Energy levels


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Hi, I did look for answers about energy levels on here. I got some good new ideas for snacks and confirmation that I can grab a Lara bar if necessary (phew). I am on day 3 of my whole 9/30 and doing it with my daughter. I have a high metabolism and I'm very active (minimum of xfit x 5, karate x1,yoga x 5 , dance x 2 per week) . I like all of the food and probably ate 80% compliant before I started this , well maybe 75 =) Some staples that are a challenge for me to exclude (but I'm completely on board with doing so) are oatmeal with flax seed and greek yogurt (that I have with fruit and almonds) and also grapenuts with almond milk. I'm finding my energy levels are low, which is extremely abnormal for me. I am hoping it's my body getting used to this. Though I didn't do a lot of bread/pasta before I did do some; maybe 1-2 servings a day, if that.

So all that said. Question, is there a period of adjustment where energy levels are lower then return? Is it just the obvious that I might need to eat more? I don't eat a lot of protein (I supplemented before because I know this about me) but I am trying to work it in with some chicken breasts every day. I don't mix it with every meal ( but I can do that I suppose if I really need to). Also, I eat 6-7 x a day, small 'meals'

Thanks in advance. I'm very excited about this program. I like how it is making me very aware of everything that I'm eating. Having a high metabolism and being active, I tended to not pay too much attention other than I generally like to eat healthy. I think this will take it to another level and help me to be and live healthier.

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Yes, there's generally a period of adjustment, the length of which is dependent on how you were eating before. The sweet spot for things turning around is somewhere in the 10-14 day span.

That being said, it's very possible that with all the activity you're doing, you're not eating enough. It's hard to say for sure because you don't list what/how much you're eating, but it's definitely possible. A lot of people pull out the forbidden foods, but then forget to replace those calories with Whole30 compliant ones. Have you been eating lots of starchy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and beets? If you've been avoiding them, that may be the cause of the energy dips.

I'd try to hang in there a few more days, and then if things don't improve, try adding in more Whole30 friendly carbs.

As an aside, why aren't you eating a lot of protein? Just don't dig meat, or...?

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I really wasn't aware of my protein needs (and that they weren't being met) until about a month ago. I am okay with meat, I like it , I just don't eat a lot of it and it is hard to know where it comes from, which is becoming more and more important to me. But really, I think I kind of 'forget' to include it. I eat a lot of sushi (now sticking with sashimi only for this 30 days) and I was getting my protein mainly from almonds,yogurt,peanut or almond butter,tuna but I don't think enough of it. My average day before was something like grapefruit,yogurt with fresh berries and almonds,banana with pb or ab,oatmeal with fruit and nuts,black beans or cottage cheese. I would fill in with sushi or a generally healthy meal of a loaded (healthily) salad. But I would constantly stay about 80% full the way I ate. I did not eat near enough veggies ,maybe 3 servings. I am trying to up that (I like them, just used to other stuff I guess? and not used to them in such quantities as I need now). I'd have a protein shake (starting a month ago) after I worked out generally. I also definitely had things like cake or cookies or fresh bread or ice cream, but in pretty good moderation and never as a staple (though they do say chocolate cake for breakfast has eggs and flour and chocolate =-)

Thank-you for your insight. It's good to know about when the shift might come =) I will definitely hang in there. And try to work on getting more veggies in. I added carrots today and ate half a bag of the little ones =-) I like sweet potatos pretty ok, but not in big quantities. I can only eat a half a one then I'm just done. Beets (and salmon roe) is one of only two foods I just do not like. It's a shame because I know they're great for you.

Thanks again =) Karen

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  • 2 weeks later...

Renee, I just wanted to give you an update and thank you so much for your encouragement and feedback. So I'm on day 17 now. My energy levels did come back and I feel better than ever. I did eat fairly healthy before and probably 80% paleo. I'm pretty sure that it is the lack of breads/pasta/sugar that is making me feel even better than I ever have. I did get better about adding chicken/fish/beef to my diet a little more. Funny how that leaves me feeling more full. I still graze throughout the day on carrots or fruit ..but adding the sweet potato slices to snack on and eating chicken with a veggie fills me up more (not in a bad way, I still eat only til 80% full but I seem to stay full longer, I'm usually constantly hungry). I finally figured out a great recipe for a vinegarette and I made paleo mayo to put with tuna for emergency quick fixes. I also found that Lara bars are compliant and good for a quick fix when I do 2 activites back to back and don't have time to eat in between. I'm still loving cross fit ,too (started that right before I started the whole30). The only restaurants I trust are sushi places because I can just get sashimi. I have a business trip coming up that will be a little challenging but I am going to pack my dressing and some semi non-perishables and I will hit the grocery store for fruit and veggies when I get there. We'll go out to dinner but I already know how to handle that. Feeling great about this lifestyle.

I think the only way I may have 'cheated' is I've chewed gum (dentyne fire; the only sugar substitute thing I will put in my mouth..on whole 30 or not)...but just a few times. Other than that I'm living this by the letter and the spirit of it.

My energy levels returned around day 5 and continued to improve. I saw a dramatic, could not be missed, drop in weight between days 8 and 10. I don't hold any attachment to weight, it's just a number but I wanted to monitor this out of curiosity (and since weight has never held much weight with me ..oh that was bad , I felt okay using it as a tool). Anyway, I was very steady first 8 days. Then by day 10 , I dropped 8 lbs. I'm probably another couple of pounds lighter now, so I'm guessing about 10 lb drop. That was never my intent on this, but I'll take it. I always gain a few lbs in winter anyway since I'm not running. I've also dropped my body fat %, but I'm a little leary because I'm using a scale and the numbers it's giving do not seem right to me. I think I'll get a caliper test done just to verify.

It is pretty pricey to eat this way, but I think it's the cheapest health insurance you can buy. Thanks again for your help =-) Karen

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I am SO happy I found this post! I'm on day three and I feel like I've been hit by a bus! I am so tired I was dozing off at my desk at work today :S Admittedly as well as I usually eat I was probably only about 50% compliant with this kind of eating-style. I just looove rice. Love it. A lot. I've been off gluten for 2 months already so that's been fine but I do miss rice, pasta and my lactose-free milk. But I'm holding in there and it helped to read this. I'll hold out for day 10 as my "start to feel more energetic". Because of a back injury I can't exercise nearly as much as I'd love to so sometimes I go a whole week without anything terribly active. I'm hoping an eventual boost in energy may help. My main reason for going on this Whole30 journey was to see if it would help with the chronic inflamation in my lower back that causes a LOT of pain and mobility issues. Fingers crossed! 27 days to go!!

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Good luck to you Tracey, I think you are definitely onto something with this approach and I hope you find some relief. Part of me getting my energy back, I'm sure was eating protein with each meal and adding in more veggies in general and definitely eating sweet potatos/yams.

Sidenote Tracey, you might look into Bikram yoga. It definitely changed my life and can help with chronic pain of all sorts (if you do talk to the studio and tell them what you're experiencing before you start and don't push too hard =-) But I do think you're onto something here, too.

My whole30 will be completed this Tuesday. I can honestly say it will change the way I eat and approach food for the rest of my life , even though I will not be whole30 compliant (though I do intend to go on the whole30 once a year).

My dreaded business trip was this week. It was one of those killer, very long hours and eating at restaurants or on the job. I got a hotel with a fridge/micro and brought some paleo whole30 compliant mayo, ghee, a cinamon spice concoction, boiled eggs, baked sweet potato slices, tuna, and whole30 compliant balsamic vinagarette. It was only 3 nights, so I stocked up on fruit and veggies at the market when I got in. I ate out twice (prime rib/steak/sweet potato/salad minus the dressing) and brought my own 'condiments'. One mistake was that their 'steamed' green beans had some type of butter or oil on them =( I assumed steamed meant steamed (lesson learned about assumptions =) The rest of the time , I ate fruit, salads,eggs, tuna etc. And had raw almonds and bananas and sweet potatos for energy during the long hours. And I had some Lara bars 'just in case'. I was actually fine and very relieved it was so easy.

Still feeling better than I ever have and I will be very slow about adding things back to my diet and it won't be mindlessly or in the same quantities for some of it, most of it actually.

Thanks again, Renee =-)

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I LOVE this post! I am on day 8 now and FINALLY feel like I am turning the energy corner. I will admit, as much as I work out (5 days week of heavy lifting/minimal cardio/yoga) that I was not eating enough. That has been the hardest part for me. I was eating pretty much 80% Paleo before I did this, the hardest thing for me to eliminate has been my morning oatmeal. I am eating 3 eggs wtih spinach and then frying mashed sweet potatos in coconut oil, sprinkled with cinnamon for my post workout meal/breakfast.

I will also admit, that I never used to eat before I worked out and now I have to. I was faint on day 4. one egg and I am good to go.

My workout on Saturday was amazing. Better than I have felt in a long time.

Now if I can just do something about these headaches... :(

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I wish I could say that I felt better 3, 5 or 8 days in...I'm on day 21 and still waiting for this miraculous energy. I don't feel like I am eating too little---will be experimenting this week with increased protein and making myself go to sleep earlier. I certainly feel like I am getting enough fat-not shy about the coconut oil, ghee, avocados, and such. I have been avoiding fruit and starcy tubers though. I read that if I am trying to lean out that I should stay around 60 grams of carbs (I am a 5'1 female). I know we are not supposed to be focusing on weight (don't worry, not weighing myself or anything) but I am trying to get fat adapted and besides regular gym sessions of no more than an hour I work in an office (i.e. sedentary). If I add in some butternut squash or sweet potato will that slow down the fat adaptation process?

I feel ok in the morning but am getting a 3 o'clock slump that seems worse than I ever remember. I've felt improvements for sure, but I feel like my energy levels should have regulated a bit more by now.

Trying to get between 20-30 grams protein per meal, 2 cups of veggies and at least a TBL spoon of fat (sometimes more). I eat three meals a day with an afternoon snack of raw veggies and olives. Drinking tons of water.

Since I'm coming up on day 30 and still don't feel like I've experienced the "magic", I'm considering going for another 30 days. Thoughts?

Thank you for reading

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Hi Juni - What stands out to me the most after reading your post (and your waiting for higher energy levels) is your fat intake. You mention you feel you are getting enough fat, but also indicate only a TBL spoon of fat & sometimes more per meal (unless I misunderstood). It just seems to me that might be part of the issue. Maybe try increasing that a bit and see if that helps. Low energy when you are working out regularly as you mentioned may directly be related to the amount of fat (or lack thereof) you are consuming.

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Hey Summer-

I meant to say I usually add/cook in about a TBL spoon of fat per meal and add stuff like guacamole, nuts or coconut milk based sauces with relative abandon. I feel comfortably satisfied after my meals and am so happy to not feel stuffed. I think I need to start putting my daily intake into some kind of app that will analyze it for me. I feel like I am getting enough food but it can be hard to gauge when my appetite is less intense. I'm also getting hungry within about two to three hours so maybe I am not getting enough?

My boyfriend gently reminded me that when I first went Paleo in January of this year that I experienced a slump like this about a month in. Fell off the wagon around March to mid April so going into a strict Whole 30 may be bringing up the same symptoms I experienced the first time around....I guess we really do all have a different timing for this...

I think I noticed in another post of yours that you said you did two back to back Whole 30's. Do you recc it?

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kochamwino-what are your symptoms? As I try to unravel my own mystery the questions I am asking are as follows:

1. Am I eating enough? Do I need to adjust fat/protein/carb intake?

2. Am I sleeping enough?

3. Did I drastically increase my exercise routine? Am I allowing my body to adjust?

Like I said above I am trying to add more protein and sleep this week to see if anything improves

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Hi Juni!

I know what you mean about not feeling stuffed anymore, but perfectly satisfied. The beautiful thing about the Whole30 is not counting, weighing, or measuring food. I think just listening to our bodies is the most complete and reliable source that no other person or feature could provide. Maybe if you feel you are hungry so soon after eating, then maybe try increasing your protein, or protein and fat. I really believe that this is not a one size fits all situation, and that although we have a guide that provides a great baseline, we all will have to monitor how we feel to answer our own questions. It helps to collaborate too! :)

I did do a Whole 60, and only took a planned break at Easter to introduce, well, JUNK. I am back on the wagon in full force with no cheats and following the plan. I plan on making it a way of life and not counting the days anymore, but that is just where I am at. It doesn't mean I don't struggle and glare at people eating cupcakes with yummy looking frosting on top. I do. But, I am trying to remember that it is only me that has the control of what I put in my mouth and the benefits of eating this healthy are far more great than the short-time sugar goodness. Although, I will indulge again for sure at some point. :)

My boss the other day came and set an M&M on my desk and told me he would pay me $5.00 to eat it. What in THE world?!

Keep up the awesome work, and I am sure your “slump†is only temporary!! Really!!

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Thanks for the reply Summer-

That's hilarious about your boss! Isn't it interesting how crazy it drives people when you eat uber-healthy? I get the same kind of thing at my work but that story was on another level!

I just punched my food into the Paleo tracker and realized a few things:

A. I'm getting a healthy amount of calories for the most part (probably around 1400-1600/day)

B. My nutrient ratios are actually right where I wanted them but I'm still experimenting a little, my carbs may be lower than I thoguht on some days higher on others

C. My omega ratios are not so good though!

I'm going to start supplementing with Fish Oil again starting tonight.

I've had a few days where I've eaten some dried fruit that surely kicked me out of ketosis so I'm wondering if my energy fluctuations are reflecting the back and forth...has anyone experienced that? Is there any merit to that assumption?

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I'm on day 30 and I'm still totally exhausted all the time. It sucks.

I feel like i'm following all of the rules, and I feel great except for the energy thing. I'm trying to decide if I should keep at it for another 30, or maybe this just isn't for me.

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Katy-

That's a bummer...I know how frustrating it is when it seems like you are following the rules to a T but not getting the same results that everyone says will come. I believe in this thing though, so keep looking for solutions.

Perhaps if you describe what you're feeling in a more in-depth way, people can offer some possible solutions.

Best of luck!

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Juni,

We're about the same height (I'm 5'0) and I can tell you that at anything less than 90-100g of carbs a day I am miserable. Like fall asleep at my desk miserable. Too often we forget to add our "everyday" activities (for me, chasing children and cleaning house, etc.) to our exercise and underestimate what we need. Let us know how the carb and fish oil experiments turn out!

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Robin-

Thanks for that info! It's can be difficult for me to gauge somethings (like how many carbs I need) when I am a much smaller human than most. I have about 10% bodyfat to lose before I get to my ideal body comp so I've been watching the carbs and trying to keep on the lower end of Mark Sisson's carb curve. I'll experiment with some sweet potato and see how I feel closer to 90/100grams.

I'm still feeling some low-carb flu symptoms but have been forcing myself to go to bed really early, like 10-11 hours to catch up and I think it's helping. Started my fish oil supplementation last night again and my muscles don't feel quite so fatigued.

I will get this!

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I never got the miraculous energy levels that some talk about when I did my whole 30 back in February. However, I have remained 'paleo' and I have noticed that my energy levels have stayed much more consistent through the day. I don't get the afternoon slump like I used to, but it took a couple months for me to notice that, so it definitely didn't happen just within my initial Whole 30. Anyway, just wanted to point out that for me it seemed to take a while for my body to adjust, so definitely don't think about giving up just because your not seeing immediate results.

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Hey Y'all -

just wanted to report a happy update---I finished my Whole 30 last week and after two days of some off plan eating jumped back on. I'm not doing another "whole 30" per say, just adopting the guidelines because I like them. I'm incredibly happy to report that whether it was adding more protein and getting more rest and/or my body just finally balancing out, I am feeling GREAT!

I wouldn't say my energy is through the roof but it is good/steady and I really feel like my body has fat adapted because my clothes are getting more loose by the day, and I feel very satiated, blood sugar doesn't dip... The best part is my gym performance---I'm able to get lost in my workouts, be in the moment and just enjoy the push. Recovery has been super quick too. I've missed this place and so glad to be back!

So I'd like to say to anyone out there who was dealing with the same issues I had, don't give up! Tinker a bit and you'll get there!

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