30 days later, still low on energy


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I started my Whole30 one month ago. I had eaten fairly healthy since the beginning of high school (I am now a sophomore in college), but there was still a lot of room for improvement. That's where eating paleo came in- My relationship with food has improved drastically. I am no longer in the terrible cycle of binging late at night, starving myself the next day, then binging again a few nights later. My cravings for sweets have practically disappeared, and I am appreciating healthier, fresher foods more than ever.

However, I am still waiting for that burst of energy. Even if my mind is clearer because I don't have that internal battle with food and counting calories anymore, my body is more tired than ever. I have always been very active (I was on a crew team in high school, I run, do crossfit, yoga, and in June I rode my bike from San Francisco to LA in 7 days). But since starting the Whole30, I just don't have the energy to go on long runs or bike rides anymore. I still love working out, so I do crossfit 5-6 times a week. But I honestly don't have the desire or the energy to do workouts longer than that. I need to start running more in order to train for a Spartan Race in September, but my energy levels- both while working out and in day-to-day living- just aren't there. I've read It Starts With Food, and I also read The Paleo Diet for Athletes. But I'm not sure what to do at this point.

Here's what an average day might look like:

Wake-up (8am)

Breakfast (8:15am): 2 poached eggs. Spinach and a tomato sautéed in olive oil. 1/3 avocado.

9am Crossfit WOD

Post Workout (10:15am): 1 sweet potato with ~3-4oz turkey.

Lunch (12pm): 8 oz grassfed ground beef stir-fried with onions, carrots, cauliflower, red pepper, ginger, garlic, and coconut aminos. 16oz kombucha.

Snack (4pm): 1cup cherries. Decaf iced coffee.

*Once a week I do a second workout (crossfit olympic lifting) at 6pm.

Dinner (7:30pm): 8oz roasted chicken. Salad with mixed greens, tomato, 1tbsp olive oil and 1tbsp balsamic vinegar. 1cup green beans roasted with ghee and lemon juice.

Snack (9pm): Herbal tea. 1-2cups berries

Go to bed (11:30pm)

Is there anything else I can do? Or do I just need to give it more time before I feel that "aha" moment? I'm planning on sticking with this way of eating for a long time, since it's helped my relationship with food so much. But I want to wait until I've reached that "aha" moment before I test out bringing dairy or grains back into my diet.

Note: I wish I could say "I finished my Whole30," but on day 15 I experienced a major bump in the road. Long story short, I am interning at a few restaurants this summer because I want to decide whether or not to go to culinary school after I graduate from college. I went to a very upscale restaurant to observe the kitchen for a night, and the head chef ended up being very intimidating and critical of me. I was scared that turning down samples of pasta, dessert, etc would make me seem uninterested in being a chef, so I ate it. (And felt sick afterwards!) So considering that bump in the road, I may only technically be on day 16... But I quickly returned to strict paleo the next morning.

Thanks for your help :)

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Depending on where you live, you might need vitamin D supplements. Always a good idea to check with your Dr. And get your levels tested before taking this, to make sure you aren't throwing yourself more out of balance. I live in New England and I have to take supplements year round. If I stop at all, there is a huge difference in my energy levels.

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I'm far from an expert, but you might not be getting enough calories. I consider myself fairly active, but your regimen puts mine to shame. I'm also probably smaller than you, and I'm definitely eating quite a bit more. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that, even though you're consuming enough for a sedentary individual on paleo, you're not getting enough fuel for all you do.

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Aberrantatavia- I already take a multivitamin every morning that has vitamin D. I also live in California, and since it's summer break I'm spending a lot of time outside in the sun. So at least at this point in the year, I'm not sure it is a vitamin D deficiency. I've also thought it might be anemia, but there is iron in my multivitamin, and I'm eating red meat at least once almost every day, so I'd be surprised if that were it!

InkblotJo- You're probably right, I may just need to eat more. I could probably start by making my breakfasts and post-workout snacks bigger? I'll give that a shot.

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I agree that your breakfast definitely needs to be bigger. Your post-WOD portions look okay-- though that really depends on how you feel afterwards. I actually eat starches with every meal rather than just post-WOD, though I know a lot of paleo people resist that idea. I also eat more fat than you do... coconut milk and butter, almond butter by the spoonful.

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I'm not doing anything quite as strenuous as 5-6 Cross Fit workouts a week, just running 3-5 times a week, and 2 kettle bell workouts and I eat more than you! I had a hard time figuring out the right balance to fuel my workouts, especially my long runs, during my first whole 30. I'm on my second and I think I have it figured out-I've made sure to add a serving of healthy fats to every meal and I eat sweet potatoes at least once a day. For me, it was the fats-I've felt better since I started paying closer attention to that. Good luck!

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