Really, it’s not as grossly perverse as you probably expected.
I’m talking about the first three days of withdrawal. Whether you’re weaning yourself off of cigarettes, alcohol, medicine, or other bad habits, you’ve experienced the ‘3-day hump’. However, giving it a name makes it too shiny. ‘Three days and you’ll be back to normal..’ or ‘Anyone can do this in just three days..’ makes it sound like a scam. Well, for some it’s this easy – but others, it’s a bit more complex.
When I transitioned to a primal diet, my ‘3-day hump’ was a ‘6-day crap-fest’. I was tired, achy, groggy. Also, a complete pain in everyone’s ass. I initiated a fight with my best friend, and drove both my roommate and boyfriend up the wall. Here’s a little what it was like:
Day 1 – “I feel awesome. Nothing will stop me.” I was light headed, and obviously delirious. I felt tired, lethargic, and food didn’t satisfy my hunger. I denied my hunger! I lied my way through it, and dove head first into motivation mode.
Day 2 – “Alright, okay. Now I want some sugar.” I was dying here… at least that’s how I saw it. Despite all the other low carb – high protein diets I had been on before, I wasn’t craving carbs. I wanted sugar. I wanted to stick my face deep into a pan of lemon bars and probably bathe in it. By the end of the day, I had to lock my desk drawer and throw the key so I wouldn’t eat a sugar packet. Yeah, that bad.
Day 3 – “CARBS. Please, somebody.. anybody?” The carb flu hit, and it hit hard. The mere sight of bread in my refrigerator made me salivate. Honestly, I’m not sure what was worse – sugar, or this. On top of all of these withdrawals, I was frustrated, light headed, and most certainly not in the mood for social interaction. I spoke maybe 5 words at work, the entire 8 hour shift. Get the hell out of the way, and let me die here alone.
Day 4 – “3 days? 3 DAYS?! Why I oughta..” Day four sucked. Just, sucked. I wasn’t craving anything at this point. While proud of my progress and motivated to continue, I was also too weak to cheat. I was hiding under depression and frustration. I didn’t know what to eat, I didn’t know what to do, it hurt to exercise – hell, it hurt to move, but my pride won’t let me quit. I was still picking fights, I just wanted to sleep.
Day 5 – “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” It’s NYE at this point, and I was having a party. A BYOB-and-food party. Despite my ungratefulness towards the world and all of my friends, everyone showed up. Luckily, Paleo allows me a couple gluten-free ciders per night. It takes the edge off, but the food is just too good to pass up. I gave in to temptation (remember this is a journey) and had 5 multi-grain chips with queso. It was to DIE for, but totally not worth it.. but we’ll get into that in a minute.
Day 6 – “What happened last night..” Yep, it hit me.. like a truck. Now I know what’s been causing me pain the last 22 years! It is dairy. For some unknown reason [to me], I cannot handle it. I was bloated to the point where I was almost in tears. The constipation was terrible, and to top it off, I was hungover from the ciders I had. I had too much sugar, gluten and dairy the night before, and I spent most of my New Year’s Day sleeping off the pain. At least I’ve learned my lesson, and it can only go up from here… right?
Day 7 – “Today is a new day.” I’m feeling awesome at this point. The light-headedness is gone, the carb/sugar/dairy flu is over – because I’m not making that mistake again – but I’m still having withdrawal symptoms. I’ll admit to dreaming about tortillas and lemon bars, and I don’t believe that’s [totally] insane. I’m so motivated, but I’ve got this headache that’s dull and annoying. ‘Detoxing’ myself from all the junk, then moving right back to it – even if only for a day, really screwed me up here.
Skip a few days, and we’re on number 10. I’m feeling awesome, and not to mention, I’ve lost 5.5 lbs… and that’s not even as much as most people stepping into this lifestyle change. I can easily walk by cupcakes, cookies, and bread without a flinch. I don’t yearn for them anymore. As for sugar? I cut my processed foods down by a ton, and I’m seeing it. According to MyFitnessPal, I’ve cut my sugars down by about 75%. Granted, not everything I eat is strict Paleo just yet, I’m getting there. Have I mentioned that grass-fed beef where I live is a whopping $6.49/lb?! I’ve got some work to do before I spend that kind of money.
If you’re here to help decide whether you should take the plunge into Paleo, I’ll be an advocate for it. Just make sure you’re ready. I hope my short journal above has given you some insight, just know what you’re getting into. With all that said and done, I love Paleo, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.