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Day 19 and totally exhausted

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I really want the Whole30 to be working! My clothes are fitting slightly looser, and my stomach has been behaving better than usual, but I am so exhausted! For a bunch of days I kept having to nap for 3-4 hours in the middle of the day, so I tried adding sweet potatoes to most of my meals even though I'm not very active (too tired!!!). I've had a bit more energy since then, but the last few days I've been having a lot of trouble dragging myself out of bed. As a grad student I have total control over my working schedule in the summer, so I have the freedom to go back to sleep, and I've definitely been abusing the privilege. This morning I woke up at 9…and then 10…and then 11…and then 12:15, and yet somehow I'm still completely wiped! Part of me suspects the exhaustion may be partially related to the fact that I've only been able to squeeze in two meals a day because I've been sleeping so late. There's not enough time for three meals when your body is forcing you to sleep for 10+ hours.


Here's what I've been eating the last few days (note: I drink lots of water and always salt my food, so I'm not concerned about dehydration or my sodium being too low):


Day 15: July 12

Meal 1 (10:45am): 2 scrambled eggs, two strips of bacon, ¼ avocado, veggie hash (yams, onions, kale, mushrooms), grapes

Meal 2 (2:30pm): Beef stir fry with extra coconut oil on top

+ Bone broth (around 7:30pm)

Meal 3 (8:40pm): Roast chicken thigh and leg, sweet potato with apples and onions, kale salad with za’atar vinaigrette

Day 16: July 13

Didn’t sleep well last night, so I ended up hitting snooze until around 12:15pm. Ugh.

Meal 1 (1:25pm): Roast chicken leg and thigh, ½ chicken sausage, leftover sweet potato with onion and apple, carrot soup

Meal 2 (7:45pm): Kalua pork lettuce wrap “tacos” with salsa, pineapple, and Cholula mayo; salad with za'atar vinaigrette

Day 17: July 14

Same sleep situation as yesterday. Got up around 11:45 ☹

Meal 1 (12:30pm): Kalua pork and sweet potato hash, two whole carrots, one apricot, chai tea with coconut milk

Meal 2 (7pm): Basa filet with ghee, lemon, and oregano; plaintains fried in ghee; cucumber (like A LOT of cucumber) with Cholula mayo

Day 18: July 15

Managed to drag myself out of bed around 9:15 am

Meal 1 (10:15am): Kalua pork with pineapple, one egg with salasa, sweet potato hash with Cholula mayo, SO MUCH CUCUMBER

Meal 2 (2:30pm): Leftover beef stir fry with an extra spoonful of coconut oil

Meal 3 (6:45pm): Mackerel sashimi, radish and lettuce, macadamia nuts


Day 19: July 16

Woke up at 9…and then 10…and then 11…and then 12:15. Felt absolutely exhausted all day.

Meal 1 (12:45pm): Kalua pork with a little bit of pineapple, two carrots, sweet potato hash with Cholula mayo, and grapes


...and I'm off to go figure out meal 2 right now, but I'm too sleepy to cook. Blech.



Also, I should probably mention that two of my medications have corn and/or soy in them. I spoke to my doctor about this, and she said there was no corn-/soy-free alternative but that the amounts in question were so tiny (especially the soy, since I only take that medication as needed--maybe very week or two) that I shouldn't worry about them with respect to my W30. As the website and book say, Dr.'s orders trump W30 rules, so I'm not going to be able to go off those medications. Also, the exhaustion only showed up a few days after I started the W30, and I've been taking these medications for a while, so I doubt they're the culprits.


Any ideas, anyone?

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First, on those days when you want to sleep in, get up, eat something, then go back to bed if you want to -- that way you're more likely to get three meals in that day. Continuing to skip meals is going to cause you to continue to be exhausted, because your body needs the fuel from food to have the energy to do things.


Things that stand out about the meals you mentioned:

  • eggs -- when they're your only protein source in a meal, have as many whole eggs as you can hold in your hand, which is probably 3-4. Bacon is a fat source more than a protein source.
  • vegetables -- it's hard to tell from this, but be sure you're getting 1-3 cups at every single meal, and have a variety -- you seem to be pretty heavy on the starchy vegetables, don't neglect the others. That whole "eat the rainbow" thing is actually good advice, assuming you don't have any issues with any particular type of vegetables
  • fat -- most of your meals seem to have some added, but a few I can't tell if there is some or not. Don't fear the fat, be sure you add some at every meal.

I will also say, just from my personal experience, sometimes you have to really carefully consider if you're truly exhausted and need the rest, or if maybe you'd be less exhausted if you just made yourself get up and move around when your alarm goes off. It sounds like your schedule right now is pretty flexible, so that if you make yourself get up and eat breakfast when your alarm first goes off, you would have the freedom to go back to bed if you really needed to -- but maybe by the time you finish breakfast and rinse the dishes off, you'd find that maybe you had the energy to go for a walk or straighten up something around the house or do something other than go back to bed. I know for me, I have gone through periods where I felt like I didn't have the energy to do anything, but when I finally made myself get up I ended up feeling better. In my case, I know that I have struggled with depression in the past and this is one of the signs that I tend to watch out for, because for me it's one of the indicators that I might be slipping back into that. That may not be at all what's going on with you, but I thought I'd throw it out there as something to consider.


If you're truly exhausted all the time and nothing you're doing food-wise is helping, you really might want to consider talking to your doctor, as there could be some kind of underlying issues, like thyroid problems or some type of vitamin deficiency for instance, that needs to be addressed before you'll see any kind of improvement.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, ShannonM816. Your idea about the thyroid and vitamin deficiency was actually spot-on. I went to the doctor and it turns out my thyroid seems to have gone south sometime within the last year and my ferritin is low, which can indicate an iron deficiency and is sometimes associated with hypothyroidism. It's odd that I didn't notice it until the Whole30. Maybe taking all the crap out of my diet gave my body a chance to focus on telling me what's really wrong. I've started taking medication, and I plan to stay "Whole30-ish" as I start my reintroductions over the next few days, so hopefully I'll see some improvement!

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