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Almost Done With Day 17 and I Feel Nothing

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A little background information. I decided to do Whole30 for the anti-inflammatory benefits as well as to better my overall health and energy levels. Auto-immune diseases are common in my family, including myself so I wanted to see what this diet could do. I have psoriasis and I also suffer from hormonal acne randomly. I'm almost 30 years old and in my second year of medical school so stress is a common thing for me. I'm always tired and thought maybe this could help with that. I know that exhaustion is something that goes along with med school, but I wanted to make sure my diet wasn't contributing. Before Whole30, I would grab whatever I could get my hands on. I would eat fast food most days for both lunch and dinner. I would also skip breakfast or grab some kind of KIND or Kashi bar for my drive to school. I drank plenty of water before starting so that wasn't a concern for me. I also lifted weights (still do) out 5/6 days a week for 1:00 to 1:15 hours each time. I work out this way because I love it and it gives me time to decompress my brain after being in class all day. I'm not willing to compromise my work out schedule. I sleep around 6-8 hours a night. If I have time, I might take a nap if I didn't get much sleep the night before. I know my sleep can be better, but there's only so much I can do when I'm having to study so much.

Ok so now that you have my history, my problem is I'm not seeing any changes. I was really looking forward to this diet. I've learned about elimination diets in school and was happy to try it myself. I have been compliant through all of it. Even during those really tough times when my friends want to go to the brewery and they get the best-looking nachos you've ever seen and drink craft beer in front of you. Day 2-6 I had a terrible headache that never stopped, even after taking 400mg of Advil. Then it magically went away so I thought I was progressing through the program as expected. That seems to be the only thing that happened like it was supposed to. My acne hasn't cleared up at all. In fact, it looks worse. I still am craving anything sweet and sugary (this may be normal). Oh my gosh, do I want a freaking cheeseburger and a Dr. Pepper right now. I'm very tired when I wake up and I've been very restless when sleeping. I have a Fitbit that tracks my sleep and I usually have a total of an hour of awake time each night. I'm waiting for that Tiger's Blood moment but I don't think I'm going to get it. And I can't extend my experience because my 30th birthday hits right after my reintroduction period and I'm not willing to give up celebrating that for a diet.

I know someone is going to ask so here's what I typically eat in a day:
And let me add that I don't get hungry. I know someone is going to say I'm not eating enough but sometimes I have to force myself to finish my dinner.

2 Eggs. scrambled
1 tsp Avocado Oil, to cook the eggs in
3/4 cup Roasted Potatoes
(Sometimes I'll eat a cutie too, but not every morning)

(This is usually some meal from the Whole30 book or an online recipe. This week it's been a compliant chicken tikka masala so I can't tell you exact measurements of each ingredient.)
6 oz Chicken
Coconut Cream
Chicken Broth
A ton of spices
Cauliflower Rice (usually 1/2-3/4 cup)

Pre-workout Snack:
Apple Pie Lara Bar or the Lemon Lara Bar

Post-workout Snack:
Apple, diced
2 tbsp Almond Butter

1 Sweet Potato baked
2 tbsp Ghee
2 pieces Whole30 Approved Bacon
2 Eggs cooked in the bacon grease
2-3 tbsp Chives

If anyone could give me any insight, that would be great. At this point, I'm pretty upset that I gave up food that was super quick and easy (that also had zero clean up) for no results. I feel like all I do is cook and clean dishes (even when I'm prepping meals before) since I don't have a dishwasher. The only dishwasher in my house are my two hands. I'm going to be very disappointed if at the end of this I feel like I wasted my time.

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It may not be a matter of not eating enough from a volume perspective, but the proportions being off. All the veg you have listed is either starchy or, like, heavy. Might want to play around with swapping out all or part of one of those potato servings for a veg that's green. Cook some chard or kale with the bacon at dinner. 

Tweaking your pre- and post-workout "meals" may also help...you've not got any protein in there and protein/carb is the recommended pre/post-workout rather than carb/fat.

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I'm sorry to hear you aren't having any positive gains, especially when you're taking this on during such an intense time during your life! My initial impression is that you aren't eating enough, particularly protein and vegetables. It sounds like you have very long days including a pretty long duration, intense workout. And I'm adding it all up and here's what you had in a day: 

  • Protein: 4 eggs and 6 oz of chicken
  • Fat: nuts (in the form bars), 2 tbsp almond butter, 2 tbsp ghee, 2 slices of bacon 
  • Vegetables: ~4 cups, mostly potato 

I know you say you don't feel very hungry and you struggle to finish your dinner, but I see that list and think that of course I would feel exhausted only eating that much during a long, intense day. Of course, I understand everyone is different. So maybe changing up the composition of a few of your meals, as laura_jiggles suggested is a good place to start...

Are you familiar with the meal template? Ideally, you want a palm-sized serving (or two) of protein, at least one plated fat (cooking fat doesn't count), and 2-3 cups of vegetables at each meal. 

A few other recommendations that I see here frequently that may help are: 

  • Eggs, when they are your soul source of protein should be as many as you can hold in one hand, which is typically 3-4 for most people
  • Bacon counts as a fat for Whole30 purposes 
  • Cooking fat generally doesn't count because most of it stays in the pan
  • Nuts should be limited to one closed fist serving every couple of days (because they are bothersome for many people)
  • Pre-workout should be protein and fat 
  • Post-workout should be protein and carb-dense vegetables  

So maybe start by swapping out your pre- and post-workout meals (which will add some more protein to your day) and perhaps adding a bit more vegetables?

I wish you the very best and hope you find some NSVs! 

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