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Low energy after mild exertion days 14 though 40

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I'm 46, male, 5'10, a cyclist, and weighed 160 lb at the start of my Whole30 (152 on day 40).

 

I hit an energy wall on day 14, after low intensity playing outside with my son.  I just wanted to go inside and rest.  I assumed that was "normal" for that stage, so didn't make any changes.

 

But this type of reaction has persisted, so I decided to extend my Whole40 to see if I would get through this.  A few more recent examples:

Day 35: Went bowling with 2 others and bowled 2 games.  I was exhausted from bowling!

Day 38: Did 1 set of 50 push-ups before meal 1 (probably took 75-90 seconds).  After the meal, was starting my PT exercises and wanted to go back to bed!

 

Am I doing something wrong, or do I just need to keep going a while longer until I get my energy back?

 

On the cycling side, I have only been doing short rides (60-90 minutes) during my Whole30, partly because I didn't want to overdo it, but also because I'm recovering from an injury.  I've noticed that on some of the rides, I feel like a slug for at least half the ride, but feel fine for the final part of the ride.  Day 39 was one such ride, where there was a slight headwind on my way out, and I felt like I was going to die.  My times were the worst ever.  When I would push it hard for 15-20 strokes to make it through a stale green light, it felt like I could hardly keep going after that. After I turned around, though, at around the 35-38 minute mark, I started feeling better and had best or second-best times in many sections on the way back.  I wouldn't say that I had gobs of energy, but I was able to ride at a higher sustained pace.

 

I haven't tracked my food daily over these last 40 days, but I can give you what I've had for the last 2+ days, plus a sampling of foods I've had the rest of the time.  Most of my food has come from the Well Fed and Well Fed 2 recipes.

Day 38

Meal 3

  • Large helping Well Fed 2 Italian Pork Roast
  • 1 C Cauliflower "Rice" Pilaf (no actual rice in there)
  • sm serving fruit salad

Day 39

Meal 1 (finished maybe 15 minutes pre-ride):

  • 1/3 of a large sweet potato, julienned and cooked in gobs of ghee (2-3T?)
  • 2 eggs, fried in ghee
  • 1 med banana
Meal 2
  • LARGE helping Italian Pork Roast (LOTS of fat in there)
  • 3/4 C Roasted Carrots
  • 3/4 C Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
Snack
  • 1/4 C Pork Roast
  • 1 C mixed blackberries and blueberries
  • 9-10 raw almonds
Meal 3
  • Large helping Well Fed Chicken Nanking (chicken, green beans, sweet potato)

Late Snack

  • 1/2 C Pork Roast
  • handful of almonds
  • handful of pistachios
  • handful of dried cranberries (GAH!  These had added sugar!  My first slip.)
 
Day 40
Meal 1
  • 2 C Pork roast
  • 1 C Spaghetti Squash
  • 3/4 of a banana
  • 1 large strawberry
Meal 2
  • 3 1/2 C Chicken Nanking (chicken, green beans, sweet potato)
  • 1 large banana

Snack

  • 7 Strawberries

Meal 3

  • Two 1" pork meatballs
  • Well Fed Country captain chicken (3/4 of an extra large chicken breast; 3/4 C veggies and sauce (bell peppers, onion, green onion, chicken broth, sm amt of raisins, sugar free bacon, almonds, coconut oil)
  • 1.5 C spinach salad with chicken, egg, cashews, avocado, onion, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice
 
Over the rest of the 38 days, I've eaten a variety of pork, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, and veggies like roasted carrots and cauliflower, spaghetti squash, spinach salads, lettuce salads, lettuce wraps, onion, and lots of avocado.  Cooking (and roasting) is mostly with coconut oil or ghee.

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You're not eating enough.

 

A couple of things jump out at me:

1. Your meals do not follow the meal template http://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf and seem on the small side to me. For instance, I'm eating three eggs in one sitting, and I'm a 5'2" female. A serving of eggs when it's your protein source is the number you can hold in one hand . I could probably hold four at a push. I reckon you could too, and that's just for starters. I'm eating 2-3 cups of veg, and fat on top of that - and I don't count the oil that I've used for cooking as fat as most of it stay in the pan...
2. You're snacking - which reinforces the fact that you're not eating enough.
3. You're eating *a lot* of fruit & nuts - the fruit in particular can play havoc with blood sugar levels


I think you need to re-visit the meal template to ensure you're eating as per the recommendations - and don't be afraid to go large on those portions & see how you feel after a couple of days of eating more.

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You're not eating enough.

 

More food is needed here; more vegetables at every single meal; more protein and fat at many of them. Follow the template at a minimum. Commit to doing so consistently and I think you will see this issue resolve itself.

 

 

EDIT: also, where is your pre- and post workout food? If you've been skipping that, stop. It's particularly important in your context.

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Thanks!  I will make some adjustments and see how it goes.  Couple questions, though:

1) There isn't much fat left in the pan after cooking the sweet potato hash I had this morning, so I imagine most of that fat counts, but does the fat in eggs count, too?  This post seems to suggest otherwise, but when I plugged today's meal one into MyFitnessPal, it said it was 58% fat, 17% protein, 25% carbs: (216 g sweet potato fried in 20g ghee, 4 jumbo eggs fried in 5g ghee, 91 grams roasted carrots, 50g avocado (1/2 a small one)). So did I need to add the avocado to this meal?

 

I'm confused about the pre and post wo meals, given that I typically ride my bike to and from work 2 days a week which involves about 75 minute of moderately high level of exercise each way.  I leave very early in the morning, and I get home at a time typical for meal 3.  So how many meals should I have on those days and when?  Would my pre-wo meal in the morning essentially be my meal 1?  There's not any extra time to do 2 meals.  If so, would that pre-wo meal be smaller than a usual meal 1?

 

Assuming I add a post-wo meal after I get to work, then a meal 2, then do I add another pre-wo meal before the ride home.  I get home around dinner time, so does my post-wo meal become meal 3.  If not, how much do I space out the evening post-wo meal and meal 3?

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Thanks!  I will make some adjustments and see how it goes.  Couple questions, though:

1) There isn't much fat left in the pan after cooking the sweet potato hash I had this morning, so I imagine most of that fat counts, but does the fat in eggs count, too?  This post seems to suggest otherwise, but when I plugged today's meal one into MyFitnessPal, it said it was 58% fat, 17% protein, 25% carbs: (216 g sweet potato fried in 20g ghee, 4 jumbo eggs fried in 5g ghee, 91 grams roasted carrots, 50g avocado (1/2 a small one)). So did I need to add the avocado to this meal?

 

I'm confused about the pre and post wo meals, given that I typically ride my bike to and from work 2 days a week which involves about 75 minute of moderately high level of exercise each way.  I leave very early in the morning, and I get home at a time typical for meal 3.  So how many meals should I have on those days and when?  Would my pre-wo meal in the morning essentially be my meal 1?  There's not any extra time to do 2 meals.  If so, would that pre-wo meal be smaller than a usual meal 1?

 

Assuming I add a post-wo meal after I get to work, then a meal 2, then do I add another pre-wo meal before the ride home.  I get home around dinner time, so does my post-wo meal become meal 3.  If not, how much do I space out the evening post-wo meal and meal 3?

The eggs plus the cooking fat may be enough for you. Were you satisfied for 4-5 hours? If so, perfect quantity. If you got hungry early, try adding some additional fat next time. We really discourage macro trackers because they are arbitrary numbers based on someone that isn't specifically you. They also cause you to not pay attention to your energy, mood, stability, endurance, sleep, etc.

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Yes, I felt good until my next meal, about 4.25 hours later. The tracker was just because I was curious about the fat. I haven't been using it.

I've enjoyed the challenge of trying to read my body on my own, but clearly have been off track.

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I'm confused about the pre and post wo meals, given that I typically ride my bike to and from work 2 days a week which involves about 75 minute of moderately high level of exercise each way.  I leave very early in the morning, and I get home at a time typical for meal 3.  So how many meals should I have on those days and when?  Would my pre-wo meal in the morning essentially be my meal 1?  There's not any extra time to do 2 meals.  If so, would that pre-wo meal be smaller than a usual meal 1?

 

Assuming I add a post-wo meal after I get to work, then a meal 2, then do I add another pre-wo meal before the ride home.  I get home around dinner time, so does my post-wo meal become meal 3.  If not, how much do I space out the evening post-wo meal and meal 3?

 

This is really something you will need to test out for yourself, but my two cents: if you can eat your meal #1 before your ride without consequences (ie. stomach troubles during the ride). I would do that, no pre-workout snack, just a full template meal#1. Once you get to work, try eating a Post-WO snack of protein and starchy vegetables (like chicken breast and sweet potato). This is typically a smaller serving, like 1/2 palm of protein. Keep it low in fat so it is quick to digest. Have meal #2 as usual. Then, shortly before you leave work, have a pre-workout snack of protein and fat (something small, like a hard boiled egg). Depending on how you are recovering, it might be fine to just have meal #3 when you get home, but if you are having issues with muscle soreness, etc. have another portion of lean meat and starchy veg (on the small side) within 1/2 hour of getting home. Meal #3 comes after.

 

Does that make sense? To be honest I think you are one who just needs to eat more in general, but the workout recommendations may help structure that food for you.

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