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Day 14, Hungry, Don't Want to Eat

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This has been going on for about a week and a half now. I keep finding myself feeling physical hunger, but nothing is appealing to me. I've been relying mostly on recipes I already knew and loved that happened to be Whole30 compliant, along with recommendations from friends. Everything I've made has been objectively tasty, so it's not an issue of lack of flavors or seasoning. It feels like a general food aversion, which is very very different than my life before.

So I'll get hungry, prepare food, sit down to eat, have a few bites, and... then I don't want to finish my meal. At all. I've had to override my body to force food down because I've also been struggling with exhaustion and weakness, and I always feel so much better after I eat a full meal. 

I know that I need to add more plated fats and starchy veg to help keep my energy up, but it is hard to imagine adding MORE to my plate when I can barely choke down a normal-size portion. 

Here's a typical day of meals:

Meal 1: some kind of baked egg and veggie situation (egg cups, frittata, etc.)

Meal 2: leftovers from dinner the night before (today, cilantro-lime cauliflower rice, beef barbacoa)

Snack (if needed): Marcona almonds, olives, hard-boiled egg

Meal 3: protein + veg (today, chicken cacciatore over spaghetti squash)

I know I'm not eating enough, especially veggies and fat like I mentioned above. Maybe I need to be spreading my fats from my snack to my meals? I worry about how long this will go on... as someone with a disordered eating history, the idea of feeling hungry and not wanting to eat feels really dangerous and not something I want to get used to.

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Because you have a history with disordered eating, this may be something you want to talk to a doctor or counselor about. The point of whole30 is to make you healthier, and it sounds like it may not be doing that for you right now. That is okay, if you need to stop, you can stop, there is nothing wrong with that, you need to do what will be healthiest for you.

If you choose to continue, you may need to try some different approaches to find what works for you. Do you think the size of a plate full of food is overwhelming? Maybe you would do better to do smaller meals, more often. Make sure each time you eat, you have some vegetables, some protein, and some fat, but if you feel more comfortable doing six small meals a day, do that. 

If it's not the size of the meals that is the issue, try to figure out what is. It may just be that the restrictive nature of whole30 isn't a good fit for you right now, and your brain needs to know that it can have any food it wants. Sometimes just saying, I can have cake (or whatever, cake is definitely my thing, yours might be pretzels or ice cream or beer or something else) if I want to, and then thinking about whether you really want it is enough for your brain to go, well, as long as I can have it when I do want it, right this moment I'm ok without it. But if you do this and decide, yep, I want cake right now, nothing else will do, then follow through with that, and then decide again at your next meal. 

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Shannon, thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. It's been over 10 years since my disordered eating behavior (I was never diagnosed), but I mentioned it because I'm committed to watching my thoughts and behaviors around food so that I can identify if I've been triggered again, and felt kind of a yellow flag go up when considering this appetite problem. I started Whole30 because my doctor recommended a Paleo-style diet for weight management and to reduce my blood pressure and triglycerides. I can tell that I've lost some weight and in a few months, I'll go back for blood work. I do plan to speak with her if this issue doesn't get better.

I appreciate your sensitivity to the restrictive nature of Whole30 and it's implications for someone who may have restricted in the past. I'm not finding myself missing any off-plan foods per se, but I think adopting the attitude of "this is just an experiment, I'm allowed to eat whatever I want," may help me to actually stick it out--as in, I'm choosing to see how eating this way affects me but if I find it isn't working I can do something else, rather than looking at it as making foods off-limits.

In other news, this afternoon I couldn't bring myself to eat the lunch I had prepared, and so ran out to Whole Foods for some (compliant) chicken soup. It is hitting the spot and I'm on my second bowl now :) I wonder if I've been trying to make meals TOO interesting, and what works for me right now is to just keep it simple? Either way, I'm really glad to not have to force this down and I can feel my energy perking up as I write.

Again, thank you!

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