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Day 17 - Intense muscle pain


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Hi there. I'm on day 17 and everything was going pretty well, even in the early days. I'd stopped consuming refined sugar in any form a few weeks before starting which I think made it all easier.


Then, this morning, I woke up with bad muscle pain in my hips and thighs which became almost excruciating and has been with me on and off all day. The only other time I've ever had something similar (apart from muscle pains caused by the flu) was earlier this year when I was attempting a few days fasting (I often do some intermittent fasting and I wanted to try a longer fast), and I had the same thing on the fourth day of the fast and had to give up.


I really don't want to give up the Whole30 before I've finished - I've actually been enjoying it - and I was thinking of making it a WholeUntilXmas, but I don't know what to do. The things I've tried today are:


- eating a banana (for the potassium)

- taking magnesium supplements

- dissolving some salt in my mouth


They might have helped a little, but the pain - although not as intense as at other times today - is still present. In case it might be related, the starchiest thing I'd had since I started was the sweet potato I had last night.


Has anyone else had this problem? Any ideas as to solutions? I'm worried that I could somehow cause some damage.

Any advice would be much appreciated!!!

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Sorry to hear you're in pain - it could potentially be lack of salt/magnesium/potassium like you've suggested, but it may take longer than a day to be completely pain free.


what is your salt intake like in general? do you salt your food with a good quality salt? if not, start. you actually need quite a lot of salt - i'e read to aim for 1/4-1/2 tspn for every litre of fluid you consume through food and drink. perhaps you've had a few days of less salt consumption or more fluid consumption?


do you take magnesium regularly? low magnesium is often the cause of muscle cramps...

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When you say that you have had similar pain during periods of fasting in the past, that makes me concerned you are not eating enough now and your body has begun to react to inadequate calories. I also wonder about how active you are. If you are exercising and not eating enough, you could be creating a lot of stress for yourself. So, what are you eating? How much are you eating? Where are you with reference to the meal template? http://whole9life.com/book/ISWF-Meal-Planning-Template.pdf

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Sorry to hear you're in pain ... low magnesium is often the cause of muscle cramps...

Hi Amber


Thanks very much for your reply! I think my salt intake is pretty normal. I've never tried to consciously keep it low or high and since all the research shows that salt intake is pretty constant in all population groups so that there seems to be an average amount that we naturally gravitate to, I reckon that my salt intake is pretty normal. The only thing is that since I am eating no "food without brakes", I am eating to appetite, so I am eating less, which could mean less salt. Also the salt I use is just a sea salt from the supermarket - I don't know if it's processed or not. I will get a good quality salt today.

Re: magnesium. I don't normally take a magnesium supplement. I took some yesterday specifically for the muscle pain.

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When you say that you have had similar pain ... reference to the meal template? 

Hi Tom,


Thanks to you too, for your reply! I haven't had "similar pain during periods of fasting" plural. I've had the same pain just the one time (flu symptoms aside), during the only prolonged fast I have tried, on the fourth day. My body was definitely accessing its fat stores by then (all the signs were there) and so I wondered at the time whether the pain had something to do with the rapid release of some toxic substances that had been stored in the fat.


I think I am eating plenty of food, although I tend to have two meals a day rather than three - I think it is much healthier and it is something I have done for some time. (I'm not hungry in the mornings so breakfast becomes brunch - there's also plenty of research to indicate that the whole breakfast fixation is a bit of a myth.) The difference now is that I'm not having trigger foods, so I seldom go back for seconds and never for thirds or fourths. The biggest change from how I was eating before Whole30, is no dairy or wine. Sugar I had already cut, and I've been keeping fruit to a minimum for the time being, until I can well and truly feel confident about the sugar addiction I've been struggling with for decades. I was eating some bread and pasta before Whole30, although trying to avoid it, and some legumes.


My exercise is not too strenuous - mainly walking and some pilates.


Some examples of my meals are:

- large omelette with sausage (meat and spices only - no additives or fillers), peppers and carrots cooked in olive oil and accompanied by a large green salad with tomatoes and lashings of olive and good quality vinegar

- large beef steak with boiled broccoli, cauliflower, courgettes and wild greens with lashings of olive oil and garlic, and some green salad, followed by a baked sweet potato heated up in coconut oil and sprinkled with coconut and cinnamon.


In fact, those were the meals I ate the day before the pain started. Oh, I just realised I do have breakfast of sorts - black coffee with clarified sheep's butter and coconut oil. As you've probably gathered, I don't skimp on fat and never will! Also, I always eat at least till I'm satisfied, but as I indicated above, since I am not eating "food without brakes", I'm not eating when I'm not hungry. In case it is of interest, I have lost 2 kg since I started Whole30 - current BMI 26.1.


I still have pain today.

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My concern that you might not be eating enough has fallen and I am not confident I have a clue about why you are having muscle pain. That said, I would suggest a few things to make sure you experience what a Whole30 has to offer and not a modified version.


You might try eating food within an hour of waking - a real breakfast - and then two more meals later in the day. There are hormonal reasons for eating early and then eating again every 4-6 hours. The Whole30 does not require three meals per day, but strongly encourages it. 


You mention large portions. If you mean the same thing I do when you say large, then you are probably eating enough calories. If your definition of large is what some I have encountered call large, you might not be eating enough. :) The meal template of course calls for eating at least one palm-size portion of protein three times per day. If you were eating two meals, you would still need to eat three palm-size portions. And you might need 6 palm-size portions. 


Some people take a while before eating to satiety works well for them. You might be one of those people who is sated too easily. 

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