How I broke my metabolism…

How I broke my metabolism…
I wasn’t quite sure where to start this post.  It’s been a year in the making- a year full of frustration, tears, research, learning, and FINALLY getting some answers.
I’ll guess I’ll start with the bullet point version:
  • The summer of 2016, I was in the best running shape of my life
  • I got a stress fracture in my right leg
  • Tried returning to running, got a stress reaction in my left leg that would.not.heal (been dealing with it since November)
  • I gained 20 lbs in 6 months, despite working out almost every day, eating extremely well, and trying to limit my stress
  • In between all of this, I got pregnant and miscarried (got pregnant by the way without having a period for 6 months prior)
  • My confidence was at an all time low
  • My clothes (specifically my pants) no longer fit and I was gaining weight mostly in my midsection.
  • I was tired all the time and felt my energy levels take a nose dive in the afternoon (like, more than normal)
I felt like my body was failing me.  I was doing everything right.  I would wake up every morning, do a 45-60 minute cardio session and follow it with strength training or a hot yoga class.  I followed my Beachbody program calendars to a T.  I cut out alcohol.  I stopped buying my “trigger” foods (namely Halo Top and trail mix).  I tracked EVERYTHING in My Fitness Pal.  I drank a ton of water.  I had a big salad at lunch.  I stopped eating after 8.  I stopped drinking all diet sodas.  Frustrated, I’d work out harder and longer.  And still I gained weight.
working out constantly and still gaining weight
Some things are serendipitous.  In the midst of all of this, a friend mentioned that she had been working with a metabolic doctor in Roseville (literally 1/2 mile from my girls’ school).  She was having a lot of success with him and mentioned something about “adrenal fatigue.”  I have suspected over-training and, as a result, adrenal fatigue.  I made an appointment with him the next day.
Our first appointment was an hour long where I lamented to him all of my issues:
Why can’t I run and stay healthy?
Why am I dealing with chronic injuries?
Why do I have zero sex drive?
Why do I feel so tired at the end of the day?
Why can’t I lose weight?
Why am I gaining weight despite doing everything right?
He had some ideas as to what was causing the issues, but I did a battery of tests to figure things out: stool sample, saliva samples, blood work, urine analysis.
And Wednesday I got the results:
-intestinal inflammation (food intolerance that I don’t know about yet)
-adrenal fatigue (damaged metabolism)
-low thyroid syndrome
-sex hormone imbalances with PCOS
Cortisol levels that plummet during the day and rise slightly at night. In addition to this, I have low DHEA levels, the key factor in adrenal fatigue.
Test results. The good news is I don’t have leaky gut!!
The good news it explains everything that has been going on with me.  The hard part has been a harsh reality check for me about how much damage I was doing to my body.
My doctor explained this as “Type A syndrome.”  In short, with my driven personality, I’ve backed myself into a corner.  When I couldn’t lose weight, I just worked out harder and longer.  Even though I wasn’t starving myself, I wasn’t adding calories for fear of gaining weight.  And when I noticed more fat gain and more weight, I have to admit that there were many days where I definitely dipped far below what I should be eating.  Most of the working out was cardio. Why?  In all honesty not because of the calorie burn, but because I wanted to feel good.  I craved the “high” of working out because I was feeling so down about every other area of my life. But, unfortunately, it did more harm than good.
So, for the last year, I’ve been putting my body under tremendous physical stress, tremendous mental stress, and on top of that, nutritional stress due to the food intolerance(s)
My adrenals (glands that control the release of the stress hormones vital for metabolic control) are shot.  My cortisol levels skyrocket in the morning, then plummet.  It’s why I have no energy at night.  It’s why exercise is the only time I can get a “high.”  It’s why I can’t build muscle and only put on fat.  It’s part of why I have low T3 syndrome.  And, as an added layer, my PCOS (which I always knew I had) is swirling around doing a lot of other things that isn’t making things easier.
Oddly enough, he said the nutritional stress from the intestinal inflammation is the biggest culprit.  I get a break from physical stress when I stop working out. I get a break from mental stress when I sleep.  I never get a break from my intestines being inflamed.
So, what am I doing next?
  • I’l be working with this doctor for the next 6 months to fix my damaged metabolism
  • For the next 4 weeks, I’ll be on a “reset” diet to figure out the food intolerance and fix the intestinal inflammation
  • I will be doing only light walks/yoga next week for exercise, then progress to strength training (Thank god for my beloved Body Beast and Hammer and Chisel!!)
  • Then, we will add in cardio and monitor (he’s warned me that sometimes people react well, sometimes bodies will freak out)
  • I will be upping my calorie intake so that I can finally feel that I can EAT the calories I need without ballooning up
  • I will work with him for 6 months, retesting as needed, monitoring my body fat/muscle ratio
  • End goal is to have a healthy, working, FLEXIBLE metabolism.
  • I’ll be sharing what I learn with all of you!
A couple of other notes: this has been an extremely long process to get here. First, in accepting the fact that I what I was doing wasn’t working and I needed help.  Second, in knowing that I could share this without being judged or labeled.  Third, in getting over the shame I felt in sharing this- shame around the weight gain and shame around the fact that I was struggling with the very thing that I try and help people with.   However, I know that through mess there are messages and I can only hope that what I share can help others too.  There is some relief in knowing that this is hormonal (not a will-power or choice I’m making) and that there is a way “out.”
I also want to note that I know I am not by any means overweight.  However, most women can relate to the feeling of not being able to fit into their clothes.  It’s defeating and it does a number on your confidence.  More than that, I don’t feel like myself.  I want to get to the place where I FEEL good again. If that means staying the same weight I am, so be it.  My end goal is to have a HEALTHY metabolism.
Finally, I know many of you will ask about Beachbody.  I am more grateful for this community and the Beachbody products than ever before.  I have had so much support from fellow coaches and my clients throughout all of this and I KNOW that this will only make me a better coach, better equipped to help women who are struggling with the hormonal side of weight loss.  This has only served as a reinvigoration for my business and my passion for health and wellness and I cannot wait to share my results and my learning with all of you!!  And, yes, I will be reintroducing Shakeology into my diet and/or the Beachbody Performance Line!
I’ve been working with a healer who told me that all of this is happening to unlock new gifts.  Here’s to unlocking them so that I can share with you!