Nowadays, most people would assume I was born with a kale salad in my mouth. Not so much. I remember when I first changed my eating habits, and I felt like I got hit by a freight train.
We all come from different places, but when I was little there was a LOT of sugar in my house. My grandma actually used to put sugar water in my bottle (I swear I’m not kidding). While I may have always been active, but my diet was pretty broken.
I started working out when I was 13, but didn’t begin to study nutrition until my early twenties. When I first changed my diet, I wanted to crawl back into my little bed of sugar and pull the covers up over my head because the immediate results were not what I expected.
Basically, I felt like crap.
My head hurt, I had very little energy (rare for me), and felt sort of…hungover. But as I learned more about the body and the very real effect that food has on it, I was able to understand what was happening. Put simply: My body was detoxifying itself. And yeah, it kind of sucked.
So don’t be surprised if you’re feeling more tired than usual or find yourself with a bit of a headache this week. You may even feel a bit foggy. This is all perfectly normal.
There’s a good chance you’ve really slashed you sugar intake, leaving your body without its usual fix and the rush of feel-good hormones that comes along with it. (Combine that with the fact that you’re on a new and challenging workout routine, and it’s no wonder your body is a little rocked right now.)
Plus, this is an interesting time for your liver, which is basically your body’s processing center—it breaks down nutrients and flushes toxins and waste from your body. If your diet contains a lot of sugar, processed food, and alcohol, fat can build up in your liver and keep it from working its magic. When you cut those unhealthy foods from the menu, your liver can start to flush out that fat and actually get its mojo back.
This is great news for your weight-loss goals, but may explain why you’re feeling so crummy as you transition.
Luckily, I learned that on the other side of the suck was a feeling I’d never had before. In a word, I felt…great. And you will too! I slept better and the slight mental fog that always followed me around (which I wasn’t even aware of till it went away) was gone. My mid-afternoon slump disappeared. My cravings for sugar and processed junk disappeared. I mean, I actually found myself craving kale smoothies. Crazy, I know!
And the layer of fat I couldn’t get rid of no matter how hard I worked out? That peaced out, too.
I hope (HOPE!) you don’t experience any of the unpleasant symptoms I did during the early stages of cleaning up my eating. But if you do, I want you to know that it’s completely normal.
And—it will pass.
Be gentle and understanding with yourself during this time, knowing that on the other side of the awful is AWESOME!