Let’s Talk About Our Adrenals

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So I have adrenal fatigue.  I have known about it for about 9 months now, and even though it seemed a miracle diagnosis (finally! I know WHY I am so freakin’ tired all the time!), it can be an overwhelming issue to deal with.  It can take years to get your adrenals back on track, depending on how fatigued they are.  I’d like to talk a little about Adrenal Fatigue if that’s ok with you. 🙂 

Adrenal Fatigue is one of the most misdiagnosed health issues going on today.  It is a syndrome that many doctors don’t fully understand, some don’t even really believe in, yet many many people (it is estimated as much as 50% of the population are adrenally fatigued to some extent) are suffering daily, and don’t know why.

My story begins with having my first child, almost 7 years ago.  I was tired, duh – new mom syndrome!, full of anxiety, couldn’t lose the baby weight.  A year and a half later I was pregnant again and this cycle continued.  I felt tired, stiff, not well rested ever, I had this feeling just that something was wrong.  Now, I WAS able to finally lose the weight, but it was extremely difficult and I have often wondered at the fact that if I go off my nutrition for so much as a week BAM, I gain a couple pounds.  Enter Adrenal Fatigue (AF). Now obviously I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training.  But I have done a lot of research, have and am going through this personally, and have worked with many clients with adrenal issues.  So take this article however you like, with as big a grain of salt as you like. Below is a list of common symptoms – any of them look familiar?

-excessive fatigue

-not feeling rested even after a good sleep

-difficulty losing weight, unexplained weight gain

-food cravings (sugar/salty)

-irritability/anxiety/depression

-exhaustion

-increase in or severe PMS symptoms (in women)

-Sick more often, takes longer to recover

-generally feeling unwell

-losing hair, changes in skin & nails

Here is a quote which neatly explains AF in a nutshell, and why it is such an important condition to recognize.  **source:http://www.peertrainer.com/health/adrenal-fatigue.aspx

Adrenal fatigue (also called adrenal exhaustion or adrenal insufficiency) is very common, yet often goes undiagnosed. It typically begins due to chronic, unmanaged stress which exhausts the adrenals. Cortisol, the stress hormone, rages through your system continuously, which also raises your blood sugar levels.

An increase in blood sugar leads to insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes), higher cholesterol levels, and more. This can also impact your thyroid, as well as impacting your libido, menstruation, energy, memory, fertility, and metabolism.

Chronically high blood sugar levels also cause inflammation, which is the root cause of nearly every chronic illness, condition, and disease you can think of. All of these symptoms can lead to chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, for example, while speeding up the aging process as you lose your energy, enjoyment, and quality of life.

Yuck, right?  This is a big deal!!!

So what can we do? 

The best thing to do is sit down and have a good talk with your health care practitioner of choice.  Personally I recommend a naturopath or a chiropractor, but go to whoever you trust.  In the mean time there are changes you can start making right now that will help get you on the road to recovery.  Honestly, even if you DON’T have adrenal fatigue issues, these are all things that will benefit your health regardless!

(This is not a complete list as AF can affect each person differently.)

1. NUTRITION.  eliminate caffeine and as much sugar & refined carbs as possible.  Eat breakfast every day and eat regularly throughout the day.

2. EXERCISE.  Exercising regularly is always good for your health and is a great place to start for improving adrenal function.  Start slow and listen to your body as you adjust to a new exercise routine.

3. SUPPLEMENTS.  There aren’t any medications slotted for treating adrenal fatigue, but your health care practitioner may recommend supplements or herbal treatments to help ease some of your symptoms so your body can begin to heal itself.  My Chiropractor had me on a herbal regimine to reduce the inflammation throughout my body caused by AF so that I could start addressing the AF itself.  It worked very well for me, but something different may work well for you.  Best thing to do is ask the expert.

4.SLEEP.  This is a no brainer, but there is evidence to support going to bed before 11pm to help treat adrenal fatigue. 

5.STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES.  Because AF is caused by stress, we need to figure out a way to reduce it.  Now, if you are anything like me, the stresses of my job, being a mother, running a household etc are not going to be going anywhere anytime soon.  So I have to find ways to help me cope with my stress better so that I am not as affected.  Things like learning to let go of things that don’t really matter, treating myself to a massage or other things to help replenish my spirit, spending time laughing with friends and family, etc etc.

This is really something I need to take better care of in myself.  Between working full time, 2 kids under 7 & all their activities, trying to get my own fitness in there, a husband who works opposite shifts so is never home when I am, it can be hard to deal with my stress.  It’s not always even bad stress, it’s just……a LOT.  But I don’t want what now may be some adrenal fatigue to later turn into some serious health issues!

Making a promise to start spending some time, every day, even if it is only 30 minutes, on doing something good for myself.  Whether it’s some yoga in the afternoon, enjoying a tea by myself on the patio, or going out with a friend, I need to focus more on my health, and enjoying little things in your life can be beneficial to your health!

I challenge you to set aside 30 minutes of your day, every day to focus on something that brings you happiness. 🙂  It can’t hurt, right?

 

 

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Argh!

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Sorry it’s been a while folks, I was so crazy busy last week, it was my 3rd 6-day work week in a row, longer hours than usual, more pressure on the job than usual cause it is the end of the month, needless to say I barely sat down long enough to check my email, let alone update my wee blog.

Anyhow!  My story for today is not fitness related (although my fitness is going OK, thank you for asking!)  The other day I was sleeping….well, in the waking up stage, as it was 6:30am, my kids were up but watching early morning cartoons so I was in that half awake half asleep stage.  When….6:45am my phone rings. I mumble a sleepy hello to be greeted by a cheery “Good Morning! Is this Kristie?  I am Officer So & So and I am at your front door!”

As you can imagine my heart stopped for second then doubled up in speed.  I took a quick inventory, yes, ok both my kids are here, my husband is snoring away next to me.  Crap, pajamas on. I robe up and head to the door.

Turns out, I was being subpenaed to appear as a witness in court. UGH. big ugh.  I had to call 911 for an incident down the street back a few months ago and now I get to go to court to repeat my statement. SIGH.

Hey, at least I can chalk it up to a new experience, right?  :/

What does one wear to court?  Is it really like on tv, all business suits and such?  I suppose it is.  Time to brush the dust off my pantyhose I guess

Back in the Saddle!

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As I have mentioned before in previous posts, I am having some back issues.  They have over the last couple of weeks gone from an achey lower back to pretty significant back pain. Because of that I have had to lay off too much exercise over the last 2 weeks, even a walk would result in needing muscle relaxants later to get to sleep. UGH! SOOOO frustrating!  Anyone who is active, or plays a sport or something and has to stop because of an injury understands what I am talking about.  I am one of the healthy ones!  I am fit, active, young, how am *I* the one sitting on the sidelines???

The hardest thing from an exercise standpoint is that I haven’t been able to run at all.  I had to withdraw from my 10k in August at doctors orders, not that I would have been able to train for it anyway.  I miss the run! Sigh.  I am hoping that once I figure out exactly what is going on I can start repairing it so I can start running again!

Good news is I was able to get in a killer upper body workout this morning which felt awesome.I got some (IMO) great news about my own fitness as well.  So I think we can all agree that we are always our own worst critics when it comes to, well, just about anything, but looks in particular.  I have been busting my butt with a main goal of getting my body fat percentage to under 25%.  I don’t know why I was convinced that my bf% was closer to 30%, but I was.  Well, thanks to a coworker and a nasty pair of calipers I am pleased to announce that I am at 21.8% Whoot!!!  The optimal “fitness” range for women is 18-22% so I am stoked.  Gotta change my goal to 18% now!

So some bad, some good, but all around a good day 🙂

Aside

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I don’t know what it is like where you are right now, but where I am it is freaking glorious outside.  About 13 degrees and sun sun sunny! 

I don’t know about you but I have a hard time being upset about anything really, when it is sunny and gorgeous outside!

If the weather is nice where you are, get out and enjoy it already!

Tempeh!

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So I realize that this fitness blog has become a bit more of a vegan journey blog LOL, but  once I can get back into my workouts that will even out.  I am still having a lot of back issues, which is really preventing me from doing too much physically.  Best I can do is really watch my nutrition in the mean time until I get get back to lifting!

Last night I made a stir fry: asparagus, broccoli, snow peas, portobello mushroom on brown rice.  I decided I would try tempeh for the first time.  I had purchased some pre marinated tempeh from the grocery store the other day.  It was so good!  I loved the texture and taste, what a great meat alternative.  Meal a success!

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This is SO me right now.

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Tee hee. Ever feel this way?  An almost vegan, living in a family with 2 vegetarian kids (hey, we’re gettin’ there!) and a meat-eating hubby, this is so me right now LOL.  Ah well, all the more for me!

So confession:  I totally fell off the clean eating wagon in a huge way this weekend.  I blame my 4 year old.  OK OK not really, but she is at the root of this story.  So my daughter, aged 4, is obsessed with cooking shows on youtube.  I let her watch them because really, it could be SO much worse, right?  She especially loves a show called Nerdy Nummies (it’s actually pretty cute, you should check it out) and my daughter can now gleefully point out and name just about everything in the baking isle at the grocery store.  “Mommy it’s Pam Baking Spray seee!?”

I try my best to encourage and support my kids in the things they love to do and I also am big on “making memories”.  I want my kids to have lots of happy memories in their minds when they grow older. 🙂  So, because my daughter loves baking, we bake on the weekends.  NOT conducive to my fitness goals, let me tell you.

Most of the time I try to keep it relatively healthy, baking up my kids snacks for school for the upcoming week.  Things like zuchinni muffins for school snacks.  Even the junkier stuff I prefer to make at home so at least I have some control over the ingredients and the amount of sugar/dyes etc that are added.

This past weekend it was cupcakes.  Not healthy ones either.  These were full blown, cherry chip from the box, with pink icing and sprinkles on top kinda cupcakes. The kids had been begging me to make something like this. “can we PLEASE make some KID food this time!?”  They were delicious.  I know this because I ate about 6 of them. For shame.

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Say Cheese!

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So I have been finding the gradual switch over to Veganism fairly easy.  Easy in that giving up meat & eggs was no issue at all.  I don’t miss it, in fact, the thought of eating meat makes my stomach turn.  Easy peasy not to eat it when that happens!

BUT (there’s always a but) there are 2 things holding me back right now.  Cheese and coffee.  Mostly cheese, since there are plenty of non dairy coffee options out there, but I never realized how much cheese I eat!  Not every day, but easily 4-5 times a week.  I had no idea!  It’s not usually a lot of cheese, a bit sprinkled on pasta or a salad for example, but I realized that my “cheat” dinners are all cheese based – veggie burgers with cheese or pizza.  OK so I probably shouldn’t be eating those things anyway (and I don’t, more than once a month or so anyway) but how do you live without cheese?

I am committed to making this change, I just can’t justify to myself the need to eat cheese or put real cream in my coffee, but my question to you is……honestly, how is the vegan cheese?

I’ve seen it in the grocery store, every flavor, shredded, blocks, you name it but I am irrationally afraid of trying it.  I have a very sensitive palate and well……ugh.

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For my vegan (or otherwise adventurous eaters), have you tried any of the vegan cheeses out there?  How are they?  Do they melt the same way? Is it similar consistency? Am I totally ridiculous for being a huge scaredy cat about this? LOL

On a separate note, I am hoping to get back into my workouts on Monday.  I’ve taken the last week and a half off due to my back being so sore.  It is still hurting so I will be sticking to light cardio (not running 😦 ) and upper body strength training. Can’t wait to get back into the swing of things!