Since I had the great honor and privilege to attend the retreat as a work-study person, I had a somewhat different experience from the other guests. I am eternally grateful to the organizers for giving me this chance. Huge thanks to Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet, Whitney Ross Gray, Kamal Patel, Laura Schoenfeld and her mother, Pam Schoenfeld. I had a singular opportunity to learn from the best, and value all I absorbed from the daily lectures, cooking demos, and informal discussions.
The break in routine really through me, though. Also, with hindsight being so clear, I have noticed a few other things that conspired to knock me off course:
- Slightly less sleep than normal
- Higher carb consumption than what I was doing with my version of PHD prior to the retreat
- Less downtime than I'm used to
- More social interaction (I'm an introvert, so I need quite a bit of alone time each day to recharge even though I love people)
- Intermittent fasting (we ate only from 12:00pm-8:00pm each day and I was up at 6:00am; I've determined that I really do need a whack of protein in the morning to feel my best)
- Vitex (I was taking this supplement for several months to try and regulate my hormones -- I finally realized it was having the opposite effect from what I was intending and it made me very moody, emotional, and increased my PMS and menstrual symptoms, things it was supposed to help relieve. I finally found some info that noted that some people can react this way so I'm pretty sure this was the biggest culprit).
All of this is to say -- I came home not feeling that well at all so this post is mostly about how I'm working to get myself back on track. I've had to move past a lot of self-blame for not being more resilient, flexible, and adaptable -- all qualities I've always thought of myself as possessing. I've finally come to the conclusion that I truly was not myself at the retreat. It was not a failure of me as a person, rather a failure to recognize or address the issues I outlined above.
Since I initially blamed my mood/exhaustion issues all on the carbs, I resolved to go low carb again shortly after I returned since I always felt so good when eating that way. This time, it didn't seem to "work". It took me some time but I finally realized it was the Vitex and stopped that just last week. I already feel better. Go figure!
To help bring clarity to my situation and get an outside perspective, I've decided to work with a health coach. I have a new game plan that I'm working on with her help. I will lay it out in Part 2, since this is getting so long!