ADHD meds, whole30, self doubt


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so i'm doing my first whole30 and just finished day 10 (and am wide awake at 3:15 am ahahaha). definitely noticing an improvements etc.

 

however.

 

i've been doing this, the whole time, while taking the ADHD drug vyvanse (30 mg, prescribed by my psychiatrist). now it's not too much of a pronounced side effect (nothing like adderall's that is) but as it is a stimulant, it tends to curb my appetite. in fact, before i started the whole30, on days i didn't take it, i would binge eat. i feel like it's probably psychological rather than physical, but knowing i've taken the drug does curb my appetite a lot, and as someone with a history of eating disorders (why don't i take adderall anymore? maybe because i abused it to lose 100 lb in a year by basically not eating when i was in college), this is beneficial to my self-esteem. 

 

but at the same time i feel like i'm cheating myself? like i'm maybe not getting the full benefits of this thing because i'm not allowing my brain to be at its MOST vulnerable? like, despite the beneficial effects it has on my focus and ability to feel "present" (i'm a serious space case without it), i still feel like maybe there's a tiny part of me that's using it as a crutch to maybe not eat as much as i could allow myself to eat, since i've enacted that behavior before? that this isn't as hard as it could be, therefore it's not really a "true" whole30 for me?

 

i feel like maybe the most honest course of action would have been to do the whole30 and not take the vyvanse, but let's be real, there was no way i could deal with sugar cravings, lack of alcohol/marijuana/what have you, AND amphetamine withdrawal at the same time. i'm definitely not emotionally stable enough for that, hahaha.

 

i don't know what i'm looking to get in terms of replies to this, maybe just wondering if there are other ADHD people doing this? or other mentally ill people having mild crises over things like this in the middle of the night? it might be nice to relate to somebody here, i think.

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You are not alone.

 

I don't have the same issues or experiences or take the same medication, but this ruminating you are doing is familiar.  :) Many people report wanting to change more more more or doubting they can really do the whole30 because of some medication or other issue. You can. You can do the whole30. You can follow all the rules and even follow all the recommendations regardless of this medication. Do that.

 

We do not recommend suddenly stopping meds--especially psychiatric meds--without the guidance of your doctor. The whole30 doesn't require it. You may be in a better place to consider reducing your medication after you have made your way through the program. As you embark on the program, take care to make sure you are eating the meal template amounts three times every day, and including a fist-size of starchy veggies in at least one meal (preferably at night), a palm-size of protein, a thumb-size of good fat and a wide variety of non-starchy veggies at every single meal including breakfast. This will help support your body and your brain while you are doing the program. good luck! and don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

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Be assured that even the most medically sane among us have mild crises in the wee small hours of the morning. I think it is a very human thing to find darkness in the night and not just the darkness caused by the absence of light.  The jester that is in my mind loves nothing more than to speak me when sleep evades tormenting me with thoughts and feelings that don't seem nearly so bad when the sun comes up. 

 

Having said all that please take missmary's advice and keep on taking all of your meds.

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I agree with what missmary and Loulabelle have said. 

 

I'd also point out that we seem to have a different standard for meds for psychological issues than for meds for other issues, which is just silly. I've never contemplated not taking my blood pressure medicine just to see if W30 is enough to keep it under control without the medication -- why would you do that with your medication? (This isn't judgment of any kind, believe me -- I used to take antidepressants and while I've been off of them for a few years now and would certainly prefer not to take them anymore because I hope never to feel the way I felt when I finally broke down and asked my doctor about them, I do understand better now than I did back then that needing them was not some kind of moral failing on my part, it was just my brain needing some help to function the way it's supposed to, just like my body needs help now keeping my blood pressure where it's supposed to be.)

 

 that this isn't as hard as it could be, therefore it's not really a "true" whole30 for me?

 

 

This sentence also stood out for me in your post. I recently read an article in the Wholesome newsletter (a free biweekly Whole30 newsletter) that was written about people altering their W30 to make it harder, but I think it speaks to your point here too.

 

 

Dear Melissa,

 

Could my Whole30 be more effective if the rules were a little stricter? Like, if I really want to kick my Whole30 up a notch, could I eliminate fruit entirely, or not ever snack? –Recent sentiments heard on social media

 

Dear Whole30’ers,

 

While I applaud your enthusiasm, I don’t encourage anyone to embellish the Whole30 rules (make them “more hard-core” or “stricter”) unless it’s for a known health condition. If you know you are allergic to eggs, please do a Whole30 minus eggs. If your doctor has told you to avoid high-FODMAP foods, you’ll want to use our Whole30 low-FODMAP shopping list.

 

But making the rules tougher for any reason other than health is missing the point, and may end up doing more harm than good.

 

Remember, the Whole30 is not a hazing, it’s a 30-day self-experiment with very specific goals. It’s challenging, but not for the sake of being the toughest program on the block—the rules are all in place for a very specific reason. Adding more restrictions on top of what we’ve already outlined only serves to make the program harder to follow for little to no benefit, other than you get to say “I did a tougher version of the Whole30.” And frankly, I’m not giving anybody bonus points for that.

 

In addition, your self-imposed Whole30-plus may actually backfire. You’re active—a very low-carb diet with no fruit may prove too stressful on your system. You work a long day and you’re pretty reliant on sugar for energy—you may need to snack in the beginning, to keep yourself sustained.

 

In summary, trust our process.

 

If you want to play around with other factors once your Whole30 is over and you’ve learned everything you can from the process, go right ahead, with your new life-after-your-Whole30 habits and context as a solid foundation for additional experimentation. But always make sure you could answer a simple question: Why? Why are you eliminating this food, adding this protocol, testing this factor? Could you achieve the same results (perhaps more slowly, but sustainably and healthfully) by just continuing to do what you’ve been doing? Are you changing so much in such a short period of time that you’ll never be able to pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t?

 

Remember, harder isn’t better. Better is better. And sometimes better is leaving well enough alone when you find something that works so well.

 

Best in health,

Melissa

 

Basically, a Whole30 is hard enough without going out of your way to make it harder, and going off a med that is improving your health would be going against the basic premise of a Whole30, which is to improve your health. 

 

 

 

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I’ve been thinking about this topic myself! Did you consider discussing a change of medication with your doctor to something that might not curb your appetite as much?

I just started Whole30 and I take old-fashioned Adderall, 5mg twice a day, only on weekdays, but once I see how Whole30 affects my appetite, focus and sleep, I may try out an extended-release medication without the high stimulant factor. 

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