapted” and won’t see a difference right away. We’ll see!

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I'm confused...why isn't anyone from the Whole30 forum responding to our questions and concerns??? I am now in Day 22 and feel bigger than ever! My stomach is huge! HELP!

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I'm sorry no one has responded. Moderators are all volunteers answering questions in our spare time, sometimes we miss posts.

A number of things can contribute to feeling bloated or gassy or like you are gaining weight. Eating lots if raw vegetables, eating lots of cruciferous vegetables, eating lots of nuts and seeds, and not drinking enough water are the most common culprits. Some people find that there are things that are allowed on whole30 that just don't work for them -- coconut products, eggs, FODMAPS (https://www.thepaleomom.com/modifying-paleo-for-fodmap-intolerance/), or nightshades (https://www.thepaleomom.com/what-are-nightshades/), for instance.  It is also possible for people to not feel they're losing weight until the last week or so, or even to be convinced all the way through that they haven't lost or possibly gained and then weigh themselves on day 31 and find they have lost a little. 

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Sorry to also miss this one.

 

Something to consider is if the bloat remains and your bowels don't normalize, you could have some underlying GI issues.  This is when you could consider a Functional Medicine Practitioner to help identify the root cause so you know how to treat it.  There's resources in the back of the Whole30 book to get you started should you consider this route. If low FODMAP foods provide you relief, I would encourage you to get some testing of your gut to see what could be going on.  In my personal experience, continued bloat (even after whole30) and not losing weight were both related to underlying GI issues I had to treat first before I found my true healthy balance. I hope this information isn't discouraging, but gives you some more ideas of how to tackle your ongoing GI distress.

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Firstly, I’d like to point out that you’re not fat, and you don’t have a lot to lose. You’re already at a healthy BMI. Expecting the whole 30 to result in magic weight loss -when it’s not technically a weight loss program and you don’t have a lot to lose- is not realistic. You need to manage your expectations. 

If you are experiencing genuine bloating, see a professional. An actual MD.

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19 hours ago, Pandora Black said:

Firstly, I’d like to point out that you’re not fat, and you don’t have a lot to lose. You’re already at a healthy BMI. Expecting the whole 30 to result in magic weight loss -when it’s not technically a weight loss program and you don’t have a lot to lose- is not realistic. You need to manage your expectations. 

If you are experiencing genuine bloating, see a professional. An actual MD.

I did mention that in the original post! That I was probably suffering from unrealistic expectations, haha. I was just really struggling with motivation at that point, and I thought this forum was the best place to reach out and see if anyone had recommendations for how to keep going when you feel terrible. It's hard not to get excited when you see how many people love and believe in this program, and when it wasn't happening for me it was hard not to feel like there was something wrong with me. Unfortunately, no one really seemed to have any suggestions for motivation and then my 30 days were up, so I've just moved on in life.

Also, I wasn't sure if what I was experience was bloating or not, and that was another question I was trying to get some insight on. How different people tell if they're actually bloated or just gaining some weight.

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On 6/23/2019 at 4:57 AM, Keen On Clean Fuel said:

Sorry to also miss this one.

 

Something to consider is if the bloat remains and your bowels don't normalize, you could have some underlying GI issues.  This is when you could consider a Functional Medicine Practitioner to help identify the root cause so you know how to treat it.  There's resources in the back of the Whole30 book to get you started should you consider this route. If low FODMAP foods provide you relief, I would encourage you to get some testing of your gut to see what could be going on.  In my personal experience, continued bloat (even after whole30) and not losing weight were both related to underlying GI issues I had to treat first before I found my true healthy balance. I hope this information isn't discouraging, but gives you some more ideas of how to tackle your ongoing GI distress.

I appreciate the heads-up for sure! But I don't believe this is the problem, as I didn't have this issue at the beginning of the program and I was eating very similarly throughout the program. I wouldn't be surprised if my gut flora and fauna was reacting strangely to the program as I wasn't consuming as many of the probiotic foods and gut regulators that I normally eat. Now that I'm off the program, everything things to have stabilized.

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On 6/22/2019 at 1:03 PM, Susieh said:

I'm confused...why isn't anyone from the Whole30 forum responding to our questions and concerns??? I am now in Day 22 and feel bigger than ever! My stomach is huge! HELP!

If it helps Susieh, I'm on the other side and it turned out okay. I didn't lose any weight, haha, but since I've also been making a solid effort to do more weightlifting, I've noticed my body does look more shapely/muscular. So even if it doesn't do anything life changing at least it didn't do any harm!

If I could have done anything differently, it would have been to try to reduce outside stressors in my life while I was doing this. I think the stress I was under also contributed to less than ideal reactions in my body. If you're still in it, that might help? Otherwise, thanks for responding to this and making me feel like I wasn't the only crazy person to go "backwards" in results! I felt waaaaaay too much guilt during that last week, and I couldn't relate to most of the posts on her and felt very alone. So it was nice to share :)

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I appreciate this post so much. I couldn’t figure out what’s up with this bloating?? I have done the W30 for 14 days now and still bloated. I am increasing the amount of water, but I am starting to wonder if I might have GI issues.

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