Today I’m sitting outside in my hammock, drinking my second cup of coffee for the day, and reading my Precision Nutrition coaching lesson for the day. It’s a rare cool April day in Arizona and I’m going to enjoy sitting outside as long as possible. Annie is providing me some much needed laughter by jumping in the pool and then running around in the dirt.
You know what happens when water and dirt combine? Mud.
She repeats this process for a bit...pool, dirt, pool, dirt...and then finally pool which is my opportunity to dry her off and take her inside before she hits the dirt again.
And while she may be distracting me from my studying, I’m perfectly fine with that because like I said...I needed the laughter.
How it Started
It’s been a rough several months for me. If you’re on my email list (ahem), then you know what things have been like. But now that the picture is becoming a little more clear, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned dealing with my health.
But first, let me take a moment to summarize a few things just in case you’re in the dark. Last summer I started feeling a new level of fatigue for me. Add to that feelings of depression, lack of motivation, anxiety, irritability and you’ve got the perfect storm.
I spoke to my then hormone doctor about it and was basically given the blow off and told to try taking 5-HTP every night. At this point, I had been on a regular dosage of bio-identical hormone pellets for low testosterone and estrogen.
For the next couple of months I tried to find a new doctor when I came across Dr. Brooke Kalanick, who a friend was seeing and experiencing good results. I set up a consult and was hopeful we would find answers quickly.
Laugh out loud. That was September (2017). It’s April now.
We spent the first two months essentially detoxing my body of the hormones I had been receiving so we could get an accurate baseline of where my body was at. That took a couple months.
Then came the baseline lab work. For the most part everything looked OK (hormones, thyroid, adrenals) except for my reverse T3 level. It was off the charts and long story short was an indicator of inflammation somewhere in my body.
The next step? Figure out what is causing the inflammation and begin a supplement regimen to help my hormones stay balanced to keep me from bouncing between Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. To begin, Dr. Brooke started me on a low-FODMAP diet which essentially limits your food to things that are known to cause digestion issues. This is a simple step to addressing the inflammation.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t like this diet. I had to give up delicious things like avocados, garlic, and onions. Goodbye Mexican food! Ummm....I live in the southwest, I’ll have nothing left to eat. This went on through the holidays and in March we decided to take a second set of labs to see how everything looked.
Well...not only did my reverse T3 not change, now my TSH level was skyrocketing. It went from 1.5 to 6.3, indicating that I have hypothyroidism on top of the inflammation that wasn’t improving.
Talk about a gut punch! I wanted to cry. I wanted to hit something. I felt hopeless, like all the things I had been doing for the last 6 months were not working. In fact, I was essentially getting worse.
I wanted to give up until I gently reminded myself of what it is I actually do on a daily basis. I coach women who feel exactly the same way I do in this moment.
You see my thyroid situation isn’t unlike what you are dealing with when it comes to fat loss. When you think about it, there are a lot of similarities.
#1 - We want an immediate solution (the quick fix)
I have women that come to me over and over again looking for the fast track to fat loss. They don’t care that they didn’t gain weight overnight, they just want it off right now because summer is coming. But those extra calories and lack of exercise habits we create over time need to be broken over time.
Believe me, if I could take a pill right now to feel better, I would and most doctors would give me one thinking it’s the solution but that doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. What’s really going on with my body?
I (you) need to pinpoint the cause not just treat the symptom (weight gain) which is what all of those quick fix plans do. They put a temporary band-aid on a wound that requires stitches to heal from the inside out.
#2 - We don’t want to focus on the basics because we think they’re too easy
Test, supplement, retest, supplement...this is the story of my life right now but it’s the basics to figuring out what’s really going on. Most of us don’t want to focus on the basics because they’re hard. Wait, what?
Think about when you first learned how to ride a bike. Did you just skip past the basics of learning how to balance, steer, pedal, start, and stop? No, of course not. You had to fall a few times. You had to get back up and do it again and again until you mastered the basics.
The same is true for fat loss. It all comes down to building a strong foundation of basic habits. It’s exactly how I approach change with my clients. We focus on one habit until it’s mastered and then we build upon that, rinse and repeat, until we have a solid foundation of, you guessed it, the basics.
Excellence is built on mastery of the fundamentals first. - Precision Nutrition
Consistent, repeated actions (the basics) = the change we want.
#3 - We don’t want to invest in feeling better
That stings a little doesn’t it? You would be shocked if I told you how much I’ve spent trying to figure out why I am feeling bad. So my question to you is, aren’t I worth it? What about you? Are you worth investing in so that you can finally become the person you want to be?
Or do you want to go through life continuing to feel like garbage? I know I don’t. It affects not only me but everyone around me. When I’m feeling anxious, tired or depressed, I don’t want to be around my loved ones so I’m missing out on life and I will never get those moments back. That’s unacceptable to me.
So I had to make a choice and sacrifice certain things (daily Starbucks trips, new clothes, vacations) so that I could invest in me and my health. I won’t work with my doctor forever, but in this season, it’s more important than those other things. There will come a time when we figure out a solution and I won’t need her regular coaching, but until then I’m investing in my health because that’s one investment I can’t lose on.
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.