Following Tough Mudder last week, I have been suffering with the dreaded lurgy; a combination of a tiresome cold, and my personal favourite illness, tonsillitis. (Perhaps throwing myself in dirty, iced water that weekend, wasn’t the most sensible idea.)
Gutted; I was taking the Whole30 by storm, my training was going well, and by 30 September, I was hoping to have some sign of some abs!! Then, without permission, this pesky illness has come along weaken my resolve, and sabotage my good intentions!
In short my extreme lack of energy, brought on by this cold & tonsillitis has zapped my motivation; the results being: –
(1) no training, which is extremely frustrating, and
(2) the making of some pretty dire food choices.
Firstly, this article isn’t an array of excuse outlining why I didn’t complete my Whole30; it isn’t an article looking for sympathy, or a general moan about how hard being paleo is…. This article is a genuine exploration of why my illness brought about powerful carb cravings (yesterday I could almost kill for an oatmeal cookie, or a slice of sugar laden chocolate cake) and why I struggled to deal with them!
I also wanted to treat this article as a bit of a confession; in sharing this with you guys, I feel I am absolving myself from my non-paleo sins, with a view to giving me a leg up back onto the proverbial paleo wagon. Hopefully then, I can regaining some of the ground I lost last week, and recommence my sugar dragon crusade.
So, here’s how I got to hit Whole30 rock bottom…
After my tonsils began to twinge painfully on Tuesday, I continued to work for the rest of the week. I have been really busy and had lots to do, including a client event in London. I worked over the weekend; combining dealing with lots of drafting and emails, with helping my mum to celebrate her birthday. These factors, I’m afraid, meant that I didn’t allow my body to have the rest it deserved.
By Sunday, still feeling dreadful, my mum told me in no uncertain terms to listen to my body, and feed it what it wants. She said that ‘eating paleo meals (which are by their nature ‘low carb’) is all very well and good, but, I should listen to my body- it might be a sign it needs some glucose.’
I think that if I wasn’t living out of a suitcase in non-paleo households & hotels, I might have done better at sticking to Whole30 than I did. I would have made myself soups, veggie juices and dishes with lots of sweet potatoes and squash to top up my carb-levels. Living out of a suitcase from Wednesday onwards did nothing to aid my recovery, or assist me in terms of sticking to my Whole30 objective.
There’s the age old saying, you should ‘starve a fever, feed a cold…..’ Whenever I have a terrible cold, all I want to do is eat and eat. I’m no scientist or nutritionist, but I do read a lot of literature online about nutrition, diets, and their affect on your body.
Engaging my ears, I ‘listened to my body’ it was shouting that it was energy depleted and needed power! It’s a no brainer really that because I was running around like a mad woman, overworking and over-committing myself, my body would be tired crying out for some ‘quick energy.’ It is commonly accepted that fighting infections and viruses takes extra energy; perhaps therefore, my body’s inner voice was causing my sugary ‘quick energy’ cravings.
It is widely acknowledged that sugar has a terrible affect on your immune system, I know this; however committed a textbook fail, giving into my sugar and carb cravings.
I tried to say paleo where possible, but I have found that illness really has impacted on my energy, and thus motivation levels. I have had some milky porridge for breakfast over the weekend, (not the worst) some white bread ‘soldiers’ with my boiled eggs (my younger bro won’t allow my mum to buy brown bread!!) I succumbed to that oatmeal cookie (treat from my hubby) and drank many cups of Yorkshire tea (comforting on the throat.) In addition, I lunched on leftover tortellini that my husband had been eating whilst I was away…. I could go on and on.
Because I didn’t have access to my own kitchen (and when I got home I had nothing in my cupboards) I found staying on the Whole30 incredibly difficult; paleo on the go is incredibly difficult, even when you’re of good health. http://paleopolly.com/2013/08/23/paleo-eating-in-the-uk/
I don’t want to slate myself too much in this article, or beat myself up for my non-adherence to paleo. I don’t think having a draconian approach to eating, whatever your diet is conducive to myself, or my readers.
The bottom line is, I did feel incredibly guilty about breaking the Whole30, but, upon introspection, I did have an innate feeling that my body is way smarter than I give it credit for, in terms of knowing what it needs. One can easily get lost in ‘what’s paleo,’ or ‘what’s Whole30’ and forget sometimes, your inner voice does know best.
From the above circumstances, I have identified the following areas which I could have improved:-
- Don’t run around like a mad man or woman all the time. Sometimes something has to give and you should ensure it’s not you. I should have made time for R&R in my week. Because I was so busy, and because I didn’t want to let anyone down, I didn’t do this. I have learnt that if I couldn’t make time for R&R in the working day, I should have made sure I stayed home, and slept in my own bed at night.
- Make sure when you are sick that your cupboards & fridge is stocked with plenty of fruit, veg, and good meats. Make it easy to make good food choices. Make sure you have honey, eggs, and almond flour for emergency paleo baking. (You can whip up a paleo brownie in less than 10 mins, if you know what you’re doing.)This should prevent you from going in for biscuits!
- Drink veggie juice every morning, with greens powder and plenty of ginger. Your body needs vitimins, to pep you up and kick the evil virus’s ass!
- Make sure you take your multi-vitamins.
- If you’re dreaming of carbs, eat sweet potato- mash it, make it into chips…. feed your cravings in a positive way.
- Try and avoid the sugar dragon. We all know sugar is rubbish. Doughnuts might taste good; jelly sweets might comfort you, but they ain’t no good for your immune system.
The final and the most important point, is, DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP. Try your best, and if you’re going to fall down, the best thing that you can possibly do is to dust yourself off and get up fighting!
If you fall, don’t stay down….. Accept you’ve had a bad few days and then resolve to get back on your feet; learn lessons and improve!
That’s what I intend to do! Fingers crossed tomorrow, I have more energy and fight in me. At least I am back home now, with a stocked fridge, and can cook and juice.