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Day 12 - struggling with panic and depression


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I'm really having a hard time and need some support.  I have been sugar-free for most of the last 23 years and have eaten only "brown" grains (as opposed to "white stuff') for the last 10 years.  I'm having some health challenges and my doctor suggested I do this food plan.  I didn't feel like this plan would be a huge shift for me, since my food is already pretty clean.  I felt really good for the first week.  But on day 9 I had a really BAD panic attack - in a way I haven't had in many, many years.  I think I got too hungry before dinner and it just escalated.  Anyway - since then I am having a really difficult time with feeling depressed around 4pm - the "pain of the whole world" kind.  This is something I haven't struggled with in over 30 years, and it doesn't make ANY sense to me that it is showing up now.  Ack!!  I have been wondering if it's related to the early darkness at 4pm.  Not sure.

Breakfast - 2 eggs, 2 cups of veggies (onions, peppers, spinach, cabbage, etc.), 1/2 avocado, 1/2 a sweet potato

Snack (no matter how much I eat I'm still hungry at 10:00) - 1 oz cashews, 1/4 sweet potato

Lunch - 1 palm of protein (today it was chicken), 2 cups of carrots, snap peas, jicama, 10 macadamia nuts, 1 banana

Dinner - 1 palm of beef, 2 cups salad with olives, 3 oz berries with coconut cream

I am uncomfortably full after meals - I would stop eating long before this quantity, but want to get all my veggies in. 

Also - I am NOT trying to lose weight (sorry - I know that sounds weird!).  I started at 121 pounds and do not want to go below this weight. 

I would love some help!  Thanks so much.

Dawn

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I'm sorry you're having a rough time. 

 

This article might be helpful for you: Keeping Weight On During a Whole30 has tips for those not looking to lose weight. 

 

Whenever depression and anxiety is mentioned on the forums, the general recommendation is to increase starchy vegetables. From personal experience, I know that my mood is lower when I haven't had starchy vegetables in a couple of days. I know that you say you're uncomfortably full after meals, but you might benefit from adding more starchy vegetables. I'm not sure how your vegetables are prepared for each of your meals, but you can eat a lot more cooked vegetables than raw (think of how much the volume of spinach goes down when you throw it in a pan to cook it -- it can go from a huge handful down to less than a cup). So if you're wanting to get more veggies in without feeling uncomfortably full, you might try having cooked ones instead of raw.

 

A serving of eggs is as many whole eggs as you can hold in your hand, so you probably need more than two to have enough protein in your breakfast.

 

If you need to eat a snack, make it a mini meal of protein, fat, and vegetables, and for Whole30 purposes, nuts are a fat, not a protein. So instead of cashews and sweet potato, have a hardboiled egg and sweet potato, or chicken or whatever meat you have left over and sweet potato -- and add some fat -- some mayo, or some nuts, or put some coconut oil on the potato -- whatever sounds good.

 

Three meals a day is the recommendation because of how it affects your hormones, but if you truly cannot eat enough at each meal to stay satisfied for 4-5 hours between meals, it is okay to have a mini meal. Over time, you may find that you can eat more at each meal and won't need the snack anymore.

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The banana at lunch is not going to do anything great for your mood... and may be setting you up for a blood sugar crash in the afternoon, before you can get your dinner fixed.  This would very much contribute to anxiety/panic.  Also, I don't see any FAT with lunch.  I would highly suggest replacing that banana with a generous serving of fat and/or extra protein.  Fat helps keep us level and steady -- the sugar in fruit takes us UP and DOWN.  

 

Agree about your snack needing to be a mini-meal.  Really NEEDS to be.  Protein+fat+veggies.  At the very least, add a hard-boiled egg to that, or 1/2 can tuna, compliant deli meat or jerky... you get the idea.   ;)

 

Edit:  I went back and read your post again, and I see you do have some macadamia nuts with lunch, which are fat.  I still suggest MORE fat and maybe more protein, to help you last through to dinner.  

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Thank you both SO much for responding - it helps me not feel so alone!  These are very helpful suggestions and I appreciate them.  I was reading through the Forum yesterday and had the same idea about 2 eggs not being enough for breakfast.  And thanks for the ideas about my snack - somehow I had missed that!  :) I've never been able to go through the morning without a snack and I have this hope that Whole30 will help.  But I think I need to go slowly and gently with my body and try not to make it freak out!  I would LOVE to be able to just eat 3 meals a day!

 

Shannon - thanks for the link - I will go read it now!

I was realizing this morning that I have completely lost my appetite.  NOTHING sounds good.  I'm eating because I'm crashing, not because I "feel" hungry.  I was reading on the Timeline that this may be a "normal" phase - some people do lose their appetite during this time - so hopefully I will get through this.

Thanks again!  (I'll send you an update!)

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I have nothing to add to the stellar advice you already received. Just wanted to say that you live in a simply gorgeous part of our beautiful state and I hope you got out and enjoyed that sunshine the last couple of days. Our dark wet winters don't help at all. If you think SADD might be a factor I'd highly encourage a HappyLight and when you increase those eggs try to make sure they come from pastured chickens to boost your vitamin D. 

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Thanks Bethany!  :) I do feel SO blessed to live here.  AND - it's cold and dark sometimes!  I haven't found myself affected by SADD in past years, but I did drag out my Lightbox this morning!  Thanks for your support!

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LOL Ladyshanny!  I'm definitely walking the dog in the sun this morning - we could see the sun reflecting off the high rises in Vancouver this morning - very cool! 

 

I have felt so crummy lately that I haven't wanted to move off the couch.  But I switched up my breakfast protein - I had chicken sausage AND an egg this morning, plus 1 thumb of coconut oil and a quarter of an avocado (plus all my veggies).  I am feeling SO MUCH better!  I can hardly believe it.  I feel like "me" again.  I'm a little scared I'll crash again this afternoon, but it remains to be seen.  I am hopeful I'm over the worst part.  Thanks again for all your kind support!  I would still be struggling if it wasn't for you ladies!

Dawn

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But I switched up my breakfast protein - I had chicken sausage AND an egg this morning, plus 1 thumb of coconut oil and a quarter of an avocado (plus all my veggies).  I am feeling SO MUCH better!  I can hardly believe it.  I feel like "me" again.

I am so glad to hear this!   Fat & protein is where it's at...  for mood, especially, in my experience.  :)

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Thank you Brewer5!  I think I'm starting to get the whole "fat and protein" thing!  :) And the tip to eat my protein and fat FIRST, and then all the veggies has really helped.  I have a question on fruit - I get the whole "mess with your blood sugar" concept, so would you recommend I just leave fruit out altogether?  I only ever eat fruit with a full meal (yes - I learned THAT lesson the hard way :D), but should I just not have it at all right now?  Thanks again for all your help!

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Fruit can be a tricky one, and highly individual.

 

If your goal is to keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day -- thereby, hopefully avoiding the anxiety/panic feeling that can be associated with blood sugar issues (which is what it sounds like to me, crashing before you can have your dinner) -- my educated opinion is that you should either avoid it altogether for now, OR save it for evening.

 

Yes, I am recommending fruit before bed (IF you are going to have it), which may be contrary to everything you've heard.   ;)  I say, switch things around like this and see how you feel.  There are lots of folks doing programs like Carb Nite and Carb Backloading (John Kiefer) who ONLY consume their carbs in the evening, and have great results with this.  According to Kiefer's research, carbs are not only better tolerated in the evening, but have the best effects in the evening, as well.

 

EDITED to say:  I am not endorsing Kiefer's programs in any way.  I mention his research and his work so that anyone out there reading this post knows that I am not just pulling this stuff out of nowhere.  Whenever I try to help someone, it is based on my own experience and the research I have done -- which, in this case, includes both of Kiefer's books, as well as every podcast, as well as a great deal of time spent on the forums gathering information and processing it.  This is my disclaimer:  Please do not go to the sites I have mentioned and think that I am telling anyone to abandon their Whole 30 and eat junk.  Whole 30 rocks -- I have recommended the book and the program again and again, and I will continue to do so.  I have completed two of my own, and I still pop in from time to time to try to help others with all I have learned along the way.  I do not hand out advice lightly, and I would never want to steer someone wrong.

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I'd heard on MDA recently that carbs at night are better used for creating precursors to sleep hormones (or something like that).  But I just went and looked at Carb Nite and some of the other carb backloading programs and they are about as far from Whole30 as you can possibly get...both in content of what they tell you to eat on your "Carb Nite" and in how they want you to eat the rest of the week (no more than 30g carbs for the day...which is the equiv of one small piece of fruit).

 

I think moving some carbohydrates to the back of the day is definitely a reasonable and healthful tweak that people can make....but just wanted to caution on that being the ONLY smart thing about these carb backloading programs.

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and they are about as far from Whole30 as you can possibly get

 

 

ladyshanny, I respectfully disagree.  

 

I am quite familiar with the programs, and I have done my own experiments with all of them -- Whole 30, CN, CBL.  I have read Jimmy Moore's book, Keto Clarity, and I am now reading the work of Phinney & Volek, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.  I am also now in a state of nutritional ketosis, and have been for about 4 weeks.  

 

I could do a ketogenic Whole 30 if I wanted to -- easily.  You can do CN and/or CBL Whole 30-style, also.  People do "clean" backloads using starchy carbs all the time.  You don't HAVE to eat junk.

 

We all have our own individual carb tolerance.  Some people feel better with more, some people feel better with less -- WAY less.  What it comes down to is experimenting and figuring out for ourselves, what role dietary carbohydrate plays in our lives -- how much, how often, and yes, at what time of the day.

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I get that and I take your disagreement respectfully as well.  I guess where I was going with it is that for a lot of people who come to Whole30 with years of dieting and restricting and timing and portioning, the Whole30 is a freedom from all of it.  It's eating food when you're hungry and eating what nourishes you.

 

For absolute certain there are some people such as yourself and to some extent myself as well, that are willing and able and ready to tweak their intake to get to the place that their body is absolutely optimal.

 

I would just be fearful of quoting these programs without a disclaimer because the first things you see when you google them (which most people will do before they buy the book or dig any deeper) is a bunch of restricted days and then a bingey night.  And in the few articles that I read by the guy who trademarked "Carb Nite" is that he actually recommends NOT carbing on starchy vegetables because it doesn't work as well.  I can't copy and paste from work otherwise I'd give you the link.

 

I think there is so much room for disagreement and different view points in what is healthful and each person's prescription of that is different.....

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I would just be fearful of quoting these programs without a disclaimer because the first things you see when you google them (which most people will do before they buy the book or dig any deeper) is a bunch of restricted days and then a bingey night.

 

Thank you.  I have edited my original post and I will be more careful with my wording from now on.  ;)

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Great discussion!  I have a long history of trying different food programs and one of the things that always frustrates me is when what "works for everyone else" doesn't work for me (which seems to happen a lot).  So the thing I hear you both saying that I love is "try it and see how it works with your body."  I really appreciate hearing other people's experiences and what works and doesn't work for them, but I'm loving the Whole30 approach of "it's your body - feed her what she needs."  So I think I'm going to play around with this.  I'm shocked that I don't miss fruit for breakfast (since I have always been a fruit breakfast eater), but I think I could live without it for both breakfast and lunch.  I'm going to try that for a while and see how it works.  Thank you!!

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Hi - I wanted to give you all a Day 21 update.  My anxiety and depression are GONE.  Yay!  Lasted about 6 days and then just disappeared.  I was very prepared to feel bad physically during my Whole30, but not for the intense emotional/mental reaction.  In any case, I am feeling SO much better and I am grateful.  I am sleeping better, which is a miracle, and I am noticing that I am more "stable" in my moods.  I had a VERY stressful day at work last Thursday and I could feel the "meltdown" coming on . . . . but it just never arrived.  I just went home and had dinner.  LOL.  Seems really funny now.  I wanted to report the shift and to say thank you again for all the help you provided when I was in crisis.  Grateful!

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