DogsToddlerandMoreOhMy

Day 16 - depression, fatigue, poor gym performance

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I'm on day 16...excited to have made it past the halfway point; however, I feel awful.  I don't know if it's just that I have so much going on in my life or the Whole30.  I'm typically able to be positive and feel good (even when I went through my divorce), so I'm not sure what's going on.  Work is the most hectic it's ever been, and I run my own business by myself.  My son came back from his father's with severe separation anxiety, so I have little time to myself when he's home.  My newest rescue dog is sick, again.  I convinced my husband to do the Whole30 with me because he desperately needs to eat better, but that means I'm prepping meals for two people all week, with a toddler and three dogs running around.  It's hectic, but I feel like I can normally manage it all.

Right now it feels like everything is falling apart.  I've been feeling depressed, overwhelmed, tired.  It felt like there was lead in my shoes at the gym today.  My pre-Whole30 diet was fruitarian during the week, and I bent the rules a bit on the weekend (not the whole weekend, just a few meals).  I don't crave sweets or carbs, etc.  I gave that stuff up a while ago.  I don't really miss my pre-Whole30 foods or anything, but I do miss the ease of being able to eat out and not worry about every single thing that is in my dish.

I work out 6-7 days a week - an hour of cardio every gym session and then I strength train two times a week.  I found that doubling up on protein and cutting out fruit at breakfast and lunch helped me not be so hungry between meals.  Meals are below:

Breakfast (8ish): two chicken sausages, carrots, handful of cashews

Lunch (noonish): lettuce with avocado and homemade dressing, rotisserie chicken with Frank's hot sauce

Dinner (6:30ish): I mix it up here - last night was spaghetti squash, tomato sauce, and pork meatballs, tonight is oven-roasted chicken with asparagus, tomorrow is pulled pork with spaghetti squash, sometimes I do blackened tilapia with pineapple salsa and sauteed spinach

I cannot really move my meal times.  I have to get my son up and ready for the day, lunch has to be done before I pick him up, and dinner has to be when my husband gets home from work.

Any suggestions?  What am I doing wrong?  I just want to feel better.

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I'm sorry you're not feeling well.

The most obvious thing that jumps out at me is that you're working out 6-7 days a week and not giving yourself pre- and post-workout fuel. If you're working out first thing in the morning, or if it's been several hours since your last meal, have a pre-workout of protein and fat -- so a hard boiled egg with mayo, some chicken and guac, something like that. If you are working out mid-day, this may not be as important, just see how you do. Post-WO is more important -- you want to have it very soon after you work out, like possibly before you leave the gym to head home, and it should be lean protein and optionally some starchy vegetable. Chicken and sweet potato is a popular option. Tuna would work. Eggs are okay, though in this one instance, egg whites might actually be better due to the fat in the yolk. Pre- and Post-WO are in addition to your three meals, but don't need to be full-sized meals -- just a bite or two of something is usually good.

Other than that, it's hard to tell portion sizes from what you're listing, but make sure that each meal contains:

  • 1-2 palm-sized portions of protein, the length, width, and depth of your palm (your hubby needs to measure his own, if your hands are different sizes). If eggs are your only protein in a meal, have as many whole eggs as you can hold in your hand. If you don't want that many eggs at once, you can always combine them and have a couple of eggs and some sausage or whatever leftover meat you have.
  • 1-2 thumb-sized portions of fat, or 1/2 to a whole avocado, or a heaping handful or two of olives or coconut flakes, or 1/3 to 1/2 a 14 oz can of full-fat coconut milk, or a small handful of nuts/seeds. Typically, you'll want to add one or two of these in addition to whatever oil you cook in, since some of what you cook in stays in the pan, and if you're cooking multiple servings at a time, what looks like a fair amount of oil ends up divided among portions. If you occasionally have a meal with more fat, that's okay -- sometimes it'll just sound good to have, say, a salad with avocado and olives and ranch dressing. Don't worry too much about it, you're unlikely to consistently overeat healthy fats if you're having them in the context of full meals.
  • Fill your plate with vegetables. 1-3 cups. Every meal.
  • occasionally have some fruit, always with a meal, not as a snack on its own, and try to keep it to no more than a couple of fist-sized servings per day. Don't substitute fruit instead of vegetables, focus on vegetables first, and then if you want some fruit too, that's fine. 

Most people feel best if they have a fist-sized serving of starchy vegetable each day. People who are very active (with 1 hour of cardio per day, 6-7 days a week, you probably qualify for this), people who are prone to depression or anxiety, and women who are pregnant, nursing, or in the week or so leading up to their period, often find they need more than that. Starchy vegetables would include potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes like butternut or acorn squash, or root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, or rutabagas. For you, given how you say you're feeling, maybe try adding a serving of starchy vegetable at each meal for a few days, and see if you feel better. Once you're feeling better, you can play around with how often you need it to keep feeling good. 

Be sure you're drinking plenty of water -- at least half an ounce per pound of body weight (so if you weigh 120 lbs, at least 60 oz), and more if you're sweating a lot. Also, be sure you salt your food, just whatever amount tastes good. We do generally need some salt in our diets, and the foods on Whole30 typically don't have much unless you add it.

And finally, if you're actually hungry in that six and a half hours from lunch to dinner -- as in you'd eat something bland and boring like plain steamed fish and broccoli -- go ahead and eat something. Ideally, make a mini meal of protein, fat, and vegetables, or at least two of the three, just in a smaller serving than a meal would be. We really only expect you to go 4-5 hours between meals, and sometimes, if schedules dictate that you must go longer than that, you need to have something to get you through. The no snacking rule isn't about being hungry and just gritting your teeth and hanging in there as best you can, it's more about not doing mindless eating or emotional eating. If your body needs fuel, give it fuel.

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JPM    0

 

Quote

1-2 palm-sized portions of protein, the length, width, and depth of your palm (your hubby needs to measure his own, if your hands are different sizes)

Can someone explain the reasoning behind using palm sizes instead of actual measurements? it confuses me so much! My husband has 8" and nearly 100 pounds on me... and our palms are the same size. I have really big hands for a 5'4" girl, I don't understand how my palm size relates to the portions i am supposed to eat? two palms is a LOT of meat (12-16 oz!)

 

To the poster- i had to add in more fat and a little potato in order to stop feeling so sluggish. it really helps! 

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1 hour ago, JPM said:

 

Can someone explain the reasoning behind using palm sizes instead of actual measurements? it confuses me so much! My husband has 8" and nearly 100 pounds on me... and our palms are the same size. I have really big hands for a 5'4" girl, I don't understand how my palm size relates to the portions i am supposed to eat? two palms is a LOT of meat (12-16 oz!)

 

It's basically a starting point. So if you and your husband have the same palm, that's fine, but maybe he needs two palms per meal and you only need one. We don't use measurements here that rely on scales or cups or what have you because that is not in keeping with tuning in to your own body. People get fixated on numbers and perfection. It's an approximation and we want you to get used to knowing how much food you need. The template is a good start at figuring that out.

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