Hypoglycemia and The Whole 30

I’ve suffered from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) my entire life.  I was 6 when I had my first hypoglycemic episode that I can actually remember.  I was at the mall with my mother when all of a sudden, I didn’t have the energy to walk any more.  My mother knew what was happening and we immediately went to a restaurant for a burger.

I have had many episodes throughout my life.  When it happens, I start feeling anxious, then weak and dizzy, then I break out in a sweat and I develop tunnel vision.  When I was pregnant, I had gestational diabetes.  I was closely monitored by my doctors and had to check my blood sugar level 4 times a day.  I was to eat nothing that had more than 3 g of sugar per serving.  The hardest part was I only wanted to eat French toast with strawberries and whipped cream.  Bad and wrong.  Bean tostadas became my staple while I was pregnant as corn tortillas didn’t raise my blood sugar.

During the first few days of The Whole 30, I haven’t had any blood sugar issues.  I’ve paid particularly close attention to how I’ve been feeling so that I don’t get too hungry and run into a crisis, because once your blood sugar drops to 70, all bets are off and out comes the sugar.

If you suffer from hypoglycemia and try this program, do eat at regular intervals and don’t let yourself get too hungry.  The book suggests eating only 3 times a day (albeit more if you’re really hungry).  I have to eat a minimum of 4 times per day, smaller portions, and sometimes I’ll only have a hard-boiled egg just to keep my levels up.  However, with all the protein, goodness, and absence of sugar with this program, I haven’t seen nor felt any potential insulin problems. Score one for the diet!

However, with all that being said, I did have an issue in the middle of my long run on Sunday. After 4 miles, I had to make a detour home because there came a point where I couldn’t even hold my shoulders back as I felt so weak.  After James and I analyzed my food intake, we came to the conclusion that I didn’t fuel properly to sustain a long run.  Spaghetti squash, 2 ounces of chicken, and some olives the night before do not make for a good pre-load dinner, nor did the potato and banana I had for breakfast.  I need to eat way more protein with more complex carbs the night before, and truth be told, I need to eat at least some protein before my long run to power me through.

It’s all “trial and error” and “live and learn.”  I now have raisins to fuel me in the middle of my long runs (yuck), and I will try again next Sunday for better results.  In the meantime, I have an 8-mile run to make up this week during the evening sometime.  The important thing is I didn’t reach for the jelly beans and break my program.

Day-by-Day Whole 30 Playback

Day 1:  Cravings were really strong.  I wanted my tea, my desserts, my oatmeal.  By about 2 p.m., I had a minor stomachache.  I stretched myself out, and after awhile the pain was gone.  Ran 3 miles.  Energy level was good.

Day 2:  Feeling okay.  Cravings are still strong and I’m really missing my oatmeal and peanut butter.  Fought hard against that after-lunch bite of chocolate that I was in the habit of having. The craving eventually subsided.

Day 3:  Friday and usually the day we have happy hour.  Cravings are still there, but are starting to diminish somewhat.  Now I’m just missing chocolate and my peanut butter… so much so the craving has switched to the powdered peanut butter I have in the cupboard.  Here’s the kicker… I’m allergic to peanuts and peanut butter… I’ve just been able to build my immunity up to where I don’t have a reaction anymore (although I have developed a significant reaction to pistachios, so they’re completely off the list).  For happy hour, I went for a run instead and stuck to my water, then finished off the night playing a video game.  If you want things to change, then you have to adjust the routine.  Energy levels are increasing.

Day 4:  OMG, my Saturday morning tea time.  Another hard routine to break.  I didn’t break the morning routine so much as I just made do with iced tea instead of hot tea.  I still spent the entire morning on my computer catching up with everyone.  Made a huge pan of roast veggies for lunch which filled me up nicely.  Haven’t craved chocolate today, but peanut butter craving is still there. Energy level is good… maybe because sometimes I spike my water with a little iced tea.  It’s a scheduled rest day, so only house cleaning on the to-do list.

Day 5:  Long-run Sunday.  I had issues with weakness, really wanted the sugariest sugar I could find to get through, but settled on a banana.  Once I had some scrambled eggs and a nap, I was back to normal.  No cravings other than the sugar I wanted on my long run.  Was a little bit hungrier than normal to which I’ll attribute to a glucose drop.

25 more days to go!

37 thoughts on “Hypoglycemia and The Whole 30

  1. meesh107

    I admire your commitment and efforts here, and hope you find a good balance so that you can still log the miles you want to! Question, since I don’t know much about Whole30 – how come hot tea isn’t compliant??

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. wanderwolf

    Wow. This is a real experiment, but it seems to be doing well, and I hope it continues! Keep those blood sugar levels up and don’t deny the power of raisins. In the middle of a long run, they’re tastier than you think, 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. wanderwolf

        I looked into the Whole30, because it seems like a great idea and would help me get into a lifestyle of eating that is positive for myself and the planet. I already try not to eat added/artificial sugars either (though I say this as after I had a CokeZero and am noshing on some rum cake), and taking out other processed foods may work for me. However, then it dawned on me: you cut out alcohol too. What do you do for Happy Hour?!! Paula?! 🙂 can one survive that?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Chocolaterunsjudy

    Have you considered hash for your long runs? Eggs + potatoes + veggies. It actually works pretty well! I have to get creative during Passover.

    You know what I’d really like to see? An update in 6 months, in a year . . . to see if anything sticks!

    Liked by 3 people

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      1. Chocolaterunsjudy

        Everyone is different. I have a very strong stomach, BUT . . . I do need to eat at the very least an hour before running, preferably two.

        On easier run days I’ll often do evol egg scramble cups. I’m addicted to them!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. runningtotravel

    I used to struggle with hypoglycemia when I was a kid and even into my early 30’s but then I started making sure I ate more protein with every meal and that definitely helped. Now I don’t have any problems with my blood sugar. It sounds like the Whole 30 diet is working for you. Good luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. breidengale

    Your willpower is great! not that I have EVER craved peanut butter! ha ha but that you fought through your cravings in general. I like they way you broke it down in your blog too. More power to you my friend! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. breidengale

        I am impressed! I do alright with the shakes in the morning… I don’t have any cravings until I get home from work and sit down..then I get lazy and will eat whatever…especially if it is chocolate…before I make dinner! Argh..I am getting there though..

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Doctor Jonathan

    Hypoglycemia can be a precursor to diabetes. You are wise to implement a program designed to meet your body’s needs including the rigorous stress placed on the body during your runs. Tailoring the program requires constant monitoring to make sure the blood levels remain within a small sinus wave form. Tangential swings cause the big problems.

    Two big factors to remember. Illness dramatically effects sugar levels. Some medications (such as steroids) also dramatically effects sugar levels. Make sure you’re well aware of this to prevent accidentally altering a nutrition plan believing it may not be satisfying your body’s needs. With so many variables, the more you know, the better off you are.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Thank you for the info and advice. I’ve always known hypoglycemia is a precursor, but I’m hoping through diet and exercise, it doesn’t have to turn into full-blown diabetes, especially as I’ve kept it, for the most part, under control once I learned how. Thankfully I don’t take any meds, but I will keep that in mind for the future. I don’t think I would take steroids even if the doctor thought it would be beneficial. Even prescription, they’re bad news and scare me. I appreciate your input.

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Thanks Susan. I have the hypoglycemia under really good control, especially on this program. And I think I’ve figured out how to get through my long runs… I’m about to test it out this morning, so we shall see, 😃

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Oh I hear you. I have to have a hamburger at least once a month! And actually, you are so right. I’m on day 16, I think, and I do feel great. And I feel it in my runs which is the most important thing to me, 😁

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