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LesSand

Day 45 - Energy level peaked at around day 15, but back to lower levels

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I'm a 6-ft 38-yo man and I'm at day 45 of my Whole30 program.


 


I am incredibly happy with the results I've had so far. I have a better handle over my cravings, reduced mindless snacking, I went from 248 lbs to 235 lbs with very little exercise, am feeling generally healthier, but the two most remarkable results I've observed were joint pains that went completely away and - particularly - my energy level.


 


Between about day 10 and day 20 of the program, I felt incredible! I was jumping out of bed in the morning ready to go, I moved around faster, post-lunch crashes became a thing of the past, felt energized and mentally sharper than I did in many years! It still amazes me to this day the difference I and my wife noticed, and to date, it felt like the biggest "lifehack" I've ever come across.


 


However, since then, I've been gradually feeling less energized. I am not quite as lethargic as I was before I started the program, but am nowhere near where I was a couple of weeks ago. I haven't changed anything on my diet, am still following the program quite strictly and starting to incorporate a bit more exercise in my life (Pilates 2x/week, biking 5 miles to work 3x/week and an occasional 20mi bike loop). I also noticed I craved water when energy peaked more so than I do now.


 


I'm seriously craving that natural "high" I experienced and desperately finding a way to have it back. Has anyone else experienced this? Thoughts?


 


Thanks,


LesSand


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However, since then, I've been gradually feeling less energized. I am not quite as lethargic as I was before I started the program, but am nowhere near where I was a couple of weeks ago. I haven't changed anything on my diet, am still following the program quite strictly and starting to incorporate a bit more exercise in my life (Pilates 2x/week, biking 5 miles to work 3x/week and an occasional 20mi bike loop). I also noticed I craved water when energy peaked more so than I do now.

 

Am I understanding that you increase your activity level without increasing the amount of food you eat? That is what I'm reading from this and can be the answer to your question.

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I also think that the natural high some of us experience ("Tiger Blood") is a transitory experience, because a body tends to incorporate changes -- even good ones -- into a new homeostatic level. We are ecstatic at the beginning of a good change, but then it becomes the new normal, and so the ecstasy eventually becomes mundane. We long for it, the way we sometimes long for the flush of the initial stages of a love affair, or the first endorphin rush of a new exercise or activity, but it usually fades away as we get into a plateau.

 

But the plateau is important and has its own rewards: this is the everyday satisfaction of just "chopping wood and carrying water" after the initial hit of enlightenment. Try to enjoy where you are. The energy will come again, possibly when you make the ascent to the next change in your life. Meanwhile, by continuing with the changes you have made, you deepen them and make them more and more a part of you.

 

For the record, I don't think I ever touched the Tiger Blood stage. But I have been happy, which is not at all bad any way you look at it.  :)

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Thanks for your replies, Beth and Glenn.

 

I have started a food log to evaluate what I may be doing wrong, but I suspect lack of food is not the issue. I feel I have some quite satisfying meals. I may be overemphasizing protein and not paying enough attention to my carbs, especially at lunch and dinner.

 

I didn't realize "tiger blood" was a thing in the Whole9 community. Since then, I have read Melissa's article on it and her description matches what I felt temporarily quite accurately.

 

The last couple of days have been tough. I feel like I'm back to the lowest levels of energy and mental focus I had before I started the program. Weight doesn't seem to be creeping in, but everything else seems to be back at square one.

 

I hope it's only temporary.

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If you don't think that food is the issue, perhaps something else is going on that may be causing this? Food isn't the only factor in our energy levels: stress, lack of sleep, illness, even unhappiness may all have a role in it. I don't mean to suggest that you have to write about your state of mind or anything like that, only to consider that other things could be in play and this may not have much to do with your diet.

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Ohhh, I had a thought as I was waking up this morning. You said that you were upping your activity level and also that you may not have been eating enough carbs. The combination could totally result in lower energy levels. Dense carbs are needed to fuel you throughout the day, and their absence often leads to fatigue, depression, low energy level.

 

So if you haven't yet, maybe try adding or increasing your dense carbs: sweet potatoes, plantains, squashes, carrots, etc. See if this helps. And if your activity level is high enough, you may require a pre-workout (protein/fat) and post-workout (protein and dense carb) boost. See the template for details.

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I'll try these adjustments, thanks Glenn. I wondered whether I was overdoing carbs, and now I might be not consuming them enough.

 

One relatively recent change I introduced was have a larger breakfast so it becomes my main meal of the day, instead of lunch. I've been making smoothies with coconut milk, lots of kale, 1/2 an avocado (I'm down to 1/4 now), then some combination of oranges, a banana, mango, apple and strawberries, depending on the mood of the day.

 

Maybe I should reevaluate my distributions, I'll try the template. BTW, it mentions a "Carb Curve" - is this something described in the book?

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One relatively recent change I introduced was have a larger breakfast so it becomes my main meal of the day, instead of lunch. I've been making smoothies with coconut milk, lots of kale, 1/2 an avocado (I'm down to 1/4 now), then some combination of oranges, a banana, mango, apple and strawberries, depending on the mood of the day.

 

Maybe I should reevaluate my distributions, I'll try the template. BTW, it mentions a "Carb Curve" - is this something described in the book?

 

Big breakfasts are definitely the way to go, but... is the smoothie all you're having? First, smoothies are not encouraged in Whole30 because they don't satiate you and you're hungry again after a couple of hours. It's fruit-heavy, which means your body burns through the sugar fast and doesn't touch your fat reserves (which is what you want to be doing). Second, you need protein at every meal, and if the smoothie is all you're having, you're not ingesting any protein to start the day right.

 

Yes, definitely try having a template meal at breakfast (and every meal, actually): 1-2 palm-size portions of protein, fill the rest of your plate with veggies, some fat, limit your fruits to 1-2 serving at mealtimes. Going back to Whole30 basics is really the best way to increase your energy levels and maintain it for the long run.

 

It might help if you log your meals here for a few days so some of the mods and veterans can take a look at them and suggest tweaks.

 

Carb curve refers to the plot on a chart showing how much carbs is recommended for the amount of activity you're doing. It's in the book It Starts with Food by the Hartwigs. I think it's useful... but not as useful as the information your own body provides you.

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You know what? That's a good point about  smoothies. If I think carefully, I think I can trace this dip in energy levels to the time I started having them for breakfast.

 

I am using smoothies as a way to introduce more leafy vegetables in my routine. I usually have a good amount of protein for breakfast. Here's how a typical morning meal looks for me:

 

* 1 cup coconut milk

* 1/2 banana

* 1 whole orange (peeled)

* 1/2 avocado

* a bunch of kale

* a bunch of spinach

* frozen strawberries (occasionally frozen mangoes)

* 1 tsp matcha green tea

 

* 3 scrambled eggs

* 1 (compliant) chicken sausage

* 2 slices of uncured TJ turkey sausage

 

I thought something like this would be reasonably low in sugar due to my choices of fruit.

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You know what? That's a good point about  smoothies. If I think carefully, I think I can trace this dip in energy levels to the time I started having them for breakfast.

 

I am using smoothies as a way to introduce more leafy vegetables in my routine. I usually have a good amount of protein for breakfast. Here's how a typical morning meal looks for me:

 

* 1 cup coconut milk

* 1/2 banana

* 1 whole orange (peeled)

* 1/2 avocado

* a bunch of kale

* a bunch of spinach

* frozen strawberries (occasionally frozen mangoes)

* 1 tsp matcha green tea

 

* 3 scrambled eggs

* 1 (compliant) chicken sausage

* 2 slices of uncured TJ turkey sausage

 

I thought something like this would be reasonably low in sugar due to my choices of fruit.

 

You are having more fruit than we recommend in a day in your morning smoothie though. Why not saute the kale and/or spinach and scramble it with your eggs. 

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You could easily incorporate all those ingredients in to a non-smoothie breakfast (although I agree on the kale front - yuck!).

 

Fry off the sausage and greens (broccoli would be nice, too), and then make an omelette with the eggs, and fill with the cooked meat and vege and avo, and have one piece of fruit on the side, and half the coconut milk in your morning coffee. Boom! And if you pre-cook some sweet potato, and saute that with the greenery, that will up the carb level if you still want to experiment with that.

 

Or just do the whole lot as a scramble and chuck the avo on top. And hot sauce - it makes everything taste better, even kale!

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In short, just because it doesn't taste as good. :-)

 

 

Well when you cut the sugar of the fruit that makes sense. I like to saute my kale in ghee or bacon fat and I put a generous sprinkle of sea salt on it which I thinks helps. Once you cut down on the sugar for a while you will find you enjoy the other flavors more. Taste wise I definitely prefer the kale to the spinach in my eggs.

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