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Where I've been and where I'm going

Monday, February 17, 2014

I've been gone for awhile I know. Honestly, I don't even know if spark people is as motivating for me as it once was. My views and priorities regarding food have changed so much. I don't follow the low calorie/ lots of cardio dogma anymore. I just haven't felt motivated to log on like I used to and I'm not sure if that's why or if its because I've just felt overwhelmed with getting back on track in general. But I do like the accountability aspect, even if only to myself, of being able to keep a log and see what I've been doing and how it's working - if I actually make use of the logs which I have done half-heartedly in the past.

But that's why I'm back here. I want to be able to have a log of what I'm doing while I "biohack" myself. So.. hey again!

Last year I seriously crashed and burned with my health and food. Major life stresses caught up with me and after thinking that I was legitimately insane for a fairly long stretch of time, I was finally diagnosed with Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue - something I'd never even heard of. But now that I've researched it and learned about it, it's a total no-brainer that that's whats been going on with me. I've had a laundry list of symptoms that finally add up to something legitimate! I can't tell you what a relief it was to actually have a name to attach to how I've been feeling and a direction to go in.

But recovering from Adrenal Fatigue is neither quick nor easy. For one thing, a large component is how you deal with stress. And I don't deal with stress very well! I've never been a super positive person although I never saw myself as a pessimist either. But I can obsess and worry and freak out with the best of them. See any of my previous blog entries for verification. The number one thing I hear in A.F. recovery is - stop stressing. HA! That's like saying stop having hazel eyes or stop being 5 ft tall. That solution has been so daunting that I've spent the last several months ignoring any and all health goals and just trying to rest and not freak out and subsequently I gained back like 15 lbs. (and then stressed out about it) I got myself so turned upside down with what to eat that I just couldn't handle it and started eating everything.

I've finally come to terms with the fact that there's other parts to the recovery process that I need to embrace and when everything is lining up how it's supposed to, it will be easier to manage my stress. And I know that a huge part of success means planning and being preemptive which is where it all goes south for me usually. But I'm keeping a positive attitude about it. I don't need to have everything figured out to start. I can tweak as I go. I don't need to lose 15 lbs in a month. I just need to focus on health. The weight will come off as a by-product.

So my plan:
Eat strict paleo for 30 days. I'm not going quite as strict as Whole30. It's providing the basis for me but I'm doing a few tweaks to make it more manageable. I also plan to focus on walking as my sole form of exercise this month. I've been as sedentary as it gets for several months. I'm bringing a change of shoes to work and I'll walk during my planning period. I'm also going to track my food. I'm not going to restrict myself as far as calories or macro-nutrients. I just want to see how it all breaks down. I may attempt some yoga. I'm still very fatigued so we'll see how and if I can fit it in. I also started going to a Qi Gong class which I've heard is an effective treatment, so I hope to continue with that. So far, I haven't been very consistent but its a goal.

Then next month I will add in some weight training and maybe some of the cardio activities that I loved before like zumba and hooping but still emphasize walking. At that point, I may try watching my calories a little more closely - aiming at 1700-2000. But I reserve the right to scale back on any of that if I'm getting frustrated or otherwise not feeling up to it.

The third month, if I feel like I'm ready to progress, I'll add in some sprints and some combo running/walking. I don't think I'll go back to distance running, maybe ever. I'm convinced that that was one of the major contributing factors that sent me over the edge into A.F. But I do love running and I miss it so I would like to try to add it back in in a limited capacity once I've given myself time to heal.

The major things I need to focus on are:
-Consistency and Planning -- NOT giving myself a free pass to get pizza when we haven't been able to get to the grocery store. If I want this to be successful, I must be diligent. Even a small amount of gluten can disrupt digestive health and everything is connected. It will stymie my recovery from A.F.
-Supplements -- I'm taking several and I feel that they are helping but consistency is an issue there as well so I need to make sure to prioritize this daily.
-Sleep -- at MINIMUM 8 hours. non negotiable.
-Patience -- A.F. recovery is slow. I need to give myself time. I got frustrated last time because I didn't feel better after 30 days of strict paleo. So I just gave up. And when I started researching A.F. recovery, I got so overwhelmed with the abundance of information, most of which is conflicting. And since I didn't feel like I had the perfect solution, I just didn't bother. If I can't eat perfectly, I might as well have cookies! So I'm working on changing that mindset. I can't expect this to go away from 30 days of perfect eating but I can make adjustments to see what works and what doesn't. That's where tracking will be useful. Every other time, I've gotten on track, I get lazy with tracking and when when I stall, I don't have any idea what I've been doing. I also need to remind myself that If I go off the rails out of frustration or impatience, it will only take longer.

So that's where I'm at. It's frustrating to have gone so far in the wrong direction and to have these issues pulling me down but it really just makes it that much more important to get up and get going.

If anyone reading this has recovered from Adrenal Fatigue, I'm really interested to hear what worked for you.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am where you are in MANY ways. I'm ALWAYS exhausted....not tired...exhausted!! I literally feel like I'm constantly trying to push myself to get out of bed each day, push myself to do my job at work, push myself to come home and be a mom and wife - definitely a struggle. I totally get how you feel. I think that just writing the blog is where you've started helping yourself already! You have a plan - that's a huge start. So what if you start slow at your own's a start to just plan. Good for you! Good luck.
    1523 days ago
    Welcome back! You've got a great plan set out for yourself. Good Luck! emoticon
    1524 days ago
  • JR0124
    I'm so glad that you were able to figure out what was going on and at least get on the path to recovery. You have always been great at your planning so I am not surprised at all to see it completely laid out!
    1524 days ago
    Oh man, oh mannnn oh man.

    First of all, this: I don't follow the low calorie/ lots of cardio dogma anymore.

    I was sitting here after reading that line like... WOW. You summed up exactly how I've been feeling (frustrated!) about this site. I see all of these people running marathons and spending 2 hours tracking cardio on their polars at the gym and I'm over here like... I did a half hour of yoga because I feel so stressed and and tired and sad and that is all I could do. And I feel like my yoga doesn't count for anything even though I believe it will help me feel better in my head and circle back to make my body feel better after that. WOW. I mean... that is it right there. Cardio dogma.

    And THEN - I googled Adrenal Fatigue and I am FLOORED. This is EXACTLY how I have been feeling and experiencing, just as you described - extended period of high stress, leaving me feeling so tired and blah and my thyroid getting out of whack and everything. THIS IS ME and I have been struggling to find an answer and I think YOU just gave it to me. WOW WOW WOW. What did they tell you to do for it? What has some of your research said to do?

    "Reducing Stress" is just not as easy as everyone says. I've been trying to eat healthy, do yoga, try to spend more time doing things like reading/crafts which make me feel better. But my life is upside down in some ways (my job being up in the air and my boss being a total B for starters) and that doesn't fix itself overnight. I don't think you can just flick a switch to "handle stress better" you know?

    I just have to say thank you for posting this blog because it has really helped me today. I am SO SORRY you're going through all of this and it sounds like you have a great plan in place, but you aren't alone and I guess that is the one good thing left about Sparkpeople - a place to not be so alone in your efforts to be a healthier person. Always here if you need support and THANK YOU AGAIN for this blog!

    1524 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    I'm so glad you didn't give up on yourself, and you finally found a doctor to help you. Good luck with your bio-hacking. Taking this journey one day, one week, and one month at a time, will help you build momentum and feel successful as you celebrate your daily victories, and the things that matter most, like having the energy to play with your children, and enjoying a walk with your family.
    emoticon emoticon
    1524 days ago
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