Friday, July 24, 2009

Thanks that make you go grrr... and YAY.

I don't know if y'all know this about me or not (if you've read my SparkPage you probably saw it) but I have hypothyroidism - an under active thyroid that makes life interesting in so many ways. Oh yeah, and I have chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue... and when the thyroid was way out of control, a touch of fibromyalgia. Oh, and lets not forget the PCOS and premenopausal stuff that was also triggered from the thyroid.

I was a barrel of fun.

I could regal you with all the symptoms and struggles I went through - weight gain, achey, tired, cold ALL the time, etc. - I won't, because if you're going through it, or have gone through it you know. Or if you want to go find a list of hypo symptoms just check off about 30-40% of them and that's how I was.


I am one of the lucky ones who found a doctor who was willing to diagnose it for me and get me started on medication. Then I was extra lucky to find another doctor who was REALLY willing to treat me for it and get me on the OPTIMAL medication and dosage. (Do you hear the angels singing? ::cues rays of light and a heavenly "Ahhhhh"::)

Thing is, during the 2-3 years that it took to really get stuff under control, I did a LOT of research, reading, and general fact finding. That means that I have a LOT of random hypothyroid info running through my brain at any given moment. So when I happen upon someone with questions, it's usually a quick brain dump of "here's what I've learned and what may help you" and go on my merry way.

Every so often I come across things that make me want to bang my head against the wall.

This article is one of those things:

At first I thought, "WOW! This is/was so ME!" Then I read further and got incredibly frustrated with it to the point I actually wrote a "get over it" response.

Out of all the articles I've read on SparkPeople or anywhere, this was the most disheartening one ever! Seriously?! Some people (barring medication issues) are destined to be fat so suck it up?!

I don't buy that, and I'm obviously willing to stake/base my career on that. (and to the author's credit - there is a decent follow-up article she wrote.)

You see, for a while *I* was stuck - couldn't lose to save my life and was getting frustrated. I was floundering and unfocused, feeling like I was missing something... that key that was going to solve all my problems and bring about world peace.

Well, I did find that key... you wanna know what it was?

You won't like it.

You still wanna know?

Ok... here it goes... actually there's 2 keys that have to work together: Patience and Awareness.

Yep... Told ya... it really sucks. When you're dealing with hormonal type issues, you're in for a slow, steady run, but as long as you're steady, it will happen.

Which is why I was THRILLED to come across this article today:

Leigh is a colleague of Tom Venuto's and has a lot of the same attitudes and approaches (aka no-nonsense, straight to the point, and solid info).

Some of high points of the article I wanted to share:

"It is exactly the same as it would be for anyone else except you have to be smarter, listen a little harder to your body, and the chance of having to take things a little slower." [AMEN! Patience and Awareness!]

-Watch training volume and keep it lower. Less is more. I would not recommend lots of HIIT mixed with even a moderate deficit (25% below daily caloric need).

-Schedule re-feeds a little more frequently. The harder you diet down, the more you need to break.

-Don't be overly carb restrictive for extended periods of time.


To piggy back on to this, I'll share some of the things that worked best for me is:

1) working with a doc that actually WORKED with me - I got on Armour about 18-24 months ago and it's made a world of difference for me. We had to play with the dosing for a while but once we hit it, I was finally _able_ to do the stuff I'd been wanting to do without having to pay for it for a week. With Armour's recent reformulation, I've switched to Westhroid and am hoping for similar or better results.

2) Eating real food. It was a chicken/egg thing because I started making the nutrition shift to cooking for myself, eliminating processed stuff, etc., at the same time I switched meds. Either way, the combo itself is awesome and I have to be sure that this happens 98-99% of the time.

3) Getting enough protein. Part of the hypo is that the nerve endings and the coating around them get damaged, hence the achy feelings you can get that's similar to fibromyalgia. They need protein to rebuild and repair themselves. So getting .8-1.0 gm per pound of lean body mass is key.

3a) Getting lots and lots of veggies.

4) Once I got my dose where it needed to be, I eased into doing 2-3 HIIT workouts and weight training. OMG this totally got it going. And it helped the protein really get to work. AND I finally experienced the 'good' sore! :) I have to say, my longest workouts of late haven't gone over 45 minutes, and aside from when I was going to the trainer for 1 hour each week, my workouts average 30 minutes.

I'm all for effective and efficient. I'm a firm believer in doing the minimum it takes to get the results you want, and that's sustainable for the long haul... I can do 30 minutes 4-5x a week for the next 20+ years. I personally am not willing or able to do 60-120 minutes A DAY 5-6 days a week for that long.

5) RESTING I tried plowing through 5 days of working out straight... soooo doesn't work that way. 2 days on, 1 day off... that works. Being Hypo (and a bit, uh... mature) makes us more susceptible to overtraining. Overtraining taxes the adrenal and the thyroid. Can you say vicious cycle? Rest periods are your friend.

6) Eating more. Honestly, once I I had all those other things in place, and stopped eating according to SP recommendation and figured out my own calorie range (which is at least 300-500 calories _more_ than SP), that's when I started losing.

7) LISTENING to my body. There's days I know I can push it, and when to not even try... There's days I get the signals wrong, but I listen and learn so I can make better choices next time.

So there you have it. You've got my "Code", my "secrets" to success: I pay attention, I push myself just 'enough' and am patient.

Wonderfully boring, isn't it?

No comments: