The return of 5-HTP
Monday, January 27, 2014
Hey all, I'm still hanging in there. Despite doing light therapy twice a day, the seasonal depression (SAD) is hitting me hard with all the grey weather. So I've struck back with an over the counter supplement called 5-HTP. As some of you may recall, I tried it in the summer for my insomnia, but felt it didn't help and just made me not want to eat. With the intensity and volume of my training, I HAD to eat, so that did not work for me at the time.
However a theory of a cause of SAD is low levels of of a mood-regulating hormone known as serotonin triggered by a lack of light. 5-HTP promotes production of this hormone. I felt I was hitting a low, tired, and even wanting to binge eat (and you guys know this is NOT like me - normally I have trouble eating enough.) So I thought I would try it again. Low serotonin can cause people to eat and crave especially carbohydrates because eating carbohydrates raises serotonin levels in the brain.
Well the same things that did not help me in the summer seem to be helping now. With the 5-HTP, my appetite is almost back to normal and my energy and motivation are better. I still do not feel as I do in the summer, but definitely improved.
I have also decided to tone down the Fitbit tracker and go from a 750 calorie a day deficit to a 500 calorie a day deficit. In reality I am going to be OK at a 0-500 calorie a day deficit with all I have going on right now. I think the FitBit may have been underestimating the exercise I am doing. Serotonin can drop low with too low calories as well, so I want to be careful of that - especially this time of year. With the SAD, I've gained about 3 lbs in the past month due to eating, but things have leveled out and I hope I'm on a downward trend again.
I'm working on a new life plan and some overall goals. It seems overwhelming, and again with the SAD I lack some motivation to get it done, but I'm on my way. I will also post with updates.
I got several books from the library. So, I'll also be posting reviews of what I read, which include anything from goal setting to healthy cooking!
Ok, all for now. Hope everyone is doing well!