In order for this series on my Whole30 experience to be complete, I unfortunately need to write about the negative times as well as the good times. Sure, it was exciting to discover a new food adventure which opened up my imagination to some new meal ideas and recipes, but at the end of the day that isn’t what the experience was all about. I was signing up for a healthier body, more energy, clearer skin, and better sleep.
I already mentioned that during Week One I really felt my energy wane…like, REALLY wane. To the point that I was barely making it through a work day before coming home and almost immediately passing out on the couch. My workouts suffered and my evening sleep suffered.
In reading through the It Starts With Food book and checking the forums on the Whole9 website I learned that this energy zap is not uncommon and was just due to my body adjusting to the extreme clean eating. Everyone convinced me that more energy was just around the corner. Great right?! Since that was one of the reasons I did this in the first place I sucked it up and waited for the fun to begin.
By week three I still wasn’t feeling much better…I wasn’t going to the gym at all…just taking a few longer walks with my dog…and I was still needing a lot of extra sleep. (Thankfully my sleep had gotten much better by this point.) After talking to a nutritionally knowledgeable co-worker I decided that the lack of carbs (outside of fruits and veggies) was doing me in. She suggested that I start adding even more yams, carrots, beets, and other carb dense veggies to all of my meals…in addition to the main daily baked yam at breakfast. I fully agreed with her and gave that a go.
I felt like it worked for a couple of days, and while some of my energy returned my mood went down, down, down. By that third weekend I was SO incredibly cranky, and felt downright blue. What an awful feeling! I had definitely hit the ‘wtf am I doing this for’ wall! I just faked my way through a couple of days, and told Michael that I wasn’t going to be very good company. When I wasn’t just irritated by life, I felt sad and depressed. I came thisclose to quitting on Day 21…those feelings sooooo were not worth it.
But…my desire not to quit ended up trumping those blues and I pushed on. It took a couple of days for that mood to pass, but it did pass. I never did feel super-duper-awesome after that, but at least I wasn’t ready to cry or kill at the drop of a hat. It was not a pleasant emotional place to be.
By the time I got to the final days of my Whole30 experience I did start to feel better…and maybe if I’d gone an extra week or two things really would have turned around for me…but maybe not. As soon as I started off-roading by adding a bit of bread and cheese back into my diet I really felt my energy kick back in. (Of course, that came with the trade off with the effects of cheese and bread!)
So now, two weeks out of the W30 haze, I do know that there were GREAT things about the program and so much that I do want to incorporate into my life. I still haven’t brought back legumes, and probably never will…I’m enjoying being relatively pain-free. And I can tell you that gluten makes my face break out, and too much dairy upsets my tummy. Those things are certainly worth addressing.
Now that my emotions have levelled out and most of my gym mojo has returned I will be spending some time getting things figured out, so I can do what is right for me and my body.
I’d love to hear from anyone else that had this kind of experience with Whole30, or while transitioning to a Paleo diet. Drop me a comment or an email, please.