5

votes

anxiety & depression from exercise?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Hello out there. I've been Primal/Paleo since July 1 of last year and experienced an almost complete elimination of life-long emotional symptoms including depression, anxiety, PMS and self-hatred. It was nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately the bottom dropped out a few weeks ago and I am scrambling to restore the peace and figure out why.

Admittedly there are those in my life who don't credit my diet with my improved mood and self-esteem but rather external circumstances and the rush of excitement that learning about ancestral health gave me. Maybe they're right. I don't know anymore. I am a sucker for a magic bullet cure since suffering is unbearable and I want there to be answers. Primal/Paleo helped me more than yoga, exercise and therapy combined, or so I believed.

One marked change in my life was that I added a vigorous kettle-bells and boot camp class to my exercise routine, which prior included long brisk walks and body-weight exercises a la Mark Sisson's Primal fitness e-book. I noticed that I love how I feel after my workouts but the day after I crash physically and emotionally, so I wonder if there is a cortisol component.

Anyone else have a similar experience? I'm about to make an appointment with an endocrinologist and yesterday got my blood drawn to test my thyroid and vitamin D levels. I've started psychotherapy again as well, and eliminated all dairy and sugar from my diet???making strides to cover all bases. Unfortunately I cannot afford anyone out of my insurance network; otherwise I might explore a naturopath.

My emotions and energy levels are all over the place these days, at times unpredictably. This morning I woke up with a tremendous amount of anxiety for instance, but nothing that out of the ordinary is going on in my life. I appreciate any insight you can offer. Thanks for reading! Sincerely, Elise Miller

59fa7cd87fb9d669adf21e5cf3e7ada5

on November 28, 2012
at 10:15 PM

Imo a combination of not enough rest and not eating enough, these are classic symptoms of pushing yourself too hard

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 16, 2012
at 11:57 AM

I agree, @David Moss. Totally. I have no design to add processed crap back into my diet, but maybe loosening the stranglehold on carbs and JERFing a la Sean Croxton is the ticket, combined with lessening the intensity of my workouts. Thank you!

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 16, 2012
at 11:53 AM

I have the feeling you're right, @Sam and @David. These classes last an hour, which concerned me at first after all I'd read on MDA, but seeing as my instructor is quasi-Paleo herself, I put my trust in her. I asked her about teaching half-hour classes. Maybe she will; that'd be good. I like the community aspect these classes provide, and I work harder than I would on my own. – elise a. miller

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 16, 2012
at 11:52 AM

I have the feeling you're right, @Sam and @David. these classes last an hour and that concerned me, but seeing as my instructor is quasi-Paleo herself, I put my trust in her. I asked her about teaching half-hour classes. Maybe she will; that's be good. I like the community aspect these classes provide, and I work harder thatn I would on my own.

44f0901d5b0e85d8b00315c892d00f8a

(273)

on June 15, 2012
at 05:41 PM

Welcome Elise :)

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 15, 2012
at 12:58 AM

@Elise: Not ditch carbs, just don't add any in order to exercise. My feeling is that if you have a diet that works for you, you should adjust exercise to the diet, not the other way 'round. The thing about "boot camp" style workouts (and maybe kettle bells, depending on how you use them) produce a lot of cortisol, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can be bad if you're prone to depressive moods. Elevated cortisol is associated with depression. I don't mean to discourage you from exercising, but don't discount the benefit of just walking and bodyweight training

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:20 AM

I don't think you need to ditch all exercise, just the long periods of high intensity stuff- that's the essence of 'chronic cardio' even if you're doing it with kettlebells. I'd think you can do as much lower intensity stuff as you like and very short, very intense stuff (unless you find that any intense exercise is too draining).

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on June 14, 2012
at 05:50 AM

Think about it sure, but I don't think there's much to worry about practically doing, aside from maybe experimenting with a couple of potatos post-workout.* The idea that hamburgers/junk specifically is required is obviously baseless (you can get all the macronutrients you might need from meat and potatoes) and the idea that not eating junk is an eating disorder is a wildly disordered view of eating! *I'd recommend experimenting both with higher carb *and* with ketogenic VLC, since people have found both to be therapeutic.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 03:26 AM

Okay. Regardless of my above comment, I've been reading Matt Stone's blog because of Anawn's link & he does describe a lot of my trajectory. I used to read his blog but it had so many conflicting views which obviously conflicted with what I wanted to believe. I don't have cold hands & feet or bad sleep but the anxiety/depression is back & I am hugely bloated as I type. Glad to see that Stone finally stopped using white print on a black background. It gave me a headache to read it. All said, he's making me think with the Catecholamine Honeymoon post. Gotta be honest about it.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 02:21 AM

I would comment but this person has no profile. That's bullshit too. Horseshit. sheepshit. But I could go for a milkshake.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 01:56 AM

Thanks Jenny J. I will look into the iron levels.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 01:55 AM

Mary, that's an interesting suggestion. If I were paying more for my exercise classes I might consider it. Thanks!

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 01:53 AM

amen. this is true in my experience. making breakfast for my kids turns into a weepy affair. it's not pretty. thank you Rozi!

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 01:52 AM

thanks sam, you're sweet. i love how my arms look. I love feeling like a badass two days a week even if I feel like a pathetic sloth the other five days. wait. that's not quite right. but i am very vain. but seriously? ditch it? and ditch carbs? how do you stay in shape then?

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 01:51 AM

Amy, thanks for commenting. Eating eggs, sweet potatoes—maybe not enough; beef, chicken, tuna, salads; coconut milk smoothies with raw yolks, almond butter, berries; lots of veg: kale chips, peppers & onions, broccoli, cauliflower, all roasted in chicken fat... i might be too low on the carb scale. usually 60 grams a day. only exercising hard 2 days a week, but hey you might be right and I've been known to ignore my body/mind before. long walks in the sunshine do feel restorative too, so you're onto something there.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 13, 2012
at 02:01 PM

Downvoted for linking to complete horseshit.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on June 13, 2012
at 08:03 AM

Why not take the money you're spending on the boot camp class and go see the naturopath?

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 03:53 PM

You might also just need a break! Exercise is wonderful, but like anything, you *can* get too much of a good thing. Sometimes our minds tell us what our bodies won't - that they need a rest. (You could keep hitting the gym hard and your *body* feels okay, but your emotions are paying the price. Maybe try some long, SLOW walks outside in the fresh air and sunlight. I'm not saying there isn't something more serious going on (and you are RIGHT to be consulting a doctor), but just resting a bit is probably a good place to start, at least for now. They call it burnout because you're *burnt out.*

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 03:46 PM

What are you eating? If you tell us a little more about your diet, we'll be able to help you better. Many people assume that Paleo *must be* a low-carb diet, which is not true. Many people thrive on low-carb, but if you're doing high levels of intense exercise (like bootcamps and intense KB workouts), it's likely you've made the same "beginner" mistake many others have - you're simply not eating enough carbohydrate to fuel that level of demanding activity. Some folks feel *much* better adding some starch pre or post-workout. (Sweet potatoes, yams, some even do okay with white rice, but YMMV.)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 03:41 PM

What are you eating? A lot of people who come to Paleo feel fantastic, but burn out when they do high levels of intense exercise (like bootcamps and intense KB workouts) *without consuming enough carbohydrate to fuel those demands.* Tell us about your diet. Many people feel much better when they add in some starch pre (and especially post) workout. Doesn't have to be sugar -- sweet potatoes, yams - starchy carbs are great for replenishing your body.

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6 Answers

1
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:05 AM

Sounds like you tipped into "too much"- exhaustion (lack of sleep, intense exercise) can be extremely draining and it will be hard to feel good in that mode. Rest, relax, focus on doing the exercises you did before. Get back to feeling good- the thyroid is a really good idea to get checked, I would pay close attention to that result. It might be worth getting your iron levels checked, a deficiency would perpetuate that feeling of exhaustion.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 01:56 AM

Thanks Jenny J. I will look into the iron levels.

1
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:52 PM

Hey Elise,

Sorry to hear you're not feeling well.

I think your intuition is correct about the kettle bells and boot camp class.

Ditch that shit, and for fuck's sake, don't add carbs to your diet just so you can exercise more.

Sam

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 01:52 AM

thanks sam, you're sweet. i love how my arms look. I love feeling like a badass two days a week even if I feel like a pathetic sloth the other five days. wait. that's not quite right. but i am very vain. but seriously? ditch it? and ditch carbs? how do you stay in shape then?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:20 AM

I don't think you need to ditch all exercise, just the long periods of high intensity stuff- that's the essence of 'chronic cardio' even if you're doing it with kettlebells. I'd think you can do as much lower intensity stuff as you like and very short, very intense stuff (unless you find that any intense exercise is too draining).

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 15, 2012
at 12:58 AM

@Elise: Not ditch carbs, just don't add any in order to exercise. My feeling is that if you have a diet that works for you, you should adjust exercise to the diet, not the other way 'round. The thing about "boot camp" style workouts (and maybe kettle bells, depending on how you use them) produce a lot of cortisol, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can be bad if you're prone to depressive moods. Elevated cortisol is associated with depression. I don't mean to discourage you from exercising, but don't discount the benefit of just walking and bodyweight training

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 16, 2012
at 11:52 AM

I have the feeling you're right, @Sam and @David. these classes last an hour and that concerned me, but seeing as my instructor is quasi-Paleo herself, I put my trust in her. I asked her about teaching half-hour classes. Maybe she will; that's be good. I like the community aspect these classes provide, and I work harder thatn I would on my own.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 16, 2012
at 11:53 AM

I have the feeling you're right, @Sam and @David. These classes last an hour, which concerned me at first after all I'd read on MDA, but seeing as my instructor is quasi-Paleo herself, I put my trust in her. I asked her about teaching half-hour classes. Maybe she will; that'd be good. I like the community aspect these classes provide, and I work harder than I would on my own. – elise a. miller

1
44f0901d5b0e85d8b00315c892d00f8a

on June 12, 2012
at 06:44 PM

Depression is draining. It can make any type of exertion -- going to the grocery store, cleaning up the yard, or exercising "Energy loss is one of the key characteristics of depression.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 01:53 AM

amen. this is true in my experience. making breakfast for my kids turns into a weepy affair. it's not pretty. thank you Rozi!

44f0901d5b0e85d8b00315c892d00f8a

(273)

on June 15, 2012
at 05:41 PM

Welcome Elise :)

0
Daca28c360e500410f0667f013d21f95

on November 28, 2012
at 09:40 PM

Firstly there is NOTHING psychologically wrong with someone who suffers from anxiety and depression. There may be some cases of endogenous depression but they are very rare. Anxiety and depression is caused BY something. I call myself a spiritual sensitive but it means I'm also sensitive in lots of other ways especially chemically. Coconut oil and all coconut products can give you anxiety if you are sensitive and it seems to be accumulative so the longer you use it, the worse it gets.

Don't take vitamins or minerals as sometimes there are things in them that can give you anxiety. Don’t ever smoke anything. Cigarettes contain hundreds of neurotoxins and weed is responsible for most psychiatric admissions. You should also not touch anything with caffeine in it (or guarna which is pure caffeine)I cannot use ANY type of moisturiser or conditioner even for sensitive skin as they put HORRIBLE poisons into them like formaldahyde, lauryl sulphate, lauryth sulphate, parabens, alcohol etc. ALL anxiety producing agents. Caffeine by the way causes anxiety, depression and thought and sleep disorders but it's like smoking years ago, no one is going to tell you because our whole society is built on it and it's a multi trillion dollar business. Don't ever take anti depressants they'll send you straight to hell. If you are sensitive to coconut oil it probably means you are 'a sensitive (not asensitive which is exactly the opposite) and you will have to watch EVERYTHING you eat, drink and put on your body. I do well on a very simple diet of fish, chicken and fresh vegetables and a little fruit. Don't take any medication unless you've got a raging brain infection or something and don't even taken over the counter meds. Antibiotics can cause horrible panic attacks sometimes eg Flagyl is a classic for this.

Also essential oils are potent and toxic if used on the skin I had a horrible reaction. Don't use them in hot water to soak your feet or anything as it goes straight into your body. Use a castelle soap for babies to wash your body and hair (made from olive oil) and a little olive oil for moisturiser. Dairy products can also cause anxiety. Don't drink alcohol - very bad for anxiety. There is a way to live and the key word are simple and clean. Oh be careful with ALL household cleaning products as well, wear rubber gloves while you're using them and don't breathe them in.
Anyway so many people are senstive to chemicals and don't know it. Oh also, don't use toothpaste or mouthwash it's pure poison (fluroride) and use only filtered water if you can (not bottled water).

0
B3dd1e47b780d3aff2f808e50594439d

on September 20, 2012
at 03:21 PM

I wanted to comment on this cuz the same thing had happened to me before. I started hitting the stair climber hard one week and my depression and anxiety got extremely worse. I was only doing a half hour too. AS son as I cut it out I started healing again. I find that lifting weights didn't do that to me as it isn't as strenuous. Don't think it causes the cortisol jump either. I follow Bee's candida diet which is low carb and focuses on eating a lot of good fats for healing. Mainly coconut oil and butter. I am always willing to help someone out so if u have any questions email me at [email protected] Peace and Love. Danny

-2
5c0503d8782f06b04fc3a99505b95be7

(34)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:37 AM

Ditch the breathless exercise in favor of relaxed resistance training. If it makes you feel like shit, why continue? Eat some potatoes. Have an orange. Go to a diner, have a seat, and order whatever the hell would satisfy. Throw away this eating disorder. Have a big cheeseburger and a shake. The honeymoon is over.

http://180degreehealth.com/2010/06/the-catecholamine-honeymoon

http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2012/2/23/orthodox-paleo-or-how-to-increase-stress-inflammation-bone-l.html

http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2011/12/19/short-term-gain-long-term-pain-5-reasons-to-avoid-paleo-for.html

Paleo has at least half of it right, but things have been getting worse since Taubes walked into town.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 02:21 AM

I would comment but this person has no profile. That's bullshit too. Horseshit. sheepshit. But I could go for a milkshake.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 13, 2012
at 02:01 PM

Downvoted for linking to complete horseshit.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 14, 2012
at 03:26 AM

Okay. Regardless of my above comment, I've been reading Matt Stone's blog because of Anawn's link & he does describe a lot of my trajectory. I used to read his blog but it had so many conflicting views which obviously conflicted with what I wanted to believe. I don't have cold hands & feet or bad sleep but the anxiety/depression is back & I am hugely bloated as I type. Glad to see that Stone finally stopped using white print on a black background. It gave me a headache to read it. All said, he's making me think with the Catecholamine Honeymoon post. Gotta be honest about it.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on June 14, 2012
at 05:50 AM

Think about it sure, but I don't think there's much to worry about practically doing, aside from maybe experimenting with a couple of potatos post-workout.* The idea that hamburgers/junk specifically is required is obviously baseless (you can get all the macronutrients you might need from meat and potatoes) and the idea that not eating junk is an eating disorder is a wildly disordered view of eating! *I'd recommend experimenting both with higher carb *and* with ketogenic VLC, since people have found both to be therapeutic.

Ccfd5c5fd0db8c1c9f437d008c311f99

on June 16, 2012
at 11:57 AM

I agree, @David Moss. Totally. I have no design to add processed crap back into my diet, but maybe loosening the stranglehold on carbs and JERFing a la Sean Croxton is the ticket, combined with lessening the intensity of my workouts. Thank you!

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